Ninurta (ninurta) wrote in ship_manifesto,

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Methos/Kronos (Highlander)

Title: Anything You Want
Fandom: Highlander
Pairing: Methos/Kronos
Author: ninurta
Spoilers: Comes A Horseman, Revelation 6:8, Not To Be

The Characters
Valentine Pelka, who plays Kronos, was only in five episodes of Highlander, two of which are the most famous in the series: "Comes A Horseman" and "Revelation 6:8", centered on the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and the revelation (couldn't resist) that Methos was one of them. But for two of the five episodes he wasn't actually playing Kronos; he was playing a demon who was taunting MacLeod with Kronos' face. Understandably, we don't get to know Kronos very well. On the surface Kronos is an evil—some might say psychopathic—bastard who revels in death and destruction and is hell-bent on taking over the world. But there's more to him than that, if you look.

Kronos is extremely self-confident, never suffers self-doubt and knows exactly who he is. "I'm Kronos. I always have been, and I always will be."

He's obsessed with the past and has been trying to recapture it for the last thousand years. Back in the Horsemen days he and his brothers were the most terrifying thing the world had ever seen; just their name was enough to inspire fear. They very well could have been seen as demons or gods. But as Methos said, times were different then. In a world where people believed in gods who could be compassionate or vengeful it was easy for the Horsemen to carve out a place for themselves. But in the modern world, where fear of monsters in the dark belongs to children or is embodied in an abstract, distant evil being, there is no place for Kronos. So for the past thousand years he’s been wandering, trying to find somewhere to belong.

Kronos does revel in death and destruction. Methos said he torched villages to watch them burn. But what's more important to Kronos is how it makes him feel.

Kronos: Tell me you haven't missed it.

Methos: The killing?!

Kronos: The freedom! The power! Riding out of the sun knowing you're the most terrifying thing that they've ever seen. Knowing that their weapons and their gods are useless against you. That you're the last thing they'll ever see.
Obviously, Kronos has a god complex. But if you don't hate him on sight, it kind of grows on you.

Kronos prizes loyalty and family. The only people he gives a damn about are his brothers. They're the only ones he sees as equals. "We are four brothers. The blood we spill binds us; only blood can separate us."

Kronos is not one to forgive, and he never forgets. If you transgress against him, he will pay you back even if he has to wait thousands of years to do it. 3000 years ago Cassandra stabbed and killed him with a bronze knife. In the present of Rev6:8 he still has that bronze knife and returns it to Cassandra in kind.

Kronos may or may not be mad—depends on how you look at it. But it can't be denied that he's extremely intelligent – the man bred a virus as deadly as AIDS and Ebola. This also shows how totally committed he is to his causes.

Methos is a very complex character who hides behind the mask he presents to the world. He would prefer that no one knew he was Methos – it's safer for him that way. But if someone does know that he's Methos, he wants them to see a cynical, sarcastic man who isn't anything special and who doesn't care about anyone or anything but himself. He doesn't want anyone to see him as a 5,000 year old man, and he certainly doesn't want anyone to look up to him and look to him for answers. "I'm just a guy."

But he slips every now and then. He does care about people who are close to him. He has repeatedly put himself on the line to save his friends, most often MacLeod. And his friends come to him for answers anyway, though they usually don't get the kind of answers they want. And as for him being just a guy...he's been a king, a slave, Death, and everything in between. He must have great inner strength to have survived as long as he has with his sanity intact.

The Subtext

I'm not sure how to organize this, so I'll just walk you through the episodes.

Comes A Horseman:

When we first see Methos and Kronos together, it's as a knife comes flying out of the darkness and imbeds itself in Methos' chest. Kronos steps into the frame and says, "Greetings, Brother." As he's dying Methos chokes out, "Kronos," sounding surprised and bit afraid. "I missed you, too," Kronos says sarcastically then grins manically. Not the most promising start to an OTP unless you count the phallic symbolism of the knife.

After Kronos has moved Methos to the abandoned power station he's staying at and lets Methos revive, he gives him an ultimatum: join Kronos or lose his head. After Methos accepts the 'offer'—"Well, since you put it that way...welcome back, Brother."—Kronos leaves but turns to give him a lingering hungry look. Kronos is also holding a length of chain in this scene which both of them watch for a moment, adding a hint of kink.

