It was a little hard
to believe that it had been nearly two hundred years since Duncan
had last seen his current companion. The way they fell into
an easy conversation, and appeared so relaxed in each others
company did not speak of two people who hadn't laid eyes on
each other for nineteen decades. In this case it had more to
do with the woman than the Highlander: she lounged in the chair
with a half smile always in place and her words were free and
easy. She was tall, almost Amazonian in build and her white
blonde hair fell around a tanned, ageless face. The air about
her was of calm resolve, this was a woman who knew exactly what
she was doing and where she was going. At the moment she was
enjoying the company of an old friend, but something about her
spoke of a person who could change into a completely different
woman. Her eyes were the palest blue, rimmed in black, giving
her an almost magical gaze.
she said as he handed her a glass of red wine, "what
have you been up to these last few years?"
"This and that,"
the Scotsman replied with a grin, "mainly that, I
She laughed at his
lack of detail, it had always been that way
between them. They'd known each other for three hundred years,
Duncan had pulled his companion out of a bar fight, and for
or so they'd kept in close touch. Yet, they had always come
outside of their own lives, disconnected somehow from the people
were at that moment, and more in touch with what they truly
Immortals. It was the woman's influence again, she was always
slightly out of time. She drifted through the centuries, sampling
life, but never really becoming part of it for more than a year
at a time. Where Duncan always made the mortal world his own,
beauty from a forgotten race had only ever tried to do so once,
any attempt at permanence. This was a woman who was a gypsy
the ages, her own world was long gone and she chose not to make
herself totally part of the new one.
"It's good to
see you again, Dil," Mac said genuinely as he slid into
the seat opposite her, "we should have kept in contact."
the blonde Immortal returned and sampled the drink in her
glass, "but then again, maybe not. My life and yours, Duncan,
did mix, especially since James was killed, and I would hate
put the dampers on your path through history."
"I doubt you
could have done that," was the Highlander's response.
Her smile lit up
the whole of her face, it was like watching the
you were just too distracting," she suggested lightly and
fixed him with her pale irises.
her companion returned.
There was an undertone
to their conversation that neither of them
chose to voice as idle chatter flowed over it, but eventually
had to ask the question that was slowly growing in the back
mind. There was a reason they had fallen out of touch, and there
a purpose that ruled Dil's life now, so the Highlander had to
"Why are you
here?" he asked finally as they finished the bottle of
red on the table.
"I would have
though that would be obvious," the bewitching woman
replied honestly, "I received news that Oliver is here.
hunting him, and a little voice inside me said look up Duncan
MacLeod: this could be your last chance."
"He's been running
from you for two centuries," the Highlander shot
back immediately, "what makes you think he'll turn and
This time the expression
on her face was sad even though she smiled.
"Just a feeling,"
she told him calmly. "It won't make any difference
if he keeps hiding for a thousand years, one day I will find
The tone of her voice
was calm, sure and even gentle as she spoke,
but the look in her eyes was almost frightening. When she spoke
the man who had injured her more than she would ever tell, she
the gaze of a woman possessed.
"James has been
dead a long time," Mac wanted to help her, to try and
relieve some of her burden, "isn't it about time you let
some of the
hate go? Life can be good, you know. You can't hold yourself
"I've been around
a long time, Highlander," she told him evenly,
almost as if she were speaking to a child who could not possibly
understand, "allow me my years of retribution. I swore
Gods I thought I had forgotten, and I will follow the path I
chosen until I find its end."
In some ways, Dil
seemed older than Methos at that moment, although
she had but two fifths of his age: she had gone back to her
where as Adam was very much a part of the current century. The
peculiar woman that Duncan had known, who floated through life
joyful detachment had become the ancient warrior with a mind
vengeance because of one act of murder. She had altered over
of days: Duncan had seen it when he answered the call for help
James' sister all that time ago. The Highlander had never met
to whom Dil had given her heart, but after his death the only
his family had been able to get out of his bride was MacLeod
they'd sent for him. His presence had broken the distraught
out of her temporary madness, but he had not been able to bring
the sweet woman all had known. Her terrible purpose had been
from an experience she would not even recount to Duncan, and
hundreds of years later it was still like stone within her.
"If you started
looking for love instead of revenge, you might find
another like James," the Scot said quietly, but he knew
it would fall
on deaf ears.
"You are a wonderful
man, Duncan," Dil returned, equally as low, "but
you cannot understand my point of view in this. I come from
who's ways the world has forgotten and who's outlook you would
comprehend. I admit that once, I thought I could leave behind
life from which I originated, but then I found that it was those
ideas I returned to when I needed something on which to rebuild
life. I make no excuses for what I intend to do, or the way
chosen to live, which is why you cannot change me."
"I have no doubt
you are right," the other Immortal said a little
sadly, "but at least I can try."
"That may be
why I came here today," she told him gently. "To have
you try and dissuade me, just to see if I still believe now
as I did
Now that it was out
in the open they could discus what was going
through both their minds and they talked for a long time before
interrupted by the approach of another Immortal. The elevator
shortly after they both looked at each other and then Duncan
Richie," he said and glanced at his watch. "With your
arrival I forgot that I invited him to dinner this evening."
"And who's Richie?"
Dil enquired with a quick smile.
... Richie's Richie, he's a friend and if he doesn't
hit on you within the first five minutes after he sets eyes
I'll be most surprised," the Highlander explained with
a goofy grin.
"I stand, forewarned,"
the stunning blonde returned and waited for
the wooden doors to be pushed up.
