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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 12

The building was large and dark against the flood lit estate, an old crumbling structure amongst newly built, steel monsters. The rest of the industrial storage area had grown out of this one warehouse and then left it to rot like a forgotten parent. Mac had felt Peters as soon as he'd arrived and parked the T-Bird, but the presence had gone the moment he'd climbed out of the car. Without having to check, the Highlander knew his younger opponent would be waiting inside. The other Immortal was not playing cat and mouse anymore, he was really quite a straight forward person and games were not totally his style. The pre-battle strutting had been what he felt was expected of him, more than what he enjoyed.

"Welcome, Highlander," Jackson greeted calmly, as the other's presence impinged itself on both their consciousness.

He was stood in the middle of the only open space in the warehouse, under a stark electric light. The harsh white glow bleached most of the colour out of his clothes and face, leaving him a ghost in a pale expanse of floor. The rest of the large room was covered in palettes and rubbish, it appeared that the area in which Bran's pupil stood had been cleared purposefully. Peter's had planned this meeting and he waited in his web with his sword in hand.

"Nice place you have here," the Scotsman commented dryly.

He slipped the katana out of it's resting place and flipped it into a ready grip with quiet ease. This may have been his opponent's ground, but there did not appear to be any hidden traps: this was a battle of skill, not wits. It seemed that even through his obsession, Jackson Peters had at least a vestige of honour.

They circled each other for a moment, weapons held loosely, in calm observation as they appreciated each other's form. There was hatred in the younger's eyes, but he was no fool, and as their swords met for the first time, he showed he had the skill to match his claims. They exchanged a few tentative blows and then backed off, neither had seen that all important weakness in their adversary's stance: they were well matched.

"Your technique has improved," MacLeod said calmly and they prowled round each other a little more.

"I've had a long time to practice," Peters replied.

He was the one to take the initiative and as Duncan brought his sword up, the younger of the two attacked. Steel flashed in the light and two blades came together with a shower of sparks. Edge glanced off edge, and the weapons danced around each other as one technique met another. Both shifted styles as their openings failed to find the winning move, and this time Mac moved in and under his opponents stroke. Peters' sword was also oriental in design: he had studied his target and decided on the best weapon to counter the Highlander's style, it was a good choice. Jackson had done nothing for nearly a century, but study the skills of warriors and take heads, he was a strong opponent. Metal moved so fast that it drew beautiful arcs in the air, and two Immortals fought for their lives. As attack followed parry, and block followed lunge, the pair danced around the space they had, both full of the exciting atmosphere. They were in their element and Peters came very close to battering a hole in Duncan's sword work. Yet the older of the two rallied as the other's katana reached for unprotected body. Suddenly, the Highlander went up a gear: he stepped backwards, drawing Peters off his stride, and struck in through his opponents defence. His blade found a home and the sound of slicing flesh was echoed by a painful groan. There was a second when it looked as if the fight may be over as the shock caused the other Immortal to drop his sword, but Jackson's' will to live was too strong for that, and as MacLeod pulled back his weapon for another attack a fist rounded into his face. The two men flew apart and Duncan fell between two palettes, a little dazed. The sound of running feet greeted him as he came to his senses: it appeared that Peters was no-longer quite so sure of his superiority in this battle. The younger man had taken the opportunity to smash the bulb that had been their only decent source of light.

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 jacket 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. Richie's warning ran in his ears like a distant echo and then he saw Peters coming for him. His stance was not the best, but he'd had years of practice on worse ground than this, and he fought off the attack with Highland fortitude.

"It's not that easy," he said quietly as he drew the backwards from a clash.

The wound was slowing the other Immortal down and he was playing for time, something Duncan was not going to let him have. The sword had punctured Peters' left side and it left him weakened, open to attack. He fought well, his spirit strong, but MacLeod had done some serious damage and he was weakening. Sparks lit up the semi-darkness and the Highlander pressed his advantage mercilessly. Then it came, the blow that relieved Jackson of his sword a second time and sent him reeling to his knees. His weapon out of reach and the battle over he looked up with hatred at the man who held a sword to his neck.