After running into Cassandra at the dojo Methos goes back to the power plant. Kronos' back is to him. Methos takes his sword and half-heartedly tries to hit Kronos in the head with the pommel. Kronos blocks him, grabs Methos' sword arm and holds a knife to his throat. Phalic symbolism, take 2. This is trigger-happy Methos we're talking about – if he really wanted Kronos dead, he'd have shot him and then taken his head. So why doesn't he? He tells MacLeod at the end of Rev6:8 that if he judged Kronos worthy to die he judged himself the same way. But if part of him didn't want to kill Kronos because he was attached to him, he certainly wouldn't tell MacLeod that.

In the same scene as the botched 'attempt' on Kronos' life, Kronos wants Methos to kill MacLeod to prove himself. Methos says "But he's my friend. He's nothing to you. Why?" as if MacLeod being Methos' freind should mean something to Kronos. Methos' question suggests that he's used to Kronos making concessions for him. But Kronos' reply is "Why?! Because he's your friend. Because you still have to prove yourself. And because YOU OWE ME!" Kronos may want MacLeod dead to eliminate anyone who could mean as much to Methos as he himself does.

Kronos then makes Methos swear a blood oath. After Methos swears, Kronos looks at him expectantly and Methos looks at their clasped hands. Then one of them moves their hands toward Methos. I'm still not sure what's going on there, except that it's something familiar to both of them that they've done in the past. And that there's sexual tension.

And you can't tell me Methos didn't have a gun on him someplace because at the end of the episode he just happens to have cans of gasoline and Molotov cocktails to set the power station on fire and break up the fight between Kronos and MacLeod.

We next see Methos and Kronos at night on the water's edge. Kronos is demanding to know why Methos stopped the fight and is holdind his sword at Methos' throat. As Kronos says "Are you afraid of me losing, or him? Have I been wrong about you? Maybe I should kill you right now and make absolutely sure," Methos leans into the sword almost like it's a lover's caress. And once again, phallic symolism with sharp objects.

Revelation 6:8:

The first lines of the episode:
Kronos: Two days on an aeroplane, and another two on a horse. I hope you're not wasting my time.

Methos: I thought you enjoyed my company.

Kronos: Even for you, Methos, my patience has limits.

Methos: Ah, this is the place. I'm telling you, Kronos, he's here. Would I lie to you?

Kronos: Have you ever done anything else?
Kronos does not deny liking Methos' company and implies that he puts up with more from Methos than anyone else, even after Methos has obviously earned Kronos' distrust. He must value Methos quite highly. In CaH after Methos revived Kronos said he was always the one he counted on.

In the scene where they break Caspian out of the asylum, Methos moves behind Kronos as Caspian is strangling the doctor and glares distastefully at the back of Kronos' head. To me it's a glare that says "You're not getting laid anytime soon for letting him kill the doctor."

The flashback where Kronos comes into Methos’ tent and finds Cassandra there radiates jealousy. Kronos thinks Methos has grown attached to her and doesn’t like it one bit, so takes her away.

In the next scene with Methos and Kronos they are actually FLIRTING and invade each other's space. Kronos even gives a cute flirtatious chuckle.

Kronos: Ah, it's exactly like I think. My dearest brother, that's what makes you my perfect right arm – we think alike. We always have.

Methos: [laughs] I doubt that, Kronos. No one thinks quite like you.

Kronos: [chuckles] Spoken like a true scholar.
After their flirting, Kronos tells Methos about the bomb with the virus in the reservoir. Then he tells Methos he has a surprise for him. He leads Methos to a railing, and below them in a cage is Cassandra.

Kronos: I wonder what your friend MacLeod thinks of you now.

Methos: Think I care?

Kronos: You should. You lured him away. When he comes back and he finds that someone has stolen his woman – I mean if that—if that was me...I'd want you dead.
Kronos wants MacLeod dead, badly. Part of that may very well be that in Kronos' eyes, MacLeod has stolen Methos from him since Methos didn't kill MacLeod.