Mac's young friend
was not usually particularly sensitive to what the
buzz of another Immortal could tell him. As far as he was concerned,
one noise in his ears and tingling on the inside of his skull
much like any other, but Dil's presence had made an impression.
once Richie had been very aware that Mac was not alone and he
just slightly perturbed as he walked out of the elevator.
he greeted cheerfully, hiding his nervousness well, "is
The young Immortal
wouldn't mind if his evening plans needed
changing, when old friends dropped by Mac was allowed to be
unpredictable. As soon as he'd walked in, Richie had read the
situation perfectly: he was getting quite good at that sort
and in this case he was guessing that the two Immortals in front
him went way back. He also noticed, of course, that the woman
across the room was exquisitely beautiful and that for some
unfathomable reason, Mac was not interested in her like that
In most situations he would very much have doubted what his
were telling him, but just at that moment he knew he was spot
That did not mean, however, that he had any intention of trying
line on her in just the way every hormone in his body was attempting
to convince him of doing: there was something about this woman
spoke to a much more primitive level of his mind and told him
away. The feeling that careered down his spine the moment he
her eyes was indescribable, and quite suddenly he felt very
very inept. From the look the two Immortals gave each other,
was beginning to wonder which one would take to their heels
your plans because of me," Dil put in just when Mac was
starting to feel an awkward silence coming on, "I have
to be going
She rose to her feet
in one smooth movement and hurriedly picked up
the suede jacket she had left lying at her feet.
"I'll see you
around, Highlander," she told the Scot as she dragged
back her composure, and then she fled.
Richie just stood
there in front of the elevator as she walked past
towards the door, he didn't know how to react. For his part,
wasn't sure either, he spent several seconds staring at the
door: he'd never seen anything quite like the last few minutes.
"Have you two
met before?" he asked eventually, trying to come up
with a reason as to why Dil had just run from his home like
the slightly lame reply, "she ... um ... I .... I mean
Self expression was
not usually one of Richie's weaker points, but
this evening he seemed to be having some trouble.
"Who is she?"
he finally asked.
Dil," the Highlander told him, and decided that dwelling
on the reaction two of his friends had had to each other would
little good. "She and I go back about three hundred years,
haven't met up in a couple of centuries. She's here hunting
Immortal so watch your neck, there's a nasty piece of work out
"I'll keep it
in mind," the younger replied.
He was obviously
distracted, her features refused to leave his mind,
and his anxiety showed on his face.
"Care to explain
why you're so spooked?" Duncan finally asked and at
last managed to get his younger friend to move out of the statue
pose he had adopted.
The other Immortal
"I wish I could,"
he returned quietly, "I truly wish I could."
The next morning
the exact nature of the meeting had almost been
forgotten and Richie was quite happily riffling through some
work, when he was most succinctly reminded of everything that
gone through his mind the previous evening. The feeling behind
eye was almost a scraping on his skull and he had to quell the
to leap out the nearest window. When Dil walked through the
of the dojo he was not in the least surprised and he tried very
to smile at her even when she fixed him with her haunted gaze.
"If you're looking
for Duncan," he began a little too brightly, "he
went out about ten minutes ago, and he won't be back for an
He was sure he heard
her mutter under his breath something like,
"What am I doing here?", but he didn't react to it.
she said quietly and hovered by the door as he stepped
out of the office, "but I'm not here to see Duncan."
all that Richie could think to say.
The only comfort
the younger Immortal could find was that Dil
appeared as disturbed by the whole situation as he was. Whatever
level they were communicating on, neither of them seemed to
understand it and it was causing them both some worry.
"Oh, god, I
feel like a child," the stunning woman admonished herself
loudly and finally took a forceful step into the room.
two of us," Richie mumbled to himself and tried to decide
whether to run away, or find out exactly why this woman was
up his normally semi-ordered brain.
"You look like
a frightened jack rabbit," Dil observed with what
should have been a bright smile.
"Speak for yourself,"
the younger Immortal returned and actually
managed to produce a wry grin. "When I finally decide why
you make me
so nervous, I think I'll feel a hell of a lot better."
she returned lightly, "I'm not after your head. Did
Duncan tell you who I am and why I'm here?"
"He told me
your name," Richie explained, "and warned me that
another Immortal about, but no more than that."
She took in the information
and nodded sagely.
the man who murdered my husband," she felt a need to
justify herself to him, "and I've been hunting him for
the last two
hundred years. Until last night nothing has come close to distracting
me from my path, and then I saw you."
She was not yet ready
to reveal her reasons, she needed something
from him, something which would tell her she wasn't just making
fool of herself.
"What do you
see when you look at me?" she asked pointedly. "I
we've barely met, but tell me the truth, the absolute truth."
went far beyond the trivial and Richie knew his
next words could send her fleeing from the dojo or bring her
step closer. The only problem was, he wasn't quite sure which
would prefer: there was something about this situation he couldn't
control and it made him feel very helpless.
"I see a very
beautiful woman," he began slowly, "who's haunted
something. You've been hunting so long you thought you'd forgotten
what it was like to be free, but you look at me and you see
that reminds you of what you used to be."
He spoke from where
his thoughts touched his soul and he told her
exactly what he believed. She went very pale when she heard
and her lips moved in a silent prayer.
you trust me?" Dil asked in little more than a whisper.
With most other people
an affirmative would have been unthinkable,
but before he could even consider it Richie said, "Yes."
She smiled at him,
and this time he witnessed the sunrise for the
"This is where
I'm staying," she said, fumbling in her pocket for the
piece of paper she'd prepared earlier, "when you finish
see me, I have something to show you."
She passed him the
scribbled address, and then, as if the fact that
they'd come so close scared her again she turned and left. Richie
remained, standing in the middle of the dojo, a half lost look
When Duncan returned,
he found his young friend staring at the pile
of papers on the desk in front of him.
Rich?" he asked brightly and patted his companion on the
The ready grin did
not spread across the other Immortal's face as he
"Dil came back,"
he said quietly.
Duncan had hoped
that this was one problem that had gone away
yesterday, he was disappointed, but hid it well.
said and prayed he could snap Richie out of his daze, "what
did she want?"
There was a moments
silence as the younger man's thoughts caught up
with the discourse and he formulated a reply.
"She came to
see me," he explained absently, "gave me her address."
