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Discoveries by Tasha

This is the second in the Dividing series, the others may be found at:
Dividing of The Ways
Disclosures

 

Part 5

To maintain secrecy, Adam met Beren in a small wine bar just off the centre of town, which neither of them had visited before. The former had insisted he order a cab to bring Richie's partner to the rendezvous and when she climbed out of the vehicle he was waiting for her.

"Hello, Beren," he greeted politely, "I hope you had no trouble getting here."

"With door to door service like this," the young woman returned with a smile, "a lady can't complain."

They walked into the establishment together and found a table in a quiet corner, after which, Adam bought them both a drink and they began to talk under the privacy of the low music which filled the room.

"I'm sorry about all the cloak and dagger rigmarole," the Immortal said almost immediately, "but our being seen together would raise more than a few questions among my associates."

"Like, "how is it this chap is so well aquatinted with an Immortal's girlfriend?", amid others," Beren said brightly. "Don't worry, I quite understand."

"Thank you," her companion replied, "I appreciate you confidence."

They spoke for a while of trivial things and the world in general, until finally, Methos decided it was time to bring up the Immortal joining. They were now comfortable in each other's presence and it was the moment to begin the serious discussion.

"Would you mind telling me about what happened the night of the Dividing?" were the gentle words which started the ball rolling.

Beren nodded before taking a deep breath and formulating her next sentence.

"It was a perfectly normal evening," she began quietly. "We'd been dancing and every one except me had been drinking so we were a little loud I suspect. These men just came out of the darkness with guns, and Richie began to react very strangely. ..." She went on to explain exactly what she had seen in the parking lot and how it had shocked her. The staged sword work and Richie's death at the hands of the gunman were still very clear in her mind. "They insisted on hand cuffing the body before loading him into the van, and we couldn't understand it. I've never been quite so frightened as I was that night. The way they just killed him was so unthinkable that I believe I didn't realise it had happened for a while. When Richie came back, I was more than a little afraid of him. In my world people just didn't come back from the dead, and I vaguely recall some demon ideas coming into my head. He was so angry, but not because he'd been taken, it was because we were there. I think I realised in that moment, exactly what I meant to him, but I still couldn't bring myself to go to him. ..." Her descriptions of the way they had been unloaded like so many sheep and taken to the control centre were detailed and went a long way to explaining what her feelings were about the incident. "After Richie explained I realised it didn't make any difference to how I felt about him. If anything it made me love him more. To tell the truth, I don't remember much about the details of the arena, I was so intent on him. Have you ever concentrated on one thing so hard that nothing else mattered or even impinged on your mind. It was the strangest feeling, it was almost as if I wasn't watching everything on the screen: I was with him."

These were very personal experiences, but somehow, telling Adam was easy for Beren. His kind eyes seemed to understand and made no accusations, he was a practised listener. At this point he was not judging or analysing, he was just taking in what he heard and it made speaking so effortless.

"The next time I really recall was when Duncan came charging through the door," the young English woman continued. "At that moment I began to hope again, and the world sort of came back. I think we all knew, Angie, John and me, that is, we couldn't do anything, only stay out of the way. When Richie came in, I didn't know what to think, but strangely I wasn't afraid for him. There was something almost ethereal about him. It hard to explain, but I don't think he could have lost that fight. From the moment he walked in, it was as if every event were fixed: there was only one possible outcome: Chris would die and the Quickening would happen."

It was quite a statement, but Beren truly believed it, and it was an aspect of the Dividing that Methos had not yet heard.

"I know it sounds a little crazy," she said quietly, "but it was almost like deja vu. As everything happened: Richie beginning the battle, him stabbing Craven, his loss of enthusiasm for taking his enemy's head, it was as if I knew it was right and that it could be no other way.

After Chris was shot the Quickening was terrifying, but exhilarating as well. It reminded me of a amusement park ride, something dangerous that could kill, but because it was controlled it was exciting. The lightening was so close and so loud, but it never came near us Mortals, just filled the room."

