This is a Highlander/Due South crossover. It's set post-NTB in the Highlander universe, which would make the year 1999. I think the DS episodes referred to originally took place in 1995-6, but I didn't see them until this year... so in my universe, this is the storyline.

Secrets

by Laura Mason

Duncan MacLeod shook his head as he followed Detective Huey of Chicago's 27th precinct down the narrow hall toward the man's desk. He should have known that even a simple buying trip would become a disaster once Methos, the ancient pain in the ass, invited himself along. MacLeod's brain kept replaying, over and over, Methos' whine of "C'mon, Mac. What could go wrong?" and visualizing Methos' ingratiating smile as he promised he'd be no bother.

Their first night in town, while walking back to their hotel from a restaurant, they'd encountered another immortal. The man, to MacLeod's amazement, knew Methos -- as Atterly, an alias that MacLeod hadn't heard before. While his brain was still processing whether Dawson would be interested in that tidbit, he realized that the strange immortal was challenging Methos. Who, despite innumerable lectures to MacLeod about avoiding fights instead of seeking them out, agreed to meet the following morning in Grant Park.

As they walked away from the unknown, MacLeod hissed, "Since when do you go looking for challenges?"

"I wasn't aware that taking a walk with you constituted 'looking for a challenge.'" Methos snapped back.

"So you're not really going to fight him," MacLeod concluded. "You can hop a cab to the airport right now, and I'll send your bags along in the morning." He moved to the curb to hail a cab.

"Sick of my company already, MacLeod?" Methos kept walking, leaving MacLeod standing with his arm raised and his mouth open.

"What are you doing?"

"I'm going back to my hotel for a nightcap and some sleep. Have to be up early."

"You're going to fight him?"

"Seems unavoidable to me."

"That's... You constantly tell me that there are always choices, alternatives..."

"So I'm making a choice. Leave it, Mac."

"Who is that guy?"

"It's not important. Tomorrow he'll be dead." Methos pushed through the revolving door at the Hilton and Towers with barely-restrained violence, leaving MacLeod staring after him in bewilderment.

MacLeod shook his head and brought himself back to the present at the sound of Huey's voice. "Please have a seat, Mr. MacLeod. I just need to pull some forms and I'll be right with you."

"Thank you, detective. I'd really appreciate a chance to get back on my way as soon as possible." The detective ignored his comment, ransacking a file cabinet on the wall. Of all the days to get hung up in a police station. It probably served him right. He'd had no qualms about calling the police earlier and using them to break up Methos' challenge.

He'd been frantic last night, and calls to Dawson had been of no avail. MacLeod found himself in the role of spectator at the challenge, a role he'd never found comfortable. He'd used his cell phone to call the police as soon as the other immortal had approached, then stayed there, comfortably out of sensing range, until the sirens caused both immortals to scatter. Methos vanished handily, but the other man, a large blonde with dirty long hair, was stopped. The sword weighing down his coat was quickly removed, along with several other weapons, as he was led to a waiting police car.

MacLeod had left the park and avoided the hotel and Methos for the rest of the morning. Hours later, on his way to an antique store, MacLeod witnessed a hit-and-run accident. As he stood outside his rented car, watching the other witnesses scatter, he realized his plans for the day were over. A quick call to his contact had instead cleared his schedule for the endless paperwork and red tape of the Chicago Police Department.

MacLeod grew bored with watching Huey grumble and search through papers. He turned in the hard chair and looked around the shabby squadroom. The woman in the shirt labeled "civilian aide" was quite lovely, though she looked disgruntled as she pounded on her keyboard. Other than that the place was unremarkable, just like so many other police stations where MacLeod had been detained.

Then two men swept into the station, and MacLeod realized even as he watched them that all other eyes in the place were also focused on them.

The first man startled him just for a moment. The clothing and hair were wrong, but the constant chatter – in definitely whiny tones – and the extraordinary nose on the dark, slender man reminded him for a moment of Methos. The mortal was definitely a lot homelier than Methos, MacLeod chuckled, and his ancient friend wouldn't be pleased at any comparison. But as the man stopped complaining and looked at his companion, MacLeod realized he was also more open than Methos was now or could ever be. The man's eyes expressed everything in his heart, and those extraordinary eyes made Mac forget the rest of his features. His face was ablaze with affection and amusement as his friend spoke.

The companion, who seemed oblivious to that amazing stare, was beautiful. Well-proportioned and incredibly neat, the man looked like he'd just stepped out of a photograph and not off the dirty streets of Chicago. MacLeod stared at the brown uniform for a moment, unable to place it. Then he realized that the man was a member of the RCMP. He was walking a little slowly, and his companion, whose left arm was in a sling, slowly danced around him to match his pace. While it was obvious that both men were recovering from recent injuries, they both exuded energy and seemed deeply interested in whatever they were discussing..

