Series: Lost Legacies (Sentinel School)
Fandoms: Highlander, House, Sentinel
Pairing: Kronos/Methos, pre-House/Wilson
Summary: Methos and Kronos move to America where Wolfram and Hart's hold has weakened and find a pair of apprentices.
Kronos hefted the bag on his shoulder. He stalked down the hallway looking as purposeful as ever. He knew better than to look like he was actually trying to be covert. The contents of his bag rattled softly.
He was just crossing the foyer when he saw Methos crossing from the other side. He’d snuck out while Methos was in the shower with the intention of getting coffee and bagels before returning to the loft with Methos none-the-wiser. He couldn’t let House go unpunished for making Kronos worry, but he didn’t want to provoke Methos either. Methos stopped every other person and briefly spoke to them. All of them looked a little annoyed and stormed off towards the elevator. Clearly Methos had had similar plans to him. Methos looked decidedly pleased with himself. It made him look young and relaxed, and Kronos could almost believe that Methos had changed.
Methos turned his pleased grin to Kronos.
“Derek.” Methos paused for a moment as he turned to a nurse who was passing him. “Doctor House needs to see you urgently.”
The nurse scowled at the mere mention of House and stalked off. Methos grinned.
“Revenge?” Kronos asked.
“If House is going to mess with my schedule, I’m going to mess with his.”
“How many people have you sent up already?”
“I think that was number 14.” Methos looked Kronos over critically. “I take it you got revenge as well.” Kronos nodded and handed the bag over to Methos who took a discreet look inside. He winced.
Methos was quiet to avoid being overheard. He glanced around quickly and handed the bag back. They made their way out of the hospital, shoulder to shoulder. Methos had a day off and he wasn’t planning to waste much more of it.
“I think I managed to find most of his secret stashes too.”
“You know, when I suggested playing at his level I didn’t think you’d get this into it.”
Kronos grinned, the scar across his eye making the expression more sinister.
“I was thinking we should take him on.”
“I thought that’s what we were doing.”
“As a student.”
Methos stopped short and turned to stare at Kronos.
“You want House as our student?”
Kronos nodded and his amused expression turned serious.
“I think he might be good for us. And that pretty boy doctor, too.”
“Wilson? I’d considered him.”
“It’s elementary, Doctor Egan.”
Methos scowled but took a moment to seriously think about it. The last time they’d taken on students, the world had trembled at their feet. Of course, the world was likely to tremble this time around too, but for entirely different reasons. The thought of Kronos and House actually working together made Methos nervous.
“We’ve never taken on a Sentinel and Guide before, but alright.” He continued the walk to the car before looking over his shoulder. “You’re the one that gets to persuade House.”
“It’s not cancer, and there’s no sign of ulcerative colitis, primary sclerosing cholangitis, or viral hepatitis,” Foreman told House as he stepped through the glass door to the office.
“And the tox panel?” House asked.
“Taub and Cutner are running it again,” Foreman said. “There was a problem with the results the first time around.”
“What kind of problem?” House demanded. Foreman shrugged.
“The analyses were incomprehensible. We checked to see if there was a fault in the equipment but couldn’t find anything. It seems to be functioning fine now.”
House doubted there’d be any way to prove it, but he was sure the brother had something to do with it.
“Well go help them then. And make sure you test extensively for poisons.”
House dismissed him as he turned to the small screen he was watching. For once, it wasn’t set to his usual soap opera.
“Our patient’s getting sicker and you’re watching some idiotic TV show?” Foreman demanded. He grabbed the device from House’s hands and turned to look at it. The anger immediately drained from him to be replaced by confusion. “You’re stalking Egan?”
“No, I’m not.” House put just the right intonation into his words to make it sound like a childish denial.
“You’ve got a camera in his office and you can’t possibly pretend it’s for diagnostic purposes.”
“I’m gathering evidence.”
Foreman rolled his eyes and dropped the screen on House’s desk. House quickly snatched it back up.
“He’s just a surgeon. Your not liking him doesn’t make him a criminal.”
“Not that kind of evidence.”
House’s smile was smug and mysterious, though Foreman was clearly immune to it. He’d have to try again on the fellows. Cutner would be curious about what House was doing and his reaction would be a lot more entertaining.
“You know what, I really don’t want to know. I’m going to go try to save our patient.”
Kronos watched as Methos moved steadily through his kata, which included both ancient and more modern forms of martial arts from all around the world. He reminded Kronos of nothing more than the cobra that was his spirit guide. Silent, slow and unobtrusive until he struck with deadly strength and accuracy. Methos wouldn’t appreciate the sentiment, but Kronos thought he was beautiful in his lethality.
It wasn’t until the relatively recent prevalence of English that Kronos had come to appreciate the irony of his own scorpion spirit guide: the Deathstalker. That was what he’d done for the better part of his very long life. It seemed that he had always been pursuing Methos and even now there were times when he didn’t know what to do now that he had caught him.
