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We have a total of 23 episodes, and they're all available if you follow the HFS link.

 

 
 

Bullet, Bottle, Or Blade

Part 1


Scene 1

She told him the doctors' diagnosis of advanced cancer in such a matter of fact manner you might have thought she'd just given the weather forecast instead of announcing her imminent death. Then she walked over to the juke box and chose the same song- again. Duncan said nothing about the poor choice of music. But Deborah knew he noticed.

"Die young, stay pretty. Live fast, 'cause it won't last." Deborah sang along with the juke box. It was clear that something else was eating at Deborah besides the cancer. She turned and walked toward Duncan with the determined look of a person about to give a long rehearsed speech.

"There is something I've wanted to tell you for ten years." She paused a moment to collect her thoughts.

"Why did you have to play the hero that night, Duncan?" Duncan knew immediately where this was going and he didn't like it.

"Why save someone that didn't want to be saved? Did it make you feel better about not being able to save Harry? Was that it, Duncan?" She paused to see if she'd hit her mark. She had. Encouraged by that bulls eye, she continued.

"I know you think I should feel grateful, but I don't. It was my life, my decision. If you had left me alone, let me join my Harry, Bonnie would never have seen me turn into..." She tossed her head toward the mirror image. "Into that." Deborah appraised her reflection. She didn't like what she saw. Why did bars always seem to have mirrors? As far as Deborah was concerned it was a sadistic decorating choice. Who wanted to watch their lives shrivel up and fade away... sip by sip?

"Don't say that, Deborah." Duncan said through clenched teeth. "Bonnie didn't need to lose both her parents." Her selfishness infuriated him.

"But she did, Duncan. Can't you see that? I died when Harry died. When that thief put a bullet in my husbands head it killed me too! Only my body kept walking around, like a hollow shell."

"Yeah, and you've been trying to fill it up ever since." He mumbled under his breath. She did not catch the words, but the disgusted look on his face was damning enough.

Still, she needed him to understand that he hadn't done her any favors by dragging her to the hospital to have the pills pumped out of her and life forced back in. Knowing she was going to die soon, Deborah couldn't bear the thought of Duncan MacLeod believing that he had given her some tremendous gift by saving her life ten years ago.

"It was too much for me. I was never a strong person. Harry was my strength. Can't you understand that? I couldn't face life without him, Duncan. I just couldn't do it."

"How can you be that self-absorbed? Didn't you ever, for even one moment, consider putting your daughter's welfare above your own pain? You think it would have been better for her to lose her father and her mother?" Deborah had no answer for that. But Duncan wasn't finished. "As horrible as the murder of her father was, your suicide would have been worse for her to handle. At least her father didn't choose to leave her."

Deborah slumped forward, hunched over her empty glass and cried deep, gut wrenching sobs. She couldn't take it quite as well as she dished it out. Duncan let out an exasperated sigh, but offered no sympathy. He waited. When she had finally gotten it out of her system enough to speak again, she cast Duncan a bitter glance.

"You think I'm being selfish to regret what I've done to Bonnie? Is it selfish to have rather died that night than to have put her through what I have in the past ten years? She would have been better off with her memories of me, the way I was with Harry alive. Now look at what she has to remember!"

Duncan continued to glare straight ahead, never turning in her direction. She grabbed his arm, twisting the fabric of his shirt as she hissed at him.

"Look at me, damn it! This is what she has to remember." Black tears ran down her face like ink, etching every unflattering fold and wrinkle.

"So." The anger welled up in that one small word and spilled over into the next. "That is the real reason you wanted to see me. You wanted to curse me for saving your life, not deliver invitations." He tossed the pink envelope at Deborah as he pushed the bar stool back. Deborah cringed at the harsh, scraping noise.

Duncan marched toward the exit of Joe's bar. He pulled the juke box away from the wall and angrily yanked the plug from it's socket on his way out.

Joe cocked an eyebrow at the Highlanders display of temper. The customers all turned to Joe to see what he was going to do about it. He nonchalantly shrugged his shoulders.

"I guess he didn't like that song."


Scene 2

Deborah chased after the swiftly retreating figure. {Great going Deborah! You've really screwed things up this time. He'll never want to help you now. Even if it is for Bonnie.} She chastised herself but kept after Duncan before she lost him in the dimming light. It was impossible for her to match the Highlanders pace. She was panting from the attempt in a matter of seconds.

