Misc. Links

  • Highlander
  • The Episodes
  • Disclaimer
  • Immortals List
  • Mortals List
  • Hardcopy

To email the author click on the title.

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

 

 
 

Morning Glory

Part 1


Scene 1

"So, have you heard from Richie lately?" Joe enquired of his companion; he was trying to sound unconcerned, but he had spoken little to his young friend since his guest had moved in.

The man wasn't exactly mad at Richie for the way he'd acted, but he knew that there were some things he needed to discuss with his comrade. What either man had seen of him had been brief, and Joe hadn't seen the youth at all in a week.

Duncan looked up from the computer where he'd been working on his accounts, his gaze showing that he'd noticed the less than subtle question for what it was. The Highlander smiled at his companion; Joe made a face and admitted hotly, "Well, I'm worried, last time I saw him he snapped my head off, metaphorically speaking, I haven't seen him so short-tempered since..." The man trailed off as he realised when that last time was.

"Since Haresh Clay," MacLeod hadn't made four hundred without some intuition, but he seemed to take the association more easily than the Watcher and reassured, "Look, Joe, Richie's a big boy now, we can't chose his life for him, much as we'd both like to throttle him sometimes."

The look on Duncan's face told Joe that he wasn't alone in his anxiety; the Watcher couldn't recall anyone who made him feel quite so much like a parent as the wayward young Immortal, and he knew the Scot felt very much the same thing. He'd realised a long time ago that Watching Immortals and befriending them didn't mix, but he kept on trying anyway. Altea was still one of 'the others', Immortals to be Watched not with whom to associate, and he wondered if she'd ever be more than that to him. She was dangerous, of that the man was sure, he'd seen in her eyes when she'd attacked him, and he was concerned for Richie's head.

"I know," Joe frowned at his admission, "but Altea...well I just don't think she's good for him."

At that, MacLeod grinned and shook his head. The bearded man gave him a black look, but the Clansman was still grinning as he observed, "He thinks he's in love, and only time will tell us if there's anything in it." He straightened then and continued, "Richie can handle himself at least physically when it comes to Altea, and I think he feels he needs to help her. I hope to god she doesn't hurt him, he's seen enough grief in the last year, but he has to find that out for himself."

At last, Joe nodded with a sigh and the look which passed between the two men spoke of the mutual, but necessarily restrained care for their young friend. However, in a second, the glance was gone, and Joe was more than aware of the meaning of MacLeod's scan of the main door. The identity of the figure who walked in did not surprise him, but his appearance did. Richie looked very much worse for wear. Stubble accentuated the young man's chin and his skin was pale, making greyness around his normally bright eyes all the more striking. His face was set in a frown, and his stride was flat. The Watcher didn't try to hide his reaction to his friend's condition, but his unspoken opinion only seemed to darken the young man's mood.

"I know, I look like hell," Richie snarled acidly as he walked over to the office; however, Joe was a little heartened as a guilty look crossed the youth's face as he realised what he'd said and he continued immediately, "I'm sorry, Joe, I'm just a grouch today."

"Woman trouble?" MacLeod asked as innocent as a babe.

Ryan's black look returned as he glared at his friend for that little dig, but Mac just grinned and pressed on, "Come on Rich, it can't be that bad, she's still here isn't she?"

"Yes, she's still here," the young man answered flatly, his enthusiasm appearing to have waned, "but most of my crockery is in pieces and for once I'm glad bruises don't stick around on Immortals."

"Oh," the listeners said in unison and glanced at each other.

"I can't get through to her on any level," Richie complained more plaintively as the others showed at least a little sympathy. "She just doesn't want anything to do with me, or this city, or even this century."

The youth paused, but there was more to come, and Joe followed Duncan's lead in merely waiting. He felt for his friend, but in truth, he couldn't shake the feeling that maybe it was better the relationship ended swiftly before things went any further.