He knew he was privileged to see Methos like this. The first time around he’d taken for granted the trust it implied, but when he’d first returned and they’d come to a shaky agreement Methos hadn’t allowed Kronos to watch the meditative practice. It hadn’t been an outright dismissal, but Kronos had increasingly begun to realise that Methos only practiced when Kronos was out hunting or on errands as a way to hide his true capability in case he needed the edge.
Methos came to a stop and opened his eyes. Kronos was startled, as always, by the momentary distant and alien look in Methos’ eyes before the older Immortal blinked it away. It was a part of Methos he’d never been able to touch. When he was just a few decades old he’d feared it and tried to control it. He was still only just beginning to understand it.
Kronos was relatively straightforward. He had the ability to deceive with ease when necessary, but he had remained fundamentally the same. Methos, Kronos had realised, grew out of his deceptions, which meant that he was constantly evolving. It went against the grain of his own nature, but Kronos was determined to keep up this time. He was also determined to provide a solid foundation for the transitory Immortal.
“You really want to spend your free day cooped up inside?”
Methos sighed, and appeared to shrug seamlessly into his far more familiar role.
“I suppose you want to go hunting.”
The observation was wry but Methos was already moving to put his coat on.
“It is part of our agreement.”
Methos shook his head a little and Kronos could sense victory.
“I knew that thing was a bad idea... Alright, but you’re sitting through a movie with me afterwards.”
It wouldn’t be difficult to distract Methos from that plan of action, especially when they were both still keyed up from the fight. Kronos grinned and grabbed the keys. The arguments Methos put up against going hunting these days were mostly token and Kronos knew that as much influence as Methos had on him, he had on Methos.
Wilson stepped cautiously into House’s office, dodging a book as he did so.
“House?” he asked, watching as House made an awkward shuffle from the bookcase to the drawers of his desk. The bookshelves were already in disarray, with books strewn everywhere, and House seemed to be about to do the same to the desk.
“Vicodin,” House growled.
“Oxycodon,” Wilson offered as he inched a little further into the office. He kept to the wall that bordered the conference room because it let him both approach House at his desk and keep a relatively safe distance.
“If we’re going to play ‘name that drug’ you can’t repeat your answer, it’s cheating,” he said blandly.
“It’s gone,” House told him, scrounging through already messy drawers. Wilson’s eyebrows rose.
“I gave you a new prescription yesterday, you can’t possibly need a new one.”
“My vicodin is all gone. Someone took it.”
“Why would anyone take your vicodin?”
“Not anyone, someone very specific. I’ve got more at home.”
House grabbed his cane and hobbled past Wilson. Wilson trailed after him. He thought it awfully indicative of their current relationship that House didn’t even try to pry another prescription from him. It should have been a good thing, but it didn’t feel like it.
“You can’t just go home. You’re in the middle of a case.”
“The brother’s a lawyer with some big law firm, you know. Do you really need to be sued now?”
“And your patient?”
House paused but Wilson doubted he’d won the argument. He never did, not for very long.
“It’ll give the children a chance to prove themselves.”
“House,” Wilson continued.
“Either you give me a lift or I take my bike.”
The threat of House riding, distracted, and in pain, was implied and Wilson heard it loud and clear.
“Alright,” Wilson conceded. “But I have an appointment in an hour that I need to get back for and you’ve got clinic duty.”
Foreman pushed the file at House who merely raised an eyebrow.
“Discretion really isn’t in your repertoire, is it?” House grumbled as he cast a glance out into the clinic before shutting the door. Conning the nurses into thinking he had a patient when he didn’t was an elaborate and pain-staking process that he really didn’t need Foreman ruining. Especially when he’d spent most of the afternoon away from the hospital.
“He’s got arsenic poisoning.”
“How pedestrian,” House mused. He rubbed his chin thoughtfully. “Though the really interesting thing would be who poisoned him.” And why they were getting proper results now when they hadn’t been earlier. Was the brother done with whatever he’d been doing?
“It could have been accidental,” Foreman argued, though it was half-hearted at best, and mostly just because it was House and not because he actually disagreed.
“Treat him for arsenic poisoning then get Thirteen to distract the brother while you search his house.”
“Thirteen and Cutner should be on the way back from the patient’s house. We should see if there’s anything there first.”
“I’m sure there will be something. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t at the brother’s house first.”
“Fine,” Foreman reluctantly conceded.
“Go forth and heal,” House commanded. Foreman spared House a glare before he left.
House hadn’t expected to hit gold when he’d planted a camera in Egan’s office. He’d hoped to glean a little blackmail material on Kaden from the conversations. What he’d discovered might constitute blackmail material, but House was going to put it to far better use.
House typed the password for Cutner’s email account. The boy didn’t have any concept of basic password protection. He attached the file he’d prepared, a downloaded virus with the video he’d recorded, and sent it to the staff mailing list.
Once he was sure it had sent he logged out and limped out of his office. Egan was supposed to be in the clinic.
Methos stepped out of the clinic room to hand the file to the nurse when he noticed most of the people staring at the computer monitors at the clinic nurses’ station. The crowd seemed to turn to him as one and Methos took the opportunity to look beyond them. The image was grainy but Methos could tell that it was his office. What surprised him most was that it showed him on the desk, legs wrapped around Kronos, head thrown back as Kronos thrust into him. He was a little annoyed since he’d even made sure to lock the door that time.