He waved the piece
of paper vaguely in the air. Duncan was more than
a little stunned by the statement and several scenarios ran
his head as he considered what his young friend had told him.
"What did she
say?" he asked tentatively, well aware that Richie was
not acting like Richie at all.
His tone finally
made an impression on the younger man and he snapped
back to reality.
he said and shook his head to clear it, "I'm not being
particularly helpful am I. Don't ask me to explain what's going
my head at the moment, because I'm not quite sure. I can quite
honestly say that your friend and I have a peculiar effect on
other, and I haven't a clue as to why. She asked me to go see
when I can get away from here: she has something to show me."
Several of the ideas
going through Mac's head did not make for happy
endings, but he was having difficulty deciding how to phrase
he said carefully, in such a way that the other Immortal
immediately took notice, "you're not thinking of trying
to start a
relationship with her are you?"
It was the polite
way of asking if the younger man was on a hormone
trip on this one. Quite to the Highlander's surprise, his friend
smiled at the suggestion.
"She is very
beautiful, Mac," he said honestly, "and I would be
if I said I didn't find her attractive, but to tell you the
sleeping with her had not yet occurred to me. Contrary to popular
belief, I am not totally ruled by my libido, and quite frankly,
Dil does to me is more spooky than alluring."
It was Duncan's turn
to be stuck for words.
he said finally, "that is, otherwise you may have been
disappointed. Dil's probably one of the strangest women you'll
meet. She's ruled by beliefs and customs that are a little different
than ours, and for the last one hundred and ninety years at
she's not been near a man. Even before that, she was very choosy
I don't want to see you hurt."
Richie sat back in
the chair and grinned as he looked at the address
in his hand.
"Well if you're
not going anywhere," he said lightly, sweeping the
darker feelings he had under the carpet, "I believe I'd
like to find
out exactly what your old friend wants of me."
There was no point
in dodging the issue, he wouldn't be happy until
he knew what was going on. The fact that the mere thought of
blonde Immortal made part of his soul tremble was not going
"Just be careful,
kid," was all his friend said as he stood up and
walked towards the door.
Duncan had as little
idea of what to expect from Dil as his
companion: she had always been unpredictable by the standards
day, she was a wild thing. All the Highlander could hope for
end which left both of his friend's intact, mentally and physically.
The house was Tudor
and it's entrance was set back against a
beautiful garden: it did not seem the type of residence for
who was just passing through. The door was already opening when
climbed onto the porch to ring the door bell.
"Thank you for
coming," Dil greeted with half a smile, "I was a
little unsure whether you would."
The clawing in his
head began to fade slowly and Richie smiled back
he went for the trivial compliment rather than anything
to a friend of mine," the blue eyed beauty explained and
gestured for him to enter. "She said if I was ever in town
could stay here, and since she's living in Thailand at the moment,
have the place to myself."
She was staring at
him now, the charade of public politeness was gone
and she didn't seem to be able to take her eyes off him.
tell you I paint?" she asked and Richie finally knew how
she could look at him and appear to see everything all at the
replied and gave up trying not to stare back, "I know little
more about you now than I did the first time I saw you."
Her expression said
she was not particularly bothered by this, either
is the one thing I take with me everywhere I go," she
told him and led the way to the next room. "I have very
possessions, but my artist materials and portfolio are the exception
to the rules: some of the work I carry with me is hundreds of
"Were you an
artist before you died the first time?" Richie enquired,
a need to know about the Immortal, gratefully acknowledged.
There was a kind
of wistfulness in her face as she considered that
she replied and at last seemed satisfied she knew every
inch of him. "My people were much more aware of strangeness
of those around today, they knew I was different from the moment
arrived. They made me into a sort of witch, I suppose, and our
enchantments were always created with pictures. My race is long
forgotten by this world, and I have never heard of anyone finding
traces of us, which is a shame, because our art was beautiful.
were really very civilised for a time when many peoples were
living in mud huts, but when our enemies conquered us, they
all that we were. I was three hundred years old when that happened."
"It must have
been terrible to see," the younger Immortal could not
imagine watching his entire was of life being destroyed, it
"In those times,
things like that happened," Dil returned with little
emotion in her voice, "the world could be very brutal.
in modern society is much better hidden and occasionally good
triumphs over the strong. I do not regret history, there is
This was one of the
most bizarre conversations that Richie had ever
had, and yet he would not have been anywhere else for love nor
not why I invited you here," the blonde woman said and
smiled brightly, "we'll leave ancient civilisations for
Can I get you anything to drink: tea; coffee; or something stronger?"
"No, I'm fine,"
was the almost unconscious reply, "thank you."
There was something
in the way Dil looked at him that nagged at the
back of Richie's mind and he finally realised what it was.
"You keep glancing
at me as if you know me," he ventured suddenly as
his companion offered him a chair. "I'd remember if we'd
the point then," the peculiar woman said with a nod.
"You were quite a shock to me yesterday, you know. I called
in to see
Duncan on a whim and you turning up rather upset my equilibrium."
was the very simple question.
"This is the
reason," she explained calmly and walked over to the
side of the chase long where there were several canvases stacked
She pulled the first
one out slightly and turned it with one hand,
before picking it up properly so that her companion could see
the moisture in Richie's throat evaporated and the hairs rose
back of his neck as he laid eyes on the painting. It was not
finished, the top half of what was a portrait, had been lovingly
completed, but the bottom was still no more than an oil sketch,
yet it was enough. It was old, that much was obvious: the paint
completely dry as could only be achieved by years in the air,
clothes the man wore were unfamiliar in design. It wasn't the
majority of the creation that held the younger Immortal's attention,
however, it was the face.
"You can see
why you caused me momentary alarm," Dil said evenly and
placed the painting in view against the front of the couch.
"He looks exactly
like me," was all Richie could find to say.
