It was almost six weeks to the
day on which the world had changed for six Immortals, and it was
four o'clock in the morning. This made it somewhat odd that one
of the aforementioned selection of society was sitting on his
fire escape staring at the nearly obscured stars. Richie didn't
usually take nightly meanderings, after all, there was a very
good reason to stay tucked up in bed: Beren was great to snuggle
up to, but tonight was different. By now he was quite used to
having the odd thought pop into his head that bore no relation
to how his mind usually worked: ancient languages hadn't exactly
been his forte and beating Duncan at chess had been a new experience.
It was just that his dreams had woken him up from what had been
deep slumber, and no matter how he tried, sleep would not return.
Darkness did something to the
human mind: made it a little more susceptible to the thoughts
running through it; linked it with humankind's primeval fears.
Which was why one Immortal was looking at the slightly orange
sky and trying to remember the bits of his dreams that were still
floating around in his head. The nightly wanderings of his mind
were not Richie's best subject, usually he didn't remember a thing:
not even the erotic ones. This time, however, bits of his thought's
creations were very clear and it wasn't hard to bring them to
the forefront of his brain to investigate them a little further.
This of course led him to a simple question: why was he dreaming
about Adam Pierson? The man's face kept reoccurring in his mind's
eye, over and over again the Immortal's gaze seemed to fix him
with a stare, and each time it was the same: the face would dissolve
away and those calm eyes would always swallow him.
It was one of the most peculiar
dreams Richie had ever had. There had been so many other things
for the group to think about and do, that except for steering
clear of their own kind, other Immortals had not really come up
recently. Madelaine was the only one who had chosen to leave the
area and she was planning on coming back after sorting things
out at home. It wasn't that they didn't have their separate lives
anymore, it was just that for a while they wanted to stick together
and explore what had happened to them.
It hadn't been difficult to realise
that Richie was the most changed of them all: the outflow of so
much power had altered him in ways that were quite a surprise
to most. The Quickening they had shared had one major difference
to all others before it for the young Immortal: it had passed
on years of experience he did not have. There were even odd quirks
of character that had melded with his own, so much so that he
didn't realise they had been integrated. Only comments from his
friends alerted him to the, sometimes, peculiar idiosyncrasies
that appeared every now and then. He was still basically himself,
that much was clear, but there were small things that had added
to his persona. For instance, he found that he very much liked
to cook now. From who this interest had been transferred was not
clear, and as if to prove that not all information had crossed
into Richie, none of the skills required seemed to be part of
him. The young Immortal had gone out and bought himself several
books on the subject only a few days after the Quickening, but
he still had a long way to go before he could produce anything
that resembled a successful souffle.
Sparing sessions had underlined
the fact that someone's or maybe several people's fighting skills
had made themselves part of his repertoire and quite a few languages
as well. The raw power had entered all of them, but most of the
unusual skills seemed to have been caught by and stuck in Richie.
He'd gladly offered to share them all with the group, but they'd
declined: it was a time consuming and tiring process as the first
attempt had shown, so it was decided to transfer knowledge only
The conjoined Quickenings of
all the "lost" Immortals could not be taken from them
even if Richie died: it would pass to another of them, of this
they were absolutely sure. They were all competent fighters, including
Chris, who didn't need any assistance to share his twin's prowess
with a sword. The two shared a link unlike anything the Immortal
community had ever seen before, or would ever see again, and they
were equally matched in everything. Knowledge and skill seemed
to just seep from one to the other without conscious thought and
they held no secrets from each other.
It was also the twins who were
drawing attention from the Watcher community. Joe had agreed with
his friends that now was not the time to let the world know what
had truly happened in Craven's arena, not even the select group
to which he held allegiance. It would, however, have been impossible
to keep Richie and Chris a secret. There now existed a hand written
note book in a very secure safety deposit box, that held the events
of six weeks ago, but the computer report just mentioned the twins
and a peculiar change of heart on Manheim's part. That something
strange was going on was clear to any Watcher with the least bit
of experience, but what, was a mystery to them. Some of the unoccupied
operatives had actually been brought out of moth balls to lend
extra eyes to the surveillance of the brothers and their friends.
It took quite a lot of quick
thinking by Joe, to make sure no-one saw anything they shouldn't,
but somehow he managed it. Theirs was too great a secret to let
out and even though it broke his oath to his colleagues, Dawson
was dedicated to helping this new option for Immortals reach as
far as possible before anything moved into their path. Sooner
or later the truth would come out: six Immortals in the same place
without a quarrel was a very unusual thing and if their numbers
increased significantly Watchers would begin to dig out the facts.
If anything reached the Immortal community it would also reach
their shadows, and unfortunately, the other way around as well.