Duncan knew she was trying to follow him. He heard her hoarse, ragged breath, even though he was yards ahead. But he was in no mood to make things easier for Deborah. He'd done that enough in the past and he saw what thanks that got him. Let her struggle, he thought. If she wanted an opportunity to talk to him again after the way their conversation ended, he was going to make damn sure she earned it.

After two short blocks, Deborah stopped. She bent over with both hands resting on her knees. She knew she was going to be sick at any moment, but didn't have the energy to do anything except twist her head toward the street. Duncan heard the abrupt halt of her footsteps and turned around in time to watch Deborah vomiting into the gutter.

In his anger, he'd forgotten about her illness and felt horribly guilty. Within seconds he closed the gap between them. Duncan reached into his pocket and pulled out a handkerchief. Steadying Deborah with one hand under her elbow, he wiped her face.

"Well, wasn't that a lovely sight? Not like you haven't seen it before. A little bit of deja vu, huh?"

"I'm sorry, Deborah. I..."

"Please" She weakly held up her hand to put a stop to his unwanted words. Don't apologize. It's me that should be apologizing. I was so nervous about seeing you again, everything came out all wrong. And, hind sight being 20/20, I guess meeting you at a bar was a really bad idea."

"It was my suggestion..."

"Which I jumped on. Thinking I'd be more comfortable in that particular setting. I should have known it wouldn't work." She took a deep, shaky breath and sighed.

Deborah hadn't had a drink in weeks, ever since the doctor made his diagnosis of metastasized cancer. But the temptation at Joe's, combined with her nerves, had been a sure fire recipe for falling off her oh-so-short wagon.

"Come back to my place, I'll fix us a pot of coffee and we can catch up on old times." He was not altogether enthusiastic in his suggestion. It was more out of a sense of pity than any genuine interest in her company that he extended the invitation. Deborah knew this but accepted none the less. She still had unfinished business with MacLeod.

They continued on at a more leisurely pace that Deborah could comfortably keep. When they arrived at the apartment, Deborah excused herself and went to the bathroom to freshen up while Duncan made the coffee. He listened to the water running for quite awhile as he stared at the closed bathroom door and drifted back ten years.


Scene 3

FLASHBACK - PARIS IN SPRING, 1987

"It truly is as beautiful and romantic as the tourist think it is, isn't it Duncan?"

Tessa asked as she and Duncan strolled hand in hand along the Seine. Artists displayed their wares and created more right before the eyes of the Parisians and tourists alike. Some were blatant hacks out to make a buck, some were cutting edge, some were just plain boring. Duncan took a deep breath of the damp, spring air and tried to see Paris fresh, through Tessa's eyes.

"Yeah, I guess it is." He raised her hand up to his lips and lightly kissed the inside of her wrist, so softly she could barely feel it- yet it made catch her breath. "IF you're with the right person." He whispered as he bent his head to nibble her ear.

"You'd better stop that. You're making us a tourist attraction." Tessa laughed and Duncan followed her gaze to a man staring at them.

"Harry!" Duncan exclaimed. The two men raced toward each other, broad grins on their faces. Tessa let out an exaggerated sigh and trailed along behind Duncan.

"Can't we ever go anywhere with out you running into someone you know?" She asked, already knowing the answer was no. She couldn't live with the man for so many years without feeling like he'd been everywhere, done everything and knew everyone. It could be trying at times.

Duncan and Harry shook hands at first, then both laughed at the formality and hugged each other. Tessa liked Harry on sight. He had a goodness to him that was almost palpable. Harry was slightly plump, with a ruddy complexion and rugged vitality that brought to mind the cliche 'salt of the earth'. He was one of those rare people that could become your best, most trusted friend only five minutes after you met him.

"It's great to see you again Harry! What brings you to Paris, business or pleasure?"

"Time enough for that, Duncan. Aren't you forgetting your manners?" He turned to Tessa. "You must be the lovely Tessa Noel Duncan raves about every time I run into him. And yet," He glared at Duncan with mock anger. "I had to meet you by chance. Trying to keep this treasure hidden away?" He gave Duncan a good-natured shot in the arm. "Sorry. We've been, um, kind of busy." He grinned lasciviously at Tessa and she blushed.

"For seven years! Don't you ever come up for air?" He exclaimed, then held his hands up to ward off any attempt to take him literally. "Please, don't answer that. I'm an old married man with a child to look after. Spare me the details. I don't think my poor, old heart could take it." He laid his hand across his heart then out to Tessa. He smiled warmly and introduced himself, not waiting for Duncan to get around to it.

