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None Are Innocent

Part 3


Scene 2 0

DUNCAN'S LOFT - that moment

Patrick just stood there, looking at his feet. He hated it when Rebecca was right. Aria reminded him of a time of his life he'd sooner forget, a time he didn't want to remember, but he also found himself thinking about the other things that he'd liked... and loved. And it grieved him.

"Well," Duncan said. "That went well."

Patrick looked up. "Screw you, MacLeod."

"Look, O'Brien! This is no time to feel sorry for yourself. So you weren't always honorable. Big deal! All of us have a time in our lives that we don't like to think about, less remember. But do you think the Hunters care about that?"

Patrick looked up alarmed.

"This is exactly the kind of things that makes their jobs easier." Duncan raised his eyebrows for emphasis. "Unified, we have a chance. Divided?"

Patrick cursed, took his coat and went after Rebecca. He returned a few seconds later and asked for Duncan's car keys and then he raced off to the hotel.

Aria was stunned and drained. "I'm sorry, Duncan. I..."

"Sorry for what, Aria?" he asked angrily.

"I never meant for any of this to happen."

"It's not your fault."

"Isn't it? If I weren't involved, none of this would've happened!"

"Why would you say that? O'Brien is a big boy, if he can't control his temper and his feelings, then that's his problem. The same goes for Rebecca. They aren't children, Aria! And besides, you became involved the second Janek was killed."

"Are you angry that I didn't tell you we used to be lovers?"

"No."

"Why not?"

"Patrick and Amanda were lovers once. Should I make their past relationship affect the way I treat him? No. It's in the past. Nothing can be done to change that. Immortals should know that better than anyone. The past is the past and all we do is live for today!"

"But..."

"Aria, there aren't any 'buts' in our life. We live! Grow stronger. Fight another day!" Duncan smiled as he heard himself repeat the ancient Immortal's words.

"Okay." She smiled. "We better get to the hotel and make sure everything is okay."


Scene 2 1

UNKNOWN LOCATION - moments later

"Will you let me GO!"

Joe felt himself get shoved forcibly. He was, of course, blindfolded. He would have been disappointed, otherwise. He felt the metal wall hit him hard and he collapsed on the floor. His captor removed the blindfold.

"Hello, Joe."

Joe sat up on the bench behind him. "Jack. Long time."

"I've been waiting for this moment for the last year and a half, Joe."

"Yeah, the moment when your house is finally clean. But when will you clean all the blood off your hands, MacBeth?"

Shapiro back-handed Joe across the face. Undaunted, Joe continued.

"Janek was a good man, so was Todd Clemmens. So is Bernard Willis. So is O'Brien."

"Maybe so, but they broke the law. Good men pay for crimes they admit they committed. Both Janek and Clemmens confessed, Joe. So did Willis. Why shouldn't they be punished?"

"Because they didn't do anything wrong, dammit!"

"Anything wrong? They broke the most important of our Rules!"

"A rule written millennia ago by an unknown Watcher, who I'm sure had a very good reason for writing it. But it's old news, the times have changed, and we haven't changed with them. A Watcher and an Immortal can be friends, Jack, and you're killing the living proof!"

"I am preserving the organization!"

"You're DESTROYING it!"

That stopped Shapiro dead in his tracks. He leaned forward and Joe saw his eyes. They weren't the eyes of a man he'd known for years, who he worked beside, laughed beside, and suffered beside. They were the eyes of someone who had walked the tightrope and fell.

The eyes of a madman.

The madman spoke, "You and all like you are who is destroying the organization."

Joe knew he'd lost. He'd lost a good friend. Shapiro turned and slammed the door behind him. He heard someone lock the door.

"Nice try," came a gruff voice behind him and to his right.

"Bernard?"

"I tried that too, Joe. Got the same results. Oh well, it's been a hell of a ride."

"Don't give up, Bernard. You're a fighter. And help is on the way."

"Help?"

"MacLeod, the O'Briens, and Aria al-Haban."

