Thanks to Isolde for the lyrics, which follow the story. It would take a Lyric Wheel to make me write about Richie Ryan! And thanks to Melina for her episode timeline, which is always a valuable resource.

The Ruins
by Laura Mason

22-9-96

Ryan called this morning to ask for a meeting. I agreed, but made it HG. Without MacLeod around, I felt I had to be cautious. And MacLeod told me two days ago that the kid had left town.

Curiosity has always been a weakness.

Ryan wanted information. About a month ago, before I came to Seacouver, he'd had an odd reaction to a Q. Felt as if the dead guy was controlling him. Now that he knows who I am, he wanted answers, wisdom. The whole usual reaction, despite his disappointment that I wasn't as wise as the other Methos. Ryan said he thought I'd know more about Q's than anyone else. I told him I'm old, but I've never been beheaded. How could I *know* anything?

But the kid is persistent, and he seemed really -- upset? obsessed? -- about what would happen to his "essence." So I talked to him for hours, telling him theories I've heard. Even told him -- without any messy, disillusioning details -- how K wouldn't take a challenge without a brother nearby. K believed he could control it, somehow choose who would carry his Q. We discussed Darius' belief that a strange mortal who sought him out had carried a friend's Q to him. The man touched him, there were sparks, and Darius blacked out. He never managed to identify whose Q it was -- easier to lose track in those days of slow travel -- but Darius remained convinced that mortals could be temporary receptacles.

Not that it did him any good, even if he was right. He couldn't place his Q inside one of the Hunters who was there when he died. Darius wouldn't risk leading them to another immortal like that...

Move on, Methos. What are you supposed to do? It's over, years ago. No way to bring him back, no way to fix the past. Any of it. I think talking to that kid has made me maudlin.

I think I told Ryan things I've never even told my own students. I'm not sure MacLeod would appreciate it, either. He's very protective of his student. I'm sure Mac would say I only fed Richie's fears by taking them seriously. His advice to Ryan would have been to stop obsessing about death. To live instead. To worry more about learning to fight well. Good advice, actually.

Well, it's moot. Ryan is really gone now, and I have no interest in teaching anyone. I'm busy just trying to keep MacLeod's damn fool head attached.

 May 19, 1997 - Joe Dawson's Paris apartment

Methos hung up the phone. Joe was just where he'd left him, in his wheelchair. At least he'd been able to remove the prosthetics and make Joe a little more comfortable -- though he doubted his friend would be able to sleep.

What MacLeod had done was incomprehensible. Methos knew the Highlander needed help, but didn't feel able to offer any this time. Oh, he'd set more Watchers on the Highlander, dialing headquarters on his cell phone even as Joe wept in his arms. Using Joe's name and authority to make sure that Ryan's Watcher followed MacLeod out, and others were waiting at the barge, the airport, and Darius' chapel.

Ryan. Methos closed his eyes for a moment, seeing again the play of lightening along the beams of the racetrack, feeling again the rush of air that slammed Joe into him as they stood, appalled, witnesses to the unbelievable. It was rare to witness a Quickening without being the one assaulted by the lightening, the one struggling to absorb and accept. It had been happening far too often since Methos met MacLeod.

Well, Ryan was beyond their help now, but his body was in safe hands, being prepared for burial. Methos shook himself out of his reverie and moved toward the silent mortal.

"All right, then. I'm leaving now, Joe. See you tomorrow, okay?"

"Sure." Joe's voice was still hoarse from his grief, but he seemed calm at last.

Methos left, latching the door behind him and gently closing it. He'd only gone down one flight of stairs when his phone rang. MacLeod was at the barge, they reported. Mourning, performing some ritual of grief. He'd been heard to cry out to the river, words that might have been "come to me." They were pulling the other Watchers and just leaving one at the quay.

As he hung up and replaced his phone, Methos realized that he'd left his keys upstairs. Disturb Joe, or break into his own apartment? He headed back up. He'd knock softly, then break in to Joe's if necessary. It might be better to spend the night here, anyway. In case Joe needed him.

His tap at the door went unanswered, so he let himself in silently. But Joe wasn't asleep; he could hear his voice in the next room. On the phone, evidently. He was giving someone information about the funeral service. Methos idly wondered who Joe would call so late, but then Joe's voice continued.

"I know Richie wants you to be here, Amanda."

Methos located his keys and crept back out, re-latching the door. Joe was fine, would be all right alone. But the hair was standing up on the back of his neck, and Methos had the feeling he'd missed something.

  End

David Gray
Made Up My Mind

Lightning strikes;
Silver motorbikes
Roaring down the open road.
Wind on my skin
I'm hungry to begin
And my cup has overflowed.
So let fall the rain
Down into these desert veins;
I'm taking back what they stole.
The diamonds in my mind
Can't afford to be confined
To someone else's pigeon hole.
So I made up my mind,
I made up my mind;
Gonna move on ahead
Instead of lagging behind.
Half past seven
Way up in the heavens
Stars are singing in the sky;
Lying half dressed,
Your head upon my breast
Listening to the ocean's lullaby.
Standing where we are --
It seems so far
In the cold light of day.
And the faces full of grief,
And the grinding of teeth,
Has been eating my belief away.
So I made up my mind,
I made up my mind;
Gonna move on ahead
Instead of lagging behind.
Cracks in the veneer
And the light so severe
Shining down the avenue.
Try to join the throng
But it's feeling all wrong
What are you supposed to do?
Shoulder that despair;
Take along the dirty air;
Turn to watch the sunset rip
On the ruins of a culture,
And the sky that's filled with vultures
Circling over your head.
So I made up my mind,
I made up my mind;
Gonna move on ahead
Instead of lagging behind.
I made up my mind.

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