"My name is Harry Saunders. Duncan and I run around the same circles trying to out bid each other and still make a profit. Well, at least one of us is trying to make a profit. I should hate this man! You have no idea how many treasures he's stolen from me. It's a wonder I stay in business. In fact, there was only one time I ever beat him. Do you remember?" Duncan rolled his eyes.

"Oh, no. Not that story again!"

"All right. I'll just hit the highlights. Doesn't matter. I still come out the winner." Harry grinned. "Duncan was with me the night I met my wife. Lucky for me she's a woman with unusual tastes or he'd have stolen her from me too! But Deborah never even noticed you, did she Duncan?" Duncan didn't care to be reminded that there actually were women immune to his charms and he ignored the last question by asking one of his own. His tactic of switching subjects was not lost on Tessa. She giggled, enjoying the fact that his vanity had been given a good shot.

"So, where are Deborah and your wee Bonnie?" Duncan let his Scottish burr loose at the end of the sentence.

"It's Paris. Where do you think my wife and daughter are? Shopping of course!"

"Well, you must have a picture or two..."

Harry immediately turned into the proud Papa and dug out his wallet. There were snap shots of Bonnie climbing a tree. Bonnie riding her bike. Bonnie swimming. Bonnie and Deborah at the piano. Bonnie sitting on Harry's shoulders. Bonnie playing soccer. Bonnie on horseback, in full riding gear.

"Oh, she's beautiful!" Tessa exclaimed. The photos of the blond cherub stole her heart. Duncan leaned in to get a closer look. The child was beautiful. But it was the expression on her face that was so captivating. She was smiling, no beaming, in every last photograph- and there were many, many photos. Quite a large collection- even for a proud Papa's wallet.

"We have to get together for dinner. Do you have plans for tonight?" Duncan smiled ruefully at Tessa as she made the invitation. He knew she was taken with Harry, but it was the prospect of seeing Bonnie that probably prompted the immediacy in her tone.

He had noticed her sudden, unconscious tendency to gravitate toward children. She was starting to feel that "biological clock ticking" already. He had hoped that they would have more time, that her maternal instincts would disappear if he ignored them, but they only seemed to be growing stronger day by day.

"That would be delightful. Deborah would love to meet you and see Duncan again."

"Yeah, she'll be thrilled to see me." Duncan laughed.

"Aww, come on. It's not that bad. She doesn't dislike you. Deborah is just, well, a little...shy with some people."

Always the diplomat, Harry felt obliged to smooth over tensions. Duncan had been around long enough to know the difference between shy and hostile. In his world detecting hostility was a necessary survival skill. He hadn't gotten along for nearly 400 years with his head still attached to his shoulders without developing a sense about people. And his gut feeling was that Deborah would be just as happy if she never saw Duncan MacLeod again.

For Harry's sake they were civil with each other. But there was an unmistakable chill in the air with Duncan and Deborah in close proximity. Deborah was a very insecure person. Duncan didn't find that particularly attractive, but he had never been unkind or antagonistic toward her. He didn't have to, she took his perpetual boy scoutishness as a personal jibe.

It was never stated, but understood between them, that their relationship without Harry was nonexistent.


Scene 4

A RESTAURANT LATER THAT EVENING

Tessa and Duncan arrived at the restaurant to find a sheepish looking Harry Saunders waiting for them- alone.

"Deborah sends her apologies. She really would have loved to come to dinner with us, but she was sure Bonnie was coming down with something. She is very protective of Bonnie, sometimes a little overprotective." It was obvious Harry didn't buy the story any more than they did. Still, he would never speak against his wife or contradict her, so he dutifully presented the official story.

Dinner went very well. Duncan and Harry entertained Tessa with their slightly skewed versions of the same events.

"No. I'm sorry my friend, but that is not how it happened." Was a phrase they repeated more than twice, immediately followed by a completely different retelling of the supposed same event by the other person.

"You still haven't told me what brings you to Paris. I know London isn't exactly the opposite end of the world from here, but you usually don't stray too far from home."

"What! You expect me to tell you what auction I'm here for? Why, so you can come and outbid me on every piece?" He stage whispered to Tessa. "The man must never make a dime from his shop. He is too damned determined when he bids. Everyone knows it. If he sees a piece he likes, particularly swords, he will never stop bidding. The sky is the limit." He concluded in a firm, determined tone aimed in Duncan's direction. "My lips are sealed." This only spurred Duncan's interest.

