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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


Part 11

Duncan moved through the broken down warehouse slowly: it was dingy in here and there were things strewn all across the floor. The presence of the other Immortal had faded, but he was here somewhere and Mac was going to find him. A noise came from above and the Highlander was off in a second, up the stairs towards the slightly open metal doors. He was all warrior, hunter, ready for the kill, he did not think this man would ever become one of the joining, not after he had run. The katana glinted in the dim flood light filtering through a filthy window, and the tingling behind his eyes started again. His opponent was close, his instincts said much nearer than he expected, and he walked across the landing slowly, wary of any sound, any sign. He slipped through the doors like a shadow in black trench coat and black clothes. His eyes scanned everywhere, trying to find the merest hint of his adversary. Suddenly the big door was sliding towards him on it's runners and he leapt sideways to avoid being crushed as it closed. His flight came up short as the coat pulled tight, caught in the metal mechanism, and his balance went completely. Vague panic touched the back of his mind as he pulled, trying to get free: he had no choice, the coat had to go. He shrugged his shoulders and let one hand slip off the sword, just what his opponent had been waiting for. He heard the shout, saw the glint of steel and then felt the jarring of sword hitting sword. His arm flew in a crazy arc, as unprepared muscles reacted in the only way they could.

"You're mine, MacLeod," a frenetic voice said, oh so close.

The blade was coming for him, luck had left him, he'd been cheated by a door. There was no time, he could not defend himself, his death was swinging towards his neck. So this is what it felt like to understand.

"No!" Richie sat bolt upright in bed, beads of perspiration running off his forehead.

His panic and despair were complete, and then a gentle hand touched his shoulder.

"It's okay, darling," Beren's voice said quietly, "you were dreaming."

He looked at her, eyes still wide in fear and denial, and slowly he began to breath again. The memory was fading slowly as reality seeped in and the anguish began to dissipate.

"Nightmare?" the young woman beside him asked with an understanding smile.

"Yeah," he said slowly, his mouth dry and his thoughts all over the place, "sorry I woke you."

"Want to talk about it?" Beren enquired calmly.

Richie had had nightmares before, the Dividing had affected him deeply, and this wasn't the first time he had woken in the throws of some delusion or recollection.

"No, that's all right, you go back to sleep," he said quietly, "I need some water."

The springs moved as he climbed out of bed, and Beren watched him disappear into the kitchen in silence. She knew not to push if he didn't want to talk, he'd tell her in his own time.

By morning the affects of the dream appeared to have left Richie and he took off for an early morning run with a bright smile and peck on the cheek for Beren. He breezed into the dojo ready for work and seemingly at peace with life an hour or so later.

"Missed you at practice this morning," MacLeod greeted as his young friend wandered in, "Chris too."

"I went for a run instead," the other returned chattily, "and Chris is alternatively occupied."

His meaning was clear and Duncan actually looked a little surprised.

"Karina?" he said a little sceptically.

"The genuine article," Richie responded with a large grin, "I wouldn't expect to see either of them before lunch time. I finally know why Chris has been moaning at me to give him a break for the last six weeks."

Now Duncan laughed.

"You do realise we're all going to be right in it with Joe," he commented dryly.

The Watcher's reaction to this situation would probably not be pretty: it was liable to bring out the over protective father figure in the blues player. If only he could be told the truth, how this would only help his friend in the long run, but that was not on the cards.

"Well it's a while since he's been pissed at us," his companion returned, unable to hide his delight that his twin had found happiness. "We should give him something to watch to take his mind off running other people's lives."

"I'll tell him that," the Highlander threatened with a chuckle, "see how long you last with a dozen Watchers on your tail."

"Oh, god, don't," the other said lightly, "there's enough of them already. They keep trying these different systems so I won't spot them, I think it'll be teleportation next."

"Beam me up, Scotty," Mac returned and found himself hustled out of the desk chair for his trouble.

"Be gone, Highlander," Richie ordered playfully, "I have work to do. If we're going to be able to pay for the work on the showers the books need some cooking."

One thing in which the younger Immortal had shown great promise, was juggling funds, he could spread money very thin without becoming embroiled in trouble.

"Ah well," Duncan said and headed for the door, "Amanda should be out of the shower by now. I may be able to get into the bathroom."

The spreadsheet was just beginning to add up in the right places when the tapping of a cane intruded on Richie's train of thought. If he'd had time he'd probably have dived under the desk, but as it was, Joe Dawson had already seen him. The look on the older man's face was not particularly friendly: this was definitely the Watcher looking out for his friend's daughter.

"Morning, Joe," the Immortal greeted brightly as he walked into the office, and winced under the glare he received in return.

"Karina didn't come home last night," the Watcher said evenly, "your brother wouldn't happen to know anything about that, would he?"

