Endmaim

The Holy Ground Highlander Forum Midweek Challenge

Archivist’s Note: The stories and vignettes offered here from various Rysher Forumlanders have not been edited or changed other than having a spell-check performed and being reformatted for this website.

MID WEEK CHALLENGE: ENDMAIM (SPOILERS)

Posted by Leah CWPack on 9/6/2000, 6:41 am  

Your mission, should you decide to participate:

It's the very end of the Movie, and you've just taken over as the scriptwriter, perhaps because you'll be in charge of penning the next installment/film. Duncan has just turned away from the gravesite. Instead of fading to black and the end credits, you are going to tell us what happens next.

Scene can take place either on that same Scottish hillside or elsewhere. Basically, you are adding an ending to the film. Use anyone on anything you need.

Good luck!

Kind of a MWC entry (movie spoilers, I guess)

Posted by Alaska Man on 9/6/2000, 4:34 pm 

Well, I typed it all in, then decided to just hang it up on my website. Link below.

AM

Link: "Journal"

Endgame MWC response...reposted by request.

Posted by MacNair on 9/6/2000, 4:25 pm 

I have to preface this story a bit.

I had not seen the movie yet, but I had been given 3 things about the movie by a friend "across the pond" who saw it first and was looking out for me.

I knew Duncan kills Connor. I knew there was a reason for it. I knew there was a melancholy scene of Duncan standing over Connor's grave in the Highlands when it was over. (special thanks to Sharz for the proof reading!)

**************

Mourning Morning

He came awake gasping for air, thrashing. The covers tangled around his sweating body and he fought them to get free, stumbling out of bed and onto legs that threatened to crumple. The silk pajama bottoms hugged his features, clinging damply. His hair was awry and his mind full of chaos…but he staggered out on limbs as unsteady as a colt’s, following the faint signal of immortal presence.

He was there. He was really there. He felt giddy and sick and faint all at once. He thought he would collapse, so overwhelming were his emotions.

Connor MacLeod was sitting in the half dawn, sipping coffee. He had one long leg propped against the windowsill and he looked up, curiously, as Duncan entered the room and approached. The younger immortal went to one knee and reached out a hand, his fingers spreading wide, and spanned them across Connor’s neck. The older highlander tightened almost imperceptibly and the tremor communicated itself through the hot liquid in the cup in widening concentric circles.

Duncan closed his eyes, focused intently on his fingers where pulse and heat and life beat through the carotid arteries. For a moment he was utterly still and then righted himself internally, belatedly registering the incrementally increased pace of the heartbeat beneath his hand and the steely grip that fastened on the errant wrist. He opened his eyes, chagrined by his lapse, and found only calm blue ones watching and measuring him.

For a moment they were frozen, staring at one another.

“Good morning to you too,” Connor wryly stated. His grip did not yield on the wrist.

“I…uh…” Duncan faltered, “had a dream.” Damn. He knew his face revealed almost every secret to this man. He wished he had inherited a poker face along with his strong features. He did not even spare a thought to the fact that his friend had not removed his hand from his throat…the breath and life continued on under his fingers. “It was…it was…I was…” He couldn’t finish. He could only gaze back into that familiar face, tracing every feature as if seeing it for the first time.

“I’m used to haunting the dreams of women, Duncan, not inhabiting yours.” Connor spoke it with characteristic dry humor and quirked an eyebrow at him.

“Not THAT kind of a dream you s***head!” came the immediate retort. Followed by a hapless chuckle that choked itself off almost as soon as it began. Too many strong feelings still circled to be able to break away so easily.

“Eh? Too bad. I thought I’d get a wild tale out of you…or at least see how far it went before I clobbered you spitless.” Connors voice was shot through with deviltry.

That did it. Duncan pulled his hand free and leaned on the arm of the chair, laughing helplessly until his eyes blurred. He kept his head down even when he stopped, knowing he would have to explain himself as soon as he looked up.

Difficult ones. The hum of distress in him was still faintly there, dim and muted. He wrestled with his sluggish fortitude.

“What did you dream, Dhonnchaidh?”

The old familiar name. Damn, Connor was going [to go—omit, it’s stated] for his throat about this and he wasn’t even ready…but then again, he had definitely gone for Connor’s. He could still feel the ghostly echo of the life under his fingers. Putting a hand on the neck of Connor MacLeod … well, there were not many immortals who would dare, let alone live to tell about it. Honesty was the best policy, no matter how he felt about it.

“I dreamed I killed you.”

“So. You’ve done that before,” said just as softly.

“No. Really killed you.” He could not meet Connor’s gaze. It didn’t even matter if he was talking about dreaming the killing or the few times inadvertently in a sparring session when they had critically injured one another. All the inarticulate horror and pain of the night swelled up in him and he swung his head back and forth like some mindless beast trying to free himself.