"She obeys me completely," he sighed, a mixture of anger and sadness in his face, "I think I could tell her to do anything and she would." Richie's tone made it more than clear that devotion was not the reason for this woman's obedience and the idea seemed to make him uncomfortable. "She knows I wouldn't touch her and she's using that to get at me. The woman walks around my apartment naked," he moaned, an acute frustration in his voice as he leant his forehead against the door post. "I only have so much self-control -- my showers are so cold they'd make a yeti shiver!"

Joe couldn't help it, the image in his head at the disclosure just struck him as funny; he glanced at Duncan, and there was a laugh being stifled in that face as well. Alone, they might have been able to hold it back, but they corpsed each other.

"Thanks for the support, guys," Richie snarled defensively, "I'm trying to sort out your little problem, and all you can do is laugh." He glared at Joe and the Watcher fell silent, any amusement gone at the accusation hidden in the words. Yet, again, the young man's temper caught up with him, and he seemed disappointed in himself.

"There I go again," he lamented, and apologised a second time, "I'm sorry Joe, I didn't mean that. Altea's just got me so damn angry that I'll lash out at anyone."

"Maybe it was never meant to be," the mortal patted his friend's arm as he decided to voice his opinion.

Richie's reaction was forceful, and with a fire in his eyes he returned hotly, "No! I won't let her down. Even if she doesn't know it, Altea needs help, a friend."

"Hey, calm down," Duncan stood and used his full height to step between the two men.

Joe moved back and was ready for the apologetic look he received; Richie didn't bother to voice the thought this time, he just sighed and told them, "If I could just talk to her, make her see, but if I try, she starts a fight or runs away. She never goes far, but I always manage to lose her in the city. When she comes back, it starts all over again. I just need some time alone with her."

Richie's friends were startled by his vehemence, only then realising that the young man was at his wits' end. Joe suddenly felt guilty for trying to undermine the faith Richie was putting into this relationship. Instead of making any more remarks, the Watcher remained silent, letting MacLeod handle the youth's frustration.

"How about the island?" the Scot suggested on what appeared to be a stroke of genius. Richie gave him a curious look asking for clarification, and was given it in, "Well, it's in the middle of a lake, Altea can't go far, it will give you the time alone, and there's nothing breakable....except you."

Duncan grinned impishly at his last suggestion, and it was infectious. The idea seemed to give the youth a new strain of hope on which to bolster his spirits, and as he made sense of his friend's offer, the corners of his lips curled upwards.

"Thanks, Mac," he breathed sincerely, and his eyes brightened as new possibilities were visibly firing off in his thoughts.

Joe was astounded at the change in energy level of the young Immortal; from grey and listless, his shoulders straightened, he gained a few inches in height and his face lit up. He seemed suddenly restless. MacLeod laughed at the obvious wont to be gone up the new avenue of possibility.

"Go on," he turned back to his desk and waved his friend to the door, "we'll see you in a few days. Just don't blame me if Altea decks you when you dump her in the middle of nowhere."

"I won't," Richie responded, almost not listening to what he was saying as his feet carried him towards the exit; his mind was definitely on the future, and he just about remembered to shout a goodbye as he disappeared round the door frame.

Joe turned back to the Highlander as the young form exited the dojo, and there was only one thing he could find to say.

"He's definitely in love."


Scene 2

Cold, but slightly interested eyes watched as Richie left the dojo. Felicia couldn't help admiring how much he had changed since their last encounter. Then he had been a clumsy kid ... although he had tried hard ... now there was that unmistakable quality about him that spoke of danger. She was no fool, she knew he'd developed into quite a fighter, but once she'd finished with him he would be just as dead as if he was still the boy. Maybe she could have some fun first.

The motorbike was a nice touch as far as Felicia was concerned and she watched him ride away with a small smile on her face. It would be a shame to put an end to such a fine example of the human species, but he wouldn't fall for her tricks like the Highlander almost had, and she would take him whilst she was still sure she could. Going into a fight she might loose was not in Felicia's mindset, and she was confident that Duncan MacLeod would soon be short one student.

