Her hand moved first. Clasped
in her lover's grasp the slim fingers tensed and then tightened
the other way in a light grip. Slowly Kari's eyes flicked open
and her gaze fell on the man next to her. Her features clouded
slightly as a dull ache impinged itself on her senses and something
akin to a gentle hum sounded in her ears, but her curiosity overcame
that quickly. The last thing she remembered was standing by the
car in the park, and it was obvious she was no longer there.
"What happened?" she
enquired quietly, quite unaware that there was anyone else but
she and Chris in the room. "My head hurts," she then
added as the slight pain made itself known again.
"Just lie still," the
Immortal told her with a calm smile, "you'll be fine. You
were hurt when someone came for me."
It was then that she noticed
there were more people with them and for the first time she saw
"Daddy," was her next
word, "what are you doing here?"
It wasn't easy to tell your child
that you had travelled all the way to a city because she should
have been dying. For a few moments, Bill was lost for words.
"The hospital called us,"
was all he could come up with in the end, which did nothing to
alleviate Karina's confusion.
If the hospital had summoned
her parents than why was she at home, and for that matter why
would the establishment have done something like that when all
she had was a rapidly fading headache.
"If I was at the hospital,
why am I here?" she had never been one to side step a question,
and she wanted answers.
She chose the moment to sit up
and immediately spotted her brother hovering next to the door.
This was getting stranger by the moment. The fact that she was
naked and wrapped in a blanket also bothered her, but that was
"Kari," Chris said
very softly as a look of puzzlement creased her features, "the
hospital couldn't do anything for you. Love, you died."
Then laugh escaped her lips before
she could stop it. Her mind did not believe what her ears were
hearing and the reality of the situation, point blank, refused
to settle in her head.
"Don't be silly," she
said without thinking about it.
To hear the last statement was
foolish, Mortals didn't come back from the dead. That was the
thought that caught in her brain, and then came the very fast
follow up. The sound that came out of her mouth was half despair,
half wonderment and she just stared as her lover for a long moment.
Her gaze was almost accusing as her thoughts worked and she realised
what secrets had been kept from her. It softened as the rational
side of her psyche understood the reasons for Chris' silence,
but the bewilderment did not go away so completely.
"I'm an Immortal,"
she said breathlessly.
"Yes, love," her sweetheart
returned calmly, "you're going to live forever."
There was trepidation in Karina's
eyes as she looked to her father. She had known that her liaison
with Chris would set her apart from her family, but this was something
completely different. This not only separated her from those she
loved on a day to day level, this made her what was almost the
"Daddy, what's going to
happen?" she asked and she was almost in tears.
That shattered Bill's inability
to fathom the situation. His little girl was hurting and he could
not stand by and let it just happen. Chris moved as soon as he
did and the Watcher filled the space and enveloped his daughter
in a warm hug.
"It's all right, Kari,"
he said with parental certainty, "we'll work it out."
The flood gates opened as shock
proved to be a worthy opponent and the young woman cried into
her father's shoulder. All the other two men could do was watch.
It was a good half an hour later
when Bill and Tim decided that it would be prudent to leave Karina
and Chris alone. There was much more ease in the air as they went
to exit the room. The time they'd spent talking had cleared the
air, and perversely this seemed to have brought the family closer
together again than splitting them apart. So now the eldest child
would most definitely, one hundred percent certainly not be in
on any family business where Watchers were concerned, but there
were ways round that. The relationship had changed yet again,
but tragedy had made it better, not worse.
"You've known all along,"
the new Immortal said quietly as her kin folk left.
She was sitting on the edge of
the bed, playing with a strand of hair that fell from beside the
only remaining indication of her injury.
"From the moment you walked
into Joe's," her lover replied honestly.
There was a meter of space between
them as he stood by bedside table, and she reached out to him.
The gap closed almost instantly. She rested her head against the
flat of his stomach and his fingers entwined in her hair.
"So this Immortal is going
to have a shock when you turn out not to be a grieving lover,"
she said and pulled back just slightly.
Chris had explained what seemed
to have happened in the park and they were both intelligent enough
to realise why the shooting had occurred.
"He won't know until it's
too late," the older Immortal replied evenly. "I do
a mean impression of a lost soul."
They both smiled as at last humour
reared it's usual head. Where the twins were concerned there was
usually a laugh to be had, and if there wasn't you could bet the
world was about to end. There was no denying that yet another
milestone had been passed in what was an entirely flammable relationship,
but if they were together they could make it through anything.
Chris had a challenge to face,
that much was certain, but surprisingly, Karina found that her
trepidation was only slight. Her rebirth had given her a strange
kind of faith, and for now at least she had no doubts who would
be the victor of any battle. That feeling would probably wear
off by the end of the day, but for now she took comfort in it's
Suddenly she stood up and walked
over to the mirror on the wall. Her reflection looked back with
a pale, slightly dazed expression, and she could see her lover
stood just behind her. There was just a touch of anxiety on Chris'
face and she knew why.
"Well, unless I'm going
to set a new trend," she said quite practically, much to
the other Immortal's surprise, "I need a hair cut. I can
always go for the new age look : short on the sides and bobbed
She smiled and turned.
"Should grow out just far
enough to be perfectly presentable for the wedding as well,"
she said lightly.
It seemed, Karina had adjusted.
"Let's go find, Mom,"
were her next words, "she'll be dying to see me."