"Terrific. Patrick and Aria, together again. Why do I have a bad feeling about this?"

Joe shrugged. Bernard took out his harmonica and began playing.


Scene 2 2

HOTEL, SEACOUVER - later that afternoon

Duncan and Aria arrived at the O'Brien's hotel room and hoped that calm had descended on the couple again. As they reached the suite, they noticed the door was open and they entered cautiously. Both took their swords out and they made their way inside the spacious room, searching for the Immortal they'd sensed.

Aria, her back to the wall, peeked into the living room, and cursed. The place had been ravaged. The large couch by the balcony was overturned; feathers from pillows strewn around the whole room; the center glass table was smashed-glass shards everywhere. The room showed signs of a struggle. Duncan went to check one side of the hotel room, while Aria checked the other side. Upon entering the master bedroom, she found Patrick sitting on the floor. His head was bent and he held a sword across his lap. "Patrick?" she called. He didn't respond. "O'Brien!" Aria cautiously walked up to him and knelt down. She had an awful feeling of what could've happened, but didn't want to admit it to herself. Not yet. "You and Rebecca had a fight?" she said with a trace of humor, trying to goad a reaction from the silent Immortal.

Patrick said nothing.

"O'Brien?!"

"It's all my fault," Patrick said.

"What's all your fault?" Aria asked, crouching closer.

"I should've told her," he began. "I should've told her everything from the get go and this wouldn't have happened."

"And what happened?"

Patrick took a deep breath. "The place was like this when I arrived. I thought she'd trashed the place until I found her sword on the bed."

Aria cursed. This isn't good, she thought.

"They have her, Aria. Those bastards must have been watching us and now they have her!"

"Are you sure?"

He nodded. "Her sword lay across the bed, with her wedding band across the blade." Patrick took a deep breath. "Rebecca would never leave without her sword, and no matter how angry she was with me, she would never take off her wedding band. She just wouldn't. Hell, there were more times than I can count that we posed as husband and wife that she wore a wedding band, and still never took it off."

"I'm sorry, Patrick."

"She doesn't deserve to die like that, Aria. An Immortal should die in the heat of battle, not at the hands of lunatics!"

"Patrick, I'd like to tell you that she'll be okay, but I can't. She could be dead already."

"You think I don't know that!" he spat looking at Aria for the first time. Aria flinched by the anger in his voice. Patrick apologized. "I just," he sighed heavily, then inhaled a deep breath. "I just don't think I can go on without her. She's been a constant in my life for too long for it to end like this. It just can't. I thought I'd lost her once about a year and a half ago, and I swore I never would go through that again." Patrick placed his face in his hands and fought the tears that had been threatening to overtake him for the past hour.

"You know," Aria began, touching his arm. "That bloody Celtic pride of yours will kill you one of these days, O'Brien."

Patrick glared at her.

"It's okay to feel scared and unsure if she'll be all right." Aria raised his chin, cupping it in both hands. Patrick cast his eyes down. "And it's all right to cry. Don't be so proud that you can't allow yourself to feel, Patrick. When we stop feeling, we stop living."

Patrick looked up, and gazed into Aria's warm eyes. Aria's heart almost broke when she saw the depth of the sadness in his green eyes. She smiled and pulled him into an embrace, one she thought he'd refuse, but instead he tightened his grip around her.

Aria pulled away slightly. "We'll find her," she said strongly and squeezed his shoulders.

Patrick gazed at her wondering if she meant what she said. He wanted to believe her, but some part of him made him think that he'd never see Rebecca alive again. "I can't loose her. Not with the way things ended at the loft. Our last words to each other can't be out of anger. They just can't be."

Aria smiled and wiped the tears off Patrick's face with her hands. She wasn't sure if she liked seeing O'Brien in this light. Lost and unsure of himself. She liked the fighter in him. A man that never takes no for an answer. "Then let's get her back! Let's put our heads together and figure this out. Are we going to let these Hunters think they've beaten us?" she grinned at him. "Well, they messed with the wrong pair of Immortals, didn't they?"

