Notes: A crossover with Magnificent Seven and a story in the Echos the Sea/Aces Immortal series. Thanks to strangevisitor7 and ninjababe for the beta.
Characters: Methos, Duncan MacLeod, Ezra Standish, Joe Dawson, Original Characters.
Summary: It’s been a century and a half since Methos last saw Charlotte and Ezra. His reappearance in their lives brings back many memories; not all of them happy ones.
Added Note: While there is no major character death in this, deaths a century in the past are referenced. I guess it comes with the territory when writing about Immortals.
A Whole New Meaning To DIY
Ezra and Methos silently climbed the front steps of Charlotte’s Victorian farmhouse, reaching the imposing oak door. Methos rested his hand on the doorknob. “It was never about keeping the truth from her. I just didn’t want to bring her any more pain.” He didn’t look at Ezra.
Nodding, Ezra replied quietly, “As surprising as it may seem, I believe you.”
Methos pushed the door open and the two men crossed the threshold, making their way across the foyer. As they entered the sitting room, Ezra put an arm in front of Methos, going suddenly still. Methos looked at him questioningly. Under his breath, he explained, “Something isn’t right,” as he pointed to a rug askew on the floor, and the closed door to the kitchen – it was never closed. It all just felt…wrong. Ezra always trusted his instincts, and right now, they were screaming ‘trouble’.
Trouble that became shockingly real, very fast, as an unfamiliar female voice shouted from the kitchen, “Don’t you know it isn’t polite to keep ladies waiting, Standish?”
Ezra shook his head at Methos’ unspoken question. He had no clue as to the identity of the voice. Then Methos indicated he was going around the back; no sense ruining the advantage they had. For once, Ezra was actually grateful that there was no way for Immortals to tell how many of their kind might be present. He warily pushed open the kitchen door, his mind a chaos of worry and uncertainty. Where was Charlotte? Was she alive? Who was the woman and how did she know him? He clamped down on his emotions, gathering the cool and collected gambler he was at heart around him like a cloak. He didn’t let so much as a hint of reaction touch his face as he took in the scene before him in shock.
Charlotte was tied to a chair, quite dead, though, thank God, still with her head. Her clothing was drenched in blood, and yet more blood pooled on the floor beneath her. Most distressing though was the blade of a sword lying against her throat. Ezra clenched his teeth briefly, studying the holder of the weapon. The woman looked to be about forty, though in reality, probably closer to five hundred, if the sword she bore was any indication. Her short cropped chestnut hair framed a face that was taut with rage, and dark eyes that looked like they had nothing to lose. All these things he took in, despite the passing of only a few seconds.
Taking the initiative, he spoke first. “I don’t believe we’ve had the pleasure?” He forced himself not to react as the blade at Charlotte’s throat pressed down harder.
“Davina Rodriguez; and I know who you are, Standish. And her. Her, you care about. I considered the other woman, but she’s far too paranoid, too wary. She,” Davina jerked her chin down at Charlotte, “was a much more likely option.”
Ezra had no idea what she was talking about. Other woman? Did she mean Maude? Paranoid and wary certainly was a good description of his mother, who always lived her life behind as much security as the modern world could offer. “You appear to have me at a disadvantage.”
“Yes, I do, don’t I?” she said with an unfriendly smile. “It’s very simple. You murdered Kara, and now, I’m going to avenge her.”
Now he knew what this was about; Barcelona, last year. “She challenged me.”
“She was young! She never stood a chance!”
Ezra was not one to seek a fight, but his challenger had been quite persistent and had left him little choice. He had been on a short holiday with Charlotte and his mother when Kara had approached him. She was on the hunt, and if not Ezra, she would have moved her attention to Maude or Charlotte. He had done what needed doing. “She was old enough to call me out and threaten my family.” He cocked his head. “Something you both have in common,” he pointed out acerbically.
“An eye for an eye! Kara was everything to me. I found her as a child, raised her, loved her. And now she’s dead.” She choked back her grief. “I want you to feel just a portion of the pain I do before you die.” Her other hand came up, holding the gun she’d used on Charlotte. But the shot that rang out came from behind her. Davina squeezed the trigger as she fell, the shot veering off, not coming anywhere near Ezra. Her eyes held stunned shock as she died.
“Your timing is, as always, impeccable,” Ezra said as Methos walked up to him.
“I like to make an entrance,” he replied, glancing down at the body of the Immortal he’d shot. “Best see to making sure she doesn’t cause anymore trouble.” He pulled out a knife and began to cut away the ropes that bound Charlotte to the chair handing them to Ezra who used them to tie up Davina.
