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Fanfic page with pictures, music, previews, staff bios and episode listings, all you could want, and more, for Highlander fiction fans. HFS season one is finished, we have a total of 23 episodes, and they're all available if you follow the HFS link.

Flood - by Angela Mull
Disclaimer: "Highlander" and its characters are the property of Rysher Entertainment and are used without permission.
 

Part 1/4

January 1993

Tessa edged out of the car slowly, juggling the two bags of groceries and her purse. Duncan came out of the antique shop and took the bags, kissing her cheek.

"Did you have a nice time at the grocery store?" he asked playfully as they walked inside.

Tessa threw him an annoyed glance. Duncan knew how much she hated grocery shopping. Cooking she didn't mind, but she detested buying the ingredients. He usually did the shopping, but today he'd stayed at the shop to help unload some deliveries.

"All I have to say is I'm glad Richie wasn't with me this time," she said as they removed the contents of the bags.

Whenever Richie went with Tessa, they ended up bringing home twice as much food as she had on the list, and it was mostly snacks. Tessa wondered if he would ever outgrow his junk food addiction.

"Where is Richie?" Tessa asked as they finished putting away the groceries. She pushed her blonde hair out of her face and rubbed absentmindedly at her lower back.

"He went out to see some friends," Duncan said and wrapped her in his arms, moving his right hand down her back to massage the spot that was bothering her.

Tessa sighed and put her arms around his neck, breathing in the smell of his aftershave. She let her hands play in his ponytail for a moment and kissed him longingly. It was rare they had any private moments like this with Richie around. Not that they would ever complain. Still, it was nice to be alone with Duncan for a little while.

Tessa was about to suggest they make their way to the bedroom when he broke the embrace.

"Hold that thought," he said, kissing the tip of her nose. "I have to grab a brochure out of the car from that new rare book dealer. His prices are low, and I told him I'd call him yesterday. I don't want him to think I'm not interested."

Duncan made his way out to the car and bent over the side, fishing out the brightly-colored pamphlet from the back seat. As he did, a movement across the street caught his eye. A lean teenager with greasy hair appeared to be harassing an elderly woman. She was shaking her head emphatically from side to side, clutching at her purse as he talked to her.

It was early afternoon, and there weren't many people out on the street. Most were indoors, avoiding the cold air and shoveling down lunch. Although those who were outside must have seen what was happening, they were doing their best to ignore it. It wasn't surprising to Duncan. More often than not, people didn't like to get involved in another person's dispute and risk their lives to help someone they didn't know.

But with Duncan's sense of honor, if someone was in trouble, he helped them. Sizing up the would-be thief, Duncan knew he could overpower the teenager.

Just as he started to cross the street, a familiar figure turned the corner.

***

As Richie made his way up the street, he spotted the trouble right away. He'd just finished playing pool with Gary and some of Gary's friends, and had walked the short distance back from the pool hall.

Richie stopped and decided he wasn't going to let this greaseball beat up on an old lady. Mugging grandmas wasn't cool in Richie's opinion.

"Let her go!" he shouted and jogged over to the pair.

The other teenager released the woman and looked at the redhead approaching him. He went to make a last grab at the purse when he saw another man with a ponytail crossing the street toward him.

Richie saw Duncan out of his peripheral vision but kept his eyes trained on the other youth. The old woman loosened her grip a little too much as she watched her would-be rescuers draw closer, and her assailant grabbed the purse and started running. "My purse!" she cried, her hand flying up to rest over her heart.

"Don't worry, I'll get it," Richie said as he ran past her in pursuit of the thief.

***

The thief had chosen the wrong alley to run down -- it was a dead end, and he had nowhere to go. Turning to face his pursuers, he dropped the purse.

"You can have the old bag's purse, OK?"

Richie moved toward the teenager.

"You know, I may have stolen a lot of stuff in my time, but I never took anything from a little old lady," Richie said disgustedly as he stopped a few feet away from the punk. "You should learn some manners."

