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

 

 
 

The Wild Ones

Part 1


Scene 1

"I'm sorry Mac," Richie sighed, giving his comrade the familiar hands on hips, resigned shake of the head. "She was a mess, and I thought a woman's touch would be better than me - I didn't think Altea would...." the young man trailed off a little guiltily as he admitted his lover's unsuitability for the task, and he almost mumbled his last statement. "Amanda was the only one left."

Duncan loosened his elegant white tie and glanced wistfully at the expensive wrap that his partner had discarded on the back of the sofa at the unexpected arrival. The pair had been about to head out to a late- night, out-door opera, when Richie had walked into the barge carrying the petrified bundle of dirty clothes. Amanda had put on the charm and coaxed a silent creature into the bathroom to clean up. As The Highlander recalled the terror in young face half-hidden under tousled blond locks, the opera seemed somewhat indulgent, and the vague peevishness he'd immediately felt at the ruination of his plans struck him as selfish. He patted his friend on the shoulder and smiled reassuringly.

"You did the right thing," he answered, and then continued on a different tack, "Where did you find her?"

"The cemetery," the younger man seemed reticent as he made the admission, his tone tentative as he explained, "I went to visit Tessa."

The dark man stifled the momentary pang of grief he felt at the reminder, but he knew his companion saw the thought cross his eyes. Richie pressed swiftly on with an explanation, "She came at me, screaming, first thing I knew about the dagger she was carrying was when she sliced me with it."

Both men looked down at the slash across Ryan's T-shirt, the only evidence remaining of the heated attack.

"She was hysterical, collapsed at my feet once I'd gotten the knife away from her," the young man showed his amazement at the bizarre nature of the meeting. "I tried talking to her, but she wouldn't say anything even when I picked her up and then she just sat in front of me on the bike all the way back here. I hope Amanda has better luck."

"And she has," the woman's silky tones drifted across to them, as her comrades turned to the words, she introduced, "Duncan, Richie, this is Emily FitzHenry."

The figure who appeared from the bathroom close after the willowy woman was much more obviously a bonnie child of just pre-teenage years. Long blond hair was damp and tied back from a thin, but pretty face, in a ponytail. The grime-covered clothes of earlier had been replaced by some of Amanda's casual clothes, a mini-skirt came to the girl's knees and a sweater had the sleeves rolled up. Yet, she was a good deal more presentable, and although her stare was nervous, it was more even than the closed-in fear of earlier.

"How are you feeling?" Duncan filled the silence that fell as Richie and their guest reassessed each other.

"Better, thank you," the girl spoke in a clipped, aristocratic English accent, a subtle continental twang gave the diminutive speaker a depth that was far from childlike. Then she laid her full attention on her original saviour. "I must apologise for my behaviour this evening, it has been a trying few days."

"No problem," Ryan shot his friendliest grin at the formality in the small form.

Amanda steered her charge towards the sofa, and sat her down, Richie leant on the wall and Duncan grabbed a chair - it was pow wow time. Emily looked round at her new companions, strain in her eyes as she kept up the starched front which seemed to be a defence. MacLeod was working out how to go about the task of quizzing his visitor tactfully when his youngest comrade chose a direct approach.

"What were you doing in the cemetery?" he asked simply.

"Running," the girl returned, surprisingly calm, "I've been running for four days."

"Who from?" MacLeod decided the direct route seemed to be working and took over from Richie.

"My friends," Emily murmured, and this time there was a waver in her voice. The girl hid it with a tiny sigh, but her gaze met the floor, unable to maintain the strength which fast disappeared from her grey demeanour. Despite her weariness, the small figure sat with surprising elegance for such a young frame, and Duncan recognised age in his guest. The small pause was only enough for the girl to collect her thoughts, and she continued, "a viper has turned them against me. I do not know if you have met my kind before, we tend to perish early in our lives, but I am not a child, nor have I been for nigh on eight hundred years."

"We'd guessed as much," Amanda cajoled, slipping leisurely into the spare place beside the child-like woman; the dark woman smiled winsomely at their guest, but Duncan saw the pain in her eyes that Kenny had left.

"You're not the first of your kind we've met," Richie added with a shrug.

Emily merely nodded as she took in this information, and went on with her recount, "Until a few days ago, I was not alone, there were eleven of us living and working together to survive."

"Eleven?!" Duncan could not contain his surprise.

