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The nameless young man strode further into the room, leaving his
belongings where they lay, and only taking a casual note of anything
but the young lady on stage. She looked totally shocked and the way
her lip was beginning to quiver, it seemed that maybe the stranger had
upset her delicate artistic balance. Joe was ready to stand up and
defend her is any more remarks passed the young man's lips, even if he
had to lie through his teeth. The age of chivalry was anything but
"Now there's no need to look so upset," the newcomer said brightly,
and smiled, "it's not as if I said you can't sing. Anyone can sing,
but lass, you really are singing in the wrong key."
The woman didn't look much happier, it was obvious she felt that her
musical talents were being maligned.
"Play a C," her critic said calmly, but in such a way that his subject
didn't try to protest. "Now sing it," he instructed.
She did, it was a very nice C.
"Now play an A," the Irishman continued, "and sing that."
Again she complied, it sounded horrible.
"Great C, terrible A," he pointed out, not that anyone needed that
underlined, "it's out of your range, lass. Now stick below a G and you
have the voice of an angel, take it higher than that and you're going
to be disappointed."
The explanation actually made sense, and now that Joe thought about
it, he realised his interloper was right. The blues musician had just
heard so many bad singers that morning that he had stopped listening.
That didn't, however, excuse the way she played her instrument, but
then the stranger was about to address that issue.
"I'm willing to bet you haven't been playing that guitar too long,"
the Irishman said, "am I right?"
His subject nodded.
"Three weeks," she replied quietly, "constantly."
"Well you're pretty good in that case," the man replied with a bright
smile, "but I'm thinking your playing is not too great for a new
The grin he favoured her with was so cheerful that she couldn't help
but see the funny side, and she nodded with a smile of her own.
"What you need is some accompaniment," were the newcomer's next words,
and he glanced at the only two other people clasping musical
instruments. "Do you sing?" he asked the male drummer quickly, it was
pretty obvious that the woman on the penny whistle couldn't play and
vocalise at the same time.
"Not usually," the man replied, "we lost our vocalist a while back."
A jubilant expression crossed the Irishman's face.
"I don't suppose you know many tunes in the alto range?" he suggested
slowly, and a light dawned on three other faces.
"I think we might be able to find a few," the drummer said eagerly as
the idea appealed to him.
Five minutes later and Joe was sitting there in complete amazement as
the trio played an old Irish folk song, which actually sounded very
good. The young woman had a beautifully full voice when she remained
in her correct range, and her mellow tones blended beautifully with
the whistle and drum. When they finished, the bar owner was actually
ready to offer them at least one spot. They weren't great yet, but
that would come with time. As far as the Watcher was concerned a
miracle had just occurred.
The stranger had backed off as the threesome found it's feet, and he
was smiling happily as he found himself standing next to Joe.
"Gall Panurge," he greeted as he realised where he was standing, "hope
you didn't mind me taking over."
"Joe Dawson," the silver haired man replied with a smile, "I own the
place, and actually you have just done me a huge favour, as well as
the world in general."
The other man just grinned back, he had obviously enjoyed himself.
"So, what else do you do?" the Watcher enquired and glanced at the
pile of cases near the door.
"Anything," Gall returned lightly.
"No, I mean what instruments do you play?" Joe clarified and this time
pointed at his companion's collection.
"Anything," was the same reply, and the self-confident smile was
catching, the bar owner just laughed.
The current song came to an end, and it was time for Joe to put his
professional hat on.
"Don't go anywhere and we'll see about that," he said, pulling himself
to his feet.
Gall just watched as the other man thanked the trio for coming and
offered them a date for the next weekend. The new group left talking
excitedly, pleased with themselves and happy with the world in
general. When Joe turned back he caught a glimpse of a very enigmatic
smile on the miracle worker's face and something nagged at the back of
"Let's see what you carry with you then," the bar owner said
cheerfully, putting the half thought to the back of his mind for
"Your wish is my command," the Irishman responded with roguish charm,
and moved to pick up his belongings.
