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Dividing of The Ways by Tasha

This is the first in the Dividing series, the others may be found at:
Discoveries
Disclosures

 

Part 3

The young Immortal showered, changed into jeans and a T-shirt, picked up a jacket, and decided to go for a walk; he need some space in which to think. It was approximately six o'clock in the morning so their weren't that many people around even in the park, and he relished the emptiness greedily. It was a nice morning, the birds were singing and next to the trees the traffic could be forgotten, he could leave the world behind except for the early morning joggers and dog walkers. He took in all the morning sounds as only an Immortal could, but tended to absorb himself in his own thoughts whilst wandering through the green space. The large open area appealed to him in his current state of mind, and he almost followed an observed notion to run and keep running until he fell over with exhaustion, but luckily his common sense took over at that point.

Richie's life had just been turned on it's head for the second time in his short stay on planet earth, but quite frankly he was ecstatically happy even if certain consequences were occurring to him very rapidly and he wasn't quite sure what they were going to mean. Something had been hovering on the edge of the Immortal's consciousness since the first indication that the previous evening had been weird, and he couldn't isolate exactly what it was. It was the type of idea that Richie knew would resolve itself eventually and he had found long ago that pushing it wouldn't help, so he began to try and ignore it. That he was comfortable with the idea of suddenly having a twin did not really surprise him either, after all he had been the eternal searcher, forever trying to find a replacement for the hole in his life.

He was pretty sure that because of Chris he was fundamentally flawed as an Immortal: he could never kill his brother. When it came down to it, whatever they may like to think, if there were only Mac and Richie left at the end, the Gathering would force them into fighting each other for the prize, even if it took a long time. Destiny was not something that could be shirked. No matter how any Immortal tried to deny it, they were driven by desires that no mortal could possibly understand, including the underlying rule of their existence: "There can be only one". There was little doubt in Ryan's mind that he could never, not even if they were the last two alive, bring himself to raise a sword to Chris. Inside, where instinct was dominant over knowledge, Richie could feel the truth of it, the simple fact that killing his twin would be worse than killing himself and he could never physically do it. What this flaw truly meant in terms of the big picture of the Game was unclear, but the young Immortal could not answer that question, so didn't try.

He'd just about sorted out all this in his mind and was ready to head towards Mac's place where the note had said he'd be, when he heard a very angry scream. The originator of the sound was very definitely female, but didn't appear to be remotely of the helpless type, and continued to make agitated noises which provided Richie with a very good source of reference. It took him under a second to locate and analyse a situation which turned out to be a bag snatch. A large looking, but very fast man was sprinting away from a young woman who was doing her level best to keep up with him, and yelling at the same time. The bag the man was clutching to his chest was definitely not his, but none of the dog walkers appeared to be willing to tackle the leather jacketed individual. The victim of the crime, however, did not seem to be worried that the thief was six foot, built like the proverbial tank and had the meanest face this side of the Mississippi, but her legs were not as long as his and she was losing ground.

With very little hesitation Richie decided to come to the rescue of the very beautiful damsel and with only a passing thought about the consequences he started running on an intercept course. The robber spotted him pretty quickly and changed direction, but the Immortal was very fast and very determined, he was not about to loose this race. As the young woman realised she had help she appeared to reach the limit of her sprinting ability and had to slow down, but Richie was almost on top of his quarry. Never one to under do things the young Immortal went for the direct approach and the flying tackle was impressive by anyone's standards. The two men went down as one messy heap with Ryan rolling away first. By the time the criminal had realised what had happened Richie was on his feet and the look in his eyes made the thief forget all about the now discarded bag. There was something about Immortals that was hard to define, something that frightened opponents who really chose to look at them, and this individual made the mistake of doing just that. All the wretched man wanted now was to get away, and he was going to do anything to achieve this. He scrambled to his feet and produced a knife as soon as he was sure this public spirited citizen was not about to let him just run away, but Richie was not impressed.

