Several conversations just stopped
as Richie walked into the Haven, and he grinned at the shocked
expression on Duncan's face. The slightly opened mouth visage
dissolved into one of relief as he recognised his young friend's
"I think he's back to normal,"
the older Immortal commented as his comrade began to walk across
There was a quizzical look on
Lillie's face as she watched the younger man approach.
"Not quite," was her
quiet response, and she looked to Julian for confirmation.
"Mr Ryan still feels somewhat
like one of us," the Prince offered slowly, "but his
heart is beating, and he appears human on the outside."
Cash was hastily looking in his
employer's direction, even as Sasha surveyed the new talent, and
Julian just smiled. The Gangrel tried not to look too uptight
as he suddenly found the younger Immortal was headed in his direction.
He was most surprised when Richie actually stopped.
"Look, sorry about yesterday,"
the blond man apologised calmly. "Love the jacket, man."
Then he walked on not waiting
for a reply.
"So, what happened yesterday,"
Sasha enquired curiously, "and who's the guy with the mixed
Having been hanging out across
town for the last couple of days, the Brujah hadn't been part
of all the excitement. All she knew was that there had been some
fuss over a human that she was neither interested in, nor part
"I'll tell you later,"
was all the Gangrel replied.
The young Immortal slid into
the booth on the opposite side to his mentor, and just smiled
at the others.
"I thought we'd go home
now," he said lightly.
Nobody was quite sure what to
say to that.
"Are you okay, Richie?"
Mac finally asked slowly.
"Fine," the younger
replied calmly, "a good Quickening will do wonders for a
For Duncan that explained it
all, but Richie went on anyway to make sure all was clear.
"Damon's dead, I'm as close
to normal as I think I'm going to get," the blond Immortal
said evenly, "Frank discovered death as well, by the way,
but he'll get used to the idea. I've really had enough of this
town, and I'd like to go home, where nothing more exciting happens
than the odd Immortal trying to kill me."
It took a while for everyone
to catch up.
"What happened to Frank?"
it was Julian who asked, and he was not happy.
"Some Kindred decided to
use him as a punch bag," was the quick reply, "and he
broke his neck. Since he's Immortal it didn't bother him for long,
and I have him stashed somewhere where no-one can find him until
he feels like being found."
Righteous anger flared in the
Prince's eyes, and Richie had his next question figured before
he asked it.
"Who were they?" he
Now Richie had no intention of
giving the brutes up to the slaughter, he thought they'd probably
learned their lessons.
"It doesn't matter,"
was the calm reply. "Take it from me, they will not be trying
The two men locked gazes for
a moment as Julian thought about pushing the issue. He didn't
like to be told what to do, even in situations like this, but
he quickly found the stubborn streak in the younger Immortal.
The Ventrue looked angry for a moment, but slowly the expression
changed into a smile.
"Have it your way,"
he finally said and much to Lillie's surprise, gave in.
It was the Toreador Primogen
who spoke next.
"Well gentlemen," she
said with a smile, "I hope you don't mind, but I'd like to
steal Richard for just a little while. I'd like to have a few
words in private."
Now it was the blond man's turn
to look surprised, but he did not object as the dark haired siren
led him to a quiet corner. She looked at him thoughtfully for
a moment and then kissed him on the cheek.
"Thank you for what you
did for Alexae," she said warmly, "your gift arrived
here a while ago. After what he did to you, your actions surprise
Now Richie understood why she
had wanted to talk to him, and he smiled.
"I got rid of all my anger
when I staked him," the young Immortal returned honestly,
"and my more rational side came into play. I saw Jessica
as she was about to throw herself off a roof, and I suddenly knew
that they would be good for each other. He needs someone, that's
why he tried to take me. She has never seen how life can be good,
and he can give that to her. I just followed my heart, which,
for once, doesn't seem to have landed me in trouble."
Lillie ran her hand down one
side of his face and just smiled at him for a while.
"You're very kind,"
she said slowly, "I wouldn't have expected that in someone
who has to kill like you do. Don't ever let go of your soul, Richard,
it makes you a wonderful person."
Then she kissed him again and
walked back to Julian, leaving the Immortal to contemplate what
she had said.
It had taken them another day
to get out of the city, what with explaining everything to Frank
and getting him to organise his vacation, along with the formal
farewells. Julian had wanted more information, but he couldn't
really push it. Even though these Immortal's appeared friendly,
he was sure they could be very dangerous, besides which, he would
have time enough to talk to Frank later. After all the hassle
in San Francisco, the days of rigorous training that Duncan decided
to put Frank through, using Richie as an example, seemed almost
The blonde Immortal had not been
able to shake the desire to paint, another lingering Toreador
trait, so his apartment now had an easel and canvases strewn around.
He found himself doodling at the oddest moments, the most bizarre
of which had to be when Duncan had caught him making patterns
on the counter with the salt. He was trying to keep the urge under
control, but occasionally it got the better of him.
"So why don't you just shoot
them and then take their heads?" the cop asked as he and
the younger of the other two Immortal's took a break in a sparing
He was looking at Duncan for
the answer, but the Highlander just huffed and walked into the
office. When Frank turned to Richie for help he found the young
"Those kind of questions
are best left unthought," the blond man said lightly, "especially
with Mac around. He has this big honour streak in him, and ideas
like your tend to tick him off."
The ever practical side of the
newer Immortal still couldn't see the problem, but good sense
"Okay," Frank admitted,
"it was only a thought. So what was this move you're supposed
to show me?"
"Well, it's like this ..."
Richie began and they walked toward the centre of the floor.
Then they both looked up at the
door, Frank wincing slightly as the presence of a new Immortal
made itself very plain to his brain. It was an odd sensation to
get used to, but he was managing. Richie was holding the wooden
sword he had, defensively, until Adam Pierson strolled through
the door with a broad smile on his face.
"Hi guys," he said,
a little too brightly, "it's only me. So who's the new recruit?"
MacLeod walked out of the office
with a broad smile on his face.
"Phone, Adam," the
Highlander said jovially, "I know it's a modern invention,
but it's useful. Prevent heart attacks, and misunderstandings."
"One day I will call,"
Methos said lightly, "then you'll get worried."
He wandered further into the
dojo, happy that no-one was going to try and give him a height
adjustment, and came to a stop just beside Richie. It took a few
seconds, but suddenly the two were staring at each other, wide
"Gangrel," Richie said
"Toreador," was what
the other Immortal replied.
"You were embraced,"
they both said in unison.
Methos found this very funny,
Frank and Duncan just looked at each other.
"You must have made one
strange Kindred," he said with a laugh, "I'd only taken
one head when they tried the number on me, and I had a split personality
The younger of the two was looking
"When, how long ago?"
he almost demanded.
It was a surprise and a relief
to find out he was not the only one who had made been in contact
with the wrong vampire.
"A while," Methos returned
with a smile. "I'll tell you exactly after we've had a long
talk about ages."
Some Immortals were touchy about
how long they'd been wandering around, Richie accepted this and
moved onto his next question.
"So do the after effects
wear off?" he inquired directly.
"You mean the hearing and
things," the ancient returned lightly, as if this was the
most normal conversation in the world. "No. They might fade
a little over the next hundred years or so, but you're stuck with
them. I have also been reliably informed that, from time to time,
in the throws of passion, my eyes change colour."
Richie looked a little dubious.
"Ever had any complaints?"
he finally asked.
"No so far," was the