The battle would keep, however, Richard Ryan and whoever he was shacked up with weren't going anywhere just yet. No one knew she was in the city and time was on her side. She had watched his routines, and there was plenty of opportunity to plan her attack. That was if the hell cat of a woman with whom he was sharing an apartment didn't take him apart first. Felicia had never been close enough to really find out about the vixen Richie spent so much of his time with, but she found the obviously explosive relationship very amusing.

"I'll show you fireworks you won't forget," the woman whispered to herself as she watched her quarry disappear, "see you soon, babe."

Then she turned and walked away in the opposite direction, her mind working through gruesome scenarios which left her expression frighteningly cheerful.


Scene 3

The stilted way in which she held onto his waist told Richie that the woman sat behind him was uncomfortable and hostile. There wasn't much chance for conversation when wearing a crash helmet, but body language was more than enough to tell the young Immortal that Altea was not happy with him.

'So what's new?' he thought to himself as he drew his bike to a stop in the deserted open space that was the start of MacLeod's favourite wilderness.

For a moment he paused there, allowing himself to be distracted by the immense presence of nature which spread out before him. Yet, as his pillion shifted impatiently behind him, waiting for his lead, but expressing her dissatisfaction none-the-less, Richie sighed. The sound was hidden by the helmet, but his warrior-trained companion felt the gesture through touch, and she stiffened. Deliberately, Ryan pulled off the protective head-covering and turned in his seat to look into the hostile eyes through Altea's visor.

"We're here," he announced rather lamely.

The young woman had made eye-contact with him, always quietly defiant -- of what - Richie didn't know. Yet, as soon as she was given leave, the exotic creature's gaze was gone and she slipped gracefully off the machine. Richie watched her move, fluid, precise, and he was caught for a moment; trapped by the fine lines of her body displayed through the close-fitting biker's leathers she had selected. Cascades of hair tumbled over her petite shoulders as she too removed her helmet. Then bright eyes surveyed him again, and Ryan turned quickly back to his bike as those dark pool narrowed at his attention.

Taking a deep breath to calm the fire in his heart, the young man secured the bike and climbed off, taking another moment before he faced the animosity once more. Conflict was a wearing state of affairs -- Richie hoped Mac's idea would provide a solution. For now, he steeled himself for some kind of attack, mental or physical, he couldn't be sure, Altea wasn't predictable in that respect, he just knew that she wasn't going to like it when he told her that this wasn't the extent of their outing. Revealing his insecurity about her around Altea never did Richie any good, so he tried to seem confident as he forced himself to stare into that beautifully aloof gaze.

The young woman stood off a little way, far enough to launch or defend against any assault, always just out of reach, careful, distrustful. The Immortal idly wondered where she'd concealed her labrys. As he registered her coolness, Ryan decided explanation could wait until there was no escaping his immediate vicinity, then she could scream, shout, hit him, but she couldn't desert another confrontation. Instead, he played the role he thought she was half expected, the same way he had to get her out of the apartment, he slipped the Immortal ice into his manner and told her, "We're going across the lake, there's a boat."

Altea's eyes flashed a moment at the order and her companion held his breath for fireworks. Yet, none came. The anger seemed to have be reconsidered in the moment it was conceived, and tight-lipped, the young stalked off towards the water; the contrary nature of his guest never ceased to amaze or attract Richard Ryan, and a little perplexed by feminine wiles, he began to remove his hold all from his bike.

Richie gave his companion a few minutes alone in her new surroundings, feigning attention to his bike, but watching her still form by the edge of the lake. He hoped his senses weren't deceiving him as he thought he saw the tension in her shoulders release a little. The youth wondered if this was close to the home she had known so many centuries again - natural, untouched by modern man.

'Well it's as close as I can get," he mused.

The young man warmed to the freedom in Altea's balanced stance as he observed it discreetly. Yet he wasn't naive enough to expect it to last as he finally made his approach. The Amazon's disposition cooled as she registered his footsteps. Saddened by the effect he had on the timeless beauty, Richie put it aside as he drew level with her. He kept his eyes front as she did, surveying the calm lake with their goal at its centre.

"It's beautiful," he murmured.