Methos had never thought to film himself. He tilted his head to one side as he contemplated the video. The quality wasn’t good, the angle wasn’t flattering, and there were too many clothes to really tell, but it looked terribly uncomfortable. He hadn’t noticed at the time, but he was sure if he were mortal he’d have more than a few aching muscles.
At least the quality was bad enough that it wasn’t easy to identify them without expecting it to be them from the context. The last thing Methos wanted was to have to spend a few years in hiding because the video had gone viral.
There was a flurry of whispers and Methos looked up to see Kronos stroll in. If Kronos hadn’t been quite so threatening, even when he wasn’t deliberately trying, Methos was sure Cuddy would have told him to stop visiting Methos and taking up the hospital’s time. Though Kronos might have won points with Cuddy by diverting House’s attention from truly destructive endeavours.
With a slight gesture of his head Methos indicated the monitors. Kronos only needed a moment’s glance to grasp what was happening. He stalked forward, grabbed Methos around the waist and, with flair Kronos didn’t usually show, dipped him.
Kronos gave a brief, conspiratorial smirk which Methos answered as he gripped Kronos shoulder with one hand for stability. He dug the fingers of the other into Kronos’ short hair. Kronos leaned down and captured Methos’ lips in a kiss. It started out slow, but passion and heat flared, as it inevitably always did between them, and Methos’s focus narrowed to lips and slick tongue, strong hands that burned where they held his shoulder and hip, and the length of Kronos’ body pressed firmly against his.
When Kronos broke the kiss to regain some much needed breath, Methos surged upward, recapturing his lips. Kronos’ hand on Methos’ hip slid to his thigh and Kronos drew him closer. Methos gave a low moan that vibrated through Kronos. He knew that if they continued no one would have to watch the video to get the full show.
In one smooth motion, Kronos swung Methos up and pulled him close. He pressed his cheek to Methos’ flushed one.
“Think they got the message?”
A murmur in Methos’s ear. He could feel the grin that spread across Methos face.
“I think so.”
Kronos struggled to hear him over the applause that broke out in the clinic. He looked over Methos’ shoulder to where House was standing in a corner, frowning. Kronos raised an eyebrow in challenge and didn’t bother to hide a victorious smile, which was mostly a baring of teeth, when House’s frown shifted to a scowl.
Kronos had left Methos at the hospital to deal with the fallout. A few well placed threats to some of the more malicious looking staff and he was sure that Methos would be fine. Not that Methos couldn’t look after himself; he just acted like he couldn’t a little too well.
He pushed open the front door to the loft and dumped the post on the side table. As he wandered through the loft picking up stray beer bottles and books, he moved from mildly tolerant to vaguely appalled at the domesticity of it all. He hadn’t stayed in the same place for more than a few months in millennia. He hadn’t settled down and he definitely hadn’t invested in the lives of the mortals around him.
Kronos needed Methos, and he’d been willing to wait for Methos to relax his guard and drop 2000 years worth of masks. He hadn’t expected that Methos didn’t have masks or personas or whatever Kronos might have thought of it as, he was just... complex. He’d come to think of Methos as a hurricane. Everything he’d ever done or been, and all the influences of the times he’d lived, wove in and out of all his identities, but there was no core, no central identity upon which all others were based.
Kronos also hadn’t anticipated growing accustomed to living as they were. Finding himself embroiled in the life of a mortal was the last thing he’d expected. Finding himself interested in knowing more about the mortal was practically anathema.
He had no idea how, but Kronos was going to work out how Methos managed to get his way by appearing to compromise. Giving in to the inevitable, Kronos rifled through the post, setting the bills aside. He paused when he came to a letter with his name scrawled across the front and nothing else. It was heavier than the others and Kronos couldn’t shake the ominous feeling that settled solidly on his shoulders.
Tearing the envelop open he tipped the contents onto the table. Photographs spilled across the surface showing candid shots of Methos, sometimes with him, sometimes not.
This time there wasn’t a note, or someone keeping track of Methos. This was Wolfram and Hart telling him he would never escape them, Methos would always be in danger, and no matter how many of them Kronos killed there would always be more.
Enough was enough. He needed to fill Methos in on the situation.
Methos watched as the oil drained from the motorbike. There was a strange satisfaction in the dirty rainbow that oozed across the gravel.
“Isn’t this whole thing getting a little out of hand?”
Methos turned to see Wilson watching him with a vaguely amused, vaguely disapproving expression. He figured the mixture must come from being friends with House.
His shrug was just a slight shift of his shoulders as he looked back down to the spreading oil once more.
“Probably. But it’s not going to end until one of them concedes.”
“You don’t seem too interested in trying to stop them.” Wilson’s tone was almost accusatory as he also looked down at the bike.
“Derek and I never lose.” At least not when they worked together.
“I imagine you won the last round,” Wilson said, referring to the reaction to the video. Methos still couldn’t walk down a hallway without staff flushing, avoiding his gaze, or both. He suspected those who might have insulted or threatened him were already frightened of Kronos or threatened into silence. “Couldn’t you just leave it at that?”