Patrick gave her a weak smile.

"Wait till they get a load of us!"

He laughed. That had to be a good sign, Aria thought. Patrick stood. Aria grabbed his face. "It will be a cold day in hell when anything beats Patrick O'Brien!"

Patrick cast his eyes down and looked at the sword in his hand.

"Yeah," he said, "they picked the wrong pair."

Aria bent her head trying to peer into his eyes. Patrick looked up and gave her a smile.

"Thanks, Aria."

She smiled. "You're welcome." Aria hugged him again.

Patrick was surprised at his response to Aria. If there was one thing he knew, Immortals could change if they wanted to. Patrick pulled away slightly, his arms still around her waist and gazed directly into her eyes.

"What caused you to change, Aria?" He tightened his grip when he felt her tense instantly. She tried pulling away but he wouldn't let her. "I want to know... you are nothing like I remember you. Why?"

Aria's mouth parted, as if to say something, then she didn't.

"If you can't talk to me, Aria, then who can you talk to? I know how you used to be. Something had to have caused the drastic change... and Holy Ground? You swore you'd die first before you sought solace on Holy Ground."

Aria swallowed thickly, then said, "We aren't here to discuss my history, Patrick."

"I know that. Rebecca, Bernard, and Dawson are our top priorities, but after we find them, I want to know everything."

Aria's body tensed, her eyes darkened. "And what makes you think I'll tell you!" she demanded.

Patrick caressed her face. "Because you need to," he said gently. Aria felt the tears sting her eyes and she cast them down. Damn, him, she thought.

"My presence has made you think about it more, so who better than me to tell," he said, with a grin.

Aria returned the smile and hugged him again, resting her head on his shoulder.

Duncan cleared his throat causing both Immortals separate like they'd been caught with their hands in the cookie jar. Both had forgotten he was even there. MacLeod had come into the bedroom after checking the kitchen and bathroom, and stopped cold when he surveyed the scene in the bedroom. Patrick and Aria, closer than wallpaper on a wall. He stood there stunned at the doorway and watched the two Immortals in silence, not sure what to make of this.

He hadn't taken the time to digest what Patrick had revealed in the loft an hour ago. Not only had he become a partner in crime with Aria for a long period of time, but he'd become her lover. Duncan thought it wouldn't bother him, but watching two people who just two days ago couldn't stand each other's presence, stand so close, irritated him. "We have work to do," he said tightly, then turned around and walked out the room.

"I guess he's not happy with us either, huh?"

Aria shrugged, then went to find Duncan.

He was picking through some papers on the living room floor. Aria stopped next to him. "Find anything that can help us?"

"No."

"Duncan, let me explain..."

"You don't have to explain anything, Aria."

"But I want to."

Duncan stood and looked at her. "Don't. The past is the past, and whatever happened between the two of you is between the two of you. Okay?"

Aria studied Duncan's eyes for a moment. "Okay, but if you want to know..."

"I won't."

Aria nodded. Patrick entered the room carrying Rebecca's sword.

Duncan's eyes fixed on them, then he looked up alarmed at O'Brien.

"Yes, MacLeod. They have her."

"Fantastic!" he growled. "Now what?"

Patrick took a small gold chain out from its place beneath his shirt and unclasped it. He then threaded it through Rebecca's wedding band, and refastened it around his neck. "Now they pay."

"I want no unnecessary bloodshed!"

"I know, Duncan," Aria said. "But we need to establish here and now what is necessary and what is not. Because as far as I'm concerned, none of them are innocent."

"I agree," Patrick said. "MacLeod, these are the same mortals who were responsible for Darius' death..."

"Don't you think I know that?" Patrick ignored Duncan's remark and continued. "They've gotten away with their crimes for far too long. This isn't like an enemy army that has good men, they're fanatics, and if we leave any one of them alive, they'll become the next Horton, or Shapiro. And I'll tell you this MacLeod, if Rebecca dies because you get in my way, we will have that fight we talked about the other day."

