Richie yanked the door
opened and almost ran into Anne Lindsey and her baby. Anne stood still, her hand in mid air,
about to knock on the door.
she said, startled. "On
your way out?"
"Yeah." Richie gazed past Anne, he didn't
trust himself to stare into her eyes.
"I won't keep you
long. I can't find Duncan. Do you know where I could find him?"
Richie's posture stiffened
slightly when he heard Duncan's name.
"Mac's... gone," Richie replied flatly.
"Yes! Gone...," Richie repeated, and
blinked away tears. "Look
Anne. I'd love to stay and chat... but gotta
run." Before Anne could answer, Richie went
by her leaving her startled and speechless.
Richie bolted down the stairs and out the door.
Richie secured the backpack
on his bike and threw his jacket on.
He felt the sword inside.
A sword a friend had given him. A friend he no longer had. Richie jumped on his bike and closed
his eyes briefly.
Thoughts of his life in the last four years began to drift
into his mind again.
~~~ Mac, Tessa and him
going to the opera in Paris ~~~ Helping Mac mourn the passing
of Darius ~~~ Being shot by a mugger ~~~ Losing the only woman
he'd come to view as his mother ~~~ Waking up after his first
death and staring numbly as Mac held Tessa's lifeless body in
his arms ~~~ Mac sending him away after he took Mako's Quickening
~~~ Mac hugging him and welcoming him back into his life ~~~ Mac
supporting his bike racing ambitions ~~~ Mac and him walking and
kidding along a bridge to meet Coltec ~~~
Richie snapped out of
his memories when the tapping on his shoulder and Anne's voice
registered. She stood next to him, a concerned
look on her face. Richie
stared at her and at the baby she held tightly against her chest.
A thought of the woman he once thought his mother hit him
hard. Like a right
hook to the jaw. Anne
touched his arm and Richie flinched away from her touch.
He gunned the engine and took off into the street.
He never saw the truck
that hit him. He only heard Anne's scream echo through
his whole body before the world turned black.
"Thanks, Joe. I don't know what I would have done
without you." Anne
breathed and rubbed a sore spot on the left side of her neck,
her eyes closed.
"Good thing you're
a quick thinker, Anne."
Anne opened her eyes
and smiled at Joe. They
sat in her living room on the sofa next to each other.
Anne reached over and tapped Joe's hand lightly, then she
turned to look at Richie's body. The injuries he had sustained from the accident would definitely
kill anyone. It *had*
killed him, she thought. But
she also knew that Richie's immortality would bring him back.
Or so she hoped.
Anne had been confused
by Richie's abruptness and followed him to his bike, and watched
horrified as he was hit by a truck. His slim body dragged along for several
feet under the truck before it stopped.
The shaken truck driver
had called 911 before he exited his rig and told Anne help was
on the way. Anne knew just by looking at Richie's
body and how it was positioned and all the blood, that he would
be pronounced dead at the scene and taken directly to the morgue.
She couldn't let that happen.
How would she sign out a dead body to her care?
With no time to spare, Anne got her cell phone and called
Anne was amazed at how
quickly Joe's people had intercepted the ambulance and brought
Richie's body straight to her home. She wanted Richie in familiar surroundings
when he woke up. Immortality. People living forever? The very idea perplexed her, her doctor's
mind refusing to accept it.
But her bottomless curiosity made her thirst for more knowledge.
Anne's eyes were riveted on Richie's still body.
She was filled with too many questions, none of which she'll
ever get answers for.
"Do you how long
it takes them to..."
Anne paused, looking for the right words, never taking
her eyes off Richie.
answered, smiling warmly at her.
"Duncan got shot
once while I was with him in Paris. I saw the wound and was about
to treat him... but it had already healed.
But this?" Anne waved her hand toward Richie.
His clothing mostly covered in blood.
"I'm not too sure about."
"I do know the
more serious the injury, the longer it takes them to regenerate."
Joe waited for Anne to look at him, when she didn't
he cleared his throat getting her attention.
Anne gazed at him, mouth
slightly open. "He
sustained some pretty nasty injuries, Joe.
Broken bones in his legs and arms, head trauma, and probably
internal bleeding..." Anne looked panicked. "Are you sure about this Joe?"
Not counting Kirin,
Anne had never witnessed an immortal come back from the dead.
And she didn't really count Kirin, because she didn't know
at the time that he was immortal. Or knew immortals walked the
Joe reached out for
her hand and squeezed it gently. "I'm sure, Anne."
He looked over to Richie and figured he'd be reviving soon.
"I think it be best if I go before he wakes."
Anne's heart began to
beat double time. She
said the words but didn't mean them.
"If you must, Joe."
Joe stood, with Anne
following. "You'll do fine, Anne."
She nodded her head
absently. "About Duncan..."
Joe sighed heavily and
the creases in his forehead deepened.
He didn't know how much he should tell her, but with Duncan
out there in his current state, he had to tell her something.
"Anne... Mac... isn't himself right now. He's very dangerous at the moment and
should be avoided."
