Duncan knew from talking
with Dawson that Richie didn't know he'd been trying to get in
touch with him. But
that didn't matter now as Richie stared at him with cold eyes.
Duncan followed Richie's movement as his young student
raised his sword to his neck. Duncan didn't move as Richie pressed
the sword against the tender flesh of his neck and drew blood.
Duncan winced from the incredible pain but still
refused to move. Their eyes locked on each other's
Richie removed his sword
away and in a flash brought it back toward Duncan's neck again.
This time with more force but he stopped a hairs length
away when Richie had a flash into his past.
It was the first time
Duncan had attacked him and tried to take his head. Garrick
had put images into Duncan's mind causing him to attack Richie.
Duncan had felt so guilty about it
he'd ordered Richie to do whatever he had to to protect himself.
Richie had told Duncan he would never take his head. He
couldn't and wouldn't.
Duncan saw hesitation
and hurt pass through Richie's eyes. Richie lowered his sword and walked away.
Duncan exhaled the breath he'd been holding and wanted
to go after Richie, but when he moved to walk after him, he felt
himself restrained and turned to find Methos holding him by the
"I don't think
it's a good idea to go after him now, Duncan."
Duncan didn't respond
but shrugged out of Methos hold and went after Richie. He
needed to talk to him.
Duncan called after him.
Richie's pace was quick, but strong.
He didn't walk with his trademark swagger Duncan noticed.
Richie whirled around,
his sword at the ready.
Duncan stopped, uncertainty
on his face. He had
to get Richie to listen to him. He had to explain.
As he stared into Richie's blazing blue eyes, Duncan
was at a lost of how to proceed and tried some humor.
"Since when do
you call me MacLeod," Duncan said with a crooked smile.
"Since you tried
to take my head, MacLeod," Richie said coldly.
Duncan felt like he'd
been hit in the stomach with a baseball bat. "Richie..."
Duncan sighed, deep regret in his voice.
"I... I'm sorry," Duncan said defeated.
What else could he say or do right now?
Richie stepped closer
to Duncan, his sword still at the ready.
"You're sorry," Richie said calmly.
Too calmly, Duncan thought.
"And that's supposed to make it better?"
Duncan hung his head
unable to continue to stare into Richie's eyes.
Duncan believed in the four years he'd known Richie he
knew every expression the young man could wear on his face, but
he'd never been the recipient of the cold and indifferent look
Richie was giving him now and he felt his heart would burst.
"Please. Let me explain," Duncan said, his voice breaking. He still had his head bowed and missed
it when Richie's shoulders sagged a bit and his sword lowered.
Richie had an incredible urge to hug Mac.
To tell him he forgave him but he held back.
The pain of betrayal was too much to override.
Duncan looked up and
gazed pleadingly into Richie's eyes. Reluctantly, Richie agreed to listen and they walked to the
barge in silence.
sat in the barge staring blankly at it.
Upon first entering, he'd been surprised by the state of
the barge and become talkative, like his old self.
He became very inquisitive. Duncan informed him that an immortal
had set fire to it weeks ago and he was in the process of fixing
it up again. Richie had began to kid him about his
constant need to build something when he caught himself.
After an awkward moment of silence between them the hardness
was back in Richie's eyes.
Now they sat. Face to face.
Duncan gazing at Richie.
Although Richie would never age a day beyond his nineteenth
birthday in looks, his eyes seemed much older.
More haunted. Duncan would no longer see the innocent trusting boy he and
Tessa had taken in four years ago.
Except for the moment he'd been caught off guard by the
change in the barge, Richie hardly smiled.
Duncan sorely missed his protege's smile and cheery personality.
Once Duncan began to
explain away the last few months after he recovered from the dark
quickening, he talked non-stop, afraid if he stopped he wouldn't
be able to finish. He
forced himself to keep his eyes on Richie's, who listened without
much interruption. There weren't any flippant comments
or remarks or any of the funny jokes Richie was famous for and
Duncan had become fond of.