"Get it over, MacLeod," he said, the failure shining in his eyes, next to a strange bravery.

Just for a moment the need to kill wavered and Duncan had to fortify his grip.

"There is another way," he said hoarsely, nerves on edge for a move from the man he knew was a skilled warrior.

All he received was a laugh, and then Peters lunged for his sword. The decision was made, there was no other way and the katana swung in a deadly arc. The blade was sharp and Jackson's' neck gave little resistance to the strong blow: it was over. A white mist rose slowly from the body, and as it came towards him, Duncan actually found he was sorry.


The evening was definitely looking up, Joe was actually talking to Chris and his companion without glaring at them every five seconds. He seemed to be accepting what they were saying, taking to heart the way they felt, rather than just telling them they were insane idiots. Their conversations were bitty since Joe did have a bar to run, but at least it was a two way discussion of ideas, not a one way lecture. It was as the Watcher was off serving a customer that Chris looked at Karina, a little startled as the most peculiar jolt ran up his spine. Realisation took a second or so to dawn and then he realised that he wanted to be anywhere but where he was actually sitting at that moment.

"Back door," he said in half panic and made a dive off the bar stool.

Joe looked more than a little shocked at the sudden request, but the look of pure dread on Chris' face was enough to convince anyone to do anything instantly. There wasn't enough time, however, and Karina was left to stare in horror as the young Immortal collapsed on the floor in the throws of an unknown agony.


Beren had eventually come round to find her lover since he wasn't at home, and she hadn't had much trouble convincing him to accompany her back to the apartment. It had taken a few minutes to close everything up and she waited by his bike as he wandered down the outside stairs towards her. She had half perched on the saddle of their mode of transport and she smiled as he waved at her. She like to just watch him sometimes, he moved in such a different way to most men she had known: there was something controlled about his movements. All the Immortals were the same, they were trained and it showed, but of course she didn't have the same interest in all the others. He had covered half the distance between them when his face registered something between shock and happiness. He tried to tell her something, but words failed him as pain became his world and his helmet went rolling across the pavement as he folded like a rag doll onto it's surface. The urge to scream was overcome by the knowledge of where he was and all the world heard was a painful grunt.

Nothing would have come between Beren and his side at that moment, and the speed with which she crossed the remaining distance between them would have made an athlete proud.


It had been quite obvious that Amanda need cheering up when Madelaine had called round on Richie's advice, and the two women had headed out for an hour or so. Unable to decide where to go, they were driving around when they both looked at each other in surprise. It was the quickest pull in and park in the history of driving, causing the car following them to have momentary heart failure. It an act of solidarity the Immortals' hands clasped in a white knuckle grip as they curled up in their seats: the radio covering any sound they made.


It was a nice evening, and since Chris had disappeared with Karina, Craven had decide to go for a run in the park. He enjoyed exercise, and the word had gone round that Duncan was facing a mortal enemy, so it gave him something to take his mind off his friend's fate. It wasn't unusual to see dog walkers and health junkies jogging their way through the green area at this time and he had joined them unnoticed. It had seemed like a good idea when he had left the house, but as he collapsed into the undergrowth he wasn't so sure. The removal of nearly all motor control had been so quick that there was little he could do. First the warning sign, the first idea of what was going to happen, and then, boom, he was a quivering wreck in the greenery. Another jogger came to his aid with a comforting hand, but nothing could stop the agony of a Quickening.


Duncan's eyes fixed the skylight as the lightening struck his body and in that instant he was very aware he was not alone. Images of the bar, the street outside the dojo, a car and the park flashed through his mind with the pain of Peters' life essence. The torment was demon sent and yet heavenly at the same time: he was pure sensation. Forces stronger than nature herself moved through his body, seeking out every cell, and he knew fulfilment. Ages past in his brain and his body strained under tortured stresses as power passed from one Immortal to another. Then it was over, as suddenly as it started the Quickening ended, and he fell to his knees in release. Another battle, another victory, so why was he so sad to have taken the life of a man who wanted his head. There was a regret that he had not been able to bring this one in: Jackson Peters might have been a good man if his Immortal life hadn't started in the service of a maniac called Bran.