The older Immortal
did not stop there, next came a smaller work:
different pose, but the same smiling, blue eyes, curly hair
handsome features. By the time she had finished there were three
paintings and a sketch book for Richie to see, and he was worryingly
"His name was
James," Duncan's old friend said quietly as her
companion opened the volume of drawings with almost, awe struck
carefulness, "and for ten years he was my husband. I believe
omens, Richie, and when I saw you my entire life flashed before
eyes. I have followed the man who murdered my one love across
world and back again, I am closer now than I have ever been,
there is you. To tell the truth, I did not know what to think
saw you. If it were only that you looked like him I would have
the sign and continued down the path I tread, but you sound
you move like him, you even smile like him. I have never involved
another soul in my revenge, but I could not stay away from you,
without at least talking to you."
Some of the pencil
sketches showed exactly how Dil and James had felt
about each other: several of them would have been considered
unsuitable for public viewing by the society from which they
The ancient woman was a very talented artist and her feelings
man in the drawings was clear from the passion with which they
rendered. The life drawings often said exactly how she saw him
told of the emotions within her. It wasn't difficult to realise
these pictures had been created for her and her husband and
else, Richie knew what it must mean for her to show them to
"He was quite
a man," the younger Immortal said slowly, "and you
loved him a great deal."
He was not comfortable
with the ideas going through his head, and if
it had just been Dil's obsession that drew him here, he would
left then, but it wasn't. Finding that she had loved and lost
with his face was quite a shock, but it was what the beautiful
did to Richie that kept him in the seat. He'd never met anyone
her: she was fascinating, alluring, frightening, and her presence
cause such strange resonances in him that he could not explain.
"My mind tells
me to leave now," he said honestly and closed the
sketch book. "The rational side of my brain says this is
coincidence, and I should have nothing to do with you or your
vendetta. It's the instinctive part of me that says if I walk
I'll regret it for the rest of my life."
"You and me
both," Dil returned, equally afraid that this was all
some cosmic joke. "I don't touch this world, Richie, ask
have ever known. I let it go past me and over me and through
the only time I ever tried to make a link with it I was hurt
You frighten me because you make me want to leave the safe haven
have made for myself, and you make me crave the connection.
has ever had this effect on me, no-one except James and now
She was revealing
more to him than she could ever tell another
person, and it was a terrifying prospect.
"I'm not him,"
the other Immortal protested, even though he knew it
made no difference.
Dil's eyes said she was aware he was not her lost love, she
James was gone forever, but that man had been her soul mate
Richie was almost the same person.
This was all too
confusing, things were moving way too fast, the
younger man couldn't find any rocks to hang onto as his thoughts
tumbled over each other.
"I know that,"
Dil told him, "but tell me you're only here because
you were mildly curious about a two thousand year old woman,
let you leave without another word."
He couldn't do that,
there was no way he could ever lie to her. Even
if his life depended on it he could never do that.
he admitted after a taught silence. "Duncan warned me that
you live by concepts we couldn't understand, that I'd only wind
with my tail between my legs if I came too close to you. I've
been able to tell one Immortal from another by the way they
you, you I could pick out from a hundred of us. When I come
near you it's like something inside me recognises you, and it
let me pass you off as just someone else."
They were both unsure
of what they were going through: it was nothing
so simple as animal attraction, or passing fancy.
"Do you believe
in destiny, Richie?" the blonde woman asked quietly
and slowly sat down on the chair opposite her guest.
Yesterday he would
have said no very quickly, an affirmation that
every person made their own place in the world, but today, looking
into her eyes, it wasn't as straight forward.
he said eventually. "I always thought there were some
things in life you couldn't change, like who you were, but everything
else was down to yourself, as an individual. I've seen things
never have believed until I met Mac. God, I've become something
didn't believe existed, but you are even more unfathomable."
Something in Dil's
eyes changed at that moment, she'd come to a
philosophising for a second," she said quite bluntly,
knowing that their conversation could go round in circles for
She didn't understand
why she was so drawn to a man who's life was
measured in no more than a few years, whom she had only just
she knew when her heart wanted her to follow. For the first
just under two hundred years she had actually stopped thinking
killing Oliver, and other possibilities had entered her mind.
"Do you want
me?" her question was not meant to be subtle, but it was
so obvious that it confused Richie.
"I don't understand,"
the young man shot back, "Duncan said you'd
sworn off all men."
She smiled at the
reply and there was a light at the back of her eyes
that was almost fierce.
she said slowly and calmly, "you are not all men. I need
to know how you feel: whether you see someone you could care
if you are just fascinated, maybe, afraid of me. Do you see
powerful Immortal who's just a little crazy, or do you see a
who is as confused as you are."
A small frown creased
the skin between his eyebrows as he tried
desperately to hang on to any sense of reality with which he
entered the house. Sitting right in front of him was one of
beautiful women he had ever seen, a vision out of a dream, and
didn't truly know what to say to her. Part of him wanted to
to her, find her pain and take it away, but another section
being cowered in terror at what she did to him. All control
be taken away from him when he looked at her, she touched part
soul that wasn't supposed to come into contact with anything
own self. This was not a normal female human, this was a dangerous
woman, obsessed by a murder, that he did not know and could
hope to fully understand.
"Could you love
me?" Dil asked loudly, frustrated by his bewildered
Her pale eyes wanted
to swallow him, the fire within her wanted to
reach out, something that neither Mortal or Immortal would claim
understand, was happening. There was more in heaven and earth
humans were supposed to recognise and at that moment Richie
very small part of a hidden world. Dil wasn't just another woman,
wasn't even just another Immortal and as her will turned on
buzz of her presence reasserted itself behind his eyes. His
began to ring, his world turned fuzzy, and everything became
he said very quietly, and ungracefully slid out of the chair
in a dead faint.
Dil yelped as he fell, suddenly looking like the twenty
something year old that her features suggested she was.
