Methos ducked in out of the rain, jangling the bell above the large oak and glass door. It was good to be back in Seacouver and the used bookstore run by his old friend, Sam Baxter. He took a deep breath and relaxed for the first time since they'd gotten off the plane. Duncan was off running all the errands that would make the loft livable again. Food and beer. The important things, Methos grinned to himself.
"Hey, Sam. I'm back. What have you got for me?" He called out. The old man was never far from the front of the store. An indistinct reply answered him and he shrugged. Heading for the music section, he noticed the table with the coffee pot and tea carafe set up enticingly. Stopping, he poured a cup of tea and sniffed the lemon scent approvingly. Sam had obviously decided to join the twentieth century and soften his approach to shoppers.
Cup in hand, he wondered up and down the aisles browsing for music scores for Joe. Light steps sounded behind him and he frowned. Too light for Sam. Turning, he found a middle-aged woman smiling up at him.
"Good afternoon, Sir. May I help you find something in particular?" Her voice was low and pleasing to the ear.
"Adam Pierson." Methos held out his hand and shook hers firmly. "Sam is looking for some books for me. I'm just back in town after an extended absence. Could you ask him if he has anything for me?"
Her smile faded and she took a deep breath. "I'm sorry to have to tell you that Sam died two months ago. Had a heart attack here in the book stacks. The doctor said he never knew what hit him."
Methos sighed and shook his head. He was only seventy two. Why am I surprised? Another good bookstore down the tubes.
"The lawyers hired me to keep the store open until probate is done and the heirs all notified. I'm the upstairs tenant, Maggie Wenton. Sam rented to me for the last six months." She smiled tentatively at him and Methos realized she was waiting for some kind of reaction from him.
"He was a good friend and one heck of a finder of lost books." Methos shook his head and returned her smile. "I wish I had known sooner but I've been over in Paris working on my thesis. I'm sure you'll do fine, Maggie. I like the coffee/tea touch."
She nodded shyly. "It doesn't cost much and it seemed friendlier. I don't have the contacts that Sam did so I have to keep the customers coming in for other reasons. I don't know what's going to happen to the store. I think the lawyers are looking for a missing heir or something."
Methos smiled. He'd been in that situation before in his long life, leaving his possessions to himself as a nephew or cousin. "I wish them luck. By any chance was Sam holding something for me?" He prompted her. "Adam Pierson?"
She wrinkled her forehead. "Maybe. I've not gone through all the boxes in the storeroom. If you want to come back with me, we can go through them and see."
"Great! He was looking for an old Venetian journal of a sixteenth century apothecary which I need for my thesis." Methos followed her behind the counter and through the narrow doorway into the cluttered back room. Boxes stacked up the wall to one side of the door while bookshelves filled the rest of the walls. A table with an old stereo receiver and cassette player took up a corner of the small room.
"He had a very odd filing system that I think only he understood. I've been slowly rearranging things into Dewey Decimal order. It's the librarian in me. These boxes were here when he died and I haven't had the heart to go through them." Maggie pointed to four medium sized boxes, stacked up to a five-shelf height.
"Do you trust me to go through them?" Methos took off his jacket and laid it across a chair by the table.
"I saw how you handled the music scores. I think you know how to handle old books." Maggie smiled up at him and flipped on the stereo. Music echoed from the front room speakers through the open door. "Go ahead and browse through them. Hopefully, you'll find your book. If any of them have notes or letters with them, would you be willing to put them aside for me?"
"Sure, Maggie." Methos had already lifted the top box down to the floor and folded himself into a lotus position beside it. She just laughed and left him to it, returning to the outer shop and the chiming of the front door bell.
Breathing in the smell of old leather, Methos sorted gently through the assorted books and manuscripts. Several of them had written notes on their brown paper wrappings. With a few moments study, the oldest immortal had deciphered Sam's cryptic notations and was enjoying the dead man's comments about his customers. Carefully, he sat those aside on top of the table and put the others back into the box and closed it up.