A firm hand on his shoulder anchored him temporarily, but he still felt as if he were drowning in clear air. “I killed you. It was terrible…even though there wasn’t any other way. Standing over your grave on the mountain…I…I couldn’t…there wasn’t…” He stammered to a halt with a giant hand clenched around his heart. He was NOT going to cry. He hadn’t wept for years. Strange, how his cheeks were damp and the room swam giddily.

“Shhh.” The hand crept up around his shoulder to the back of his neck, digging fingers around the tendons with casual familiarity. “Shhh. Just a dream, Dhonnchaidh.”

“I never call you,” he stumbled on, hardly taking a breath between words, “I know you’re right there in New York, but I hardly ever ask you to come and help me with anything. It’s enough that I know you’re there. A wall behind my back if I need it. Solid. Strong. Strength within strength. It’s enough that you’re just there and then I killed you and the wall was gone and it was like having no anchor at all and part of me…part of me...”

“Shhh…shhh…” The fingers dug painfully into his neck, demanding focus and control.

But Duncan had no blockade for this tide and he lurched on, needing to say all the things left unsaid over the long years. “I buried part of myself on that hillside and it was like someone put a bomb to Scotland and sank her into the sea. There wasn’t anything left…and no matter where I went in the world, you weren’t in it and…and…I’m not ready.” He raised his face at this last, finally meeting the eyes of the man he had killed. “I’m not ready to lose you. I love you.” And here he stopped, staggered, half- blind and frozen like an animal caught in headlights.

Tick. Tick. Tick. The clock on the wall kept the pace methodically. The only sound in the room over his pounding heart.

“I know you do, Duncan.”

“I hardly ever tell you,” he whispered in an untrustworthy voice. How could his soul hurt so much?

“That doesn’t mean I don’t know. And I’m the one man in the seven kingdoms of the world that has loved you all of your life.” The older man paused for a few seconds. “All your life, give or take a few decades.”

“I know.” He was able to breathe easier and his vision cleared. Still, he felt like he had been run over by a truck. He shivered with barely repressed dread. “Pray that I’m already gone before you fall, Connor. Pray I’m gone. Pray I never see that day.”

“Shhh.” Connor rubbed the pad of his thumb firmly against the corded neck. “You’re a wild skittish thing this morning, aren’t you? This is what a Star Wars/Star Trek marathon and too much whisky inspire, youngster. Too much Kirk, Jinn and Kenobi for you. Surprised you didn’t dream those glow stick swords in there too!”

Duncan couldn’t help the chuckle. He knew the elder Scot had a fascination for the lightsabers. One Halloween he fully expected to see him dressed in a cloak with a pretend one, temporarily insane with mischief and too much drink. He supposed he’d have to dress accordingly just to keep his old friend out of trouble…

And just as quickly as the thoughts worked their way through him, the despair and dread melted away to be replaced with fondness built upon 400 plus years of brotherhood. A kinship deep and quiet and strong, resting as a familiar spirit in his soul. This was just a morning and not a mourning at all.

“Tell me, Duncan,” he interjected, “did you kill me over some girl?”

“No,” with a snort of humor.

“Good. Then I can still try to steal them away from you.”

“Connor!”

**************MacNair 9/1/00 4:30am****************

MID-WEEK CHALLENGE ENTRY : A short vinnette to go before the credits.

Posted by Titania on 9/6/2000, 4:14 pm 

* A Final Toast *

The door to Le Blues Bar opened, scattering the dust mites and sunshine rays. The lone figure paused in the doorway, adjusting to the dim interior and searching for a friendly face. Instead he found Methos.

“I told you it would all end badly, MacLeod.” the ancient immortal started. “One of the very few times in my long life that I wished that I were wrong.” he ended compassionately. He patted Duncan on the back as Duncan gave him a smile mixed with grief and gratidude.

Joe handed the last Highlander a pint of ale. He raised his glass in salute. Methos followed. After a long pause Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod joined them.

“To Connor” they all intoned together and drained their pints.

FIN

MWC: "Aftermath"-- if this doesn't stay long, it'll be on Northlander

Posted by Ghost Cat on 9/8/2000, 9:07 pm

"Aftermath"

Duncan stood alone, saying one final goodbye to the closest thing he had ever had to family. He felt it was his duty to bring his kinsman home, so that Connor and Heather would at last have their forever. The Watchers had tried to take his body with the others, but after one look at the victorious Highlander, they backed down immediately. The way Mac had been, fresh off Kell and still not quite entirely himself, he could be very persuasive. So much had happened so quickly, and yet it always seemed to end the same: with another grave, more friends lost, victory at a terrible price.

He felt the warning: who would dare intrude on this private moment? He didn't turn around, though he gripped his sword hilt tighter. His voice was calm, but dangerous; "Not here; not now."

A familiar voice whispered softly, "Not even me?" He spun around quickly, not daring to believe-

Amanda? She was back; she was here; she was real. His heart tightened and his spirit soared. Just as suddenly he thought of Kate, and his hopes fell crashing back to earth. In over three centuries he had never been able to tell Amanda the truth. Every time they came too close, he had always pushed her away. The poor sweet rogue probably thought it was all her fault. He didn't deserve her love.