Joe wasn't quite expecting what happened next as the young man began
to produce instruments from his bag, and various pockets. There was a
penny whistle, pan pipes, two recorders, one soprano, one alto, a
harmonica, a tambourine, a triangle, a wooden block, and even a gazoo.
In the smaller of the two cases was a beautifully maintained flute,
and when Gall opened the large leather container, Joe knew he was
facing a real musician. Inside folds of red velvet sat the most
beautiful small harp the blues player had ever seen. It was made of a
dark, strong wood, and decorated with the most ornate metal
decorations. The metallic designs did not look as if they were made of
a precious metal, but they were exquisitely crafted, and very well
"She's the one instrument I'll never part with," there was a deep
respect in the Irishman's voice as he gazed at the harp.
Joe knew that feeling, and he allowed himself to observe it for a
while, but that did not serve to prove Gall's claim of being able to
play anything. The silver haired bar owner gazed at the selection of
instruments and decided that he had something that was likely to be
difficult for the Irishman.
"I'll be back in a minute," he said with a smile on his face.
He came back shortly with his prize possession in his hands, and with
the same reverence Gall showed towards his harp, Joe passed the other
musician his electric guitar. The amp was in it's usual place on the
stage and it didn't take long to plug the instrument in.
"Any particular style?" Gall asked as he sat down and tested the
"Blues," was the Watcher's immediate reply.
For a moment the strange brown haired man closed his eyes and put his
head close to the instrument, as if somehow communicating with it.
Then his eyes came up, his fingers moved to the strings and the first
chord filled the room.
Joe believed Gall's claim, as the room filled with his music, the bar
owner knew that this man could pull a tune from anything. His
playing was not full of virtuoso skill, this was not in his core
instrument set, but it was still filled with such emotion. The chords
could have called to the hardest heart, and as Joe listened he began
to smile. He was going to like this individual.
"All beautiful ladies deserve a song," Joe just sat there listening to
Gall praise the merits of the fairer sex.
This man seemed to live his life to have fun and enjoy every last
minute. His angle on women was extensive and very comprehensive, the
Watcher was almost envious. There was a quick intelligence and sharp
wit beneath the slightly rough exterior, Joe could see how the charm
of this man worked on the ladies. Of course, the stunning blue eyes
and the good looking face probably didn't hinder him any.
However, there was also something slightly odd about him that the
silver haired man couldn't pin down. It might have been the fact that,
by his own admission, he had no home: he was a wanderer with no
permanent place of residence. He had also admitted that he found the
States fascinating, and had only been in the country for a few weeks.
Then again he could be a complete nut who was just faking sanity and
not doing a very good job.
"Don't tell me that a handsome man as yourself hasn't wooed the odd
woman with a song," Gall was grinning broadly, and this conversation
was getting more risqu‚ by the second.
Joe just laughed and refused to answer, picking up the coffee pot and
offering his companion a refill instead.
"Thanks," the Irishman returned lightly, and as he put his mug down,
his expression changed.
Just for a second he lost the smile, and then he looked mildly
surprised and turned towards the door. Joe followed his line of sight,
and nearly dropped the coffee as he saw a wary looking Richie Ryan
slowly walk through the door. The penny dropped, and the Watcher's
expression turned to one of complete astonishment. He covered it
quickly, glad that Gall seemed to be more interested in the newly
arrived Immortal than the look on his current companion's face.
When the Irishman's face broke out in a friendly smile and he stood up
to greet Richie, Joe was actually expecting it, and now he realised
why several signs of what usually indicated an Immortal were missing
from the man in front of him. The Watcher was more than a little
stunned and several ideas stacked up in his brain. He was absolutely
sure that Gall posed no threat to Richie, but he wasn't quite sure in
the other direction, so he held on to his need to find a phone. It was
difficult, certain urges were just about irresistible for Watchers,
but Joe put himself in barman mode for the moment.