"I had best start from the beginning," the girl managed a weak smile at some recollection which passed across her face. "I was born in England in 1132. My life, and my death were ultimately tied up in the civil war between Matilda and Stephen. I was fortunate that a rich family took me in as their own, but I was orphaned at eight years old, my family were killed by Matilda's people. My only surviving relative a self-ingratiating bishop by the name of Fredrick, and he was quite willing to use me as a bargaining chip to make his alliances. Fredrick came into a lot of money from my adoptive father, but he couldn't get his hands on all of it until I was 'safely' married off, so from the time I went to live with him, he was entertaining my suitors.

I was twelve when he found a match suitable for his pocket and political alliances. John was a good man, he treated me well, willing to wait for me to mature to consummate our union, but he sided with Matilda, and with a few months the whole family was claimed by the war when Matilda fled England.

According to my guardian, I had had a second wondrous escape which could only be attributed to a miracle because God wished me for himself. In fact he had no wish for me to return to his house, he was enjoying my father's money far too much, and so I was married to God rather than another man.

I was happy at the convent; we were well off and I enjoyed the solitude, but in a few short years it became clear that something about me was unnatural. I hadn't aged a day since arriving at the convent, and my sisters were beginning to worry. I made a visit to my guardian's home on pretence of visiting my parent's graves, then I stole back from him what I could and ran to France with a trusted servant.

There I stayed, hidden in a big chateau in what became Alsace, only my friend's descendants truly aware of my existence. I had no idea I was not alone in what I was and I hid from the legends that the locals told about me. I would have been like that to this day had it not been for Marcus Povertt."

Grief appeared in Emily's drawn face as she recalled the name, and her gaze was distant.

"Marcus had heard the legends about a fairy child who never aged hidden in the crumbling castle, and in 1753 he knocked on my door. He was a good man, trapped like I was in a child's body. Younger than me by several centuries, I found him so much wiser from where he had embraced life. He told me about Immortals and showed me the wonder it was to be able to see so many things in one lifetime, and I accepted him into my home. He was not alone, he brought with him another one of us, Roderick," the grief remained in the child-woman's face, but there was also a light there as she mentioned this second companion. "He is my eternal," she murmured quietly. However, Emily's reverie did not last long, and her face blackened as she continued, "We lived well on our mutual fortunes, gathering others into the castle which we turned into a haven for our kind. But then the beast arrived at our gates.

He came in our form, appearing deceptively vulnerable, a sweet-faced blond boy, and we took him in. He was running, like many of us had been when we Marcus had pulled us together, and he acted like a child. None of us suspected what was happening when he befriended Paulo Phillipe, a popular member of our family and Marcus' second in command. Everything happened so fast, I has never known anyone turn people so quickly. He persuaded Paulo to push his position, and he has us all taking sides in a few short weeks.

Marcus has always been a man of peace, he wanted no contact with adults of our kind, we were safer that way, but many of us had come to the group with grievances against others who had hunted us because we could not defend ourselves. He worked on that, dividing us. In the end only Roderick and I stood with Marcus; Roderick was too gentle to contemplate fighting, it was so against his nature, and I had no axe to grind against anyone. Even so, none of us expected what happened last week--Paulo challenged Marcus and took his head. He took over as leader with that evil snake whispering in his ear."

Emily was seething as she hissed the last few words and her manner had begun a creeping chill up MacLeod's spine. Alarm bells had begun to ring at the simple mention of a blond child. The Highlander knew his suspicions were illogical, there could be hundreds of blond, child-faced Immortals in the world, but the viciousness Emily described brought only one to mind. He glanced at Richie and saw an unsure frown which told him he was not alone. And then he looked at Amanda. The woman had a sadness in her eyes that was only conjured by one person in her past. The urge was irresistible, he had to voice the suspicion, and he breathed coldly, "Kenny."

The solidification of Richie's dark stare confirmed MacLeod's intuition that he had been thinking the same thing, but Amanda showed surprise as her conscious thoughts obviously caught up with unconscious sadness. Emily also showed her surprise, and she asked, "You know of him?"

Duncan rarely saw his lover so cowed by guilt, but the dark woman said nothing as he filled the silence that followed with, "Yes, we know him."

"He tricks people out of their heads," Ryan cut in, and his bitterness at his own near miss sounded in his tone.

