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Opposites by Tasha

Opposites is a Highlander/Kindred : the Embraced Xover.

 

Part 2

The conversation with Frank had petered out slowly, and finally neither of them had been able to find anything else to say without giving away that they were digging for information. It had been just over an hour since the cop had wandered away and found himself a quiet corner of the Haven to just sit and watch. Richie had chatted to a couple more people over that time, but he had not left the bar and he had not tried for anything deeper than a casual comment or two about the music, or some such subject. As soon as a young looking brown haired man sat down next to him and smiled, the Immortal knew he had gained some attention he didn't want.

Alexae had spotted Richie the moment he'd walked in the club, a few minutes previously, and he'd liked what he saw. If he'd been younger and local, one of his clan members would probably have tried to stop him as he approached the young stranger, but Alexae was not your average Kindred. This Toreador was Lillie's personal guest from Europe, an Artiste, respected by his entire clan for his talent, and known for his varied tastes. He was easily the oldest vampire in the club, well over two centuries, and nobody tried to tell him what to do. Yes he happened to have zeroed in on the friend of Lillie's current companion, but there wasn't a Kindred in the place who was going to try and tell him he wasn't allowed. Alexae displayed one of the greatest talents in the Toreador clan, he also displayed most of their weaknesses. Calling this vampire arty was doing a complete injustice to his temperament, and touchy didn't even cover it.

Whether he wanted to paint the Adonis or ravish him wasn't quite decided in Alexae's mind, but a mixture of the two showed in his face. The moment he sat down, Richie began to think it was a good time to move.

"Good evening," the Toreador purred with what had to be considered a very handsome smile.

He was hoping that this young man would not be averse to his company, but the half embarrassed, I'm outta here look appeared in the Immortal's eyes almost immediately. It was unfortunate, but not too much of a problem.

"Ah, hi," Richie said with a fake smile, "I have to be going."

"Oh, you don't want to be doing that," Alexae said smoothly as the blond man went to move, "it's still early."

The dark green eyes snared the young Immortal's gaze and he was trapped. The muscles that had tensed to help him stand relaxed and suddenly his body had decided it didn't want to leave. What the vampire next to him could not have guessed, however, was there happened to be a little part of Richie that was still insisting he should be going. Most of the Immortal was caught, just as any Mortal would have been, but deep inside there was a voice yelling that something really strange was going on here, and it would not quit.

"Can I buy you a drink?" Alexae offered amiably.

"Thanks," Richie returned and smiled, "I'll have the same again."

Other Kindred in the club just looked at each other, a few smiled and others shook their heads. It was quite obvious that a seduction was going on.

After a couple of suggestions that the blond Immortal should be quite happy about the company he was keeping, the conversation was becoming quite animated. The Toreador was in no hurry, and he wanted to get to know the young man before they retired to somewhere more suitable. On the outside, Richie appeared much the same: relaxed, friendly and chatty, but on the inside a slight pressure was building. The little voice of derision was getting louder. An Immortal psyche was not something that should ever be played with, it took a certain control to maintain sanity when a person habitually absorbed other people, and hypnotism could alter that. All Immortal's had a certain degree of natural mental stability, some more so than others, and messing with it was a very bad idea.

Richie's brain thought it was not good as well, and slowly it was sorting out the mess. It was just beginning to occur to Alexae that he was having to exert quite a bit more influence than usual when, as far as he was concerned, the most extraordinary thing happened. One moment he was talking quietly to the young man who's name he had discovered was Richie, and the next the Immortal's head shot up. The reason he was losing control was uncertain, but Alexae saw it instantly and decided he didn't want it to happen. He put every ounce of influence he could muster into the gaze he sent at his companion and managed to snare the young man once more.

"It's nothing," he managed to get out, before he actually felt a mental shove back.

The Toreador could have sworn that he actually saw a spark of light dance across Richie's eyes, and then the young man tore his face away. As far as the Immortal was concerned, the presence of another of his kind had impinged itself on his consciousness and wiped everything else into insignificance. Given time to think he probably would have realised that something strange had been going on, but as it was all he cared about was the man standing just inside the doorway.