Amanda read the struggle in his eloquent eyes; saw in him a kind of fragile vulnerability kept hidden for too long. She reached out to him, gently; "You loved me with all my faults, did you really think I wouldn't do the same for you?" He tried to turn away from her, she followed; "Why didn't you tell me about Kate?"

Challenge flared briefly in his dark eyes, "Who sent you: Methos, Daw--" she silenced his protests with a single delicate finger. "Shh, that doesn't matter now. What matters is that I know, and I understand." She thought for a moment of Nick; his feverish, pain-filled eyes, the gun in her hands; and afterwards… "I understand better than you could imagine. We all make mistakes. Sometimes we even make the same ones."

His voice was barely audible; "She hated me. For centuries, she hated me." She held him gently, and part of him noticed that she, too, had changed. There was no seduction in her touch, no sense that there was something in it for her.

"Shh dear. I know she can't forgive you, but I can." The noble MacLeod sighed into her embrace; something deep inside him cracked. There, in front of his homeland and his kin, he let it all go. He released all of his pride, his guilt, his doubts and fears. He let go of Connor, Kate, and even Kell. He put aside the Sanctuary and everything it implied. He let it all flow out of him until he felt empty inside; and into that emptiness flowed a love that was truly undying, a love he had pushed aside too many times. In the aftermath of all his pain and loss, he had found what his was looking for… Redemption. 

Link: Clan Northlander HQ-- will update soon!!

EndGame FanFic (Spoilers) -- Inspired by Leah, My Ending ...

Posted by Snick on 9/8/2000, 12:10 pm 

ENDGAME SPOILER INSIDE

Duncan turned away from the claymore that marked Connor’s final resting-place. The original Highlander was home now, home forever on the hills he had loved so well. Now it was time for the younger Highlander to return to The Game.

As the centuries passed, he had grown to loathe The Game and its unceasing violence. He remembered discussing The Game with Connor. Connor had seemed to have no problem accepting his role in life.

“Why live forever if our only purpose is to hunt each other? Where’s the wisdom in that?” he had asked. “Why be Immortal if there’s nothing to it beyond death and violence?”

Connor shrugged. He smiled his half-smile. “Nobody ever said the universe is wise, laddie. And nobody ever said we have to understand our purpose in life – or that we had to like it once we figured it out.”

Duncan hadn’t much liked Connor’s answer—if answer it had been. So he Played The Game according to its Rules, fighting when he was challenged, challenging when he felt the need. But his heart wasn’t in it. He grew to detest a life so poorly measured in the number of years lived and heads taken.

Every so often he tried to retire from The Game. A decade or so in a monastary, masquerading as a man of God. A few years stolen with an Amerind tribe. Long vacations playing chess with Father Darius. And a little over a decade spent with Tessa. It was never any good. The Game followed him, found him—and forced him to Play. No sanctuary was so deeply hidden that The Game couldn’t reach him.

But now Connor was safe at last, in the only way an Immortal could ever find rest and peace: In the grave, lifeforce stolen by another Highlands Immortal. Yes, Duncan had defeated Kell, whose Highland roots matched his own—but Connor’s death was poor recompense for that hollow victory. The Game had claimed two Highlanders this week, and now there was only one left. And the remaining Highlander didn’t feel much like Playing anymore. He almost envied Connor, now.

But The Game needed him now more than ever. It had been badly damaged, its Rules bent and broken by Kell’s tricks. If Immortals could gang-up on each other, if Holy Ground wasn’t safe anymore – then there were no Rules and The Game was a sham.

Immortality is pale enough as ‘tis, Duncan thought. Take away The Game an’ we’re nothing more than a bunch of murderers. The Game is the only thing that keeps us going, its Rules the only structure in our violent lives. Take that away an’ what’ve you got? You’ve got Kronos and The Horsemen all over again, times a thousand or two of us.

It was up to Duncan to fix The Game. He had to figure-out what The Rules really were, and let the others know how to Play. He figured Joe would help him – and perhaps Methos as well. And he could use The Watchers to get the word out. He trudged back toward the local town, his mind running down one plan after the next, trying to figure out the New Rules and how he was going to get The Watchers to cooperate.

He didn’t feel a buzz of warning. He didn’t see the man on the hilltop, who was kneeling down and pointing a rifle at him. He didn’t hear the shot – but he felt the blow as the bullet entered one side and blew out the other. He didn’t have time to be surprised as his world went dark.


*****


He came back to life with a desperate gasp of air. Gradually the pain left and energy returned, and along with that came the awareness that he was strapped down on some kind of operating table. There were IV lines with needles stuck into him, and wires running in and out of his body at various points, and some kind of computer hum in the background. The air smelled of disinfectant.

Duncan’s first impression was that he was in some kind of laboratory or operating room. He didn’t much like those kind of places. Medical technology held little attraction for those who healed themselves.

A man leaned over him and came into focus. It was Carmen Kuryea, the Watcher who had tried to lock Duncan away in the Watcher’s Sanctuary—where Duncan would still be except for the help of his friends.