The floor looked spotlessly clean from three inches away, but Chris wasn't exactly in the mood to inspect it. Several hands helped him up as the veil of pain drifted away, and as reality re-affixed itself within his perception, he found himself looked at Adam.

"I have to go," was all the young man could think to say and glanced around at all the anxious looking mortals.

He pecked Karina on the cheek, just stared at Joe for a moment and then headed out the door, before any of them could come up with difficult questions. Chris knew what had happened, but he was damn sure Joe's bar was not the place to discus it.


Richie looked up at Beren slowly, and the relief on his face was enough to warm the coldest heart. Very quietly he began to laugh, much to his lover's confusion.

"We're not going home just yet," he said quietly and accepted her hand as he pulled himself to his feet. "I think we just fowled up big time, but at least Mac still has his head."

"He won then," the young English woman said, slightly unsure of exactly what was going on.

"Most definitely," the Immortal returned, "we have Peters' Quickening. The thing is, I'm pretty sure the person with the camera, over there in the shadows saw enough to raise a few eyebrows."


"I think we'd better head home," Amanda said quietly, when she could finally speak again.

"What a rush," as all Madi could find to say.

The engine purred into life with no arguments, even as the woman in the car half a block down was scribbling furiously in a note book.


The man who rescued Craven from the brambles was about thirtyish and seemed terribly concerned for the Immortal who appeared about the same age. He had his mobile phone out of his pocket almost too quickly for Manheim to stop him calling an ambulance.

"Thank you," he said rapidly, "but you don't need to call for help now, I'm fine. It was just a seizure: I've had them for years, they come on with no warning, but do little damage."

"Are you sure," his companion enquired, "it's no trouble."

"Positive," the other returned with a smile, "I'll just be getting home now. Thanks again for your help."

Then he fled before the worried looking man could try and be any more of a Samaritan.


It may not have been a very good idea, but instinct sent them all heading towards MacLeod's loft and when the Highlander himself turned up half an hour later, they were all waiting for him. He looked at Richie somewhat strangely as he walked out of the elevator, but then Amanda threw her arms around him and took his mind of the other's, seemingly psychic warning.

"I made the punch," the Scotsman's lover said with total exuberance that he was back.

Mac didn't refuse as Madelaine pushed a glass into his hand.

"I think our little secret may be not so under wraps anymore," Craven commented from his chair.

"Then I take it, what I felt during the Quickening was not my imagination," Duncan returned, more calmly than could have been expected. "You all experienced it as well."

"Too right," Chris responded.

"We should have realised," was what Richie had to say, "I think we've been a little dense, guys. Our Quickenings are joined, we all felt it when Mac brought Amanda in, it would have been a fair guess we'd at least notice when one of us relieved another Immortal of their head."

There was a chair set aside for MacLeod and he took the opportunity to sit in it, he had after all just been through a major battle.

"Well there's no point worrying about what we should or shouldn't have known," he said sagely, "the question is how much will the Watcher's surmise? Do we know how much they saw?"

"That Watcher who was in Joe's bar the other day, after the accident, was there this evening," Chris started the ball rolling. "He saw everything, and you can bet that he won't put it down to bad olives."

"My current shadow has me in living colour," Richie admitted next, "I definitely saw a camera. There are probably several lovely shots of me writhing on the pavement."

Madi decided it was her turn next.

"I can't say for sure," she told them all, "but there was a car that seemed to be following us, and my parking manoeuvre was hard to miss."

"I didn't see anyone," it was Craven's voice, "but they've been reluctant to let me out of their sight just recently. These Watchers seem to think I'll do a flit or something."

"And I can positively add that Peters' Watcher has the fight recorded down to the last detail," Duncan felt he had to mention it, "I saw someone disappear as I came out to the car."

"Watchers six," Chris said calmly.

"Immortals nothing," Richie finished.

