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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 16

The meeting was to have been of indeterminate length, but Karina was still waiting for Chris when he returned to the cafe an hour and a half after he had left. He gave her a warm kiss and slid into the chair next to her with a broad grin on his face.

"What are you so happy about?" she asked, intrigued by his change in humour since earlier that evening.

The meeting had been a serious business, and before it had happened, Chris had seemed much more sombre.

"It's a bit of a long story," he responded cheerfully, "and I think I'd better start from the beginning, or you'll be hopelessly confused."

Her face brightened as she realised what he was saying.

"You're going to tell me what's going on, aren't you?" she said quickly.

"Yep," her lover replied, "I've been given the go ahead and nothing short of a natural disaster is going to stop me. Shall we go somewhere a little more private, so we can talk?"

On impulse she leaned over and planted a huge kiss in the centre of his forehead. She couldn't begin to explain what this meant to her, she was just so happy that she was being trusted.

"Lead on, sir, lead on" she said with a bright smile, in a most appalling English accent.


The walls of Craven's sitting room were covered with eerie shadows since the couple sitting there had only turned on one lamp. The room truly had a gothic feel when lit from a single source and Karina snuggled up to Chris with an unconscious need for comfort. When he'd started the explanation with the description of his reunion with Richie she'd been interested; as he'd gone on she become enthralled; and as he'd drawn to an end she'd been completely amazed and at a loss to say anything. Now, about ten minutes and a few questions later she was finally beginning to accept what she'd been hearing.

"It's incredible," she said for the third time, "Immortals joined together. No wonder it's strange around here at the moment. And Uncle Joe knows everything about this?"

"Everything," Chris responded calmly, enjoying the fact that she was curled up in his arms, "he was there when it happened. Tomorrow he's going to call an emergency meeting and explain all to the rest of the Watchers in the area. Researchers, field operatives, you name it, everyone from this region is going to know, and he's sending a transcript of the chronicle to other bigwigs in the organisation. He's probably going to be up all night making phone calls. I'd hate to be paying his bill."

Karina found that funny.

"If he's going to be so busy," she said with a remarkably innocent tone, "maybe I should stay here tonight."

Chris grinned as she looked up at him, batting her eyelashes seductively.

"I'm sure there's a spare room," he returned cheekily, and for that she hit him.

It was remarkable how quickly the mock battle turned into a long, passionate kiss.


Communications had been going back and forwards all night, those Joe couldn't reach by phone directly he e-mailed, or paged, and by dawn the Watcher network was buzzing. There were some people accusing him of everything under the sun, and there were others that were proclaiming his brilliance at gathering all the information. Copies of his chronicle were packaged for secure courier delivery, Adam had asked to see it again the day before so it had been on the premises. Some of those who called had actually decided to fly in and were going to be at the meeting: this was going to be one hell of a Watcher get together. Even the band of solitary investigators had a means of summoning their minions when the occasion called for it and the word went out on the local network the next morning. Everything was set for about five that evening and all Joe had to do was wait, and hope this was not his last day in the ranks of the organisation. One of those flying in from overseas was a good friend, she had already pledged her support, another was a proclaimed purist and he was going to be trouble, and the last was an unknown quantity altogether.

Polly Margrave had been in the Watchers longer than Joe: she was a formidable woman of fifty seven who's reach in the organisation knew little bounds. She'd been in the field for twenty six years before retiring into a position of authority and management for the British branch. She breezed into Joe's bar at three in the afternoon, dressed like an executive and smiling broadly. Since she'd called from the airport, the tavern's owner was expecting her.

"Joe, dear," she greeted as he limped round one of the tables, "it's been too long."

"Pol," he welcomed warmly, "I'm so glad to see you."

They embraced like the old friends they were and Dawson appreciated only too well that Polly carried her years extremely well. For a woman on her way to sixty she looked remarkably like a forty year old: there were things to be said for an active lifestyle.

"Now tell me exactly what you've been up to, Joseph," she said, sounding like his mother. "From the number of phone calls I had before leaving, we may have to do some serious arse covering."

Her companion smiled at her turn of phrase and nodded: that they definitely would.