The fight at the end. Let's just forget for a minute that the show's called Highlander and not The Horseman and think about this. Kronos is 3000+ years old and is the type to actively hunt other Immortals. You have to be DAMN good to survive 3000 years doing that. MacLeod is 400 years old and usually lets the bad guys come to him. Granted, there's been a lot of bad guys, but the numbers just couldn't compare. But throughout most of the fight MacLeod is giving ground to Kronos. Just before they see Methos and Silas fighting, MacLeod gets in a couple good licks. But by the time they're done watching Methos and Silas, Kronos' wounds would have been healed. (I timed how long Methos was dead in "Indiscretions" when he took the bullet for Joe, and it was 10 seconds.) He could have turned the tables on Mac. And before Mac took Kronos' head, he hesitated. Kronos could have done something, but he just stares at MacLeod. (Personally, I'd have gone for the balls then.) The only way I can see it is Kronos LET MacLeod take his head because there was nothing left for him. His family was dead or had betrayed him, and he had no chance finding a place in the world without them.

The Double Quickening. It goes from MacLeod to Methos. And who's Quickening did Mac take? Kronos'. Kronos, who hates MacLeod and loves Methos. His Quickening jumps from Mac to Methos because, afterall, Kronos isn't the kind of man who'd let a little thing like death keep him from being where he wanted to be.

The Cut Scene:

It's the scene that shows how Methos left the Horsemen and why, according to Kronos, Methos owes him. In Ancient Greece, about 2000 years ago, Methos wanted to leave and learn. But Kronos didn't want to let him go. "Don't you understand, Methos? The only way to leave the by leaving your head." And if Kronos had taken his head, which would have been most likely, Methos would be with him forever. Methos poisons him and considers taking his head, but can't do it. So he traps Kronos at the bottom of a well, where Kronos remained for a thousand years.

Why does he never take Kronos' head? Is it really only because if he judged Kronos worthy to die he judged himself the same way? I don't think so. Since when has Methos tolerated anyone judging him, or even really tolerated anyone judging people? The Horsemen were together for a thousand years. Plenty of time for Methos to get attached to Kronos.

Now, as for Kronos. Like I said, he does not forgive, and he does not forget. A thousand years after he got out of the well he still had the bolt that held the grate at the top shut. So why didn't he kill Methos the moment he found him? Methos trapped him in a well for a thousand years – anyone else Kronos would have killed, probably slowly. Time and again Methos has shown himself to be untrustworthy, but Kronos trusts him anyway. The only reason I can think of is that Kronos loves him.

Not To Be:

This is the series finale. Here we get to see more of Kronos and DarkSide!Methos. It's an "It's A Wonderful Life" episode where MacLeod is shown what the world would be like without him. Methos had married a Watcher, a sweet, innocent, stupid girl who tired to make the Hunters see that Immortals weren't all bad by telling them Adam was an Immortal. Horton brought his buddies, the girl was killed, Methos was killed. But before they could even think of taking Methos' head, Kronos bursts through a window with an oozie and saves the day. This time Methos goes back to the old ways.

They're too busy being evil in the glimpses Fitz lets MacLeod see, so there's not a lot of chances for subtext. However, they do the "invading each other's space" thing and the "knowing what the other is thinking without speaking" thing. When Methos beheads Richie there's a brief shot of Kronos watching avidly and looking lustful. And when Methos fights MacLeod, after seeing Kronos unconscious on the floor, Methos is quite nasty in the fight.

Here we also get the eye candy of Kronos in leather pants. Sadly, his sweater is quite long and covers his ass.

Why I ship them and how it all started

Why do I ship them? Ultimately it's because of Sleeps With Coyotes (ciceqi).

When I got into the fandom about the end of 1999 the first slash I read was Methos/MacLeod. And I liked it. But back then I also liked MacLeod.

I read a lot of fic at Seventh Dimension, the main Highlander archive. In my early quest for slash I came across several that involved Kronos. None of them were very nice. I hated Kronos because Methos was my favorite character and Kronos tortured him. Then I found 'Blood, Love & Rhetoric', home to Coyote's fan fiction. I absolutely love her work. I read all her D/M fics then read her Horsemen fics. Until I read her Horsemen fics, I had always taken Kronos at face value. Her fics show different sides that Kronos could have and made me love him. I officially became a Methos/Kronos shipper at this point.