MacLeod smiled when they moved to the desk closest to Huey's and sat. Well, the Mountie sat in the guest chair. The detective – ah, the black woman called him 'Vecchio' – sat for a moment, then bounced up to remove his sling, remove his jacket, and replace the sling. He toyed with a soccer ball on his desk for a moment, then moved to the file cabinet behind the desk. The Mountie, on the other hand, pulled a magnifying glass and what looked like a piece of wood from his uniform pocket. He was giving commentary in a low, even voice as he examined the item. The detective was also giving commentary, of a sort, and Mac smiled again as he heard the non-stop sarcasm which the Mountie patiently ignored.

"It appears to be a piece of a toy. Pine, I believe."

"Now, see, that's just the kind of lead most detectives just dream about! Let's get started interviewing all the wooden toy manufacturers in the Chicago area."

"Ray, I believe this is hand carved, not mass produced. It appears our thief is a whittler."

"Okay, Benny. Let's go get the crafty bastard. Where do we start?" He raised his voice as he slammed a drawer shut. "Elaine? Where do the known whittlers hang out?"

MacLeod lowered his head to hide a smile as the detective spun around again. Did he and Methos sound like this sometimes? If their arguments – no, conversations -- did sound this silly, MacLeod hoped that Dawson could hear the love underneath the bickering. Certainly MacLeod heard it with these two.

"Mr. MacLeod?" Huey's patient voice broke into his reverie.

"Detective. I'm sorry, I wasn't . . ."

"I know. They're better than TV most days. But you did want to get this finished, right?" The black man smiled warmly and MacLeod smiled back.

"Thank you. I appreciate that." But even as he tried to focus on Huey's questions, MacLeod's attention was drawn to a women entering the room. She was beautiful, though when she turned he saw a livid scar down the side of her face, extending down her neck. Even the fluffy, abundant curls of her hair couldn't hide it. She moved directly toward the pair of men he'd been observing at the nearby desk. MacLeod started to turn away, but the first words she spoke as she pulled a gun out of her pocket spun him back to the drama a few feet away.

"You set me up, Ben. I don't know how you did it, but I'll get him this time – and you, too."

"Victoria?" The Mountie looked poleaxed. "What are you doing here?" MacLeod watched emotions swarm on the man's face, aware that Vecchio was moving cautiously behind them.

"Jolly found me. You told me he was dead. He should have been dead. Damn him and damn you for everything you've done to ruin my life." Her arm was shaking as she pointed the gun at the Mountie's face. "I loved you!"

"Drop it." Vecchio had a gun, as well, and was holding it with both hands, despite the pain which was apparent on his face. "You're in a police station and you're surrounded. Don't be stupid."

"Jolly will kill me, anyway. I have nothing to lose. But this time, Ben, you're coming with me. I'm your only friend, aren't I? But I'm not really your friend. It'll be better this way..."

"Victoria, I don't know what you're talking about, but Jolly is dead. I didn't lie to you..." The Mountie's voice was gentle, fearless, but his eyes were full of pain.

"I've seen him. He found me and came after me with that damn knife of his! Do you think I wouldn't recognize him? I've had nightmares about him for years!" Her aim never wavered and she ignored the movement around her as she spoke to the Mountie.

MacLeod found himself being pulled back by Detective Huey, out of the line of fire. There were drawn guns throughout the station, but an older man with a gravely voice was cautiously moving around, telling his people to watch, to wait and not open fire. MacLeod admired the lieutenant's coolness even as he found himself under a desk, next to the lovely black woman. Elaine. Huey was on his other side, his gun still trained on the woman, who was visibly shaking now.

"Victoria, you're confused. You've been on the run and you must be exhausted," the Mountie soothed calmly.

"I'm not crazy!" she shrieked.

"Then prove it." The detective's voice wasn't gentle or kind, but it drew her attention as he'd obviously intended. She turned toward him, the gun still held in front of her, now aimed at him. "Put it down, Victoria. This doesn't have to end badly."

She giggled and sobbed, "Hurt him and I'll kill you," as she squeezed the trigger. Vecchio slammed back into the file cabinet as the Mountie hurled himself against her, knocking her to the floor. The gun skittered away, and suddenly the room was filled with noise and confusion. There were half a dozen police around the woman, holding her as others handcuffed her and read off her rights. There were confused and sobbing civilians all over, including an older woman Elaine was soothing. MacLeod rose and watched the Mountie, who the lieutenant had helped rise, move over next to his friend. Ray, MacLeod told himself.

Huey had already called for an ambulance and was talking to both men as he pulled at Ray's clothing, examining the wound. "It's okay, you're okay, the paramedics are coming. Let me see, Vecchio..."

"It's nothing. Barely scratched me," Ray hissed as Huey moved his arm away from his body, revealing an area where blood was rapidly soaking his shirt. "At least it's not the damn shoulder again."

"Ray. Ray." The Mountie was shaking now, able to react now that the danger was over. Vecchio put out a hand, and his friend grasped it and kept holding on.

Paramedics were at the station in two minutes flat, and MacLeod still sat at Huey's desk. He knew his statement would probably have to wait a day or two. Well, he'd planned to be in Chicago for another week.