She laughed as she realised her
own pun and Chris was treated to an eyeful as she dropped the
blanket that was her only clothing and headed for the wardrobe.
He couldn't help it, desire flooded his system and she laughed
when she turned back and saw his flushed expression.
"Later, my love," she
said playfully, "later."
The next day appeared on the
surface to be what passed for normality in the city which was
beginning to look like a haven for Immortals. At the dojo, Richie
took his normal place as manager, although a little later than
usual. Adam called in to see MacLeod, and Madi and Amanda went
shopping. All Immortals had agreed that they should stay away
from Craven's place until they were invited to be there as soon
as they had been apprised of the situation. That there were three
Watchers and three Immortals under the same roof would give rise
to enough talk in the local community as it was. Any more of the
ageless individuals would just complicate matters.
Adam wasn't that fond of coffee,
but he sat with a mug nestled in his lap as he lounged on Duncan's
sofa. It was only eleven o'clock in the morning and the Highlander
had ideas about drinking in the morning. The fact that they both
came from times when it was water or ale to drink for the most
part did not seem to make any difference. Every time he headed
for the fridge, that look appeared on Mac's face.
"So our fledgling has found
her wings," he commented as looked at the black liquid distastefully.
"This is a turn up for the books."
"And it means that our peace
is shattered," the Highlander pointed out evenly. "There's
someone on the hunt in our city."
The righteous tone actually made
Methos laugh, Duncan sounded as if the idea offended him. They
had all become so used to being avoided, that an anonymous hunter
seemed almost scurrilous.
"Chris will deal with him,"
the ancient Immortal responded with much more confidence than
Mac would have suspected. "We knew his first challenge would
happen sooner or later, and there's nothing we can do about it.
Have confidence in the kid. If he's anything like his twin our
stalker is in for a big surprise."
It was true, it may have been
a nasty way to challenge someone, but it was not against the rules.
Chris was Immortal, this was his battle and no-one had any right
to try and take it away from him. With a deep breath, Duncan decided
to change the turn of the conversation.
"Kari's death has other
implications you know," he said slowly. "This'll affect
you plans to top yourself."
Adam grinned again.
"Not really," he replied
calmly. "It actually makes what I'm going to do more believable.
The Watchers are a fickle society, they'll never think that anyone
would be so obvious as to stage a death after a real one. My demise
will be put down as one of life's coincidences, and no-one will
suspect a thing."
He had a point. Duncan was beginning
to think he was getting old when ideas like that slipped past
him. The look on his face said everything and caused his friend
to crease up again.
"Don't worry, MacLeod,"
Adam commented cheerfully, "everything'll look much more
straightforward once this weddings over. Then we can all get back
to the real world."
The smile did not take much encouragement
and it spread over the Highlander's face with grudging agreement.
He did have rather a lot on his mind just at the moment with all
the jobs for which Beren had roped him in.
"No need to look so smug,"
he said dryly, "you've got to die convincingly first."
Richie had thrown himself at
the stack of paper work that was left from his time away. His
stand-in had been able to do lots of things, but there were some
jobs that were incomprehensible to anyone but the blond Immortal.
In his absence, Greg had taken to helping Phil with his fighting
technique and Richie was quite happy to let them get on with that
whilst he sorted out this month's accounts. He was doing fine,
working well, when a familiar feeling crept up his spine.
"Christopher, you could
have waited until I'd finished having to think," he mumbled
to himself and tried to look at the figures on the page.
Okay so his brother's reaction
to waking up beside a beautiful woman was understandable, but
it was the middle of the morning and Rich did not need the distraction.
Five minutes later, Greg walked in drying off his hair with a
towel and found his friend glaring at an invoice very hard.
"We ran out of hot water,
again," he pointed out calmly, "all showers are lukewarm
for the next hour or so. I think you need some flow regulators
or something to counter the problem."
"Um," Richie replied
He was beginning to wish he had
a flow regulator on the thoughts and feelings coming from his
twin's direction. The photographer knew how much had been going
on in the last few days and he took the absent reply as a reaction
to the stress.
"Are you okay, Rich?"
he enquired, a little concerned. "You seem ... distracted."
The other Immortal finally looked
up and Greg couldn't help but notice that his face was a healthy
shade of pink.
"Oh, I'm fine," the
younger responded with somewhat of a frustrated smile, "it's
just there are things going on with Chris at the moment."
Greg took the wrong meaning again
and his expression went from concerned to understanding.
"Anything you want to talk
about?" he asked in all innocence.
He couldn't help it, Richie burst
out laughing. His companion looked rather shocked.
"Um, no it's okay, Greg,"
the blond man said lightly, "there's nothing wrong. It's
just Chris and Kari ... well you know ... are making up."
Realisation dawned on the other's
face and a smile played at the edges of his lips.
"Oh," he said with
a very protracted vowel sound, "you guys are that
close. Man, Chris is going to be a basket case when you go on
That idea appealed to Richie,
he hadn't actually thought about it like that. It brought more
than just a mischievous glint to his eyes.
"Well like I said, buddy,"
Greg continued lightly, "the water's still heating, so all
showers are cold if you need to cool off."
He grinned as Richie groaned
in mock resignation and virtually head- butted the desk.
"See ya," he said cheerfully
and headed out of the room.
He was on his way up stairs where
the other plotters awaited him.
of Part 13