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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.

Scars - by Angela Mull

Disclaimer: "Highlander" and its characters are the property of Rysher Entertainment and are used without permission.
 

Even though Richie once thought he would never steal anything again, that  was exactly what he did when he turned 13.    He had just been returned yet again to the orphanage. The latest foster  home hadn't worked out. *Surprise, surprise* Richie said to himself as he  stared at the walls of the tiny room. He was wondering if maybe the  orphanage should start issuing slips of paper with "reasons for return"  boxes to his foster families.  

Realizing he didn't want to just sit there and do nothing, Richie snuck  out and started walking. He took a bus down to the mall and wandered  aimlessly until he saw her. The minute he laid eyes on the woman sitting  alone on the bench in front of the clothing store, he knew who it was.  

Becky Evans. The woman who'd sent him back after he tried stealing Miss  Jenkin's perfume. Seeing her sitting there sent Richie off on a careening  trip through his past. His frustration at being bounced around from  foster home to foster home hit at him with a force he'd never felt  before. And looking at Becky, he realized it had all started with her and  her husband.  

His throat felt tight and he started shaking, he was so angry. When he  saw her wallet sticking up out of the corner of her purse, he started  walking toward her.  

Richie was tired of being sent away like defective merchandise. An  overwhelming need to strike back and hurt the people who'd hurt him rose  up inside of his soul.  

He wore a baseball cap, loose-fitting jeans and a sweater, so he wasn't  afraid Becky would recognize him. And the burning hatred stripped away  any fears of being caught. He simply waited until she turned her head  away, then walked by and scooped up the wallet out of her purse in one  swift motion.  

Richie kept walking, not looking back. The knot in his chest lessened  gradually as he approached the exit.  

Once outside, he looked at the wallet and rummaged through its contents.  $100, a driver's license, credit cards and some pictures. Nothing he  wanted. He'd gotten what he wanted already -- a tiny bit of vengeance.  And something else. A tiny bloom of confidence.  

Richie had never been a good student, and wasn't a model foster son.  Although he was pretty good at basketball, he'd always had to work at it.  But on only his second try at petty theft, he'd succeeded. He laughed to  himself in wonder at how doing something so wrong could feel so good.  

He stole things on and off over the next few years, usually car radios  because it was easy to do such a smash-and-grab crime. Sometimes he did  it for money, but usually he did it after something bad happened. If  something went wrong at a foster home, Richie struck out by stealing. If  he had a bad day at school, somebody was likely to lose a car stereo.  

Even getting caught for the first time didn't stop him. Since it was his  first recorded offense, Richie was put on probation. And the fact that  he'd been caught merely made him want to go out and steal again, as if to  prove he could get away with it.  

Stealing became an obscene game of chicken with the cops. He knew it was  self-destructive, but it was an outlet for his bitterness that he refused  to give up.  

***  

 With a last kick at the curb, Richie shook his head to clear away the  memories that threatened to take up permanent residence. Now was not the  time to think about how screwed up his life had gotten. He had to do a  job and get some cash, or he'd never be able to pay for the basement  space he used as living quarters. And old, worn woman rented it to him at  a ridiculously high price, but it beat going to another foster family.  

Richie wished Frank was still around. Frank Morales, a junior high school  teacher, had been a great guy. He was 28 when Richie met him, and had no  qualms about letting a 17-year-old street urchin with a bandanna fetish  hole up in his house. Frank himself had lived in and out of foster homes  during his childhood. He met Richie at the local boys and girls club one  cold day last December.  

Richie wanted the company of the teens inside, having grown desperate for  friends who didn't know about his scarred past. Gary, Angie and Maria  were great to be with, but Richie always felt so vulnerable with them  because they knew about his penchant for stealing and his years bouncing  from one foster home to another.  

Still, the psychological misfits masquerading as foster families had made  Richie wary of people in general. He stood outside of the club,  shivering, for nearly 30 minutes while he tried to decide whether or not  to go in. He had finally decided to just go back to the  flavor-of-the-month foster home when Frank started walking across the  street.  

Richie stepped back and glanced nervously around.  

"Hey, kid, what's up?" Frank asked the lean teenager.  

Frank had watched Richie from inside, wondering if he'd ever come in. He  figured that Richie needed some encouragement.  

"Nothing's up," Richie said in a voice tinged with suspicion. His  carefully constructed tough-guy act went up effortlessly.  