“Where am I?” he asked the Watcher, already half-suspecting the answer.

“Sanctuary II, MacLeod. We have new technology. We’ve fixed it. We’ve made it better than it was.”

The Watcher looked over at somebody out of Duncan’s view. He nodded. The computer hum increased and Duncan felt his body shudder. His vision dimmed.

“What’s this – a new knockout drug?” he asked. “At least, this time you don’t stick a needle up my nose.”

The Watcher smiled. He knew something MacLeod didn’t know. “No. Not this time,” he told the Highlander. “This time we’ve got it all figured out.”

Duncan looked calmly at Kuryea, but inside he was feeling something strange. What were these mortals doing to him?

“Do tell,” he said. “Or should I play a guessing game?”

“No MacLeod. I’ll tell you,” came the reply. “It’s like this: We’ve spent a long time Watching you Immortals. Longer than you may think. We’ve been Watching and recording. Discussing what you’re up to. Studying and learning. Performing autopsies on headless corpses. Trying to figure-out what makes you different. Different from us, anyway. And we’re not all of us field agents; some of us are scientists.”

“And --?” Mac prompted. His stomach was feeling queasy now, and in his shrunken vision Kuryea’s face looked like a pink dot in the middle of blackness. But he wouldn’t give Kuryea the pleasure of knowing how he felt.

“And now we know. Your Quickening, MacLeod. Your lifeforce. It’s all energy, all electrical impulses that can be found on the electromagnetic spectrum.” The Watcher looked at him steadily. “And your DNA, your genes, your chromosomes. We’ve mapped them out as well.”

Kuryea nodded again and the hum picked-up again. “We’ve got you and your kind figured-out MacLeod. Right down to the last gene and last bioelectric impulse. You’re nothing but a pile of electrical charges encoded into a bag of meat.”

“And once we figured that out and how to map it – it wasn’t very hard to figure out how to record it.”

Duncan felt little as his vision blacked out. But his hearing was still intact and he heard the Watcher’s voice continue.

“So that’s what we’re doing now, MacLeod. We’re running the tapes and recording your Quickening for all posterity. Your lifeforce, and Kell’s. And Connor’s. And the energy from every other Immortal whose head you’ve ever taken. They’re ours now.”

Duncan had energy enough to speak in a whisper, to ask a final question. “But that’s not Sanctuary. Recording us doesn’t keep us from fighting—it won’t keep one of us from The Prize. How does this stop The Game?”

Kuryea’s voice was triumphant. “Did I say record, MacLeod? Well, yes – we do that as well. But we also steal. You see, like the Indians who thought that photographs stole their souls—once we record your Quickening, it’s gone forever. Like dust in the wind.”

Kuryea’s voice was losing volume quickly, like it was receding down a well. But Duncan still heard the final words. “You’re not going to die, MacLeod. In a few minutes you’ll wake up without a single mark on you.”

“But when you wake up, MacLeod—you’ll be different. You won’t have your Quickening anymore. You won’t be immortal anymore. You’ll be just like us. And once we’ve got your Quickening, we’ll go after the others, one by one. Soon there won’t be any Immortals left—so there will be no Game and no Prize.”

Kuryea paused and looked sober for a moment, contemplating the enormity of it all. Then he smiled and said to Duncan, “Welcome to the human race, MacLeod.”

Endgame Fanfic (SPOILERS)

Posted by Leah CWPack on 9/8/2000, 9:20 am

He waited patiently in the car at the bottom of the hill.

Actually, he'd been waiting for this moment for nearly a decade. Planning. Manipulating. Calculating. He only felt a small tingle of anticipation because he had been expecting this for so long. Leaning back in the driver's seat, he hooked one gangly arm over the seat back and waited expressionlessly.

Here he came. His shoulders slumped and head down, no doubt grieving over his kinsman who now slept beneath the gravestone at the top of the hill. A dramatic setting, Methos reflected, until you realized that the sheep would probably graze there most of the year. Connor had hated sheep. Irony briefly touched the corner of his mouth.

Meanwhile, MacLeod ascended, his step slow but deliberate, a figure crushed against the circumstances of life and death. Methos smiled again and shifted the gear. He had lived a lot of the former. He had been the latter. Folding his long fingers around the steering wheel, he straightened and floored the pedal.

MacLeod seemed so preoccupied with his gloomy funk that he didn't even look up as Methos gunned the powerful engine. The planning of the past few years telescoped down in his mind to a few seconds as the car lept forward, tires squealing, and gained speed. How he'd studied MacLeod's chronicles among the Watchers. How he'd calculated that the man would pick up a tremendous head count, as had his teacher. As had Kell, who needed eliminating anyway, with his newfound addiction to multiple Quickenings. How he had engineered things so that Duncan would be forced to kill his clansman, and then Kell. How a head count of over a thousand now resided in one unwitting boyscout. How Methos judged that he was now ripe and ready for picking. He felt the hilt of his sword against his leg as he bore down on Duncan MacLeod at top speed, clutching the wheel. The fool would never suspect a thing until it was too late.

