Pax Eterna by Chyna Rose
Summary: There is no doubt that those who piloted gundams were special. They just didn't know how special they really were. Until now, that is.
Categories: Non Buffy/Angel Crossovers > Other TV, Non Buffy/Angel Crossovers > Anime Characters: None
Genres: Action/Adventure
Warnings: Major Character Death
Challenges: None
Series: None
Chapters: 5 Completed: No Word count: 12027 Read: 47868 Published: 2013.03.02 Updated: 2013.03.06
Story Notes:
Please don't let the Major Character Death warning scare you off; as the major characters dying happen to be Immortal, they'll be getting better if not by the end of that chapter then by the end of the next one.

1. Prologue by Chyna Rose

2. Chapter 1 by Chyna Rose

3. Chapter 2 by Chyna Rose

4. Chapter 3 by Chyna Rose

5. Chapter 4 by Chyna Rose

Prologue by Chyna Rose
Pax Eterna

Pax Eterna

By Chyna Rose

Disclaimer: Gundam Wing belongs to Bandai. Highlander belongs to Gaumont Television Corp and David Panzer Productions. No money is being made off this fic; this is a product of enjoyment and an over active imagination. The original idea for this belongs to Hexadecimal; freely given on the GundamBunniesAnon mailing list. Beta reading credit goes to my best friend Rae.

Spoilers: Gundam Wing – ignores both Endless Waltz and Episode Zero. Highlander – mostly AU so it's hard to say. Add in the fact that it's been ages since I've seen the series... I guess up to Revelation 6:8

 

It all started on the weirdest day of our careers as terrorists/freedom fighters-cum-peace keepers. An apocalyptic cult had decided that it was time for the Apocalypse, and since no actual disaster was looming, they were going to do it themselves. They even managed to find four guys willing to do the horseman bit. Laugh all you want, but this was a serious threat. It was so serious, that Lady Une had put all five of us on the case. This alone marked the mission as special.

 

It was also the culmination of months of hard prep work. We’re talking info gathering and massive amounts of manpower. You just don’t go bursting in when the other guy’s got nukes. We were ready.

 

Getting into the cult’s base was easy. It was as well guarded as an OZ base. I could’ve snuck in in my sleep. So for teams of ex-OZies headed by ex-gundam pilots it was a piece of cake. Too easy really, when you think about it. So it shouldn’t have been a surprise when all hell broke loose. Almost literally.

 

Like any other apocalyptic cult, this group claimed to have some mystical abilities and weren’t afraid to use them. Or to paraphrase my good friend Wufei, they believed their own mumbo-jumbo bull shit. We never banked on them actually telling the truth about the mystical thing (either that or they found a scientific way to fake it).

 

Anyway. We had taken care of the nukes before we made a move on the people. Crazy as they were, they at least hand enough sense not to store the nukes near their main compound. I’d hate to think what would’ve happened if they were present – even if they had been deactivated.

Everything had been going according to the plan. Too smoothly really – which should’ve tipped us off. With the nuke site neutralized, our job was seek and remand with deadly force allowances; meaning we were to find and take the cultists into custody, but we could shoot to kill if it came down to it. We were all inside when it happened.

 

I don’t know who took that first shot; one of us, or one of them. That one shot had been the signal for an all out fire fight. I’m still a bit fuzzy on the details. It’s hard to keep track of what’s going on once the shit hits the fan. I do remember some guy coming at me with an honest to god sword. He missed of course. Actually, he never really got a chance since one of my men took him out before he could finish taking a swing at my head.

 

I died that day. I know I did; we all did.  Out of fifty Preventer agents and roughly three hundred cultists, only five survived; me, Heero, Trowa, Quatre, and Wufei. During the debriefing, Noin told us that an electrical short had set off the cashed weaponry and brought the entire building down on us. There was no way in hell that we should’ve survived that. I mean, Sally’s good, but she’s not that good. She’s not god, after all.

We sure as hell shouldn’t have been walking around barely a week later. Even if you factor in the advanced healing capabilities of a gundam pilot, it still would be impossible. Father Maxwell would call it an actual miracle. We (and by we, I include Noin, Sally and Une) just figured that it was an after effect of our training; like our lack of growth.

 

It’s been three years since the war, and we still look like we’re fifteen. Now, I realized early on that I’d never be a tall person. Not enough of the right foods when I needed them. And I’ve gotten used to it. But I always thought that I’d grow at least a couple of more inches; not stay the same size as when I started piloting ‘scythe. I sure as hell never expected the other not to have grown either. Can’t say much about Heero’s or Trowa’s pasts, but Wufei and Quatre certainly had enough food to ensure that they got what they needed nutritionally. Yeah, it’s hard to eat right when you’re on the run fighting a war (OZ sure as hell didn’t care about giving us balanced meals when we were ‘guests’ in their prisons), but I thought that most of that was set in early childhood.

 

But this was ridiculous. All of us – me, Heero, Trowa, Quatre, Wufei – had just stopped growing (physically speaking) when we entered into the war; half way into adolescence. At least I was past the point of my voice breaking. Thank god for small favors, I guess.

Look at me; running off at the mouth again. Sally had just come back with the news that nothing short of an honest to god and Pope certified miracle’s gonna cure us. I really don’t mind it all that much, since the worst parts of adolescence are behind me, but it means that I can never just walk into a bar and order a drink.

 

But that was a month ago. Life’s pretty much returned to normal. Normal for us at any rate. Whether or not it counts as normal for the rest of the world is open for debate.

 

Quatre is still struggling to run WEI his way. His ‘advisors’ on the Board of Directors keep expecting him to act like a good little puppet CEO and do everything they say, and Quatre keeps messing it up with such radical ideas as his sisters could do just as good a job running the company as him. Or that what’s good for WEI and what’s good for the Board of Directors aren’t necessarily the same thing (which may be the greater evil in their eyes. God forbid they should do any real work or get paid a paltry four digits a year). The Board of Weasels (my own name for them) isn’t giving up their power easily by any means.

 

Trowa divides his time between helping Cathy at the circus and keeping in touch with the rest of us. Cathy still blames us about Trowa still having to fight (even if being a Preventer was a condition of our war time pardon), and makes it her job to keep him away from our ‘bad influence’.

 

Wufei has gone back to his long lost scholar days. He’s busy taking random classes on-line in whatever catches his interest at the moment. He’s the only one of our group to formally finish high school; the rest of us just tested out.

 

Heero’s still working on finding his place in the world. This, for some reason only he understands, involves hanging around in Relena’s shadow and avoiding her advances. Of course by now, Relena does it more to tease Heero than out of a desire to actually catch him. She’s grown up a lot in these three years. She’s finally realized that she doesn’t need a prince. And thanks to Dorothy, she’s got a wicked sense of humor.

