Methos glanced at the address in his hand as his cab pulled up toBulfinch StreetinNew York City. Woodland Luxury Apartments. Yep, this was the place. He paid the cabbie, shouldered his bag, and made his way through the great iron gates.
A smiling man in uniform greeted him at the door. “Good day, sir, and welcome to Woodland.”
The old man nodded in reply. “I’m here to see Miss White.”
“Of course. Please, just step into the lobby and the attendant will call her for you,” the doorman directed, still with a large smile.
Nodding again, Methos stepped through the open door in the sumptuous, old-fashioned lobby. Following the doorman’s directions, he spoke to the person at the security desk.
“It’ll be just a moment or two, sir,” the guard said, hanging up the phone.
Methos declined to sit and just waited near the staircase, glancing around. As he stood there, someone came tromping down the stairs and bumped shoulders with the old immortal as they passed.
“Hey! Watch it!” It was out of Methos’ mouth before he could suppress it. Blast it all; didn’t he usually try to avoid confrontation?
The man who had bumped into him paused in the midst of pulling a battered old trench coat over his shoulders. He turned and glanced at Methos, a cigarette clenched between his teeth, his eyes narrowing slightly as he finished pulling on the coat.
Methos didn’t feel threatened, more like the man was trying to recognize him. The man leaned towards him as though to speak but, instead, he sniffed the air around Methos.
“Heh,” he finally grunted. “Didn’t think I’d ever see you again.” With that and nothing more, the man turned and strode out the door.
Methos barely had time to be nonplussed, for a voice rang out halfway up the stairs. “Adam! Adam Pierson, is that really you?”
He glanced up to see a woman coming down the stairs towards him. As long as he could remember, the only way to describe her was “lips red as a rose, hair black as ebony, and skin white as snow”.
“Well, don’t just stand there like a hobo waiting for a handout, come on.” She smiled and led him up the stairs and down more than a few halls. “My office is this way. Welcome to Fabletown, by the way.” She smiled over her shoulder at him.
Let’s just say Methos was more than happy to follow form, in a manner of speaking.
Once they were in her office, she closed the door behind them and Methos proceeded with gaping.
“This isn’t an office….it’s…Ali Baba’s cave!” he gasped, as they stepped into the yawning space that Miss Snow White called her office.
“Close,” she laughed in reply.
“Ooooo, Miss White, do we have a visitor?” Methos suddenly found himself face-to-face with, of all things, a flying monkey.
“Yes, Bufkin. This is my friend Adam Pierson,” Snow introduced Methos by his “mundy” name.
“Call me Methos,” he rather stuttered.
“Oh, lovely to meet you,” Bufkin grinned. “I’ll rustle up some tea for us all if that’s all right, Miss White.”
“That would be wonderful, Bufkin, thank you. Where’s Boy Blue?”
“Out to lunch!” the monkey threw over his shoulder as he flew down the corridor.
Methos let out a low whistle as he glanced around Snow’s office. “Impressive. I never thought…”
“You just thought I was insane, didn’t you?” Snow said, chuckling. “A girl who claims to be the Snow White and to run a community of fairytales and fables.”
“Well…I’ve never been much for fables. After all, I was one.” Methos smirked, sitting in one of the leather chairs across from her handsome desk. “Oh, speaking of your citizens, I passed someone on the stairs. Rough looking guy, trench coat…?”
Snow nodded knowingly. “Bigby. Bigby Wolf. He’s our Sherriff. Don’t worry, he’s that way with everyone.”
“You mean, he sniffs everyone he passes?”
Snow cocked her head to the side and raised an eyebrow questioningly. “No…not necessarily. He did that?”
“Yeah, rather strange. He spoke like we’d met before but, honestly, I think I’d remember. He’s too much like another person I know,” Methos added.
“Perhaps you have met before, just not while he looked like that,” Snow suggested, lifting teacups off the tray that Bufkin had just brought.
“What did he look like before?”
“Try the largest wolf you’ve ever seen and then multiply that by about 20,” Bufkin laughed, setting the teapot down. “And he huffs and he puffs….”
“Wait, wait! Big…by Wolf. He is the…”
“…Big Bad Wolf, yes,” Snow supplied, “So you have met before?” She reached for the teapot.
“No, allow me.” Methos took it from her and did the honors of the tea service as he spoke. He shook his head in disbelief as he did, smiling in spite of himself. “Long, long ago, when I lived alone in the woods, I came across a wolf in my cattle pen one morning. Sugar and cream? A huge thing, it held a bull down with one paw while it tore its throat out. One lump or two? Naturally, I tried to kill it but…”
~ ~ ~
The door crashed open as Methos hurtled through it. It was unusual for his small herd to be so restless, especially out here away from everything. But something had those animals spooked, because they were lowing up a storm.
His Ivanhoe drawn, he hurried to the cattle pen. It was probably thieves; couldn’t let an honest man live his life without butting into it and making things difficult.