Sometimes there were disadvantages to having it known you could read your sibling's mind.

"I think that's between them," Richie returned carefully, he really didn't want to be in the middle of this situation.

His evasion actually answered the question, and Joe's face darkened at the hedging.

"Do you people ever think before you do anything?" he asked coldly. "She's a Watcher's daughter, most of her family are Watchers, she can't be involved with an Immortal."

"It's not that simple, Joe," the other returned, trying to remain the calm one. "There are elements you don't understand, leave them be, it'll be best all round."

"She's like family to me," the older man insisted, righteous in his need to protect, "she can only be hurt by this. Kari can do without being seduced by your brother."

Now Richie's eyes flashed.

"He did not seduce her," it was his turn to shout, "in fact he tried to stop it."

The twins had had a little talk that morning whilst Richie was running, he knew all the details.

"Karina is a very big girl, Joe," the Immortal continued, a little more evenly, "she knew exactly what she was doing. They're in love, whether the rest of the world like it or not, and your guest's absence last night it an illustration of how much. Their relationship may be a somewhat ill thought out, but you are not going to blame it on Chris. They are both in this and they went in willingly."

Joe was speechless for a moment.

"But it'll tear her apart," he eventually said quietly.

"She's not a Watcher," Richie pointed out slowly, "she isn't bound by your rules. It's going to make things a little more difficult, but it's not the end of the world. You could try and break them apart, but I think we both know they're going to make their own decisions."

For once in his life, Richie was the voice of reason, and his words broke through Joe's stubborn will.

"Can't anything be simple, just once?" he asked plaintively.

Chris actually breezed in about three hours later, humming to himself and on top of the world. His twin had long since plied Joe with numerous cups of coffee, talked him out of going after Chris with a shot gun, and sent him home. It was around one o'clock, just about the time Richie had predicted his brother would turn up.

"Afternoon, pain in the arse who is my brother," the more experienced Immortal said sarcastically. "Praise and grateful thanks will be graciously accepted for the feat of removing Joe from your back."

"That bad?" Chris asked with a grimace.

He'd known, the moment he'd kissed Karina it would effect his relationship with the Watcher, he only hoped it wouldn't end it.

"When he walked in he was ready to kill you," the other elaborated calmly, "then I explained a few home truths and he was ready to kill both of you. By the time he left he was down to never speaking to you again, which means, I suspect he'll have calmed down enough for you to be able to square things, by this evening."

Richie had meant what he'd said to his older friend, he did think his twin's new relationship was ill thought out, but he was the first to admit there had been little thinking involved in the start of his alliance with Beren, so who was he to comment. There were going to be some awkward times ahead for Chris and all his twin could do was be there for him.

"Do you really think so?" the newcomer of the two asked anxiously.

"I know so," his sibling returned with a bolstering smile. "One thing Joe does understand is honesty. Give him a little time and then go see him and explain. He'll probably try and tell you that both of you are making a huge mistake, but he'll listen and he won't condemn you for being in love."

Chris smiled back.

[Thanks, Bro,] he said in the most all encompassing way he could.

[Anytime,] Richie responded automatically.

The sound of the elevator interrupted them and both turned to see who was coming down. Duncan waved at the pair as he stepped into the main room and then headed for the door. Chris experienced everything that went through his twin's mind at that moment: they were still communicating, and he had to sit down as complete panic hit him. Richie had never moved quite so fast as he leapt for the office door.

"Mac!" he yelled, the word catching in his throat even as he tried to say it.

His state of mind was obvious from his tone and the Highlander turned immediately, unsure what could have caused his friend to sound like a strangled cat and have gone three shades paler.

"What's up, Rich?" he asked slowly. "You look like you've seen a ghost."

Under the rational scrutiny, the younger Immortal felt suddenly foolish, as he discovered that he wasn't quite sure how to explain his reaction. It was Duncan's clothes that had caused his young protege to momentarily loose his cool: the Highlander was decked out all in black, and over everything was the stylish raincoat.

"Um... I... Where are you going?" was all Richie could manage as his thoughts caught up with his instincts.

"Just to do some shopping," Mac returned with a slightly confused smile, "I'm almost out of booze. Are you okay?"

This was difficult, the younger Immortal was not the sort of person who could admit they were reacting to something they'd seen in a dream.

"Do me a favour," he said awkwardly, "wear another coat."

Duncan was looking at him as if he was crazy.

"Don't ask me why," he put in rapidly, "just do it for the sake of my peace of mind, please."

"I'm in a bit of a hurry, Richie," the Highlander said, unable to contain his bemusement at the request.

"Please, if you never do anything I ask ever again, just don't wear that coat in the near future," it was an extremely weird plea, but the look on the twin's face was quite compelling.