Suddenly, the figure of MacLeod seemed to shimmer and shift. Methos hardly had a moment to register this before the man in front of him suddenly became an 18-wheeler bearing down on him at hellish speed.

There was a split second of apocalypse, and then nothing.

While he had waited patiently in the car at the bottom of the hill, she had waited patiently at the top. Sword in hand, she now ascended toward the twisted wreckage. He ought to have known better to underestimate her, she reflected. Not on her home ground near Donan Wood, where she had spent centuries waiting and protecting the Highland child.

And after all, if you could make a cottage disappear, it wasn't much more difficult to make a truck look like a man.

Well......okay. I'll give it a shot.

Posted by Leah CWPack on 9/8/2000, 1:01 pm , in reply to "Go for it, Girl! Go for it!!!"

She sent the agitated truck driver off, convinced that he had collided with a tree, with the assistance of her Voice. She watched the damaged rig move off down the road and into the distance before approaching the twisted remains of the car and its occupant.

Methos was pinned inside, covered in blood. Although he was still slumped in death, his body had already started to mend. She had expected a quick recovery; his accumulated power and age made the process a swift one. Unfortunately, the wreckage of the car would make it necessary for her to extricate him so that she could swing her sword.

A little tugging yanked off the crumpled door. She smelled petroleum and realized that the fuel might ignite before she finished her task and hastened. She didn't care if he burned to death, but if the car caught fire, it would be hours before it cooled enough for her to touch it again. In the meantime, she would have to listen to his screams. And the longer this took, the more likely other vehicles would happen along.

She wouldn't be able to get him out of the car. It was clear that his legs were trapped by the mangled interior of the vehicle. It took some doing to dislodge the steering column and push it aside so that she could hang his body far enough out of the car for a decent swing. Taking a deep breath, she raised her sword.

At that moment, Methos gasped back to life. She waited, poised, as he gathered himself and gradually took in the situation and his condition. Then his gaze swung up to her. "Wait."

"I've waited too long already. Three thousand years is more than enough," she hissed.

He tried to wrench his legs free and grimaced in pain. "Think of MacLeod. What will you tell him?" He gasped.

"The truth. Something you don't understand."

"He'll never believe you! You have nothing to show him."

"I don't have to show him anything. He doesn't need to know about your monumental betrayal. He's been hurt enough already in the last few days!" she snarled.

"Can he afford to lose another friend, then?" He tried to keep his voice calm, but he smelled the petrol too. "Can he afford to lose two of them?"

Her voice filled with contempt. "You were never his friend. I knew what you were after from the moment I saw you ingratiating yourself to him in his loft. You're still the same monster you always were." She raised the sword high again. "This is long overdue."

"Don't do this, Cassandra! You don't want my Quickening."

"Why not? I've had you 'inside' me often enough, before," she sneered. "You can't be trusted, ever. There wouldn't be a single moment when you might not be working on a scheme like this one."

Methos wiped some of the blood from his eyes in silent resignation. "Go ahead then. Get it over with. I suppose if anyone's left who deserves it, that would be you." He bowed his head and tensed.

She stood as a statue for another half minute, frozen in time. Then she relaxed and lowered the point of the blade to the ground. "I don't need to, anymore."

He glanced up at her. "You're going to tell him," Methos said flatly.

"Yes, I'm going to tell him what you've done. And you can live with the consequences, when he knows. But not very well, I suspect, and possibly not for long."

"Sporting of you," Methos said between clenched teeth. "And I suppose you'll keep protecting him."

She raised the blade so that the point touched his throat and leaned forward." He lives because I wish it, as do you. Never forget that."

She turned and walked away.

Re: REPOST OF MidWeek Challenge (SPOILERS)

Posted by Ciara on 9/9/2000, 10:55 pm , in reply to "REPOST OF MidWeek Challenge (SPOILERS)"

I know the week is gone...but I'm always behind schedule...here is my MWC:

Highlander Endgame continued……………….

Duncan MacLeod stood solid and still in front of the headstone marker for Connor MacLeod. His gaze unwavering as he read the inscription over and over. His thoughts were muddled and vague.

"You did what you needed to do," reverberated Connor's voice over and over in the dark recesses of Duncan's mind.

"Aye, I know Connor…" Duncan whispered softly "But that doesn't take away the pain." A tear slid slowly down his cheek.

The brilliant sun had cast of soft glow on the valley making it come alive with crystal clearness. From behind him, up on the hill, came several long shadows to cast a shroud over the brightness. Duncan turned reluctantly away to see who or what had come to disturb his mourning. The glare of the light illuminated three figures at the hill's crest. They stood quietly as if awaiting his notice and acknowledgment, not wanting to interfere in his sorrow.

"Ahhh…my 3 Musketeers await me Connor," Duncan turned back to the grave and said quietly. "I'm sure you played no small part in bringing them here did you my brother?"

