Adam had decided to go and
find Joe, to gauge his opinion, Amanda had gone shopping and
Craven had gone home. That left Duncan with time to himself
and a chance to clean up some office work he'd been meaning
to do for over a week now. It was all well and good to find
yourself with a new destiny, but it was distracting and life
had to go on. Madi had offered her services as an accountant:
she was accredited on both sides of the Atlantic, and that was
the position she would be taking up when she returned, but for
now the Highlander had his own affairs to organise. Richie had
the dojo running smoothly, but Mac's other interests were his
own. It wouldn't take Madelaine long to gather clients in the
area: she was good with numbers and being Immortal, very clever
with exactly what the government would ever find out. It would
never do to have the IRS banging on someone's door for two hundred
years back taxes.
Half way through MacLeod's
third invoice for some items he had purchased, the phone rang.
he answered automatically, "MacLeod speaking."
a cultured voice said from the other end, "just to let
you know, I've come to keep my promise. Bran's death will be
avenged and your Quickening will be mine. See you around."
"Wait," Duncan put
in quickly, but the line had already gone dead.
The voice was not familiar,
but the name and the threat brought back memories...
"I don't want to fight
you, Bran," the Scotsman said in his thick accent that
always seemed to come back when he was under stress. "I'm
not interested in your head."
They were in the middle of
a forest and their horses stood aside, tended by another Immortal
no more than a few years into his new life. This was a pointless
battle: Duncan had never even heard of the man standing opposite
him until he had walked up and challenged him. He was tall,
just over the Highlander's height and there was a blood lust
in his eyes that the Scot didn't like at all. They were both
dressed for the road and had discarded their heavy coats before
they began circling each other. The sword Bran held was a cavalry
sabre and it looked somehow clumsy next to the dragon headed
From what MacLeod could tell,
Bran treated his pupil as more of a slave than anything else,
but the young man worshipped the ground he walked on. The Highlander
only hoped that he would not have to deal with the inexperienced
Immortal after he had killed his master.
"I'm in a hurry,"
Duncan said without any fear in his voice, "I'm quite willing
to forget all about this if you'll just get on your horse and
His opponent just sneered at
"Put down your sword and
this'll be over in seconds," the pernicious man replied.
The mouse haired, brown eyed
Immortal seemed to have an inflated view of his abilities: he
was overconfident, full of himself and headed for a fatal lesson
"Have it your way then,"
MacLeod returned evenly and brought his sword to fighting readiness.
It wasn't a long fight. Bran
attacked and Duncan parried easily, bringing his weapon inside
to take a nick out of his adversary's arm.
"We can still stop this,"
were the only words that passed between them.
It hadn't been a jest when
the black haired Immortal had said he was in a hurry.
The offer was turned down with
a cry of rage and a charge straight at the Scotsman. It wasn't
that Bran was a bad fighter, he just wasn't as good as Duncan
MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod and no more than ten strokes later
he was staggering away with a cut to his abdomen. Another two
and he was disarmed and on his knees.
"There can be only one,"
the Highlander said loudly and with a sweeping cut, Bran's head
came away from his body.
The tendrils of the Quickening
had caught him as he turned and found the gaze of the half furious,
half terrified Immortal by the horses. As usual all he could
do was spread his arms and scream as power transferred from
the dead to the living. Pain touched every cell in his body
and wrenched his very being , even as it filled him with the
most gratifying elation. Only as the tumult cleared and he came
back to himself, muscles weak and head ringing did he see the
youngster, his master's sword in hand coming straight for him.
"My name is Jackson Peters
and I'm going to kill you for that," he cried and only
falling flat on his face saved Duncan's head.
He was on his feet in seconds,
using the flood of adrenaline to over come the shaky feeling
throughout his body. He tackled the confused Immortal at chest
height as the younger tried to figure out why he had missed,
and they both slammed against a tree. Jackson's fighting skills
were only rudimentary and he lost hold of the sword almost immediately
only to find a very sharp blade under his chin.
"You're an idiot, boy,"
the Scot said as he pushed him against the wood. "Your
mentor is no reason to loose your head, he was an upstart and
a moron. Learn from his mistakes and make your own way in life.
You're young, go out and find someone who can really teach you
With a shove the Immortal landed
on his backside in the mud and Duncan picked up the fallen sword.
He wasn't stupid enough to turn his back on this pathetic individual,
anyone could put a knife between his ribs if he wasn't watching
them. He dropped the sword after he had mounted his horse.
"Goodbye, Jackson Peters,"
the Highlander said confidently, "remember this, and understand,
if you come for my head again, I will kill you."
Then he turned and rode away.
"I will avenge him,"
the cry followed him through the trees, "you head will
be mine, MacLeod, I swear it."
Duncan really didn't take any
notice of it, his mind was on his destination and he galloped
away without another thought for an Immortal who would loose
his head if he was not very careful.
Someone coming to avenge a
meaningless death of over a hundred years ago was all MacLeod
needed right now.