As Methos worked to cut away the last rope, Charlotte revived; violently. Kicking and writhing, she tried to break free of the hands holding her. Ezra grabbed her hand, squeezing it. “It’s all right, Charlotte. You’re safe,” he told her as Methos made reassuring noises, pulling away the last of the rope that bound her.
Methos placed his hands on either side of her face. “You’re in your kitchen in San Luis Obispo. I’m here, Ezra is here. It’s 2009, California – this is not New Mexico.” He looked at her intently, as if willing her back to this century.
Charlotte took a deep breath, nodding. “Please, let me up.” She stood, almost falling but for Methos’ hand at her elbow. “She gunned me down before I even had a chance to defend myself,” she said as she looked down at the body on the floor. She shivered a little. “Just like before.”
Methos rolled Davina over onto her back with his foot. “What does she want, Ezra? Other than blood, of course.”
“She wants someone I care about dead, as revenge.” He shook his head tiredly, before asking, “Remember Barcelona?”
Charlotte nodded, realization dawning. “The woman that challenged you; she knew her?”
“So it would appear.” He relayed what Davina had told him about her relationship with the Immortal Ezra had killed last year.
“And now, she’s about to join the late Kara,” Methos said briskly as he leaned down.
“What are you doing?” Ezra asked.
“Taking her out for a drink,” Methos snapped as he pulled the still dead Immortal into a sitting position. He glanced up at Ezra. “I can’t exactly take her head here, can I? I don’t think Charlotte’s in the market for a complete kitchen remodel. Though it would bring a whole new meaning to DIY now, wouldn’t it?” Ezra snorted. “A hand please?” Methos said when no help seemed to be forthcoming.
“You can’t just take her head,” Charlotte protested.
Methos threw up his hands, letting his burden fall once more to the floor. “Oh no, do not even start with me! She’s going to die, and that’s the end of it.”
“Yes, she is, but not like this!”
“She had absolutely no qualms about slaughtering you in cold blood, and as far as I’m concerned, that exempts her from the niceties of Immortal society!”
“I’ll take care of it,” Ezra broke in.
“At least one of you has sense,” Methos muttered.
Ezra smiled slightly, warding off Charlotte’s response with a raised hand. “When she revives, the two of us will settle this with swords. Charlotte is correct; we can’t just take her head while she’s tied up like an animal.”
“No, not fine,” Charlotte objected. “I’m the one she ambushed! This is my battle, not yours.”
Methos hung his head, muttering under his breath about foolish children.
“I disagree,” Ezra said calmly. “And besides which, you can barely stand. You are in no condition for a duel, and this matter needs to be settled sooner, rather than later. Please, Charlotte, you know I’m right.”
She didn’t immediately reply, considering his argument. Finally, she relented. “Very well, Ezra.”
“It is done,” Ezra told Charlotte, coming into the kitchen.
The battle had been concluded swiftly, and now, Davina Rodriguez would no longer be a threat to those he loved. Ezra regretted the necessity of her death, but he was also a practical man, and knew there had been no other choice.
“He’s very good,” Methos commented approvingly, coming in behind Ezra.
Charlotte smiled briefly at the startled look on Ezra’s face at Methos’ compliment. “I know.” There was more than a hint of pride in those two simple words.
Sounding flustered, Ezra said, “If you’ll excuse me, I believe I shall repair to my home and seek the soothing waters of my ofuro.” With a little bow, he exited the room swiftly.
Methos raised an eyebrow. “He has a Japanese soaking tub?”
“Ezra has a taste for the pleasures of life.” Dropping to her knees next to the bucket of soapy water on the wood planked floor, she picked up a hard bristled brush and began to furiously scrub at the blood stain there.
“I don’t want to talk about it, Methos,” she cut him off, beginning to scrub even faster.
“I know,” he put his hands over hers, before pulling the brush from her grip, “but we’re going to talk about it regardless. It’s long past time, don’t you think?”
She turned her head away, refusing to look at him.
“Charlotte, I wasn’t trying to manipulate you, I swear. I didn’t tell you Kronos was dead because I didn’t know if you were ready for me to know about what happened after I left. So I decided to wait for you to trust me enough to tell me yourself. Honestly, I didn’t know if that day would ever come, but I was prepared to wait.” He closed his eyes, sighing. “I had already brought so much pain into your life; I didn’t want to bring more.”