He couldn't quite believe that he hadn't put two and two together
before. Yes the report had been a few weeks ago, but it wasn't exactly
a usual name this Immortal used, and his chosen profession was quite
distinctive. Somehow, Joe had just never imagined that Gall was
anything like the man before him. The Irish Immortal was a bit of a
legend in Watcher circles, and there were set rules any who heard of
him came to expect, and his presence in the bar broke quite a few of
them. The universe ran with certain constants, one of Joe's had just
"Well this is a surprise," the Irishman started talking to the other
Immortal as if he'd known him for years, "Gall Panurge, so nice to see
He stuck his hand out in greeting, and it was obvious that the
newcomer wasn't quite sure how to take him. After a moment's thought
Richie obviously decided to go with first impressions, and shook the
other Immortal's hand.
"Richie Ryan," he said evenly, trying to gauge what hid behind the
stranger's bright features.
"I'm just passing through," Gall elaborated on his situation
cheerfully, "I was thinking of staying a few weeks."
The stranger in town seemed to be trying to be as unthreatening as
possible, and quite frankly, it was working. It was difficult to find
the honest, smiling face a problem, in fact the opened eyed stare
reminded Richie of a puppy in a pet shop window - he resisted the urge
to reach out and pat the other Immortal on the head. The young Mr Ryan
was confused by the other Immortal, but he did not look threatened. As
Gall continued to chat away as if they were old friends, a bemused
smile was beginning to form on the youthful features of the local
Immortal. Confused was a state of mind that, while being inconvenient,
was not dangerous. Joe saw the tension begin to leave his friend, and
he took his chance to head for the back room ... as fast as his
artificial legs would let him.
Joe barely managed to dial the correct number, there were so many
thoughts falling over themselves in his head. He breathed a sigh of
relief when an Irish voice answered the other end of the line.
"Patty," he greeted rapidly, trying to put his brain in order, "your
close up on Gall was premature."
There was an excited little exclamation from the other end of the
line. Gall was unusual in several ways, and the Watchers who observed
him always became very fond of him. Patty was the latest in a long
line of her family who had taken on the job.
"Oh thank God," her tones sounded across the connection, "I couldn't
really believe he was dead. It's just no one has seen him since Poole
showed up. Who spotted him, was it one of Dale's people."
Joe paused, he knew his next words were going to be a shock.
"No," the older Watcher said eventually, "it's not one of your local
network. In fact it's no one in Ireland. He's with me, Patty, in my
There was a stunned silence from the other half of the conversation.
"That's impossible," was the reply, the tone said there was no arguing
with the point.
"I know," Joe responded, "I've been talking to him for the last hour
and I only realised who he was because Ryan came in. Trust me, Gall is
in the States."
"But he's over two thousand years old and he's never left Ireland,"
Patty said with an incredulous catch in her voice. "He's never even
shown the remotest desire to see the world. What could have possessed
him? The world is coming to an end, life as we know it is over."
"You may be overreacting," Joe commented quietly. "I just gave him a
job," he told his friend a little louder.
"I'm getting on a plane," was the only response, and then the line
went dead: it seemed Joe did not have much of a say in the matter.
"Oh god," was the silvered haired man's only comment.
Joe walked back into the other room to find that both Gall and Richie
were sitting at the bar. There was an amused, kind of tolerant look on
the younger Immortal's face as he listened to the Irishman talk
"I'd never been on a plane before," the mellow tones just went on and
on, "and the stewardess was so nice."
Richie grinned at that, it wasn't exactly a big surprise, and Gall's
expression said he knew this. The blond individual opened his mouth to
comment, and for the hundredth time, found that he was too late. With
Gall you got in while he paused, or you didn't get in at all.
"I had no idea that mountains were so beautiful from the air," there
was no stopping Panurge when he was into his stride.