"OK," Frank said. "Then maybe you should come inside and see what we're  up to. There's a great shoot-around going."

Basketball. Richie loved basketball.  

*I could hang around for an hour or so* he told himself.  

"Well, I play a pretty intense game," Richie said, not wanting to seem  too eager to participate. "I don't know if you guys can handle me."

Frank suppressed a smile.  

"Oh, I think we can," he said, knowing that the challenge would draw the  kid inside.  

He was right. Richie took the bait and wound up hanging out at the club  almost every day. He had a great time, but still wasn't sure if he could  trust Frank's intentions. Years of experience had taught Richie that even  seemingly nice people turned bad, and Frank wasn't  necessarily going to  be the exception to the rule. But after a few months of Frank keeping a  careful but friendly distance, Richie realized he was OK.  

He moved in with Frank in April, shortly after a horribly botched attempt  at living the All-American family life with the Davises. That ordeal had  nearly cost Richie his life, and convinced him that living on the streets  would be better than going to another foster home. But Frank had visited  him in the hospital and told him he could stay at his house as long as he  did some chores and stayed in school.  

The deal worked out great until Richie dropped out of school, feeling  that classes were a waste of time. Frank had barely controlled his  frustration, making Richie shift position slightly and find something  exciting on the floor to look at. Disappointing foster parents was second  nature; disappointing Frank was something else entirely. Frank treated  him better than anyone else ever had, and Richie felt like a jerk.  

"I couldn't stay, man," Richie explained in a nervous tone of voice. "I  was failing everything. There was no way I would have passed."

Frank opened his mouth, shut it and opened it again.  

"Look, you could have stayed, taken the Fs and gone to summer school. Or  you could have gone back next year and gotten passing grades," Frank said  in a tight voice. "Richie, don't you want a future that consists of  something other than stealing car radios?"  

"You know I do," Richie said, his voice rising. "And I haven't stolen  anything since coming to live with you. I've been clean. It's just that  I'm not in the mood for school."

Frank sighed in exasperation. He knew how Richie felt, because he'd done  the same thing years ago. Fed up with high school, Frank had dropped out  halfway through his senior year, taken a year off, and then gone back.  He'd graduated with solid Bs and gone on to college. Maybe Richie would  do the same if he sat out a year.  

"OK, here's the deal," he said and looked Richie in the eyes. "You can  stay here as long as you find a job and don't stay out of school for more  than  one year. If you don't agree to that, you'll have to go back to  social services."  

"Deal," Richie said, shaking Frank's hand.  

***

Richie found odd jobs to earn money. It worked out great for the first  few months, until August, when Frank went grocery shopping at midnight.  

Frank had a craving for a hot fudge sundae but didn't have the  ingredients in the cupboards. Before taking off for the local  supermarket, he told Richie to wait up so they could indulge together.  

Richie waited. And waited. And waited until, at 1 a.m., he heard a car  pull up in front of the house. A car, not Frank's motorcycle. Richie  tentatively went to the window and peeked out, not too surprised to see a  police officer walking up to the door.  

He also wasn't surprised when the cop told him Frank had been killed in a  drive-by shooting meant for a gang-banger.  

After all, none of the foster homes had worked out. Why should it have  worked out with Frank?  

***

So now here he was, kicking the curb and angry at everyone and  everything. Frank had been dead for a month, and Richie had been lucky  enough that Erma, the woman who moved in, let him stay. But the odd jobs  weren't paying enough to cover rent, and he had to come up with some  quick cash. There was only one way Richie knew of to do that.  But  stealing car stereos wasn't going to give him the money he needed for the  rent payment that was due tonight. He would have to steal something much  more valuable.  

Richie walked up and down the streets, getting edgier by the minute. He  was furious that he had to steal. Sure, there was a certain thrill that  he felt when he was successful. A satisfaction and smugness. But he had  finally tired of getting arrested and enduring Lieutenant Powell's  endless "Straighten up or spend your life a crook" speeches.  

But he had no choice. He had to make some major cash appear or end up  back in the social services system. He refused to get caught up in that  again.  

Richie wasn't going to take money from any of the stores. His specialty  was lifting merchandise and converting it to cash, usually via pawn  shops. That was why the antique store across the street jumped out at  him. He ran over to it, his green and black leather jacket bouncing  slightly as he whistled in an act of nonchalance. He walked up to the  window and looked inside casually as if he was window-shopping.  

