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The Wild Ones

Part 2


Scene 4

Altea sat back and watched Amanda and Emily as they went about finding the smaller woman some clothes. The dark woman had tried to draw her into the event, but the Amazon has declined, unsure of herself in this type of situation.

[Give me a bow,} she thought as she admired and envied the ease with which Amanda handled herself.

Altea had to admit that she'd been in awe of this Immortal's grace and beauty since meeting her, and it never ceased to amaze her how the thief handled everyone. Amanda seemed confident about everything from thieving to looking good, and the Amazon caught herself making mental notes as she watched the woman dress first herself and then the child-woman.

If Amanda was to be envied, then the small Immortal was the opposite for Altea; she was appalled at the idea of being trapped in a child's body for eternity, and the memory of how close she had come that night in the forest with the ghosts sent shivers running down her upright spine. Emily confused the Amazon where Amanda inspired; she was a woman in a child's body, of that the fiery Immortal had no doubt, but there were also very childish things about her as well. Amanda seemed to bring more of them out in her new friend. Altea had spoken little to Emily, but when she did so, she had received polite, adult conversation. However, as Amanda selected clothes and addressed the childlike figure's toilet, she giggled and acted like Altea had seen young daughters do on old black and white movies. But then again, the Amazon was surprised to see the mother in her normally siren-like friend as well.

{Even that she does with twice as much grace as I have in my little finger,} the girl thought, but then chided herself for being so jealous.

Instead of pouting in the corner, Altea decided to finally join in the conversation, and as the 'mother and daughter' sat down to sort out Emily's beautiful mane of blond hair, the young woman placed herself on a seat opposite them.

"You have lovely hair," she thought that sounded the right thing to say to Emily.

"Thank you," the woman-child smiled and gushed, "but what I wouldn't do to have such a deep colour as yours, it's so vibrant where's mine's this pale yellow."

Altea wasn't quite sure how to handle that compliment, if Richie said things like that, he was usually on an amorous tack. She struggled for some form of reply and was grateful when Amanda rescued her.

"Don't be silly, Emily," she scolded lightly, brushing the golden curls, "that strong a colour just wouldn't suit your complexion. You have such smooth skin."

"So would you if you were twelve," the words came out so rapidly and with such an edge that Amanda stopped what she was doing.

Emily looked to both her new friends and swiftly apologised, "I'm sorry, I have a small axe to grind and I can't help it sometimes."

Amanda laid a hand on the girl's shoulder; Altea decided it was best to stay out of the moment.

"You poor darling," the darker woman breathed.

Emily laid her head against Amanda's legs and the woman began to absently brush the other side of her hair.

"Don't pity me," the girl sighed, but without the harshness of a moment ago, "it's a good life really, and I have Roderick."

"You love him very much," Amanda observed with a smile.

"Since the first moment I saw him," Emily giggled. "He was a mouse compared to Marcus, half his size, Marcus had been almost sixteen when he died, Roderick had been thirteen, and so quiet. He bowed so elegantly. He's such a gentle soul, sees the best in everyone and he calms me down. I have a nasty temper, but he soothes me with a few words and a gentle hand. I have no idea what he sees in me," she laughed lightly, "but we love each other. I haven't been away from him since he arrived at my house on March 23rd 1753."

"Sounds like he won't give Kenny any reason to kill him," Altea offered the only comfort to the girl's worry that she could; it was blunt, but seemed to help Emily.

However, the pained look on Amanda's face spoke volumes to the Amazon. Richie had explained about Emily and then about Kenny when he had returned home the previous evening. Emily had obviously been told about the thief's previous relationship to her nemesis as well, because she wrapped her slender arm around her friend's legs and hugged.

"I wish I'd been able to find him again," Amanda admitted, "maybe he wouldn't have turned out this way."

"He's not your fault," Altea blurted out before she stopped herself.

She fell silent as both gazes rested on her, and she wondered why she was offering an opinion she really wasn't qualified to give. Yet after a moment of shock, Amanda nodded; a small sigh escaped her lips, but then she wrapped Emily in the hug she had started and brightened considerably.

"Let's not dwell," she announced, "I know only one cure for a case of maudlin, and that's shopping. You haven't any clothes, Em, so why don't we take Duncan's Gold Card and find you some."

Emily broke away from the hold and clapped her hands together like an excited child, but then she stopped. Her face fell and she looked up at Amanda as she reminded them, "We're meant to stay by the phone."

"I'll stay," Altea volunteered without even thinking, she'd been doing a lot of that in the last few minutes.

There was something about cheering up the elf-like woman which warmed Altea's heart, and she could not begrudge the pair the chance to have a little fun.


Scene 5

Richie's French had improved considerably since his first adventures in Paris, but he was struggling with the fast patter of the locals he was interrogating for any possible news of the child-size Immortals. The young man was just about managing to gather that two of them were arguing about whether they had seen any children who matched his brief, broken description, and he was coming to the conclusion that there was going to be no useful information arising from the said discussion.