"Okay, Rich," his friend said with a shake of his head, "I'll wear a different coat. Will the tan trench coat do?"

"How about a shorter one?" this conversation was becoming bizarre.

Mac was confused, but he was headed back to the elevator.

"If this is one of your mad cap jokes," he warned evenly, "I will personally hang your hide on my wall."

The gates closed and Chris wandered out of the office.

"Just don't say anything," Richie said as the motors started, he was beginning to feel foolish, but not stupid enough to withdraw his request.

"No comment," his twin replied, "I'm with you on this one."

There was weird and then there was truly bizarre, and as far as MacLeod was concerned, Richie's behaviour had just stepped over the line. If it hadn't been for the totally petrified look in his young friend's eyes that first moment he'd turned and seen him, the Highlander might just have ignored him. As it was, he picked up his black leather jacket, slid the katana into it's new resting place and headed out, avoiding the dojo. It didn't take long to pick up the alcohol, extra beer included since Methos was around, and before very long he was ready to return home. It was as he finished loading the brown grocery sacks into the T-Bird that his head reverberated with the presence of another Immortal, a stranger. He looked up sharply, and scanned the area with his penetrating stare, finally settling on a tall man with dark glasses, at the corner. The man smiled, an unpleasant sight, and saluted Duncan with one, brown gloved hand. He was dressed in deep emerald green from head to foot, except for his accessories, and his long, wax riding jacket hung in only a way Immortal coats could. There was no doubt who this man was, and as he turned to walk away, Mac noted that Jackson Peters moved with all the skill of a veteran fighter. It was a fair guess that the challenger was not yet ready to face his adversary, since there was a church just round the corner, and he appeared to be heading towards it: this was a preliminary sounding. Duncan slammed the trunk of the T-Bird, straightened his jacket and set off after Jackson with disdainful ease. As he walked through the entrance onto holy ground, Peters turned from where he was waiting and pulled off his shades with a predatory size up.

"It's been a while, Highlander," he said calmly.

"And I'd have thought you might have developed some sense by now," the Scotsman returned coldly, he did not like all these games.

It seemed that Jackson did not have a sense of humour because his eye narrowed at the statement. His hatred had wiped away the person underneath, this was a two dimensional man, and for just a moment Duncan felt sorry for him. Maybe he shouldn't have left a lonely boy in the forest all that time ago, he might have been able to save what had to have been a strong spirit. Now all that was left was a will to destroy that which had killed his first Immortal comrade, and it made him a very dangerous man. His hair was dark brown and surrounded a pleasant enough face, but his expression lacked true emotion, and it left an ugly set to his features. He couldn't have been more that twenty when he died, and yet the boyish cast in his visage was offset by a hardness which had taken decades to develop. There was a thought at the back of his mind that suggested to Duncan, maybe he could bring this one back, but he pushed it aside, first they would have to match blades.

"You killed my only friend," Jackson said menacingly, "and for that I'm going to kill you. I wanted to meet you first, to see how you've changed: swords can detract so much from a personality. I've been thinking that maybe I'd like to play with one of your friends first, let you feel what I felt."

A laugh escaped Mac's throat at the empty threat.

"They can all take care of themselves," he said calmly, and the information seemed to surprise Peters.

The Immortal's eyes widened slightly as he realised what the Highlander was telling him.

"They can't all be Immortal, MacLeod," he returned slowly, "we're not the gregarious type. Or are they all your pets, a flock of tame flunkies?"

This man really had little imagination.

"Cross swords with them if you like," Duncan said evenly, he knew Peters was too obsessed with revenge to risk it, "it would save me a chore."

"Over confidence has brought down many proud heads, Highlander," Jackson said vehemently, he did not seem to be able to control his emotions at all well.

"I know," the Scotsman said calmly, "it's what caused Bran's death. He thought he was the best swordsman in the world, and for a while he seemed to be proven right. Then I came along and showed him the error of his ways. I don't fight for sport, Peters, I fight because I'm challenged, you might want to try it some time."

"If you think I'm just going to walk away, you're very much mistaken," the other Immortal shot back. "Your head is mine, and next time we meet, it won't be on holy ground."

"Just tell me where and when," was all Duncan replied.

The calm, superiority had reasserted itself on Jackson's features as the topic of conversation slid back his way.

"Tonight, at eight," he said carefully, "you'll find the address in an envelope under the wipers on your car. I think I'll stick around here, and find God for a while."

The expression on his face said he was in anything but a spiritual mood. Their meeting was over, that much was obvious, so Mac just turned on his heels and left: they would join battle all too soon.

