Mission Improbable

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: Mission Improbable

Posted by Leah CWPack on Wednesday, 14 June 2000, at 8:55 a.m.

This MWC suggestion was provided by SwingGirl.

Your challenge, should you decide to accept it:

Write a HL vignette where the characters from the show somehow come into our real world and what happens to them there. Requirements: Feature at least one of the regular Immies from the show that we saw more than just 1 time, and at least one Kimmie from the show.

SwingGirl also suggests that you might want to feature a sword fight and the author, appearing as a character in the vignette somehow.

Good luck!

Midweek Challenge: Highlander, meet Honor.

Posted by HonorH the Arctic Wolfe on Wednesday, 14 June 2000, at 3:08 p.m.

Duncan MacLeod had no idea where he was. The city he was in most definitely was *not* Seacouver, where he'd been just a moment before. He turned to his companion.

"Cassandra? Do you know anything about this?" he asked.

The witch was looking about her as well. "I honestly have no idea." She glanced around at the Key Bank building in back of her. "Maybe we could ask."

Duncan pointed across the street. "No, people would only look at us like we were crazy. Let's try that Barnes & Noble. They usually have a section on local interest, so we could at least find out what state we're in."

"I wonder if Kronos is here," Cassandra murmured. Duncan fervently hoped not, but said nothing.

Walking into the Barnes & Noble, the two split up, trying to find the Travel section. Duncan found himself wandering about the Fiction area. He stopped at a display of SF/Fantasy series books.

Always did like this stuff, he thought, chuckling at himself. Maybe because my whole life's a fantasy story . . . hey, what's this?

He pulled a small paperback off the shelf. The spine loudly proclaimed "Highlander: Scimitar." Looking at the front cover, he got the shock of his life.

Standing there, wearing Middle Eastern clothing, was a man who was a mirror image of himself. Startled, Duncan flipped a few pages. What the . . ?

"Can I help you, sir?" asked a voice. Duncan looked up to find a nicely-dressed employee, a brown-haired girl he estimated to be in her mid-twenties. Her name tag proclaimed her to be "Honor." Suddenly, her face lit up.

"My goodness," she breathed. "You're a dead ringer for Adrian Paul."

Duncan was puzzled, but tried to keep it under wraps. He made a quick guess and tipped the cover toward the girl. "Him?"

"Yeah. Highlander's my favorite TV series."

This could be interesting, thought Duncan. Giving the girl his most charming smile, he asked, "What's it about?"

Honor thought a moment. "It centers around a man named Duncan MacLeod, a four hundred year-old Immortal. There are lots of others like him--Immortals, I mean. The only way to kill them is to chop off their heads. Gruesome, I know. The oldest is about 5,000 years old. He's my favorite." She looked at him askance. "Hey, you're not really Adrian Paul, are you?"

Duncan shook his head, still trying to digest what she'd told him. "'Fraid not. Sounds like an interesting show."

"Yeah, I'm kinda obsessed," said Honor.

At that moment, Cassandra found them. "Duncan, I think we're in Alaska . . ."

"Eep!" commented Honor.

Cassandra thrust a map of Anchorage at her. "Could you show us where we are on this map, Miss?"

"You called him 'Duncan'," squeaked the girl. "You're Cassandra! I knew it! I knew it was all real somewhere! Wait'll I tell the Forum!"

Cassandra turned to Duncan, puzzled. He showed her the cover of several Highlander books he'd just pulled off the shelf. "What do you think?" he asked.

"Maybe it's some kind of parallel universe," blurted Honor, eyes wide. "Maybe someone from our world 'created' yours, like in Plato--oh, this is too cool! If you two are together, it's what? 'Prophecy'? Or maybe 'Comes a Horseman'!"

"You know about the Horsemen?" demanded Cassandra.

"Of course! They were in two of the best episodes." Honor looked worried. "Maybe I shouldn't say anything, but . . . oh, well. Cass, I want you to know I'm behind you one hundred percent. And Duncan, how dare you lie to her!" The bookseller thumped him on the arm. "A word of advice, Cass: don't open hotel room doors in Bordeaux. Trust me. And don't kill Methos, either. He really has changed, you know."

Both Immortals stared at her. "You know what's going to happen?" asked Duncan.

Honor looked worried. "I probably shouldn't tell you. Who knows how that could mess things up?"

Cassandra grabbed the bookseller's arm. "For the Goddess' sake, if you've got anything that could be useful, tell us! Kronos could be here right now."

"Kronos?!" the girl yelled, then clamped a hand over her mouth. She looked around worriedly. "Okay. I've got something that might help you."

Honor disappeared around some stacks for a moment. When she returned, she was bearing a book titled "Highlander: The Complete Watcher's Guide."

"Here," she said, giving the book to Duncan. "There's an episode guide in the back. Look under fifth season, episodes 'Comes a Horseman' and 'Revelation 6:8.' That oughta give you the information you need."

Duncan flipped through the pages a bit, then said to Cassandra, "Okay, let's buy this and find out how to get back to Seacouver." He flashed Honor another knee-melting smile. "Thank you, Honor. You've been a big help." The Immortals turned to leave.

"Oh, Duncan?" called Honor. He turned. "You might want to look up 'Archangel' too. End of fifth season. It could stop a lot of people from being very angry with you."

Duncan looked puzzled. "Okay," he said. Then he and Cassandra left.

About a half-hour later, Honor was straightening some shelves and still smiling about her encounter with the Immortals when someone tapped her shoulder.

"Excuse me, Miss," a curiously familiar voice said.

Honor turned and beheld a smallish man with blue eyes, an infectious grin, and a scar over one eye.

In the employee break room, clear across the store and behind a thick wall, store manager Eileen looked up with a puzzled frown.

"Did I just hear someone scream?"

Hall of HonorH

Well, I don't know if this will help cheer Leah, but here's another MWC...

Posted by Lovie MacFru on Wednesday, 14 June 2000, at 8:53 p.m.

It's really difficult to imagine any of our larger than life Immies suddenly appearing in the oh so dull life of a white haired, 50+, retiree. But here it goes..

New Friends..

Long rainy afternoons are perfect for curling up in a chair with a good book. Of course it helps to be retired, have the phone disconnected, and not expect anyone for dinner. It also helps to have gotten a good night’s sleep the night before. All to often that hasn’t been the case at Mrs. King’s teen-age infested house in the suburbs. The sound of racing motors and slamming car doors are all too common on this quiet street. Not to mention the tennis shoe muffled shuffles of youthful feet rounding the corner of the house on the way to the basement entrance. Even the rain put only a slight damper on the parade of crop topped, baggy pants young men that squeaked the basement door on the way to the Den in the Basement.

