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HFS
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.

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

Part 5/5

By the time Duncan met Krissa at the park, it was 10:30 p.m. He felt her presence before he saw her. She approached him casually, her hair bobbing in its ponytail, her right arm thrust underneath the long coat she wore.  

As Duncan's breath plumed out of his mouth, he shoved his own hand under his coat.  

"The park is too public," he said.

It was empty at the moment, but Duncan knew it was a favorite hangout for horny teenagers.  

Krissa emitted a short laugh. "I'm not stupid, MacLeod. I have someplace else in mind. You know where Piederman's Warehouse is?"

He nodded. The warehouse was only a few blocks away. Piederman had experienced his third heart attack a month ago, and decided to sell the warehouse. It was empty and shut down.  

The pair of Immortals walked the short distance in silence. Once they arrived at the warehouse, Duncan watched as Krissa picked the cheap lock. She waited for him to go inside. As Duncan stood in the darkness, the lights flared on suddenly, nearly blinding the Highlander. Once his eyes adjusted, he saw Krissa standing in front of him.  

She threw off her coat and readied her katana, grinning at him. Duncan left his coat on, but drew out his sword. He made the first lunge, hoping he would get lucky. But Krissa parried his thrust, eyes glittering.  

For the first few minutes, Duncan was the only one trying to maim; Krissa was content to deflect his endless thrusts. Duncan knew she was toying with him, and he wondered if it was part of her strategy to tire out her opponent before closing in for the kill.  

After swatting aside another of his attacks, Krissa slipped her sword into his right side and dragged it down and out. Duncan resisted the urge to grab at the gaping wound and barely deflected her next thrust. The effort put him off balance,  and her next thrust easily sliced open his left side.  

Duncan gasped in pain as he felt the blood soak his linen shirt. He tried to gain the advantage, but she began raining down blows on him. He felt her sword penetrate his chest and stomach before his legs gave out on him and he fell to his knees.  

Laughing in exultation, Krissa disarmed him. Duncan watched as his sword skittered across the floor. When he looked up at her, he saw the uncontained joy in her eyes as she anticipated the kill. Duncan tried to stand, but instead fell back awkwardly so he was lying on his back, his legs bent so his feet were under his buttocks.  

As he saw Krissa raise her katana above her head, he thought of Richie. Who would teach him how to survive once he gained his Immortality? And then he saw Tessa. Saw her that day on the boat when he first met her. Saw her as she was when he left her earlier tonight.  

He'd always assumed she would die first. Duncan felt a longing to live such as he'd never felt before, and then heard Krissa's voice above him.  

"There can be only one," she said, and thrust down.  

***

Tessa paced in the kitchen, the fluorescent light above making her face look washed out and pale. She glanced at the clock. It was 11 p.m.  

Richie sat at the table, feeling like an idiot. He'd tried to keep Tessa's mind off of the fight, talking nonstop about everything but Immortals and sword fights. But it had been a monologue and had run out of steam five minutes ago. He knew Tessa was afraid, and so was he.

"I'm sorry," he said.  

Tessa stopped pacing and looked at him. "Why?"

"I'm sorry all of this is happening," he said, picking at the table's edge. "I really wish it wasn't."

Tessa sat down next to Richie and looked at him.  

"Do you think he's dead?" she asked.  

"I don't know, Tessa. "

She got back up and resumed her pacing, and Richie saw she wasn't crying at his answer. He admired her courage, but what if Mac died? How would she handle it?  

***

As Krissa thrust down with her sword, Duncan's adrenaline allowed him to roll out of the way just in time. Krissa, who had put all of her power behind the thrust, nearly fell forward.  

Duncan felt his life running out with his blood, but located his sword 10 feet away and started pulling himself toward it anyway. He tried to reach it, even though he knew Krissa would reach him first.  

She didn't. Angry at herself for being overconfident of her victory, she turned smartly on her heels to follow him and slipped on his blood. She fell backward and landed, hard, on her back. She'd been unwilling to let go of her sword, and so could not stop her fall. The impact drove the breath out of her lungs, and an incredible pain slammed into her back. She lay there, stunned.  

Duncan turned back at the noise and saw that Krissa would not be going anywhere for a minute or two. He kept up his progress to his sword.  

Krissa's eyes burned with tears of pain. She couldn't move, and wondered briefly if she was paralyzed.  

Duncan reached his sword after what seemed an eternity. His own pain was slowing him down, and when he felt the katana in his grasp, he turned, fully expecting Krissa to be behind him. But she was still lying on the floor.  

Duncan didn't know how much longer she would stay down as he stood up. He knew it was adrenaline carrying him now, and he staggered over to her. His vision was darkening, and Duncan knew he was dying, but he kept going. He could hardly believe he actually stayed on his feet and reached her.  