If the circumstances were reversed, Duncan knew he'd feel the same. In fact, the circumstances had been reversed. When Tessa had been captured by Hunters as bait, he'd been just as determined to kill any who stood between them. He nodded his agreement.


Scene 2 3

UNKNOWN LOCATION - soon after

Rebecca ignored the lewd comments of the Hunters who led her, blindfolded, down the dank corridor. She heard the cell door unlock and open, and felt the blindfold get torn off of her face. Then she was shoved forward as the door slammed shut.

"Damn."

"Rebecca?"

"Bernard?"

"Yup. Apparently they've only got one cell. Joe's here too."

"Nice to see you again, Rebecca, or it would be if we had any light."

"How's Patrick doing?" Bernard asked.

"Oh terrific. He's having a great time with that monster woman of his."

"Monster woman?" Bernard said. "Aria?"

"You've got it."

"What?" Joe said.

"How much of O'Brien's past do you know?" Bernard asked.

"Not a whole lot. That's always been your job. I know enough, though."

"During the late 1400's and early 1500's he was evil, a henchman of Aria al-Haban's."

"I know," Joe said.

"That's not all he was to her," Rebecca growled.

"Oh," Joe said, understanding. "Rebecca, that was five hundred years ago."

"And in those five hundred years, do you know how many times he's gone back to me? More than I can count. What makes this any different?"

"He's married to you," Bernard said. "And he loves you."

"Yeah, right. He can have her. If that's what he wants, he'll get a divorce, or I'll just stage my death, and the legal system'll let him off the hook. Then he can..." she broke off.

"Rebecca?"

Although they couldn't see her, the two Watchers could tell that she was quietly weeping, the tension of the last few days letting loose all at once.


Scene 2 4

JOE'S BAR, SEACOUVER - dusk

"Joe's got a computer out back," Duncan said. "We can hook up the monitor and keyboard from that into the CPU, though I don't know what you hope to accomplish." They entered Joe's office.

"Maybe nothing," Patrick said. "Maybe everything. Did he only keep Watcher information on it?"

"I don't know, really."

Aria had a laptop open and was copying several files to a floppy disk while Duncan and Patrick hooked the CPU up to the keyboard, mouse, and monitor. When they were finished, she brought the disk over. "Put this in the drive and turn it on."

Patrick complied. The floppy gyrated for a few seconds, and they were awarded with a splash of graphics that proudly proclaimed:

SOLOMON UTILITIES

MS-DOS/WINDOWS DATA RECOVERY PROGRAM VERSION 7.5.6

PRESS ANY KEY TO CONTINUE

"A friend of mine wrote this," Aria said. "I can't tell you how many times this saved days of work."

Aria pressed the space bar. The computer responded.

NOW ANALYZING DRIVE C. PLEASE STAND BY...

"Now we wait. Patrick, why don't you pour us some drinks."

For what seemed like endless hours, the utility program scanned the disk. It had informed Aria that it was unfamiliar with the wiping program used to destroy Joe's harddrive, however Aria told it to continue.

"This would have been a lot easier if he'd made a backup," Patrick said.

"You did check, didn't you?" Aria asked.

"Yup. If he had one, it was taken."

The computer beeped.

"16 bytes recovered," it said. "Display? (Y/N)"

"Only sixteen bytes?" Duncan said. "It wouldn't even be worth it if it wasn't our only lead."

Aria pressed "Y" and was rewarded with the phrase "ash regis"

"What the hell is an 'ash regis'?" Patrick asked.

The other two Immortals were silent.

"Son of a bitch!" Patrick slammed his fist on the counter. "We're no closer than we were." He poured himself another drink.

"Let's not forget to pay for those," Duncan said. "Damn!"

"What is it?" Aria asked, concerned.

"It's not 'ash regis.' It's 'cash register.'" Duncan walked over to the cash register and hit "no sale." "Joe wouldn't put it any place obvious. It's gotta be behind the drawer."

"This is assuming that he typed in something about hiding information in his cash register," Patrick said.

"What else do we have to go on?" Duncan pulled the drawer out and fished behind the gears. "I've got something."

