had a strange urge to double-check that he was who he thought he was and
that he was where he thought he was -- because things had gotten very strange
very quickly the moment he walked into Methos' apartment.
"Can you hear them?"
Methos sounding dreamy? No, that couldn't be right. Methos didn't do dreamy. He did sarcastic. MacLeod did the only thing he could do and replied to Methos' question with one of his own.
"The stones. Can you hear the stones singing?"
MacLeod looked around in confusion. He and Methos were the only occupants in the apartment. And Methos was still sounding dreamy, dammit. MacLeod couldn't stifle the bewildered exasperation that entered his voice.
"Methos, your stereo isn't even on."
Methos' abstracted expression faded only to erupt into offended distress.
"Not the Rolling Stones. The stones. They're singing."
It was impossible to miss the implied you twit in Methos' voice. Then the dreamy look was back.
"Lovely. So lovely."
Did Methos just sigh -- contentedly? What the hell was wrong with the old guy? MacLeod couldn't help it. More confusion crept into his tone.
"Stones? Singing? You mean . . . rocks? Methos, rocks don't sing."
Methos' vexed tone clearly stated that MacLeod was obtuse beyond belief.
"Don't call them rocks! You'll hurt their feelings and then they'll stop singing. They're stones, MacLeod. Beautiful, lovely, singing stones. Surely you can hear them."
But Methos turned away and headed for the apartment door, flinging it open and dashing out. He was halfway down the stairs before it even occurred to MacLeod to move. By the time he got to street level, Methos was already across the roadway and into the park. MacLeod caught up with him just as Methos dropped to all fours.
Duncan's mouth flopped open at Methos' odd behavior. The older immortal's prominent nose came close to brushing the ground as he dipped down to get nearer his precious singing stones. Fingers reverently fluttered over the stones, as if uncertain if he dared touch them or not. Then the usually reticent man sighed -- again.
"Beautiful. Simply beautiful."
MacLeod glanced furtively over his shoulder, fearful that Methos' behavior would attract the wrong kind of attention. He hissed a command under his breath at the kneeling man.
"Methos! Get up!"
Instead, Methos seized MacLeod's arm and dragged the Highlander down to join him on the ground. Unable to shake Methos' hold on him without causing a scene, MacLeod found himself on his knees and uncomfortably close to Methos' continued homage to the stones.
"Listen to them, Duncan. Can't you hear them?"
"Methos, the stones aren't singing. Stones can't sing."
Methos' gaze never lost its adoration but his voice grew sharp with impatience.
"How would you know?"
Methos' voice gentled as he crooned to the stones before musing aloud about MacLeod's apparent hearing problem.
"Maybe you're too young to hear them."
Methos tugged at MacLeod's arm again until Duncan ended up on his hands and knees, reluctantly mirroring Methos' position. With his face now scant inches from Methos', Duncan got his first good whiff of the other man's breath.
"You've been drinking!"
"Only a little."
"Methos!" Belatedly, Duncan
realized that had sounded more like a whiny plea for mercy than the demand
for obedience he had been shooting for.
Before Duncan could reply, a gruff voice interrupted.
"What the hell are you two doing?"
MacLeod didn't want to look up. He refused to look up. He knew that voice. He didn't want to admit to the owner of that voice that he was down on all fours in a public park with the world's oldest immortal, who was soused to the gills and having hallucinations. He would not say a word. Not one word.
"We're listening to the stones singing," his traitorous voice said, flooded with such matter-of-fact exasperation that Joe Dawson couldn't miss it.
"Joe can hear them, can't you, Joe?"
Methos sounded so certain that MacLeod couldn't stop the inquiring look he sent upward in the bluesman's direction.
Dawson cocked his head as if listening.
"Sure I can hear them, Adam."
Dawson smiled sincerely before exploding, his cane waving around wildly.
"Are you out of your mind?! You crazy bastard. . . . Rocks don't sing! They've never sung and they will never ever sing!"
Methos climbed to his feet, taking his time brushing the dirt from the knees of his trousers.
"I know that, Joe. You might want to tell MacLeod though. He seems a tad confused."
Hands in trouser pockets, Methos strolled back across the street and into his apartment building, a tuneless whistle echoing in his wake.