"Damn, blast, sh..."
he went through as many curses he could think of, from English
via every other language he knew right down to his native tongue.
After that he felt a little
better and decided to give up on the invoices and sharpen his
No-one knew that Adam Pierson
had gone to see Duncan MacLeod, the stranger in the hooded jersey
had been recorded as a John Doe and he looked completely different
when he walked into Joe's bar. The place had seven people in
it, all Watchers, none of whom recognised him.
"Adam, I'm so glad you
could come," Dawson greeted from behind the bar.
This time Methos had rung ahead
and a cover story for his presence had been formulated.
"Everyone," the grey
haired Watcher continued, "this is Adam Pierson, one of
our best researchers, so you can all relax. Julie, Dave, Graham,
Jurgan, Maria and you've met Mike."
"Hi," the young looking
man said and everyone smiled back.
Speaking to Joe about Mac and
co. would have to wait until later, so for now he played the
mild mannered book worm.
"Do sit down," Julie
said with a friendly grin, "and tell us all about yourself.
We don't get many researchers in here, we're all taggers."
"I'm sure you're job's
much more exciting than mine," the Immortal said without
This could turn out to be a
pleasant afternoon, even if he couldn't have his questions answered
Small talk was one of Adam's
specialities and he managed to gain a better picture of the
situation in the city as he chatted calmly. Maria was in the
city because she had followed Amanda here; Jurgan had been assigned
to Craven now that the organisation actually knew where he was;
Julie, Dave and Graham had all been shipped in to study the
twins. In Dawson's humble opinion the decision to send in so
many operatives was somewhat over zealous, and he hoped they
were being unobtrusive. When Julie and Dave had returned shortly
after one, saying they had been spotted, Joe had not been happy.
It had been a long afternoon
and Richie had not been pleased by the number of people following
him. They were good, very good, but he couldn't help noticing
them. He tried ignoring them and for a while it worked, then
he just disappeared into a crowded mall and left them all behind.
He was actually quite flattered by all the attention, but it
was wearing sometimes. Only when he returned to his apartment
did he loose his temper. As soon as he walked in he had the
feeling that all was not right and when he found what someone
had left under the plant pot on the window sill he was very
If blending into the background
could be described as an art form, Methos was a master, and
as he felt the approach of another Immortal he became completely
unobtrusive. When Richie came storming through the door he was
The young man came to a skidding
halt in the centre of the room and egos withered under his gaze.
"I have had just about
as much as I can take," he was not even attempting to moderate
his tone or volume: he was real pissed. "One I can manage,
one I can ignore, but five is pushing it."
He was just over boiling point.
"And if anyone
ever," he was not in the least bit joking, "and
I mean ever, tries to bug my apartment again, I am coming
back here and taking this place apart until I find the person
who did it."
He was holding a small electronic
device and he put it on the nearest table.
If looks could have killed
several people would have been dead.
"Hello again," he
said, looking at the couple two tables away and turned to leave.
It was quite difficult to make
Richie as mad as he was just then and there wasn't a sound as
he made his exit.
"I think he was upset,"
Graham said quietly as he disappeared.
He wasn't the only one either,
Joe did not look happy.
"A bug," he said
slowly, moving over to the table and picking up the offending
object, "you bugged his home?"
This was not Watcher style,
they looked, they recorded, occasionally they used hand held
listening devices for important conversation, but stooping this
low was almost as bad as being a Hunter.
"Who authorised this?"
he asked pointedly. "This is beneath us, Immortals have
a right to some privacy you know."
Nobody chose to reply.
Richie was still in a foul
mood when Beren arrived home, and she found him glaring at the
"What's wrong?" she
asked calmly, she'd only seen him like this before when he had
realised what Manheim had done after he'd had him shot.
Her coat was casually draped
over a chair and then she made him look at her.
"They tried to bug the
apartment," he admitted finally, the anger slowly dissipating
under her loving gaze.
"Who?" she asked
evenly, as if she didn't have her suspicions.
"The Watchers," was
the terse reply.
The young Immortal felt like
a trust had been violated, why had Joe let it happen.
"Did you ask Dawson if
he knew anything about it?" Beren saw straight to the heart
of her lover's anger with very little difficulty.
There was a thoughtful pause.
"No," he replied
eventually, some reason returning to his mind, "I was too
mad. I stormed in to his bar, yelled at them all and left. Joe
tried to call earlier, but I slammed the phone down."
Anger could be so blinding.
"You really think he would
have let them do this?" she was making him do the reasoning,
she'd found it always worked on her brothers.
"No," he said again,
after all, Dawson had been helping them cover their tracks.
"I'm being irrational, aren't I," he admitted eventually.
"Yes, my darling,"
Beren replied with a loving smile, "but I think I'd have
been irrational if I'd found a bug in our home."
She moved round and sat in
"Give us a cuddle,"
she said with shameful grin.
The half a dozen bags that
Amanda was carrying when she arrived back at Duncan's place
had cheered her up no end. There was something about spending
money that filled her with joy, especially when it was MacLeod's.