She went on the explain the run from the building; Richie's temporary awakening and attack on Chris; the long discussions they had had back at Mac's place; the book; the revelations; and some of the developments of the following weeks. Beren was a scientist, she had an analytical mind and her descriptions were exactly what Adam had hoped.

"You seem to have made the adjustment to our world very well," Methos said sincerely when she finally came to the end of her story.

"It felt like I was living in a dream for a while," the young woman replied with a smile. "There's nothing like finding out there are people running around with swords to open your mind to new ideas. To tell you the truth, I don't think I could bear to go back to how my world was, with just mortals: it would be ... uninteresting."

A silence fell for a moment as they just looked at each other and weighed up what they saw. It was something that most people would have found embarrassing and impolite, but these two took it as open honesty.

"You're old aren't you," Beren said slowly as she gazed into his eyes. "You have the same look in your eyes as Duncan when he remembers. With you, it's always there, as if you've lived so long part of you cannot leave the past."

"You maybe right," the young looking man replied, "ask Richie who I am when you get home. Tell him I give my permission, but I don't think it's a good topic of conversation for here."

"Thank you," his companion replied genuinely: it was obvious to her that this was a great trust he was placing on her.

"Let me get you another drink," Methos said suddenly as the conversation ground to a halt.

"But it's my turn," Beren replied quickly and reached for her bag.

The Immortal laughed and stopped her.

"On this one, you'll have to forgive my old fashioned outlook," he explained quickly, "and besides, it was me who invited you here, so it is my job to entertain."

The graduate gave in gracefully and a few minutes later, Adam returned with two fresh glasses of wine.

"You'll have me going to sleep if you're not careful," Beren said an accepted the drink. "Red wine goes straight to my head and then I fall asleep."

"Used to do the same to me," her companion agreed with a grin, "but that was quite a long time ago."

"I can imagine," the young woman replied cheerfully.

"You love Richie very much don't you," Methos said quietly, after a short, meaningless conversation.

Beren really knew very little about the Immortal to whom she was speaking, but she had no hesitation in pouring out her heart to him. This man carried with him a presence that spoke of confidentiality and trust: noting she said would ever be repeated, of that she was certain.

"Yes," the young woman replied with a half smile playing on her lips, "I would do anything for him. I never believed it was possible to care so much about one person. I've had two other boyfriends, both before I went to university and they were more a statement of normal teenage life than anything else. It's not that I didn't like them, they were nice boys, but I don't think I loved them, not with more than Platonic intentions anyway. When I met Richie, I knew there was something different about him, something I liked, it took Manheim to make me realise how much I loved him, though. The saying is true: you don't realise how much you can't live without someone until there is the possibility you will loose them."

"I know what you mean," Adam said with a very far away look in his eyes.

##########

The woman was crying and pulling at her chains, but the guards did not seem to care or even notice. Their job was to hold the prisoner and make sure she did not escape, not to take note of her misery. The woman was accused of casting evil magic and consorting with demons to foil the will of nature, and she would be tried for her crimes. Her captors had been chosen because they did not know her well and would, therefore, not succumb to her tears. In their opinion, it was a shame her husband had been killed when they came for the couple: for deeds such as theirs, death should have not been so easy for him. The morning was approaching and at dawn the settlement would judge this wretched woman and see punishment given.

There was no sound except her pitiful crying and it was not for herself that she wept, but the loss of her only true love. He had been in her life only a few months, and yet he had been dearer to her than life itself, his death had been the hardest thing to accept. She had visions when the spirits took her and most of the village were afraid of her, but he hadn't been. He had come to her with a warm smile and no fear and they had been happy. Yet, this year had been bad: the crops had failed, the herds had succumbed to disease, and the people had blamed her. She did not really hate them for what they would do to her, maybe it would appease the gods, but he had been innocent of any crime and for his passing she would carry darkness in her heart forever.