"Have you really been fraternising with MacLeod?" she asked as he lead her to a chair.

Someone actually talking to an Immortal, was quite a difficult concept for most Watchers to grasp, it was against their number one rule and believing it of a friend took work. Unlike some, however, Pol was willing to hear an explanation. She came from the school of thought that said there were exceptions to every rule.

"Guilty as charged," Joe responded calmly, "and not just MacLeod. You must have heard about the Hunter problem, it all started soon after that."

He wandered over to the bar and picked up the coffee pot.

"Can I get you anything?" he asked and topped up his own mug.

"I'm beginning to feel like a stiff brandy," Pol replied as she tried to remain objective. "Would you mind continuing?"

One advantage of lots of practice, Joe could serve and talk at the same time.

"Duncan found me," he continued smoothly, "and we worked together to stop Horton and his allies. It was no more than an uneasy alliance at first, he even threatened to kill me once, but over time our relationship changed. He's my friend Pol, we tried to end it once, but I can't change the fact that I care what happens to him. Through him I met Richie, who I might add has saved my life on one occasion, and Amanda. That was as good as it up until a few weeks ago, when Chris came into the picture. I assume you've read the reports?"

There was a curt nod, everyone who was anyone had read the reports.

"They're not quite true," Dawson told her honestly and carried her drink over to the table. "I lied because I felt their secret was worth protecting. Something has happened here that I wouldn't have believed if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes, and I wasn't even quite sure then."

He sat down slowly: it was time to come clean and he started at the beginning and talked for thirty minutes without stopping.


The regular patrons of the bar were surprised to find the notice on the door announcing a private function and promising to be open like normal the next day. Adam found himself stationed on the door, checking people's credentials as they entered. It was an easy job, all he had to do was glance at the unconcealed tattoos and everything was concluded calmly. There were well over thirty people sitting around chatting by the time the last Watcher arrived. Pol had positioned herself near the bar, from where Joe had chosen to lead the meeting, demonstrating her allegiance very clearly. Antoine DeGuere, an operative from the Paris end, was also showing where his loyalty lay, by sitting at the other end of the room, as far from the dissenter as he could get. The third big name was a relative newcomer to the higher ranks of the organisation, having only recently traversed the gap between normal operative and voice of authority. His name was Jasper Samson, originally from Canada he was now resident in Europe, and he had chosen a seat at the back, but on the opposite side of the room to DeGuere. They were not trying to fool any of the locals into believing that they were just ordinary visitors and the air of rank hung about all of them.

"Good evening, Ladies and Gentlemen," Dawson called them to order quite succinctly, "thank you all for coming."

He surveyed all the faces, all had realised this was a very important meeting.

"You're all aware that this area is the focus of some very unusual Immortal activity at the moment," the silver haired Watcher continued calmly. "You've been called here this evening so that you can be made aware of just how strange the events of the past few weeks have been and how it effects our organisation."

Antoine was not doing very well at hiding his hostile glare.

"The information I'm going to give you tonight may shock some of you," Joe had prepared his speech carefully, "it's damn hard to believe even when you've seen it. The data is confidential: it goes no further than these four walls without the direct say-so of the area head: you don't even reveal it to close friends in the organisation."

That caused a ripple of conversation, there weren't many secrets the Watchers were unwilling to share with their whole membership. No-one expected to be told everything just because they were there, but confidential was not a word they usually used among themselves.

"Most of the field operatives know about the twins, Richard Ryan and Chris Seaton, by now," their fearless leader elaborated evenly, "and if you don't, the significance of twin Immortals has been backed up by proof that they are fully telepathic."

Another excited murmuring. There was nothing that thrilled Watchers more than a new facet to those, who's lives they chronicled.

"What very few of you have been told is exactly how much of an impact the two have made on the Immortal community in the area, or why," Joe did not intend to dodge any of this issue that evening.

A smile of encouragement came from Pol's direction as he began to wind into the real reason the meeting had been called. A friendly face was worth more to Dawson now than he cared to profess and her support kept him talking.

