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HFS
Fanfic page with pictures, music, previews, staff bios and episode listings, all you could want, and more, for Highlander fiction fans. HFS season one is finished, we have a total of 23 episodes, and they're all available if you follow the HFS link.

Discoveries by Tasha

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

 

Part 6

The phone drew Duncan out of a very deep sleep and it took him a while to realise what had woken him. He disentangled himself from Amanda as gently as possible, but with the urgency of someone who knew they had something to do. He managed to reach the hand set without waking his bed partner, although, only just.

"Hello," he said as coherently as possible.

"Didn't wake you did I, MacLeod?" the voice on the other end said with a total lack of sincerity. "Thought I'd ring and see if you were ready for me yet."

"Anytime," the Highlander said calmly, "just name the place."

"Oh, I don't think so," Jackson replied with a sneer in his voice, "not so soon. I just wanted to check on you. I've been watching you and your friends you know, quite a crowd you have over at your place. Haven't been close enough to check exactly who they are, of course, but I'll give you a little more time with your playmates. Give my love to the beautiful lady sharing your bed, won't you."

"You don't scare me, Peters," Mac returned without the slightest hint of emotion, "we may as well just get on with this."

"Don't be impatient, Highlander," the other responded quickly, "our battle will come around later. Bye, bye, Mac, see you about town."

Then the line went dead and the contact was over. Maybe a few months ago Peters' tactics might have rattled MacLeod's chain, but this morning it just woke him up.

"Your games are not original," the Scotsman said quietly to himself, "you have no hold over me, Jackson. See you on the field of war."


It was early, and today, Richie was not really awake: he was walking around, he'd made it to the dojo, but he was definitely not fully out of sleep mode. The previous evening Chris had stayed well into the small hours, and all three young people had drunk a little too much wine. Hangovers didn't last too long where Immortal's were concerned, since their systems cleaned themselves out with practised efficiency, but lack of shut eye hit them just as hard as mortals. As it was, the young Immortal's twin hadn't turned up at all for the morning work out, and since Duncan was practising with Craven, that left Richie with Amanda. At least their female companion was in a good mood, which meant she wouldn't be going for the jugular. It still did not bode well for the number of bruises with which the sleepy young Immortal would come out of their sparing. Wooden swords were the order of the day: they never used their own blades in the gym for fear that they would be disturbed and not be able to explain away any wounds.

"Open your eyes, Richie," his opponent said mercilessly as they readied themselves for combat, "it helps when you're trying to parry."

"They are open," the young Immortal returned, "just not very far. It's a new technique to infuse over confidence in my enemies."

Amanda just snorted her amusement.

"Well you're not quite asleep, I see," she said lightly and brought her sword up. "Defend yourself, ruffian."

They exchanged a few blows before the young looking woman slipped a blow under her companion's guard and gave him a hearty slap to the ribs.

"Okay, I deserved that," Richie said as he backed off and finally began to wake up.

"You can do better than that," his opponent said jubilantly and launched into her next attack.

At last Richie's mind decided to enter into the entertainment of living and much to Amanda's surprise he came to life and actually forced her backwards. The dark haired woman was in no way an inferior swordswoman, but the sudden change caught her a little of guard. With an opportune strike the younger Immortal pushed Amanda's weapon out of the way, passed her on the left side and brought his own wooden sword round to hit her squarely on the behind.

"Pay back," he said with a mischievous grin.

His female companion's eyes flared and they were suddenly joined in earnest conflict. The sounds of wood hitting wood, and wood hitting flesh was soon so distracting that the other two Immortals stopped to watch.

"Ooh, that looks painful," Duncan commented as Amanda landed a particularly heavy blow on Richie's leg.

Very shortly, however she was rewarded with a jab to the right arm and both their friends winced.

"Do you think we should break it up?" Craven said quietly to his sparing partner.

"Looks like they're quite enjoying themselves to me," the Highlander responded as he watched the two combatants grin at each other evilly. "It's not as if they can do each other any permanent damage."

Both Immortals were digging deep for every dirty trick they knew and it was like watching a dance of intrigues. No sooner was one move countered than the real aim of the blow was revealed as one or the other went for another hit. Finally, Richie managed to duck under his opponent's attack and hooked her feet out from under her. Amanda fell to the floor with a loud thump, and yet her sword was still moving. It caught the back of her attacker's knees and unceremoniously dumped him on his rear end.

"Pax," he yelled breathlessly, as both weapons, once again met, even though their holders were sitting down.

"D'you think they've finished?" Craven asked in a loud voice fully of mock curiosity.

"Can't quite say," Mac returned in kind as both fighters flopped back onto the floor, "better leave them a while just to make sure there are no more sparks."