Suddenly, the door burst in, and there, lit from behind by the guard fires stood what the guards first saw as a demon. The silhouette was ragged and there was the smell of blood about it, but did supernatural creatures usually carry swords. As it stepped through the opening, however, the light of the inside torches highlighted it's features and in one way this was worse.

"Dead!" one of the men screamed and the apparition smiled.

"Not quite," Methos said, a growl in his voice, "but you will be if you don't run, now."

These were brave men he faced, but they were from backward, superstitious people, and logic told them you could not kill something that was already dead: they ran. The sword swung in a bright arc down, where the woman just stared, and the chains cleaved in two like so much soft metal.

"I am not dead," Methos said earnestly as his wife's eyes became huge with fear. "Mariam, I love you and I would be away from here before they come back with more men. Give me your hand."

She was like a sleepwalker, but she did as she was told and they ran into the night. It took them three days to loose the dogs and he had explained about himself. They moved on and they were happy, for a while.

##########

"You look so sad," Beren said quietly.

"Just remembering someone I left behind a long time ago," he returned in an equally hushed voice with a sad smile. "You remind me of her a little. You have the same fire inside you as she did, Richard is a very lucky man."

What was there to say after that? They chatted for a few minutes, but the conversation was really over, and soon, Adam went to the bar to call a cab for his companion.


When Beren put her key in the lock, Richie was there before she had time to turn it.

"Welcome back," he said and smiled, "I have supper on."

"New recipe or old one," she asked suspiciously.

Some of her lover's concoctions had been wonderful, some were not so great. Richie had all the enthusiasm for cooking, but not all the know how.

"Old one," he promised faithfully, "I figured you might be hungry and actually want to eat something, rather than try and be polite about one of my accidents."

As far as the young Immortal was concerned, there was no point denying the truth, and just at the moment he wasn't a particularly good cook. He could manage all the simple things, but most things remotely complicated were a disaster unless he'd practised several times, hence the old recipe. His only succour was that no matter how bad his concoctions turned out to be, he was still better at cooking than Amanda.

"Well, did you like Adam?" he asked amiably and took her coat for her in a very gentlemanly fashion.

"He's a nice guy," Beren replied honestly, "a little strange maybe, but then again, you're a little weird so that says nothing."

"Thanks," her lover replied with a laugh.

"He sure knows how to listen," the woman continued, unswayed, "I could have talked for hours."

Richie had to admit that that was true, even in the brief periods that he'd met Methos, he'd noticed the air of the thinker about him.

"He's old, isn't he," that statement caused the Immortal a moment's dilemma as he realised he might have to choose between Beren and Methos' confidence, "he admitted as much. He told me to ask you who he was and to say he gives his permission."

A look of surprised happiness crossed Richie's face.

"You really did make an impression, didn't you," he said, a little pride coming out in his voice. "Adam's very picky about who knows his real name, I only found out by accident."

Beren beamed at him.

"Takes a woman's charm," she said brightly and headed for the kitchen.

Her lover followed and began to try and figure out exactly how to begin.


"Evening, oh Exalted one," Chris greeted Craven as he breezed into his mentor's study.

There was no doubt the twin's were picking up each other's speaking habits.

"Hi, Chris," the older man replied and put the book down he was reading, "I've been waiting for you."

"Sorry," the other returned, "I went to see Mac and Amanda before I came back. I met a young lady today who's going to be one of us sooner or later and I thought the female member of our group could do with something to keep her occupied."

"Sounds like just the job for Amanda," Manheim said with a laugh. "I must admit, her peevishness since your mother left has us all ducking."

His companion grinned and walked further into the room. It was a large study, with huge floor to ceiling windows that were currently letting in the last of the day's light. The older Immortal had still had taste, even when he was a raving lunatic, and the walls were decorated with beautiful pictures of landscapes and people. Chris had learned very quickly that the handsome woman who's portrait hung behind the desk was Sabrina, and he could see why she had been worth dying for. There were also a pair of fencing sabres below her picture and that really said everything about Craven's state of mind when he'd designed the room, that needed emphasising.