Whatever either side liked to believe, they were a closed circle
which could not be broken or prevented. Watchers saw themselves
as completely separate, but there were always links, some good,
some bad: Joe was a prime example.
[You okay?] a very familiar voice
asked in Richie's head as he watched Sirius twinkle in the sky.
[Yeah,] the young Immortal replied
to his twin,[just couldn't sleep. Sorry I woke you.]
[You didn't,] the animated voice
continue,[I was reading a book and I couldn't put it down. I just
finished it and noticed some peculiar things coming from your
Telepathy came easily to the
pair of Immortals and they often conversed from mind to mind.
None of the others could quite get used to the idea that the brothers
were so deeply connected, but it was something they had rekindled
from their childhood and it was a natural part of their relationship.
[I've been having weird dreams,
that's all,] Richie explained calmly.
He laughed to himself and passed
it on automatically.
[I can think of better things
to wake up over than Adam Pierson,] he continued and sent a mental
picture of the man in question to his other half.[He's a friend
of Duncan's and for some unfathomable reason, my mind has decided
to throw pictures of him at me.]
[Immortal I take it,] Chris responded
as he digested the information.[How old is he?]
[Haven't a clue,] was the quick
reply,[I don't know much about him. He's a bit of a mystery man,
but a nice enough guy. You'll probably get to meet him sooner
or later, he has a habit of turning up.]
[Well if you're okay, Bro, I'll
be getting to bed,] the newest Immortal of the company returned.[If
I'm late for practice one more time, Duncan's going to brain me.]
[Good point, dear brother,] Richie
responded,[see you at the dojo in the morning. I think I'll try
for some more zzzs as well.]
Their connection returned to
the passive, almost unconscious monitoring of the other's state
of health and the young Immortal on the fire escape climbed to
his feet. It wasn't that cold out, but jogging bottoms and a jacket
weren't exactly the warmest of clothing and Richie suddenly noticed
the chill of the air. He smiled at the thought of the warm body
lying under the covers in the bedroom, and hurriedly climbed back
in through the window. It didn't take him long to dump the clothes
back on the chair from which he had, earlier removed them and
then he carefully drew back the duvet on his side of the bed.
Beren was quite a sound sleeper, but he was careful as he slid
back into the warm folds: he didn't want to wake her. It was an
automatic reaction to snuggle down and embrace her gently as he
finally felt that sleep might actually be, once again, possible.
Talking about things seemed to have helped no end, and his mind
was at last quiet.
"You're cold," his
lover's muffled voice said from beneath the cover, "the least
you could have done was warm up your hands."
Her tone was disgruntled, but
it didn't stop her leaning back against him, deeper into the hug.
"Sorry," he returned
quietly and kissed her shoulder, "I thought you were asleep."
"I am really," her
drowsy voice returned, "this is illusion..."
The words petered out quietly
and her body relaxed slowly.
"Night, love," Richie
said in a whisper and closed his eyes.
Duncan watched silently as twin
battled twin in unarmed combat. It still surprised him as each
twist and turn either made was quickly blocked and the fight continued:
half the time it was like watching a real person in combat with
a mirror. Only when one of the brother's concentrations slipped
could the other even begin to take an advantage: they knew each
other's moves before they were even made.
"Fascinating, aren't they,"
Craven said quietly from his position at the Highlander's side,
"I wonder if we'll ever truly get used to them?"
"You couldn't see it before
Chris died," Mac replied in agreement, "but it's so
obvious they can read each other's minds. Their fighting styles
just keep becoming more alike. Sometimes I actually find myself
thinking of them as the same person, and then Chris'll do or say
something that Richie wouldn't come up with in a million years."
"I must admit they can also
be very individual," the blond Immortal acknowledged with
In the time since the Quickening,
Chris had taken a liking to Manheim and was staying at his large
house in one of the more affluent suburbs. The two had come to
an arrangement where the five hundred year old was a mentor, similar
to the relationship between Mac and Richie, and both the older
men found a fresh enjoyment in passing on their experience to
their friends. It was a new luxury for Immortals to let go of
all their fear, be able to let down their guard completely and
not be afraid that one day their teachings would come back to
Madi and Amanda had been sparing
partners for a while and since the English woman had gone home
a few days before, the older woman had been sulking and complaining
that it was no fun to fight with men. The skills required by the
females of their race were different because they didn't have
the brute strength that some of the males employed, and Amanda
had enjoyed having another woman around with whom to practice.
All six of them were joined in one accord to offer the Immortal
world an alternative to endless killing, but that hadn't wiped
out their characters, and their oldest female member could mope
with the best of them.
It was for this reason that her
friend's were somewhat surprised to see Amanda come through the
side door in a black cat-suit and gym shoes.