Twenty minutes later, Maggie came back to check on him and pour him some more tea. He thanked her and explained the notes. She nodded and took them up front to check in the Rolodex for the customers phone numbers. Methos continued to sort through the third box, to the sounds of big band jazz and occasionally, Ella Fitzgerald. Finishing his tea, he tackled the last box and sifted through its contents with a growing sense of frustration.
Nothing. Damn, he'd really thought Sam was on the trail of this one. Stacking the boxes neatly where they'd been, he stretched his back and flexed his arms. He could use some more tea ... or better yet a beer. Grinning to himself, he checked his watch. Just enough time to walk home to the loft and help MacLeod put away groceries.
Shrugging on his jacket and grabbing the stack of books on the table, he headed out to the front. The smoky accents of Lena Horne wafted from the old speakers, singing an old love song. Maggie leaned against the bookcase behind the front counter with her eyes closed and tears sliding down her cheeks.
"... I'll be looking at the moon, but I'll be seeing you." Lena's gentle tones caressed the ending notes of the song like a lover. Methos remembered the Kahal song from the thirties. It always reminded him for some reason of the terror of Europe under Hitler.
"Sorry about that, Adam." Maggie blew her nose and wavered a smile in his direction. "Those have more notes?"
"Yes. But mine wasn't there." He placed the stack gently on the glass counter. "He wrote the prices on all of these except for one and I happen to know that this one is worth at least $125.00. I saw it in London about six months ago for 90 pounds. Too rich for my blood." He shrugged and put on his grad student persona.
"Okay, thanks. I'll keep an eye out for your Venetian journal." Her smile was stronger now. "There's a few places I haven't reached yet in his rooms above us. I've been cleaning out a little bit at a time in the evenings."
"When do you have time for yourself?" Methos realized he'd come to like the plain faced woman who showed her emotions so honestly. He envied that ability in others since he rarely allowed his true feelings out from under his tight control.
"I don't need much. After I quit my soul-destroying job as assistant director of a major public library that shall remain nameless, I drifted from one temp job to another. When I was late with the rent, Sam asked me if I'd help out in the store in lieu of his money. I grabbed at the chance." She smiled, lost in a memory. "I guess you can take the librarian out of the library but not vice versa. I always wanted my own bookstore. This is the closest I've come so far."
Methos grinned. "I had the same dream once. Maybe someday."
"Don't wait on your dreams, young Adam." Maggie's eyes were bright. "Work on them when you're young enough to enjoy them. You never know what's coming. Damn that song anyway." Her voice was full of remembered pain.
"He died?" His voice was gentle and nondemanding.
"We were young and in love and had all the time in the world." Maggie looked into the past and smiled tenderly. "I'm lucky to have so many good memories. Sunsets were always his favorite. Moonrises were mine. The fun was in the combining of them. We had five years of joy and laughter before he was killed. Somedays, I don't think of him at all and then ... I'll hear a song or smell Old Spice aftershave and ..." she pantomimed a hit to the head, "he's there with that sweet smile and lilting accent and I miss him with every fiber of my being."
"I know." Methos slid his hand over her tightly clenched fist on the counter. Faces rose up from the depths of his long life. Laughing Rosa, angelic Mara, brooding Byron. So much life lost in the centuries of his past.
"You're older than you look, Adam. And I'm going to take a chance on an old cliché and tell you to not 'let the parade pass you by'. Don't let your scholar's passion be the only passion in your life." She squeezed his hand in silent thanks. "Love wisely and well."
His mind went to Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod. It wasn't wise to love the immortal Boy Scout but it certainly was fun.
"Ah, I see you're in love." Methos wondered if she could read minds as well as faces. "Forget the wisely, go for well and often."