Joe slowly walked back to his place behind the bar, and just watched
the pair for a while. Gall just really didn't fit the idea he'd had in
his head at all. The Watcher had never seen a picture of this
Immortal, his wasn't a chronicle that had held much attraction for the
man who followed Duncan MacLeod. Legends just weren't well worn
Irishmen who couldn't stop talking, it didn't feel right. He hadn't
realised he was staring quite so hard until there was a pair of blue
eyes on him, and there was actually a break in the conversation. It
was at that moment he realised he must seem overly curious.
The two Immortals looked at each other and Richie smiled.
"He knows?" Gall asked.
"He knows," the other returned with a nod.
"Makes the conversation easier I suppose," was the only return
Richie just laughed, the Irishman seemed to have been doing quite well
without any help.
"And I thought I could talk," he commented lightly.
It was difficult not to like Gall, he was just so personable.
"Well I've never talked anyone to death," the older Immortal said
brightly, "but I suppose it's worth a try."
Both other men decided that they'd rather not find out and stepped in
whilst their companion took a breath.
"So what brings you to the area?" Richie made it in with a question
"Let's just say there's someone I'd rather not meet at home," was the
response, followed by a wry grin.
Joe immediately assumed that must be Poole, an Immortal who had gone
after Gall only a few weeks ago. The old Immortal usually circumvented
such problems, but it seemed that he'd chosen to leave this time.
Whatever fit of insanity had caused him to do that was a mystery, but
it was causing a nice hurricane in the Watchers. Within a couple of
hours, half of the European network would know that the rock had grown
legs, stood up and buggered off.
"I've had a couple of those," the younger of the two patrons agreed
"I never realised how small Ireland could be," the other Immortal
continued, "so I decided to see a bit of the world. I grabbed my
worldly possessions, picked a surname - I've never needed one before -
and called a friend for some papers. It takes a remarkably large
amount of rubbish to travel, doesn't it."
"I've always thought so," Richie agreed. "So how old are you anyway?"
Gall's forehead creased for a moment as he thought about that one,
when an Immortal hit over a thousand it was sometimes hard to remember
"Two thousand, three hundred and twenty two," he said eventually,
pleased with his recollection "at least that's what I remember. I
assume I'm not much older than that, but can't say for sure - it's
irrelevant anyway since I don't recall it."
His companion was suitably impressed, and Joe made out he was
surprised as well. It wouldn't do to give the game away.
"You're over two thousand years old and you've never been outside
Ireland?" Richie needed confirmation that he had heard correctly.
Certain ideas caused rebellion in the young Immortal's brain and the
only way to silent the reaction was to make doubly sure he had his
facts right. As far as Richie was concerned, Ireland would become a
very small place in two thousand years, unpleasant confrontation, or
no unpleasant confrontation.
"Never seemed much point before," the other admitted with a grin. "I
woke up without an inkling of who I was and this old chap names me
Gall, gives me my harp and then leaves me to find my own way in life.
Could have been considered a bit of a difficult start, but it suited
me. Funny thing is, I knew I was Immortal, just not who I was. I
assume he must have been a Celt, because my name means "stranger" in
Gaelic. What a Celt was doing in Ireland two thousand years ago I
don't know, most of them didn't arrive `till much later, but I think
I'm the butt of a very old joke. I've been wandering around singing
ever since, there was not a lot of reason to pack up and leave."
"That is a very long time," was the younger Immortal's comment.
Joe decided to enter the conversation while his friend got over his
"That harp is really that old?" if there was a chance to get first
hand information about the instrument, he was going to take it.
There were legends about the harp, but no Watcher had ever been able
to substantiate exactly where it came from, or if there had been more
"Every last day," Gall returned brightly, "I couldn't ever part with
her. I've lost count how many times she's been restrung. I've always
been able to play her and she's more constant than any woman I've ever
He picked up the leather case and opened it carefully. The instrument
seemed almost part of him as he pulled it from it's home: it was
almost like watching an Immortal with their sword - there was
something right about it.
"Her name's Raven," he said with a fond smile and displayed the
moulded bird on the front of the harp, "and she sings as sweetly as
the day I first played her."