In fact, Richie barely
cracked a smile as Duncan talked. He just nodded and uttered some "A-ha's."
Duncan desperately wanted to hug him and ruffle his hair
but he knew it was no longer appropriate and might add insult
had remained outside the barge giving the two immortals time to
talk. To heal wounds that had been left festering
for too long. He hardly felt compassion for Richie. All immortals needed to know that playing the Game was cold
and hard and sometimes you would have to fight immortals who were
once friends, lovers, and teachers.
Methos was more concerned with other important matters.
Mainly the great threat posed by the Watchers anger towards
immortals knowing of their existence. And with the recent killings of watcher
directors in the new Paris headquarters, possibly by an angry
immortal, would not make their lives any easier.
was standing near a porthole, looking out into the Seine.
He couldn't hate Mac, but things would never be
the same with them again. Maybe they should just part and go
their separate ways. It
was time. Even Duncan left his teacher when
the time came, Richie thought.
Richie caught sight of the other immortal sitting outside
the barge. When he'd
first met him he'd been introduced to him as Adam Pierson, but
that wasn't what Mac had called him.
Without turning around
Richie spoke. "Who's Methos?"
Duncan's eyes flew wide. He guessed in his surprise in seeing
Richie he'd addressed Methos by his real name and not Adam.
Richie turned around
and saw the shock on Duncan's face. "Well? Who is he? I
remember you telling me about this mythical oldest living immortal
last year. But you referred to Pierson as Methos. Why?"
Duncan didn't want to
lie to Richie. It had been Methos' choice not to
reveal that fact to Richie and Duncan had felt bound to respect
that. Now. "Adam
Pierson is Methos."
"The oldest living
immortal, huh? What
did you say? 5,000 years old?" Richie inquired
and stepped closer to Duncan.
Richie stared directly into Duncan's eyes. "Maybe I should challenge him," Richie said, a crooked
smile on his face.
Duncan felt his blood
heat, "I won't allow it!"
Richie scoffed at Duncan's
comment. "You *won't* allow it,"
he said raising his eyebrows. "And how do you plan on stopping me, MacLeod?"
Duncan heard the unspoken
challenge and backed off, feeling stung and trapped.
He couldn't fight Richie.
He wouldn't fight him. Never.
Duncan stared at his
young student. Richie had clearly drawn a visible
line in the sand creating a distance between them and he cursed
immortality for creating a strain in their relationship.
The tension in the barge was thick and oppressive and it
didn't help matters when Methos walked in.
Richie stared hard at
Methos. The oldest living immortal on earth. Duncan had known it wasn't a myth
and knew Methos' true identity and Richie argued that it made
sense not to let any immortal know about it. But he wasn't *any* immortal. But obviously at some point he had
become less in Mac's eyes.
The fact he didn't return to Seacover hinted at it.
*This* proved it.
Methos stood at the
door, feeling awkward and stupid for having interrupted. Duncan
looked wounded and Methos assumed, correctly, that the reunion
hadn't gone well. He began to step out the barge again,
"Please don't leave
on my account," Richie said.
Methos froze at the door. Duncan
returned his attention to Richie and Richie returned the gaze.
"I guess there's a lot of things I don't know about,"
he said, the hurt evident in his voice.
"I guess in the last few months I've learned a lot
about immortality. About
who you can trust and who you can't.
I guess I fall into the latter category with you, MacLeod."
Duncan began, but a wave of Richie's hand stopped him.
Duncan's heart broke
when he saw the hurt and pain in Richie's eyes.
A hint of vulnerability covering the young boys face.
Duncan wanted so badly to hug him and moved to do so but
Richie brought his hand between them stopping Duncan from coming
"Goodbye, MacLeod." Richie picked up his jacket and made
his way to the door. He
stopped briefly next to Methos then left, never looking back at
Duncan slumped down
in the couch and buried his face in his hands.
Richie's last words had been said with such finality Duncan
felt he'd never see his student -- his son -- again.
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