Duncan smiled hesitantly as he turned to the trio once more. He looked up to Joe and thought to himself, "My dutiful and mortal friend, my Athos, always ready to tow the line for me and save me from myself…..and Methos….you haughty and unruly Porthos, pretending to not care…but never too far away to help….and Amanda…who are you? Are you the charming and brave young D'Artagnan always ready to fight for me? And I guess that makes me the saintly Aramis, always fighting the internal battles of right and wrong." Duncan sighed. He started walking slowly to the threesome with measured, sure steps. The three looked at each other apprehensively, not knowing whether Duncan would welcome them or not.

"You can't stay away from me can you?" he called to the group.

Amanda smiled and relaxed, "We love you Duncan." she called

"Speak for yourself lady" mumbled Joe

"Do tell," murmured Methos looking appalled at Amanda. He cleared his throat and directed to Duncan "We are concerned for your well being and also a bit curious about you."

Duncan reached them and Amanda enfolded him in her arms.

"Curious about what?" Duncan asked Methos as he hugged Amanda tightly

"Well, it seems that this letter arrived at Joe's a week or so ago." Methos pulled out a plain white envelope. "Its from Connor …..and its postmarked after his date of death." Methos handed the letter to Duncan.
Duncan stood quietly looking at the letter and then into the faces of his three friends. "What now?" he thought in silent wonder.

A naughty response to last week's Mid Week Challenge (EG spilers)...

Posted by Torisen on 9/10/2000, 7:47 pm 

Not naughty in the Hoo-Haa sense or anything, just injecting some nutty humor into a scene that was really very serious and moving - which I suspect some people may not approve of. Let me just say that I adore Connor and I wouldn't make light of his death if it weren't for a certain really fake-looking gravesite...


Duncan blinked back tears as he gazed down at the grave marker of Connor Macleod. Mentor, brother, savior, friend... Connor had been all these things to him, and more. There had been spans of years - decades even - in which Duncan had not seen his kinsman, and yet Connor had always been there for him, in spirit if not in body. He could not yet accept a future devoid of this man who had been so important a part of his entire immortal life. But now, a part of Connor *would* always be with him, in such a manner that it could never be lost or stolen. His mind crowded with thoughts of the past, Duncan turned his back on the grave and began to walk resolutely away.

The Highlands were beautiful this time of year. The sky was so blue and the grass so intensely green, even a painter would have been hard pressed to improve upon the view. He knew Connor would approve of his final resting place, burried beside his beloved Heather, surrounded by the beautiful scenery of his homeland. Duncan sighed, feeling the cool breeze run its shy fingers through his hair and play at the hem of his long coat.

It was at this moment that the scenery reached out and decked him.

"Oh, good one Mac," Methos sneered from somewhere near by. "You walked right into the matte painting! Next time watch where you're going."

Duncan got to his feet, gingerly feeling his nose. At least it wasn't bleeding. He didn't want to stain the new Adrian Paul Fan Club shirt Joe had given him as a condolence gift. The Highlander began stumbling his way down the hill - heading in the other direction this time - to where Joe and Methos waited impatiently by the car.

Fade to Black.

Told ya it was naughty.

-Torisen

My response to last week's MWC.......

Posted by Harmony on 9/11/2000, 12:40 pm

Duncan walked into the Glenfinnan pub and sat down at one of the empty tables. He glanced at his father's sword, hanging where he had last placed it after defeating Kanwulf, still on display for everybody to see. That seemed like forever ago now. Rachel came over to his table and he looked up at her and smiled weakly. She could tell he had been crying.

"So it's done, then?" she asked, her lilting brogue soothing to his ear.

Duncan nodded.

"I still wish you would have let me go with you. He was my ancestor too, you know," she reminded him.

"I needed to do this alone, Rachel. It was important to me. You understand, don't you?" he replied, the barest hint of brogue slipping back into his speech.

"Yeah. I understand. You're a loner and you'll always be a loner."

Duncan mused at the irony of her words. He felt truly alone now. He and Connor had seldom seen each other in the last century, but they each took comfort in the knowledge the other would be there if needed. Now that secure feeling was only a fading memory and Duncan felt so hollow and empty inside.

Rachel sat the ale in front of him but he pushed it away.

"I dunna want it," he said.

Rachel sat down across from him.

"I think it may be more a case of need rather than want," she replied. "You've faced deaths before, Duncan."

"Not like this one I haven't."

He closed his hands around the mug she had pushed back over to him. Lost in thought, he absent-mindedly ran a finger slowly around the rim in a circle, a gesture that had always been Connor's, not his. He caught himself doing it and pulled his hand away.

Rachel took his hand in her own.

"You need some time Duncan and you need some distraction," she said. "I think I have just the thing."

"Ack, Rachel…no," he protested. "I just wanna be alone."

"Alone is the last thing you need. So I guess it's a good thing I remembered where to find your friend."