She knew she sometimes
had an effect on people, an hypnotic gift her
teachers had shown her long ago, but she hadn't meant for anything
happen to her companion. She hadn't exercised her mesmeric abilities
in centuries and the results of her frustration appalled her.
Reality came back
quite gently compared to some of the awakenings
Richie had been through in his time, but light hit him straight
between the eyes. The first thing he saw was Dil, hovering a
away, and he quickly gathered that he was laying on the couch.
"That was quite
an experience," he said, surprising himself with the
calm he seemed to have found.
the other Immortal said quietly, a totally different
side of her personality showing through, "I didn't mean
for that to
brain had given up trying to explain why he had
passed out after the first few milliseconds of consciousness,
didn't bother asking the obvious question.
"I think we
both got a little worked up," he responded instead and
tentatively sat up. "What a rush."
He shook his head
and smiled, despite himself.
"You could market
that," he said lightly, "make a fortune on the
alternative medicine circuit."
It was as if he'd
been through the fire and was no-longer afraid of
the flames. He began to laugh, he couldn't help it. This whole
situation was bizarre, even more so than Immortality in general,
he had no defence except laughter.
"Are you all
right?" his companion asked at the first sounds.
"Oh, I'm fine,"
he replied between chuckles, "a little unhinged, but
other wise perfectly fine."
She smiled slightly
as he looked up at her and giggled.
she said gently, "oh good, that makes two of us."
His laughter was
infectious and gradually a joyous sound filled the
room from two voices.
Even gentle hysteria
had to come to an end, but by the time it did
the awkwardness between them was gone and it was replaced by
healthy curiosity. The pair began to talk, not the heady conversation
of before, but down to earth, getting to know each other kind
discourse. They discussed Dil's life through the centuries,
Richie's short stay on the earth. They commiserated, they moralised,
they laughed some more, the only thing they didn't do was talk
James and Oliver. The afternoon vanished, Dil raided the kitchen
hunger finally interrupted them and then they talked some more.
was no hurry to their chatter, not even any underlying agenda
finally, coming up to nine in the evening, they ran out of words.
They had discovered common ideas between them, and totally opposed
ones as well, shared interests and pass times of which the other
no knowledge. These were not two people who were one hundred
socially suited to each other, but the fact was it didn't matter
"Would you care
to take a walk up stairs?" Dil asked after a moments
Richie smiled, for
once totally at ease.
"Madam, I would
be honoured," he replied quietly.
She took his hand
gently, and with a coy little wink she led him
through the large doors at the end of the room and into the
Maybe once he would have been bothered that this woman was so
older than him, that she had seen so much more than he, but
There was no way he could ever be as experienced as she, and
frankly, he found the idea quite appealing.
"Now I'm about
a hundred and ninety years out of practice," the
female Immortal said sweetly, with a falsely shy expression,
climbed the stairs, "but I think I can remember what to
"It's not something
I would expect you forget," her companion
returned and kissed her fingers.
were the next words out of Dil's mouth, "don't we take
our clothes of next?"
She pushed open the
first door on the landing and revealed a huge
four poster bed with silk sheets and velvet curtains. It was
beautiful house, and if Richie hadn't been so busy he might
noticed the decorative antiques that lined several surfaces.
"Or not as your
preferences go," he said and moved that bit closer to
"I think I like
the idea of finding out what's under that shirt of
yours," she returned and pulled him into the room by his
"But you have
to go first," Richie said playfully, "I'm shy."
Dil said with mock sincerity, "we can't have that."
didn't stand a chance as quite suddenly his partner
reached out and ripped open the front of his top. He laughed
pulled the bow that was keeping her long hair away from her
"I have these
wild urges," she told him with a little smile.
fun," he responded and pulled her towards him so they
were nose to nose.
Several items of
clothing on both sides would never be the same again
as two people set to disrobing each other with a passion that
be seen to be believed. Tops flew one way, trousers another,
underclothes went in various directions until they collapsed
giggling heap on the bed, minus every scrap of clothing they
wearing. Dil was every bit as beautiful naked as she was dressed,
many ways more so: she was a woman who did not look in the least
vulnerable without garments and her natural power shone around.
was not in the least bit disappointed by what she saw in her
either. Richie was very much all man: years of training with
had hardened off muscles all over his upper body, and he had
been lacking in other areas. They lay next to each other for
moment, just watching their companion and taking in what they
It was a seconds respite in a sea of activity, a time to appreciate
what they were about to do. He ran his fingers through her long
hair and stared into her eyes without the fear that had been
what seemed like an age ago.
"You are exquisite,"
he said genuinely, "who could deny you
"Not all men
appreciate beauty," she said and for a second, memory
clouded her open gaze, "but now I have found another who
She moved towards
him and with a gentle movement pushed him down onto
the bed. The sheets were soft against his back and she looked
him, her tanned face framed by almost white hair.
"What will you
give me?" she asked quietly and moved to straddle him.
ask," he returned without hesitation.
The words came from
that deep place inside him again, drawn from his
"And what must
I give in return?" her second question was as gentle
as the first.
"All that you
are," he replied, perfectly sure of what he was saying.
"Then I am yours
and you are mine," she told him and ran her fingers
along his breast bone, "nothing can tear us apart."
