Notes: A sequel to ‘He’s a Pirate’, set a few months before the events in 'Practical Applications'. A crossover with Magnificent Seven and a story in the Echos the Sea series. Thanks to strangevisitor7 for the beta.
Characters: Methos, Duncan MacLeod, Ezra Standish, 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: Part Three has been revised, so you might want to reread it if you've been reading as I post.
I Am Going To The West
Look What the Cat Dragged In
As quietly as possible, Ezra let himself into Charlotte’s kitchen, desperate for coffee. The flight from London had been hellacious, and as he’d arrived home more than a week before he’d been expected, Charlotte’s housekeeper hadn’t restocked his larder. And so he found himself awake at this ungodly hour of the morning, jetlagged and in dire need of caffeine. Since his cousin always had a well supplied pantry, he knew he could get coffee beans, and hopefully something for breakfast as well. It was at times like these that he realized how fortuitous it was that he’d chosen to build his west coast residence on Charlotte’s land, only a few hundred yards across the vineyard from her Victorian farmhouse. As much as he enjoyed the noise and excitement of Manhattan and his penthouse there, he was grateful for his home here, with nothing but the sound of the surf to lull him as he slept, and the comfort of family nearby.
He was pleasantly surprised at the scent of freshly brewed coffee wafting past him as he walked into the large, old-fashioned kitchen. But whoever it was that had made the coffee wasn’t in evidence, the kitchen empty except for him. Since Charlotte didn’t drink coffee, that must mean she had houseguests; most likely Tony or Ezra’s mother. Lord, he hoped it was the former, because he was in no mood to deal with Maude. He cheered himself up with the thought that it must be Tony, since Maude would never be conscious at six in the morning, let alone up and making coffee. Truth be told, he doubted his mother even knew how to make coffee.
Taking a large mug from one of the hooks that ran along the back of the counter, he poured coffee into it, taking a grateful sip of the hot liquid. And now, to find something to eat. He was rummaging in the bread drawer when the wave of another Immortal presence washed over him. Taking out an English muffin, Ezra popped the two halves into the toaster, hearing approaching footsteps. “It’s me, Charlotte; my trip to London was cut short,” he called out.
But it wasn’t Charlotte who entered the kitchen. “Well, God damn it—” he leaned against the counter, fixing Methos with an unfriendly smile, “—look what the cat dragged in….”
Doña Ana, New Mexico Territory ~ Autumn, 1866
Ezra was in an exceptionally fine mood, and couldn’t wait to share his good news with Charlotte. Unlike his compatriots, he was certain she would be appropriately enthusiastic at him now owning his own saloon. It had been his dream for some time now, and she knew full well what it meant to him.
Whistling cheerfully, he tied his horse, Chaucer, to the hitching post in front of her hacienda, feeling her presence skim across his senses. But the smile on his face died as he turned, seeing not his cousin, but a stranger. The Colt Conversion revolver was in his hand with no conscious thought, pointing it at the tall, dark haired man who was standing on the steps of Charlotte’s home. The man was dressed for ranch work, wearing faded dungarees, a pale blue shirt with the sleeves rolled up, a dark blue bandanna around his neck and well made, but worn, boots.
Cold fear gripped his heart; had this strange immortal murdered his cousin? “What have you done with Charlotte?” Ezra demanded, cocking the gun. “Tell me, you bastard!”
The man had a smug smile on his lips that made Ezra want to pull the trigger. “You must be the boy,” he noted, sounding amused.
Ezra held his anger in check. “I will only ask once more; where is Charlotte?”
His answer came, not from the stranger, but from Charlotte herself, as she rounded the corner of the house. “Ezra!” She placed herself between the two men. “It’s all right. Benjamin is a friend; I told you about him, remember? But he’s Matthew now.
Ezra looked over her shoulder, studying the man from Charlotte’s past, then back to his cousin, before holstering his weapon. “My apologies, Charlotte. When I found him here, with you nowhere in sight, I assumed…,” he trailed off, unable to verbalize his fear that he had thought she might be dead.
She touched his hand. “I understand.” He knew she wanted to embrace him, but she always endeavored to treat him as a grown man, and not the boy she’d helped raise, when they weren’t alone. It was a consideration he appreciated.
“No apology necessary,” Matthew said, coming to stand beside Charlotte. “Caution is what keeps you alive.” He held out his right hand. “Matthew Adamson.”
Ezra took the proffered hand, shaking it. “Ezra Standish.”
“I am sorry, Ezra,” Charlotte said apologetically. “When JD was here two days ago, he said you and Vin were transferring a prisoner from Eagle Bend. I didn’t think you were to return till week’s end. Otherwise I would have come to town to tell you about Matthew.”
“We were. But our charge was possessed of incredibly poor judgment and attempted to escape our custody. The miscreant’s aim was abominable, missing when he shot at Vin, but unfortunately for him, the opposite was not the case.
Matthew snorted at Ezra’s explanation, a grin tugging at his lips. “I look forward to meeting Vin,” he said. “Charlotte’s told me about him; about all of you. I have to say that I have nothing but admiration for any man who can get Charlotte to accept help, let alone seven of you.” He was grinning full out now, his hazel green eyes full of mirth, seemingly unconcerned that if looks could kill, he’d be quite dead now.