"What is it?"

Duncan looked. "It's a map of the old Seacouver airport, but it's been abandoned since the 50's. There's a hanger marked 'here.' This isn't Joe's writing."

"Let me see," Aria said. She examined the map for a moment before declaring, "I believe we've hit the jackpot."

"How can we be sure?" Patrick asked.

"Because Duncan's right. This isn't Joe's handwriting. It's my Watcher's. It's Gibson's." Aria turned it over. There was another detailed map of the hanger's layout.

"Bingo."


Scene 2 5

OLD SEACOUVER AIRFIELD - late evening

The attack plan was simple. Go in and rescue their friends. Patrick had suggested high-calibre weaponry, he feared that the Hunters would be well-armed. All it took was one bullet and a sharp object, and that was the end of any of them. Aria disagreed. She didn't care for guns, preferring her knives, and she felt that high-calibre weaponry was too noisy. Duncan said he'd rather they just use fists and feet, though he'd have his sword, of course. Eventually it was decided that Duncan would be the point man, Aria would use her knives and cover him at a short distance, and Patrick would cover them both, armed with a classic Winchester rifle, as all three advanced to the single makeshift cell at the back of the hanger. There was one object in the center of the hanger that Gibson had nicknamed "the chopping block." From his designation, it was obvious what it was used for. They'd have to keep their eyes on that as well. All in all, Patrick had said, a fun, full evening.

So, dressed in black with their swords slung across their backs ninja-style, the three Immortals moved in under cover of night, driving out to the airport, and began surveying the site. Duncan looked through his binoculars. "Two guards at the main door, both armed. None at the windows."

"What about the roof?" Patrick asked.

"Nope. I can't tell, but I think there may be an exhaust vent up there."

"Can we get up?"

"Not unless we... there. There is some sort of hole in the roof. We catch the grappling hook in it and climb up."

"Alright, let's go!"

"Calm down, O'Brien," Aria said. "We have to take out those guards before you go in shooting everyone in sight. That'll be my job. You two stick with the roof plan."

CLANK!

"Did you hear that?"

"What?"

"That."

"No."

"That clanking sound."

"Probably another animal running around in that garbage pile out back."

"Let's go check it out just to be sure."

"Don't worry about it. We're supposed to guard the entrance, get it?"

"I suppose."

"Hello, boys."

Both guards looked in the direction the new voice came from to see one of the most striking women they'd ever seen. "She's one of them, isn't she?" the first guard said.

"Yup," said the second. "Who would've known a freak of nature would be so damn good looking."

"It's good to be appreciated, it really is," Aria said as the first guard approached her. With a flick of her hand, one of her knives impaled itself into the second guard's neck. In another flick, she stabbed the second guard in the gut. The first guard died instantly. The second took a bit longer. She retrieved her knives, wiped them on the dead men's clothes, backed against the wall so as not to be seen, and waited for the fireworks.

Duncan and Patrick crawled across the curved roof avoiding the weak spots as well as they could. The hanger was so old that they felt it would cave in any second. They reached their goal.

"See anything?" Patrick asked.

"The chopping block, Shapiro, they're bringing someone out. An old black man and... Rebecca! They're tying to the block!"

"Out of the way, MacLeod!" Patrick had his rifle cocked and ready.

"Be my guest." Duncan moved out from in front of the exhaust vent. Patrick aimed his rifle at the man holding the axe above his head...

CLANK!

Shapiro looked around for the source of the sound. "They're here."

"They are?" said the Hunter who stood next to him.

"We knew that this was a possibility." He picked up the large axe that leaned against the chopping block. Bring Willis and O'Brien to me."

"Yessir."

Hunters dragged Rebecca, who had her hands tied together, to the center of the hanger. Bernard was shoved bodily. "About time," he said. "I was tired of waiting."