 

As for me, I became a Roads Scholar. I’m wandering the world on foot; seeing everything I didn’t get a chance to see or enjoy during the war. It may not be the most exciting or glamorous thing to do, but I’m not complaining. I’m exactly where I want to be, doing what I want to do.   

 

Chapter 1 by Chyna Rose
Lucrezia Noin was not happy

Pax Eterna

By Chyna Rose

 

Disclaimer: I don’t own Gundam Wing. I don’t own Highlander.

Warnings: Playing fast and loose with the cannon; partially AU and ignoring both Episode Zero and Endless Waltz. In Highlander terms, this goes double. But if you absolutely need a spoiler type episode cut off, it’d have to be Revelations 6:8 – as in nothing really beyond that.

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Lucretia Noin was not happy. She had been pulled out of her nice warm bed and shipped nearly halfway across Europe to bail Duo out of jail of all things. Duo, who had sworn to stay out of trouble. And to make matters worse, he had the gall to call himself innocent. Nether the less, she led a sulking Duo out to the car that the Preventers had set aside for their agents. The drive to the motel (also set aside for Preventer agents) was silent. Noin wasn’t in the mood to hear anything that Duo had to say, and Duo realized that maybe it wasn’t a good idea to push his luck with Noin after an attempt to turn on the car’s radio put him on the receiving end of a death glare that would have done Heero proud. Needless to say, it was not a pleasant drive.

 

After they reached the motel and had a chance to settle in for a bit, Noin looked pointedly at Duo for an explanation. Since Duo was expecting an irate dressing down from her, this took him somewhat by surprise. He was prepared for a lecture; not to have to defend himself right off the bat. The uneasy silence that had grown between them had just made itself comfortable when Duo finally broke it.

 

“I didn’t do anything wrong. Honest. Have I ever lied to you?”

 

Noin continued to look at Duo, unimpressed. He had a rap sheet over a mile long (although nothing after 197), and he was a notorious trouble maker even now. Besides, cops just don’t arrest people for no reason. He had to have done something. And knowing Duo, it could be virtually anything (except for rape or prostitution. He could find any number of willing partners, and he now had more than enough money).

 

“I was peacefully minding my own business at a local club when the cops busted in. They started checking IDs and hauling people out of there. I calmly showed Preventer issued ID – the one Sally gave us since we will always look underage – to the cop in charge of the bust. He took one look at it and hauled me in. He never even mentioned what I was being charged with! I mean, it’s not like I drank all that much to begin with; just a couple of beers. And anyway, the legal drinking age here’s eighteen. Luckily his boss was nice enough to call you and put me in holding instead of booking me like the cop was insisting. It should all be in the report”

 

“Duo, you have to be careful. You’re a very high profile person”

 

“I was careful. I had two beers and a ton of soda. That’s all. What do you expect me to do? Lead a boring life and not leave my apartment unless I’m at work or on a mission? You think I enjoy getting arrested? I did what I had to to survive; not because I wanted to”

 

“I don’t expect you to sit around doing nothing all day long. I just expect you to avoid trouble”

 

“I can’t be held responsible for every jerk cop with a grudge. I keep an eye on my mouth and do my best not to bait civilian authorities – unless that’s part of my mission parameters. That stuff’s under my control. But if some ass with a badge get it into his head that I deserve to be tossed in prison for life without parole simply because I exist, there’s nothing I can do about it”

 

Which was true. Duo’s arresting officer had had a history when it came to a certain segment of the population. It had, in fact, become noticeable by the rest of his precinct. Duo had been apologetically shoved straight into the drunk tank instead of being processed for booking. It was a temporary measure, and while no one was really happy about it (certainly not the community at large), it did work until a more permanent solution could be implemented. Unfortunately, the officer in question was too well politically connected to just fire.

 

Noin sighed. It was late and she didn’t feel like arguing any more.

 

“Just get to sleep. We leave in the morning”

 

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Mood swings were something he was familiar with. With twenty nine sisters plus various nieces and in-laws it wasn’t hard to see why. Mood swings in guys were also familiar territory; he did spend a considerable amount of time around Duo after all. Mood swings coming from former Perfect Soldier, Heero Yuy though were a pure novelty. The former Gundam pilot was wearing a track in the carpet, cycling from anger to worry to disinterest to self-incrimination. It was actually quite interesting to watch. Heero might’ve loosened up after the war, but he was never an overly emotional man. That was left up to Duo and himself.

 

“Where is he?”

 

“Knowing Duo, he’s probably holed up in some cheap bar somewhere”

Quatre sighed, already feeling the ghost of a headache coming on. Heero growled at Wufei’s derogatory comment and resumed his worried pacing. It was going to be a long day.

 

They (all the former Gundam pilots with the exception of Duo) had been confined to one of the Preventer safe houses for the past couple of days, and tensions were running high. It wasn’t that the four of them were lacking room; the safe house was actually quite spacious. But as roomy and big as the safe house was, it did little to change the realties of living in close quarters. And the fact that they weren’t going to be told why they were sent to the safe house until Duo got there wasn’t helping matters. When all five of them were told to meet by Lady Une, it meant that something big was going down.

 

Trowa gently touched Quatre’s hand, asking a million questions without saying a word. All of the ex-pilots were close; you couldn’t fight in a war like they did without forming a deep lifelong bond. However, what Trowa and Quatre had went beyond that. It was the kind of soul deep friendship that went beyond the bonds of love. It was also beyond what many people could really comprehend. Many had mistaken them for lovers, although if they were, neither Quatre nor Trowa were saying anything.

 

Quatre smiled up at him, but before he could say anything, a car pulled up into the driveway. In a moment all four of the ex-pilots were looking out the window. And as soon as the engine cut off, Duo was out of the car and storming into the safe house in a foul mood. Wufei opened his mouth to levy his usual insult, but one look from Duo shut him up. Duo was simply Not In The Mood.

 

Duo was followed by an equally pissed off and road weary Noin. Again Wufei would have normally said something, but he had not come this far without developing a highly honed survival instincts.

 

“Hello, nice to see you too Heero” Duo said with a snort. Hew as just not in the mood to deal with Heero’s head games. And if that meant that they ended up in a knock down drag out fight, than so be it. Hell, a fight just might lighten up his mood. Even if he would have to sit through lectures from Quatre and Wufei about it.

 

“Where were you”

 

Duo just sneered at Heero in answer and went to head up to his room. Heero glared at Duo and stepped in front of him; arms crossed over his chest.

 

“I’ll ask you again. Where. Were. You”

 

“What are you ? My mother?”