“It’s not about who wins the round. It’s all about the game.”
“It’s a little unfair; two against one.”
“You could always help,” Methos suggested.
“Because that’s exactly what this situation needs; another person spiralling out of control.”
Methos spun, putting the conversation with Wilson on hold, as he turned to see a dark van drive up with a squeal of breaks. Three men jumped out and came directly for them. Methos pushed Wilson away. He had a feeling the men were after him, not the oncologist. Besides, Methos needed to protect his student, whether the student was aware of that relationship or not.
“Go get security,” Methos ordered, when Wilson hesitated.
Pain lanced through Methos, sparking along his nerve endings, and he dropped to his knees.
“Leave him alone,” Wilson shouted. Methos wanted to tell the stupid man to run, but he couldn’t make his body respond. Rough hands grasped him and pulled him to his feet. Methos hung on just long enough to hear Wilson yelling before he blacked out.
House slowed as he watched the patient’s brother slip into the chapel. He edged forward until he stood just to the side of the doors.
“You have him?” the brother asked. House assumed he was speaking on a phone. There was a pause. “Excellent. I was getting tired of keeping an eye on him. You’d think that someone so significant would lead a more interesting life.” There was another pause and the brother chuckled at what he heard. “I’m almost done here, just one more thing I have to take care of, and then I’ll be on the first flight out. There’s only so much I can distort their results before they realise something’s going on.”
There was the click of a phone snapping shut and House carried on his walk down the passage. He was at the elevators at the end of the hallway when the brother came to stand next to him. They gave each other strained smiles that disappeared the moment the elevator arrived.
“Terrible weather isn’t it,” House observed idly. “I’d love to be on a beach in the Mediterranean right now,” House added, watching the brother’s reflection in the reflective surface of the elevator. The brother hummed noncommittally. “Where would you go? Mediterranean? Australia? I hear Australia has some nice beaches.”
“My brother’s in the hospital.” His tone was almost indifferent as though he was just mimicking the words without feeling them and the look he shot House was cool and without any discernable emotion.
The elevator stopped and the doors slid open. House strode out of the elevator, beating the brother out even with his uneven gait. A glance assured House that the brother was leaving and he made his way directly to Cuddy’s office. He burst in her door and let it slam behind him.
“The arsenic poisoning wasn’t accidental.”
“What?” Cuddy asked, looking up from her work.
“The brother, he’s deliberately poisoning the patient so he can keep an eye on someone here, only he doesn’t need to anymore.”
Cuddy’s expression slackened with shock before it transformed into grim determination.
“Do you have proof?”
House hesitated only a moment but Cuddy’s eyes narrowed.
“I overheard a conversation.”
“And what did he say?” Cuddy asked, her expression shifting to wary and distrusting.
“Does it matter? He’s trying to kill someone! He’s trying to kill his brother!”
“House, I can’t do anything without evidence.”
House reluctantly relayed the half conversation he’d overheard.
“Cuddy, this guy’s suspicious.”
“House, I can’t do anything about someone who doesn’t want to look after a sick relative.”
“You can if he’s the one making the relative sick.”
“You don’t have any proof.”
“If he dies, it’s your fault,” House snarled and stormed out. Cuddy bit her lip worriedly as she watched him stalk across the lobby.
“House,” Cuddy said as she caught up to him just as he was closing the door to his office. She hurried in and shut it quietly behind her.
House’s thoughts immediately went to his patient, but the evidence didn’t fit. If something had gone wrong with the patient Cuddy would be angry because she would have found a way to blame him for it. The only reason she’d be looking at him with that sympathetic expression was if there was something more wrong with his leg, which he rather thought he’d know first, or something had happened to his parents or Wilson. The knuckles of his right hand bleached white as he gripped his cane tightly.
“Given up on repressing your feelings for me?” His harsh tone didn’t match his words and Cuddy didn’t even call him on it.
“Wilson and Egan were kidnapped.”
House was ready to scoff, but Cuddy’s pale features and anxious expression stopped him.
“Security saw the attack, but it happened too quickly for them to stop. Egan was hurt, we’re not sure how bad, but Wilson was fine.”
Relief, followed swiftly by unfamiliar guilt, swept through him. Wilson hadn’t been hurt, at least last anyone saw. Once that feeling had passed, House’s first thought was that he was right about the brother poisoning his patient. His second was that even he was shocked at the heartlessness it took to poison your own brother just to have an excuse to visit the hospital. The third thought was that there was no reason for anyone to keep an eye on Wilson, but Egan was interesting because he was involved with Kaden who was interesting. If Wilson was hurt because of them House was going to do a lot worse than a silly computer virus.
“And Kaden?” House asked, because he couldn’t imagine any situation in which this ended well.
“I called him right after the police, he’s on his way.”
House felt a shock of fear shiver down his spine at the thought of Kaden without Egan to temper him. He took an unconscious step back when he saw Kaden in the hallway. The door slammed open, rattling the glass in the pane. Cuddy jumped and turned, then blanched as she saw Kaden’s expression.