"Bernard Willis," Shapiro said, "you have been found guilty of betraying the Watcher organization and breaking your oath. As punishment for your crimes, you will be put to death. To insure that our secret does not go any further, this Immortal will be beheaded." He nodded and the Hunter who held Rebecca's rope pulled it down, forcing her to kneel. Rebecca did not make any sound as her exposed neck was placed on the block and her hands were tied to the floor.

Shapiro raised the axe above his head. Rebecca showed no fear, and looked her executioner in the eyes. She was determined to make him see her soul as it passed into nothingness.

That was when all hell broke loose.

First, Rebecca felt the presence of at least two, maybe more, Immortals. Then there was a gunshot from the ceiling. Shapiro yelled in pain as he gripped his shoulder and dropped the axe. A rope fell from the exhaust vent. Duncan slid down the rope, covered by gunfire, and kicked several Hunters as he reached the bottom. When he was on the floor, he yelled to his companion on the roof, "NOW!"

An antique Winchester was thrown his way. Duncan caught it and began firing as his companion slid down the rope. Patrick jumped to the floor and ran to the chopping block, his sword out of its sheath.

"Patrick! Thank God!"

Patrick swung his katana at the rope, cutting it. Rebecca stood and held her hands out to him. As he was cutting the rope away from her wrists, someone said, "DUCK!"

They complied as the axe, wielded by another Hunter, wooshed over their heads. Then a knife impaled itself in his chest and he collapsed.

"Thanks, Aria," Patrick said.

"O'Brien!" Duncan tossed the rifle at Patrick.

Patrick sheathed his sword and caught it. "You need to reload,"

Duncan said.

"I'll cover you," Aria said.

"OK." Patrick began reloading the Winchester. "Where's Bernard?"

"Patrick," Rebecca said, "I'm..."

He squeezed her hand. "It's OK. I understand."

"O'Brien!" came a familiar voice. "Am I glad to see you!"

"Can we save the reunion for later?" Duncan said.

Patrick nodded. "Absolutely."

"Rebecca, our car's in the lot to the west. Get Bernard there. We'll get Joe."

"OK."

Joe tried to hear what was going on outside of the cell. Something was happening. He thought he heard gunfire. Outside, someone said "Joe? You in there?"

"Mac?"

"Joe," came Patrick's voice. "Stand back."

Joe complied and the sound of a rifle was heard, followed by several sparks. The door opened and Joe was rewarded with blessed light.

"You OK, Joe?" Duncan said.

"Never better."

"Most of the Hunters are gone," Aria said, "or are busy dying."

"What about Shapiro?"

Patrick grinned, wolfishly. "We haven't found him, but I doubt he'll get far with a slug from this baby in his shoulder." He indicated the Winchester.

"Bernard and Rebecca?"

"Probably back at my car," Duncan said.

Joe's eyes finally adjusted to the light and saw that all three of them were bloody and tired. It took a lot for them to get to him. "Thanks, all of you."

By the time they left the hanger, all of the Hunters were either dead or had fled the area. Still, there was no sign of Shapiro. As they walked to Duncan's car, they heard a low humm close by. They looked in the direction of the nearest runway and saw a small propeller plane begin to taxi down, preparing for take-off. As the plane got closer and began to gain momentum, they could make out the pilot. Jack Shapiro.

"Can you hit him?" Patrick asked Aria.

"Not with a knife. How about you?"

"Out of ammo."

The plane approached the group, looking like he was about to run them down. At the last second, Shapiro pulled up on the wheel and the plane took off.

"Damn!" Joe said.

"Let him go," Aria said.

"Yup," Patrick agreed. "There's been enough killing for tonight."


Scene 2 6

DUNCAN'S LOFT, SEACOUVER - later that evening

"I think I'm gonna sit here in this tub for a week," Patrick groaned. With their hotel room trashed, Patrick and Rebecca went back to Duncan's loft to get cleaned up. The ordeal had been tiring, however they planned on meeting Joe at the bar. There was something he wanted to discuss with them.

Patrick sank lower into the bath and closed his eyes, contentedly. He hadn't been aware that he had dozed off until he felt something on top of him. Startled, he opened his eyes at the same time his Immortal-sense broke into his consciousness.