"He would have tried for mine if I had not run," Emily admitted and a ghost of terror in which she had been on arrival crept back into her features.

FLASHBACK: ALSACE 4 DAYS EARLIER

This part of the chateau was dark and crumbling. No-one had been up here in years, not since gas had been put in the 1800's in the other wings, but now it was her only haven, and Emily hoped it was where Roderick has chosen as well. The woman didn't dare even turn on the torch she was carrying, and she chided herself for her fear, but she had never been so intimidated in her own house before and Marcus' death had left them all reeling, even Paulo. So instead, she stumbled through the fallen masonry in search of the small glow of candlelight she had seen from the ground.

Indeed the woman had guessed right, and curled into a corner of one of the front rooms was her beloved. She paused at the door, watching his young face as it was lit by the flickering candle stump which he must have filched from the kitchen drawers; his gaze was so earnest as he poured over a book in the difficult light, chewing idly at his left thumbnail as she had often seen him do, oblivious to everything but the words on the page. The slender form had always been like that since the day she had met him and known that she must love his lack of malice and hatred for the world. His peace that he found in his poetry had calmed her own fiery temper and she had found her love returned.

Now the troubled woman needed some of that tenderness, a kind word, a gentle touch; Kenny didn't like her, she argued too much, and she knew she had made life dangerous for herself, but her temper had been frayed beyond measure by his loathsome manner. Emily finally took the step into Roderick's world which broke his reverie; she always regretted that moment when he stared around, shocked by the Immortal touch which disturbed him. Yet, his gaze found her and immediately a hand was held out to her, and with a sob the woman ran into his embrace.

Emily clung to her companion for a while, her head buried in his slim shoulder. He didn't ever start their conversations, and the boy-man waited until his darling was ready to talk to him.

"I can't believe it," Emily moaned at last, "Marcus is dead and that bastard is running our lives. He wants us to go out and kill other Immortals as a team."

Roderick shivered, and the woman held onto him more tightly, offering what comfort she could as the idea cut into her sensitive soulmate.

"Kenny is very dangerous," the poet's gentle tones sighed regretfully, "he has seen so much horror it has made him what he is."

"We've all had our trials," Emily snapped sitting up away from her friend, peeved at how understanding he could be even now; she wanted him to be angry like she was, to shout and complain, but he never did, he always watched life go by, quiet and reserved.

Roderick looked hurt by her anger, and so she settled again, always unwilling to cause him that pain, but she always did.

"What are we going to do?" she asked him quietly, frightened by the upheaval she saw coming.

"We must talk with Paulo, make him change his mind about Kenny," Emily was surprised by the definite note in Roderick's voice, he usually reacted not acted. "We can never return to what we were, but maybe we can get him to leave us alone. Not everyone wants to follow Kenny, they just know how dangerous he is. Maybe they'll leave us behind when they go."

The woman seriously doubted Kenny would leave anyone behind who could tell tales on him, but she stayed silent, glad for the small comfort her beloved was trying to offer. She laid a hand on his and gripped his fingers tightly.

"Together," she breathed.

"Together," he smiled and murmured the pact back at her.

Yet both child forms started as they heard a body hitting stone. An expletive cut the night that could only come from one of their family, Mark Quinn. He was one of Kenny's supporters, hunted by their adult counterparts for fifty years before reaching the safety of the chateau, and there was no doubt in Emily's mind as to whom he would tell his tales.

"We have to go, now," she decided rapidly, pulling her companion to his feet. "Kenny will kill us."

PRESENT

"We made it out of that wing, but they were waiting for us. I managed to get away, but the last I saw of Roderick, he had a sword at his throat," Emily finished her tale, and she was almost in tears.

The exhausted creature broke down as Amanda wrapped her in a hug, stroking her hair and kissing her scalp; Duncan was amazed by the mother instinct that showed itself so rapidly in his long-time friend. The Highlander looked at Richie, and in one glance he knew that there was no question of them not helping this girl.


Scene 2

Richie led Altea up the gang plank of the barge, as always a little perturbed by her veiled reluctance to enter Mac's home. He knew they were still a little edgy around each other, something to do with warrior codes that he thought were best left in the century they came from, but he wasn't going to tell either of his closest companions that. Ignoring the sluggishness of his lover, he breezed into the open-plan home, proffering the croissants he had bought on the way.

