chelle

Highlander

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The Cookie Story 9

chelle

Title: The Cookie Story 9

Author: chelle

Author's email: chelle@chelle.slashcity.org

Author's URL: http://chelle.slashcity.org/

Fandom: Highlander

Category: Slash

Pairing: Duncan/Methos

Series: The Cookie Story

Archive: Ask first

Duncan rubbed at his eyes while the man across from them sketched. It felt like they'd been at this for hours. He glanced at the clock. It had only been about an hour and a half.

The artist held up his sketch pad.

Methos shook his head. "Almost, but the nose was a little bit narrower, and the chin…"

"More square," Duncan said.

The artist returned to his work, and Duncan glanced at the man seated in the chair next to his. He wanted to take Methos' hand, but he knew the gesture would not be appreciated. Instead, he looked around the room, again, trying to find something to focus on, anything. His eyes came to a halt at the door. Andrea and Dan were in the hallway, talking with the detective he and Methos had met when they arrived, Sergeant Demers. He cast a sideways glance at Methos. Methos was looking at the door as well, but he shifted, meeting Duncan's gaze for a moment before dropping his eyes to the floor.

"How's this?" The artist asked, holding up his sketchpad.

"That's him," Duncan said.

The artist looked at Methos, who nodded. The sketch artist started to rise, but Duncan held out his hand, getting to his feet. "I'll get them."

He deliberately tuned out his own worry as he went to the door and opened it. "We're done."

Sergeant Demers entered first, followed by Andrea and Dan. Duncan led them to the small grouping of chairs where Methos and the artist waited. The artist rose, handing the detective the sketchpad. Methos stayed in his seat, his eyes on Duncan.

Demers passed the pad to Dan. "Recognize him?"

Dan stared at the drawing. "He looks familiar, but…"

Methos came to stand beside Duncan. "He had a Boston accent."

"Boston?" Dan echoed. They'd told him that the night before, but Duncan wasn't surprised he didn't remember. "I…there's nothing." He handed the sketch back to the detective.

"Mrs. Boyle?" the detective asked.

Andrea had been standing close to Dan, staring at the sketch. She shook her head.

"We'll take this. Put out an APB."

"What about questioning people who might have seen him?" Dan asked.

"We'll talk to people at your firm, the University, Christine's school, your neighbors. Anyone in particular we should speak with?"

"Allison Lucht. She's Christine's best friend," Andrea said.

"You might want to talk with our neighbors as well," Duncan said. "Christine stayed with us this past weekend."

Demers nodded. "We'll contact you as soon as we know anything."

"Detective," Methos said, startling Duncan, "may we have a copy of that?"

"Of course."

***

They stood with Andrea and Dan on the steps of the police station.

"We're going to meet with the people from Hunter North," Dan said.

"We'll call you if we find out anything," Andrea added.

Duncan reached out and squeezed her arm. "Thank you."

Andrea glanced at Methos.

"Anything," Duncan added softly, "you know that." Duncan ignored the inner voice that suggested he'd done quite enough already.

"Ransom," Methos said. All three of them turned to look at him.

"You think there'll be one?" Andrea asked, clearly fearful. "We're comfortable, but not…"

"I don't know," Methos said, stopping her. "I just…If there is one, I'll pay it. I started moving some things around last night, getting cash. I'll have at least a million by the end of the day."

Andrea and Dan stared at him.

"I'm not ostentatious," Methos explained.

"Any amount," Duncan said. "Between us we can pay it."

"But…" Andrea started.

"It's just money," Duncan said, stifling the phrase that had come to mind. It's the least we can do—

Dan and Andrea exchanged a glance. "Okay," he said, nodding once. They turned away, Dan's hand gripping Andrea's elbow.

"Let's go," Methos said, while Duncan was still watching them.

Duncan turned. "Where?"

"The Clarion."