"Is it the Burgoyne Estate auction?" Harry maintained a poker face, giving no clue as to whether he'd even heard of the Burgoyne Estate auction.

"Give it up, Duncan MacLeod. You are not coming with me to this auction. I have my mind and heart set on a piece and you are not getting it!"

"What makes you so sure I'd even want it?"

"You always want..." Harry stopped mid sentence, wagged his finger at Duncan and said "Very clever. You almost made me slip."

Duncan smiled. Harry had slipped. He now knew the auction was not the Burgoyne, because they didn't have any swords listed. What ever auction he was going to definitely had a sword or two offered. Harry gave it away when he said 'always'.

Swords were the only thing that always caught his interest. Even cheap, or poorly made ones managed to hold his attention for a moment. But since Harry was so interested in the piece, Duncan decided not to press the issue. He had enough swords. Better not to see the piece and be tempted into a bidding war over it.

They said their farewells and made the usual vows to see each other again, very soon. But their schedules didn't often collide outside of business anymore. Since he met Tessa and the Saunders became parents, they had become too involved with their own lives to include each other.

"I tell you what, Duncan. After I pick up my little treasure, I'll come by your place to gloat and torture you with all the choice tidbits that you missed." Harry promised wickedly.

"Oh, great. I'm looking forward to that." Duncan laughed at Harry's good natured ribbing.


Scene 5

TESSA AND DUNCAN'S PARIS APARTMENT ABOVE THE SHOP ONE WEEK LATER

MacLeod heard a noise in the shop and went to investigate. He stepped out of his bedroom to find a sword pointed at his throat. He felt nothing as he stared at the ham fisted hold the sword bearer had on the weapon. A wide grin split his face.

"Who let you in Harry?"

"Shhh! Let's not wake Tessa."

Harry pranced out into the light spilling from the bedroom door and went to the front room.

"Isn't this a beauty, Duncan?" He was as delighted with his shiny new toy as any child.

MacLeod examined the weapon in Harry's hand.

"It's a Naval Dirk. I'd say early 18th century. Do you have the scabbard?"

"No." He frowned slightly at the thought of the missing accouterment.

"Pity. It would be worth a hell of a lot more with it."

"Who cares about that? I'm not selling this one. This little treasure is just for me." Duncan smiled at Harry's habitual use of the word 'treasure' and looked at the weapon again. It was a standard Royal Naval issue weapon, not even complete with the scabbard and the blade had a chunk taken out of it. As if reading Duncan's mind, Harry explained.

"I know it's not much to look at, but it's like holding a piece of history."

"Harry, we're in the antique business. Everything we sell is a piece of history." Duncan answered facetiously. Harry laughed.

"Okay. The truth is I don't know why this sword fascinates me. It just does." Judging by the far off look in Harry's eyes, Duncan knew that Harry had not told the whole truth. And that there was more he wanted to tell, given time. Duncan made idle chatter to allow Harry the time to ease into what he needed to say.

"Well, maybe I was being a bit hard on the piece. May I?" He held out his hands and Harry placed the weapon gently into them, as if it were his first born.

"The ivory grip is in very good shape." He looked it over and still felt it was not an especially interesting item. At least not for dealers at their lofty level. Duncan gave the weapon back to his friend.

"It feels so strange to hold this, again." Harry said dreamily.

"Again? I only had it for a moment. It wasn't out of your hands for that long."

"But it was, Duncan. It was out of my hands for nearly two hundred years."

Duncan stared at Harry. Was this some strange joke? Or had he somehow find out about immortals and was trying to prod Duncan into a confession?

"Exactly what is that supposed to mean, Harry?"

"I realize it sounds crazy, but as soon as I saw this sword I knew it was mine. Or it had been mine. When I touched it... I was sure that I had fought with this and died with it in my hand- two hundred years ago."

Duncan was shocked. He had not expected that explanation. Harry wasn't the type of person that indulged in philosophical, spiritual matters. He was far too practical. He was a business man and a family man. He paid bills, balanced accounts, played soccer with the fellows, took his daughter riding, loved to eat fish and chips with vinegar, and listen to his wife sing their daughter to sleep.

"Reincarnation? You are talking about reincarnation, Harry?"

"Hard to believe, isn't it? But ever since I saw that sword... I couldn't stop thinking that I've lived before. Remember that instant connection Deborah and I felt when we first met? I have been thinking about that a lot lately. Is it because we keep playing out different roles in each others lives? Two souls, fated to meet again and again until they get it right?" Harry's voice trailed off as he tried to gauge Duncan's reaction. "You think this is insane, don't you?"