 

“Yuy! Maxwell! Stand down” the voice was met with an instant compliance. Both men took a step back and out of each other’s faces. Duo unclenched his fist, and relaxed his arm from its punch ready state. Peace time or not, Lady Une was not a woman to cross. In the time after the war, she had quickly risen to a position of power as the head of the Preventers. There were those who wondered how such a warlike woman, who had done many underhanded things during the war (or at least was rumored to) as the right hand of General Trieze Kushrenada, could be considered fit to run a peace keeping organization dedicated to ending war once and for all. Their speculations ran the gamut from government conspiracies to sexual acts that defied a few natural laws like the laws of physics. The truth was that Lady Une simply was the best for the post. She had no secret political agenda (despite rumors to the contrary), the balls to do whatever was necessary – even if it meant someone dying, and the militaristic attitude to keep the organization running smoothly. So what if most, if not all, of the recruits were scared shitless (mostly because of the rampant rumors running around the ranks); she got the job done.

 

“I bet you are all wondering why I called you here today” Lady Une began. Duo and Heero quickly sat down, giving the situation all the seriousness it required. Their earlier argument was forgotten in the face of what was an obvious briefing.

 

“Now what I’m about to tell you doesn’t leave this room. If word about this was to get out, there would be utter chaos and a good chance that the peace you worked so hard to achieve would be shattered. Since I know that none of you wishes to see that happen – especially after the amount of effort you put in to achieving the peace – I trust that you will keep quiet on this matter. His Excellency, General Trieze Kushrenada is alive and well”

 

“Impossible! I killed him myself. There is now way he could have survived the destruction of his suit”

 

“I realize that Chang. And I do not claim to even begin to understand how he survived, nor where he had been between then and now. It still does not deny the fact that he is alive”

 

“How do you know that it is him and not some imposter?”

 

“If he is an imposter, then we’ve got major problems. His voice print, fingerprints, retinal scans, facial features, and blood type all match what we have on file for His Excellency. In addition to that, both I and Zechs Merquise have personally interrogated him, as we were both closest to His Excellency during the war. He has said things that no imposter would have a way of knowing. There can be no doubt; he is General Trieze Kushrenada”

 

“What’s being done in regard to him?”

 

“Good question. For now he’s being held in a safe house under protective custody until such time as we feel that it would be safe to reveal his existence”

 

“So the Great General got kicked out of hell and dumped on your doorstep. What’s this got to do with us?” Duo’s question might have been said in his usual flippant manner, but the seriousness was easily seen. All the ex-pilots had tensed up. It was a subtle tension; the way their eyes hardened ever so slightly and how they shifted where they sat so that they could snap into action at a moments notice. It was clear that these boys (who weren’t really boys and probably hadn’t been for a long time) were ready to fight. Une had to handle this carefully. For all their sakes.

 

“I was just getting to that. I need you to assist Zechs Merquise in guarding His Excellency. The job is too big for a single agent to handle, and there is no one else I can trust with the sensitive nature of this matter. There are plenty of people who would pay a lot of money for this information – and not all of them are in the media.”

 

“What about our lives? Some of us have responsibilities that we need to take care of.”

 

“I’m afraid that you are going to have to make alternate arrangements. The mission comes first. And, Mr. Winner, I’m sure that your sisters and the Meganacs can handle the Board of Directors. If not, there is always the threat of a full investigation and audit. I doubt the directors would appreciate someone going over their lives and finances with a fine toothed comb.”

 

“This is all about the Cult Incident isn’t it. You’re spooked and trying to hide us away.”

 

“Don’t tell me you’re still believing that.”

 

“But it’s true! We all died that day. I know we did.”

 

“I’m sorry Duo, but I have to agree with Wufei on this. There is a logical explanation; we just don’t know what it is yet. People just don’t come back from the dead.”

 

“And yet we’re being sent off to baby sit the formerly dead Treize Kushrenada.”

 

“Obviously he was not as dead as we had thought. This is real life and not one of your stupid sci-fi shows.”

“Enough!” Une said, cutting short the fight that was starting to erupt. The ex-pilots stopped and turned their attention on her; not exactly meek, but not openly defiant “I suggest that you take the rest of today to pack and make whatever arrangements that you need to. You leave tomorrow at oh eight hundred sharp. Zechs Merquise will go over what you need to know when you get there. I trust that you will all behave. You have your orders.”

Chapter 2 by Chyna Rose
Lucrezia Noin was not happy

Pax Eterna

By Chyna Rose

 

Disclaimer: I don’t own Gundam Wing. I don’t own Highlander.

Warnings: Playing fast and loose with the cannon; partially AU and ignoring most of Episode Zero

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Duo blinked in the early morning light as he climbed out of the car, followed quickly by the others. They all still felt a bit uneasy about what was going on; there were too many unanswered questions surrounding this whole thing for them to be comfortable. Unknowns were dangerous in their (former) line of work after all. Still, there was nothing that they could do about it – orders were orders. Best to bite the proverbial bullet and get this over with.

 

Duo figured that it might as well be him, and took the plunge. He was completely unsurprised when Zechs opened the door before he could actually knock. Somehow, somewhere despite being on opposite sides throughout the war, Zechs had been granted that same sort of strong kinship that all the former pilots had with each other. That strange bond formed out of shared camaraderie and blood that allowed one to know instinctively when the other was near and where they were in relation. That let one know without a shadow of a doubt that someone had their back no matter the odds and if they were going to dine in hell, they wouldn’t be the only one at the table. It went beyond friendship and brotherhood, beyond watching each other’s backs and the closeness of a unit forged on the battle field. Beyond words even. And yet there it was, and with one who used to be their enemy; on who’d tried his hardest to kill them all. Of course now, Zechs was a comrade and coworker, and being able to feel Zechs like they did each other was an asset. No matter how strange it was. Once, he might have been the enemy, but now… now he might (one day) be a friend. And with that thought, Duo let himself be ushered into the grand mansion that had once served as a palatial prison with the others.

 

Zechs led them to a well appointed but still comfortable sitting room. It didn’t take long for everyone to silently seat themselves. Duo virtually flung himself down onto a couch, letting his legs swing up to land on the coffee table, only to have Heero smack his legs off it. The answering glare Duo shot Heero had no real heat; the whole thing between them being little more than for show. The old masks and habits were hard to break in what felt like enemy territory.

 

“Thank you all for coming.” Zechs said formally as he clasped the back of the couch he was standing behind.

 

“Like we had a choice.” Duo muttered with a snort.

 

“I am sure Maxwell, that if any of you truly did not wish to be here, you would not be. I seem to recall that you in particular were quite skilled in getting out of places where you had no wish to be.