***

Methos didn't stop at the desk, but led Duncan straight to the elevator. Duncan didn't ask why they were here or why Methos was carrying his briefcase. He hadn't even noticed when Methos had stowed it in the car. They stopped at the fifth floor. Methos led him to room 581 and rapped on the door. Kevin Dakin opened it.

"Did you find anything?" Methos asked, stepping into the room.

Jane was sitting at the desk. There was an open laptop to her left and another in front of her. "Not yet. It's still searching the records from Syracuse."

"Syracuse?" Duncan asked from the doorway.

"It's where Mr. Boyle worked as a prosecutor," Kevin explained.

Duncan nodded. He wanted to know when Methos had involved the Watchers in this and how much they knew. Now wasn't the time to ask.

Methos pulled out the copy of the sketch artist's drawing that the detective had given him. "This is him."

Jane started to reach for it, but the computer beeped, drawing everyone's attention. "Let's see what we've got," she said, turning to study the screen. "There are sixty case folders with references to Boston somewhere in them."

"Can you download them to my computer?" Methos asked.

"Sure. We'll split them up. Hopefully, we'll be able to eliminate some pretty easily."

Methos opened his briefcase and handed over first his own laptop and then Duncan's. Fifteen minutes later, they were each immersed in their own computers. Duncan scanned through the first file. A man from Boston had been arrested for drunk driving. He'd pled guilty to driving under the influence. Duncan moved on to the next file.

***

"I've got something," Kevin said, breaking the long silence. "A student at Syracuse University, arrested for drug dealing. He was from Boston."

"What happened?" Duncan asked.

"He was convicted of possession with intent to sell. Mandatory sentence."

"Think he's out and seeking revenge?" Duncan asked, looking at Methos.

"It's a possibility," Methos agreed. "When was this?"

"1989."

"Which would make him around thirty," Methos said.

"Our guy was a lot older," Duncan said.

"Could be someone helping him," Methos replied with a shrug. "It's worth asking Dan about.

***

In the end it was the only possibility they found. The others were all witnesses from Boston, or a suspect who had taken a train from Boston, or something equally innocuous.

"What do we do now?" Duncan asked, standing and stretching slightly, refusing to acknowledge the feeling of hopelessness threatening to settle in his gut.

"We'll take the most likely cases and show them to Dan. See if anything jogs his memory."

"There weren't any likely cases." Duncan didn't mention what he was thinking. That this might be the wrong tact, that maybe the kidnappers didn't have a prior connection to Dan and Andrea, maybe they just wanted money. But in that case, they'd ask for money. Duncan and Methos would give it to them and then they'd get Christine back. It was the best possible scenario. The remaining possibility, the one they hadn't discussed, was that Andrea and Dan weren't the target at all. Methos was. Or he was. Just because the kidnapper hadn't been an Immortal, that didn't mean anything. Tessa's kidnapper had been mortal.

"We don't know that," Methos insisted. "We can at least show him the drug case."

Duncan nodded. Not everything was about him, or Immortality. He knew that. But knowing it didn't ease the fear or the guilt one iota.

Methos stood and reached for his coat. Duncan did the same.

"Good luck," Kevin said.

***

Duncan paused on the top step of Dan and Andrea's porch, not quite willing to face them.

Reaching past him, Methos knocked.

Duncan recognized the woman who opened the door. They'd met her at one of Dan and Andrea's dinner parties a couple of weeks before. "Hello," he said, searching his mind for her name—Elizabeth.

"Duncan, Adam, come in." She stepped back and giving them room to enter.

"Any news?" Duncan asked.

Elizabeth shook her head. "Andrea and Dan are resting, neither of them slept much last night." She looked from Duncan to Methos and back. "You were with her when…"

Duncan nodded.

"We need to speak with them," Methos said.

"I'll get them."

She disappeared into the back of the house, leaving Duncan and Methos to stare at the walls in silence. What was there to say, after all?

***

"Adam," Andrea said, coming toward them, followed by Dan.

To Duncan's surprise, Methos stepped forward and wrapped his arms around her. She returned the embrace. Methos looked at Dan. "We've been doing some research and we found an old case of yours that involved a kid from Boston, Declan Harrison. He went to prison for dealing."