It would be difficult to draw any concrete conclusions from what the group's shadows had seen, but they would most definitely know there was something going on. Their short span of anonymity was rapidly drawing to a close. Then of course there was Joe: now that his colleagues had some notion of a situation, the longer he held back his information, the less they would trust him again. He had had good reason not to tell them in the first place, but now his position was more difficult to justify.

"They'll guess we experienced something to do with the Quickening," Amanda put the facts together, "the real mystery is what conclusions they'll draw from it. Can we somehow convince them this is all a fluke, that we're as surprised as they are?"

"Unlikely," Craven replied, "we've not exactly been acting like normal Immortals just recently. By now at least one of us should have caused a fight, or stormed off into the great blue yonder. You know what we're usually like."

"It would take some real fast talking on Joe's part," Richie put in, "and I don't think we can ask him to do that. He's kept our secret, but outright lying to his colleagues is going a little too far. I don't think he could do it for very long, our situation is tearing him apart as it is."

Some of the others hadn't thought of this, but now they realised exactly what the Watcher must have been going through.

"How much grace do you think we'd have if the truth did come out?" Madelaine asked calmly. "How long before our kindred decide we need wiping out?"

"Maybe a few weeks, or maybe it'll never fall on the wrong ears," Mac said, it was impossible to tell, there were too many factors to take into consideration. "There's no way to really know."

"Well we really have to decide what to do," Richie seemed to be in a very forthright mood. "We have a few days at most before the consequences become unmanageable, and the choice is out of our hands."

They all looked at each other slowly.

"We're in no state to make as an important decision as this tonight," Duncan knew his companion was right, but this was too close to the Quickening. "All of us are pumped, we all know what taking a head does to us, we should sleep on it."

"Agreed," Manheim commented, "it may have only been a mirror of what you were feeling MacLeod, but it was one hell of a ride. There's a lot of things to be said for a decent power surge, but coherent thought afterwards is not one of them."

That brought a few smiles, even among the uncertainty.

"A pow-wow tomorrow then," suggested Chris quickly, "somewhere no-one would expect to find us, so we can ditch the observation committee."

"How about the warehouse where Mac killed Peters?" Amanda suggested. "They would never think we'd go there."

Several heads nodded.

"Done then," Duncan announced firmly, "until then I suggest we keep our heads down. I'll talk to Joe, and let him know the score to at least allow him some room to manoeuvre, we can decide a time to meet tomorrow."

There was a short discussion on where exactly the location was, and how best to get there, before everyone decided it would be a good time to leave. It was as everyone went to go that Mac finally called Richie back to have a few words.

"I'll meet you down stairs," the younger Immortal told Beren with a false smile, and at that moment Amanda decided she really wanted to say goodbye to everyone, outside.

Mentor and pupil looked at each other in silence for a while as the elevator creaked into action, and finally Duncan spoke.

"How did you know about the door?" he asked evenly.

"Does it matter?" the other returned, his spine had turned to ice as his premonition was confirmed, but what else could he say.

"I'd like an explanation, if you're willing to give one," the elder said with really reacting.

Richie seemed to have gained an undeniable obsession with the bookcase just to the left of his friend's head.

"I had a nightmare," he said quietly, "and I saw you in the black coat, it got caught in a sliding door in a warehouse. I saw you die because of a strip of cloth. When you went to leave today, it all came back and hit me between the eyes: I had to say something. I felt quite stupid, but the image of you with a sword headed towards your neck wouldn't go away."

"First Adam, and now this," the Highlander said slowly, "you seem to be turning into quite an advanced warning system."

"I think I'll reserve judgement on that one," the younger man returned, not particularly happy with the suggestion. "I don't remember dreams, I never have, next time I do, I'll put out the four minute warning."

Mac patted his friend on the shoulder, enough peculiar things had happened to Richie, he understood how his companion could live without this as well.

"Cheer up, Rich," he said trying to brighten the mood, "it may never happen again."

The younger Immortal smiled slightly.

"I could always go into the circus," he said, his mouth coming to his rescue, "the incredible, unkillable psychic."

End of Part 12