He had plenty to spare and he'd forgive her once she got his
clothes off. It was only as she stepped out of the elevator
that she noticed the smell of sword oil and saw the faint signs
of Duncan's handiwork on the counter top. She was sure he hadn't
been practising with the weapon today and he'd looked at it
yesterday, suddenly she was concerned.
"Duncan," she said
as she walked up to where he was reading a book, "why have
you been sharpening your sword."
"It needed it," he
replied and turned the page.
"Don't lie," she
shot back, "you don't do it very well. What happened?"
There was nothing for it, Mac
knew she wouldn't stop until she had the answers.
"I received a phone call,"
he replied and finally put the volume down.
"From whom?" were
her next words.
"A man named Jackson Peters,"
the Highlander told her calmly, "I killed his mentor a
little over a hundred years ago. He went for my head after the
Quickening and basically I showed him not to be so bloody stupid.
He said he'd come for me. I haven't heard anything of him since
we last met, and if he's anything like Bran, he's a pompous
idiot. I thought I'd sharpen my sword, just in case."
"Oh," was all his
lover could think to say.
She hadn't expected to get
the information out of him so easily and she was stumped for
"That's all we need,"
she finally concluded, and went to put the kettle on.
Duncan had to smile: the comment
was so Amanda.
A somewhat more subdued Richie,
walked into Joe's bar at about ten that evening with Beren by
his side. The Watchers were gone and the normal clientele had
replaced them, only Mike was still around. The young English
woman's presence made the bartender feel a little more comfortable,
but his acknowledgement of the Immortal was tentative.
"Don't worry," the
young man said with half a smile, "I'm not here to tear
anyone's head off. Is Joe around?"
"He's out back,"
the Watcher replied, "he's been trying to call you all
"Yeah, well after I slammed
the phone down the first time, I ripped the cord out of the
wall," Richie replied, almost guiltily. "I only just
put it back."
"Took a woman's touch
to calm him down," his lover put in and smiled.
Reason made some of the Immortal's
reactions look a little silly and he was somewhat embarrassed
by his earlier outburst.
"What can I get you?"
Mike asked as he gauged the situation perfectly, like all good
"Beer," the young
mister Ryan replied and looked to his companion.
had laughed when he'd found out that Beren's favourite tipple
was the same as Conor's, but that hadn't stopped the young woman,
"one ice cube."
"Is he free?" the
Immortal asked and nodded towards the door as the bar tender
brought them their order.
"Someone's with him at
the moment," Mike returned calmly, "a guy named Adam
Pierson, I could go interrupt for you."
"Don't bother," Richie
replied and fished in his pocket for his wallet, "I'll
knock before I go in."
"Put the money away,"
the man on the other side of the counter said quickly, "you
think Joe's going to let you pay for anything this evening.
He really chewed some tail this afternoon after you left and
instructions were, if any of your bunch comes in the drinks
are on him."
It was a typical Joe reaction
and Richie took it gracefully.
"Thanks," he said
and picked up the bottle from the bar, "look after Beren
He received a slap on his behind
for that comment.
Adam was staring at the door
as the younger Immortal came through it at Joe's acknowledgement.
"Richie!" the proprietor
was somewhat shocked to see his friend after the response he'd
been getting from the phone calls.
"Before you say anything
else," the younger man put in quickly, "I came to
apologise for the scene, earlier today. I was annoyed about
the bug, but I shouldn't have stormed in here like that. You
didn't know about it did you?"
"No," the other returned,
even more surprised: Richie didn't usually calm down this quickly
if he was riled.
"Hope I didn't scare anyone
too much," the Immortal added repentantly.
Joe had to smile at that, an
angry Richie had been quite something to see.
"Let's just say, I don't
think anyone will ever suggest someone bugs any of your homes
again," the older man replied, his spirits fully revived
by the conversation.
"Hi, Adam," the newcomer
said as if a huge weight had just been lifted from his shoulders.
"Well I'll leave you guys to it."
"You're not leaving are
you?" Dawson enquired quickly, he still felt he had to
make up for his colleagues bungling.
"No," Richie replied,
"Beren likes the place so we'll stick around for a while
and listen to the band. And anyway, Mike told me about your
He grinned broadly and then
disappeared, closing the door behind him.
Methos was laughing when the
Watcher looked back at him.
"Are you sure you didn't
act too hastily?" the ancient man said wryly. "Immortal's
don't die from alcohol poisoning you know."
"Richie doesn't drink
all that much," Joe returned with a grin.
"Most of the time,"
was all the other replied and began chuckling again at the worried
look that crossed Dawson's face.
He liked to make people believe
he knew something they didn't, especially when he was joking.
Through most of the evening
the pair had been talking about the events that Duncan had explained
that morning and Adam was feeling much better about things with
two perspectives on the matter. Joe had promised to show him
the record the following day, with all it's instant detail,
and his mood was much improved now he had access to the facts.
of Part 3