Altea didn't reply, leaving the young man with the consolation that at least she hadn't derided his observation. He fell silent. The brush of the wind and a call of a hawk over the northern lake were the only sounds to disturb the peace. Yet it had to end, and the Amazon broke it this time.

"You don't fit in here," she perceived as she turned to regard her companion.

The statement was matter-of-fact, and Richie sensed no maliciousness attached to it, but he couldn't stifle the hurt the unintentional insult gave him. She must have seen him twitch at the sting of her words as he looked quickly away, and Richie was surprised as she qualified the disclosure in a way that almost sounded like an apology.

"I meant no offence," the young woman continued, "but you are no woodsman."

"No, I'm not," the youth replied, but chose not to answer the hidden request for an explanation of their presence out of town that lay underneath their almost friendly remarks. "Let's go."

The young man walked off towards the jetty without waiting for any reaction from his fellow.


Scene 4

It was getting on for two o'clock, and the air was losing the heat of noon. It had threatened rain around lunch time, but the Autumn weather had held off for the beginning of a beautiful afternoon. What was not so pleasant for the world was the woman standing in the shadows across the street from Richie's home. Felicia had spent the later part of the morning spending money that was not hers, but now she was once again the Immortal hunter waiting for her prey. If her victim stuck to his habitual routine he would be returning very soon. He usually spent at least some time before midday in a waterside cafe with a computer. What he did, Felicia had never ascertained, but she wasn't there to step into the head of the man she wished to kill.

There was no movement from the windows, and there were no sounds making their way into the warm air, which was quite strange for around this time of day. It was possible that the couple had gone out together, but unlikely. The more plausible scenario was that the vixen had abandoned the den and her lap dog would return to find her absent. Felicia took perverse pleasure in watching the tigress run rings around Richie. It was entertaining seeing him disappointed or angry because the 'little woman' wasn't playing nice.


Scene 5

Altea watched Richie's back as he climbed out of the row-boat. He hadn't said anything since the shore, just stared at her as he rowed. She wondered if she'd really hurt him with the 'no woodsman' quip, and then asked herself why she should be bothered even if she had. He was a man, one who didn't know his place -- but then, maybe he did, in this place and time. The young woman's conscience piqued for a moment as she thought about how such a put down would have affected her, but she buried it quickly with the knowledge that she was here in yet another strange place at this man's behest, no explanation and no consideration for her wishes. It was time that an Amazon had answers.

Climbing out of the boat, the warrior woman stood tall on the small piece of shore and called out haughtily, "You will tell me why we are here."

He turned. Altea raised her chin and stared him down. Richie didn't even try and win the glaring competition, he was obviously tired, and dropped his gaze quickly. Yet, the Amazon felt a little frustrated as she recognised the fact that she got no satisfaction from winning the little competition.

"Well?" she demanded, trying to find some compensation in disdain.

"There's a cabin, we're staying here for a few days," Ryan began.

Altea bristled as he tried to be as cold in his manner as she; modern men were weak, they showed too many emotions, she wanted to find it disgusting, but as the weariness showed in Richie's face she could do no more than deny that she saw it. Yet she was not going to be satisfied, and the young woman protested again, "Why?!"

"Look," Richie gestured wildly and the Amazon stifled a tremble as his intense blue eyes met her own gaze; they calmed simultaneously, Richie to a resignation that showed in his manner as he rested one hand on his hip and continued, "We need to sort this -- no us, we need to sort out us."

"Us -- there is no us!" Altea responded out of defensive instinct and stalked rapidly up the beach to where the focus of all her anger was standing.

"That's what I mean," the man was not backing off as they came almost nose to nose.

"How dare you!" the Amazon hissed dangerously as her values were insulted by the upstart of a male.

The woman wasn't quite sure why she then reacted as she did, maybe it was the depth and emotion in his open gaze, maybe just his audacity, maybe her own confusion -- whatever, it brought out her defences in all their forms. With a scream that only just resisted being a war cry, Altea lashed out. Ryan was a warrior, he reacted with speed and agility, but only to avoid her swipe. That made her angry. Why didn't he ever fight back? She wanted him to react, be cruel, give her reason for her rage. Yet, he had never raised a hand to her, and now was no different. That just made her madder.