Duncan joined Richie and stood to his right.

"Turn around," the Highlander ordered the thief. He planned to pin the kid's arms behind his back and lead him out of the alley to wait for the police.

The youth had different plans. He started to turn away as if obeying Duncan's orders, but at the same time reached casually inside of his leather jacket, pulled out a knife and whirled around.

Duncan didn't have time to prevent what happened next -- the distance between the thief and Richie was too small. The teenager struck out at Richie with the knife. Richie saw it coming and tried to move out of the way, but the knife sunk into his left side anyway.

He felt the metal dig in and drag down along his ribs before pulling out. Gasping, he staggered back as Duncan tackled the thief to the ground and punched him hard enough to knock him out. The Immortal got up and went to Richie, whose face was white with pain.

"Richie? Are you OK?" Duncan asked urgently, grabbing the pre-Immortal's elbows.

Richie looked down to where his right hand clutched his side. Taking his hand away, he saw it was smeared with blood. His blood. Bright red. A wave of dizziness passed over Richie and he sagged forward into Mac's arms, grasping at the man's shirt to maintain his balance. He felt Mac catch him, walk him over to the right and ease him to the ground so he sat up against the hard brick wall.

While Richie tried not to cry out from the sharp pain, Duncan lifted up his sweatshirt. The wound was not life-threatening, but if Richie hadn't side-stepped when he did, it could have been.

*Someone needs to explain the word "restraint" to him,* Duncan thought as he examined the wound. But he didn't voice his opinion. Richie was in no shape for a lecture.

"Just take it easy," Duncan said, gently squeezing Richie's elbow.

Sirens wailed in the background, and Duncan looked up to see Tessa running toward them.

"I called the police," she said as she dropped down to her lover's side and looked at Richie's pale, sweating face. "What happened?"

"Oh, you know," Richie said, gasping a little in pain, "I had to save Mac's butt and got a souvenir in the process."

Duncan shook his head at Richie. Tessa removed her sweater vest and handed it to the Immortal, who pressed it up against Richie's bleeding side.

Richie looked at the vest and leaned his head back against the wall, closing his eyes and wincing at the pressure. "Oh, Tessa. You shouldn't have."

"I don't care about the vest," she said a little testily, pushing back the damp curls from Richie's head. His hair always curled more than he liked when it was wet, as it was now from his sweat.

"No, I mean you really shouldn't have," Richie said, giving her a weak grin. "It isn't my color. Doesn't go with any of my other clothes."

"Don't you ever stop joking?" Duncan asked in exasperation. As Richie shook his head, two police officers pounded down the alley to join the trio. They stopped and one radioed for an ambulance.

Despite the pain of the knife wound, Richie shook his head violently and tried to stand.

"I don't need a hospital. I'm fine," he said as Duncan forced him to stay put. Richie cried out as the exertion pulled at his side.

"Richie, you need stitches," Duncan said calmly, gripping the teenager's shoulders tightly to keep him from bolting.

Richie's eyes filled with pain born out of more than the knife wound. "Please, I don't want to go," he said, his voice rising in panic. "Don't make me go."

He was desperate to avoid the hospital. There were too many memories wrapped up for him there. Things he wanted to put behind him. Things he was afraid to remember.

As Duncan settled Tessa's vest back over Richie's side and applied pressure again, he caught Tessa's eyes. He knew that something in Richie's past was causing his present state of panic.

"Richie, we'll go with you," Tessa soothed as she rubbed his arm. "You won't be alone."

Richie opened his mouth to tell her again that he didn't need to go to the hospital. But before he could get the words out, the world tilted violently away from him.

***

"He'll be fine," Dr. Tollefson reassured Tessa and Duncan for the third time in the last five minutes. The spectacled man had come to the waiting room as soon as he'd finished with Richie Ryan and told the couple that the boy was very lucky. The knife didn't do any serious damage, and Richie hadn't lost too much blood, although he'd feel a bit weak for a while. The doctor had thrown in several stitches, and said Richie could go home as soon as he finished making a statement to the police.

