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Opposites by Tasha

Opposites is a Highlander/Kindred : the Embraced Xover.


Part 4

Duncan wasn't quite sure what to do. When Richie hadn't returned to the hotel he'd been worried, when he'd scoured the city for him all day and found no sign, he had become anxious. When an Immortal didn't come back it usually meant that they weren't going to, but for some reason, the Highlander just couldn't bring himself to believe that his friend and pupil was dead. Why he found himself outside the Haven he couldn't quite explain, but this was the last place he'd seen Richie.

The rock music flowed over him in one big wave as he walked into the club, but he barely heard it. All he was interested in was the woman sitting by the bar. He walked quickly between the various tables, heedless as to who was there, and came to a stop beside the owner of the establishment.

"Why, Duncan," she said with a genuine smile, "this is a surprise."

She'd had to explain all she knew to Julian the previous evening, but she couldn't stop the effect the Immortal had on her. She, unlike her Prince, chose not to be paranoid about the existence of another long lived race. In her opinion, if they'd remained hidden from each other this long then they were unlikely to be a danger to each other. Lillie noted that her old friend was somewhat agitated as soon as she saw him.

"Have you seen the young man I was with yesterday, since then?" the Highlander enquired rapidly.

"No," the vampire replied evenly, "why, have you lost him?"

"He's disappeared," the Immortal admitted slowly. "He said he'd meet me at the hotel, but he never came back. Now with Richie, normally I'd say he found someone else he'd rather be with, but circumstances last night were,... different."

It was nicely hedged, if Lillie hadn't of known something very interesting had happened the previous evening, she never would have guessed. She was not totally immune to what other people were feeling, and the way Duncan looked so worried, tugged at her heart strings. With a sweet smile she patted him on the arm.

"You stay here, darling," she said calmly, "I'll ask around."

"Thanks," Mac replied honestly.

He wasn't sure exactly where in the local hierarchy his friend was, but he was pretty sure it was quite high. He hoped any news she came up with, was not bad. The Highlander ordered a drink and sat down, there was not a lot else to do, until he found out what Lillie knew.

He didn't spend his time idly drowning his sorrows, however, he took the opportunity to just watch. The number of people his sometimes lover spoke to who immediately hurried away to do her bidding, was surprisingly large. It was, however, when the man he had left sitting next to Richie the evening before, came in and walked straight up to the owner of the Haven that MacLeod became very interested.

"Ah, just the man I need to talk to," Lillie said as Frank sauntered over. "Where's our pet Immortal at the moment, Duncan's worried about him."

"I wish I knew," was the police officer's reply, "but I lost him almost as soon as he woke up last night. I have just had the pleasure of explaining this to Julian. The guy just disappeared into thin air. He was more difficult to track than one of you guys."

"Do you make a habit of following us around, Frank?" the Toreador asked with a smile, unable to resist the jibe.

She then dragged her mind back on track, and noted the information which had been passed on.

"Did he give any indication of where he was going?" she enquired calmly.

The reply she received was a slow shake of the head. There had been nothing, not a scrap of a clue to follow. Frank should have known, he had spent all night looking for one.

"Look, I have to get to work," the cop said evenly, "I just called in to see if you'd heard anything. Since you're asking me questions, I assume we're as in the dark as each other. Luna has people out looking now, but no-one seems to know anything. If you find out any information, would you mind giving me a call?"

"For you, Frank," Lillie responded with a smile, "anything."

Duncan took the news that nobody had any information calmly, and then went out to continue his search. There were things going on in San Francisco which he did not understand, and he was beginning to sense a bigger picture. He began to look, not only for Richie, but for anything sinister that might also be going on.

It had been three, very fulfilling days as far as Alexae was concerned. When his creation had awoken, he had been surprisingly submissive, almost childlike in his reactions to this new world into which he was born. There had been no anger, no accusations, only an almost innocent acceptance of life as it was. The Toreador had decided that his childe's mind had retreated from the reality of the situation, and was coping with the change to being Kindred. Since there were times when he looked into Richie's eyes and saw a very adult, very powerful gaze being returned, Alexae just assumed he'd break out of it sometime.

As it was, the Artiste had spent his time drawing and painting his new centre of attention, and leading the fledgling through his first few days. Neither of them had strayed far from the apartment, and the only time Alexae had gone out was to hunt and bring back a beautiful young thing, who had left the next morning just a little paler than usual.

There were sketches and paintings of Richie all over the living space, and much to his sire's delight, the new Kindred had even picked up a pencil himself the previous night and shown considerable talent. If Alexae had been paying as much attention to how his Adonis looked on the inside, as he did on the outside he might have noticed that something was not quite right. Richie had been changing the entire time since he had been embraced, and although the other Toreador took it as normal adjustment, it most definitely, was not.

As it was Alexae was about to find out the hard way. He turned and smiled as his protege walked up behind his towards the end of their fourth night together.

"You're not supposed to move when I'm painting," the older vampire said as if scolding a child, "go and sit back down."

It was then that he noticed the look on his childe's face. The expression had lost the innocent touch and as he smiled, Alexae knew that he should never have let his guard down. Richie's grin was almost demonic and his eyes changed to a rich golden yellow as his sire watched. He was holding one of the Toreador's large paintbrushes by the bristle end, and he waved it menacingly. As Alexae watched he realised that this was no ordinary Kindred, and if he hadn't known he had embraced him only days before, he would have said he was facing one of the really old ones.

"The game's over," the Immortal Kindred said coldly, "now it's my turn."