Dan's eyes widened. "That was years ago. He should be out by now."

"Do you think he could be involved?" Methos asked. He'd released Andrea, but he still had his arm around her shoulders.

Dan shrugged. "It's possible."

"I'm going to go," Elizabeth said. "I have to get the kids off the bus, but I'll be back later with some dinner."

"Thank you." Dan said.

She nodded and left.

"I don't know about all of you, but I need coffee," Andrea said.

***

Duncan had always liked their kitchen, with its mismatched chairs and open spaces. But today the charm was missing. Andrea stood at the counter, making coffee, while Dan sat at the table, telling them what he remembered of the Harrison kid.

"Oddly enough, the Harrison case was the first one I had that made me start to doubt my career choice. He was a good kid, first person in his family to ever go to college. He joined a frat, the wrong frat. Police raided a party at the house and caught Harrison with ten ounces of marijuana, enough to qualify him as a dealer under the law."

Andrea brought over two cups of coffee, placing one in front of Dan and the other in front of Duncan. A moment later she returned with two more for herself and Methos and sat beside Dan at the table.

"His parents blamed us. The father was a cop. Claimed his kid wouldn't do something like that."

"Was he dealing?" Methos asked.

Dan gave a slight shake of his head. "Who knows? He said the stuff wasn't his, and I believed him, but he wouldn't tell us who it did belong to."

"Do you think he could be involved?" Duncan asked.

"Hard to believe. Like I said, he seemed like a good kid, but prison changes people. Or so they tell me."

Duncan sipped his coffee, not tasting a drop of it. Andrea merely wrapped her hands around her cup, not taking a drink. It hurt to look at her, to see the weariness and desperation and fear. Giving into the fear wouldn't help Christine, but it was hard to keep his imagination from getting the best of him. He didn't even want to think about what Andrea must be imagining.

Methos' cell phone rang, startling all of them. "Hello." Methos paled, nodding slowly. "Thanks." He put his phone down on the table. "We can forget Declan Harrison. He's dead. Died in prison just before his release."

Duncan felt what little hope he'd had begin to drain away.

"Adam," Dan said, startling Duncan. "Do you still have the police drawing?"

"Sure." Methos pulled the drawing from his pocket.

Dan studied it for a moment. "I don't know why I didn't recognize it before. It's Michael Harrison, Declan's father." He rose from his chair. "I better call the police."

***

They had stopped at the Clarion for another exchange of information with the two Watchers before starting home. Duncan wasn't entirely comfortable with their involvement, but he didn't see any alternative. Jane could get to all kinds of information Joe couldn't. He couldn't help thinking that there would be a price to pay. There always was with Watchers. He toyed with the idea of mentioning his concerns to Methos, but Methos was staring determinedly out the car window, making it clear that conversation would not be welcome.

"I'll make the coffee," Duncan offered as they entered the house.

Methos dropped his coat on the nearest chair. "I'll be in my office."

Duncan left his own coat on the same chair and went into the kitchen. Sleep would probably be a better choice than coffee, he thought as he measured the grinds, but he doubted he'd get Methos to sleep anytime soon.

He pressed start on the coffeemaker and followed Methos to the office.

Methos was at his desk, fingers moving over his keyboard. He didn't acknowledge Duncan's entrance, and Duncan stopped a foot or so away. "Methos?"

Methos made a couple of mouse clicks before looking up at Duncan.

"What do you need me to do?" Duncan asked.

"I'll give you the disks Jane gave us and you can go through the court files."

"All right." Duncan wanted to ask what Methos would be doing, but he didn't. Instead, he retrieved his laptop from Methos' briefcase and sat in Methos' reading chair. Methos rolled his desk chair close enough for Duncan to be able to take the disk. Duncan slid it into his computer.

***

Eileen Harrison closed the door behind her and pushed shut the newly installed padlock. She didn't like the idea of locking the girl in. What if there was a fire and she needed to get out?