"Oh, please," he said sarcastically and achieved exactly the desired effect.

Insulting a man's weaponry prowess was a sure was to gain an advantage, usually anger was not good in a fight. His opponent's blood pressure shot up a few points and the thief gave a furious growl followed by a very clumsy lunge at the Immortal. Ryan's reflexes were much faster than those of the mere mortal and he side stepped as if this were no more than a game. He was in plenty of time to catch the hand holding the weapon as it went by. With one savage twist he disarmed the attacker, unfortunately he'd misjudged it slightly and a sickening crack signalled a wrist bone or two snapping. The man gave a yelp of pain and fell to his knees momentarily overcome by the experience.

This dense, adrenaline soaked individual didn't realise when he was out classed and he lurched to his feet again as soon as Richie let go. One hand was useless, but that didn't stop the large individual from having delusions of grandeur, and he appeared to have de-evolved into a prehistoric barbarian who's only clear thought was violence. A wild swipe missed it's target completely because the Immortal saw it coming moments before it arrived, and with a quick kick the young man had swept the thief's feet out from under him. The dark haired man fell with a winded humph and this time he just stared upwards in confused defeat as a young man who he thought he should have been able to take easily leant over him and glared.

"Stay there," Richie said as he stared down at the injured criminal, "it's better for your health."

This time the robber decided that was good advise and lay there cradling his wrist.

As he delivered these words of wisdom the young woman who's cry had started the whole incident reached the scene and retrieved her largish bag gingerly. She looked Richie up and down to make sure he wasn't as bad as the man on the floor and then smiled.

"Thank you," she said in what was a British accent, "that was quite a sprint."

"At your service," the Immortal responded chivalrously, he wasn't even breathing hard.

He reached down and picked up the knife carefully just to make sure the man on the ground didn't get any ideas. No matter what his mind was doing the young man's eyes knew an attractive young woman when he saw one, and he smiled back with his killer charm. He was contemplating her deep blue eyes, nearly black hair, sensuous lips and small, sweet nose when he heard movement from the grass.

"Don't even think about it," the young Immortal said without even turning as the thief considered taking the opportunity to abscond from the scene and moved surreptitiously.

The criminal lay still.

By now there were others gathering to see the spectacle and one of these was rapidly producing a mobile phone and dialling for assistance. There was little or no hope of escape now for the injured man since he was virtually surrounded on all sides by joggers and dog walkers.

"Richard Ryan," the young man introduce himself to the victim of the crime, "most people call me Richie."

"Beren Danworth," the English woman replied and stuck out her hand in true British mode, "I appreciate the help."

In a very gentlemanly fashion the young Immortal shook her hand carefully and noted the walker with the phone had finished his conversation with the police.

"Are you all right?" Richie enquired gently as Beren showed the first signs of realising that she had just been the quarry of a professional bag snatcher.

It was a shock to her system now that the initial indignation had worn off, and her hands were shaking ever so slightly.

"I will be," she replied a little hesitantly and then smiled to cover it," I've never been robbed before. This sort of thing doesn't happen much in an English village, well at least not in my part of the country."

"You're a long way from home," her companion commented cheerfully, trying to remove Beren's focus from the incident, "what brings you to this side of the Atlantic?"

"My father," the young woman explained easily, anything to get her mind off the previous episode, "he's an archaeologist and there's a dig up in the mountains. I've been at a lose end since I finished Uni, so he invited me to join him over here for a while."

She couldn't hide her anxiety completely in the banter, however, and she nervously ran her hand through her dark hair.

"Sounds interesting," was Richie's next gambit, "is your major into digging up old things as well?"

That made her laugh for more than one reason, and the young Immortal was glad to see her amused.

"No," she replied, a little happier, "and it's a degree. My father would have glowed with happiness had I chosen his subject to study, but the most I know about archaeology is from being dragged into a few Saxon burial mounds as a child, and from association. You can't help but pick up a few things when your father talks about mummified corpses at the breakfast table. I studied Cybernetics at Uni, I'm a modern type of person into computers and all."