"So what did you want to see me for?" the younger Immortal asked jovially.

"I have something to show you," was all his friend would say, and with a mischievous smile he walked towards what looked like a solid wall.

Quite nonchalantly he flicked a switch that was hidden just below one of the paintings, and must to Chris' surprise, part of the internal structure of the room moved.

"I've always had a thing for secret places," Craven said playfully, "and this one's special."

His pupil wandered over and as he reached the opening, Manheim flicked the light switch next to the new door. All Chris could do was gape: beyond was a smallish room and every foot of wall space was covered with a sword.

"The ones on the right are collectors pieces I've acquired over the years," the older Immortal explained and led his friend in, "the ones on the left are replicas of swords I saw and liked, but couldn't buy, and the ones in front of you are battle trophies from men I have killed. The top ones come from mortals, mostly from my first century when my sword arm was famous and I was still a warrior. The bottom ones belonged to Immortals, and I'm ashamed to have most of them. I thought about taking them down when I came back that first time after the Quickening, but I decided to keep them as a monument to those who died."

"They're beautiful," his companion said in awe, "they must be priceless."

Craven just smiled, some of them were worthless, most of the replicas he'd made himself.

"The Immortal's swords are the only really sure ones," he said calmly, "they are the only ones that would stand up in battle now."

He let Chris look around for a while and then he came to the point.

"I've been doing some thinking," he began eventually. "There's another Immortal in town and you are the only one of us who doesn't have a sword. Pick one of the ones you're standing next to and it's yours. I suggest if you ever meet him, you remove yourself from the vicinity as quickly as possible, but just in case you need a weapon."

His young friend didn't really know what to say. Receiving his first sword was almost an Immortal rite of passage and Chris was a little overwhelmed.

"Thank you," he said slowly and glanced back at the wall. "Which do you suggest?"

"Try them all for weight," Craven encouraged, a look of genuine happiness on his face, "you'll know which one is right for you the moment you have it in your hand."

Half an hour later, Chris had an elegant rapier in his hand. The weapon was sturdy, but beautiful at the same time, typical of it's late sixteenth century Dresden origins.

"Good choice," his mentor said as he saw the expression change on his friend's face. "We'll have to do some work on your jackets, so that you can carry it without being seen."

The younger Immortal beamed: the one secret that eluded him, at last.


"Chris' coming over," Richie announced as he and Beren were finishing the washing up.

"Shall I open a bottle or put the kettle on?" the young woman asked brightly.

The meal had been a success, and they were both in good moods. When the twins got together over any amount of alcohol there was usually some fun to be had, so it could turn into an interesting evening. Richie looked down for a moment, as if thinking, and then beamed at his lover with a quizzical look on his face.

"He says a bottle would be good," the Immortal explained slowly, "but he's being very secretive as to why he's turning up."

"Some of us like surprises, you know," Beren replied glibly and went for the bottom cupboard, rather than the top one.

She retrieved a bottle of red wine and began to search in the draw for the cork screw.

The door was open for Chris when he arrived and he entered with a huge grin on his face.

"Hello, Sweetie," Beren greeted playfully and gave him a peck on the cheek.

"Evenin, Darling," the Immortal shot back in a terrible accent.

"Lay one finger on her and I'll...," came Richie's voice from the next room and he appeared carrying glasses.

"You'll what, dear brother," the new arrival continued the jest. "Remember, you can't kill me."

The burdened twin laughed and then smiled evilly.

"I could try," he said and raised his eyebrows.

Beren suddenly threw her arms around her lover.

"How could you suggest I would ever look at another?" she cried with her best southern belle impression.

"My dear," Richie returned, "forgive me, I was only warning off this cad, here."

Chris puffed out his chest in mock disdain.

"A cad, Sir!" he joined in the play without a second thought. "How dare you profane my honour. A duel, Mister, it must be so to settle this grievance."