"If you don't come over here and help me up, Highlander," Amanda said as she stared at the ceiling, "I'll publish your sexual habits in the National Enquirer."

Duncan looked at Manheim in mock innocence.

"Maybe I should give her a hand," the Scotsman said with a perfectly straight face.

Whilst he walked over to his lover, his companion wandered across to where Richie was trying to decide what hurt most.

"I think I cracked a rib," he said painfully as Craven looked down at him.

"Then learn to avoid being hit," his friend said unsympathetically and smiled broadly.

Both combatants groaned loudly as their companions helped them to their feet and then looked at each other with wicked smiles.

"I love it when you play rough," Amanda said unashamedly.

Richie chuckled and then wished he hadn't

"Don't make me laugh," he said helplessly, "it hurts."

His opponent thought that was terribly funny.

Five minutes later Chris appeared in the doorway looking wide awake.

"Amanda," he said pointedly, "would you mind not beating up my brother whilst I'm trying to get some sleep, it's distracting."

"Serves you right for not turning up," Richie shot back, as he gingerly prodded his ribs to see if anything was really broken.

His twin winced when he reached the fourth one down.

"That's definitely cracked," Chris supplied helpfully. "For both our sakes, don't move for the next few minutes."

"This is fun," their female companion said evilly, "I can torture both of them for the price of one."

She herself was nursing a beauty of a bruise down her right leg. It was amazing what Immortals could put each other through and still remain friends.


Joe had called a meeting of all the significant Watchers in town: it was time to assess what was going on and gauge what their general feelings were. Sooner or later the members of the order were going to start asking questions, and Dawson had found, in the past, that a group meeting often headed off any problems.

"Morning, people," he greeted and took a seat at the circle of tables that had been laid out for the purpose, "everyone's well I hope."

"Can't complain," Jurgan said with a smile and several others nodded companionably.

"This isn't a formal gathering," the bearded Watcher told them all calmly, "it's just an opening to swap our observations and comments. If there weren't so many of us, I'd get the cards out."

Several grinned, Joe's card games were an institution. There were eleven present in all, seven of whom were in town specifically because of the twins.

"Before we start," their chairman asked cheerfully, "can I get anyone a coffee or tea."

It took a few more minutes to sort the orders out, but by the time they were settled, all were at ease, just as Dawson had intended.

"Does anyone feel they would like to start?" the grey haired man asked evenly.

It was Ben, a man of thirty who had been Richie's Watcher now for several months, who chose to speak up.

"Well I don't know about anybody else," he said in what was a deep mellow voice, "but I've been following Ryan for a while and these past few weeks, my job has become one hell of a lot harder. Ever since his twin turned up he always seems to know when I'm around, it's like he gained another pair of eyes."

"I agree," Julie put in. "We've been trying a round robin trailing system, because of the amount of surveillance we were told to keep up, but it's like trying to keep tabs on a ghost."

After a powerful quickening, a more observant Immortal would have been accepted quickly, but none of these people knew that one had occurred, and Joe had to head off their anxiety.

"Maybe Chris has just woken him up a bit," the older Watcher suggested calmly, "he was always a little careless. He has a woman to think about now, as well, remember, and I've seen more than one Immortal change the same way where a partner is involved. Richie already knows about us, he's just looking harder now."

"Possibly," Dave gave the idea some credit, "but sometimes it's uncanny."

"Of course," Graham added with a smile, "I'd be edgy if there were suddenly any number of people following me. I know that the twins are a phenomenon we've never seen before, and therefore deserve some careful attention, but I think we may be over doing it people."

At last, someone who agreed with Joe.

"I happen to share the same opinion," the bar owner put his two pennies in, "it's always been one on one before. The bug idea was a complete disaster, and a cockup I do not wish to repeat. I'm going to recommend that this extra Watching be suspended, in my next report. We'll probably learn more if we go back to how it was and our Immortals begin to relax again."

Several heads nodded in agreement.

"There's only one thing that bothers me," Dave still had a problem with the situation, "and that's the number of Immortals there are in one place, and not even a hint of friction. I've been Watching for a long time, and I've never seen this many live in each others pockets for so long. In six weeks only one of them has left, and she's coming back. Sure, occasionally a group of them will get together for a little while, but they always get jumpy and move on. Then there's Craven Manheim, he's been torturing and killing Immortals for centuries and suddenly he's not anymore, in fact he seems to have become a completely different person."

This was a good point, and again a Quickening would have explained at least Craven's change of heart, but that truth wasn't an option.

"They're probably all still here for the same reason you are," Graham spoke up and saved Joe the trouble. "The twins are as much a shock to them as they are to us, and they're, most likely, trying to find out as much as they can as well. There's enough speculation about Ryan and Seaton's significance in our camp and we're just observing. The pair may actually have some importance for Immortals that we can't even begin to fathom, yet."