At least I know where they are, Mrs. King thought, as she opened her romance novel and read the same paragraph for the fourth time.

“Arm stiff to punch open his partially opened door, she stopped short upon hearing his voice filter through, its message lifting the hairs on her now frozen outstretched arm.

“…..so you’d better fix things,” he was muttering sharply into the telephone. “She’s just left. And she’s working over there with you now, you know. HE put her there.” He paused while the person on the other end of the line responded. Then he said………”

The book flew out of Mrs. King’s hands in response to the unexpected clang of the doorbell. I should have known, she thought, as she levered herself out of the recliner. There’s always one kid who doesn’t know the back door’s open. She started toward the front door, catching her thigh on the sharp edge of the of the lamp table next to the sofa. The lamp teetered dangerously close to horizontal before she caught it and placed it back on its ornate wooden feet. Some days are just not meant for reading.

She opened the front door to a slender young man with curly red hair and a sweet face stretched now into a mask of tense nervous little grins that didn’t quite reach his blue eyes. “Hi, I’m Richie,” he stated and held out his hand.

Trying to ignore the dabs of mud and bloody scrapes that decorated the young man’s arms and legs, she reached for his hand. “Hi, I’m Mom. Phil’s in the basement with the others. You can go right through here, she gestured toward the flight of steps off the family room. His door is at the bottom of the steps.”

The young man look puzzled, “Phil? Say, that must be your son, right?”

Now it was Mrs. King’s turn to exhibit a nervous smile and look puzzled. “Are you alright, Richie? Are you hurt?” Well, of course he’s hurt, she thought, he looks like he’s been run over by a truck.

Richie cast a nervous peek over his shoulder and edged a little closer to the door. “If you don’t mind, I’d like to use your phone. I had a little accident down the street. Rain, motorcycle, you know.”

“Of course, come in,” she held the door wide to let him step into the hallway. She edged the rug over to catch the drips from his rain drenched jacket and jeans. “I’ll just get you a towel. And some soap and water.” Her right foot executed three loud thumps on the floor.

Richie looked at her curiously, wondering what was wrong with the woman. She looked pretty normal to him. She was a large woman dressed in the requisite blue jeans and a tee shirt of the stay-at-home set. It that did little to complement her nearly white hair but it did look comfortable. She seemed to be perfectly calm. But that thumping was a bit weird.

Suddenly the woman smiled, “Sorry if I surprised you. We have a signal, Phil and I, when he has company at the front door I pound the floor to get his attention. He’ll be up in a minute. The phone is in the kitchen, right through there.”

She turned and started down the hall toward what Richie suspected was the bathroom. He moved to step off the rug and into the warmth of the lamp lit family room but a stream of water squishing sharply from his shoe convinced him to wait by the door.

The sound of the rain came steadily through the window that opened onto the wooden deck at the rear of the house. Its steady pounding reminded him that outside this unpretentious ranch style house there was more than a nasty thunderstorm waiting for him. He’d abandoned the bike two blocks up the street when the wheels skidded from under him and pitched him head long into the subdivision’s idea of an inviting landscape treatment for a mundane intersection in the middle of a twenty-year-old housing development.

If he was lucky at all, he’d make it out of Missouri before Kenny realized that he was the one that turned him into the Springfield police as a homeless kid in need of counseling and a good home. He’d thought it would take Kenny weeks to wriggle out of the hands of the Family Services people. But he was sure that it was Kenny he saw with the truck driver at the Oak Grove Truck Stop. The kid had a way of finding a do-gooder who believed his poor little orphan story and was willing to help.

Richie had no intention of running into the eight hundred year old boy again. All he had to do was get his bike repaired and on the road.

Yeah, Richie thought, I’m over reacting. The kid makes me nervous and if I never see him again, it will be too soon.

“Here’s a towel,” the woman appeared suddenly out of the dark hallway. “You just dry yourself off a little then we’ll get someone to pick up your bike and get it to the shop, ok?” She did the thump dance on the floor again, gesturing toward the stairs. “Sometimes he doesn’t hear me pounding the first time,” she explained.

Richie bent double reaching to blot the water from his dripping socks and pant legs. He stood up slowly shaking his head into the towel. The rapid movement seemed to start his ears ringing and there was a buzzing in his head.

The door at the bottom of the stairs that Mrs. King had pointed to earlier banged shut and footsteps on the stairs were accompanied by the irritated voice of a man/boy pulled from his teenage nest for what he considered no good reason.

“What’s up, Mom? Can’t it wait? I got company here.” The young man’s voice dropped and he mumbled something to his Mother that Richie couldn’t quite hear.

Richie leaned against the wall and looked toward the stairs just as Mrs. King extended her hand toward a short blond boy, following closely behind the complaining teen.

“Hello, Kenny. It’s always nice to meet one of Phil’s new friends,” she turned toward the door with a happy smile. “ Richie, I’d like for you to meet my son, Phil, and this is his new friend, Kenny.”

Book excerpt taken from NOT WITHOUT YOU by Janelle Taylor….

MWC--oh heck, you've made me *ponder*....

Posted by vixen69 on Wednesday, 14 June 2000, at 6:28 p.m.

I mean, think about it. No, not yet....uh, character from Highlander ends up in this universe...meets a Forumlander...and wackiness ensues. Not that I haven't actually thought about this on my down-time at work for the longest...but...There's some RL pros and cons to this. If it could happen. I mean, in a stretching the boundaries of time and space kind of way. Made me want to go that route--okay, I know I may/may not finish this. Hell will never freeze over as it is perpetually thawed by the heat of my backburner.

Part One--Meeting Methos

The sky momentarily darkened, slightly alarming the shorts-and-tank-top clad woman who had nothing but a newspaper to shield her from any oncoming downpour. She looked up at the sky apprehensively, and was rewarded by a stunning flash of lightning and the sight of *something * hurtling through the sky to fall some twenty yards away. Noting it to be * human * in shape, she ran. Noting it to be * Methosian * in shape—she paused. She stopped. She stared. He stirred.

Rapidly, her brain did the calculation. Man falls from sky after bust of lightning. Man resembles Peter Wingfield. Peter Wingfield is unlikely to fall from the sky following a burst of lightning—unless there was something about him the fans didn’t know about. Given the generally-un-smashed-to-pieces appearance of the figure, she came to a rather startling conclusion.