 

“Now then. Before you meet with Trieze, there are a few ground rules that need to be set down. As Lady Une has no doubt informed you, due to the … highly charged… nature of this assignment you are effectively being cut off from the outside world at large. Unfortunately in addition to the communications black out – and trust me when I say that I am just as displeased with this as you will no doubt be – you will be effectively restricted to this estate and grounds. While I know that you all are professionals, and would not do anything to jeopardize the mission, your very presence here is suspect. After all, what business would Gundam pilots have at the home of the former head of Oz. Lady Une has arranged for you to have whatever you wish – within reason, and you will be fully compensated for the inconvenience when this assignment is over.

 

“Aside from that, the rest of the rules mostly follow the general standards of civility and communal living; no trying to kill anyone else, respect others’ personal space and property, keep both common and personal areas relatively clean, talk out disputes before the situation degenerates into open warfare, try to keep collateral damage to a minimum… Nothing I am sure, that you have not dealt with before.”

 

Zechs’ pronouncement was met with silence. Just as he predicted, the former pilots were beyond Not Happy with the announcement of their virtual house arrest. Duo in particular looked ready to explode; out of all of them, he had always reacted the worst to enforced confinement. Still, there was nothing to be done about it. Real or fake, Trieze Kushrenada was too tempting a target for those who wanted to restart the war for their own gain. They all understood this, and they all had fought too hard (sacrificed too much) for this peace to see it collapse. But just because they understood, didn’t mean that they had to like it.

 

It was into this tense silence that stretched taught between the former enemies turned uneasy allies that Trieze stepped. And it was Trieze Kushrenada; no matter how improbable and fanciful it seemed, they knew down to the very marrow of their bones without a shadow of a doubt about it. The truth of it was plainly written on their down pale faces.

 

Wu Fei was on his feet before the intent to move registered, his eyes never leaving Trieze. “But… but… but… How? How is this even possible? No one can survive a suit explosion like that in space; if the initial explosion doesn’t kill you, then the vacuum of space will – and I know that I breached Tallgeese II’s cockpit and you were not wearing a space suit at the time. How is it that you managed to survive?!”

 

“To be honest, I myself am unsure how I survived that battle. I remember that final battle; losing to you in Altron, the pain as electricity from my damaged suit coursed through my body. My next memory is of waking up on a Sweeper ship nearly three years later. There is nothing to account for the time in between, not even the vague nagging of a memory that you know you have forgotten.” Trieze replied, equally as mystified as everyone else.

 

“Impossible! The dead simply do not return to life.” Wu Fei pointed out. There was the bares hint of pain in his voice; his clan, his wife… if only they had been granted the gift given the man who, though not directly causing it, had at least had a hand in their deaths.

 

Duo snorted derisively, earning a glare from Wu Fei and Heero. “Considering what happened to us on that last mission…”

 

“Duo,” Quatre began, slightly exasperated that Duo was bringing that up again “we’ve been over this. It was a close call, certainly, but we didn’t die; immortality only exists in stories.”

 

“Then what about him?” Duo angrily asked, pointing at Trieze “He died, and he somehow managed to get better. So why couldn’t it happen to us?”

 

“Pardon the interruption,” Zechs interjected. It was clear that the argument was a large bone of contention between them, and it didn’t look like the issue was going to be resolved anytime soon. It would complicate things greatly seeing as they would only have each other’s company for the foreseeable future and it was hard enough dealing with such close quarters as it was without adding other potentially explosive issues into the mix. Still, while their argument wouldn’t – couldn’t – be ended, it could be put on hold; for the moment “but perhaps you would like a tour of the house. After all, it will be your home for a while.”

 

Mission accomplished; subject dropped – for now. Later… well, that was later. For now they’d play along. Pretend that Zechs’ request wasn’t the order it really was. So under the guise of guests receiving their host’s hospitality, they went off to explore the confines of their gilded cage.

Chapter 3 by Chyna Rose
Lucrezia Noin was not happy

Pax Eterna

By Chyna Rose

 

Disclaimer: I don’t own Gundam Wing. I don’t own Highlander.

Warnings: Playing fast and loose with the cannon; partially AU and ignoring most of Episode Zero

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“I’m telling you, we’re lost.” The argument had been going on for over a hundred miles already with neither man in the car willing to back down from their position.

 

“And I’m telling you that we aren’t.” said Methos as he turned to glare at the man in the passenger seat.

 

“You must be going senile Old Man. Look the map says…” Duncan began before Methos interrupted him. Neither man seemed overly concerned that Methos wasn’t paying attention to the road.

 

“Screw the map! I’ll have you know that I helped build this road, and I’m telling you that it goes straight through.”

 

“Yeah, the original maybe. But that was how many millennia ago? This road doesn’t go where you think it goes. Ergo, we’re lost.”

 

“For the last time, we are not lost. I know exactly where this road goes, and we will get there from here!” The last exclamation was accompanied by a solid slap to the dash board. Almost as if it was alive and in retaliation, the car gave a bang and gradually began to slow down.

 

“Great. Just great.” Duncan groused, glowering at Methos as if this was Methos’ personal fault. They managed to pull over to the side before the car died completely.

 

“Don’t. You. Start.” Methos ground out, his voice edged steel sharp and warning not now and possibly not ever. Old as he was (and he was older than memory) he might know how to wait but that didn’t mean that he was in any way patient. And Duncan’s nagging for the past three hours and gods know how many miles had worn away what little patience he had down to virtually nothing. And now… the only thing stopping Methos from killing Duncan (and it wasn’t as if he was talking about permanently killing him; just a quick little stab in the heart, or some well deserved strangulation, or even a very satisfying gutting) was the fact that it would give him yet another thing to nag about and drag into any further arguments the two had for at least the next hundred years or so. As if he wasn’t going to hear about their getting lost and then stranded in the middle of nowhere.

 

For once in his life it seemed, Duncan did the wise thing and kept his mouth shut, although his sour expression clearly said ‘now what o great and fearless leader’. Methos, after taking out his cell phone in hopes of salvaging things only to find it deader than a doornail, idly wondered if Duncan would let him live it down if he killed himself. Probably not. At least it wasn’t raining.

 

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Things had gone smoothly. Too smoothly in Methos’ opinion. After about an hour of walking along the road with only trees for company and no sign of life other than the forest, they had stumbled across a private driveway. And now they were nearly at the door with nothing (baring a small disagreement about whether or not they should be trespassing like this which Methos won by saying that while Duncan could wander for days and most likely die of exposure, he was going to take the risk and ask to use the phone to call for a tow up at the house that had to be at the other end of the drive)  happening; it was all too good to be true really.