This was a little too close to the correct answer for Joe's taste, but he had to roll with it.

"Craven went mad centuries ago," he added before anyone could delve into their companion's point, "we have the events chronicled. It's possible his psyche has been repairing itself all this time and he just needed something to shock him back to the person he was. Richie and Chris certainly made me sit up and take notice."

It was weak, and the Watcher knew it, but no-one else had a better suggestion.

Adam was in on this discussion, but he was sitting back and keeping his mouth firmly shut for the time being. It was becoming obvious that sooner or later these people were going to see something which would lead them to the right conclusions, it was another thing to add to his collection of reasons to steer clear of the group. It was at times like these that he reminded himself of who he was and how he had stayed alive so long, and yet, there was something very compelling about the idea of being no-longer alone. He had to admit to himself that he was torn: in one way being part of the Dividing would make him a target: he wouldn't be able to hide forever; and on the other hand, it would feel so good to have people around he didn't have to lie to. Methos was a myth who existed as a holy grail to Immortals: they wanted to kill him or be him, Adam on the other hand really wanted a quiet life. The companionship he saw in his friends was an almost irresistible pull after so many decades of isolation. Musing now, however, would not help him learn anything and he snapped back to the conversation quickly. In the end, he needn't have bothered: the discourse went round in circles for the next half hour, with only the addition of some things the Watchers had observed.

"They're becoming very suspicious," Joe said as his colleagues left him and Adam alone.

"I don't blame them," the Immortal responded and started to put some of the chairs back into their correct positions, "I was suspicious, which is why I'm here."

"I'm not sure I can divert them for much longer," it was an admission that Dawson didn't want to make, but it was the truth. "I don't know what to expect anymore. Once my life was simple: follow MacLeod and report a few Quickenings, now I feel like a covert double agent."

"You are," Methos replied, unhelpfully. "You're protecting your friends from your colleagues and its difficult. I'm not accusing you of anything," he added quickly with a smile, "but you're on the Immortal side of the line for this event, not the Watchers. Until they do know the truth that's exactly where you'll stay."

It wasn't particularly comforting.

"If it's any help, I'd have done the same thing in your shoes," the ancient man said calmly.

"Huh," said his companion with a wry grin, "you're Immortal, you haven't got a clue what my shoes feel like."

Adam returned the expression, Joe was probably right: it was difficult to remember the mortal experience.


The dojo could run itself for a little while as far as Richie was concerned, which was why he'd offered to spar with Duncan for real. Mock combat in the gym was one thing, hacking at each other with steel blades was quite another, and the younger Immortal figured he could put up with a few holes to help out his old friend. He was under no illusions as to who was going to win every round of their combat, but what were a couple of stab wounds between mentor and pupil? Richie had several new tricks up his sleeve that might give him a chance to test Duncan's skills, which was all he wanted to do.

"Well, I'm ready to get my butt kicked," he announced as the pair looked out over the bay from behind the tree line.

"Go into a fight with an attitude like that and you'll never win," the Highlander returned and proceeded to remove his jacket.

"Just trying to boost your confidence," his companion replied with a grin.

"I didn't say you weren't right," Mac shot back and held his Katana up as if to prove is point.

The sound of steel hitting steel was soon carrying across the sea of trees around them, as man faced man in battle. They hadn't fought like this in a long time and both found that the other had altered their styles slightly from their experiences between. They attacked and parried, cut and thrust, as blade crashed into blade and sparks showered the air.

"You have definitely improved," Duncan said genuinely as he pulled back for a moment's respite.

Richie smiled, he was holding his own, but then again, Mac really hadn't wound himself into warrior mode yet. So far it was plain and simple sword work, when they both decided the warm up was over the fight would become interesting.

"Thank you, Lord and Master," the younger replied between strokes, "now shall we actually start this battle?"

The Highlander's grin showed teeth.

The first to go down was Richie, as expected, a cut to the abdomen sent him reeling to the floor.

"Sorry, Rich," his sparring partner said quickly, he hadn't meant to hurt him quite so badly, "are you okay?"

"I'll be fine," the felled Immortal responded breathlessly. "Don't worry, I volunteered for this, remember. Just give me a minute."

The cut wasn't deep, it just hurt like hell, and very quickly it was almost healed. The two men sat together in the sun, recovering from their exertions, waiting for the wound to disappear.

"Okay," Richie announced eventually, "I'm back, lets get on with this. Oh, and Chris is pissed at both of us, by the way."

Duncan just laughed

The battle recommenced and the younger Immortal had the satisfaction of putting his mentor down twice during the entire three hours they continued their game. By the time they finished they were both filthy and aching all over, but Richie for one was a hell of a lot happier: now he was sure Mac was definitely on form.

End of Part 6