"Breakfast!" he announced brightly, ignoring the grinding on his senses that told him his friends and their guest were in.

Emily was curled up on the couch under a blanket and seemed more than a little startled by his loud entrance; Mac was on the phone and accorded him only a wave, but at least Amanda seemed pleased to see him. The sultry woman sauntered up to him in a way only she knew how, her pyjamas clinging silkily to her curves. Richie relinquished his shopping to her with a crooked smile, wondering how it was that this woman was always able to turn him on.

"Good morning, Richard," she breathed, taking the tease to art-form levels.

"Hi, Amanda," he returned and stepped deliberately out of her view of the door where he knew Altea was standing, "you remember Altea."

"Darling!" the dark woman greeted enthusiastically as she bounced towards the Amazon she hadn't seen since Hallowe'en. "How are you? Keeping young Richard in line I hope."

Amanda slipped her arm through Altea's and practically dragged her fully into the room. There was a grin developing on the Amazon's face; the two women had gotten along very well before, and it appeared the chemistry was working again. Richie took the croissants which were slung back at him as the girls passed him, and then he turned to find the butter and jam in what MacLeod laughingly called his kitchen; he was hungry if no-one else was.

Ryan was on his second croissant as he idly watched the girls chat by the time MacLeod put down the phone. Silence fell. It had been fairly obvious to Richie that Mac was talking to Joe, and the other obviously knew this fact as well as they waited for information.

"You were right," the Highlander looked to Emily, "Kenny has brought them after you, and according to Watcher records they've taken three heads on the way. But there is some good news, there are ten of them, so unless they did the unlikely thing of pick up another one on the way, it means Roderick is still alive."

Emily let out a large breath she had been holding, and half a sob, half a laugh came with it.

"They entered Paris last night, but the Watcher lost them on the outskirts," MacLeod continued.

"So what do we do now?" Richie asked the question on everyone's mind.

"We go look for them," Duncan walked across to where his long coat was draped deceptively easily over a chair; there was a blade inside the attire and Richie felt glad he had his own sword nestled in his jacket as he considered the three deaths the lethal team had already caused.

"Amanda, you stay here with Emily, we need someone here in case Joe calls with news," MacLeod waved at his lover; then he paused an glanced at Altea.

There was that awkwardness again, they still couldn't handle each other.

"Allie, wanna come?" Richie jumped in quickly.

The woman shook her head, which surprised her partner, but he was used to the occasional curve ball by now. He didn't know what her reasons were, but he saw them in her eyes and the young man just gave her a parting smile of encouragement.


Scene 3

The room was large and airy, at least there was that to say for it--well Roderick always tried to look on the bright side, it was all there was to life. Yet, somehow, the broken windows and whistling of the wind in the rafters of the derelict warehouse would not quite form into the rosier picture the poet was trying to conjure. Maybe it had something to do with the anarchy he was watching from his position a little way off--Immortals, some of then centuries old, screaming and squabbling over spoils they had stolen from the market moments earlier. Now he could very much see the petulant child that was still trapped inside all of them alongside the part of them which had been allowed to mature. He hated this, Marcus had shown them all how to leave the child behind, to face life as they were, but Kenny was bringing back the dangerous side of them, the impulsive, angry brat who had been cursed by fate.

Roderick could feel that child in himself, it was so easy to let the bitterness in. Emily would never know that he too has a grievance against their adult kind, it was in the past, at the beginning of his long life, and he had to view it with a philosopher's mind, else he'd have gone mad years ago...like Kenny. The sensitive soul could not help feeling sorry for the stormy child; he was so angry and there was hurt below the protection that was so deep there wasn't much else left. Roderick found himself focusing on the stocky form as he scrabbled with his companions, taking the lion's share for himself. He commanded fear, but not much else.

Breath caught in the watcher's throat as bright, cruel eyes snapped round to him; something had told Kenny he was being observed, and he didn't like it one bit. The frown on his young face grew into a dark grimace and he abandoned the fight. Roderick just stayed very still as he was approached, he thought it was the best thing he could do; oddly he thought of how to deal with a defensive dog when it came at him. Kenny waved his sword at the still figure, and this time Roderick did cringe away as he saw the hatred in the Immortal's eyes.

"What is it?" the blond figure demanded, keeping his tone low so as not to alert the others to the conversation.