“Stuff like this doesn’t happen everyday,” she noted under her breath. She realized she was being stared at. She realized it was because she in fact, was also staring, and that she had started it. Realizing that she was being rude, she offered her hand. She elected to say absolutely nothing, as absolutely nothing useful occurred to her. She was not actually certain she would be able to make her mouth work properly. She let her tongue check the corners of her mouth for any undue wetness, and discovered, thankfully, that all of the spit in her mouth had dried up.

“You okay?” she asked, once she had figured out the rudiments of her native tongue.

The Methosian figure paused. “Never annoy a witch,” he said slowly, looking around in confusion.

“I’ll keep that in mind. Some of my best friends are witches,” she said, off the cuff. She realized, in horror, that, being clad in a tank-top, she had no cuffs. She made the necessary analogy in re: flippancy.

“You didn’t just see….” His voice trailed off. If she hadn’t just seen the thing he’d rather she hadn’t just seen, it would not make sense to reveal the thing he would rather she not have just seen.

“Lightning. Falling from the sky. Thud,” she responded, nodding. “It could happen to anyone.” She grinned, and then realized she was doing it again. “I mean, it doesn’t…but…it could. Since…Say, ever hear of the Fortean Society? Uh…you know…large fish, snails, ummm….good-looking men, fall out of the sky all the time.” She blinked. “I’m…Jennifer,” she offered, resisting the temptation to refer to herself as her Forum handle (which actually happened to her a lot, when meeting someone for the first time). His hand was still in hers, so she shook it, and let go, successfully. “You’re in Philadelphia, if you were wondering.”

“Oh.” And then, as if attempting to cover up the situation—“Of course. Adam…” And then there was the pause. The “fake name pause” the woman expected. “Pierson.”

She nodded. “Last known alias. Good choice.” She surprised herself at saying it out loud. Darn. More of that off-the-cuffs business. But the response she got from that was worth it. * Recognition. *

“You aren’t…”

“No, not a Watcher. Or at least, not technically.” She grinned wider. “Nothing up my sleeve,” she added, showing her wrists. “Methos?” she continued, in a softer voice. She received a nod of surprised acknowledgement. “But I’ve no idea how you got here,” she went on. “I mean, theories, yes, but…what happened?”

“It’s a long story.”

She raised an eyebrow at that. Would it be appropriate to milk him for fanfic ideas? She seriously wondered. But first off, if he was “zapped” into her universe, she’d have to find out in order to…”unzap” him.

“Okey-dokey, then. You can tell me…back at my house.” She turned and started walking. “We should find out how you got…here.”

“Here? Philadelphia isn’t…Oz or anything.”

She looked over her shoulder. The weirdness of it all hit her—like clogged scuba gear, she could occasionally be slow on the uptake. Just how was she going to explain that “here” he was…fictional?

(Will be continued. No, really. Promise.)

MWC--A little more, then.

Posted by vixen69 on Wednesday, 14 June 2000, at 8:02 p.m., in response to MWC--oh heck, you've made me *ponder*...., posted by vixen69 on Wednesday, 14 June 2000, at 6:28 p.m.

Part Two: A Long Story

“So this woman…” Methos tried to explain, but was instantly interrupted.

“Cassandra, right?” Jennifer deduced, with a smirk. Given the clues “woman”, “witch”, and “someone none too fond of Methos,” she was left with the obvious. She added a silent, “you go, girl,” to herself. It would be funny, if it seriously wasn’t.

“Yes…well, I may have said something that wasn’t tactful…”

“MIS-take!” she hollered, narrowly evading a pothole with one hand on the wheel while pointing with the other. “You know, she has reasons to still be mad at you.”

“I know…I know…what do you know about it?”

Her face changed as she thought that over. “Enough…long story.”

“One you intend to tell me?”

“Look…when I say…long story, I mean…one that will take you a long time to believe. I mean…” A thought began to stir. “I happen to know that you aren’t Adam Pierson…that you happen to be Methos. The oldest man alive. An Immortal. You were one of the Four Horsemen….and, um…I mean, I can quote practically word for word what you told MacLeod by your Jimmy when he asked if you killed all those people.” She took a deep breath, and then looked over at him. He looked stunned.

“Really?”

She nodded. “I know things no Watcher could even know. I know why Cassandra has reason to be p. o.’d at you—would the Watchers know that? I know…hey, are you even curious yet why?”

“Intrigued. Pull the car over.”

“What?”

“You heard me.”

His voice was deadly serious. She took a look into his face and could see that she had picked the wrong beginning to this conversation. A person who had devoted as much time as he had to his own survival would not take kindly to someone knowing too much about his life—particularly if there was no good explanation for it. She pulled over, heart pounding.

“Look, I’m…more of a…fan than a stalker,” she said, trying to smooth over the problem. “And there is a good explanation…it just…is kind of west of Bizarresville, okay?”

“Oh…really?” Methos asked, in an insinuating, mildly threatening voice. “I hope you realize I’ve had a very trying day…and the last thing I need is to be dealing with a…a…blackmailer, or worse. Where did you get that information—Cassandra? Kronos? Someone told you an awful lot about me, and I don’t particularly appreciate that being thrown in my face like…”

“What was the deal with you, Byron, Shelley and the goat?”

“What?!”

“Details. I can try to describe…stuff that no one could have told me. Uh, do you remember…uh…” She wracked her brain for details from the show. “Have you thrown out those sick red pants yet? I mean, I know you’ve gone from togas to bell bottoms, but….”

“What are you talking about?”

“Um, you wore them in ‘Finale’…I think…no, I mean, no, too much detail. No one remembers what they wore… Uh, events. The holy hot tub…I mean, the spring where you took MacLeod when he had the Dark Quickening—do you suppose that would be something Cassandra or Kronos could have told me about? Do you think that made it into the Chronicles?”

“Possibly…”

“Right, Joe Dawson would have made it permanent record that Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod, Boy Scout and superimmortal extraordinaire, lost his ever-loving…”

“Wait…you * know * me.”

Jennifer shrugged. “That’s what I’m trying to say. I might as well know you. But it’s the how that’s kind of freaky.” She started the car back up. “You’re…kind of a…fictional character. I mean, I know…storylines. Character details. I don’t know everything…you can just…ask me. I mean, I…” She blushed, turning her skin a faint pink right up to the roots of her auburn hair. “Kind of like you…uh, never mind.”

“A character,” Methos mused. “I’m probably the hero. I can see that—a series of novels on the world’s oldest man. Makes sense.”