“What happened?” Kaden demanded.
“Egan and Wilson were kidnapped,” House answered when it became clear Cuddy wasn’t going to.
“I’m still trying to find out the particulars myself.”
Kaden turned to Cuddy; dark expression growing darker, when she didn’t respond immediately. House got the impression that Kaden was much closer to violence than House was comfortable with.
“The police will find them.”
“No, they won’t,” Kaden said with absolute certainty.
“This has something to do with you, doesn’t it?” House observed, for once careful to keep any accusation out of his voice. He imagined that Kaden was the sort of man who’d let Wilson die just to spite House.
“You know who did it.”
“I know who probably did it.”
“Will they hurt Wilson?”
“Not while he’s useful.”
“He has nothing to do with this, how is he useful?”
“He’ll ensure Alex’s cooperation.”
“And Egan’s to ensure yours,” House said, making the leap in logic.
“They’ll give up, eventually.”
“They’ve done it before?” House was quickly losing any fear he might have had, and giving in to anger that Kaden and Egan had put Wilson in danger. That Egan was also in danger caused House only the briefest concern because Egan had been aware of the situation, probably prepared for it, but Wilson had no clue what was going on.
“I need to see your security footage,” Kaden demanded of Cuddy, ignoring House.
“The police will be here soon,” Cuddy said.
“There’s nothing they can do.”
“Not if you don’t tell them what’s going on,” Cuddy said.
“I’m sure the police have contingency plans for a demonic law firm bent on recruiting me for my history as a mass murderer.” Kaden’s tone was scathing and Cuddy flushed.
“Wilson and Egan are missing! The least you could do is take this seriously,” Cuddy said.
The problem, House decided, was that Kaden was taking it seriously. House knew what the man looked like when he was teasing, and this wasn’t it. That left two options, either Kaden was insane, which was entirely possible, or Kaden was telling the truth, which meant House was insane for believing him.
“If you’re going after them I’m coming too,” House insisted. The look Kaden shot him was disdainful.
“You’ll only slow me down,” he snarled and he stalked out of the room.
House paced the length of his office. Kaden had been gone for twenty minutes and the police had only just pulled up in front of the hospital. House didn’t have much faith in them and he hated being out of the loop. Wilson was in danger and he had no idea why.
He couldn’t just stand around and do nothing. He couldn’t question Kaden or Egan, but there was one person involved in the situation still around, even if Cuddy didn’t believe him.
House strode out of his office, the effect only ruined slightly by his cane and limp, and took the elevator down a floor. The patient had been recovering nicely once they’d realised the toxin was arsenic. He’d had old rat poison at his house, so the team and Cuddy were willing to consider accidental poisoning, but House was still convinced it was the brother and that he’d been watching Egan. The patient might know something even if he was aware of it.
The patient was lying back, awake but still obviously recovering. House couldn’t remember his name. He walked into the room and sat down without any greeting.
“Tell me about your brother,” House said.
“We were never really close,” the patient said after a moment. “We didn’t come from much, but it was family, you know?” House didn’t say anything. “He never thought it was enough and when he became a lawyer it got even worse.”
“Yeah?” House had never been all that sympathetic and that was the best he could offer without resorting to insults.
“Wolfram and Hart changed him.”
The admission was quiet, almost accidental, and House filed away the name of the firm. They were known for representing a number of celebrities and businessmen, and they’d always had a slightly shady reputation, and House couldn’t help but wonder if that was the connection to Kaden. Maybe he’d worked for them but got out and they didn’t appreciate it, or maybe they wanted him to work for them but he wasn’t interested. He couldn’t know more until he’d spoken to Kaden.
Though if anything happened to Wilson, it wouldn’t matter either way because he’d happily rid Wolfram and Hart of the problem.
Methos groaned and shifted, trying to get more comfortable. He wasn’t in bed and Kronos wasn’t pressed up against him, enveloping him as though Kronos could hide him from the world. In fact, the surface he was on was decidedly cold and hard and did nothing to ease the ache that still suffused him. When he forced his eyes open he looked into the concerned ones of Wilson. Wilson smiled down at him. Not amusement; rather relief that did nothing to mask worry.
“How are you?” Wilson asked. Methos didn’t try moving yet. He was still trying to catalogue his limbs, but it was simply a matter of time.
“Give me a minute,” he murmured. Wilson bobbed his head but didn’t move away.
“You stopped breathing for a moment. I performed CPR, but you really should be in a hospital.”
Methos nodded, willing to let Wilson run with that explanation. Slowly, he levered himself up.
“You were electrocuted by excessive use of tazers, and we were kidnapped.”
“Tazers,” Methos muttered. “I hate tazers.” He’d never liked death by electrocution. Like fire, it lingered after revival.
“Had much chance to experience them?” Wilson asked, amusement creeping through the worry.
“More than I’d like.”
Now that he was assured Methos would be alright, at least for now, Wilson settled down next to him.
“What’s going on?”
Methos paused briefly, running through a number of scenarios before settling on something that was mostly the truth. Ultimately, it may even help to cement the student-teacher relationship.