Roderick was surprised by the hurt he actually saw break through the shell of his captor, he hadn't expected to be affecting this vengeful man. Kenny found him confusing, that much was obvious, he didn't seem to be able to understand the philosophical view.

"Why are you looking at me? You're always looking at me," the child complained through what adult there was in Kenny.

"I'm sorry," the poet returned, but did not back away from this, he had to try and reach the person hidden inside the revenge, "I don't mean to make you uncomfortable."

"You're weak," Kenny sneered, "why should I be bothered with you anyway. I'd take your head if it wasn't that you make good bait for Emily. She's the dangerous one, you hide under her skirts."

"What made you hate them?" Roderick couldn't stop the question which had been sitting at the front of his mind for as long as he'd known the angry Immortal.

Kenny's eyes widened at the presumption, and for a moment, the asker thought he would receive a slap for his trouble, but the fire was redirected.

"You wanna know why, weakling, I'll tell you why," the boy seethed.

FLASHBACK: ENGLAND 1185

It had been a few years since he'd seen Amanda, and as he trotted along to keep up with his scruffy travelling companion, Kenny had to admit that he missed her. Gareth Lipscombe was not as kind as the beautiful woman had been, he was a rough man, beggar, vagrant and thief, who kept the boy with him because he was useful. If that was the way it had to be for a few years, just until he sorted himself out again, Kenny had decided he could put up with it; it was an arrangement of convenience, mostly Gareth's, but then trapped in the weak body, Kenny didn't have much bargaining power.

Now they were approaching a village, they'd been on the road three days without a morsel to feed them; Gareth wasn't much of a poacher and there'd been no-one to steal from. Kenny didn't like the look of this place, the people were suspicious, eyes watched from everywhere as the strangers moved into town. The year had been bad, high taxes and low yield, and it would be difficult to steal from such careful villagers, but he knew Gareth would want him to anyway. A pat on his shoulder told the boy to go find some booty, while the man tackled the villagers with a little diversion. Gareth wasn't much of a juggler either, but it served to entertain in the thicker communities they'd swindled.

Kenny could hear the man's sibilant voice roll out over the village as he crept round the back of houses, trying to find at least some food, but there wasn't much laughter, just as there wasn't food either. The thief found more mud than anything else, but he was very hungry and needs outweighed danger as he scrabbled in baskets for anything. At last, his hand wrapped round an apple; it was small and going brown, sat atop a small pile of its brothers, but it was food. Kenny started shoving them in his pockets.

Kenny was a good thief, quick and agile, but these people were better, their desperation being just a little greater than his. A hand came down on his back and hooked him up by the collar. The Immortal cursed his size as he was man-handled by a very angry woman back into public view. She was screaming words like 'thief' and 'vagabond' as if she meant 'murderer', and Kenny knew he was going to get more than a hiding for this. He struggled, but he was small and she was very large, and all he could do was cover his head as she beat around it. These people were starving, and in a moment of horrified genius, the caught Immortal knew she saw him as a killer, taking food away from her babies' mouths.

The man-boy was afraid, he'd been run out of town before, but this was different, he wasn't going to be sent on his way, his child's face saving him from the fate of other thieves; someone was already preparing a rope.

"We don't like thieving little devils like you!" one man joined the woman and gave him a much firmer slap than she had done.

Kenny moaned and fell away from the hold with the force of the blow; he landed in the mud and looked around for his partner. Gareth was not in sight--well what had he expected? The boyish frame cowered as some put the boot in; he couldn't even defend himself, the bastard of a partner had sold his sword. Why had he bothered to trust, it wasn't worth it, everyone betrayed you in the end. Kenny kicked and screamed as the lifted him up with little effort. Up he went, like a sack of corn, up towards the noose that was reserved for him.

Then he saw Gareth's face, and heard his voice.

"Little thief, why did I bother with you?!" the man sneered and passed him on up over the heads of the people to his doom.

"Bastard!" Kenny yelled, rage erupting out of him, and he tried to scratch at his betrayer. Yet he was hauled away, and the noose came all too soon.

PRESENT

"They all betray us," Kenny growled.

Roderick felt for the Immortal, he always had, and he spoke from the heart as he tried to soothe the anger with, "Some of us have had similar things happen, but Marcus helped us through that, made life so much better."

The poet started as a cold point dug into the skin under his chin; sympathy hadn't been the right thing to say. Roderick chilled as his captor hissed, "Marcus is dead."


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