“Well…”

She drove on in silence. The only thing she could really do in this case, she reasoned, was go to the tapes. She wasn’t sure where to begin—but then realized she should begin at the beginning. With “Methos.”

Although she did wonder how he'd handle being on syndicated television. And not the hero.

"When we get to my place--up for a little TV.?"

MWC--I'm baaa-aaack.

Posted by vixen69 on Thursday, 15 June 2000, at 5:47 p.m.

Wow. I followed through on a threat. Bully for me.

Part Three: Home is where the Beer is

“Okay, I…guess we’re best off coming in through the downstairs,” Jennifer said, realizing what very well * could * happen. Her mother was home. Her brother could very well be home. Sneaking Methos past them would mean he would be meeting her family. That would mean them meeting him, and that would never do. Having spent a lot of time engaging in pure escapist behavior, she was comfortable with the notion of people crossing over into other dimensions. She could not count on other people feeling similarly. They paused at the door, which she tried to open making as little noise as possible. “Uh…my family can be odd about visitors."

The door groaned and squeaked in the way doors generally do when one would rather they didn’t, and she led him past the fridge. “Want a drink or anything? You can help yourself. I’m just telling my mom I have company.”

“You live with your mo…ooooh.” He paused. The basement fridge—a necessity in the Drew household. Jennifer’s father and brother were beer men. She herself had been known to indulge. Thus, a fridge dedicated to what the good folks at “Jeopardy” referred to as “potent potables.” She had forgotten what the sight would look like to anyone “normal.” But then she caught what he was about to ask.

She shrugged. “Home is where the beer is. It fit my needs. I will return. Make yourself at home.”

She then hurtled herself through the rec room and up the stairs, only to find her mother waiting at the top of them. Her face was deeply concerned.

“You have someone downstairs,” she stated, as if Jennifer might, in fact, not have noticed.

“Yes. He followed me home. Can I keep him?” she deadpanned, and then brightened. “Oh good. You can see him. I’m not cracking up.”

“He’s that person whose show you made me tape, isn’t he?”

“Not exactly. Uh, mom? Do me a favor and do * not * under any circumstances mention the resemblance. I mean, that would make someone really uncomfortable, you know?”

Her mother continued to regard her with a concerned eye. The silence was becoming deafening. She began realizing what the problem was. She had just brought home an individual—through a door other than the front door—who was a dead ringer for one of her obsessions. Which could mean any number of things, but actually only one was really worrisome—and that was exactly what her mother thought.

“Oh, um, he’s just a friend, Adam…Pier…ahem,” she began, and proceeded perspiring. Was her mother perceptive enough to know that this was the alias Methos used…or would the name utterly go past her? She swallowed, and then, thankfully, heard feet coming up the stairs behind her. She turned to see Methos, beer in hand, and made way, so that her mother had to take a step back. Once Jennifer was fully up the stairs, she nodded in his direction. He had a smile and his hand extended. Automatically, her mother shook hands, startled.

“Ahm, Mrs…”

“Drew,” Jennifer mouthed silently, catching his eye.

“Drew. Jen has told me so much about you…I’m a friend from…coll…” She nodded. “ege. Adam…Perrine. She was just going to show me some…”

“Poetry. You know, mom, it’ll just be writers’ talk. We’ll be quiet.”

“Okaaayyy,” her mother responded, slowly, turning, and then going into the kitchen.

“Smooth,” Jennifer whispered, appreciatively.

“Well, sometimes you have to be,” he responded. The trip down the hall was short. They had reached the door of Jennifer’s room, where she had the following:

a collection of Highlander tapes

a TV. and VCR

two swords, a katana and a claymore

her bed—it being her room and all

the computer

a huge library, mostly history and the occult—

and she pondered before opening the door, unable to recall if she had any frus taped up anywhere or and notebooks with fanfic ideas scribbled in them lying about. Those would be things she’d rather he not come across. Recalling her recent room-cleaning, she presumed it should be safe, and had him follow her in.

And a little more.

Posted by vixen69 on Thursday, 15 June 2000, at 5:51 p.m., in response to MWC--I'm baaa-aaack., posted by vixen69 on Thursday, 15 June 2000, at 5:47 p.m.

I think I'm on a roll. Kaiser, from the looks of it. Poppy seed.

Part Four: Vixen's Den

She decided it was best he receive no warning about the tape that she slipped into the VCR. It would be better, she figured, to let the tape speak for itself.

“You’re in the habit of inviting men into your room and…” he spotted the swords and paused, “forcing them to watch videos?”

“Call me kinky. Oh, and those are for show.” Her eyes followed him, being helpless to do much of anything else. The notion of Methos in her bedroom was actually a little more excitement than she could easily process all at once. He was taking note of the titles of the books, and the bits of interesting bric-a-brac she had lying about.

“Woolley. The Durants. Budge,” he listed, with interest. “You know, he made some really fascinating errors—I mean, amusing.” His eye caught something else. “1st Century?” he asked, picking up the oil lamp she had on her nightstand.

“So I was told.”

“You have an interest in antiquities.” He gave her a look. “Explains the interest in me?” He set the lamp down and began fingering a bronze dagger with interest.

She snorted, fiddling with the VCR. “Sure. My interest in you is purely archaeological,” she commented, slipping the tape in place. “I dig your bones,” she added, under her breath.

“Hmm?”

“Just watch.” She stepped back and took a seat at her desk, and then motioned to him to take a seat on her bed. The notion of him physically on her bed gave her a case of the thunks, but she shrugged it off. He sat, puzzled, but then, once the tape had begun, stared, transfixed. As he watched, he seemed to come up with questions, but held them back. At times, he shook his head, as if unable to believe what he was seeing, and Jennifer was unable to think of anything she could say that would add to what could only be a very bizarre experience. Seeing that he’d finished his beer, she took the empty, and went to get him another. And grab a few for herself.

Once back downstairs, she wondered if what she’d done was the right thing—after all, his reality was altered enough by simply being in her dimension, let alone being exposed all at once to the notion of his own fictitiousness. But then, as if struck by a bullet, she gasped.

“Oh holy crap,” she breathed, fascinated by the thought that struck her. “So it’s true. What do you know?”

She grabbed more beers than she had originally intended to take, and made her way back up the stairs to her room, only to discover that her brother, Joe, had taken the desk chair. She stared. The tape was rewinding.

“I was just talking with your brother,” Methos said, wryly.