"No, just a little shocking considering the source. You have to admit it's not like you to talk about these things."

"I know. But lately I've been asking myself the BIG questions. What is the meaning of life? What happens when we die? Is there a heaven? Is there such a thing as fate or do we shape our own destinies?"

"Oh. Is that all? So what have you come up with?"

They spent the rest of the evening discussing the possibility of life after death. It was not a new idea to the world, people have believed in and debated spirituality and reincarnation for countless centuries.

Duncan had often wondered about reincarnation himself. He toyed with the idea that he and others like him had bodies that were, for the most part, immortal. What if a humans immortality lie in their soul and their bodies were merely temporary housing? When one residence was worn down or destroyed, they simply moved on to another. And if they liked a particular neighborhood, maybe they didn't go too far to find a new home.

He thought of all the mortals he'd loved and lost over the centuries. Duncan wanted to grab this chance to prove to himself it was possible they were not gone, not dust and ashes. He thought of Tessa and the need to know became stronger.

"There are records of all sorts we could check, you know. If you can remember a name, or event or a place, we could research it and try and get some concrete evidence that what you remember is real." Harry was so relieved to have Duncan take him seriously.

"Great. I'll call you if I can think of anything and we'll work on it together. Thanks Duncan."

"Thanks for what? We haven't found anything yet."

"Thanks for not thinking I was bonkers. For listening to me."

Duncan realized what a risk it was for a man like Harry to open up about his personal, and quite out-of-the-ordinary, musings. The fact that Harry felt he could trust Duncan so completely was touching.


Scene 6

ONE WEEK LATER

As soon as Duncan got the call from Harry, he packed a quick overnight bag. Harry remembered a few names of ships he'd been on, as that seemed to have been his passion, and they were going to rummage through old records to see if they could find any mention of those ships, their crew or their history.

"Tessa, I'll be gone a couple of days. I'm going to see Harry on some business." He didn't want to betray his friends confidence. Harry felt very odd about the whole thing, and hadn't even discussed it with his wife. Duncan didn't feel it was his right to tell anyone else, not even Tessa.

"Let me come with you."

"You'll be bored."

"What are you and Harry up to? Are you going to be carousing all night? You don't want the 'old ball and chain' around?" She teased.

"No. We're going to be knee deep in musty old books, nothing else. I was just trying to spare you a horrible, slow death by boredom."

"I could call Deborah. We never got the chance to meet in Paris. I think it would be a lovely idea for us to get together over tea or something."

"Bonnie is invited too, of course."

"Of course." She answered immediately. Duncan wasn't sure if Deborah would agree, but Tessa would not be swayed. She rang up the Saunders and after a few minutes the arrangements were all set.


Scene 7

HAZLITTS, A HOTEL DEEP IN THE HEART OF SOHO EARLY THE NEXT MORNING

Tessa was charmed by the character of Hazlitt's and understood at once why it was one of Duncan's favorite places to stay in London. Three 18th century houses connected together to form a unique and intriguing ambiance. Antiques, sculptures, prints and plants were scattered in every corner, all blending to create a charming, welcoming decor full of personality.

Tessa's artistic nature appreciated all the fine details. It was a far cry from America's cookie cutter hotels where every room was identical, generic, completely devoid of any local color to tell a person whether they were in Denver, Baltimore or New Orleans.

"Oh, Duncan look!" Tessa had already gone into the bathroom while Duncan set the bags down. He joined her just as she was testing the water in a Victorian claw-foot bath. "It's a good thing I thought to pack my bubble bath. I could use a nice hot bath."

"Does that tub have room for two?"

"Well..." She considered the question as she slowly began to unbutton her blouse. "I don't know. It would be an awfully tight squeeze..."

"I think we can manage it." Duncan went through their luggage and was back in a flash with the bubble bath.


Scene 8

Duncan left Hazlitt's around two in the afternoon. He wanted to be gone before Deborah arrived for tea with Tessa.

He hopped a bus and went to meet Harry at his shop. Harry had chosen the perfect place for an antique shop. Kensington Church Street twisted and turned, with shops specializing in everything from Japanese armor to Victorian commemorative china. Behind St. Mary Abbots church was Kensington Church Walk with tiny shops just like Harry's packed with pottery, dolls, and antiques of all sorts.