Not long after this MacLeod began to really get on my nerves. And then my mom bought the entire series off ebay. We watched the whole series, of course, and I became very disillusioned with MacLeod. He's a hypocrite and a self-righteous, chivalric prick. I hated that he treated Methos like shit and betrayed him and was ready to kill him at the drop of a skirt, all for a woman MacLeod had fucked a few times. MacLeod doesn't deserve Methos. But here we have another strong male slashable with Methos in Kronos. One who I think deserves Methos. This is when M/K became my OTP.

Why others should ship them

The true beauty of Methos/Kronos lies in how very little we see of them in canon. We're told that Cassandra was captured by the Horsemen 3000 years ago and that the Horsemen broke up 2000 years ago. And we only get to see the power-hungry evil Kronos. We have no idea when or how Methos and Kronos met or even how old Kronos is, just that they were together for at least a thousand years. With so little to go on and so much history to play with, Methos/Kronos can be almost anything you can imagine it to be. That is the true appeal of this pairing.

Fic Recommendations

If you only read one fic in this pairing, make it Long Have I Waited by Genevieve Clemens and Parda. Long before the Horsemen rode, Methos and Kronos were more than friends—they were family. This is their story, from the beginning to Bordeaux, told without brainwashing, S&M, or violent persuasions, but with plenty of angst and lots of love—both agape and eros. This is my favorite story in any and all fandoms, bar none. (The only story I like as much as this is Dr. Jackson's Diary by Anais, but it's a completely different type of story.) I can't express how amazing this story is. The writing, the characterizations, the imagery – it's golden, all of it. The story is so beautiful and so tragic. It makes me cry every time I read it. Just read it. Trust me, you won't regret it.

Coyote's fic, obviously. All of it. Seriously. And definitely check out the Resurrection Fic. Coyote's site is now blank, but a lot of her stuff can still be found here at Seventh Dimension under Ladonna King.

A little self pimping: Fate, my very own ResFic. Someone offers to give Methos' brother back to him. For a price.

Boyd has several M/K stories varying in tone. "Close Your Eyes and Think of Uruk" is my favorite of hers. It's fun and amusing.

sparklebutch also has many lovely M/K stories of varying tone.

Undertow by Apocrypha. A thousand years is a long time to develop patterns, and a lot to walk away from, even if you wanted to. 'Need' takes many forms.

Pay What You Owe by Jacynthe Demorae. Comes A Horseman from Kronos' POV. Featuring ObsessedInLove!Kronos.

Blind Date by Juxian Tang. I've read this one a few times. Methos Roman officer meets Kronos who didn't change his old ways. Contains rape and torture. I almost never like stories that contain rape, but I like this one. Methos tries to fight what was between Kronos and himself but has a lapse in resolve.

Revelations 6:17 by Claire. Interesting crossover with Hercules and Xena. If you're very fond of Herc, Iolaus, Xena and Gab, you might want to pass on this one. M/K, K/Ares, M/Ares.

Four lovely M/K fics by Sandi

Anything But Love by Sharon Cross. A Kronos who has no room for love.

Good Old Days by A. Ceely. Why Methos joined the Horsemen.

The Keening Song by RileyC. Travelling again, Methos reflects on his relationship with Kronos. Memory sprawls into musings on the uses of death and pain. Contains S&M. So exquisitely twisted I can't wrap my brain around it.

Many delicious M/K fics by Helen. There's also a vid.

The Kronos section at Seventh Dimension. There's quite a bit of slash. Most of it is dark.


The Methos and Kronos Journals by Xenon are a lot of fun. I love these. Even has ResFic.

Train Up a Child by A. C. Langlinais. How Methos and Kronos met.

Excavations by Chris is another look at how the Horsemen began. And it's nothing like you'd have guessed.

The Chains That Bind by Verin Haley. What hold did Methos have over Kronos to draw Kronos to him after 2000 years? Definitely worth a look. I haven't seen another story that takes this stance on the M/K relationship.

Vid Recommendation

Temptaion by fenlings is the most frelling awesome vid I've ever seen.

Quotes and the Cut Scene from
Tags: highlander the series

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