“They’re interested in Derek,” Methos admitted. Unexpected emotions writhed within him at that admission. Things like betrayal, disappointment and weary resignation. “I can’t believe he didn’t tell me they’d followed us.”
“They want him for what he does?” Wilson asked. Immediately a flush stained his cheeks and he ducked his head, avoiding Methos’ eyes. “That is… I mean… House and I…”
Methos found himself smiling and feeling far more confident about taking the two on as students.
“You’re right. It’s partly what he does, partly what he is.”
Curiosity burned in Wilson’s eyes, but he remained silent. Methos knew that there had been long gossip sessions about Kronos and him and the nature of their relationship. From the outside, Methos could admit they made a strange pair.
“There are people with superior senses. It makes them especially suited to certain jobs. Typically law enforcement or military, though not always.”
Wilson seemed to accept that claim readily enough. His eyes widened at Methos’ last comment before he gave a brief nod. It was as close as Methos would come, at this point, to revealing what Kronos really did.
“Sometimes these abilities can manifest differently, in dreams and visions, or the ability to interpret information, but only on an unconscious level.”
Gears almost visibly turned in Wilson’s head. His initial reaction was to scoff, and then he pieced together things that had happened since he’d known House. Dreams he’d teased House about, diagnoses House had been certain about with only scant proof.
“House is like you.”
“Like Derek, yes. I’m something else.” Methos watched Wilson closely. He figured that was enough for the oncologist to absorb for now. Undoubtedly there’d be more questions and disbelief later, when their lives weren’t in jeopardy. He knew that they wouldn’t kill him, they needed him to persuade Kronos, but that didn’t mean they wouldn’t make his stay uncomfortable, and Wilson was fair game.
Kronos jumped the wall of the property. He’d briefly scouted for cameras but found none. Wolfram and Hart would have other ways to monitor the situation, but even if he did trigger an alarm of some kind, Kronos knew it wouldn’t alert the police. Wolfram and Hart had too much to hide and more efficient ways of dealing with any number of intruders to leave it to the police. All that meant was that Kronos would get to have his fun, uninterrupted.
He drew his sword – violence was always more satisfying with a blade. He fingered one of the amulets he’d picked up from the apartment as he moved silently but swiftly around the side of the building. Methos’s collection of amulets was extensive and Kronos really wished he’d taken the time to learn more about it because he knew some of them could be used to counteract Wolfram and Hart’s protections, but he had to resort to grabbing anything that looked useful.
He ducked into the shadow of the building and waited for one of the patrolling guards to pass before Kronos slammed him against the wall. Kronos stared dispassionately into wide hazel eyes. He had the man pinned helplessly with his sword to the man’s throat.
“Where is he?” Kronos demanded. The man remained silent and Kronos pressed the blade in until a liberal amount of blood flowed. “This is the easy way. The hard way means I kill you and find someone more cooperative. So, where the fuck is he?”
“He’s in the basement with the other guy,” the man said quickly.
In a swift move Kronos pressed forward, slicing deeply into the man’s neck. Arterial blood sprayed him, warm and sticky. He ignored it.
“Oops,” he said lightly, stepping back. The man’s body slumped to the ground and Kronos turned sharply and moved to the front door of the large safe house. He kicked the door open and stepped across the threshold. Immediately several of the amulets glowed, one even burned briefly before the ash drifted lazily away. He continued his brisk walk through the facility. The only obstacle left was finding Methos. If they’d hurt him Kronos was going to be a lot less efficient about killing them.
He came across two other men on his way to the basement, one of whom conveniently had a key. Kronos decided to worry about it later, when he had Methos. It was a pity there wasn’t any sun they could come out of, though he was sure he was terrifying enough as it was. He absently wiped his face, smearing blood across his cheek.
He wasn’t sure what he expected when he opened the door but a pale Methos, with arms folded and foot tapping impatiently, was not it. Methos’s eyes narrowed and his lips thinned in disapproval. So much for post-fight, adrenaline fuelled, reaffirmation sex.
He quickly sheathed his sword to hide it from the mortal and stepped close to Methos to hide the transfer of a second sword. Methos shifted his grip on the sword and Kronos grew still for a moment, wondering if giving Methos his sword was a good idea. Kronos remembered the clash of Silas’s axe on Methos’s sword. He flexed his fingers but didn’t reach for his own sword. Methos finally secured the broadsword in the folds of his coat.
“You lied to me.”
Kronos knew he should be arguing the point or defensive or anything but grinning, but there was a hard edge to Methos’s question that he recognised and rejoiced in. Just as he’d thought, Death hadn’t been eradicated, he’d just been dormant.
“I don’t know what you mean.” It was about as honest as Kronos ever got.
“Wolfram and Hart followed us and you didn’t tell me.”
“I was handling it.”
“Funny, I’m pretty sure your handling it didn’t encompass me being followed or kidnapped.”
“Are you going to argue or are we going to get out of here?” Wilson asked only to be ignored.
“Clearly I’m not the only one keeping secrets. You knew you were being followed and you didn’t tell me.”