Then again, she didn't much like the idea of holding the girl to begin with.

Michael had gone too far this time.

She pushed open the kitchen door. Her husband was at the table, staring into a cup of coffee. It had better be just coffee. "We have to give her back." It was a statement, one that didn't invite disagreement.

"I know."

What were you thinking, she wanted to scream. She kept it in. What was done, was done. She should never have agreed to come here, but she had feared what he would do. He and that cousin of his.

She sat at the table, in the chair across from his. "She's just a girl." It needed to be said. If she couldn't scream, she could at least remind him of what he'd once been, someone who protected little girls, not endangered them.

"I know. I said I'd give her back."

Once again, she bit back the urge to yell, you shouldn't have taken her in the first place. "All right."

***

Setting his laptop carefully on the floor, Duncan stood and rubbed his eyes with one hand. Methos was bent over his computer and didn't appear to notice Duncan's movements.

They'd gone through two pots of coffee. "More coffee?"

Methos glanced at him. "Yeah."

It was the only thing they'd talked about all night—coffee. No shared moments of worry or comfort, no acknowledgment of their shared fear or guilt. Methos was completely focused on the screen in front of him. Duncan left the room.

***

He poured the remaining coffee into two cups and added plenty of sugar. Then he started a new pot before carrying the cups into the office.

Duncan handed Methos his cup and leaned against the desk. "Find anything?" he asked, taking a drink. The coffee was strong in spite of the sugar. He put it down on the desk.

"I just finished his personnel file," Methos answered. He looked at Duncan while he said it, but his eyes returned quickly to the screen.

"His police file?"

"Jane got me in." There were dark circles under Methos' eyes, making him look even paler than usual.

Duncan himself was exhausted, running solely on anxiety and caffeine. Turning Methos' chair slightly, he squatted in front of his lover, resting a hand on Methos' knee. "Maybe we should get some sleep."

"I don't think I could. You go ahead."

Duncan shook his head. There was no way he'd be able to sleep tonight without Methos beside him. Standing, he picked up his coffee and returned to his chair.

***

Leaning back in his chair, Methos rubbed his eyes. Duncan was snoring softly in the armchair, his chin resting on his chest. Methos picked up his phone and dialed Jane's number.

"Hello?"

"It's Adam. Anything?"

"Not yet, I'm still searching travel and rental records using the variations of the son's names that you suggested. You?"

"Harrison's personnel file was interesting. Our kidnapper tends to act on impulse. He was reprimanded more than once for getting himself and his partner into dangerous situations because he didn't stop and think before he acted."

"You think he was acting on impulse when he took Christine?"

"Probably. And now he's in over his head and needs a way out."

"And you're going to give him one, I take it."

"That's the plan."

"Okay."

Methos ignored the doubt in her voice. "Mr. Harrison was sent for counseling after his son went to prison. His supervisor was afraid he'd do something rash."

"Smart guy."

Methos heard her computer beep.

"Search's done."

"Anything?" Methos asked.

"Let me look at it first. I'll call you when I'm done." The phone clicked.

Methos put his own phone down and took a deep breath. Christine was going to be fine. They were going to get her home safely. Anything else was unthinkable.

Taking a drink of his cold coffee, he resumed reading the reports from Harrison's police psychologist.

***

Methos pressed the talk button on his phone before the first ring had even finished. "Got something?"

"Yeah." Jane was excited and more emotional than Methos had ever heard her. "I think I've got them."

Methos straightened, all traces of fatigue gone. "Where?"

"I'm going with you."

Methos didn't bother to argue or ask how she knew he wouldn't be going to the police. "Be in the lobby in ten minutes." Standing, he walked over to Duncan.

Duncan was asleep with his head at an uncomfortable looking angle and drool forming in the corner of his mouth. Methos gazed at him for a long moment before taking hold of his shoulder and shaking it.

***

"Is that the money?" Duncan asked as they left the house, indicating the briefcase Methos was carrying.