Richie knew workmanship when he saw it, and looking at the instrument
was like looking at a Harley. Gall looked at his harp the same way
Duncan looked at his katana - there was history there.
The music floated around the room. It wasn't often a blues bar heard
Irish music, but this one felt itself privileged to do so. There were
a good few people in that evening, but there was no other sound. Every
single patron, including the three large, tattooed truckers in the
corner, were sitting there in various states of enrapture. Had anyone
in the room been capable of cognitive processes, they might have been
unnerved by the complete blankness on some faces. Since everyone was
in the same boat, however, they were all just catatonic together.
Waitresses were standing in the middle of the room where they had been
when the music started, the drinks on their trays forgotten as they
listened. Even Joe was standing there with a glass in one hand, a
cleaning rag in the other, doing nothing to bring the two together. He
like everyone else was living the song Gall was singing.
Richie sat at one of the back tables, the beer in front of him
forgotten, as images passed through his mind. Like a true bard, Gall
was singing a ballad, and his words brought the plight of a young
milkmaid and her noble suitor to life. The younger Immortal's mind
personified the people as Angie and Fitz, not a perfect match, but
that didn't matter. When they were torn from each other, every heart
beat faster; when they refound their love, smiles danced on most
faces. It was as if the words were alive.
The music finally drew to a close and there was absolute silence.
Nobody moved a muscle, they just, sat/stood there in complete
amazement. It was an incredible tableau, and it took a distant police
siren to break it. The noise of reality filtered in and the room broke
into rapturous applause. Joe only just caught himself as he almost
severely damaged his hand by trying to clap while still holding the
glass. Richie like many of the others was on his feet, demanding more.
The bottle was almost empty as Richie looked at it, and he really
couldn't remember helping drink all of it. They were going to need
another one at this rate and the evening wasn't half over.
"Oh there was this one lass from Cork," Gall had launched into yet
another tale, and with him, it probably wasn't tall either.
The pair had been swapping stories and laughs since the musician had
finished an encore an hour or so previously. Several people had bought
Gall drinks, and he had helped consume a fair amount of the whiskey
Richie had purchased. Both Immortals were well on their way to drunk,
and the Irishman was ahead in the race.
"She had this thing about dogs," the older Immortal continued glibly,
"had three of them, went everywhere with her. Now there's not that
much room in an 18th century single bed, especially when there are two
people and three dogs sharing. That was one night of my life I have no
wish to repeat, ever. Ended up being bitten by one of the mutts, and
you'll have to get me a lot drunker if you want to know where."
That brought a loud laugh from his companion, and the king of the one
liner tried to think of a response. He was, however, interrupted by
the peculiar prickling at the back of his eyes that signalled the pair
would no longer be the only Immortals in the establishment. Both
somewhat happy individuals glanced at the door together. Richie
grinned as MacLeod walked in, closely followed by a familiar face that
hadn't been seen in a while. Amanda looked stunning as ever.
"Don't worry, you're gonna like these two," the blond Immortal said
merrily, "well one of them anyway."
This was going to be fun. He grinned and waved as his friends scanned
the room for the Immortal or Immortals they had felt. The Highlander's
eyebrows rose a little at the state of his young friend, but Amanda
waved back and headed over. MacLeod pertinently walked towards the
"Hi Joe," he greeted cordially.
"Good evening, Highlander," the Watcher returned with a bright smile -
he was in a good mood, "what can I get you?"
"A beer and a cognac," was the calm reply. "Who's Richie's new
The bartender collected the drinks before he answered.
"A special guest from Ireland," the Watcher replied lightly, "his
name's Gall, and he's about as small a threat as any Immortal can be.
He's a musician, and I've hired him while he's in town."
"Would you care to elaborate?" the careful Scotsman inquired.
"Relax, MacLeod," Joe said with a smile, "he's over two thousand years
old and he's never taken a head, I doubt he's about to start now."