"Merci, merci," he interrupted the flow loudly, with an attempt at a smile.

He received vague smiles of those unable to communicate very well, and nods as he shook hands with one of them and then he scanned the street for MacLeod. The tall Scot was not difficult to see, stood conspicuously under a lamppost, waiting for him to finish the last leg of their slow journey up the road. The younger Immortal shrugged and shook his head as he approached his friend, finding it hard to be enthusiastic when after two hours of searching and talking they'd found nothing on the elusive group.

"Zip," he sighed.

"It's early days," Mac was trying to be optimistic, "let's try in the market."

The youth nodded and followed as his companion led the way into a modest covered market that led off from the main street. The place was bustling with mid-morning shoppers all intent on getting the best for the best price. Richie hung with Mac as they moved from the first stall to the next and the next, there was no point in splitting up, the place was too closed in.

They approached the next stall, a greengrocer; Richie wasn't really listening to the rapid French which passed between Mac and the aproned man behind the barrow, but then both men's tones changed from the first casual interchange to more earnest discussion. The young man looked up from where he'd been contemplating his shoelaces and the grocer was pointing and waving, and it was obvious he was not happy and was giving some kind of directions. Ryan had missed most of the conversation, but he was ready to respond when Mac turned to him.

"What'd he say?" he asked.

"They were here," the Highlander told him quickly, moving off rapidly from the stall, back the way they had come, "The man remembered them because they stole from his stall. He and a couple of the others chased them, but they lost them a couple of streets away. He thinks they were headed to some old warehouses North of here."


Scene 6

The ropes were quite tight and Roderick shifted uncomfortably as he watched the argument develop between the leader and his supposed second in command. Why they'd tied him up when they'd sent the others away was beyond him, Paulo was more than a match for his sword skills, and they'd taken his weapon anyway. Still, he was sunk into a corner, fixed to one of the beams which stuck out from the side of the building, and he was powerless to stop the bickering.

The quiet man had seen this coming, Kenny was using Paulo and their egos were too equally matched for there to be peace. They'd maintained a pretence at unity when the others were around, but now they were gone searching for Emily, the argument had started. Paulo thought Kenny was overstepping his bounds, giving orders and taking heads, he'd taken two of the three so far and the so-called leader wasn't happy about it. The altercation was far from logical, based mainly on hurt pride and jealousy, and the two figures were already nose to nose, yelling wildly at each other. Roderick feared that there would be more than just blows with fists.

"The others'll back me if it comes to it," Paulo was resorting to threats now that Kenny had made it clear he was not backing down.

"Just try it," the shorter, but stockier boy sneered dangerously. "I got you where you are, Paulo, I can bring you down again."

Paulo shoved Kenny backwards.

{At least he didn't draw his sword,} Roderick observed to himself as he watched the childish posturing.

Paulo stood, hands on hips, a few feet away from his rival, trying to use the few extra inches he had in height to make himself into a giant. The darker boy was almost on tiptoe, very unstable. Kenny was hunched, but ready to spring; still he paused, assessing his opponent--the blond boy was by far the more experienced and most dangerous of the two. Their watcher knew who would win if it came to more than just a tussle.

Kenny was reaching into his jacket; the movement was almost imperceptible at first, but Roderick was watching both figures carefully. The helpless poet gritted his teeth, knowing there could be only one outcome if the fight went further; things were bad now, but with Kenny in complete control, the captive dreaded the possibilities.

Roderick was so intent on the tableau that he started violently when the sense of his own kind sliced through him. His head hit the iron beam to which he was tied and bright spots clouded his vision for a moment. Chiding himself, he blinked away the stars, hoping that the return of the others would stop the hostilities. However, he wasn't expecting the two figures who appeared at the wide door; he couldn't see their faces, they were backed by the sun, but they were definitely adult, one tall and broad, the other smaller, but powerfully built. Roderick's fear changed emphasis, but did not retreat; he hadn't met a fully-grown Immortal in centuries and his last encounter had not been good.

The shorter man pulled a sword, and his face was clouded into a frown as he came into better view. However, his overt animosity was aimed solely at one figure in the room--Kenny. The other, darker adult strolled more easily into the room, he obviously assessed the situation and decided that his own blade was not necessary. He two had his attention focused on Kenny, but there was a manner about him that told Roderick that he'd seen him and that he had half an eye on Paulo. The blond boy, himself was quite clearly suddenly very nervous, and it came out in a nasty grimace.

"MacLeod!" the boy spat the word like a challenge, but he took a step back from the approaching men none-the-less.

"I can't say it's nice to see you again, Kenny," the tall man replied, his features passive, but his eyes showing a little more of the distrust he felt towards his old acquaintance. "Up to old tricks and new I hear."

"Leave us alone, MacLeod, and you may keep your head," Kenny threatened.

The man stopped, his companion halting a few feet behind him, and looked around whimsically. He shrugged and countered the caveat with a simple observation, "Doesn't look that way to me, Kenny, we saw the others leave, you're on your own."