Methos nodded.

"You really think you can persuade them to give you Christine in exchange for that?"

"I hope so."

"Yeah," Duncan said, opening the driver's side door, "me, too."

***

Jane and Kevin were waiting in front of the hotel and they climbed into the backseat as soon as Duncan stopped the car.

"What have you got?" Methos asked, turning sideways in his seat and looking at Jane.

"An address."

"Which is?" Methos prodded.

"One thing first," she said.

Methos bit back his annoyance. "What?"

"Your name."

"Jane!" Kevin protested.

"He's been playing us." She didn't take her eyes of Methos as she said it.

"A girl is in danger," Kevin reminded her, "a twelve-year-old girl."

"Harrison's a former cop. He's not going to harm her."

"You don't know that."

Jane didn't answer.

"Tell me who you think I am," Methos said softly, letting a hint of threat seep into his voice.

Jane smirked. "And if I'm wrong, you'll still say I'm right?" She leaned forward, until she was mere inches from Methos. "Except I'm not wrong. I think you're one of the Four Horsemen." She locked her eyes onto his, daring Methos to contradict her. "I think you're Methos."

He didn't look away, and he didn't contradict her. "Aren't you the clever girl?"

"Yes, yes I am." Leaning back, she crossed her arms in front of her chest. "I'm not wrong, am I?"

"No, you're not wrong," Methos admitted, ignoring the desperate looks Duncan was giving him. He held out his hand. "Now give me the address."

Smiling triumphantly, she handed over a small piece of paper.

***

The cabin wasn't difficult to find. Duncan parked just inside the turn off for the dirt road leading to it and the four of them piled out of the car.

"Now what?" Kevin asked.

"Now I go negotiate with them," Methos said, his hand tightening on the handle of the briefcase.

"I'm coming with you," Duncan said.

Methos nodded. "But I'm going in alone. You're," he gave Duncan an affectionate look, "a little too threatening."

Duncan snorted.

Methos turned his attention to Jane and Kevin. "You two will stay here."

Jane started to protest, but Duncan cut her off. "You don't come back from being shot."

"If you don't stay here, and something happens to Christine," Methos added, "I will kill you." Briefcase in hand, Methos began walking with Duncan half a step behind.

***

Methos surveyed the cabin quickly. There were only two doors, front and back on the right. The ground floor was almost fully lit, while only one light shone in the upstairs. He supposed that was where Christine was. He wondered if she was awake, or if she'd slept at all.

A lengthy reconnaissance would gain him nothing. With a last glance back at where Duncan was concealed in the shrubs, he strode to the door and knocked. It was a bit early for a social call, but then he wasn't making a social call.

The door was opened by a man in his mid-forties. It wasn't the man who had taken Christine. He was roughly Methos' height, but broader, with the kind of muscles that came from physical labor and not a gym. "What?" he growled.

"I'm here for Christine," Methos answered, watching the man pale slightly. But he acted quickly, grabbing Methos' arm and pulling him roughly inside.

"Who's here?" A woman asked stepping out of a doorway on the far side of the room, through which Methos could see a hall and staircase. Methos studied her; Eileen Harrison was thinner than she'd been in the newspaper photo Jane had found.

"He says he's here for the girl." The man now had a gun in his hand; it was aimed at Methos.

"Is he?" asked a second man, entering the room from the side opposite the hall. Methos recognized him immediately, Michael Harrison.

Methos held out the attaché. "I brought money."

"Money?" Harrison asked scornfully. "What would I want with money?"

"I know why you took Christine," Methos said carefully, looking from Harrison to his wife. "Hurting her won't bring your son back."

Eileen glanced at her husband.

"I know you don't want money, and I know it can't restore what you've lost…" Methos left his voice trail off, keeping his eyes downcast.

Harrison took the attaché from Methos' hand. "Frisk him."

"I'm unarmed." Methos raised his arms slightly in acquiescence, controlling his reaction as the man patted his sides. It wasn't a thorough search, clearly owing more to television viewing than to actual experience with concealed weapons. Fortunately, Michael Harrison didn't notice.