Damon spotted Richie at the same moment, and surprisingly he just stood there. He was quite a large man, and he'd been in his twenties when he'd died for the first time. He had short, almost shaved hair and a semi-casual sense of fashion. The folds of his long black overcoat hung with familiar heaviness, and as the two looked at each other he smiled.

Now Kindred could spot animosity a mile away, and it wasn't just Alexae who had noted the atmosphere between the two men. How it had allowed a human to escape the snare of an experienced Toreador, was intriguing. As it was, Richie stood up as if he wasn't even aware he'd been talking to anyone.

The two Immortals took a moment to size each other up, and then, with a flick of his head Damon indicated they should take their discussion outside. A slight nod back and the meeting was arranged. The older looking of the two did a one eighty and left the way he had come, and Richie turned to the barman.

"If my friend ask where I've gone," he said quickly, "tell him I'll meet him at the hotel. Thanks."

Then he to was gone. For a few moments Alexae just sat there a little stunned, then with a half-amused smile he headed for the door. Never let it be said that this Kindred wasn't up for a challenge.

It was only a few seconds later that Frank couldn't contain his curiosity either. However, outside, everyone of interest seemed to have just vanished into thin air. The cop stood there listening to traffic noise for a long moment, and gazing down the street, but there appeared to be no sign of anyone.

"Dammit," he said loudly and glared at a couple of Gangrel perched on a motorbike.

They favoured him with amused smiles, as if they knew exactly what he was up to, before they sped away. It was like watching a rerun of empty world, not a soul remained in sight. He was left with two choices, go back into the club, or just head home, it was after all his night off.

Five minutes later, Frank was still standing there trying to decide what to do, there was just something about this situation that nagged at his instincts. He was almost convinced that it was a Kindred thing going on, but it wouldn't let him just leave it alone. He was beginning to talk himself out of the need to investigate when he heard a faint clanging of metal. With the city noises it was almost masked, but his police trained eyes and ears he narrowed it down to an alley across the street. He didn't need urging on twice, and with an `I don't believe I'm doing this' shake of his head he trotted across the road.


Now Frank had seen some things in his time, but he was not expecting what he found when he rounded the corner in the blind alley. Richie and Damon were doing a very skilful job of trying to carve each other into little pieces, and the nineties police officer's brain rebelled at the idea. Two men were hacking at each other with four foot long swords, well hacking probably wasn't the right word, but it was just about all Frank could come up with. It was only the thought that this might be Kindred business that kept the cop in the shadows.

The Gangrel that had taken up a viewing position just behind a dumpster grinned as the energetic battle rallied the beast within him, and Frank also spotted Alexae. The thought of two pissed off Kindred going for him because he interrupted a private dispute kept him in place for a few more blows. Part of the police officer admired the skill the two combatants showed, and he noted the way that both players had taken at least one chunk out of their opponent. Yet there was still something that seemed very wrong about two people fighting with swords in the current day and age. The fact that the cuts on both warriors seemed to have pissed them off more than hurt them, was unsettling.

Frank managed to control himself for a full five minutes, before finally his police instincts took over. He reached into his jacket and pulled out his gun just as Richie seemed to gain the upper hand. He took a deep breath and stepped out of the shadows, levelling his weapon on the two men.

"Stop, police," he said loudly and managed to cause both men to look round.

The younger looking of the two made a face, and if expressions could have killed, Frank would have been dead. Damon on the other hand looked slightly relieved, and he smiled wickedly.

"Damn," Richie would have sworn more colourfully, but he was too wound up, "loose yourself, Frank," he continued hopefully, "you really don't want to get involved in this."

Neither of them were going to get any choice in the next events, however, as the Immortal's opponent took the opportunity to bend the rules.

"Sorry, Ryan," he said coldly, and drew attention back to himself, "but I've had enough of this. Maybe next time."

Before anyone could move, metal glinted in the air and a stunned look crossed Richie's face. He gazed down for a moment and just about had time to investigate the ornate dagger sticking out of his chest. If Damon was anything, he was accurate, and the blade had found the other Immortal's heart.

"You bastard," was all the blond one of the pair could say, and then he collapsed ungracefully.