The sun was coming up and Richie had absolutely no idea how he came to be wandering up to an all night cafe. The only item of clothing he was wearing that he recognised as his own was the brown leather jacket with his sword nestled in it's usual place. The rest was nothing he remembered ever owning, including the black silk shirt and the new black jeans. The last thing he vaguely recalled was Frank standing over him and telling him to get out of his sight, the rest was hazy at best. That was why, when he saw the cop sitting in one of the booths he figured that there was a good reason he was here.

There were vague recollections of men with glowing eyes, and hypnotic words being whispered in his ear, but they couldn't be called real memories. He didn't remember going to the Haven and finding Cash outback, or dominating the Gangrel's mind as if it were second nature. He had no thoughts of demanding to know about Frank, or of leaving the Kindred in a daze that had kept him standing there for minutes. Richie's mind was as empty of the event as Cash's was, and he was confused as he walked up to the only face he remembered clearly.

"Frank?" he said tentatively, since the cop hadn't heard his silent entrance.

The man whirled in his seat and his eyes opened wide with shock. The last person he had expected to meet here was this Immortal.

"Richie," he said with a surprised note to his voice, "we'd all but given you up for dead."

There was not much sign of a reaction to the comment in the young looking man, he just sat down.

"What's going on in this city, Frank," the blond Immortal asked pointedly. "Something's happened to me that I don't understand, and I want answers."

It was at that point that the cop noticed how pale his companion was looking, and without thinking he reached out and touched the other's hand. He knew that cold feeling all too well.

"Jesus, you're Kindred," he said almost too loudly.

Thoughts of betrayal were very strong in Frank's mind, and the first thing that occurred to him was that this was one of Luna's jokes. Immortals fighting each other, no more than something to keep the pet cop occupied.

"What are Kindred?" Richie shot back and brought a halt to the other man's thoughts. "What's happened to me? Why can't I remember?"

As he became agitated his eyes changed colour, and it suddenly occurred to Frank that something unusual was going on. The Immortal looked like no Kindred Frank had ever met, in fact more than anything he looked lost. Now the sun was coming up rapidly, and the cop knew enough to know that Richie did not look like a vampire who had recently fed. Since Kindred in that condition had a habit of spontaneously combusting, he decided that he had to get this one out of the public eye.

"I'll explain as much as I can," Frank said quickly, thinking on his feet, "but not here. Let's get you somewhere a little more private and a lot darker, before you get a suntan you won't forget."

The younger man's state of mind was such that he did not have much will to argue, and Frank managed to get him in the car quite rapidly. When they reached his apartment he closed all the curtains and locked the door, whilst leaving Richie sitting on the couch. The blond man seemed suspicious, but he didn't appear to be able to decide what to do.

"Are you going to tell me now?" he said as his companion finally stopped moving.

There was nothing else for it, Frank was going to have to explain. He sat down on a chair slowly and tried to remember everything he knew about Kindred.

"I think you've been recently embraced," the cop said carefully, "you've been turned into a vampire. Not like you see on TV," he hurried on quickly as he saw the look that crossed Richie's face, "but still blood drinking, night dwellers. I'm not really an expert, I'm more in this by accident. Embracing is when they drain all your blood and replace it with Kindred blood, then you become one of them."

The other's gaze seemed suddenly distant at the words. The feeling of his life slipping away in slow blissful second caught Richie off guard, and as he remembered his eyes shifted once again.

"Do you remember who did this to you?" Frank saw the memory on his companion's features and he needed to know.

He had the feeling that something was very wrong here, and he knew Julian was not going to approve. The longer he stayed in this man's presence the more eerie he was beginning to feel. There was something almost tangibly strange about the creature who was Immortal and Kindred, the cop could feel it.

"No," Richie replied, snapping back to reality, "but they must have given me these clothes, only the jacket is mine."

He looked so lost and helpless that Frank could almost overlook the fact that the Immortal was staring at him with orange eyes.

The police officer did his best to explain all he knew and he tried to convince the new Kindred to seek help from Julian Luna. Richie, however, resisted loudly even after he had been given the low down on the structure of vampire society. Since Frank still had reservations about the way the Kindred ran their affairs, he didn't push it just yet. Instead he offered to make coffee, and to his surprise his companion excepted gratefully.

When the cop wandered back in from the kitchen he was in for a shock, however. The curtains were open, early morning sunlight flooded the living room, and standing there as if he were a flower was Richie, soaking up the rays. He turned to Frank and smiled an ironic smile.

"I think starting off Immortal has it's advantages," he said dryly.

It was slightly later that the cop decided his guest had to be Toreador clan when the young man started doodling on the phone pad, and seemed to become completely lost in the design.

When night finally came round to the city once more, it found Richie asleep on Frank's couch and the officer himself sprawled on the bed. The new Kindred had persuaded the cop to wait until sundown before they did anything, and with all the peculiarities the Immortal was exhibiting, the officer had decided to play along. Richie woke first, the moment the sun dipped below the horizon, and when Frank's alarm went off he found his guest staring out the window.

"I'm going to the Haven," the Toreador said with a certainty that had not been there earlier in the day. "Are you coming?"

The eyes that looked at him were ice blue, but they held a danger that could only come from a Kindred gaze. Frank didn't feel like arguing with that visage and he nodded firmly.

"Give me five minutes," he said calmly, even as a small shot of adrenaline soaked his system.

The cop was almost surprised to see his house guest still standing there when he dived back out of the bathroom. There didn't seem to be a lot that was helpless about this man, and Frank had the feeling that he was invited along more as a courtesy, than an ally. The night seemed to have nurtured a very different Richard Ryan than the day.

End of Part 4