Tessa, still upset from seeing Richie pass out, kept after the doctor for five minutes. She didn't want Richie coming home unless he really was OK.

"Miss Noel," the doctor said, his voice tinged with impatience, "Mr. Ryan is fine. He needs to relax tonight and take his pain medication and some antibiotics to prevent infection, but he's in no danger."

Tessa pursed her lips as the doctor walked away. Duncan put an arm around her waist and kissed the top of her head.

"Trust the doctor, Tessa. He's the one with the degree."

Tessa smiled faintly and nodded her head. The pair sat down to wait for Richie to come out of the exam room.

***

After the cop left, Richie dressed slowly. His mind was going at lightening speed, flashing on a snippet of his past here and a larger section there. He sucked in deep breaths, trying not to completely freak out.

He'd regained consciousness in the ambulance and realized with horror that he was headed toward the hospital. Painful images from last spring had flooded into his mind.

He didn't say anything to Mac on the way to the hospital, other than to ask where Tessa was. Mac said she was driving the car over and would meet them there.

Once at the hospital, he'd spent his time in the exam room staring at the ceiling, using all of his energy to think about anything other than this hospital or the Davises. When the nurses came at him with the needles, he bit his lower lip to keep from crying out at the remembered helplessness the sharp objects had brought him almost a year ago.

Even after the shots, he tried to pretend he was somewhere else, anywhere else, than St. Tim's. He had returned here only once since his stay last spring. In October, Tessa had cut her finger, and Richie drove her here. He'd been running on automatic pilot, his concern for her overriding his fear of waking memories he'd just as soon let rot. He'd left as soon as he knew Tessa was OK.

Richie finished dressing, carefully pulling on a white "St. Tim's Softball Team '92" t-shirt the nurse had given him to replace his bloody sweatshirt. He took one last deep breath, relieved that he didn't have to stay overnight. He didn't think he could stand it.

In a few minutes, he'd be out of St. Tim's and could forgot about everything.

***

But Richie couldn't forget, not even when he fell asleep in his bed shortly after returning from the hospital. In a nightmare, he saw Grant Davis putting out his hands, heard his own scream of anguish and felt the pain of waking up at the hospital.

Richie's eyes snapped open. The room was dark except for the blue light from the clock's digital readout. It was a little after 9 p.m. Mac and Tessa would still be up. He eased himself out of bed and threw on a t-shirt over his boxer shorts.

Duncan looked up as Richie entered the living room, surprised to see the teenager awake. Richie had been unusually quiet on the way back from St. Tim's and had insisted on going to bed right away. Duncan didn't think he'd see the pre-Immortal again until the morning.

Tessa shooed Duncan off of the couch so Richie could stretch out. They sat in silence for a minute. The Immortal knew something was bothering Richie, but he said nothing and waited for the teenager to speak.

Richie remembered how good it felt a few weeks ago when he told Mac and Tessa about Emily Ryan and Mr. Stubbs. The couple was sympathetic, and Mac had helped him look for his father, Jack Ryan. Jack turned out to be Joe Scanlon, a con man, and Richie found out that Emily Ryan was only a foster mother. He spent almost a week wandering around in a haze of confusion, wondering if he'd ever find his real parents. It had helped that Mac and Tessa were there for him when he needed to dump out all of the thoughts bouncing around in his head.

Richie decided to tell Mac and Tessa about what had happened to him during his stay with the Davises. He needed to talk to someone or he'd explode from all of the hurt and anger boiling up inside of his gut.

Sighing, Richie rubbed his eyes for a moment, dropped his hands and spoke without looking at Mac and Tessa.

"I didn't think I'd ever talk about this again with anyone," he said quietly. "But I can't pretend it didn't happen, and I'm tired of trying not to remember it. It isn't working."

He paused for a moment.

"I was 16," he began. "Sixteen years old, and pissed off at the world, but what's new, right?"


End of Part 1

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