The shades were drawn and the door was locked. The shop appeared to be closed for the day. Duncan knocked at the door.

"Harry. Harry, are you in there?" It was too quiet. Duncan was thinking about breaking in to the shop when his head began to throb. A hot, searing pain snaked it's way up his spine and hissed inside his skull. He could never forget that sensation, or what it meant. There was another Immortal near by.

Duncan had tried so hard to stay out of the game. Ever since he'd met Tessa, he'd wanted a quiet, peaceful life. But every so often he'd get that feeling, that unspoken challenge to battle to the death. Duncan was determined not to answer that call anymore.

Many times, in an airport or restaurant, Duncan feigned a headache. Well, he wasn't truly faking, his head did ache. Then he would quickly get Tessa and himself far away from the spot where he'd felt an Immortal. It had worked. He had not been in a battle for so many years he was beginning to believe he might actually succeed in staying out of the game.

But he couldn't run away this time. Something was wrong. Harry knew Duncan was coming to see him. He would never lock up the shop and leave without at least sticking a note to the door. Duncan pounded the door with his fist.

"Harry! Harry, open up!" The Immortal had not left, Duncan could still feel his or her presence. He rattled the doorknob. Something crashed inside. It sounded muffled, like it was in a back room, but someone was definitely in there. Just as Duncan kicked the door in, he heard it. A single gunshot.

He ran through the front room of the shop driving his way through the tiny isle, Harry's treasures crowding in from either side. He shoved the door to the storage room open. The pain in his head faded with retreating footsteps.

"Harry! Where are you?" A moan brought Duncan's attention to the floor. His friend was lying in a growing puddle of blood, a bullet wound an inch above his right temple. He rushed to him and knelt down to hear what Harry was trying to say.

"Bonnie, look after Bonnie for me." Harry whispered.

"Who did this to you?" Duncan tried to get the information he needed instantly. He knew a fatal injury when he saw one. Who ever did this was not going to get away with it. "Bonnie... Promise!" It was taking every last bit of strength he had, but Harry would not rest until Duncan promised.

"I promise, Harry. I promise I'll always look after Bonnie. But who did this? I have to know." Harry's eyes flickered, desperately searching Duncan's for assurance that his daughter would be cared for. He was satisfied Duncan did mean to keep his promise and tried to answer his question.

"The sword..." Harry tried so hard to hang on, but he was loosing the battle. "He took..."

"He came for the sword. A man? What did he look like?" Harry was gone.

After the police were done with Duncan, he asked to be the one to tell Deborah. He was a friend of the family and had been the one to hear Harry's dying words. He felt he should be the one to tell Deborah that Harry was gone, rather than a total stranger. The inspector agreed it would be kinder.

He'd never forget how Deborah looked that afternoon. It was the image of her that he would always keep. She was radiant, chatting and laughing with Tessa like they were old friends. Bonnie was seated comfortably on Tessa's lap, delighted to be included in their very grownup tea party. It was Tessa that first noticed Duncan standing a few feet from the table.

He saw her bright smile slowly drop from her face as she took in his expression. She knew in an instant that something horrible had happened. A moment later, Deborah turned to see what had captured Tessa's attention.

She rose and Duncan took a step toward her.

"Deborah, I need to talk to you alone for a moment." She took a step back from him, recoiling.

"Did something happen to Harry?"

"We need to go somewhere more private and talk."

"No." She said in a frightened whisper.

"Tessa, please take Bonnie up to our room for a moment." Tessa nodded and put on a smile for the little girl.

"I have some lovely things from Paris I'd like to show you Bonnie. Come with me upstairs." She said to the small blond child seated in her lap.

Bonnie looked to her mother. When he saw that Deborah was not going to reassure the child, Duncan talked to her.

"It's all right, sweet heart. Your mom is going to talk to me for a little while. Then we'll come up and see you, okay?" Bonnie wasn't sure. She had never seen her mother act so strangely. Deborah was trembling, repeating the word 'No' over and over.

Tessa took Bonnie up to the hotel room. Along the way she tried to engage the child's attention in something, anything. Bonnie was a very smart girl. The grownups were behaving peculiarly and she knew it was bad, very bad. The tears were streaming down her face before they even got two steps from the table.

"Mommy!" Bonnie screamed when Tessa got to the dining room doorway and she reached out over Tessa's shoulder to her mother. Deborah did not react. Her eyes were fixed in horror on Duncan MacLeod.