He laughed as she intended him to and brought her hand up to his lips in tribute to her advice, enjoying her blush. "Good advice. For both of us. I'm going to leave you my number in case that journal comes in." Grabbing a scratch card from beside the cash register, he scribbled his name and the number of the loft. Hesitating only a moment, he also wrote down Joe's address and phone number.
"Since you like good music, you might enjoy one of my favorite hangouts. Joe Dawson has his own band and a great selection of rotating singers." He pushed the card across to her and she picked it up.
"Thanks. I just may see you there one of these nights." She smiled up at him and he saw that her gray eyes were clear again, unshadowed by the painful memories. Returning her smile, he left the store with his long stride, suddenly anxious to return home and see his lover.
"I'll be seeing you
in all the old familiar places,
that this heart of mine embraces,
all day through."
Walking through the familiar streets of Seacouver, he realized that almost every landmark had a memory of MacLeod to go along with it. Otherwise, this city would be like a thousand others he had known in his long existence. Buildings and people, noise and bustle. All anonymous and boring except for the life spark that was Duncan to give it warmth and comfort.
"In that small cafe,
the park across the way,
the children's carousel,
the chestnut tree,
the wishing well."
He smiled tenderly, thinking back to a warm night in Paris after a satisfying meal in a small bistro and perhaps one bottle too much of a dry red wine. They'd been arguing about one of Napoleon's battles that they'd fought from opposite sides. He always enjoyed playing devil's advocate to MacLeod's passionate certainties. Crossing a residential square, Methos had stopped at the white fountain that graced the quiet quadrangle and dug out a sou from his jeans pocket. Pausing a moment, he flipped in the small coin in time to his wish.
"Wishing for the moon, Methos?" Duncan had said indulgently.
"No. Just for you." He'd been honest for once and been gifted with a smoldering look that guaranteed his wish would come true. And very shortly thereafter, it had.
"And I'll be seeing you
in every lovely summer's day.
In everything that's light and gay.
I'll always think of you that way."
Duncan was a creature of the day who thrived on sun and light. He laughed easily and always approached each new experience with a childlike joy that refreshed Methos' jaded old soul. A hundred pictures of his lover enjoying the Parisian summer came to mind. Duncan leaning on the old stone bridge watching the light dance on the waves. Eating an ice cream cone with short laps of his broad pink tongue and complete concentration on his task. That little memory brought a broad smile to Methos' face, remembering how he'd been so turned on by the innocent little licks that he'd drug him home and made love to him for hours with just his tongue and hands.
"I'll find you in the morning sun,
and when the night is new,
I'll be looking at the moon,
but I'll be seeing you."
Duncan silhouetted against sunrise on the deck of the barge while he finished his morning katas. Methos came to himself a block from the dojo. Shaking out of the memories, he ruefully realized what he'd known for sometime now. He was moon to Duncan's sun. His light was a pale reflection of the blazing radiance that was MacLeod. He headed up the stairs and smiled at the thought of how he was going to pounce on his unsuspecting lover.
Duncan looked up from the stove where he was stirring lunch. "Hey, Methos. Good timing. The pasta is almost done. I put your mail on the coffee table. You got something official looking from some firm of lawyers I've never heard of. Beer's in the fridge."
Methos smiled and hung his jacket on the hall tree. He was one lucky man, he decided, crossing the room to the kitchen and gathering Duncan into a kiss. He tasted of pasta and tomatoes with a hint of red wine.
Duncan pulled away breathless and laughing. "Well, what brought that on? I should send you to the bookstore more often if this is the result."
"An old song reminded me of how much I love you." Methos realized when Duncan's eyes misted that he needed to say that more often. "I'll get Joe to sing it for you someday."
"I'll look forward to it, love." Duncan leaned in for another kiss.
Oh yes, Highlander. I will indeed 'be seeing you'. And soon. Methos let go of the beloved body and crossed for a beer, already plotting on seducing Duncan into bed after lunch. Ah, a little 'afternoon delight'.
The end for now