Report to me at that address. :)

This takes place immediately after The Messenger -- except Richie is still in town. Nothing else from seasons 5 and 6 are considered. Standard disclaimers, yadda yadda.

Chance leaned over and kissed Mark's cheek. "I've had enough," he said with a slightly tipsy smile. "Wanna go home to your place?"

Mark tossed back the rest of his beer, grinning at his lover. "Yeah. Le's go."

The men rose, lacing their fingers together to walk out the door. It smung shut heavily behind then, abruptly cutting off the sound of pulsating bass from within the nightclub. Their footsteps echoed startlingly on the pavement. They walked for about a block, then Mark slid his arm 'round Chance's waist.

"Let's take the short way back," he mumbled amorously.

Chance, the more sober of the pair, shook his head. "This isn't the best neighbourhood, and it's late," he argued.

Mark tightened his arm 'round the slimmer man's body. "Don't worry, I'll protect you."

Chance sighed and gave in, allowing himself to be pulled along. Mark always got his way. All he had to do was flash those sky blue eyes and Chance melted.

Mark navigated, claiming he knew the way, but after a while Chance started to wonder if they'd gone wrong. "This doesn't look right," he said worriedly. "We should've been home by now."

"Baby, baby." Mark turned and pulled Chance into a warm hug. "Don't worry. I'll find our way."

Chance's better judgement was, for the most part, swimming in a deep pool of Beck's. He kissed Mark soundly, right there on the street corner. "Okay," he agreed.

Mark kissed him back. "I love you," he whispered.

"I love you too."

"Fuckin' faggots." The voice came from behind Chance, thick with contempt.

Chance turned, and saw three men step from the shadows. He felt Mark stiffen beside him.

There was one really big guy, bigger than Mark, well over six feet and ripppled with muscle. He had blond hair cut in a military style buzz. The other two were similarly built, only slightly shorter. One was dark-haired, the other wore a dirty Mariner's baseball cap.

"Look man, we were just going," Mark said, trying to keep his voice level.

"Shuddup, ya goddam fairy," the one in the hat sneered.

"Wha the fuck ya think you're doin', fucking around our part of town?" the big one asked, crossing his arms in front of his chest as all three moved menacingly forward.

"Just walking home," Chance started to say, but he was cut off by the fist that met his mouth.

It all happened so quickly. Chance was vaguely aware of being kicked in the stomach after he hit the ground, and then several more times in teh head. He saw the flash of the knife blade in the street light, and struggled to cry out a warning to Mark through a mouthful of blood. He saw Mark's body crumble, and fought to his feet. A moment later he felt cold steel between his ribs, then his head hitting concrete again. Then he felt nothing.

Methos whistled a jaunty tune as he strolled home from his Saturday night pub crawl, his slight hangover fading with the darkness. He glanced at his watch -- almost five am. It'd be full light soon, but for now it was that early morning coastal haze, the salt air making the buildings look unreal, like movie set flats in the shadows.

He liked this hour. He liked walking home at this time, when the only people stirring were the garbagemen adn the paperboys. It was peaceful. He certainly did not object to some peace. That was one thing he took wherever he could find it these days.

Such was his mood that he almost cursed aloud at the sensation of a nearby immortal. He looked around, hand on his sword hilt. No-one. Good. He was in no mood for a fight anyway.

He almost walked by, but heard, just in time, the weak and tiny voice say, "Help."

Methos whirled. There, huddled against the wall of some large building, was a man. An immortal. He was soaked with blood, it matted his hair and streaked his face. In his arms he held another man, very obviously dead. He rocked back and forth, hugging the body clumsily to his chest. He stared up at Methos with wide green eyes full of fear.

"Help," he whimpered again.

Methos crouched, facing him. "What happened," he asked softly.

The other man's eyes filled with tears, and they spilled down his cheeks, making orange trails in the dried blood. "They killed Mark." His voice was small, cracked with strain. "They killed Mark," he repeated, looking down at the dead man in his arms. "And me too."

Methos closed his eyes briefly, knowing the terror the young man must be feeling. He started to reach toward him, but the boy flinched, pulling back. Methos withdrew his hand. "What's your name?" he inquired gently.


Methos swallowed a bubble of slightly hysterical laughter. What a name for a new immortal!

"Chance," he repeated. "We have to get you someplace safe."

Chance nodded, then violently shook his head. "Mark!" he sobbed.

"Don't worry," Methos soothed. "Don't worry, I'll take care of everything."

In the end, Methos told the police that he'd found Mark DeGuire's body in the narrow street, that he'd been walking home along when he spotted the dead man. They believed him, asked the pertinent questions, and sent him on his way.

He'd taken Chance back to his apartmen, dosing him with a shot of brandy in a mug of hot milk, figuring the kid needed to sleep before any explanations were offered. Kid. He almost laughed again, sitting on a stool with Chance's wallet in his hand.

Chance Patrick Roberts. Twenty-seven years old. A paramedic with the city corps. Not really a kid after all, but Methos still had a few years on him. He fought back another giggle. It was stress, panic, fear, all rolled into one, and he was finding warped amusement in the strangest things.

Chance stirred in the bed, groaning quietly. Methos had almost formulated his plan of what he'd tell him. He only hoped that Chance could find a way to heal from the emotional trauma of the night. Nothing Methos could say would make that any easier.

He felt the buzz before Chance did, but the young man sat up abruptly in bed, eyes wild with fright. "What?!" he croaked, but Methos waved a hand to silence him, and went to the door.

"Methos, what's going on?" MacLeod had a concerned look on his face, and Joe was right behind him. Together the barrelled through the doorway.

"Heard on the radio an 'Adam Pierson' found some dead kid on the East Side," Joe explained bluntly. "Thought maybe you'd been caught? That's the oldest cover-up in the book."

Methos cringed, hearing Chance's wimper at the words "some dead kid." Both Duncan and Joe swivelled their heads toward the sound.

"You guys better come in and sit down," Methos said grudgingly, slamming the door behind them. "Why don't we call Richie and have a fucking party?"

"What's going on, Methos?" Duncan demanded again.

The ancient immortal threw his hands up in the air. "Well there goes that story. Why don't you sky-write it over my building? 'Methos lives in 3-C'."

MacLeod immediately looked abashed. "I'm sorry," he muttered.

Joe settled stiffly into a chair, and motioned for Duncan to do the same. "What is going on?" Joe asked quietly.

"Would someone please tell me too?"

They all turned and stared at Chance. He sat in the middle of the bed, knees drawn tightly up to his chest, shivering slightly.