That stopped Duncan cold, there wasn't a lot he could say to that.
"Are you sure?" he asked slowly.
"We've had people on him for fifteen hundred years," the Watcher
admitted, "and before that some of his friends kept records. There are
enough legends surrounding his first appearance to keep an historian
busy for weeks, and every source is very definite about him. As far as
we can research back, he is not a killer."
There was a look on the Highlander's face that said he couldn't quite
believe that, but then again, Darius had been a man of peace. The
major difference was of course that Darius had lived on holy ground.
Gall was not in a church, and he certainly didn't appear to be a monk.
"He doesn't exactly look like the hiding type," was the comment his
train of thought drew out of him.
"Oh, he doesn't hide," Joe provided helpfully, "he talks his way out
of confrontations. He has a unique gift, he can make people live his
words, believe me, it's an incredible experience. It's also
distracting, and his enemies usually think better of pursuing him
eventually. He's a good guy, Mac, trust me."
Duncan threw a glance over his shoulder, and when he looked back at
the barman he didn't look happy.
"Well, he appears to be molesting my date," he said evenly, "do excuse
Amanda was sitting on Gall's lap, giggling like a school girl. She had
her arms draped around his neck and she'd stolen his glass - not much
of a surprise action for the female Immortal. As MacLeod came to a
stop beside the table, she batted her eyes at him innocently.
"Good evening," the Highlander said with a less than friendly air
"Mac, this is Gall," Richie introduced cheerfully, "we've been having
a drink together."
"I can see that," was the terse response.
A look passed between Amanda and Gall, and she grinned, but shortly
after that she un-entwined herself from his person and stood up.
"Is that for me?" she asked sweetly and took the cognac from MacLeod's
hand. "Thank you, sweetie."
Feminine wiles firmly in place she kissed him on the cheek and pressed
up against him just right.
"It's so nice to meet new people," she continued brightly and graced
the whole party with a killer smile. "We weren't in a hurry, were we?"
Hook, line and sinker, Duncan couldn't get away from this one.
Amanda and Gall had taken to swapping memories of Ireland from about
seven hundred years ago, and Richie was enjoying the conversation
enormously. The pair were not exactly the innocent type and their
stories verged on the blue at times. Why exactly the female Immortal
had been in Ireland was not clear, but it definitely had something to
do with a large ruby, a good looking gentleman, and a horse. The
only one who didn't appear to be enjoying himself was Duncan. The fact
that Amanda and Gall were flirting horribly was getting on his nerves,
and he wasn't great at hiding it.
"You actually burnt down his house?" Gall found Amanda absolutely
She was stunningly beautiful of course, but he found her interesting
as well, not that he had any intention of following through the
comments they sent each other. This was a game, and he knew that the
woman was far too attached to Duncan MacLeod to allow anything to
"Well he refused to pay me," Amanda said with indignation. "How's a
girl supposed to earn a dishonest living if her accomplices won't pay
She really pouted well when she wanted to make a point, and Gall had
to kick his fogged brain away from the contemplation of her mouth. It
really wouldn't make this visit much fun if he threw himself at her in
a fit of passion and found an angry Scotsman in the way.
There were still quite a few people around, but a large group had just
stood up and were headed for the door. It opened just before they
reached it, but whoever had entered was obscured by bodies.
"Excuse me," an light Irish voice asked, obviously a little indignant
at her way being blocked by several large men.
The sea of leather jackets parted for the newcomer, and Richie found
his attention drawn away from his table.
"Wow," he said with the honesty of someone who'd had a skin full, "now
she is a sight for sore eyes."
The young lady in question had long red hair, a perfect complexion,
and she was incredibly beautiful. Richie turned to Gall to gauge the
opinion of a man well versed in the female of the species, and found
to his surprise that his friend was no longer in his seat. It took a
moment for his alcohol fogged brain to figure out where to look for
him. Very slowly the happy Immortal peered under the table. Gall
stared back at him.
"I am not here," he said in a loud whisper.
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