There were only two people in the shop. One, a woman of about 60, was  gesturing toward a painting Richie could only think of as a nature scene  gone horribly wrong. The other woman had her back to him, but Richie  couldn't help admiring her figure. She had long, blonde hair and wore a  short skirt and sweater that showed she was in no need of a diet or  exercise.  

Richie waited until the two women went into an office and shut the door  before entering the shop to look around more thoroughly. He had to be  quick, before the women came back out. He made a mental list of the  available merchandise, with one item catching his eye immediately.  

In a glass case stood a sword, a gleaming sword like he'd always imagined  about when he was a kid. The kind of sword you could use for a great  Halloween costume. Richie wondered what it would feel like to hold the  sword in his hand.  

Although it was tempting to add the sword to his mental list, he knew he  couldn't easily hide it while making his getaway. He looked around the  shop one last time and left. He'd come back tonight and make his move.  

***

Richie went home as quickly as he could, wishing he had a car so he'd get  there faster. He'd never been able to afford one, although he had a  driving license. Richie had borrowed Frank's car and motorcycle until he  died. Both modes of transportation had been claimed by Frank's nephews,  and Richie was left to his own devices, which meant buses and walking.  

He slipped his key into the lock of the house's front door, careful to  open the door as quietly as he could. He didn't dare make any noise.  Although Erma would be taking her afternoon nap, Richie didn't want to  take any chances of her waking up and demanding the rent payment.  

Once he made it downstairs to the basement, he fumbled around in a  dresser drawer for the things he'd need to break into the antique store.  It wouldn't take long to pick the lock, he knew. And he could disable  pretty  much any simple alarm system, thanks to some quick lessons from  some teens he'd met in juvie court.

Richie slipped a blue bandanna over the top of his head before leaving.  He didn't want anybody to spot him because a street lamp was glaring off  of his hair.  

The next few hours were spent at a local mall. He loved to sit on the  bench outside of the food court and watch people go by. Usually he paid  the most attention to families, wondering if their happy smiles were for  real or not. Richie had accepted that he'd never have a real family. But  sometimes he still yearned for one. Not that he would ever try a foster  family again. Ever.  

Richie also spent time ogling the girls who went by. He'd never had many  dates with girls in school, spending most of his time drooling. When a  short, slender brunette with curves in all the right places walked by,  Richie jumped up off of the bench and caught up to her.  

"Hey," he said, flashing his best killer grin at the girl. "Now what's a  beautiful girl like you doing alone on a night like this?"

She smiled back at him shyly and opened her mouth to answer when a  hulking guy came to stand next to her, gripping her shoulders  possessively.  

"She's not alone," the Steroid King said snootily.  

"Oh, of course not," Richie said quickly. "But it never hurts to ask, you  know."

Richie turned and walked as calmly as he could in the opposite direction.  He had a job tonight and didn't need any unfortunate injuries. Sitting  back on the bench, he watched in relief as the Steroid King threw him a  menacing look and led the girl away.  

The mall closed at 9 p.m., and Richie made his way to the antique shop.  Once there, he circled around to the back and looked inside. It was dark;  the owner must have gone home.

"Easy street," he said softly to himself.  

It took seconds to gain entrance to the shop. Richie looked around,  feeling like he'd hit the lottery.  

"Check it out," he said. "One night only, everything must go."

He scurried about, loading up everything he could into his backpack and  jacket pockets. He was about to leave when he caught sight of the sword.  Even though he knew he couldn't take it with him, he didn't see the harm  in taking it out. He opened up the case and removed it, balancing the  weight in his hand. Moving around the room, he waved it at a particularly  ugly statue.  

"En guarde, you fool," he said, thrilling at the sound of the sword  cutting through the air.  

He turned and just about dropped the sword at the sight of the man in  front of him. He was naked from the waist up and held a sword in his  hand. He looked pissed.  

"I am Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod," he said in a deadly voice.  "And you are dead."

Richie would always remember that night. Dr. Doom with the sword had been  joined by some horror-movie stand-in reject who crashed through a  skylight. Then an equally psychotic Frenchman with a sword suddenly  appeared out of thin air.  

The only bright spot for Richie had been seeing the blonde-haired woman  and confirming that she really was as pretty as she'd seemed. Nice, too.  She'd told MacLeod to leave him alone. True, she had called him a boy,  and he hated being called a boy, but she'd still stuck up for him.  