His hands found her
slim waist and disappeared up under her soft
locks. She purred appreciatively as his nails glided up her
her eyes lit with a primeval fire. She leant down and kissed
passionately on the lips and found herself gathered in a powerful
embrace. Skin brushed skin with tantalising briefness as she
up and away once more before moving down slightly and pushing
onto his torso, laying her head on his chest. Flesh moulded
and she caught his hands as she listened to his heart beat.
rushed through his body in powerful tides, but he was still
took in his rhythm. Her heart raced slightly faster than his,
with a small smile she brought hers under careful control and
they came into time. Her fingers entwined with his in patient
stillness until finally he felt what she was doing. One moment
aware of his own body and only hers in that it was in such close
proximity to his, but then he felt her. He truly understood
rhythms of her body as they tuned to his and it opened up a
avenue of experience. They rolled over as one and he pushed
down by the side of her head, a smile of pure satisfaction spreading
across his face. His lips brushed her breasts and her legs touched
his thighs as their sexual excitement rose in tandem. She freed
hands and ran one down the flat of his stomach, poised just
her, and his eyes closed in pure delight. They were exploring,
finding out exactly where the other liked to be touched, how
liked to be coaxed to climax. Fingers found sensitive places
met erogenous zones as they drove each other on towards their
ultimate goal. At last, she relaxed back onto the bed that one
centimetre more and invited him in. Lover swayed towards lover,
their union was smooth and gentle, as need fulfilled need. They
as one, their bodies gliding against each other, speeding up
slowing down, passionate and then gentle. Their world was pure
sensation as they reached for the ultimate sharable experience.
fingers dug into Richie's shoulders, causing small white marks
her legs entwined him: she wanted all of him, and soon. She
against the bed and her back arched, calling to him for the
meeting and he was more than happy to oblige. Body strained
body as, like one they moaned their completion and they surrendered
to the passion of sexual zenith. Time stood still. They collapsed
together, still perfectly in tune, even to the second, and he
above her, leaning on his arms with a tired smile on his face.
didn't want to let him go, the moment was so perfect and she
to keep him, but eventually she let her legs relax and he pulled
gently. This particular peak was over, but as he lay down beside
their hearts still beat as one, the night was yet young.
At one in the morning,
Dil was still awake and she smiled at her
sleeping partner contentedly. Richie looked so young with his
resting on her stomach, body draped carelessly across the bed,
snoring gently. He seemed so peaceful lying their and very quietly
she began to cry. She wept for a man with the same face, for
she had suffered and for the happiness she now felt, as her
slept on blissfully unaware.
Morning arrived to
find Richie alone, sprawled across the silk sheets
on his front, still sound asleep. It was as Dil padded back
other end of the large house with a breakfast tray that the
Immortal's face screwed up in a frown and he greeted the new
opening his eyes. The scraping on the inside of his skull soon
to die away, however, and he smiled up at his lover as she walked
into the room.
greeted in a sleepy voice, "something smells good."
"Toast and butter,
with as much preserve as you can get on the
knife," she informed him brightly and put her burden on
table. "Nothing extravagant, but one of my favourites."
She sat down next
to him on the mattress and stroked the side of his
face wistfully as he rolled over and pulled the covers more
she said impulsively and ruffled his hair.
he asked and played with the corner of the shirt she had
thrown on to make breakfast.
me back something I thought had been stolen a long time
ago," was her reply, and she half smiled at him.
he returned in all sincerity.
She didn't want to
spoil the moment so they ate, showered and dressed
before she broke the news to him.
"I still have
to find Oliver," she said quietly as he carried the
tray back to the kitchen for her.
But to her surprise,
he understood her far better than she realised.
he replied calmly, "I'm not going to try and stop you.
you'd let me I'd like to help."
Her reaction was
first shock and then trepidation.
she said finally, "I couldn't bear it if I lost you to
him as well. He's evil, and if he finds out about you, he will
and destroy you, just because I love you."
She was really afraid
for him, and for once in his life, this
Immortal decided to take someone's advice.
he agreed slowly, "I'll stay away from your hunt. I maybe
able to find some information for you though, if you can tell
about him. I have some friends who probably know exactly where
Reality was seeping
back into their bubble of happiness and Dil
didn't want that, not quite yet.
she said quickly, "lets forget about him until tomorrow.
Stay with me today, Richie, and leave everything else until
He smiled at the
thought and nodded willingly.
to me," he said with very little need for thought, "just
let me call Duncan and cry off work, and I'm all yours."
It was a wonderful
day: they went to the park, shopping, they ate
lunch in one of the finest restaurants in town, and then they
back to the house, where Dil insisted on sketching Richie in
pad she had bought. Nothing mattered except them, everything
put aside as they indulged in each other's company and enjoyed
themselves as if this was the last day of their lives. Even
Immortals, however, didn't have endless stores of energy, and
light evening meal they collapsed onto an over stuffed sofa
back living room. Richie found he rather liked the feeling of
Dil close as she lent back on him amongst the cushions.
"I could live
like this forever," he whispered in her ear, and
nuzzled her neck gently.
"But how long
if forever, my love," the other Immortal returned
for a while as they both became lost in their own
"Will you tell
me about James?" Richie asked finally and she patted
him on the hand fondly.
"Maybe one day,"
she told him calmly, "when I've laid his ghost to
She sat up then,
and turned to look at him seriously.
"What I do think
you need to know is how he died," the beautiful
woman told him slowly, "and why I hate Oliver so much.
always the possibility that I may not be the one coming back
this hunt and you need to know, at least what drove me to this
If I die, you will go on, my sweet, of that I am sure, and I
to promise me you will not go after Oliver if he kills me unless
absolutely have to."
Richie protested, distressed even at the thought.
she threw the only thing back at him that could
gain his word. "Now promise me, before I tell you my story."
He looked at her
for a second, sullen in defeat, but finally nodded,
he had to.
"I first met
Oliver twelve years before I married James," Dil began
her story as if it were a mythical tale, "and he made it
that he wanted me in more ways than one. I refused him and humiliated
him in front of his friends, something I truly regret doing,
suffering would have been avoided if I had just walked away.
that one day he would come for me. That day turned out to be
fourteenth of May, 1806, and he came to James house whilst we
sleeping. He broke in and charged the bedroom, he knew exactly
to find us, and he shot James in the back before killing me
When I came back I was tied to the bed and Oliver was leering
me with his sword in his hand. He told me that my day had not
come, but in the future I would beg him to take my head. Then
raped me and stabbed me through the heart, leaving me for the
to find me. I think his intention was for them to believe I
but I healed before James' people came and so I did not suffer
final humiliation of running from my grave. I had not thought
anything but revenge since, until I first saw you, and you gave
Richie said nothing,
what words were there to comfort such pain?