Mac looked up at her with a slightly puzzled look on his face just as a short figure appeared in the doorway. At first the shadows of the dimly lit room prevented him from identifying the slight male figure. Then as the form moved closer he instantly recognized the shuffling gait of Maurice Lalonde.

"MacLeod!" Maurice's familiar French accent assaulted his ears.

"Maurice, what are you doing here?" Duncan asked.

"Your cousin called asking me where to find Amanda. But, I don't know where she is. So I came to help cheer you up instead."

Duncan smiled. If only it were that simple.

Maurice sat next to Duncan at the table.

"I know what it's like to lose family; first my lovely wife, Marchelle and her sister, Isabelle. And don't forget Simone. It is never easy, but one eventually learns to live with it."

"Maurice, I know you mean well, but I really need some time alone," Duncan replied.

"Of course. I understand," Maurice said. Duncan could hear the disappointment in his old friend's voice.

Damn it! he thought to himself, he needed this like a hole in the head. Why did Rachel do this? He looked into Maurice's concerned face.

"I tell you what, how about we go for a walk and I'll show you some of the places where I grew up?" Duncan acquiesced. He couldn't abide being the cause of a friend's unhappiness. His life had recently been filled with far too much of it.

He was rewarded when a bright smile lit the Frenchman's face.

"Now you're talking. You know, I once had a torrid love affair with a Scottish woman. She was beautiful and she taught me how to cook haggis. No…it's true. I am probably the only the person in all of France who can cook it."

Duncan smiled in spite of himself. There was nobody on this Earth like Maurice. He stood and glanced over at Rachel who gave him a knowing smile and slight nod.

"Are you coming?" Duncan asked her.

"No, I think you need some time alone with your friend. I'll be here when you get back and I'll even cook some haggis for the two of you."

Mac shook his head and gave her a strange look. He hated haggis and always had. And Rachel knew this. In spite of that, he said a silent prayer thanking God for sending Rachel MacLeod back into his life.

He had buried his kinsman today, in the same grave as his beloved Heather. The only comfort Duncan could take in this whole mess was the knowledge Connor would eternally rest beside his true love. The hole he felt in his heart closed a tiny bit when he reminded himself of that and he recalled Rachel's words the night before:

"Duncan, the more fully you live, the more honor you bestow on Connor. He loved you so much he gave you his greatest gift. Living life to its fullest is the only thing that will ease the emptiness inside you."

Duncan knew she was right and he also knew it was going to take some time. A lot of time. Fortunately, he had an abundance of that.

He and Maurice walked out into the sunshine and Duncan breathed in the Scottish air with its familiar scent of heather mixed with peat moss. The smell of home. As he and his French friend walked off toward Loch Shiel he smiled as he listened to Maurice's gruff, heavily accented English.

"You remember that business venture I once suggested you join me in….the one with the truffle sniffing pig? Well, I was talking to my brother last week and he assures me he will still allow you the opportunity of investing.

"Maurice…." Duncan began, but Maurice was on a roll.

"You remember the pig with the best nose in all of France? Well, my brother found another one. It's true! He was telling me about this one sow…ho, ho, ho…. she's unbelievable! I was thinking you could maybe put up, oh, sixty percent and with my expertise…if there is one thing Maurice knows, it is pigs….we could make a small fortune."

Some things never change.

For the first time in a very long time, Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod laughed.

Slightly offbeat, late MWC (spoilers)

Posted by Ysanne on 9/11/2000, 2:10 pm 

Duncan MacLeod stumbled away from the lonely grave, his vision blurred with unshed tears. In his troubled state of mind even the colors of the land he loved looked unnatural to him, and somehow flat. At the bottom of the chartreuse slope he retrieved his backpack from beneath a chartreuse gorse bush and frowned as a car approached, its engine loud in the eerie quiet of the Highlands. As the black sedan idled beside him, a window rolled down to reveal Methos in the driver’s seat and Joe Dawson riding shotgun. Methos smirked at the surprise on Duncan’s face, then handed him a travel pack of Kleenex.

“Blow your nose,” he directed, “then get in. And see you don’t litter.”

“What are you now, my mother?” Duncan shot back sullenly, swabbing his nose and eyes and obediently wadding the Kleenex into his pocket. He kept on walking, paced by the purring automobile.

“Get in, Mac,” Joe wheedled, “please.”

The big man hesitated, looked at the darkening sky, then sighed in resignation. Those fat, scudding clouds promised rain, and there was no sense ruining another leather coat. He got into the backseat.

“So why are you here?” he asked his friends suspiciously. “AARP tour?”

“Ha ha,” Joe said flatly. “No, MacLeod, it’s the Watcher records. I’m in charge of Connor’s update, and…..GEEZE!”

He broke off as Duncan grabbed him by the beard and jerked his head around.