After dropping the bag of stolen goods, excusing himself and making a  hasty retreat, Richie thought he was home free. The psychos would be  plenty busy with their little sword orgy, and if Richie hurried, he could  get home, get his stuff and get out of town before the cops caught up to  him.  

But then he heard a siren wailing in the not-so-far distance. He took off  running, but the police car cut him off not a block away.  

A woman got out of the car and yelled sharply at him.  

"Hold it right there, kid!"

Knowing the drill by now, Richie slowly raised his arms above his head.  

"What's the problem?" he asked, trying to sound as clueless as possible.  

"You tell us," the officer said, tilting her head toward her male  partner, who was lumbering out of the car.  

Richie saw another cop car pull up to the shop and watched as two  officers ran inside. People who'd been out enjoying the night were  gathering around the shop, staring either at what was going on inside or  in Richie's direction. Richie flicked his eyes from the female cop to her  partner and took in the situation.  

*Great, just great. I'm a dead man.*

Or maybe not, he realized. If could deflect attention away from himself,  maybe he could get out of this somehow.  

"Hey, look, I was just walking by, minding my own business, when I saw  some weird guy break in," Richie said as calmly as he could. "I looked in  a window and there were three guys with swords fighting each other."  

The male officer came over and started searching Richie. He stopped when  he reached Richie's left jacket pocket. Remembering he'd stuck some  jewelry in his jacket, Richie let his head drop forward with a sigh.  

Nobody was going to believe him now.  

***    Richie had no clue what happened at the antique store after he was carted  away to jail. He decided to stick to his original story, though. It was a  lie, but if he changed it now, he figured he'd look even worse. Better to  take the chance that the psychos had whacked each other and the blonde  lady would take pity on him and keep her mouth shut.  

*After all, I'm just a boy* he thought with a wry grin.

Once they arrived at the station, Richie was escorted into a room where  the cops checked their paperwork with an officer sitting at a table in  the corner of the room. Richie had been through the routine before; the  cops wanted to make sure all of the information was complete and accurate  so he couldn't get off on a technicality.  

While the fuzz monsters labored over their paperwork, Richie was ordered  to hand over his personal belongings, which weren't many. Just a  flashlight, backpack, sunglasses and a few other odds and ends he  wouldn't miss if he never saw them again.  

A few minutes later, he was led out of the room into a long hallway where  he was told to stand in a blue box painted on the ground in front of the  wall so a male officer could search him.  

"Step back a little," he told him, and waited for him to comply. "Now  lean forward and place your arms on the wall above your head, palms flat.  Spread your feet out. Wider."

Richie leaned against the wall in the awkward pose designed to keep  people off balance so they couldn't make a run for it. The officer patted  him up and down, finding nothing to warrant a strip search, for which  Richie was grateful. After filling a doctor in on his medical history,  Richie was locked into a holding cell with 20 other juvies.  

The cell was only 20 feet by 15 feet, with six metal bunks jutting out of  the yellowed walls. Everything smelled like body odor and disinfectant.  Richie coughed as the odors assaulted his nose and made his eyes tear,  noticing that his roommates were just as affected as he was by the  stench. He found a patch of grimy floor and sat down, carefully ignoring  the others.  

An hour later, Richie looked up to see Lieutenant Powell talking to a cop  outside the cell. The cop unlocked the door and jerked his head at  Richie.  

"Questioning, kid," he said shortly. "Let's go."

"Hey, Lieutenant Powell," Richie said brightly as he followed Powell down  the hallway. "Really love what you've done with the place."

Powell ignored him until they turned a corner and waited for the heavy  metal doors to be unlocked.  

"Look, Dickie, I'm not in the mood for your smart mouth tonight," Powell  said tersely as they went through the doors.  

"It's Richie," he corrected, then fell silent as he was led into an  interrogation room. He sat down at the table and leaned back in the chair  so it tipped against the wall. Carefully avoiding Powell's gaze, he put  his feet up on the table and picked at his boots, trying to feign  indifference to his situation. Richie figured the less nervous he seemed,  the more likely Powell would buy his story.  

"Alright, kid, why the antique store?"  

"Lieutenant Powell, I didn't break in, honest. I've learned my lesson.  Stealing is wrong," Richie said somberly.  