 

Mere inches from the door, the other shoe dropped; hard. Immortals. [Given the nature of the Game, it was rare but not unheard of for groups of Immortals to form. Methos had been part of  group back when civilization was still trying to figure out what it was all about, and Duncan seemed to just collect Immortals like other collected stamps, and then there was that insane group of wannabe Mafia misfits he’d run into in the early 21st century AD…] This is just what they didn’t need. Both Methos and Duncan were good – you didn’t survive the Game as long as they had without being good – but even as good as they were, they still were outnumbered. Oh, they could still win if they were lucky and their opponents were honorable enough to stick to the ‘two Immortals per fight’ rule and let them have a bit of a breather in between bouts (something Duncan was more likely to do since it was the ‘fair’ thing to do), but the odds of their survival would’ve been lower than Methos would’ve liked. Better to retreat now before a challenge could be issued than to fight and face a good chance of loosing his head.

 

Unfortunately fate, fickle bitch that she was, didn’t give them a chance to cut and run before things got sticky. The door flew open and the duo found themselves looking down the barrel of a gun being held by a glaring teen. The other that Methos could see looked equally armed and uninviting.

 

Ever the diplomat, Duncan moved to defuse the situation and keep anyone from being shot. Arms up in the universal sign of ‘don’t hurt me, I’m unarmed’, he began to back up slowly. “We’re sorry to disturb you, but our car broke down and we were looking for a phone to borrow to call for a tow truck. But since we don’t want to intrude, we’ll just be on our way now.”

 

“Try again.” The teen ground out, flicking off the safety with a practiced ease.

 

“No really; it’s the truth. We just wanted to borrow the phone to call for a tow.”

 

“You are trespassing on Preventer property.” Zechs Merquis said as he made his way to the door, gun out. It was a shock to find out that Zechs was an Immortal, after all everyone believed that he was the biological son of the late king and queen of Sanq.

 

“And we apologize for that. It was an honest mistake. We mean you no harm, and we’ll be going now.”

 

“I’m afraid that I cannot allow that.” Zechs replied, cocking a gun of his own.

 

----------------------------------------------------

 

“Try again.” The gun holding teen bit out.

 

Methos would’ve sighed if he hadn’t been sure that doing so wouldn’t have gotten him shot by one of his captors. In some ways, things had gone from bad to worse. After Zechs had made it clear that he and Duncan weren’t going to walk out of this so easily, the two teen who weren’t holding guns on them had forced their arms behind their head and began the matter of fact process of patting them down while Zechs and the other teen kept them covered. Which would’ve been fin and dandy for both parties had it not been for the discovery of a pair of swords hidden under their coats. In short order Duncan and Methos found themselves systematically stripped down to their boxers, tied up, and being interrogated. Any attempt Methos or (more likely) Duncan made to explain that they were merely a pair of travelers seeking help after a mechanical breakdown were met with hostile disbelief and being forced yet again to explain who they were and why they were there. After all innocent men like they were claiming to be didn’t walk around carrying hidden swords (although why swords went unasked; even with the general disarmament and the fact that projectile weapons were exceedingly dangerous off earth, virtually no one these days used something as outdated as a sword). Suffice to say they weren’t getting anywhere beyond stuck in a vicious cycle.

 

“Who are you?” the teen asked for what had to have been the hundredth time.

 

“I am Duncan McLeod of the clan McLeod.” Duncan replied, annoyance at the repetition lacing into the words as well as the pried in clan of that simple declaration.

 

“Why are you here?”

 

“Our car broke down and we were looking to call for a tow.”

 

Once again Duncan’s words were met with obvious disbelief, and the tense standoff continued. No matter how many times he was questioned, Duncan’s answer wasn’t going to change because it was the truth. And no matter how many times Duncan had answered, they weren’t going to believe him even though their story checked out and they could show them the proof of one broken down rental car a few miles down the road. The only way this could end baring a miracle, was badly with at least someone dead (even if only temporarily). Hell, part of Methos was starting to hope that these people would just shoot them and dump them in the woods. Sure establishing a new identity was a pain in the arse, but at least it’d get them out of here. And while painful, getting shot was quick and survivable; it was actually a preferable way to die really (and you know that you’ve been alive too long when you started rating deaths the way other people rated movies or baseball players).

 

“So what brings an antiques dealer and a…”

 

“Pre-colonial historian.” Methos ‘helpfully’ added. All he got for his efforts was a glare.

 

“…way out here?”

 

“We were trying to get to Pratz.”

 

One of the teens snorted. “To get there you need to take Rue de Folschette or Rue de la Grotte.” Which, it went unspoken, you would’ve known if you were telling the truth.

 

“I told you we were going the wrong way. But no Mr. I’m-older-than-Ur says the road goes through, so the road has to go through; never mind what the fucking map says. Well guess what Old Man. You. Were. Wrong. This is all your fault.” Duncan yelled.

 

“Spare me the lecture; as if you’ve never made a mistake in your life. Get off you high horse McLeod.” Methos shot back.

 

“At least I’m man enough to admit when I make a mistake.”

 

“Tell that to Richie.”

 

“Why you… you…” Duncan shook with inarticulate rage, Richie’s death still very much a sore point even after all these years. He attempted to lunge at his old friend and ally, but was stopped by the fact that he was tied to a chair. Still, he had put enough force into the lunge that he managed to knock both himself and the chair over on their side. “I’m sure Silias would disagree.”

 

“I should’ve taken your head years ago.” Methos muttered darkly, loud enough for Duncan to hear.

 

“Enough!” Zechs roared, accompanied by all four guns being cocked and ready to fire. Both Methos and Duncan jumped a bit having forgotten about their current predicament in the heat of their argument. A tense silence reigned; waiting expectantly for that one little twitch which would set off a flurry of violent activity that would leave Duncan and Methos dead and bleeding on the floor as frayed tempers and nerves were stretched past the breaking point. After what felt like an eternity, everyone began to calm down although no one was stupid enough to let down their guard. “Now then,” Zechs continued, “Let us try this once again. Who are you, what are you doing here, and what does decapitation have to do with anything?”

 

“You wouldn’t believe me if I said.” Methos said dryly. Inwardly he was wincing; of all the things for their captors to pick up on in their little fight, it had to be that beauty of a regret.

 

“Try us Old Man.” The braided agent said. Apparently that wasn’t the only thing they had picked up upon.

 

Making a mental note to kill Duncan once this was over and if they both still had their heads (what was a little murder between friends after all), Methos answered. “My actual name is Methos, and I am well over five thousand years old. Duncan – and yes, that is his real name – only dates back to the late 1500s old calendar. We are some of the best for having survived as long as we have; these days, you’d have to be a fool to go after one of us – let alone both of us. Unfortunately there are enough fools running around willing to do that – not to mention the fact that Cassandra still doesn’t forgive me for what happened during the Bronze Age. Since we had money and time enough, we decided to take a vacation driving around Europe; revisit some of our old haunts as it were. Our car broke down and instead of starving to death while we waited for anyone else to pass by, we decided to try to find a phone we could use to call for a tow. Obviously we chose the wrong house, but it was the first house we saw. Now could you either kill us or let us go so we can find a phone, call for the tow, and get the hell out of here?”