"Any white wine in those bags?" Amanda asked brightly as her lover carried them out of the elevator. "There's this great punch recipe in a magazine I picked up earlier, and I thought we might try it tonight."

"I won't be in," the Highlander returned evenly, and the undertone in his voice was not lost on his companion.

"Oh," she said, "well I'll make it for when you get back."

Her smile was forced, but what else could she do: no matter how much she cared for Duncan, she couldn't fight his battles for him. They all knew that sooner or later their lives came down to the flight of a blade, Mac was just the first to stand up to the challenge since their aims had changed.

"Just take his head," she advised quietly, "don't worry about bringing him in. Hesitate and this one might just get past you."

"I know," the Scotsman returned and put down his burden.

Somehow, Karina had managed to avoid Joe all day, she knew she was going to be in for a lecture. It was a precarious situation which she refused to regret, but would rather put off until later, which was why, when Chris suggested they go to the bar, she was somewhat surprised.

"We shouldn't let this silence go on too long," he explained at her questioning glance, "or it might just be too difficult to break."

They were both sat in Craven's living room, where they'd been for about ten minutes since Kari turned up on the doorstep just before seven. There was no awkwardness between them, neither of them had any thoughts in the direction of remorse for their actions, but it had taken the Immortal a few minutes to work up to the idea.

"You're right," the young woman agreed slowly and reached out to take his hand, "if you're willing so am I. Let's go face the wrath of a Watcher."

There had been no discussion of Richie's earlier behaviour between him and Duncan. The younger of the two had buried himself in work and not ventured upstairs once during the afternoon, which was highly unusual for the blond Immortal. It wasn't like the mentor and his pupil not to talk, and finally, just before he was ready to go out, MacLeod walked into dojo's office. Richie was still there, because he couldn't quite bring himself to go home, not without making sure that his friend was still in one piece.

"Do you want to explain why I'm not supposed to wear my rain coat?" the Highlander asked calmly as his companion looked up sideways.

"Not really," the younger man returned quietly, he still felt stupid.

It wasn't easy to explain a conviction that he wasn't quite willing to give up, but couldn't justify.

"You're going out to meet him, aren't you?" Richie continued evenly, that much was obvious by the way the Scotsman was moving.

Something changed about Duncan when he was readying for a battle, something almost indiscernible, on an elemental level, and that evening it was written all over him.

"Yes," Mac told his companion calmly. "We bumped into each other today, and the time is set. It'll be over tonight."

Half a smile played across Richie's mouth: the older Immortal was probably going to think him even crazier, but he formulated his next sentence anyway.

"Watch out for sliding doors," he said quietly, and glanced up from where he had been intently studying his fingers.

Two Immortals looked into each other's eyes at that moment, both warriors, both killers, brothers in an unnatural destiny.

"Don't loose your head," the younger said evenly, and Mac smiled back.

"See you later," the Highlander returned calmly.

In the spirit that Joe couldn't blow a fuse with lots of customers around, Chris and Karina entered the tavern just as it was beginning to fill up. Adam glanced round as the door opened, careful to appear just a casual observer since one of the patrons tonight was Graham, and he hid his smile at the worried look Chris gave him. Joe was busy replacing a few things under the bar and he didn't see the new comers as Methos stood up and motioned for them to take his place. This Immortal knew where to be and where not to be, choosing a table away from the young couple.

"You know there's more junk under here than... ,"the Watcher was saying and then his eyes caught up with his mouth and he realised he was no-longer talking to Adam.

"Hi, Joe," Kari said quietly.

Now she chose to remember not to call him uncle.

"Evening," he said, not exactly warmly, "I was beginning to think you had skipped the country."

"It crossed our minds," Chris said with an attempt at humour, it fell on dead ground.

It was a toss up who looked the guiltiest, Karina or her companion, but one thing they were not going to do was drown in consequences. They'd made their decisions, all they had to do was convince Joe, they had made the right ones.

"It just happened," the young woman said quietly and squeezed her lover's hand, "we didn't plan this."

"It might have been better if you'd done a little thinking first," the bar tender said emphatically. "What is your father going to say? He'll have my hide you know: he'll probably blame it all on me."

"He can't live my life," Karina responded in defence. "I'll talk to him, he'll understand ... eventually."

Her voice trailed off towards the end: telling her father would not be an uplifting experience.

"And you," Joe turned his attention to Chris, "she has two large brothers you know. They may not take kindly to an Immortal running off with their big sister, and they know the limits of Immortality."

Their conversation was low, but it didn't need volume to have an effect. It was an empty threat, but it's gist was unmistakable. Watcher's observed Immortals, that wasn't to say they all liked them. A healthy fear of the people they followed went a long way to insuring one of the society's member's safety. Chris and his companion sat down, this was going to take a while.

End of Part 11