"And I suppose you have no idea how thousands of dollars worth of jewelry  wound up in your jacket,  right?"

"No idea whatsoever."

"You were just wandering around for no reason, saw a robbery and started  to run? Likely story."

Richie realized his story looked like a wispy slice of Swiss cheese and  once again tried to turn the attention somewhere else.  

"Hey, man, I was freaked, you know? There was some seriously bad business  going on in there. Those guys had swords."

"Nobody had a sword," Powell said testily. "The owner and his girlfriend  were unharmed, and there was nobody else there. They said a teenager  broke into the store and ripped them off."  

Richie removed his boots from the table and set his chair down squarely  on the floor. Obviously, the other two psychos had left just before the  cops arrived. No psychos, no swords. Things were not looking good for  him.  

"I'm not lying," he said with genuine honesty. "There were three guys  with swords and they were fighting."

"The antique store owner is coming in tomorrow to identify you," Powell  said. "His girlfriend is too upset tonight to be left alone."

"Whoa, wait a minute," Richie said, sitting forward in his chair. "You're  going to keep me here tonight?"  

"Don't worry, you'll be separated from the big, bad adults," Powell said  and left the room.  

Richie sat there, not sure he liked the idea of seeing Duncan MacLeod of  the Clan MacLeod again. The man had threatened to shorten his life span,  after all.  

*No, I don't think I like that idea at all.*

***

Richie spent the night staring at the ceiling. The holding cell was cold  and drafty, but at least he had a bunk to use. The cell didn't really  bother him, actually. He was more worried about what Dr. Doom was going  to do to him.  

Even if MacLeod was feeling homicidal, he couldn't smuggle his sword in,  Richie knew. Nobody could walk around in broad daylight with a sword and  not get asked questions. The man would probably just identify Richie, and  Richie would end up serving some time.  

He tried to decide what would be worse: going to jail or getting sliced  and diced by MacLeod.  

"They both suck," he said to no one in particular.  

***

Breakfast was orange juice, pancakes, bacon and toast. After Richie ate,  he was escorted back to the interrogation room. As soon as the manila  envelope of his belongings dropped down in front of him on the table,  Richie knew he wasn't going to spend any time in jail. MacLeod either  hadn't shown up or had decided not to press charges. Richie figured it  was the latter. If Dr. Doom hadn't told the police about the little  fencing session with his psycho friends, then he obviously wanted to hide  the whole incident. Richie was betting MacLeod was going to make a deal  with him: Richie's silence in return for his freedom.  

"Alright, this puppy is gonna walk," he said as he sorted through his  personal effects.  

A few minutes later, Duncan MacLeod and Powell walked in.  

Richie felt fairly confident. He might be the one facing a breaking and  entering charge, but Dr. Doom needed his help to hide whatever his secret  was.  

Sure enough, the minute Powell left, MacLeod offered him a deal: Richie  would keep his mouth shut about what he'd seen, and MacLeod wouldn't  press charges.  

Richie thought it was a reasonable agreement.  

***

Once released, Richie went back home to a not surprising scene. Erma had  packed up his stuff and set it out in front of the house with an eviction  notice on it. Richie snatched up the backpack and duffel bags. Luckily,  he didn't have much to his name, or he'd be loaded down like a pack mule.  

Sighing, Richie started walking, wondering where he'd live now. He could  probably crash for a few nights at his friend Gary's house. Maybe he  could even convince Gary's parents to let him stay through the winter  until he could earn enough money from odd jobs to find another place.  

Meanwhile, he had something work looking into -- MacLeod's secret. Dr.  Doom was obviously hiding something really big, or he wouldn't have made  the deal with Richie. And Richie knew the swords were part of the secret.  Maybe MacLeod was part of some weird cult or something. Even though the  image of the man swinging a large, sharp sword made Richie slightly  paranoid for his personal safety, his curiosity was too strong to be  denied. Whatever was going on, Richie was a part of it, and he figured he  deserved to know what was up.  

He'd check out MacLeod and his psycho friends, but he'd keep his  distance.

The End


I'm not sure what exactly the Davis family did to Richie that almost  killed him. Richie doesn't want to talk about it yet, and I've learned  that you don't push too hard when it comes to his private life. But I  think he'll open up soon.  

As for Frank Morales, I have a feeling he might surface again in some  form or another.  

A sequel to this story is forthcoming.  


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