“ Watchers!?! You want me to help the Watchers!?! Why don’t you just stick a needle up my nose, Dawson?” Mac raved. “Why don’t you bring out the leg clamps? Why don’t you just offer me an iron hat? In fact, why don’t you and the Watchers just go and f…”

“Find another line of work?” Methos inserted smoothly, slowing for a straggly line of sheep crossing the road. “Calm down, MacLeod. Don’t you want to set the record straight? Get Connor’s accomplishments recorded for eternity? Or at least they will be when the database is updated. Been losing reports. There’s been a bit of trouble with the mainframe..…OW!”

MacLeod released Joe’s beard and clamped one big hand around the 5-K Immortal’s skinny neck. The wheezing sound was gratifying.

“Don’t talk tech to me, Methos,” he growled menacingly. “Have you joined the bloody Watchers again just to rummage around in my life?”

“Me?” Methos asked innocently, “No, no. I just think you’re really, really cute, MacLeod. That sword kata, for instance, was quite..…something wrong?”

MacLeod removed his hand as quickly as if Methos’ neck was a hot stovepipe. He slumped back in the seat, defeated. Tibet was looking better and better.

“Fine,” he said tiredly, closing his eyes, “have it your way. Who am I to compete with a couple of professional voyeurs anyway?”

Joe left off rubbing the sore spot on his jaw and fished a small tape recorder out of the pocket of his anorak. He held it up between them and smiled encouragingly.

“Okay, my friend, that’s more like it. Now, first, how could Connor have split Kell in half somewhere I couldn’t see it? Second, why don’t you have a tan line on your tushy? Third, if your beard grows at .1 mm per hour, how long did it take to grow the stubble on your face when I rescued you from Sanctuary? Fourth…”

Joe’s fourth question was overwhelmed by a deafening torrent of outraged Gaelic erupting from the backseat, interspersed with what seemed to be Italian curses and mighty thumps on the back of the seat. Finally, a cringing Methos heard a command he could translate, and stopped the car. The fuming Scot shoved the door open, clambered out into the drizzle and glared at them.

“Have ye no heart? I’ve killed a clansman, and all ye do is blather on about backsides! And besides, I had noh to do with that damn trailer! Get out of my homeland, ye…ye Sassenach!”

“No, MacLeod,” Methos implored, averting his eyes, “not the quivering lip!”

“But Mac,” Joe interrupted, thrusting his recorder out of the window hopefully, “I haven’t gotten to the really good stuff yet, like, where did Kell get his shoes made, and did Cracker Bob make his own helmet in metal shop….”

Methos prudently played invisible as a snarling MacLeod snatched the little machine from Joe’s hand and lobbed it neatly into the middle of a nearby loch. The seething Scot stalked to the front of the car, drew his katana, and planted his feet firmly on the rocky ground.

“That’s just rude,” Joe murmured resentfully, shaking his stinging fingers. He stuck his head out the window and yelled, “A man has to do his job, MacLeod! Y’know?”

The Highlander fixed them both with a steely glare, lifted his arms to the skies and roared, “I am Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod, and frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn!”

Sudden thunder crashed and echoed through the narrow valley as the silhouette of a lone piper appeared on a distant tor. Faint strains of an old Queen song being punished by bagpipes floated upon damp gusts of wind that billowed Mac’s long coat into a dramatic cape. The two men in the car sat in awed silence as MacLeod towered like an angry god, perfectly framed by a lightning-lit purple and salmon sunset. One sharply focused ray of light pierced the lavender clouds, burnishing the Highlander and his uplifted sword in gold. As MacLeod slowly lowered his outstretched arms and lifted his handsome, brooding visage to the heavens, the last gleam of watery sunlight glinted in his sad, dark eyes.

“Now *that*,” whispered Joe to a sniffling Methos, “is what I call an ending!”

Ysanne, with apologies to all

Teeny weeny little MWC (inspired by Ysanne)

Posted by Leah CWPack on 9/11/2000, 2:33 pm

The Mercedes was halfway up to Connecticut when Duncan MacLeod suddenly shouted at Methos to stop the car.

The older Immortal pulled over and watched in alarm as MacLeod staggered out and leaned over the guard rail, retching miserably.

"What's wrong?" Methos called.

"Th' blasted film's going by too fast!" moaned MacLeod.

 

Old MWC End of Endgame:
 Posted on 10/11/2000 at 11:00:42 PM by Robin

A sadden Duncan enters the Inn at Glenfinnan.

Rachel walks over to him and hugs him. "I'm sorry." she whispers and she kisses his cheek.

At a small table by the fireplace sits Joe Dawson and Methos. They had stopped talking when they saw Duncan enter. Rachel closes the door and Duncan walks to the table.

On the table sits a bottle of Scottish Whiskey and three glasses.

Duncan sits down in the empty chair.

Methos picks up the bottle, unscrews the lid and pours a measure into each glass. He then sits the bottle and lid down. The three men exchange a look and each pick up a glass.

"To Connor MacLeod." Duncan intones.

"To Connor MacLeod."

Glasses clink and are drained.

Rachel watches from the door. "It will be a long night." she whispers.

FADE TO BLACK.

Ashton Press Home | Fan Fiction | ASJ Fiction | Highlander Mid-Week Challenges