Jennifer’s feet felt as if they had just been Crazy-Glued to the floor. This could be very, very bad. Her brother stood and lightened her load by one beer, saying, “Whoa. Methos in your room. Cool.” Methos reached over and took one of the others, and, stunned, she set the rest of the bottles on the floor, retaining one for herself.

Methos held the beer aloft for a moment, and then said, “Thanks, Vixen.”

She perceived it to be very bad, and potentially getting worse, as her brother, after sitting back down, reached for the switch to turn on her computer.

“Don’t do that,” she started, but it was too late, and she looked on, helpless as it booted up, and then the screen flipped to her wallpaper image. It was Kronos, of course. Of course her wallpaper would be Kronos.

Sorry to unload the rest of the story in a rush like this (MWC)

Posted by vixen69 on Saturday, 17 June 2000, at 8:36 p.m.

But I’m making up for not getting to it yesterday.

Part Six: Paradoxes Happen

“Can’t be,” Joe exclaimed, taking a mouthful of beer.

“Oh, yes it can,” Jennifer said, quickly, and then paused. “Wait, why can’t it be?”

“Clean language. Besides, no one’s naked and nothing’s getting blown up or set on fire.”

“I may have to read some of this,” Methos interjected.

“No you do not!” Jennifer responded, coloring. That would be embarrassing—Methos was all over it. And it would only give the author an opportunity to shamelessly plug herself, and an egotist like her should never be encouraged. “Besides, I can do clean. If I wanted to.” She crossed her arms and glared. “It’s me, all right.”

“Does she get like this often?” Methos asked. Joe nodded. “It’s very…egotistical, actually.”

“Oh, but it makes sense,” she responded. “I’m like that. You don’t know me like I do. Our author is probably writing this well-aware of how self-conscious I’m sounding right now.” She paused. “Ack. Creeped myself out over that one. I’m self-conscious about her being self-conscious about…me being…self-conscious.”

“Escher eat your heart out,” Methos muttered.

“Yep, the fourth wall has just been successfully atomized. I’m almost tempted to wave to the people reading this. Joe, exactly what were you doing, logging on to the Internet, anyway?” Jennifer then asked. “I mean, you can’t show him the fandom—that would be too weird.”

“Like it isn’t weird enough already,” Joe answered. “I thought he’d get a kick out of…”

“Reading about himself? It isn’t like he would be…he’d be reading *one* possible spin.”

“Reading about myself…what if I stumbled across this fanfic? I could be reading about myself, reading about myself. And then, when I got to this part…”

“Wow, I’ve never written anything * that * freaky,” Jennifer commented.

The paradox was suddenly interrupted by a loud clap of thunder, followed by a resounding “thud!” Methos spun around quickly, looking in the direction of the sound, and Jennifer sprang from the bed with enough force to almost knock over the claymore she had propped alongside it. Instinctively, she kept it from falling to the floor with one hand, while picking up a beer with the other.

“Damn, the beer and the sword—you look like Genevieve that way,” Joe quipped.

“Who’s Genevieve?” Methos asked.

“OFC…” Jennifer answered, absently.

“Jen! There’s an unconscious woman on our front lawn—and I think she’s a friend of your—friend from college,” Mrs. Drew called out from the living room. “You’d better get out here!”

“I think she’s figured it out,” Methos said, sheepishly, and then realized * who * that had to be. He rushed out the door, with Jennifer, still holding on to the beer and the sword, and Joe, still holding his beer, close behind.

MWC--yep--moving right along.

Posted by vixen69 on Saturday, 17 June 2000, at 8:39 p.m., in response to Sorry to unload the rest of the story in a rush like this (MWC), posted by vixen69 on Saturday, 17 June 2000, at 8:36 p.m.

Part Seven--The sword fight?

A quick peek out the front bay window revealed that Cassandra had in fact been the unconscious woman on the lawn, but she was in the process of becoming the rapidly-coming-to woman who was going to attract all manner of attention, as she had a drawn sword by her side. Upon seeing some of the neighbors coming out of their homes, Jennifer squeaked, “Yeah, that’s all my reputation needs around here!” and flew out the front door—rather unfortunately still carrying her sword and the beer. Joe flew after her with his beer, followed by Methos. They bounded down the stairs to the lawn.

“Wait, what are you people doing…she’s a lunatic!”

“Which one?” Joe asked, breathlessly.

“Both?”

And then they both drew up short at the sight of Cassandra and Jennifer facing each other, one with a sword, the other with a sword and a beer. Having only just gotten there, Cassandra took a quick look around, noticed Methos and the sword-bearing redhead, and looked as if she was about to profoundly misunderstand what was going on. Her sword was at the ready.

“You!” she started, looking first in Methos’ direction, and then at Jennifer, which immediately made her raise her sword. “Who is she—a friend of yours?”

“Hey, I’m just saying, don’t be on the lawn with a sword and everything,” Jennifer said, lowering the sword (as it was getting really heavy) and raising the beer. “I’ve got neighbors, and they already think I’m a little weird…”

“A * little * weird?” Joe said, incredulously.

“C’mon, Joe, give me a break…whoa!” she yelped as she heard the “ting” of metal lightly slapping metal, and instinctively raised the sword back up. It didn’t just startle her, it made her hand tingle. “Yo! Don’t be doing that—I like you for Pete’s sake, as a character, I mean and everything. Me fighting you over Methos is waaaay to much Mary Sue in my life right now!” she said in an excited rush. She tried to smack Cassandra’s sword away with her own, but overbalanced a little and looked like a dork. Cassandra stepped back to avoid being splashed with beer.

“What is this…girl talking about?”

“Cassandra, we have to talk,” Methos said, trying to employ a soothing tone.

“What do we have to talk about?!” Cassandra exclaimed. “I sent you away—and now I’m here! How did this happen?”

“Just…calm…yourself, okay?” Joe said, in a mildly compelling voice, learned from working a few years in retail. “We can explain…just…calm….yourself.”

A look of surprise crossed Cassandra’s face, but she lowered the sword, and then looked at the Drew family’s neighbors, who were, for the most part, looking back at her. Jennifer groaned, and then called out—

“Ren fest, you know? Like, we’re part of the sword demonstration, and just got really in character. Happens, right? Like, do not come near the performers. We’re…professionals. Just return to your homes. There’s nothing to see here…”

“Go on now, you looky-loos,” Joe added, as an afterthought.

“Dude, you can * not * hold your beer,” Jennifer quipped. “Uh, basement?” She looked at the others. They nodded, and so went in the downstairs door.

Nah, this is actually how I write all the time--MWC.