***

Jane walked briskly down the dirt road leading to the house, ignoring Kevin's glower. He hadn't wanted to follow them, which wasn't a surprise, but Jane wasn't about to wait. Why should she? Because he said so? They wouldn't even be here if it weren't for her. Clearly, Methos didn't know everything. He was old, not superhuman.

***

The man who'd frisked Methos nodded at Harrison. He gestured at the case. "Look in it."

"We didn't do this for money."

"It can't hurt to look."

Harrison put the case on the couch behind him and opened it. All three of them gasped at the sight of the bills filling it.

"How…how much?" Eileen asked.

"One million," Methos said.

All three stared at him. "It was my inheritance," Methos explained. "Take it. Just give me Christine. I won't tell anyone where you are. The money can't be traced. Just let me have her. Please."

At some point he'd slipped, said something he shouldn't have. The gun now aimed squarely at his temple was proof of that. "Who else knows where we are?" The man with the gun demanded.

"No one."

"How did you find us?" Harrison asked.

"The name you rented the cabin under. Once I found out who you were, I compiled a list of possible names you'd use and then searched through travel records, car rentals. It wasn't that hard."

"And you found us all by yourself?"

"I work better alone."

"And you didn't tell anyone? Not even the boyfriend?"

"Mac would have wanted to go to the police. I couldn't chance it."

"Why not?"

"Because I want Christine home safe. I don't care about anything else. I thought the best way to get her home would be to talk to you."

***

Jane crouched down; she was more nervous about being seen by MacLeod than she was about being seen by Harrison. Leaving Kevin behind her, she crept toward the house until she was close enough to see inside. She couldn't hear what was being said, but she could see the gun pointed at Adam's head. Things were evidently not going as planned. Big surprise.

Moving away, she located an empty room and tried the window; it was locked.

The third window she tried slid open and Jane pulled herself inside. Taking out her gun, she moved the safety to off. She'd get the girl and bring her back out the window. Adam—Methos—could take care of himself. It wasn't as though they could kill him.

***

"Fuck," Duncan muttered under his breath. What did she think she was doing? Careful to keep out of sight, he moved toward where she had come from, certain he would find Kevin there.

***

Methos ignored the soft thump, hoping the others hadn't heard it. He doubted it was Duncan. It was most likely Jane. He cursed silently. If she messed this up, she'd regret it. He'd make certain of that.

He studied his opponents. He could almost see the wheels turning in their minds. They were considering it. He just needed to be patient.

***

Jane had landed in a small bedroom. She edged up to the door and glanced out. She was in luck. The stairs were on her left, just a few feet away. She took them swiftly, and, she hoped, quietly.

***

"How do we know you won't set the cops on us as soon as we let you go?" Harrison asked.

"Because it'll gain me nothing. All I care about is Christine. The money doesn't matter. Vengeance doesn't matter. Only Christine matters. I know you can understand that."

Harrison and his wife exchanged a long look. "She's not yours," she said, searching Methos' face.

This was the easy part. All he had to do was tell them the truth, let them see how much Christine meant to him. "No," he said, "but she's as close as I'll ever get to a daughter of my own. Even if I weren't…I can't have children. But I can't imagine that I would love them any more than I love her." He caught her gaze, pleading with his eyes. "She's easy to love."

There was a long silence.

Finally, Harrison spoke. "Go get her."

Methos sighed in relief as he watched Eileen go towards the hall.

***

There was light coming out from beneath the first door. More importantly, it was padlocked. Jane put the gun on the floor and reached into her pocket for her picks.

She was so intent on the lock that she didn't hear the other woman approach until she was almost at the top of the stairs. Jane reached for her gun just as the other woman lunged.

***

At the sound of the gunshot, Methos moved. It was a simple thing to grab the man beside him and bring his head down to where Methos could snap his neck. A clean kill, smooth and easy. A heartbeat later the gun was in his hand. Harrison was coming toward him, and Methos did the easiest thing he could. He fired.