"Cyber what?" Richie asked with a grin.

"Cybernetics," Beren responded with equal mirth, "the study of robots and the like. This year is my year off, I haven't quite decided whether my future lies in the industrial world or the academic institution, so I'm here to plan it all out."

"Woe to those who loose the battle," the Immortal returned with unbridled charm.

Beren smiled sweetly at the compliment, it was hard to resist the Ryan appeal, even if she didn't know him from Adam.

"So what do you do?" she asked quickly before she could blush.

"This and that," the young man replied, "but I haven't made any career decisions yet. I was never what you'd call a good student, in fact a regular drop out," he elaborated honestly, much to his own surprise. "I've been travelling quite a lot recently, but the old hunting ground has it's own appeal, I grew up here. Paris is nice," he put in with a laugh, "but they speak this weird language."

His companion laughed as well.

"Ah, my fellow Europeans," she commented dryly, "I abandoned the attempt to understand them after my GCSE's. Anyway, I am very glad you decided to spend your time in the park, Richie," she confided in him, "my life is in this bag."

They chatted idly for the few minutes it took for the police to turn up, and then two mobile units and one unmarked car turned up and began to do what police offices do. An ambulance arrived a little later and one of the uniforms dealt with the custody over treatment thing. As it was, both Richie and Beren were soon isolated as the principles in the incident and one of the other uniforms took the Immortal aside whilst the plain clothes wanted to talk to the victim of the crime. It was when the young man produced the knife that the female officer questioning him decided maybe she should let her superiors deal with this and called over one of the detectives. It was at that point that Richie saw one of the officers for the first time, and he recognised him instantly as he left his partner talking to the young English woman.

"Well if it isn't Ryan," the large dark skinned detective said in a very familiar voice, "at the scene of a crime and not the perpetrator."

Richie smiled ironically to himself, all a city's police force to choose from and he was landed with a man who knew his rap sheet backwards.

"Sergeant Powell," he responded calmly as the rotund individual came to a halt beside him, "or have we gone up in the world lately?"

"Still sergeant," the older man returned evenly.

Beren chose that exact moment to detach herself from the woman asking her questions, and walked up to the two men.

"Sergeant," she said quietly, "your partner asked me to tell you that she's going to question some of the witnesses,"

"Thank you, Miss Danworth," the officer replied, "we won't be much longer, and then we'd like you to come to the station to fill out a statement."

The young woman nodded and then she noticed that the police detective wasn't asking her rescuer many questions.

"Well I think I remember the way there," Richie said nonchalantly and showed Powell that he was in no way bothered by their previous association.

Beren however didn't quite understand the reference.

"I was a drop out," the young Immortal said with plain openness, "I, was also a burglar, although not a very successful one. Sergeant Powell here busted me several times in my juvenile career."

"It's quite a change to see Richie here on the correct side of the law," the police man quipped gently. "Still in cahoots with that MacLeod guy?"

The Immortal had to laugh at the habitual suspicion of the detective, but he was not trying to hide his past so the admissions didn't bother him. In fact he found himself wanting to get such things out in the open for no other reason than he wanted Beren to know.

"Sort of," he replied unhurriedly, "and we're not in cahoots. I work for MacLeod in various capacities, and I find business in the legal sector is much more lucrative than the illegal. I was never very good at criminal activities."

"Explains the fall in breaking and entering," his old adversary replied sarcastically.

"Cheer up, Sergeant," Richie told him brightly, "you helped a bad kid go straight when you let him talk to a guy he burgled. You can sleep well at night."

The look on Beren's face was a little wide eyed at this, but she didn't say anything.

"I had a life altering experience when I broke into MacLeod's shop a couple of years back now," the Immortal explained before the woman could jump to any wrong conclusions. "Sergeant Powell busted me and Mac sort of adopted me, and now I'm an upstanding citizen."