Posted by vixen69 on Saturday, 17 June 2000, at 8:43 p.m., in response to MWC--yep--moving right along., posted by vixen69 on Saturday, 17 June 2000, at 8:39 p.m.

Part Eight: Explanations

“Want a beer—they’ve got plenty,” Methos offered as they passed the basement fridge.

“No,” Cassandra said, still irritated. “I want an explanation.”

“Well, see, there’s three beer-drinkers in the house…”

“Shut up, Jen,” Joe warned.

“Oh,” she answered, and took another shot of beer.

“Well, for starters, you sent me to a parallel dimension,” Methos began.

“Shows what you know,” Cassandra snorted. “I opened up a singularity in the time/space continuum and you dropped into the parallel dimension—never annoy a witch. Particularly one with a good grasp of quantum physics.”

“Point taken.”

“Damn, you are so being a k’immie in this story—I never write you like that,” Jennifer puzzled.

“What’s with her?” Cassandra asked, distracted.

“She thinks she’s writing this. Do you know that we’re fictional here?” Methos asked.

“Methos—you’re fictional everywhere. I just thought it would be only fitting for * you * to realize that. Even better, I knew it would only be a matter of time before you read how other people see you, and get to know yourself.”

“A-hah! Yeah, now, that’s more like how I see you guys,” Jennifer nodded. She looked at the others, silently told herself to shut up, and went back to the beer.

“Well there you are—you happen to be fictional in this universe, too—and if you’re here with me—that means * you’re * being written by * her *,” Methos pointed out, gesturing towards Jennifer. “And might I add, she seems to think Kronos is *cute *. There’s no telling what she’ll do with us. Did you realize that was going to happen?”

“What?!” Cassandra exclaimed. “You must be joking! It was a harmless lesson—I was intending on bringing you back.”

“Not…very…nice…” Methos said, in an irritated voice. “Who knows if we * will * or * can * get back? You obviously weren’t planning on making this little trip. I’d like to see you bring us back.”

“I don’t think I like your tone of voice,” Cassandra said, bring the sword back up.

“Don’t get that way with me,” Methos snarled, bringing out his own.

“Hey! There will be NO Quickenings in this house. I mean it, people. This is my parents house. You want to smoke, do it outside, you want friends over, they gotta be out by two a.m., and seriously—NO Quickenings in the house!” Jennifer said, heatedly. “Those are the rules, guys. I have to live here, you know?”

“We’re being written by her?” Cassandra said, jerking a finger in Jennifer’s direction. Methos nodded. “This is bad.”

“The two of you are just, totally in this together, okay?” Jennifer went on. “I know the author—she’s big on the happy endings. You want out of this alive, you just do whatever it takes to keep Jennifer happy.”

“* Why * is that so familiar?” Methos mused.

“* I * am going upstairs to get some coffee. I’ll be back,” Jennifer then stated, and marched up the basement stairs.

They stared at her retreating form and had their minds made up.

Okay, it had to be over, sometime--MWC--finis.

Posted by vixen69 on Saturday, 17 June 2000, at 8:45 p.m., in response to Nah, this is actually how I write all the time--MWC., posted by vixen69 on Saturday, 17 June 2000, at 8:43 p.m.

Part Nine: I wrap it up, having found something else that interested me....

When she returned, Methos and Cassandra were gone. She stared at the places where they had been standing, and then looked at her brother.

“Hey, where’d they go?”

“They decided they were in the hands of a maniac, so they made up, and then they,” he made a sweeping motion with his hand, “split.”

“Wow. That was way easier than I thought. You know, I’ve got a good feeling about those two…crazy kids,” she said, grinning. She picked up the sword that she had left on the basement floor, and made a swooshing motion. “Still, that feels, I dunno, anti-climactic. And if there’s anything I like,”

“It’s climaxes. Yeah, it’s a joke you used in two of your stories. C’mon, you were just saying that this was a fanfic to make Methos feel better about being fictional—weren’t you?” he looked at her, expectantly, and then, doubtfully. She was nothing if not eccentric, but surely she wasn’t still in the grip of the delusion that she was her own fictional character—no one could be that dense.

“Sure, sure,” she said, absently. There was something strange in the air. She couldn’t quite put her finger on it. Perhaps it was going to rain.

“Whatever. I’m going back upstairs.”

“Yeah. Excitement over. Just tell mom the coast is clear.”

Joe slowly walked up the stairs, only once pausing to look at his sister. He shook his head the rest of the way up the stairs.

“So they simply—made up and split,” Jennifer sighed. “No, that isn’t my style at all. No violence, no blowing up things. No naked people. Maybe I’m not writing this, after all.”

She paused in her musings when she heard the loud clap of thunder. With a good guess in mind of what it represented, she went to the backdoor, still holding the sword. Now there—that was a vixen69 touch. She took a casual peek out the backdoor, and then squealed. She had halfway expected the prone figure that she saw there—but had needed the confirmation. She threw the door open, and went outside. Looking down at the leather-jacketed form, she sighed.

“I always do these things to myself, you know? I rule!” And when she saw the greenish-blue eyes open and stare at her in confusion, she thanked her stars that she knew the author.

(The end?)

Mid Week Challenge Answer, longish....please read and enjoy....

Posted by Viking Lass CWPack Chief MCR on Thursday, 15 June 2000, at 6:38 a.m.

I'd just gotten off the forum so that I could clean my house. While I was looking under the kitchen sink, the door bell rang. I moved to the living room and what should my wondering eyes see but Methos and Cassandra standing on my front step. They both look a little frumpled and agitated.

I open the door and they both started to talk at the same time and then stopped and glared at each other and again they both started to talk and again they stopped. I put my hand up for them to stop and say, "Let me guess, you're Methos and Cassandra and you just showed up here and you want to know why and how to get back to your world."

Their eyes lit up. "Would you like to come in?" I asked them.

Cassandra shook her head yes and opened the screen door. Methos followed her. But he stopped when his ever aware eyes fell upon my weapon table, complete with swords, daggers, an ax and a flail.

"Uhh, you seem to be well armed, maybe this isn't a good place for us to stay." Methos said and backed toward the door. Cassandra just looked warily at him.

"So I collect swords, so what Methos?" He flinched at hearing his name.

"So, I like my head where it is." He said defensively.

"Hon, perhaps you don't know, I'm the biggest hopeless romantic for you and Cassie here, to get back together and live happily ever after. So I like you're head where it is too."

Methos looked to Cass who rolled her eyes.

"Have a seat and let me get you some tea. Oh by the way my name's Jen." I gave them a smile and Cass returned it.