“I didn’t know it was them.”
Kronos frowned. He’d gotten good at listening to what Methos didn’t say.
“You thought it was me.”
Kronos couldn’t even say he was surprised by Methos’s paranoia. Methos had already been plenty suspicious when they met 3000 years ago, he’d had another 2000 years after he left to hone his wariness. It was something Kronos really should have taken into account when he’d tracked Methos down again.
“It wouldn’t exactly be the first time.”
“I really hate to interrupt this reunion, but I think we should get out of here,” Wilson said. Methos glanced sidelong at Kronos before nodding. Kronos knew it was hardly the end of their argument, but the mortal was right. He drew his gun and led the way out of the room. Wilson eyed the gun warily but said nothing. Methos waited for Wilson to exit before following him out. Wilson was by far their weakest point, which meant they had to guard him carefully.
“You know you’re wearing at least one fertility amulet, right?” Methos told Kronos, a little too amused at Kronos’s expense. Kronos scowled. “And that one with all the colours, that’s for good dreams.”
“I’m starting to think I should have left you to their mercy.”
Kronos ripped the rainbow coloured amulet from around his neck and threw it back. Methos caught it with a grin. Kronos rather suspected that Methos wouldn’t be the one at anyone’s mercy.
“It’s too quiet,” Methos observed moments later as they made their way down another corridor.
“I know,” Kronos said.
They passed two bodies as they went. Wilson looked away but said nothing. The glances he sneaked at Kronos and, less often, Methos were wary and a little horrified.
“Derek,” Methos murmured as he turned and backed up. Two men were coming up behind them and, when they backed into the entrance area, they found themselves surrounded. Methos pulled Wilson behind him once more and drew his sword. Considering the circumstances, Wilson finding out about the sword was the least of his worries. Wilson blinked at the men when he realised that half of them didn’t look like men.
“What are they?” Wilson asked softly, hating the tremor of fear in his voice.
“Men in masks,” Methos answered distractedly.
“Okay,” Wilson tried to keep his eye on every direction. He’d be useless in a fight, he knew that, but he could let Egan and Kaden know what was coming. “They’re not men in masks, are they?”
Wilson’s heart felt like it would beat out of his chest and he realised that he might actually die here, a casualty of a war he knew nothing about. He glanced at the other doctor, though he wasn’t sure what he was expecting – some kind of indication that he felt the same as Wilson – but Egan’s smile was sharp and cold. He was actually enjoying himself.
He was nothing like the man Wilson had, admittedly, only known peripherally. He could see this man with Kaden as he’d never been able to before. Somehow, Egan scared him in a way that Kaden didn’t. Maybe it was that Kaden had never hidden what he was, but no one would ever suspect Egan.
“This is getting tiresome,” Kronos said. He and Methos moved in slow, deliberate steps as they turned in a circle, tracking any threat from the assembled group.
“Exactly how many encounters have you had with them?” Methos asked, brow raised, though he didn’t take his eyes off the group arranged around them.
“A few,” Kronos admitted reluctantly. Methos’s response was a non-committal grunt. Kronos tried his most charming smile. “I found one of your journals at an auction,” he offered.
“This,” Methos said with a sweeping gesture of his sword, “requires far more than that.”
“You could read it to me naked.”
“I don’t see how that makes things up to me.”
“I do love your ancient Greek accent.”
Despite himself, Methos grinned.
“I’m not sure this is the best time to flirt,” Wilson offered, turning in place to make sure no one was going to run him through or claw him to death from behind.
Kronos and Methos shared a brief, conspiratorial smirk as they remembered millennia gone by and similar exchanges against similar odds.
“And I saw, and behold a white horse –” Kronos quoted.
“Shut up,” Methos grumbled.
“Come and see,” Kronos added with a wild and cruel imitation of a smile.
Wilson knew the quote sounded vaguely familiar, though he wasn’t sure where he’d heard it and there were far more vital things to worry about, like trying to stay alive. He wasn’t sure what signal had been given but both men moved as one and then he had to avert his eyes.
Methos and Kronos moved around Wilson as they hacked and slashed at the vampires and demons attacking them. Millennia of practice and superior healing were more than a match for superior strength, despite being outnumbered.
They were almost through with the demons when Wilson was knocked forcefully backwards. He slid along the grimy and ichor-covered floor before coming to a hard stop against the wall. He moaned a little more pitifully than he would ever admit to.
“Daeva,” Methos said as he and Kronos moved to stand shoulder to shoulder, covering Wilson as he picked himself up.
“I don’t suppose one of these ridiculous things can deal with it,” Kronos said, indicating the amulets around his neck.
“You are sleeping on the couch until you have a basic understanding of amulets, talismans and charms.”
“You wouldn’t dare,” Kronos said smugly.
“Try me,” Methos snarled back. He rested his left hand on Kronos’ shoulder, sword still held in front of him in the right. “Focus.”
Kronos closed his eyes and cocked his head to one side, using his other senses to try and pinpoint the location of the daeva. Methos’ hand slid up to the back of his neck. Kronos held himself ready. Unlike the usual demons that possessed people, daevas had substance. They were invisible and light was easiest way to deal with them permanently because they were born of shadow, but they could be hindered by weapons if you could actually manage to score a hit.