He said all this with a smile on his face and Powell snorted, but quite frankly it was perfectly true.

"Well enough of the past," the detective decided and became serious, "did you really break the perpetrator's wrist?"

"He had a knife," Richie told him honestly, "I went to disarm him and twisted a little too far. I really didn't mean to snap the bone."

It was the plain facts and one thing the sergeant knew was the truth when he heard it. Of course what Richie didn't tell him was that for a split second he'd forgotten who he'd been fighting and expected the man to get up with wrist intact.

"That's going to cause a little more paper work," the detective said dryly, "and I'm going to have to ask you to come down to the station as well, but I think we can put this one down to reasonable force."

The young Immortal had expected no less, he was well aware of the love the police department had for paper work and how most of the employees hated it. Objecting to having his time taken over would help no-one, so he smiled compliantly.

"I have a car in a short stay zone," Beren put in quickly, "could I follow you back?"

"I'll show you the way," Richie offered quickly and shrugged with a grin, "I seem to remember the route somehow."

That even pulled an amused smile from Sergeant Powell and he nodded.

"I'm relying on both of you not to vanish on me," the greying man said only half seriously. "I think the uniforms can handled the concerned citizens of this city so I'll see you at the station."


It was not a long journey to the station, only a few blocks and quite soon they pulled up in the visitors car park at the back of the building.

"Hang on to your valuables," Richie offered the piece of advice calmly, "you're more likely to loose them in there than in the park."

He smiled reassuringly it was not meant to frighten her.

"Thanks," the young woman replied and smiled back, "I'll keep that in mind. I hope this doesn't take too long I haven't eaten yet this morning and all this excitement has given me an appetite."

"I can appreciate that sentiment," the young Immortal agreed, "let's hope Sergeant Powell is on form."

The buildings had had a new coat of paint since Richie's last visit, but other than that the old place was exactly the same and the first thing he did was head for the phones.

"The desk Sergeant will help you," he told Beren cheerfully, "they're nice to victims. I just have to give MacLeod a ring to let him know where I am since I said I'd be at his place this morning."

He did not elaborate as to why he was expected, but then Beren excepted the explanation at face value and nodded agreeably.

"You're where?" Mac asked, an amused catch in his voice after his young friend's first sentence. "What did you do this time?"

"I rescued a damsel in distress," Richie replied sarcastically, "and the knights of the round table need to make sure I didn't break any of the rules of chivalry."

Duncan laughed, he made a note not to let Richie live this one down quickly.

"Seriously," the young Immortal continued, "I intercepted a snatched purse and I have to give the cops a statement as to why I broke the guy's wrist. He was holding a knife so the boys in blue won't hold it against me, but they have requested a few minutes of my time."

"Well Madelaine and I arranged to eat breakfast out this morning," the Highlander said calmly, "we were going to mention it to you and Chris, so I'll pick you up on the way. You must have started real early today to get yourself into trouble this soon."

"Very funny," Richie shot back, "all I did was go for a walk in the park."

Then something occurred to him.

"Breakfast," he said quickly, "is there room for one more?"

There was a snort of laughter from the other end of the line.

"I take it then that this damsel is young and beautiful then," Mac's voice sounded amused. "I'll explain to Madi and Chris that our position in your favour has been usurped by a complete stranger."

"Actually she is exquisite," his friend returned lightly, "but she's also hungry and new in town and I just thought it would be nice to not abandon her to this city after such a shock."

It was a good line and Richie was sticking to it.

"Okay, Romeo," Duncan agreed easily, "I'll pick both of you up in say an hour."

"She has a car," the younger Immortal explained quickly, "how about we meet you wherever we're eating."

"Fine," the Highlander said calmly, "remember Jamie's Place. We'll see you there."

"Great," Richie returned brightly, "gotta go now, out of change. Bye Mac, and thanks."

The phone beeped and he put down the receiver with a smile, this week was getting better all the time.

End of Part 3