"A duel it is," the other twin returned and then broke out of his act altogether, "but I think we'd better close the door first, or the neighbours will be calling the police."

Chris just began to laugh and kicked the portal with his foot.

"Anyway," he said as his other half put down the glasses on the table, "that's part of what I came to tell you. I met this amazing woman today: blonde hair, green eyes, curves out of a comic book."

They began to sit down as Richie poured the wine.

"And?" he asked whilst passing his brother the beverage.

"And the only problem is, she'd the daughter of a Watcher," Chris continued rapidly, "one of Joe's friends to be precise. That is she's the adopted daughter of a Watcher, unless for the first time we've met a pre-Immortal who can positively identify her parents."

All the information was there, it just took a moment for the other two to realise it had been imparted.

"Back up," Beren said firmly, "today you met a pre-Immortal who has a Watcher for a Father..."

"It's more of a whole family thing I think," the visiting twin put in to clarify the situation.

"Okay, who comes from a family of Watchers," the English woman continued, "and from what I can gather you're in love."

"I wouldn't go that far," Chris said slowly.

Richie just grinned.

"Ever thought about an uncomplicated relationship?" he asked, reading the emotions going through his brother, with clarity and ease.

"Yeah, I know," the other replied, half smiling, "she's not exactly easy access. She doesn't even know I'm Immortal, she thinks I'm just a friend of Joe's, but what can I say. I can't get her out of my mind, and you wouldn't want me to pine away, would you?"

"Just don't expect me to come running if Joe goes for your head," Richie said jovially.

Chris was beaming again, something was about to be revealed.

"Aha," he said grandly, "but I can defend myself now, oh brother of mine."

With a flourish he pulled his new sword out of the jacket he had placed next to his chair. Richie's smile turned to one of pride and happiness, all rolled into one: it was a difficult reaction to explain and thinking like an Immortal was the only way to understand it.

"That is beautiful," the more experienced Immortal said with reverence. "Your initiation is over, welcome to the club, Chris."

Up until now, Chris had always kept very close to his friends, only leaving them for short periods of time, the rapier symbolised his independence. He wasn't about to get cocky and over confident, but now he was a fully fledged Immortal, his first fight was just a matter of time.

Beren sat back and watched as the twins examined the sword closely: she would never quite understand how important it was, but she knew a definitive moment when she saw one. Until now, Chris had always been that one step behind Richie, now they were equal.

"To life Immortal," she said as soon as she felt she'd given then long enough, and then fell off her chair laughing at the looks they gave her.


Joe's was nearly full, as usual, when Amanda strolled in, all in black from head to foot. More than one pair of eyes watched her as she crossed to the bar and more than one man found himself slapped by his date.

"Hello, Mike," she greeted the bar tender and sat down on a stool, "I'd like a Bloody Mary, please."

"Coming right up," the man replied.

It didn't take long for his practised hand to finish the drink and he placed it in front of her with showy flair.

"So what brings you here tonight, if I may ask?" he enquired calmly.

"Men," she replied pointedly, and Mike had the sudden image of a jealous, rampaging MacLeod flash through his mind.

The female Immortal let him suffer for a moment.

"I'm bored with just men for company," she continued, finally, "they can be so predictable you know. I came here to find some women talk."

"I wish I could help," the bartender returned, whilst breathing a sigh of relief, "but I don't qualify. The band's coming off in a few minutes, buy them a drink and I'm sure they'll let you borrow their singer."

With a smile, Amanda picked up her drink and climbed to her feet.

"Maybe, I'll just take a table and wait," she said cheerfully.

Just at the moment, Duncan had his mind on training, and Amanda wasn't interested, so she'd decided not to wait for Chris to introduce her to Karina. Barging in and simply announcing her presence would not be the right thing to do, so she had another plan. When there was live music in Joe's place, it was hard to resist coming to hear it, and as predicted, Karina was sitting at one of the further away tables enjoying the show. The female Immortal chose the empty chair just behind her at the next piece of furniture. Maybe it was the Watcher blood in her, or maybe it was simply that, when she chose to be, Amanda was hard to ignore, but within five minutes, Joe's guest had turned around and said hello.