So the two ancient Immortals sat on my couch. And let me tell you Cassandra was wicked uncomfortable. I suddenly felt very guilty for always wanting her and Methos to get back together.

"Is there something I can get for you, Cassandra?" I asked.

"No," she said very softly.

Methos, the eternal planner, then asked me, "Jen, do you have a computer?"

"Yes."

"Can I use it?"

"Sure what are you gonna do?"

"Well, I'm gonna hack into the Watcher Database and see if they have any information that might help explain what's happened and how she and I can get back."

"Good thinking, like always. The computer's in there," and I pointed the way.

Methos went in and closed the doors.

I turned to Cassandra who looked like she was about to cry. "Is there any way I can make you more comfortable, Cassandra?"

"No."

"Nothing?"

"NN.." Her reserve broke and she started crying fully. I think she hadn't wanted to cry in front of Methos and now that he was sequestered away, she cried.

I sat with my arm around her as she sobbed. Finally she calmed down and said haltingly, "I don't want - any more adventures -with him, I've had enough to last me forever."

I could tell she wanted to be alone. After thousands of years of living, she wasn't prone to opening up to people, let alone a 25 year old mortal.

"Uhm, would it be ok with you if I cleaned my house upstairs. I don't think there's much that I can do to help. You could watch a video if you like?"

Cass just nodded her head yes. I went upstairs to vacuum, dust, change the sheets etc. On my way downstairs to the laundry. I saw that Cassandra had out my Highlander tapes. I only have Methos episodes on tape. She was watching "Methuselah Stone" and it was the train yard scene with Methos screaming at Amanda about how mortals had so little time. Cassandra was crying her eyes out.

Oh dear. Now because of me Cassandra had a wonderful piece of emotional blackmail on Methos. By the time Amanda went to hug Methos, in the show, Cassandra was rocking back and forth, hysterical in tears. I paused the video and held her until she calmed down a bit.

I had heard the clicking of the keyboard from the computer room and as I was holding Cass I heard Methos yell, "Dammit!".

Very abruptly, the door to the computer room opened and Methos came storming out. At the same instant the video unpaused and Methos saw himself being hugged by Amanda. And if life hadn't gotten tense enough, Cassandra jumped up and started screaming at Methos.

"I HATE YOU SO MUCH! You destroyed my world and yet for *her*," she shook her head in disbelief, "you can show her the world, even fight for the Methuselah Stone. I HATE YOU!"

Methos, rare for him, was caught off guard, and muttered, "Her?" Then everything seemed to click into place for him and he got his defenses up. An angry sneer came to his face. "I could tell you I've changed but you won't believe me so why should I try. Alexa was a beautiful woman who was dying and I ran a race. A RACE, YOU HEAR ME, CASSANDRA? I ran a race against myself and my brother, DEATH AND TIME! And I lost it! I lost it and she died." He spit out the last word as if it were distasteful to him which was the ultimate irony from Death himself.

Honestly I was a little frightened for my safety. The air was so tense in my living room that I almost couldn't breathe. I was shaking due to the little psychodrama that had just played out. I saw that Cassandra had shrunk back from Methos, typical of a woman suffering from Battered Woman Syndrome. His outburst wasn't accompanied by violence but I could tell by looking at Cassandra's darting eyes, that she not only remembered his wrath but she was expecting it again.

And then as is typical of these sorts of events, the tense dissipated, Methos' body posture relaxed and Cassandra became more confident in her stance. I took a deep breath and tried to calm down.

To break the silence I asked Methos, "Did you find anything from the Watcher Database?"

"No, nothing there. But I did find out something very important."

Cassandra and I looked quizzically at him. He held up his left hand which was red, as if he had burned it.

"I spilt my tea on it and it hasn't healed. It's still inflamed and it hurts." Then Methos closed his eyes and said, "I think we may have lost….our immortality."

I looked to Cassandra, whose eyes were wide with fright and uncertainty.

"Cassandra, scratch yourself, or cut yourself, see if you heal." Methos said in a small voice.

Cassandra took one of my knives off my weapon table and made a small cut on her arm. Then Methos did the same, I guess so that Cassandra wouldn't feel manipulated. Neither wound healed. So into the bathroom I went, to get something they had never probably used before, band aids.

There was a sense of uncertainty that now loomed in my living room.

"What does this mean, Methos?" Cassandra asked quietly.

"I don't know." He responded.

There was silence for a long time. I guess the thought of losing their specialness had made each of them withdraw. If they weren't immortal then what?

Cassandra spoke nervously, "Maybe we could….look at this in a positive light."

Methos lifted his eyes to hers. He looked so tired.

"If we're not immortal, then that means…no more hiding, no more hunting, no more swords, no more Watchers…." She trailed off.

I didn't know what to say, so I stayed quiet.

"If we're not immortal, then we must be mortal and… dying." Methos choked on the last word.

Cassandra shut her eyes tightly at the last word. I could only stare at the two ancients who were trying to make sense of what had happened to them.

Cassandra then spoke, "Maybe we're mortal and ferti..le." Her voice cracked on that word but she cleared her throat and continued, "Maybe we can have kids?"

"Maybe." Was all Methos could say.

Silence descended again and I stayed quiet. We were all almost in tears due to the situation.

Then Methos moved quickly and both Cassandra and I jumped in fright. He stood up fully and looked at Cassandra and said forcefully, "If we're dying there's only one thing to do."

He sounded so menacing that Cassandra had paled. Was he going to kill her and then himself with some vague notion of nobility?

"We have to go see the world….together….if you'd like," tears were streaming down Methos' face, "we could, could, go to places," he sniffled, "that neither of us has been…."

He was shaking as he looked at Cassandra, and asked, "Will you see the world with me? Before we die?"

Cassandra was crying hard now, but she shook her head in the affirmative.

I was crying now. I just couldn't believe it. I had always wanted Methos and Cassandra together but not this way. Not with the notion of mortality hanging over their heads. Before I knew it Cassandra was standing and was being hugged by Methos. Then they stepped back and I stood up and we had a three way hug. Then I hugged them each. It was just like at the end of Timeless. There was a sense of despair, urgency and yet a certain type of calmness had come to envelope Methos and Cassandra. Then they were at my front door pulling it closed, walking down my driveway, to go see the world.

MWC.....

Posted by T Rose/Tikasmom on Thursday, 15 June 2000, at 11:56 a.m.

"Oh sure," Tika muttered to herself disgustedly as she hit delete for the umpteenth time. "Write a story pulling the Highlander characters into your world and have them meet you. Sounds easy, but..." Her words trailed off as she reconsidered the ideas she had already discarded.