"Others of you are aware that there is something very peculiar about the relationship between the Immortals: Duncan MacLeod; Madelaine Seaton; Craven Manheim; Richard Ryan; Chris Seaton and Amanda Darieux," the information was met with interest. "I can now tell you all that I have been aware of this anomaly for the past seven weeks, in fact, I witnessed it's beginning. The afore mentioned individuals were involved in an event which has, in effect, changed the Game they are playing. Their Quickenings are combined: they no-longer feel any hostility to any of their comrades."

Nobody could contain themselves now: talking started immediately and it took several minutes for it to calm down. The news was revolutionary and Joe let them discus it all they liked. The only three people holding their opinions to themselves were DeGuere, Pol and Jasper, all of whom sat quietly.

"How can you be so sure?" finally one of the researchers couldn't help herself.

Her question dulled the ideas being thrown back and forward, but even that couldn't quiet it completely.

"They told me," Dawson's admission silenced the entire room.

Most sets of eyes showed utter disbelief. Those who were aware of the irregularities of Joe's relationship with the local Immortals now realised that there must have been something deeper than even they had noticed.

"The first death of Christopher Seaton caused a chain reaction which drew in the power of the lost Immortals," the experienced Watcher did not give anyone a chance to comment this time. "Those like Darius, killed by our brethren," he looked at Antoine as his words hit any condemnation, quite practically. "There was a Quickening like we've never seen before: it came through Ryan and took every last Immortal in range. It cured Manheim's madness, and gave all of them another purpose. Not one of them is interested in being the last Immortal left: they intend to be there together, as a group, sharing the prize. Taking heads is the last option for them now: they are offering their kindred an alternative to the loneliness of the Game."

Some mouths were hanging open, other faces showed total rejection of any of the ideas, and the rest just looked a little sceptical.

"You've been communicating with Immortals," one shocked voice accused in defence of the ideas put forward.

"It was the only way to discover the information," Joe returned evenly: he was not about to disclose the full extent of his friendship with MacLeod and his companions. "I believe this is more important than a set of rules that could never conceive of this ever taking place."

He produced a document from behind the counter and passed it to the first table.

"This is a translation of part of a book which foretold what occurred so recently," he was playing every card he held. "It was written by an Immortal during the time of the Roman Empire in a language even older than that. I have it on the authority of an expert in the field, that there are no more than a handful of people alive today who could read the book. These passages were translated by Richard Ryan, who was kind enough to give me a transcript three weeks ago. Going by all natural laws, he shouldn't know the first thing about ancient languages, but the Quickening he and the others shared was unusual in more ways than one. I took it upon myself to chronicle what has become known as the Dividing, and I could see only one option which would give us the knowledge we seek. I will not apologise for my actions, I believed, and still do, that what I did was more than justified."

He was adamant, but nothing could have prepared him for the barrage of questions that followed the information. They wanted to know everything he had found out, be party to all the information he had gleaned. Once the magnitude of what they were discussing began to reveal itself, literally no-one was interested in how the data had been gathered: only DeGuere kept an aloof distance. These people were at the centre of the whirlwind, whatever was going to happen was probably going to do so on their doorsteps and they needed to know all there was. It was neither the time, nor the place for Joe to reveal that he was friends to the Immortals: that would have been too radical, even for the current situation, but he held nothing else from his community.

Over the next two and a half hours the Watchers drew out every facet of the events that had changed Immortal destiny. They discussed the translation Dawson had given them; the original Quickening; the shared experience that had alerted the organisation so recently; the twins relationship; and how the six local Immortals associated with each other. Being stupid and being an operative in this society did not go together, and the group of people in the bar that night did not need much encouragement to realise what the situation could mean for them or their subjects. The reason for the secrecy did not need any explanation, and as their understanding grew, more than one Watcher began to see things from Joe's point of view.

"Things go on as normal," Dawson said finally, as the deliberation started to come to a close, "for now at least. This news has you all excited, believe me I understand, but nothing changes. No-one, I repeat, no-one does anything they haven't been doing for years."

The looks he received told him that the message was very clear: this was not going to cause anyone to do anything stupid.

