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
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.
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.
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.
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
"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
"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
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
"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
"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
"I have a car in a short
stay zone," Beren put in quickly, "could I follow you
"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
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
of Part 3