Friends It was closing time at "Joe's." It had been a normal night, with a clientele that leaned heavily to the Watchers, and somewhat to the Watched, and a sprinkling of folks who were simply there for good jazz and good company. Word of "Joe's" was spreading through the jazz community, with the note that the owner was as pleasant to the ears as any one featured on its tiny stage. Richie and a short, pretty, plump dark haired girl who looked about his apparent age had left about midnight. Duncan and Amanda, as striking a couple as ever, were going out the door now. One man sitting at his bar cast a longing look in their direction - and it wasn't Amanda he was looking at. "It's a mystery to me, Joe." "How a man could be so straight?" "I've seen grown men literally throw themselves at him. He doesn't even notice. It's as if it doesn't exist in his world." "He's always been that way. It's not just upbringing. It's MacLoed himself. It's simply not in his worldview." "I know. It's in his Chronicles. He's four hundred years old, and the only reason he's moved beyond vanilla is Amanda." Methos stared glumly at his beer glass. "Duncan's a slow learner. He didn't even pick up reading for fifty years. Give him time. How long did it take you?" "No time at all. I never worried about the package." "I learned that lesson myself." Joe looked directly into Methos' eyes. "Another lesson I learned is that there isn't all that much difference between friends and lovers." Methos smiled at that, and touched Joe's hand. "That's something I learned early. Friend." Joe smiled back. Methos was surprised at Joe's apartment. Somehow, he'd always pictured it as cluttered with books and papers and vinyl and cds. Instead, there was a series of low bookcases lining all the walls, where all the material was neatly organized. The living room contained one sofa and a spectacular sound system and no other furniture. Joe had excused himself as soon as they'd walked in, so Methos made himself comfortable on the sofa with a Chronicle. After a bit, he heard Joe cough politely - but from a lower position than Methos expected. He looked in that direction. Joe was sitting in a low, armless wheelchair, with a tray balanced on his lap. His prostheses were off. Methos could see the calloused ends of Joe's stumps peeking out of the shorts Joe had evidently changed into. "You look entirely more comfortable like that." Joe handed him one of the two beer bottles on his tray. "I am. It's just easier to deal with the world on false legs than on real wheels."