The meeting dissolved slowly after that. People hung around for coffee and some idle gossip, but within half an hour they were all gone, except the big names. It was time for the leadership to play their game, and as Joe locked up the other three moved onto a table of their own.

"Nicely handled, Dawson," Antoine said coldly, "but don't you think the do as I say not as I do stance, is a little hypocritical?"

The claws were out this evening, and the silver haired Watcher couldn't really blame his colleague. Before the Hunters the situation had been so different and back then the bar's owner would have been one of the first to agree.

"There are reasons for the rules," Joe shot back calmly, "and they do not have my incentives for breaking them."

"There are no incentives great enough to excuse what you have done," DeGuere was a very unhappy camper. "You have been fraternising with Immortals: there are numerous reports that they actually patronise your bar. Are you breaking the cardinal rule, Dawson, are these people your friends?"

In this man's eyes there was no defence and Joe did not answer. Much to the Watcher's surprise, however, a helping hand came from another direction.

"There is no need for those sort of accusations," Samson's voice was calm and smooth.

The look he sent in his colleague's direction, however, told the older Watcher that this new player was quite aware of the truth. Ever so suddenly, Dawson began to feel that there were other plans afoot here: there were cogs turning of which he was not aware. It was quite possible that eventually their progress could destroy his part of the mechanism, but just now they appeared to be working in his favour.

"Accusations that are not unfounded," Antoine didn't perceive who was bigger player here, he was too annoyed. "He's sacrificed the security of the organisation for information that we would have deduced eventually anyway. How many Immortals are going to know about us because Dawson couldn't keep his curiosity to himself."

The warning flash in Jasper's eyes should have given his compatriot the hint that he was vying with the wrong Watcher.

"MacLeod's probably spreading the word as we speak..." was as far as DeGuere managed.

"Don't talk such rubbish," Samson's voice held all the authority of one who knew his foundations were very firm. "It's on record that MacLeod found out about us because of the Hunter incident, which was our own fault. Horton should not have been allowed to progress so far with his warped ideas: we should have seen it coming. Since then the Highlander has only told those close to him: he seems to understand the need for confidentiality. Now Dawson may have been acting without due authorisation, but even you can see that he's turned a possibly destructive situation to our advantage."

There were wheels turning here, and Joe knew when to stay well out of the conversation.

"That may not be the view the leadership take on this," if he hadn't been concentrating, Dawson would have winced as he saw the reply Antoine was about to receive.

"Do you think I'm here for my health?" Jasper was a bigger name than any in the room had suspected. "Who do you think sent me as soon as they received the communication. I came here to assess the situation and decide on a course of action. In light of all the information that has been presented I have to agree with Dawson's assessment of the situation."

Each Watcher area had it's own head, it's own hierarchy, but there were those behind the scenes who had sway over everyone. Samson spoke with their authority and that silenced even Antoine.

"Consider your contact with the Immortals sanctioned, Dawson," the suave executive said, his voice returning to calm levels. "This situation is considered important enough to circumvent the correct procedure."

When his gaze turned to Joe, however, it was not as friendly as it could have been.

"You are as far as it goes, however," he said slowly and precisely. "This contact goes no further and you tell no-one else that you are acting under authority. The rest of the organisation must not begin to think that fraternisation will be tolerated."

He gave no-one else a chance to speak as he swept their faces with a steely look. Then, as if the storm had passed, he suddenly smiled, completely out of the blue.

"Well, thank you for your hospitality, Joe," he said as if the previous conversation had never taken place, "but I really must be going. Antoine, I have a private jet waiting to take me to Paris on business: there's plenty of room if you'd care to join me. It'll save on the expenses, if nothing else."

After being torn down a few notches so recently, DeGuere didn't even attempt to argue. He knew when he was being removed from a situation, and he didn't like it, but he also knew when things were above his head. The pair took their leave cheerfully, and very shortly Pol and Joe were the only two sitting in the bar.

"I think you were just dragged out of the fire," the woman said slowly as the old friends looked at each other.

"Then why do I feel as if I've just been given the rope to hang myself?" was her companion's reply.

End of Part 16