Kronos lunged suddenly, sword slashing through the air, and there was an unholy shriek that had Wilson pressing himself up against the wall, as far away from it as he could get. Methos grabbed his wrist and pulled him quickly along as they fled the building.
House marched into the room only to stop short at the activity going on. Foreman told everyone to stand clear then pressed the paddles the patient’s chest. There was no reaction. Once, twice, three times and still nothing. There was a moment when common sense battled disbelief and Foreman finally called time of death. He turned to see House watching him.
“I’m sorry,” Foreman told him. House just shook his head and scanned the room. An empty bottle of pills lay discarded on the cabinet and House knew the autopsy would rule it an overdose. Accidental or not didn’t matter, House knew what really happened. The brother was gone and he’d taken care of the ‘one more thing’ he needed to.
Abruptly House swiped the assortment of things on top of the cabinet to the ground. He stood, breathing heavily as he tried to regain control of himself. In that instant he wanted nothing more than Wilson’s unyielding presence and sarcastic cynicism that only House seemed to bring out. It became an almost physical ache when House saw Cuddy through the glass. Her expression of shock and guilt did nothing to improve his mood.
He walked out the room, leaving behind the patient, whose name he’d never gotten around to learning, and stopped next to Cuddy.
“House,” she began, and he just knew that she was going to offer him some kind of platitude.
“You could have saved him,” he said softly, tone not quite menacing. She stared at him with something like betrayal in her watery eyes and for a single, quiet moment he hated her. He’d been right, he was always right, and she never believed him. Yet, somehow it was always his fault when things turned out exactly as he’d predicted. He was sick of it.
He stalked off leaving Cuddy to stare at the body and the aftermath.
“That thing you did, helping him focus; you think I can do that for House?” Wilson asked.
They stood outside PPTH, ready to go explain their version of what happened. It was an extremely watered-down version, but there was no one left alive to contradict them, and Wilson was willing to protect them if only because it indirectly protected House.
“For every one like House or Derek, there’s someone like you or me. We help them focus and interpret the information they receive, and provide council.”
“House doesn’t listen to anyone.”
“He probably doesn’t always do what you say, but he listens to you.”
Wilson’s brow furrowed as he tried to absorb all he’d discovered. It was a lot to take in. He and House were linked beyond the inexplicable friendship they’d created. His breath huffed out in a long exhale as he wondered just how much of that friendship was because of it.
“I need to think about this,” Wilson said, glancing towards the door.
“Of course,” Methos replied with a nod. Wilson seemed to hesitate, and Methos wondered if he wanted to say something or if he was waiting for Methos. Eventually he nodded as well and left.
Kronos came to stand at Methos’s shoulder.
“So where does that leave us?”
Methos turned to face the other Immortal at the question. They stared for a moment, tension crackling between then before Methos glanced away with a forced smirk.
“With two students and more issues than we know what to do with.”
“We do alright.”
A platitude, but it made them both feel a little more hopeful.
“Yeah, we do, considering.”
“Considering? What do you mean ‘considering’?”
“I still want that journal.” Methos grinned, pleased and just a little devious. “And you’ve still got to deal with House.”
“You’re trying to punish me, aren’t you?” Even as a 3000-year-old former ruler of the known world, he found that task a little daunting.
“House,” Wilson said, stopping in the doorway and taking in House’s appearance. They had only been gone a few hours, it seemed so much longer, but House looked haggard. More than usual.
Wilson was inordinately glad that Cuddy had waved away the police when Wilson had walked into the lobby. She must have seen something of his experience on his face, because she told them he needed time to gather himself and that he’d be at the station later to give him statement. The officers hadn’t been willing to challenge Cuddy at her fiercest and Wilson had slipped away, far more concerned with seeing House.
“Wilson,” House said in the same tone.
Wilson moved forward then and wrapped arms around the man he was sure at several times that day that he would never see again. Whatever they were to each other, whatever bond they had, Wilson had needed this.
“Miss me?” House mocked as he brought his arms up hold Wilson to him.
“Of course not,” Wilson said, face buried in the taller man’s shoulder. “I just didn’t want to contemplate what you’d be getting up to without supervision.”
“Of course,” House agreed with more than a little condescension, still not letting go of Wilson.
“Sir,” a middle-aged man began, “the safehouse in New Jersey has been destroyed, the personnel killed and the prisoners escaped.”
“Unfortunate, but not entirely unexpected,” an older man with an Italian accent answered.
“What do you want me to do about Kaden and Egan, sir?”
“I think we need to re-evaluate our position. They have both proved formidable and Kaden was not nearly as easily swayed by promises of bloodshed as we were led to believe.”
“He has engaged in a number of fights but when he and Egan aren’t threatened he only hunts demons.”
“Yes, I think that we’ve approached this situation from entirely the wrong angle. I believe that Kaden will follow wherever Egan goes.”
“What do you want me to do, sir?”
“Nothing for now. We need a more suitable plan.”