He didn't remember the exact words he used to tell her that Harry was dead. He didn't remember anything except Deborah's eyes. Duncan could almost swear he saw the light go out of them as he told her, like someone turning down the wick of an oil lamp until the flame was completely extinguished.


Scene 9

THE WAKE

Deborah stroked Harry's cold face. Her tears splashed down and rolled off his cheek, leaving a shimmering trail behind them.

"It looks like he's crying too." Deborah muttered. Duncan didn't know how to respond to her. He had tried to talk her into a closed casket, but Deborah wouldn't hear of it. Though he had to admit they had managed to cover the damage better than he'd expected, it still didn't look like Harry at all.

He searched for Tessa. She was taking care of Bonnie, trying to cajole the child into eating something. Duncan's grief deepened at the sight. He hated to see a child dressed in black, but Deborah had insisted.

"Just one bite, Bonnie." Tessa pleaded with Bonnie to eat, but the girl could not even be tempted with her favorite cake. "Some milk then. You must be thirsty." She accepted the glass of milk from Tessa, swallowing a drop, then taking another larger sip and then another, until she drank half a glass. She handed the half empty glass back to Tessa. It wasn't much, but it was progress.

Duncan saw Deborah also had a glass in her hand. From where he stood it looked like water. Knowing Deborah's weakness for vodka, he seriously doubted that it was.

Bonnie approached her mother. It was painfully obvious to anyone that the child needed to be held and comforted. Deborah didn't even notice Bonnie until she interfered with her next gulp by tugging on her drinking arm.

"Let go." Was all she had to say to her daughter. Bonnie's hand fell from her mother's sleeve. She opened her mouth as if to speak, then closed it again and quietly scurried away. Tessa went after her. She found the girl sitting in the stairwell, cuddling a porcelain baby doll.

"That's a very pretty doll. Where'd you get it?"

"My daddy gave it to me."

"Does she have a name?"

"I call her Betty. She looks like a Betty, doesn't she?" It was the most Bonnie had talked since her father died. Tessa was moved to tears at the resiliency and courage of the child. But she managed to keep a smile. She wanted to encourage Bonnie to keep on talking, not to shut herself off again.

"Oh, yes. She does. Betty is the perfect name for her. Would it be okay if I sat here with you?" Bonnie nodded and rocked Betty as she remarked.

"Everyone is too quiet in that room. I think they are afraid to Wake Daddy. So why do they call it a Wake, when they won't wake him up?" Tessa carefully considered what she would say to Bonnie. How do you explain death to a six year old? How do you tell a child her father will not be waking up?

Duncan felt renewed love for Tessa as he watched her determination to help Bonnie, this child she'd just met, get through a painful ordeal. She was so caring and patient. She would make a wonderful mother. Was he being overly cautious to dismiss the idea of ever having a family again? Maybe they could adopt a child, someday. But now was not the time to be thinking about their lives.

He had promised Harry to look out for Bonnie and Duncan was a man of his word. As much as he disliked Deborah, she was Bonnie's mother and Bonnie needed her. Duncan was going to try and help Deborah pull herself together for Bonnie's sake.

He'd lost track of Deborah and set out to find her. She was not sitting in front of Harry as she had been the last time he'd seen her.

{Probably went to get another drink.} Duncan thought and went to the bar in the next room. She was not there. He asked around and the last anyone knew she'd gone to the restroom.

"Deborah, are you in there?" Duncan knocked on the door. When no one answered, he tried to turn the knob. The door was locked. He popped the lock.

He found her sitting on the closed toilet, an empty bottle of vodka on one side and an empty bottle of pills on the other. Her head was slumped forward onto her chest, the hair hanging over her face.

"Deborah!" Duncan pressed three fingers below her ear and felt a faint pulse. He dragged her off the toilet, leaned her over the sink stuck his fingers down her throat. After a second or two she began to have dry heaves. He tried again. That time it worked. She began to throw up some of the pills and vodka.

She still needed her stomach pumped, but this might buy some time. Duncan yelled.

"Somebody call an ambulance." He ran the water to rinse away the noxious mess and to splash cold water on her face.


Scene 1 0

DUNCAN'S LOFT 1997

Deborah was in the bathroom for quite a while running the water. The coffee was already made. Duncan was about to knock on the door when Deborah opened it.

"Sorry. Guess I was in there for a while. It takes me a lot longer to freshen up these days." She gave him a sly look. "I suppose waiting that long could start to make you nervous, given our history."