"Runt!" she yelled and pressed on into him.

Her hands formed frighteningly easily into fists, and she tried to pummel at his chest. Richie didn't back off this time, just scrabbled to grab her wrists. Altea twisted out of his grips even as they were made, but he just reached again, and again. She caught her opponent hard a couple of times, but mostly her blows were deflected and neither side seemed to be winning. The young woman growled as the stalemate merely fed her frustration, and she chose another tactic. She put all her anger behind one almighty thrust of her whole body. She came close to him, close enough to breathe in his scent. The woman screamed again, but not at him, at the confusion in her own soul that was inspired by the proximity, and she finished the shove in perplexity. It was a relief as he fell away from her, upended by the sudden movement, and immediately the Amazon stalked away.

Altea halted as she reached the cover of the trees and took a glance over her shoulder. She wasn't sure what she felt, but it was nowhere near the satisfaction for which she was hoping as he saw her opponent. He was sitting in a heap on the scrappy piece of sand where she had pushed him, his head in his hands. The young woman denied the feelings the dejected figure inspired in her; they weren't right or proper. She couldn't care about this man, she was bound to him by duty...or was she? Altea ran away from that thought as she fled the landing area.


Scene 6

Her eyes were on his back -- again. Richie could feel his companion's stare as if it were a physical act, and he'd been trying to ignore it since beginning to make the campfire outside the cabin. It wasn't that her gaze bothered him, quite the opposite in fact, he liked being the focus of her attention, that was the problem. The young woman wasn't about to miss how much her regard affected him. Yet, since she had joined him at the cabin a few minutes ago, he hadn't found her observation any where near as hostile as before, and he was reluctant to break the calm, rather comfortable mood into which they had both settled, he the worker, she the observer. He'd been extra careful as he built the fire from the materials he had gathered over the last half hour, heeding Mac's instruction; he realised he was trying to prove wrong a statement he himself had accepted as true, he wasn't as at home in the wilderness as MacLeod, he was a city kid, but no one had ever said he couldn't learn.

'There I go, comparing myself to Mac again,' he mentally chided himself, but still smiled in satisfaction as he finished a fairly decent fire.

He swivelled in the crouch he'd taken up to make the wooden construction and grinned at Altea. If he'd been hoping for approval, then he found none, but then neither was there disapproval. The young woman's gaze was thoughtful, and she seemed a little surprised that he was interested in her opinion. Richie sighed and bowed his head as the differences between them once again became obvious.

'Why the hell should she care?' he asked himself again.

Yet, Richie wasn't in the mood for self-defeat, and decided that it was time to broach the problem once more. His companion seemed calmer than before, apparently accepting his choice of surroundings, so he stood and walked slowly across to her. She blinked up at him from her seat on the grass -- at least she wasn't getting to her feet in defence of her position. The young man took the lack of hostility as an invitation to sit and was pleasantly surprised that her regard did not change.

The status quo held until he opened his mouth.

"Altea, we need to talk," he began, hanging back from the commanding manner he had to use to gain any obedience, this had to voluntary.

The pessimist in Richie was not disappointed as he looked into the beautiful features, which clouded at his impudence. Yet the woman stayed rooted to the spot, her stare cold, but daring him to continue. Well aware that he was playing with fire, Ryan pressed on.

"You say there's no us," the young man breathed heavily, "but as long as we're together, there is, and we have to work out what that means."

He paused; there was only statuesque chill from his companion. Richie took his courage in both hands and jumped off the cliff.

"I think you know how I feel."

He stopped at Altea's abrupt reaction. She stood and backed off, her glare as black as he'd ever seen it. The young man hit the rocks at the bottom of his precipice and he knew he'd stepped off the ledge too soon. The intense creature's whole manner announced her disgust at his apparent revelation, and Richie wasn't sure if she was faking. Had he misjudged the woman that badly? God he'd been wrong before, but this was so different. Crestfallen, the youth didn't even try to follow, as for the second time in less than two hours, Altea stormed away from him.