"Drinking alone?" the young woman asked brightly as her greeting was met with cheerful politeness.

"Yep," the dark haired woman replied with a smile, "left the lover at home and decided to come listen to some good music."

"Joe knows how to pick a band, doesn't he," Karina returned and moved her chair round slightly.

"Most definitely," her companion agreed chattily.

The rest of the room was filled with sets of people, and even though the entertainment was fabulous, the young blonde woman was beginning to feel a little left out. Someone to talk to was just what she wanted and since Amanda seemed willing to have a conversation, Karina actually moved tables.

"Are you a regular here?" she asked conversationally.

"Now and then," the Immortal replied and took a sip of her drink, "it's friendly in here. Haven't seen you here before, are you a friend of Joe's?"

A huge grin spread across the younger woman's face.

"My dad, and Joe go back a long way," she explained quickly, "and I sort of just dropped by and imposed on his hospitality."

"It's always good to have friends," Amanda responded in kind.

"How about you," Karina enquired lightly, "you talk as if you know him quite well?"

Now Amanda laughed.

"We have a mutual friend," she explained immediately, "the lover I mentioned earlier, actually. I've gotten to know Joe over the last year or so, give or take a few breaks."

"Does this man you seemed so eager to leave have a name?" her companion put in with a cheeky smile.

"Duncan," the Immortal returned with an equally suspect grin, "his name's Duncan MacLeod and do you know, everytime I leave him I end up coming back. He has the most wonderful hands."

Karina's eyes widened slightly as she heard the name, Mac was quite a famous individual in Watcher circles, especially recently, but she covered quickly.

"Hands are important," she said as she hooked onto Amanda's tone, "but what about the rest of him? Did you leave him at home because you wore him out."

It was quite a raucous conversation for two women who'd only just met, but Karina had consumed a fair amount of alcohol and this chat was just what the Immortal wanted.

"You know men," were Amanda's next words, "no stamina."

The discourse went downwards from there and it wasn't long before the two were laughing loudly, and discussing things not suitable for male ears.

An hour later, Joe came out of the back office to survey his domain and Mike directed his eyes to the relevant table. Now Amanda was not known for her exemplary track record, and the older Watcher looked somewhat startled at the scene of her and one of his best friend's daughters chatting merrily. He was trying to tell himself that it wasn't because he didn't trust the Immortal, but then again, it was. He raised his eyes to heaven and then took the bold step of heading towards the pair.

"Good evening, Ladies," he greeted brightly, hiding his misgivings well, "everything okay, I hope."

"Couldn't be better," Amanda said cheerfully. "You never told me you knew such interesting people."

Dawson was not about to cause trouble, but the Immortal knew the anxious look in his eye, and she wasn't about to upset things. Her conversation for the evening was over: now would be a good time to retire from the dance.

"Well it's been great talking to you," Amanda said with a smile, "but I mustn't monopolise you all night. I have to make sure Duncan hasn't died of boredom or anything, and I wouldn't want Joe, here, thinking I was a bad influence."

"Oh, don't go," Karina said in her happy state, just before intoxication, "we're having such a good time."

"I wish I could stay," the Immortal replied genuinely, "but I have to be getting home. Maybe I'll see you around."

"Count on it," her companion said, much to Joe's mounting worry. "Safe journey home."

With a cheerful wave the dark haired woman stood up, kissed Joe on the cheek to embarrass him, and walked out.

"Well I think I'll be going back to your place, Uncle Joe," Karina said sleepily as the absence of her new friend removed all her energy.

"Um, okay, Kari," the older man returned, unable to think of a way to warn his guest about Amanda's habits, without revealing her identity in the scheme of things.

End of Part 5