"What? Duncan wouldn't hurt a soul, Joe!"
"Yesterday he almost
killed Richie and threatened my life."
Anne's eyes grew wide,
her lips pressed tightly together, grim.
She was shaking her head refusing to believe what Joe had
just told her. Duncan was the kindest most gentlest
man she'd ever had the pleasure of meeting.
"Joe you have to be mistaken..."
Joe wished he'd been
mistaken, but he had witnessed Duncan attack a woman at the bar
and later tried to take his student's head. "No, Anne. I had to shoot Duncan in order to
save Richie..." Joe
paused watching Anne's face fill with worry.
He took both her hands and brought them to his chest and
gazed intently into her eyes. "I'll explain it all to you later,
Anne. Right now, take care of Richie. He will need... a friend when he wakes."
Joe squeezed her hand
tighter and glanced over at Richie's body.
Anne nodded and watched
Joe leave. She turned her attention to Richie
and sat next to him, hoping this immortality thing really worked
for all kinds of death.
A few hours later, Anne
watched amazed as Richie gasped for air.
She watched him run his hands through his hair and sit
up slowly. He was
taking deep breaths, and groaned when he exhaled. She imagined he experience pain when
he awoke from death. Richie
began to search around the place, and a surprised gasp escaped
his mouth when he saw Anne. Cautiously, Anne reached for his arm but he panicked and pulled
away from her. Anne
jerked her hand back, setting it in her lap.
"Can I get you
something? I don't know what you do after something
Richie stood up too
quickly from the sofa and fell back in groaning when he felt the
incredible ache within him. He vaguely remembered the truck, but
he remembered being dragged under it.
He felt like he had put his body through a blender.
Anne sat quietly, staring.
After more deep breaths, Richie leaned forward and rested
his elbows on his thighs, burying his head in his hands.
Several minutes were
spent in silence, only the sound of Richie's breathing breaking
it. Anne was restless
and wanted to help. It
was her doctor's instincts that made her unable to sit still while
someone near her was in pain.
"Richie? Are you okay?"
Anne felt the question was stupid but asked anyway.
When Richie didn't respond, Anne
touched his arm. Richie
flinched back from her touch and sprang from the sofa.
He should leave, he
thought as he began to pace in the living room.
Anne watched him. He resembled a circus tiger as it
paced back and forth in it's locked cage, as kids taunted it.
Anne subconsciously wished Joe had stayed with her.
He seemed confident that Richie wouldn't harm her, so why
did she feel afraid as she watched him?
He was usually so full of life. Eager and ready for laughter. His ready made smile always on his
face would brighten the darkest of days.
The gleam she'd come to expect and love in his eyes wasn't
there and it worried her. Anne called to him several times before
he snapped to attention.
Richie glared at Anne. She was seated on an ottoman, her
eyes wide. She looked like she was afraid. Afraid of what?, he thought. Dawson's scared eyes flashed before
his and he felt shamed.
His face softened a bit watching her.
He needed to talk to someone about what had happened because
not talking about it was eating him up. He wished Tessa was here. She always listened to him. She would understand. She would know what to do. She always did.
Anne's heart sank watching
the emotional complexity running across Richie's face and felt
empathy for him. He looked so confused and hurt.
"Richie. Please talk to me. I want to help you."
Richie felt the desperation
those words meant. Duncan
had used those words when he first came to live with him and Tessa.
"I don't need anybody's help," Richie snapped.
"I can take care of myself."
Anne was taken aback
by the vehemence in the words, but his scared eyes dictated the
opposite. "I'm sure you can Richie. I'm not questioning that," Anne
said cautiously. "What
I want you to do is tell me what happened with Duncan."
Richie's face hardened
and became unreadable. His
eyes became cold and it sent shivers through Anne's body.
She took a deep breath attempting to calm her nerves.
She'd never felt fear with Richie before and wouldn't now.
And just as suddenly as the anger had appeared,
Anne watched as his
shoulders sagged and his eyes watered. She rushed to him when he began to collapse and they both fell
to floor. Richie
stared at Anne, tears streaming down his cheeks.
Anne cradled his face and smiled. His
body started to shake and he bowed his head.
Anne hugged him when a sob escaped his lips and Richie
wrapped his arms around her and began to cry out the pain.
A howl came from his lips that resided within the deep
wound in his heart. Anne
held him tighter and was unable to stop her own tears as she listened
to the agony that poured out from Richie's soul.
A cramp began to set
in her legs but she didn't dare move. Richie was still crying, deep racking coughs escaping his lips
and it didn't seem that he planned to let up soon. Anne began to rock him and say soothing words to him, trying
to calm him through this desperate time. Joe told her he had to shoot Duncan
in order to save Richie.
Save Richie?, she thought. Now she wondered at the depth of the
attack. Anne thought of the many abused children
and women that came through her emergency room.
Many of them scarred for life.
But not from the physical wound which faded away with time,
but from the wounds that lay below the surface. The psychological wounds that never
of Part 2