For a moment, the young man felt shame and hurt at the way she obviously viewed him. Then, very suddenly, it welled up into a rage. For the first time, he let out the frustration he'd been feeling since first trying to communicate with the wild woman, and he yelled wordlessly. He didn't care anymore, she could damn well know what she was doing to him, and he howled at the world. In the midst of his expression, Ryan picked up a stone which came to hand and hurled it at the most convenient thing he could destroy. The unlit fire crumpled as his missile splintered its main stays. Richie stared at his broken work for a few moments, but then closed his eyes against the world and his mind against the fury.


Scene 7

It was almost dark, and the temperature had cooled considerably. The twilight hid a very annoyed Immortal. Felicia had waited all afternoon, and not a sign of her prey. There had been nothing from either of the occupants of the apartment, and she was beginning to realise that they might not be coming back in the near future. She should have at least seen "the bitch" by now. Was it possible that she'd actually been spotted? Had her victim run away? Ideas flew through her mind at tremendous speed, and each one made her all the more angry. Throwing caution to the wind she strode out of her hiding place and across the road to the building.

The locks were no obstacle to a woman of Felicia's experience and those she did not have the patience to open she kicked in. The cold fury at the audacity of her prey to run away was slowly growing as the concept settled in her mind with irrational surety. The final door opened with a loud bang, something the neighbours would not think anything of after living next door to the rowing couple.

There was nothing in the living area to indicate that anything was out of the ordinary, but then Felicia hadn't expected there to be. With an impatient speed she crossed the apartment to the bedroom area, and she saw everything she needed to see. Several draws were slightly open, and there were two discarded bags on the floor. Some one had packed in a hurry.

"How dare you!" it started low and built as the phrase went on, until the furious Immortal shouted the last word. She was very unhappy, and that made her violent.

The first thing that came to hand was a lamp sitting on a table by the door. She picked it up, and unheeding of the fact that it was still attached to the wall, she threw it as hard as she could. It's flight was not graceful. It arched across the room with un- aerodynamic twists, and almost came to complete, shuddering halt as the flex stretched to it's limit. It's momentum cut is dived towards the floor and shattered with a loud, gratifying crash. Pieces of glass from the bulb spread out across the wooden floor, and the cheap china fanned around the wreckage far beyond any help of repair.

The pieces crunched under foot as the furious Immortal walked further into the room, hell bent on destruction. She pulled the bed apart, using a short hunting knife she carried in her pocket she sliced the mattress to pieces. Her rage would allow nothing but total devastation, and she set about her task with an enthusiasm that was beyond the psychotic. The draws were next and they flew across the room, strewing their contents on the floor as the went, and hitting the far wall with splintering force. Anything that was breakable and some things that didn't at first seem to be were picked up and smashed or crumpled. The noise could have woken the dead, but nobody came to investigate.

Once the bedroom area looked as if it had been hit by a nuclear war Felicia moved onto the living room. The TV was the first to go as she forced a small stool through it. It sparked and died without a fight, it's tube imploding as the force hit it. There was little chance for the VCR, and it degenerated into little pieces as the Immortal picked it up, and almost absently, just dropped it. She worked her way through everything, nothing went untouched. Furniture caved at the touch of the knife and ornaments did not bounce. The evil woman took especial pleasure in smashing a photo of Richie and Duncan which sat on the sideboard, and ground the glass into the picture with the heel of her foot.

She was like a tornado, ever moving and destroying everything in her path. It was only when there was nothing left to break that she finally came to a halt. As she looked around her rage began to dissipate, and it was replaced by the cold calculating mind.

"No one can disappear," she said more to herself than the rest of the world, "I'll find you Ryan."

The mess was complete, but strewn here and there were some significant items that gave her ideas. With one last look at what she had done Felicia picked up the address book laying at her feet and walked towards the door. She paused momentarily at the frame, playing with the idea of setting alight the bonfire she had built, but decided against it. It would be better for the devastation to be seen first hand, rather than through ashes, since she had worked so hard.


On to Comercials | | On to next Part | | Back To Front Page | Back to Previous Part |