"I'll get you, MacLeod," the blond boy yelled, but he was already on the move; Kenny dashed away from the two newcomers like a rat escaping through a bolt hole, and he was quickly followed by Paulo.

The pair scrabbled through a small hole in the wall and the two men didn't bother to try and make pursuit. Roderick swallowed hard, as instead they both turned to him. He shied away as the blond man moved towards him, sword still drawn, but he was surprised by a smile.

"Hi Roderick," a cheerful American accent greeted him, and the young man used the blade on the ropes, "Emily's told us all about you."

"Emily, where is she?" all his emotions caught up with Roderick at once and he nearly fell as MacLeod pulled him to his feet.

"Woa, easy there," the big man caught him and kept him upright. "I'm Duncan MacLeod, and this is Richie Ryan," the blond man nodded as he put his blade away. "Emily is safe and she's at my home. We've been looking for you all morning."

Roderick beamed at them as relief dominated his feelings.


Scene 7

FLASHBACK: ENGLAND 1190

Kenny waited on the dirt track. He could hear the sound of the horses coming from further down in the wood, but they were hidden from view. This was it, his chance to prove himself to the robber gang he joined only days before; he'd persuaded them of the usefulness of his innocent face before they slit his throat for accidentally stumbling on their woodland hideaway. Now he was the decoy, weary, injured peasant boy, lying on the highway from Bath to Glastonbury. There were rich travellers on this route, taking the waters at Bath and then giving thanks for their good health to the monks at Glastonbury, and they were generally in a charitable mood.

The boyish frame curled over himself, moaning in pain as the first horse came into view; a rotund man in rich clothes, Kenny saw him out of the corner of his eye, and there was a second figure behind the first, also on horseback, but he didn't have time to make it out. Kenny redoubled his acting as the man reined in his horse only feet from his crumpled form.

"Help me, Sir," he begged, holding out a desperate hand. "Please, I have fallen from the tree, I think my leg is broken."

"Help him, Father," a feminine tone surprised the boy, and he looked up at a willowy creature in the bloom of youth sat elegantly on a grey mare.

"Of course, we shall, daughter," the rich man agreed, and with a warm smile, climbed off his mount.

That was it, the signal for the others to attack. Kenny scrabbled out of the way as the smile became a grimace of pain where a knife went swiftly into the Good Samaritan's heart. The girl screamed as she was dragged off her mount, putting up a fight which surprised the man who had moved on her. He grunted heavily, and Kenny spun on the spot in time to see her lift her skirts and run into the woods. The Immortal didn't really know why he did it, to get away from the dead body or to catch the girl and prove himself, but he ran after her before he was really thinking.

Laughter followed him as the others obviously thought it quite a joke for the runt to catch their runaway. He just gritted his teeth and pelted after the terrified figure. The girl was hampered by her long dress and it was easy to catch her. Kenny dived at her and brought her down by the ankles. His captive struggled, screaming and trying to hit out, but the boy was stockier than he looked, and with a firm hold on her legs, he began to move up her body, pinning her to the ground. He grabbed her wrists and forced them be her sides; her yells turned to sobs, and suddenly she stopped fighting.

"Please let me go," she begged, petrified as her captor knelt over her, "please take anything you want, just don't kill me."

Kenny looked down on the helpless girl, and he wondered what he was going to do. She was no more than a child really, the adult clothes having hidden the little girl in her face, and her fear reached the would-be highwayman. Suddenly, he knelt back on his ankles, releasing his victim. She took the chance she was given, and didn't look back. The boy watched the girl's flight, and couldn't stifle the pang of guilt and pain at how he had helped ruin her life in just a few short minutes. She would be glad to be alive for now, but what when she reached safety, a safety without the kind man that her father had shown himself to be? His heart heavy, Kenny stood up and prepared to face his comrades.

"She got away," he muttered gruffly as he returned empty handed to the road.

That didn't wash, they'd heard the screams, every man turned around and stared at their failure.

"You let her get away, little fool," David, their leader sneered at him, and pushed him. "She can go to the Sheriff, he'll have dogs in these woods before nightfall."

"Coward," came from one of the pack.

"Judas," from another direction.

Kenny stumbled as he was shoved into the centre of the road. Fear crept up on him as he looked around at the faces which closed in. He screamed half in pain, half in terror as first David, then the rest laid into him with all the reverie they would have used while playing with the girl.

PRESENT

They were in an alley two streets away before Kenny stopped his flight. MacLeod scared him, he'd beaten him twice, and his presence in Paris was a concern. Yet, he was feeling angry at losing face to the interfering Highlander, and he used that to drown his fear. He turned on his companion, the previous fight a good excuse to vent some rage. There were no words, only a gasp from Paulo as Kenny drew his sword. The movement was so swift, the other boy didn't even have a chance to reach for his own weapon. With a cry of hatred and anger, Kenny swiped at his rival's neck.

Only silent rage filled the pause before the Quickening as the body fell.


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