 

“I admit that’s one hell of a story. Must make a hell of a pickup line. But we still have a bit of a problem you see. I mean, what are the chances that two ‘immortals’ just ‘happen’ to have a very ‘convenient’ break down practically on our doorstep. You can see why we’re so suspicious.” The braided agent put in –complete with air quotes – somewhat jovially. Then he dropped the friendly act going as cold and deadly as the other two teens. “Where is your proof.”

 

“Well you could always shoot one of us and wait until we revived.” Methos offered. As distasteful (and more often than not, painful) as dying to prove their immortality was, it still was the best way to do so. The ‘yeah right’ snort of a reply (and really, did he expect any better? If anyone was going to be shot, they would’ve been already) was met with a ‘you go any better ideas’ look.

 

Fifteen tense minutes later, Methos smirked as the agents watched in shock and awe was the not quite gentle gash on his chest (courtesy of the agent and the small but wicked looking knife he’d pulled from… somewhere) healed right before their eyes leaving nary a scratch. True it hadn’t been anywhere near fatal (at least not in this day and age; with modern medicine being what it was), but hopefully it would be enough proof. If not, well surely the figurative bomb he was about to drop would be enough to goad at least one of them into trying and killing him (and thus, giving the agents undeniable proof of his outlandish claim). “Of course, there is an easier way to tell if a person is an Immortal or not. All Immortals are able to feel another of their kind; it’s a sort of buzzing kind of awareness – as I’m sure you’ve noticed.”

 

“Shit!”

Chapter 4 by Chyna Rose
Lucrezia Noin was not happy

Pax Eterna

By Chyna Rose

 

Disclaimer: I don’t own Gundam Wing. I don’t own Highlander.

Warnings: Playing fast and loose with the cannon; partially AU and ignoring most of Episode Zero

----------------------------------------------------

 

“Shit!”

 

Silence spread out as the implications of what Methos had said sunk in. Methos was immortal. Immortals could feel the presence of other immortals. Methos could feel them. And in addition to that, Methos expected them to be able to feel him. Which meant that, following that line of logic, they were immortal (providing that Methos wasn’t lying). A big if. If Methos wasn’t lying about any of it – which he easily could have. It wouldn’t be a stretch to think that Methos (and his companion) were older than they looked; they themselves were proof enough of that. And Methos’ insanely (inhumanly) fast healing could be easily mistaken for immortality. But there was no way to tell if anything else he had said was true or not. Certainly the man had no problem lying since his ESUN id had him down as Douglas Nathaniel. How do you fact check something like that?

 

“I realize that this is a rather shocking revelation for you; no one really expects to live forever, but there is much that we need to teach you if you want to survive your first couple of centuries. And in order to do this I’m going to need to speak with all of you. So if you could please call for your three companions in the other room…”Methos said, breaking the silence.

 

“And what, makes you think that there even is anyone else in this house besides us?” Zechs asked levelly.

 

“Because,” Methos replied, “as I said before, Immortals can feel the presence of other Immortals. Granted it takes time and experience to be able to discern more than that there is an Immortal around here somewhere, but both McLeod and myself have enough of both to know that there are a total of nine Immortals in this mansion including ourselves. Now I strongly suggest you call in the others; they have a right to learn what they are.”

 

“I told you guys.” Duo said, his cheery tone starting to take on a manic edge, “I told you we died in that explosion. But no; immortals only exist in stories, so since we’re still breathing we can’t have died then. There has to be some other, logical explanation. Well guess what.”

 

“Duo…” Heero said, partly in warning. Now was not a good time to fall apart (not that Duo was normally given to hysterics); they all needed level heads to deal with an already tense situation that had just taken a turn for the more complex and bizarre.

 

“Be that as it may,” Zechs began, as if Duo hadn’t spoken at all, “even if you are telling the truth your presence here is rather problematic. Immortality aside, we still have to deal with the issue of you being here.”

 

“I believe that we should hear them out at the very least.” Quatre said as he and Wu Fei entered the room with Trowa, who had quietly slipped out to get them while the others spoke. Trieze, for obvious reasons stayed just out of sight in the other room; close enough to hear what was going on but hidden enough not to be seen as a precaution. It wasn’t ideal as far as Methos was concerned (he could still feel the other Immortal hidden away in that room) but it was probably as good as they were going to get. They mystery Immortal probably could hear what he had to say, and if not, well then one of the others would just have to tell them since he was not going to repeat himself.

 

“Alright then,” Methos started when it was clear that no one was going to argue with Quatre, “For as long as anyone can figure out, as long as there have been humans Immortals have walked invisibly among them. There are no records of who the first Immortal was, or when they lived; most reliable records about Immortals date back to around the 900s B.C. and the group that became the Watchers Council although there are some mentions and personal accounts from individual Immortals or the mortals they associated with dating back to well before that, but often such accounts are difficult to verify the accuracy of since they tend to speak of the Immortal as some supernatural creature who either came back to life or never aged. It is more than likely that myths such as vampires or elves sprang from mortals running into Immortals although one be can’t completely certain that such creatures might not actually exist. I might not have run into any of them over the course of my long life, but I do know at least one rather powerful witch.”

 

“Wait. You’re saying that magic actually exists?” Duo asked, his ire at his comrades – momentarily – forgotten.

 

“Magic – real magic – is as real as you or I although there are few who practice it these days and even fewer who can cast it to any real effect. Over the millennia there have been debates by Immortals and those who know about Immortals, about what roll if any magic plays in the general lives of Immortals. The truth stands that no one really knows where we come from, how we got here, or why we were sent here.”

 

“Wait.” Duo interrupted, holding up his hand in a stop gesture, “What do you mean where we come from? We’re human – sort of – and while I might’ve never known my mother, I had to had had one otherwise I never would’ve been born.”

 

“I meant what I said. No one knows where Immortals come from. All of us are foundlings who show up as young children who, if we’re lucky, get adopted into a family.”