Instead he wound his arms around her and held her tight, tonight
for love, not grief.
That evening, their
passion was even greater than the previous, but
not so urgent.
The first Richie
felt was the normal, tingling presence of another
Immortal that drew him from sleep and his mind flew to the thought
his sword, lying half under his jacket on the other side of
His body was just that much slower as he launched himself from
bed, saw Dil do the same, and caught sight of the shadowy figure
had just smashed through the door. The assassin was taking no
and the angry sound of an automatic ripped through the darkness
slugs thudded into his body. The last thing he heard was Dil's
scream of fury.
When she woke, the
female Immortal was not surprised to find that she
was strapped down to the four corners of the bed. She couldn't
not even to express the rush of pure hatred she felt as she
on the man who had murdered her husband all those years ago.
surprise when I saw the two of you eating in my
restaurant," the dark haired, ferret faced Immortal said
triumphantly. "So you found another James, did you, little
he's as dead as the last one."
If it hadn't been
for the gag in her mouth, Dil would have screamed
so hard that the walls would have remembered the sound for centuries.
Then, however, the logical part of her brain kicked in and she
realised there were no signs of a quickening in the room, she
understand. It was as Oliver stepped sideways that she was shown
answer. Richie was propped unceremoniously in a chair, right
line of vision, like an exhibit, a very dead one. The bullet
were a violent red and the one through the heart had probably
him. He was unrestrained, Oliver had not tied him down, and
to dawn on Dil that he didn't realise Richie would be coming
Hope sprang in her heart, but what showed on her face was anger
pain, as if she believed that her lover was truly gone. She
keep Oliver distracted, especially for the moment when Richie
wake. It was one thing for the presence of an ancient Immortal
mask that of a young one when they were found together, but
back form the dead would be like leaving and walking back in.
evil man would realise his mistake the moment his captive opened
eyes and for Richie to have any chance at all he would have
to be at
the opposite end of the room. The gun was on the table on the
side of the bed, discarded when Oliver tied up Dil, which was
thing, but Richie still needed to have time to reach his sword.
Immortal woman needn't have worried about her captor staying
what he thought was a corpse, however, he too much wanted to
over his female victim.
"Will you ask
me to take your head now," the disgusting man asked and
leaned over her semi naked form, "or later after a little
He had pulled out
the short sword he carried under his coat and he
ran the tip down the inside of Dil's leg.
"How does it
feel to fall for the same trick twice?" he asked coldly.
"Does it hurt to loose the same man a second time?"
She struggled against
the bonds then, and she did not need to act,
she wanted to kill him more than she could ever explain. Her
were stopped in her throat by the cloth muffling her voice,
Oliver did not need to hear them to understand.
it is then," he said maliciously and went to take off his
He laughed as she
pulled at her bonds and then he reached down to
pull away the remains of her clothing. It was as his fingers
connected with the cloth that he felt the other Immortal and
spun on the spot he came face to face with Richie who made a
for his sword. It gave Oliver just enough time to reach for
where he had left it on the table and then two armed Immortals
he said, recovering from his shock quickly, "we really
must be small fry if our presence can be masked by darling Dil,
Richie returned evenly and didn't take his eyes off his
opponent for a second. "Richard Ryan, and your head belongs
"It seems you
shall get to watch you lover die all over again, Dil,"
Oliver said calmly. "I am Oliver Harincourt, child, and
I am you
The way the Immortal
held himself, he was not a bad swordsman, in
fact he appeared quite skilful as he brushed off Richie's first
attack, seemingly effortlessly. Dil watched them exchange a
testing blows, and she knew all too easily which of the two
best in battle. Oliver was six hundred years old, he had had
practice and would cheat far more easily that his adversary.
this one, Richie was going to need some severe luck, or a will
second only to the Almighty's. The younger Immortal had the
just didn't have the experience to give him the edge.
Dil could have tried
to scream, attempted to distract Oliver, but
instead she lay back on the bed and relaxed. Her thoughts went
lover and gradually she found what she was looking for: his
beat. It seemed like it took an age, but slowly she brought
rhythm in tune with his and then she pushed everything she had
him. It was a technique designed to harmonise two people, it
meant for battle, but suddenly Richie was moving that one little
faster and he began to fight his way out of the corner into
was being blocked. Blow followed blow and the two men moved
the room like dancers in a ballet. They cut and parried, thrust
blocked, each trying to find the others weaknesses. There was
surprise in the older Immortal's face as he realised that this
was not going to be as easy to kill as he had first thought.
in the room were use as projectiles when the lack of space became
hindrance to normal sword work. Several ornaments were smashed
both men were sporting several small cuts and bruises very quickly,
only to see them disappear in a few short seconds. It was Oliver,
however, who drew first blood with his blade, and Richie drew
nasty gash on his arm in payment for over reaching in one attack.
eyes flashed with pain and anger, at the wound, but he held
stalling for any time he could, to give the injury a chance
Blood dripped in a steady stream and the muscle complained,
had been damaged, but it wasn't like an Immortal to let something
insignificant stop him. There was no chance for a petty pay
however, because for once, luck was on Richie's side, as the
opportunity to end the battle showed itself. Oliver threw a
at his opponent in an attempt to distract him and the young
no qualms about throwing it back. To dodge the projectile and
strike, the older Immortal tried the duck under the throw and
closer to Richie. On the way he slipped, and it was all the
needed. With an incoherent cry he launched himself at the flailing
figure and by grazing himself along the edged of the others
came close enough for the killing stroke. Oliver had just enough
to see the blade come swinging down, and then his head went
across the floor.