"Who's first?" she
asked brightly, an evil glint in her eye.
It seemed that she had decided
to take her frustration out on an innocent victim and Duncan did
not feel like volunteering. The sight of a very beautiful woman
all in black was, however, enough to distract Chris for that one
second that Richie needed. With a triumphant cry, the blond immortal
dumped his twin on the mat.
"No fair," the prostrate
young man moaned as his brother grinned down at him.
"Never let your mind wander,"
Richie said with a laugh, "you'll end up on your arse."
"Ha," said Duncan as
he heard the remark, "hark who's talking."
"Did I say I was perfect,"
Ryan said lightly and put on his most innocent face, "I think
It wasn't as if Chris would have
a bruise or anything, and he grinned wryly as his sibling helped
Quite suddenly, they all felt
the familiar shivers up their spines and prickling behind their
eyes: another Immortal was entering the building. The sensation
was not distinctive, this was someone they did not recognise and
questioning gazes were hurriedly exchanged.
"Richie, Chris, office,"
Duncan said quickly, "Amanda, upstairs; Craven, stay right
where you are."
There was no time to argue and
it was a reasonable course of action.
A few seconds after three of
the Immortals disappeared a hooded, casually dressed man walked
in through the doors.
"Not interrupting I hope,"
said an amiable voice and the individual reached up to push back
the material hiding his face.
There was an almost audible sigh
of relief as MacLeod recognised Methos and he leaned against table
behind him as the tension in him dissipated.
"Adam," the Highlander
said ruefully, "Do you know how to use a phone?"
"It's much more fun this
way," the young looking man said cheerfully. "Anyway,
I didn't think anything could surprise you anymore. I have my
head in a private book collection for a couple of months and when
I re-emerge I find that there's a lot of interest in your part
of the world. I was beginning to think that my colleagues had
all lost their minds, so I came to find out."
Under the desk in the office,
where Richie and Chris had dived for cover, the pair were just
staring at each other. They could hear everything and both of
them couldn't help but notice the significance of Duncan's friend's
said quietly, but firmly, "just coincidence."
His twin gazed at him for a moment
longer and then nodded hastily.
"Definitely," he agreed
with a little more certainty than he felt, and the pair decided
it was time to crawl out of their hiding place.
It wasn't difficult to spot the
two heads appearing through the glass windows of the office and
for the first time in a very long while, Methos looked slightly
stunned. His reaction was exactly the same as all the other's
had been, and Mac had to smile. This was the oldest living Immortal
and the twins still surprised him.
"Adam, this is Chris,"
Richie said as he reached the door, "Chris, this is Adam."
The younger of the two smiled
"Hi," he greeted tentatively,
"I know we're a bit of a shock. We were a bit of an astonishment
to each other."
"Remarkable," was all
the other returned.
There were things that had not
been discussed over the last few weeks, Adam Pierson was one of
"I had hoped Richie and
Chris wouldn't attract too much attention in Immortal circles,"
Craven said slowly and eyed the newcomer up carefully even though
he appeared friendly. "At least not so soon."
"Oh, I think Adam probably
came by his information through Watching channels," the Highlander
enlightened calmly, "they're faster than Immortal ones."
"But... how... you're one
of us," Manheim said with a confused, mischievous delight
in his voice.
The idea of someone following
him around and reporting what he did, still made Craven uncomfortable,
and the idea that one of his kind had managed one up on the Watchers
"They think I'm dead,"
Methos said calmly, "and I'm very good at hiding myself away.
Disappear for a decade or two and you can be anybody, even a Watcher."
They were interrupted by Amanda
opening the door once more.
"Oh good," she said
icily, "another man."
"She's just sulking,"
Duncan said lightly and winced under the steely gaze he earned
for his trouble.
"Beautiful women do not
sulk, Duncan," Adam said with smooth charisma, "they
merely withdraw their charm from those who are undeserving."
That gained him a sweet smile
and a flirtatious batting of the female Immortal's eyelids.
she said and turned her glare back to Mac, "from one who
knows how to treat a lady."
Sometimes it could be fun to
orally spar with Amanda, but today Duncan took the safer route
and kept his mouth shut. With the mood she was in, there could
be some injuries before she forgave him. She'd never go for his
head, but she was wild and wasn't above something to remind him
of his manners.
However, no matter how interesting
Adam found philandering with Amanda, his attention was again taken
by Richie and his brother. This morning the more experienced Immortal
was in black and his twin was in grey, but other than that they
were the same and it was enticing for the eye. Observation told
Methos that there was more to their togetherness than met the
naked gaze and he was beginning to wonder if some of the speculation
from the Watcher network could be true. One bright spark had put
forward the notion of telepathy because of an assessment of the
data, and been laughed at even by her most experienced colleagues,
who should have known better. To dismiss anything out of hand,
when it came to Immortals was usually the wrong thing to do.