 

The former pilots took their time to adjust to this news. For Heero, Duo, and Trowa it didn’t sound too impossible; none of them had had any traditional family for as long as they could remember, not even some hazy impression of a scent, or a color, or a lullaby that whispered of a mother long gone. But the others had had a family from the word go with no indication of being adopted. That Quatre was not in fact the biological son of Zayeed and Katherine Winner was quite frankly ludicrous. Thanks to advancements in reproductive technology – the invention of the artificial womb in particular –the Winners had no reason to adopt Quatre. Especially since Quatre was the youngest of thirty children, all of whom (it had been believed) had been carried to term in an artificial womb as their mother’s health issues prevented her from carrying them normally. It was a bit more plausible in Wu Fei, Zechs, and Trieze’s cases as Trieze and Wu Fei had been only children while Zechs had a younger sister. But even back in the pre-colony days, it was not entirely unheard of for a couple previously thought to be infertile to naturally conceive and deliver a child after having adopted one.

 

“How certain are you that immortals cannot be born to a mortal mother?” Quatre asked.

 

“Extremely certain. There has never been a case where an Immortal or Pre -Immortal has known biological parents.”

 

“Pre-immortals?” Wu Fei asked, confused.

 

Methos nodded. “An Immortal’s immortality isn’t active from ‘birth’. We all start out as Pre-Immortals who have the potential to become immortal under the right circumstances. Pre-Immortals age and grow like ordinary mortals until they meet up with a violent death, after which whatever it is that grants us our immortality kicks in and we awaken alive and healed of whatever killed us.”

 

“Shit! You mean I’m gonna be sixteen forever?” Duo asked.

 

“If that’s the age you were when you had your first death, then yes.” Methos replied. Duo glowered at the answer. He didn’t relish an eternity of being stuck in high school or being brought up on the threat of truancy charges. It was bad enough he’d had to slip in and out of schools for cover during the war; he was light years ahead of what they could teach him in the subjects that mattered (no one cared what some ancient poet meant when he wrote the poem and lots of people never wrote a story or poem in their lives and turned out just fine).

 

Quatre, feeling Duo’s aggravation (not that he was looking forward to an eternity of being asked why he wasn’t in school like he was supposed to be), put a calming hand on his shoulder.

 

“That does not explain why you were both carrying swords.” Wu Fei pointed out, “Surely one who has nothing to fear from being mortally wounded has no reason to be carrying around a weapon.”

 

“Dying still hurts and I for one would rather avoid it as much as humanly possible, and after a while of carrying a sword there tends to be sentimental value attached to it. But the main reason Immortals carry swords is because of the Gathering.”

 

“The Gathering?” Trowa asked.

 

Methos nodded. “There can be only one, and the outcome of the Gathering will determine who that one shall be. No one knows when the Gathering will occur, or even if it will occur at all. We will apparently just know that the time is right and gather together for a battle royale tournament to the death until there is only one last Immortal standing – who by virtue of being that last Immortal will be gifted with the prize; whatever that may be. Until then, you need to be prepared for any challenges that will be issued to you. While the Gathering might not be happening any time soon – if at all – there is no rule against thinning the heard so to speak before it starts. In fact some Immortals believe that it won’t start until there are only a few of us left, so the challenges are essential. There are a few rules regarding these challenges and most everyone adheres to the letter of them if not the spirit. Challenges are one on one to the death with no outside interference. The winner is decided by who still has their head at the end; while our immortality ensures that we will eventually recover from virtually every manner of death, decapitation is the only thing that can kill us in a permanent way. Even if an Immortal were to be spaced, they would still revive upon being brought inside so long as their head remained attached to their body.

 

“So what’s to stop someone from just shooting you and lopping off your head with a chainsaw?” Duo asked.

 

“Aside from the fact that no one uses a chainsaw – swords might be the most common weapon among Immortals, but there are some who use things like axes – nothing. There are no enforcers or secret police to make sure that the proper forms are followed and all challenges are fair. Just about the only rule to be regularly adhered to is the prohibition against taking a head on holy ground.”

 

“What happens if someone takes a head on holy ground?”

 

“The results are rather explosive. While it is possible to live forever on holy ground, it is generally considered bad form to do so unless it is your calling – and those individuals are few and far between. I’ve only met a handful in my lifetime, mostly in passing. And even then, that might not be enough to save you from a determined enough head hunter.”

 

“Head hunters?” Wu Fei asked with a frown. Aside from the fact that head hunters sounded rather unpleasant, he greatly disliked the fact that they kept parroting back the man’s words like some sort of demented Greek chorus.

 

“Head hunters are Immortals who strive to take as many heads as they can; most will use underhanded methods to do so as they are more concerned with taking a head rather than picking a fair fight. Often they will only target Immortals that they know they can win against – such as newly awoken Immortals. The real lowlifes will pull dirty tricks like killing you before beheading you, taking hostages, and attacking the winner right after a challenge while they are still exhausted. The general consensus is that head hunters are Immortals who have become addicted to the power and the high of the quickening, and in the case of those who don’t just go after easy pickings, the thrill of the fight. The quickening,” Methos continued before one of the others could ask. He also shot McLeod a withering ‘not now’ glare. The Horsemen, and his role among them, was a tale for another time – if ever. “as far as we can tell, is what makes us immortal. It is an energy within us that carries all our power, experience, memories, knowledge, and personality. In short, it’s what makes us us. It is also what causes the buzz we feel when around other Immortals and Pre-Immortals although the quickening of Pre-Immortals is so muted that not every Immortal can feel it, and the blue sparks you can sometimes see while an injury is healing. When you take another Immortal’s head, you gain the quickening of every Immortal who’s head they’ve taken. It’s quite a rush and it’s easy to get addicted to the feeling, but like many things in life its fine so long as you don’t let it take over your life. Normally taking a quickening is a natural and relatively safe procedure, but occasionally a quickening won’t settle properly and you’ll find yourself under the influence of what we call a dark quickening. As the name implies, a dark quickening is generally considered a bad thing even if you don’t believe that anything is wrong during one. During a dark quickening, you are not you; you have a harder time resisting your darker impulses, and also see less of a reason why you would need to. Many a good Immortal has gone bad that way, and the standard method of handling them is to put them down like a mad dog. It is possible to pull someone out of  that state, but it takes a lot of time and effort that you might not have, is not guaranteed to work, and by the time you do the damage is already done. Most Immortals would rather be killed than to be left to run around in that state.”

 

“So that explains it…” Duo said mostly to himself. Now that they had this new information, fantastical as it might sound, things from The Incident were starting to make more sense. Well, it was a reasonable explanation anyway – even if it wasn’t all that much better than declaring someone waved a magic wand and it was so.

 

“Explains what?” Duncan asked, partially oblivious to the look of ‘oh great not this again’ being passed around by the other pilots. Clearly there was an old argument here, and he wasn’t about to go digging (too much anyway; he was a bit of a busy body after all).