It happened so quickly,
and for a moment Richie just stood there in
slight disbelief. His eyes found Dil's and he reached towards
which point the start of Oliver's Quickening found him. The
cold fingers of power rippled down his spine and his heart skipped
expectancy and trepidation. The foremost spark leapt from the
body into his right arm and he let go of his sword with a painful
grunt. Control was no-longer his and he surrendered completely
Quickening. His face contorted with agony as lightening bolts
careered into his body and sinews cracked as they were stretched
uncontrollable contortions. Oliver had taken many heads in his
and he had been very powerful, and that energy tried to push
off his feet. He tried so hard not to scream, he always did,
sound was dragged from him as pain took away all thought and
dissolved his world in a hell of sensation. Every cells felt
explode, each seeming to absorb more power than it could take
burning with the Immortal fire. Then just as it seemed as if
be utterly destroyed and consumed by the unstoppable forces,
and his muscles collapsed with unanimous exhaustion.
It took several moments
before the real world finally managed to
reassert itself in the young Immortal's mind, but when it finally
come sliding back, he found himself on his knees, with his head
resting on the carpet. Every fibre of his body hurt, and physical
contact with the ground was almost painful, but slowly he pushed
himself to his feet. His fingers automatically sought out the
his sword and it hung by his side as he leaned against the bed
He felt exhilarated, totally wiped out and strangely empty at
same time and his eyes swung slowly to where Dil lay. He moved
soon as his thoughts caught up with what he saw, and his blade
through his lovers bonds like they weren't there.
he said quietly as he reached over to help her with the
He was relieved that
the fight was over, but he was guilty, somehow,
that he had taken Oliver's head when Dil had hunted him so long.
couldn't meet her gaze and his line of vision kept slipping
her to the wall behind or the bed below.
"Why so sad,
Richie," her tone was gentle and kind amongst such
destruction, "he's dead."
"But he was
yours," the other returned in no more than a whisper, "I
took the Quickening you should have had."
Her hand found his
and wound around his slack fingers.
"I don't care
who killed him," she said earnestly, "so long as he's
gone. He was my nemesis, and I hated him, I wanted to see him
That you took his head seems more right to me than you can ever
You have avenged James, you have saved me and I cannot blame
any of that."
His gaze ventured
upwards slowly, across the slightly smiling mouth
and the small straight nose, up to the pale, iridescent eyes.
had met others who were very protective about their kills, that
woman who had followed a man through two hundred years, was
worried when another stole her prize, was almost unbelievable.
"You are such
a sweet child," Dil said quietly and ran her fingers
down the side of his face. "Thank you, my love, thank you
Then she pulled him
close and his arms squeezed her tightly,
stillness in a room that was still smoking in places.
MacLeod was kicking
the hell out of a punch bag when he felt the
first signs of another Immortal, and he stopped instantly, suddenly
glad there were several regulars in the gym around him. His
pang of anxiety was, however, soon countered as Dil breezed
the door with Richie close behind.
the blonde bombshell greeted cheerfully and quite to his
surprise, threw her arms around him and kissed him on the nose.
His other friend
just stood back, smiling to himself.
"Can we all
go somewhere a little more private?" the ancient woman
asked quietly and grinned cheekily.
It was difficult
not to pick up on her mood and the Highlander nodded
as soon as he was released.
he replied. "Pete, make sure no-one steels the wall bars
The subject of his
enquiry waved and smiled his affirmative, there
was no problem there.
Duncan," Dil said like a child discovering fairies, as
the three Immortals climbed out of the elevator, "Oliver's
The way Richie and
the woman couldn't keep their hands off each
other, rather gave away their relationship and confirmed the
suspicions Mac had had since his young friend had cried off
Dil's news was therefore the best of which the Scot could conceive.
he replied, totally sympathetic to the warrior's
need to avenge her long dead love and wandered over to the fridge,
"this calls for a celebration."
He was aware that
in the next few days, Dil might have trouble coming
to terms with the fact that her quest of two centuries was over,
for now it was definitely time to be happy. Where Richie fitted
the scheme of things he had no idea, but then again, he was
not knowing everything. Most Immortals discovered early on that
they were not omnipotent.
"So where did
you catch up with him?" he asked with a smile and
reached for a handy bottle of champagne.
came to us," Dil replied and let Richie find the glasses
for the alcohol, "he had delusions of me letting him take
Unfortunately for him, he didn't realise Richie was Immortal
after shooting us both he tied me up but neglected to relieve
sweetie, here, of his. Your protg has a lethal sword
your training should be recommended."
Her insinuation was
clear and the Highlander's eyes widened with
him?" he asked, incredulously looking straight at Richie.
It wasn't that he
didn't think his young friend was capable of taking
care of himself, it was just, he couldn't believe that Dil would
in such a good mood if someone had beaten her to her quarry.
"Now I see where
he gets it from," the blonde Amazon said with a
beautiful smile. "Not that I wouldn't have liked to carve
off with a bunt bowie knife whilst he was still breathing, but
just glad Oliver's dead. I might have been a little upset if
complete stranger had waltzed in and pushed me aside to finish
the crazed bastard," she continued to explain eloquently,
who looks as good as Richie in their underwear deserves a decent
Quickening from time to time."
The subject of her
scrutiny went a gentle shade of pink. Now Duncan
was very confused, he knew he was missing a part of the puzzle,
fellow Immortal was good looking, but he doubted that just that
have tempted Dil from her celibate life of violence. The ancient
woman read the questions in his face and laughed with delighted
abandon: this was the side of her, no-one had seen for a couple
elucidate," she said lightly and relieved the Highlander
of the bottle he had just managed to open.
He looked to his
young friend and the Immortal sort of shrugged with
a lopsided grin on his face.
"Well it's a
bit of a long story," he said slowly and squirmed
awkwardly under Duncan's penetrating gaze.
This was going to
take a lot of explaining, and the mood Dil was in,
he wasn't going to get any help from that direction. Sometimes
was complicated, sometimes exciting and sometimes just plain
embarrassing: Richie couldn't decide under which category this