When he did, he nearly fell. Krissa saw him standing there, and although her own body was full of agony, she tried to raise her sword, but couldn't in time.  

Duncan threw his force into the blow, knowing that she wouldn't roll away from death as he had. His katana easily lopped off her head, and as the Quickening entered him, he remembered his words to Richie.  

"Sometimes luck outweighs skill."

Duncan's screams of pain filled the warehouse as it lit up. When the Quickening was over, he collapsed on the floor and waited for the wounds to heal.  

***

It was almost midnight when Duncan walked into the shop. Tessa ran to him immediately and threw her arms around him as she said his name. The sight of him released her emotions, and she cried silently.  

Richie hung back and watched the scene, not wanting to intrude, but relieved Mac was alive. Mac caught his eyes and smiled. Richie smiled back, and left the couple alone.  

***

The next days passed by quickly for Richie. He spent his time helping Tessa finish decorate for Christmas and eating the gingerbread man cookie dough when she turned her back. Richie enjoyed feeling like a part of a family during the holidays. He'd had a few good Christmases over the years, but not many.  

Christmas Eve dinner was beyond Richie's expectations. Tessa spent all day cooking, and Richie shoveled the food down his throat with great gusto. He told Tessa how good it tasted as he stuffed yet another forkful of mashed potatoes into his mouth. She laughed at his muffled words, and Duncan joined her.  

"You'd think we never fed you," Duncan told the teenager.  

After dinner, Tessa turned on Christmas music and relaxed near the tree as Duncan and Richie went to clean up. Halfway through the dishes, with his arms covered in soap bubbles, Richie paused.  

Just a few months ago, he'd had nothing. Then he broke into Mac's shop, and now he was living with a beautiful woman and a man who could live forever. It was weird, but it felt like home. For the first time since Frank had died, Richie felt comfortable with his life.  

Duncan saw the faraway look in Richie eyes and knew the boy was in his own world. He was surprised at Richie's next words.  

"The foster homes were a major drag, man," Richie said as he returned to scrubbing the pan that was caked with stuffing. "Most of the people I lived with could've cared less about what happened to me."

Duncan waited for Richie to go on, but he didn't. Richie had said all he was going to say about the subject for now.  

Duncan accepted the silence and they continued washing and drying the large dishes, then put the remaining ones into the dishwasher. After they finished, they joined Tessa, who was asleep on the couch with her right hand tucked underneath her cheek.

Duncan shook his head and covered her with a soft blanket.  

"She's usually the one who can't sleep on Christmas Eve," he said softly. "Always too excited about what she'll get come Christmas morning."

Richie laughed quietly as he and Duncan sat on the floor, leaning against a couple of chairs opposite Tessa. He looked underneath the tree at the presents. Richie had stuck one under there for Duncan, and one for Tessa. He'd been unsure at first what to get the Highlander, but had settled on a linen shirt that would replace the one Krissa had torn to shreds. Richie bought Tessa a set of paintbrushes and some oils; she'd been complaining that she needed them, but she'd been too busy finishing up a drawing to buy them.  

Richie was in the room yesterday when Tessa laid a large, wrapped box underneath the tree with the inscription, "To Richie, from Duncan and Tessa."

At first, he'd been dying to see what  the couple had bought him. But now, sitting in the soft hue of the Christmas lights with "God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman" issuing softly from the stereo, he realized it didn't matter.  

What mattered was that he had a home. What mattered was that he trusted Duncan and Tessa enough that he wasn't afraid of getting tossed out like defective merchandise. The incident with Krissa had made Richie realize that Duncan and Tessa were important to him, that he cared about them. And Richie felt the feeling was mutual.   

He let the food and atmosphere lull him to sleep, a slight smile playing over his lips. Duncan watched the boy's eyes slide shut and smiled to himself. He'd pictured tonight differently. He'd thought Tessa would be bursting to open gifts, and he'd have to do his usual begging routine to convince her to wait until morning. He expected Richie would be as bad as Tessa if not worse.  

He got up carefully and grabbed another blanket and draped it over Richie, then settled back down.  

Duncan looked at the gift he and Tessa had bought for Richie and smiled to himself. It wasn't much, just a pair of jeans and a shirt. They didn't want to buy anything too extravagant in case it would make Richie feel awkward. The teenager was still getting used to being a part of their home. He didn't need to be too overwhelmed right now.

Duncan closed his eyes. Morning would arrive soon enough, and a few days later, a new year would be here. What that year would hold for him, or Tessa, or Richie, he didn't know. But right now, in the soft, warm glow of colored Christmas lights, life felt very right to Duncan MacLeod.

End of Part 5

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