 

“A number of months ago, we were sent on a mission that went south. Badly. Some weird guy with a sword came in after us during a fire fight, shit hit the fan, and freak electrical surge from an unknown source started frying shit. The place went boom big time, and we were the only survivors out of well over a hundred people. Only that’s not the case is it. We didn’t actually survive; we just got better once the dust settled.”

 

“Duo…” Heero growled in warning. He and the others were not too happy about Duo sharing details of that mission, even if he hadn’t said anything particularly sensitive.

 

“What?” Duo shot back with a glare of his own. He might be the most outgoing and talkative of the bunch, but he was smart enough not to talk about classified stuff around people who didn’t have the right clearance. And, seeing as it hadn’t been one of those hush-hush super secret blackest of black ops missions, saying ‘there was a mission, we went on it, it went so south that calling it FUBAR was a gross understatement, shit went boom (in a bad way), and lots of people  died’ wasn’t actually a breach of confidentiality. Really. They should’ve had more faith in him. He was the king of running his mouth yet managing not to say anything of real importance – without lying mind you – after all, “They asked, I didn’t lie, and no matter how stupid you might think I am, I do know what classified means. And despite what you might think, I actually can keep my fucking mouth shut.”

 

“Duo!” Quatre admonished this time in reaction to Duo’s language. Duo for his part refused to look abashed or admonished. Turning to their guests, Quatre spoke again, “Please forgive my friend; things are a bit tense at the moment, and we are all a bit on edge.”

 

“It’s quite all right.” Methos said with a dismissive wave of his hand, interrupting anything else Quatre was going to say. After so many centuries wandering the earth, they could handle a bit of cursing. God knew that they had heard – and said – worse over the course of their lifetimes, “Now if you have any questions…”

 

“What do we tell the others?” Zechs asked. Dr. Po and Commander Une (not to mention Relena, Dorothy, Noin, the Maganacs, and Quatre’s sister Iria) already knew that something was up with them although they had attributed it to being related to their having been Gundam pilots and whatever training the ‘Mad Five’ had put them through (although that didn’t explain Zechs who had been with OZ, but his lack of aging wasn’t as apparent as the others). If nothing else, they needed to tell Dr. Po – as their doctor – and Commander Une – as their boss and commanding officer – what was going on.

 

“What, if anything, you tell others is largely up to you. However, I do caution you to be very careful who you tell what; not all people take the revelation of Immortals walking amongst them well. While you won’t really have to worry about being burned at the stake as a witch…”

 

None of them were a stranger to the atrocities that man visited upon their fellow man. Hell, they had borne first hand witness – on both sides of the issue – to such horrors. It didn’t take much of a stretch for them to imagine a large number of not so nice things that could happen to them if the wrong person discovered that they were not ‘normal’ humans. Things that made being burned alive seem almost pleasant by comparison. Needless to say, none of them were about to tell every random Tom, Dick, and Harry that they met on the street about their new found immortality (much like their respective roles in the war). But it was nice to know that they weren’t going to have to hide this from the people they were closest to.

 

“Now what?” Trowa asked, voicing the question weighing heavily on everyone’s mind.

 

“Now, we can do one of two things, which would be entirely up to you. First, you could allow us to stay here for the time being and take you on as our students. As our students, you’ll gain a measure of protection from any headhunters who come after you thinking that as young Immortals, you’d be easy prey, as well as training so that you’ll have a better chance of surviving future challenges. The trade off for this is that there are those who would target you because you are our students in order to get at us, and we will need to meet the seventh member of your group; no matter who they are, they need the same training if they are to survive that first critical decade. Or you could decide not to become our students, let us call for the tow, and we’ll part ways. You’ll be able to keep your secret, and (probably) won’t have to deal with anyone trying to get at us through you, but you’ll be on your own as far as figuring out your own survival.”

 

If we agree to be your students – and we haven’t decided on that yet – how long will we be training under you?” Zechs asked.

 

“Until we feel that you are able to reliably handle yourselves in a challenge when it comes down to it. Depending on how fast you pick up things, how much – if any – sword training you had prior to this, and what your schedules are like – you won’t have to give up your current lives for training, if that’s what you’re worried about – it can take months or years. Although we probably will still keep in touch after that; no doubt you’ll be adopted into ‘Clan McLeod’ whether you like it or not.”

 

“Can we have some time to think about it?” Quatre asked. They had a lot to think about and Methos’ offer was not something to be taken lightly. The training could be useful, and the older Immortals probably would be able to come up with a way to reintegrate Trieze without causing another war. However, it meant that they would be brining in at least two more people (probably a lot more depending on how big this ‘Clan McLeod’ was and how much information they shared between them) into their little circle of people who knew the truth about their being gundam pilots; it would show up in their training and while Duo was a master of twisting the truth around so that it was just as good as a lie, he still didn’t lie. Not that he would let that little bit of truth slip out carelessly – for someone who practically never shut up, he said little of actual worth (at least as far as certain things went) – but all it would take was one very carefully worded question that he could not squirm out of answering (up to and including throwing out a verbal distraction or blowing something up). Hell, Duo didn’t even have to tell them anything; just because he didn’t lie didn’t mean that he had to answer the question he was asked – even under torture (as many Oz soldiers learned). Questioning an interrogator’s parentage, sexual preferences and practices, anatomical measurements, mental facilities, and fashion sense liberally mixed with travel advice and profanity was a legitimate reply to being asked where the others were after all). They could be smart enough  to figure it out for themselves.

 

“Of course.” Methos replied. It was an entirely reasonable question. These people didn’t know him and Duncan from Adam and had no reason to believe that they weren’t going to just kill them and take their heads the moment they dropped their guard. It was reassuring if somewhat annoying and inconvenient, to know that these men could actually think for themselves and use common sense. That meant that they had a better chance of keeping their heads firmly attached to their shoulders.

 

“In that case,” Quatre began, “Why don’t one of you take Barton and Maxwell with you to look at the car? They both know a bit about cars/mechanics and might be able to help.”

 

The implied threat was subtle. Methos – or McLeod – would take two of the agents – who probably did in fact know a thing or two about cars – as well as a possible third (hidden) ‘just in case’ watcher to check out the truth behind that bit of their story. The other would stay in the mansion as basically a hostage. If it turned out that they were lying, or if either of them took the opportunity to turn on the newly discovered Immortals, then both men would promptly be killed (and probably beheaded; just to be on the safe side). This didn’t bother Methos and McLeod (although it did rankle McLeod’s pride a bit since it was a small slight on his honor) since it was a sensible precaution. Trust was all well and good, but being too trusting (or trusting the wrong person) could be fatal. Methos and McLeod knew that they weren’t lying, and that they weren’t going to betray the former gundam pilots, and that was what mattered.

This story archived at http://imagine.e-fic.com/viewstory.php?sid=637