Ezra smothered a grin with some difficulty – no sense in having her peeved at him as well. Instead, he reached out a hand, pulling something from her black hair. “Charlotte, might I enquire as to just why you have—“ he sniffed the item in his fingers, “—apples in your hair?”
Matthew guffawed as Charlotte put a hand up to her hair, glaring at her former teacher. Ezra, on closer inspection, realized that Mr. Adamson’s clothes were streaked liberally with flour, and that there were more of what he could only assume was bits of apple, adorning Charlotte’s hair, her butter yellow apron, and the sleeves of her pale green dress.
“Charlotte?” Ezra prompted when it appeared no answer was forthcoming.
She looked decidedly miffed, her pale blue eyes snapping. “He started it!”
“Now wait just a minute! Who exactly was the person who threw the pastry dough?” he protested.
“I was defending my honour!” She pouted. “He threw the apple pie filling,” she accused.
Ezra felt as if he’d stepped into some sort of fever dream. “Was there some compelling reason for you to hurl your most excellent pastry at Mr. Adamson?”
“Yes!” She smacked Matthew on the arm.
“And that would be?” Ezra asked patiently.
When it became apparent Charlotte was not going illuminate him in regards to the reason for the food fight, Matthew explained, “I was merely recalling fond memories of our past. “
“Like the time I ate Charlotte’s first attempt at a pie; if I hadn’t been Immortal, it would have taken ten years off my life!”
Ezra dropped his head, grinning.
Charlotte was fit to be tied. “He refused to believe that I can cook now!”
Matthew was now laughing outright. “And then you threw pie dough at me!”
“It might be best if you did not malign Charlotte’s pie baking skills to Mr. Tanner,” Ezra advised with twinkling eyes. “He would more than likely feel compelled to call you out for the insult.”
“Thank you, Ezra!” She took his hand. “You can have a piece of apple pie.”
Ezra gallantly kissed her hand, before letting it go. “Am I to take it that some of the ingredients made it into the oven and not all over you and Mr. Adamson?” he asked facetiously.
“Some of them did,” Matthew replied cheekily, “but I’d still use caution if you plan on partaking.” He caught her arm before she could walk away in a huff. Murmuring something in her ear that made her cheeks turn pink, he brushed his lips across hers. Then he said, “I need to see to the horses, so I shall see you later. Ezra.” He nodded before walking towards the stable.
Ezra studied his cousin as she watched her old mentor stride away. He supposed he shouldn’t have been surprised, but still, it came as something of a shock as he realized that she was in love with the man.
San Luis Obispo, California ~ Present Day
“Standish,” was all Methos said by way of response, putting sugar and cream in his mug, then pouring in coffee and stirring it. He took a long swallow before turning his attention to the younger Immortal. He was dressed in sweatpants, one of Charlotte’s winery t-shirts, and running shoes, his short cropped dark hair standing in all directions. “You do have a gift for turning up unexpectedly."
“Since this is my home, I would say that it is you who have a penchant for unexpected appearances,” Ezra replied sharply, thrusting his hands into the pockets of his Lucky Brand jeans.
He didn’t respond, just took another swallow of his coffee. The toaster ejected the English muffin, unnoticed in the tense silence.
Finally, Methos said, “I suggest we play nice, for Charlotte’s sake. I know neither of us wants to upset her.”
“Do we really…Methos?” Ezra felt a surge of triumph as the others man’s mouth tightened, his eyes taking on a glint. It was a weapon he should have probably kept in his arsenal for future use, but it was eminently satisfying to reveal to the subject of his ire that Ezra knew exactly who he was. “I distinctly recall a time when Charlotte’s happiness was the furthest thing from your mind.”
“You know nothing, Ezra,” Methos bit out.
Ezra crossed his arms, flashing a condescending smile. “Is that what you think? You’d be surprised at just what I know.”
Methos drew himself up to his full height. “Charlotte and I have ties going back a century before you were born, so don’t even presume to think you know anything about our relationship, is that clear?”
“Would that be a threat?” He laughed coldly. “I picked up the pieces last time, and will again after you’ve toyed with her heart and walked away once more.”
“Ezra! That is enough,” Charlotte said firmly, walking into the kitchen with bare feet, looking like she’d just got out of bed. She was wearing the sapphire blue silk robe that Ezra had given her for Christmas, and her hair was pulled back in a messy ponytail.
Ezra had felt her approach, but nothing he had said to Methos was anything he didn’t think Charlotte should hear for herself.
“Don’t trouble yourself, cousin, Methos and I were just getting reacquainted,” he told her acidly.
She glanced at Methos, wincing a little at Ezra’s brazen use of the ancient Immortal’s real name. It would seem as if she had indeed neglected to mention to Methos just how much she’d confessed to Ezra about the man. Ezra felt a twisted sense of pleasure from that knowledge.
Sighing, she stood in front of him. “Ezra, please don’t do this,” she said, absently straightening the collar of his moss green linen shirt, a note of pleading in her voice.
“Don’t what? Tell it like it is?” He forestalled Charlotte’s response. “Never mind; I’ll be going now.”
Unexpectedly, Methos said, “No, I’ll go. I’m meeting a friend for a run, then breakfast.” He turned to Charlotte. “I’ll be back later.” He kissed her lightly, squeezing her arm before striding across the kitchen and out the door.