"Good gods, Rebecca, you scared the crap outta me!"

Rebecca said nothing, just snuggled up against him and tenderly kissed him on the nose, giggling.

"Rebecca, about Aria and I..."

"Shhh. We can discuss it later."

Duncan tossed a soda Aria's way. "I'm proud of you."

"In what way?"

"For sparing Shapiro. For not going after him."

"Make no mistake, MacLeod, that was only because Patrick was out of bullets. Next time we meet, he won't be so lucky. He will pay for Galen's death."

"I understand." Duncan did understand. He had his own dark time, granted it was involuntary, but he did understand evil. He also understood the need for vengeance. Horton had finally paid for Daruis a full year later, but he had paid. Shapiro owed Aria a lot.

He was interrupted by the sound of laughter and splashing water coming from the bathroom. "Sounds like they've put their differences aside." Aria squeezed Duncan's hand. "There's nothing like facing death together to bring a couple closer."


Scene 2 7

JOE'S BAR, SEACOUVER - OCTOBER, 1997 later...

"Drinks are on the house tonight," Joe said, sitting with the Immortals.

"Joe, I just want to get some sleep," Aria said. "What did you want to talk about?"

"Well," Bernard said, "Joe and I would like to discuss some things about Immortality with you."

"Things?" Duncan said, suddenly a little nervous, and he asked heavily. "What things?"

"There's some details that I'd like to fill in about the Immortal condition," said Joe.

Duncan's faced cleared a little, but he gave Joe a questioning look, the Watcher just glanced instead at Bernard and smiled.

"I'll be happy to talk with you, Joe," Patrick said.

"Me too," added Rebecca.

"So will I," Aria said. "After all, if we don't help, we'll be giving into people like Shapiro."

"Great," said Joe. "Come by here tomorrow and we can talk." He and Bernard went out back to begin writing down what questions they would ask. Aria told Rebecca and Duncan that she needed to talk to Patrick alone. This time Rebecca didn't protest. She led him to a deserted corner of the bar and sat down. Patrick sat beside her.

"How're you feeling?" she asked.

"Tired. Drained. I faced a part of my past that I hadn't dared think about for the last five centuries."

"I know how you feel."

"Gonna take a while to work it out in my mind."

"You know you can call me any time."

"I know, but I think that I need to talk to Rebecca about it first."

"I understand."

Patrick rested his hand on Aria's. "And you know you can call me too," he said, squeezing her hand when she looked down. "When I'm not being stubborn, Aria, I'm a good listener."

Aria gazed at him, then smiled. "I just might take you up on that offer, O'Brien."

Duncan watched the pair of Immortals as discreetly as he could manage. He knew Joe was also keeping an eye, but somehow he was much better at it, so was Bernard, but then they were supposed to be professionals. Rebecca was watching him, and he glanced at her and smiled. Her face showed mixed emotion as he turned back and she followed his lead. She still wasn't sure about Aria, that much was obvious, but then, neither was the Highlander. Could any Immortal be sure about another, their lives could be so brutal at times and that was certainly true of the pair who sat together, crossing the gap of years. The man reminded himself that he was in no position to judge, neither was any of their eternal race. Maybe no-one had a right to judge, only remember. There was always forgiveness, but forgetting was more difficult. Immortals would possibly forget, or be forgotten as individuals, but the Watchers never would leave them to fade away unrecorded.

MacLeod wondered what Joe was thinking as he stood behind his bar, fraternizing with four Immortals, then he decided the thought wasn't worth the trouble. It didn't matter what Joe thought, he was a friend and his records were faithful and fair. The Hunters threatened that, but they were in retreat again for now. The Highlander chose not to dwell on how long the Status Quo would last this time.

His shoulder ached from the bullet wound. It still amazed him that he could take off and land that plane. Granted the flight hadn't been long, but flying with one hand was never a good idea. He stared at the entrance of the bar named "Joe's." He could wait. Eventually they'd all pay, because after all, he had righteousness on his side.

The End


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