“All I wanted was to be left…alone?” Methos felt something die quietly in his brain. There, in the cattle pen, was the single largest creature he had ever seen. A wolf. No, a leviathan. It held a bellowing animal down with one paw, staring at it for a moment before neatly snapping its neck in two, nearly severing the head.
Damn it. That was his only breeding steer and eventually starving to death was not a happy prospect. Methos lost no time moving against the wolf. As he leapt from the fence, sword held high, the wolf suddenly turned on him with a snarl.
When next he could think, all that filled his mind was the arm that the wolf had seized him by and flung him a hundred feet, crashing into a tree.
The arm was completely shredded, forever useless; if he had been mortal, that is. Methos heard the beast approach, the bull in his maw. The wolf just looked down at him from its towering height and sniffed at the man.
Methos was keenly aware that one of his ribs was lodged in a lung; he was dying, sure as the sun rose. He struggled to look up at the wolf and, he was just delirious, to be sure, but he was certain that he heard the wolf mutter around the bull in his mouth.
Later, when he would reflect on it, Methos would almost swear the animal said, as he died, “Idiot.”
~ ~ ~
“….needless to say, that was a battle I lost. I always wondered by he didn’t finish killing me.” Methos shook his head and chuckled ruefully as he handed Snow the cup.
Snow smiled, cradling the saucer. “We can tell what you are, almost like we would tell each other. It’s a different feeling entirely, like a different consciousness, but it’s there. You Immortals are as much a fable as we are, in a way. And Bigby never forgets a scent.”
The old man shrugged as he prepared his own dish of tea. “Lucky me, I guess.”
The two took their tea in quiet for a while before Bufkin started up. “So…Methos…you’re Immortal?”
The old man almost guffawed at the winged monkey’s attempt at small talk. “Yes.”
“Bufkin might be quite interested in what you’ve brought us, Methos. Shall we show him?” Snow suggested mischievously.
“Ooo, ooo! What is it?” The monkey perched on the back of her chair excitedly.
Turning to his bag, Methos opened it and pulled out a rather large, heavy book, setting it on Snow’s desk with a respectable thump. “Welcome to my world, Bufkin.”
The monkey’s eyes widened. As the Fabletown librarian, he had a fondness for books and knew where each and every book and document in the Fabletown offices and library were filed.
“Bufkin, this is Methos’ Chronicle; it’s his life story,” Snow began.
“Kept since writing was invented so I hope you’ve brushed up on your hieroglyphics and Ancient Greek,” the ancient finished.
“Methos needs somewhere safe to keep it; the Immortals are in more danger from Mundanes than we are, Bufkin. And he is the oldest of them all, if what he tells me is true.”
“And where else to hide something you don’t want found…”
“…than with people who don’t exist. Got it!” Bufkin flapped up over the desk and settled on the edge, next to the great book. “Let’s see, where shall I put it? History, Memoirs, or Languages?” he asked himself more than anyone else.
“Wherever you like, Bufkin. You’ll be the only one who remembers where it is anyway,” Snow offered.
“Yeah, that’s true,” the monkey agreed. After a few moments, he figured a way to heft the book and then flapped off into the depths of the library.
Snow smiled gently when he was gone. “We will take excellent care of it, Methos. The proof you exist is safe here.”
The Immortal nodded but, before he could say anything, the office door banged open and there was Bigby. “Snow!”
She sighed. “Don’t you knock, Bigby?”
He ignored the question as he strode up to her desk. “Just got word from Wheyland up at the Farm, Colin’s run off again.”
Snow sighed. “That pain of a pig. OK, let me know when he shows up, because you know he will.”
“Always does,” Bigby grunted. Then he looked down at Methos. “How’s the arm?”
Methos looked confused but then recollection flashed behind his eyes. “Just fine, thanks. Mended perfectly, now that you mention it.”
“Yeah, would figure it did,” Bigby muttered around his cigarette. “So what are you anyway? Cuz you’re not a fable.”
“Well, he is…of sorts,” Snow offered, “Among his own kind.”
“And that would be?” When they both hesitated, he pulled the cigarette out of his mouth, exhaling heavily, “If I’m gonna protect this place, I need to know what’s going on. What are you, bub?”
“Immortal,” Methos replied.
“But not like us, huh?”
“No, not quite. From what Snow has told me, your immortality hinges on how much you are believed in, right?”
A grunt in reply.
“Well…our Immortality hinges in whether or not our head stays attached to our shoulders.” Methos’s mouth curled sardonically.
“Well, then, Methos. From what you’ve told me…I guess the three of us are going to be around for quite a time, huh?” Snow snickered, leaning back in her chair.
Bigby sort of grunted again and then turned towards the door. “Well, enjoy your tea, ladies. Some of us have business to attend to.” With that, he was gone again.
Snow sighed in annoyance, pinching the bridge of her nose. “And that’s when he’s polite. You have no idea…”
Methos raised an eyebrow, smiling in that infuriatingly superior way he had. “Oh, don’t I? Let me tell you about a guy namedLogan. But they also called him the Wolverine…”