He watched them work on Vecchio, putting him on a stretcher and starting IV lines while the Mountie stood like a statue, still clutching the wounded man's hand. He never even spared a glance to the distraught woman who'd wanted to kill him. She was babbling to the lieutenant about someone she'd killed. Her partner, Jolly. Who she claimed had come back to life and was going to hurt her again. She pointed to the scar on her neck, claiming he'd tried to kill her again. Victoria sounded completely insane. Out of all the people in the room, only MacLeod believed every word she said. Because she was describing the man Methos had attempted to fight that morning.

***

Two days later, at 4 AM, MacLeod stood in Grant Park, again well out of sensing range, and watched the deadly grace and efficiency of Methos in battle. He knew Methos could fight and would defend himself with every sword trick and every bit of his intelligence. It didn't matter. MacLeod was tense, clutching his brand-new birdwatching glasses until the plastic dug painfully into his palm. He hated watching Amanda or any of his friends fight for their lives -- why had he believed it would be different with Methos?

Jolly was good, but Methos hung back, mostly defending himself, until the man began to tire. Then he quickly finished it with a classic disarmament move MacLeod had never seen done with a broadsword before. The powerful beheading stroke came as the sky was beginning to lighten, and the Quickening began, a false dawn. Energy arced and pummeled Methos' body until he was kneeling in the dirt as the lamps on the nearby walking path shattered. Fortunately, that was the only damage to the park grounds, and MacLeod heard no sirens as he moved toward his friend.

"MacLeod. I figured you'd be headed back to the hotel by now."

"Are you saying you don't want my help, old man?"

"I'd be bloody grateful for some help. Taking a Quickening doesn't put me in the mood to hike to the Lake with a 200-pound weight." Methos stood and grabbed the fallen man's sword, then stripped off his bloody, torn coat and bundled the head into it. MacLeod slung the headless body over his shoulder and they moved as quickly as possible toward the shoreline. "Thank all the gods there's still a lot of mist this morning."

"Particularly over the water," MacLeod grunted.

They walked out as far as possible on the breakwater protecting the beach, then found chunks of loose cement to place inside the corpse's clothing. Similar rocks were added to the bundle Methos carried. The body and head vanished quickly into the dark water. Both men stood for a moment, silent, giving another of their kind the only burial tribute he would receive.

"May I ask why you fought him?"

"As you have probably figured out, Duncan, he was an old enemy. I don't usually hold grudges."

"I know." MacLeod knew others

"I don't often feel I'm in a position to judge others. Give them a thousand years or so, maybe they'll change."

"But there are exceptions to every rule," MacLeod smiled sadly. "Some people don't change in three thousand years' time." But Kronos' ghost didn't stand between them anymore. Methos kept talking.

"Jacques once hurt someone I cared about. She was a mortal, a widow with two children. I'd known her for twenty years, watched the children grow. He robbed their shop, and he raped the daughter." Methos turned away from MacLeod's steady gaze. "I know, I'm no better than he was. Cassandra told you what I did to her."

"Yes."

"So why are you here, Mac?" There was no answer, and Methos continued his story. "Jacques and I didn't fight at that time. I stayed with Marie and Celeste, helped her nurse the girl. At least he couldn't impregnate her. But he'd beaten her, scarred her face with a knife. Marie was inconsolable." The water turned pale as the sun crept over the horizon an inch at a time. "I gave them money and sent them to live in one of my houses. Then I went looking for him. He'd been arrested for another attack and condemned to death."

"And?" MacLeod asked after a few more moments of silence.

"I bribed the executioner's assistant for the body. Doctors often did that, no one was suspicious. Then I buried him myself, after I let him revive. Death seemed too easy. I wanted him to know who was doing this to him and why." Methos laughed. "I've had some experience, you could say, in keeping people out of circulation. He was trapped in that grave for at least 30 years."

"Thirty. . ." MacLeod trailed off. They'd all been through it, one way or another. Dying in public and being buried. If there was a friend nearby to dig you up, it was an inconvenience. If you had to get out on your own, it was a long, horrible nightmare. But if someone deliberately made sure you couldn't get out, wouldn't get out...

"I made sure it was in a remote area where the locals wouldn't know French or English. So if he cried out, they wouldn't understand him. They'd think it was a ghost, speaking in tongues. I filled the grave with stones, the heaviest rocks I could find. So you see, this burial was singularly appropriate..." Methos' laughter choked off into a sob. "It didn't change anything he'd done, it didn't help Marie or Celeste. After they were dead, I finally went back, to fight him and finish it. He was already gone."

"I see."

"So he had good reason to hate me, to want me dead." Methos didn't say her name, but Cassandra was there. He half-turned away from MacLeod, waiting.

MacLeod turned to his friend and pulled him into a loose embrace. "I'm here, Methos. I'm still here." There was no reply, but Methos' arms came up around his shoulders. The sun continued its climb, and MacLeod watched the water change colors as he stood holding his difficult friend.

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