Frank was so shocked by the move that Damon was already on his way past before reality kicked in. The truth of the matter became starkly obvious as the cop was sent reeling backwards by a hefty shove. He managed to level his gun just as the Immortal disappeared. By the time he glanced back at what was now a dead looking individual, Alexae was gone, along with the unnamed Gangrel, and another, worried looking Kindred jumped off the roof at the end of the alley and ran towards the Haven. A feeling that he would not be in control of the situation much longer settled squarely in the police officer's mind.


In the time it had taken the whole affair to take place, the one person who could have sorted it out had managed to leave the Haven and head back to his hotel. For this reason it was Lillie who decided to clear up and avoid a police enquiry into a sword fight just outside her club. Resigned to letting Kindred handle what he thought was their business, Frank actually lent his help. Julian turned up just after they had placed Richie's body in Lillie's office, which was why two Kindred and one human were stood staring at a corpse about ten minutes after he had died.

Since Frank believed he was looking at a Kindred paralysed by a stake, he was confused as to why the other two were just standing there. Why they didn't remove the dagger which was keeping the young looking individual imobile was beyond him.

"Would someone mind telling me what exactly was going on in that alley," the police officer finally asked. "Is there some weird ritual that Kindred have for finishing each other off?"

For the first time, Julian actually took some notice of his companion. He raised one eyebrow and frowned thoughtfully.

"He's not Kindred, Frank," he concluded after a moment's thought, "and I'm afraid he's very dead. We're as much in the dark about this as you. It's just we'd rather not have such a peculiar crime on our doorstep. This I think may be more in your line of work."

He ignored the fact that the young cop's mouth was hanging open and continued on his own investigation of the body. They'd put Richie on Lillie's desk and beside him lay his sword, the Prince picked up the weapon almost reverently.

"A truly beautiful antique," he commented respectfully, "and very well maintained."

He looked at the dagger next and much to Frank's growing horror just pulled it out of the body.

"So is this," the Ventrue said quietly, "but of an entirely different era."

"But if he's not ..." the police officer said slowly, "how come. What was he doing in the Haven, and how is it his friend knows Lillie?"

It was the Primogen of the Toreadors' turn to look awkward.

"His friend?" Luna enquired evenly.

The Prince could almost see the thoughts run through his one time lover's mind, and he waited patiently.

"Duncan MacLeod," the other Kindred finally gave up the name, "I've known him ... a while."

It would be very difficult explaining exactly how a non-vampire came to be the same after sixty years. She was, however, saved the trouble of doing any explaining just at that moment, because Richie's body chose that moment to regain life. One second he was lying flat on his back and the next he almost rolled onto the floor as he reacted to the last memory in his brain. He wobbled precariously as he sat up way too fast and the pain of his still healing injury impinged itself on his consciousness a millisecond or so later. He groaned loudly and lay back down again without trying to think too hard.

Stunned didn't quite cover the reaction of the other three in the room. Richie opened his eyes to see what were to him three, upside- down, startled faces.

"Oh great," he said quietly, "the cop, Duncan's friend, and a complete stranger. Mac's gonna kill me."

It was the Ventrue who recovered his composure first.

"That would seem a somewhat difficult thing to accomplish," he said slowly.

Richie chose not to comment on that, his mouth had a habit of getting him into trouble. The fact that one of the three people looking at him was holding his sword, and the dagger that had killed him, was unsettling. The pain in his chest was subsiding so he decided to slowly sit up and take stock of the situation. The right way up he had a much better view of the three observers. It wasn't difficult to see who was in charge, authority just oozed out of Julian, and that begged a few questions. Richie had been on the street a long time before he met Duncan MacLeod of the clan MacLeod, and now he came to think about it, Frank looked like a cop, the man with him did not, and Lillie was most certainly not an officer of the law.

"I don't suppose we could just forget you saw any of this, could we?" well it was worth a try, wasn't it.

"No, I don't suppose," Luna returned evenly.

Someone coming back from the dead was not only intriguing, it could have consequences for the Masquerade, and that meant Julian was very interested.

"Why don't you explain how it is that you are still alive," the Prince said with an smile that sent shivers up the young Immortal's back.

"And while you're at it," Frank put in, "why the hell you were trying to kill someone with a sword."

It was an accusation and Richie found his mouth reacting before his brain could stop it.

"I was trying to kill him because he has been trying to kill me,... for quite a while," the Immortal said vehemently and gave a good indication as to his character.

End of Part 2