Duncan didn't appreciate her making light of their history. He poured the coffee and put out cream and sugar, not having the faintest notion how she took her coffee. It was not her usual beverage of choice, in his experience. Rather than wait for Deborah to get around to finally asking him what she needed, he plunged right in.

"So are you going to tell me what this is all about now? You called me, remember?"

"Bonnie, of course. What else could there be that would bring me to you? I'm worried about what will happen to her when I'm gone."

"I'll take care of her. You already know that. Haven't I proven to you yet that I really care what happens to Bonnie?"

"But you don't understand. I don't want you to be the one to care for her. She has a new father."

Duncan was floored. He never imagined that Deborah would get involved with anyone, let alone marry again, not after the way she suffered losing Harry.

"Then what do you want?"

"I want you to meet him. He is going to be Bonnie's only parent when I'm gone. I know she is practically an adult, but despite her wild side she can be very vulnerable."

"You trusted this man enough to marry him."

"That was when it was just me involved. Bonnie was away at school for most of the year. When she was home I thought she needed a man around, a father figure to try and control her. It was getting harder and harder for me to keep a reign on her. I moved to Seacouver to be closer to her school. If she ever needed me I could get to her right away. She has a real wild streak in her, Duncan. It gets her into trouble..." Deborah made sure she had eye contact before driving her point home. "a lot."

"I've heard a thing or two from my friend Maggie. She's works at the St. Michael orphanage."

"Yeah, Bonnie says Maggie is always after her about something. I'm looking forward to meeting her at the party. She has been very good to Bonnie. I wanted a chance to thank her." Before I die was not said out loud, but it was understood.

"So that's what you want- my impression of your husband's competence as a father?"

"Just tell me if you would feel comfortable trusting Bonnie to his care. My judgment hasn't exactly been the best for the last decade. I can't rely on it, not with Bonnie's future at stake. Come to the party. My husband, Keith, will be there. It will be a natural, informal way to meet and get to know him."


Scene 1 1

BONNIE'S SWEET SIXTEEN PARTY IN A WELL-TO-DO SUBURB OF THE CITY

Duncan's invitation included a guest. Since he knew Maggie Jennings was going to be at the party, he brought Joe along.

When he'd heard about the blind date Joe and Maggie had in New Orleans, Duncan didn't think much of the match- at first. A watcher and an immortal? Didn't that complicate matters that were already complicated enough between a mortal and an immortal?

Apparently Amanda didn't think so. She was known to dabble in matchmaking from time to time and was even successful occasionally. It turned out that Joe and Maggie were one of her more successful attempts. Their first date lasted three days.

Maggie was not your typical Immortal, if such a thing exists. She had managed to reach the age of sixty mortal years before her immortality was triggered. A very rare occurrence in their world. To even further differentiate herself from most other Immortals, Maggie refused, under any circumstance, to take a head. She lived and worked on holy ground caring for the children in the St. Michael's orphanage.

Duncan was also glad to have Joe around to give him an unbiased second opinion on Keith White. Being a bartender, among other things, Joe was a pretty good judge of character. He'd need someone objective, someone that wouldn't be blinded by comparing this second husband to Harry, a pitfall Duncan was well aware that he might be headed toward.

Duncan had already done a little checking into Mr. White's background. One thing he didn't have to worry about was White being a fortune hunter. Mr. White was from old money with family held estates in England that dated back centuries. The properties were all well maintained, providing a steady income from rentals and other varied interests.

Bonnie greeted Duncan and Joe at the door. She was very happy to see her "Uncle Duncan". Joe smiled at Bonnie politely, then began surveying the room. Duncan smirked.

"Don't worry, she's here Joe."

"Who is here?" He asked innocently.

"Maggie, as if you didn't know. I can tell she's around here somewhere." He rubbed his temples. Joe understood, but Bonnie did not.

"Well you'd better get in touch with your psychic friends for a tune up Uncle Duncan. Your radar is way off. Maggie isn't here yet." Joe and Duncan exchanged worried looks. Then who was?

As they entered the living room Deborah was standing by the piano singing a tongue in cheek rendition of Daddy's Little Girl. The piano player abruptly stopped and turned, locking eyes with Duncan.

"Is he... ?" Joe whispered.

"Yes."

"Who is he?"

"I dunno. I've never met him before."

"Well, that's a first."

Duncan and the other man stared at each other, forgetting they weren't the only people in the room. It was awkward. Deborah broke the silence.

"Duncan. I'm so glad you're here. I'd like to introduce you to my husband, Keith White."


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