Leaping over the body, he ran toward the stairs and Christine.

Eileen was at the top of the stairs, bent over a body, tears streaming down her face. "I didn't mean it. I didn't mean it," she moaned, rocking in time with her words.

Methos ignored her and bent down, feeling for a pulse. There wasn't one. He looked up at the locked door and held out his hand. "The key," he said. She didn't answer. "The key" he repeated. Barely glancing at him, she dropped it into his hand. Turning away he opened the door. Christine was huddled on the bed, as far into the corner as she could get. Sitting beside her, he pulled her into his arms and began to stroke her hair, while murmuring soothing words.

***

At the sound of the gunshot, Duncan began running toward the house. Pushing open the door, he immediately spotted the two bodies lying on the floor. "Adam!" he called.

"Up here!"

Duncan took the stairs two at a time. Squatting, he felt for a pulse on Jane's neck, before moving past her and a woman he assumed was Harrison's wife, to the open bedroom.

Methos was sitting on the bed, cradling a sobbing Christine in his arms.

"Is she?" Duncan asked.

"She's okay," Methos answered without looking at him, all of his attention focused on her.

"Thank God," Duncan breathed.

Methos nodded, resting his cheek against Christine's hair.

It was clear he was going to be the one who decided what to do next. Stepping back into the hallway, he found Kevin standing with his back against the wall, staring at Jane's body.

"Kevin," he said as gently as he could, "what was she doing here?"

"She thought," Kevin's voice started to break and he stopped for a moment, "she thought she could get Christine out. I tried to stop her."

Duncan didn't answer. Instead he went back downstairs. He studied the first body, the man he didn't recognize. It was clear from the angle of his head that Methos had broken his neck. Harrison had been taken out by a gunshot. Duncan ran through the possibilities, trying to sort out how they were going to explain this to the police, if they were going to explain this to the police. A police investigation into any of their backgrounds could be a tricky thing. He didn't doubt that Methos had a convincing cover, but explaining two bodies with no evidence of a struggle wouldn't be easy. Then there was the publicity an incident like this could generate…They didn't need anyone else recognizing Methos.

Duncan went back upstairs.

"My husband?" the woman sitting beside Jane's body asked.

"You're Mrs. Harrison?" Duncan squatted beside her.

She nodded, sniffling slightly. "Yes."

"You're husband is dead."

She nodded again. "I told him to give her back. I told him." Her voice was rising.

"Why don't you go into the kitchen?" Duncan suggested looking up at Kevin. "I'll come down in a minute."

"All right."

Duncan helped her to her feet. Since Kevin clearly wasn't going to help, he guided her down the stairs himself, carefully keeping himself between her and the corpses.

***

Kevin knelt beside Jane's body. She looked bad, not at all like herself. Face pale and lifeless. Her face was rather plain, but the force of her personality had always prevented him from noticing. She was such an annoying pain in the ass.

His breath caught and he bowed his head.

Inhaling deeply, he forced himself to do what had to be done. To do anything less was to invite her scorn. He set about searching her pockets, quickly finding both her tape recorder and her notebook. He slid both into his own pocket.

***

Having settled the woman into the kitchen, Duncan started back upstairs. He knew she was in shock, but there wasn't much he could do for her at the moment. Other things needed to be taken care of first.

Kevin was kneeling beside Jane's body, but he stood when he saw Duncan. "You need to call Dawson."

Duncan's eyes narrowed. "Why?"

"You don't have the resources to cover this up. We do. Without our help both of you could easily end up facing criminal charges."

He had a point. Concealing the bodies was one thing, but explaining Christine's rescue and finding a way to keep Eileen silent were going to be much harder. Watchers. The very idea of relying on Watchers made Duncan's stomach tighten. "All right."

Pulling his phone from his pocket, he dialed.

***

Joe pushed the end button on his phone and stared at it for a moment before dialing. "This is Dawson. We have a problem."