"Come in, Adam," Duncan
said to break the silence that had fallen: the other was still
hovering close to the doorway.
By now the warning feeling of
this Immortal's approach, should have been fading into the background,
but as he stepped closer, much to Richie's consternation, his
presence increased. Nobody else seemed bothered, but the young
man chose to hang back as MacLeod greeted his friend.
"Interesting read was it:
this library?" the Highlander inquired conversationally,
before the topic of discourse could change to anything else.
replied genuinely, unable to resist a discussion about his favourite
subject: history, "the collector actually had some original
Roman documents. Probably pilfered from some museum in the past,
but enthralling never the less."
Even as he spoke, the Immortal
was watching his companions and questions were beginning to pile
up behind his eyes. You didn't spend decades observing and not
realise when there was something you weren't quite seeing. He
went from one face to another, trying to judge what he was missing
and finally he found Richie's somewhat startled blue eyes. He
saw in them the great change that had overcome the young Immortal
and Richie found something in return. They just stared at each
other as if their companions in the room were suddenly unimportant.
There was a component of the
younger man that was trying to impart information, but other sections
of his mind were rebelling. Adam's presence was having a strange
effect on Richie as odd images flashed through his brain, images
of the same face, but with garb from other eras. As each mental
picture skipped through his thoughts he knew instantly where and
from whence it came, but this was not beneficial to his equilibrium.
These were not his memories, they did not come from his past,
but from the lives he and the other had absorbed and his mind
fought back. Specific memories were more than he could cope with,
skills and vague thoughts he could assimilate, but these were
definite pieces of people and they were invaders. Maybe every
Immortal carried with them the significance of Methos in some
subconscious form and so took avid notice of this unobtrusive
man when they met him, even if they didn't know who he was; or
maybe it was because he was so old and had come across so many
people, but there were many instances of him in Richie's brain.
The young man's head began to spin even as knowledge reached his
uppermost thoughts and all that remained steady were the dark
eyes into which he gazed.
"Methos," he whispered
quietly and Chris came to the rescue as his twin's face went greyish
and his legs wobbled.
Craven grabbed a chair and sat
his young friend in it before anything else could be said. It
was the ancient Immortal's turn to look startled and he didn't
seem particularly calm about it.
"What's going on here?"
he almost demanded as for the first time in many centuries he
was witnessing something he did not understand.
Amanda had heard what Richie
had said and she was staring at Adam like a wary hawk.
"You said it was a joke,"
she accused Duncan as she instinctively believed her companion's
outburst. "When you called him that, you said it was a joke."
The tension level had just gone
through the roof, but for now, Duncan was more worried about Richie.
His friend was the whitest shade of pale you could get to without
being dead and even among Immortals, this caused anxiety.
"Are you okay?" the
Scotsman asked hurriedly: last time the young man had done something
like this there had been some interesting revelations, namely
"I'll be fine," the
seated individual replied, "never try and flashback to someone
else's memories: it's not pleasant."
"Someone else's memories,"
Methos sounded more than a little unsettled, "you shouldn't
have someone else's memories."
This Immortal had absorbed quite
a few Quickenings in his time and he thought he knew exactly what
was gained from them. Okay, so the odd memory could be momentarily
passed over during the actual light show, but they always faded
away and became vague recollections, just feelings that could
be ignored. Rarely a skill might consciously be combined with
the conqueror's own persona, and rarer still, a very strong personality
could alter that of the victor's, but never conscious memories.
Yet, the ancient man could not deny that there was something very
different about Richie since the last time they had met, and the
youngster knew who he was. Not just his name, but the significance
of that name: he had seen it in his eyes just before he swooned.
That Duncan had given up his secret crossed his mind instantly,
but the Highlander appeared as shocked as all the others.
"I also shouldn't speak
fluent Latvian, but I do," Richie told the man he now held
with somewhat more respect. "Sorry about blurting out your
name, it just sort of happened."
Both Amanda and Craven knew the
legend of Methos, that just left Chris in the dark and his twin
was too busy trying to sort his own mind back into order to explain
in the most direct manner.
"Excuse me," he said
in a very English fashion, "but I don't understand."
"Methos is the oldest living
Immortal," Amanda supplied without taking her eyes off the
man in question, "he's a legend. Just how old are you?"
There was no doubt in anyone's
mind that Richie had spoken the truth: once unmasked, Methos was
"I can't remember,"
he said shortly: he was still annoyed and his charm had slipped.
of Part 1