"Let's see...I'm walking down a street and see two thugs trying to attack a guy who turns out to be Methos and I shout a warning and he is saved but I am killed and I turn out to be an immortal and he has to train me...I'm at Legacy and I've just seen 'Galaxy Quest' and Highlander/Legacy turns into Highlander at the con...nope, nope, nope."

She stared at the screen, seeing Post A New Message and the name/address/subject box staring back at her. MWC...was as much as she had left undeleted. The other MW Challenges were so good, and her efforts just seemed so futile in comparison. The fact that she had once spent five minutes alone with Peter Wingfield during the cruise should have given her inspiration, but every time she thought about bringing his alter ego into her world she blanked. Wait a minute, maybe if she tried to bring Duncan instead.

More blank computer screen.

The sound of the wind chimes over the office door barely penetrated her consciousness nor did the approach of two men to her desk.

"Excuse me, miss" a deep voice tinged with the burr of Scotland intoned, "we hate to disturb you but you are a travel agent are you not?"

Slowly she swiveled in her chair, the eerily familiar voice almost paralyzing her. She looked up into deep-set eyes, noted longish black hair and swept her gaze down to two of the fuzziest hands she had ever seen. Moving her eyes sidewards she looked at the next set of hands, with the longest most graceful fingers and let her eyes travel up to meet the slightly sardonic stare of...no, it couldn't be but it sure looked just like Methos.

"We need two first class tickets for London for next Friday," the Methos clone said, his eyes laughing at her obvious befuddlement. He had immediately noted the calendar pictures posted up above Tikasmom's desk, as well as the famous shot of the Four Horsemen. He and Duncan always got such a kick out of meeting real live Highlander fans, but rarely had the opportunity to devil one as they did now. This woman was quite obviously trying to hide the fact that she recognized them, but the mottled red color on her round cheeks and the stammer in her voice as she attempted to do business as usual gave her away.

"No way," she thought to herself, "there is no way in hell that Annie and Leah, not to mention the rest of the Forum, are ever going to accept that Duncan and Methos really came into my travel agency. NOT when the challenge was to write them into my real life."

She watched the receding backs of the two immortals as they left her shop, and turned back to the computer. Surely there was a story she could pull from somewhere that folks just might enjoy and maybe get a smile or laugh out of....

I don't suppose this counts for a MWC ?

Posted by Jette on Thursday, 15 June 2000, at 1:06 p.m.

Wolfettes ahoy!!

Seacouver Adventure

Okay, here's my shot at the MWC...

Posted by ShelBel on Thursday, 15 June 2000, at 1:12 p.m.

Duncan smiled. His new arrangement with the radio station next door was working wonderfully. In exchange for some basic self-defense classes he was getting a fair amount of advertising, and the new influx of interested students was beginning to pay off. In addition, some of the staff who had taken his original classes had signed up for additional training.

In fact, he was watching a pair of them spar. Both were about five foot six or thereabouts, but there the similarities ended. Kris was long haired, slim and fit, while Michelle – Shelly, he corrected himself- was short haired, round and badly out of shape. Despite Kris being an accomplished kick boxer and Shelly having little to no training of any sort, they worked well together. Their seven kids- Kris’ five and Shelly’s two- played together at the opposite end of the dojo, the bigger ones playing babysitter. A remarkably well-behaved group overall, mused Duncan. He taught them as well three times a week in a children’s class, and was seeing remarkable progress…

A thump caught his attention and he returned to the present. Shelly sprawled on her back on the mat, gasping for breath. She looked up in surprise at Kris, then the two of them burst out laughing. Kris helped Shelly to her feet, they bowed to each other, and left the mat.

“Good job, ladies,” he called out. The two waved as they went to collect their bags, towels draped around their necks and children in tow. In the quiet that remained, Duncan began a simple kata. As his body went through the ingrained movements his mind drifted- not an ideal thing, but he needed to think.

Six months ago he’d been in a battle to the death against an unnamed immortal, someone who had emerged from the shadows and attacked him wordlessly. Duncan had barely managed to escape with his neck still intact, and the Quickening that followed was unlike any other he’d ever felt. It hurt, a more intense pain he couldn’t remember in all his four hundred plus years, not even his first death.

When it was done he’d dropped to the ground, still gasping and weak, and with the sense that something was… different. The city still roared and blared and rushed with it’s usual rhythms, but time itself seemed sped up. He’d returned to the dojo to find everything exactly as he’d left it, nothing out of place, and shrugged it off as the after effects of a particularly nasty Q.

In the months that followed life had settled back into it’s usual routine, but still the nagging feeling of something being off nagged him. He hadn’t sensed another immortal since then, and it was starting to worry him. Not the lack of challenges; he could live without those. He practiced every day and had found a few students to teach, and that helped, but he hadn’t heard from Amanda, or Methos, or Joe, for that matter.

The day the radio station moved into their newly remodeled building next door he’d sensed an opportunity. He’d gone up to the front desk and asked the receptionist if he could talk to someone about some advertising, and she had quickly fetched one of the sales managers. They had quickly come to an agreement, signed a trade contract, and gotten Duncan on the air the very next week for an hour long interview.

That was when he’d met Shelly. The Promotions Director had stopped dead in her tracks outside the studio window and stared, mouth hanging open and expression stunned, when she’d spied him. She’d recovered quickly and had managed to catch him before he left the station, and the conversation had been- interesting. It turned out to be a case of mistaken identity, as she’d thought he was some actor named Adrian Paul or something. She’d even shown him some photos of the man in question, and the resemblance was striking, but in the end they’d both laughed it off.

Duncan finished his kata and let out his breath in a long, controlled exhalation. He suddenly felt a little dizzy, and reached for the windowsill to steady himself before the realization of what he was feeling struck him. In six months he’d almost forgotten.

Dear Lord, it’s another immortal…. He turned toward the door and froze, every muscle in his body tensing.

James Horton- or someone who looked very much like him- stood just inside the studio, his mouth curled up into a feral grin. The sight chilled Duncan to the very marrow of his bones, and another shiver raced through him as Horton pulled out a sword.

“Greetings, MacLeod. And no, you aren’t seeing things.”

“Horton,” Duncan breathed. Horton bowed elaborately, sword slicing through the air in a silvery arc.

“In the flesh. Did you enjoy the present?” Duncan blinked, his expression hardening.

“And what would that be?” He moved slowly across the floor and picked up his katana, Horton making no move to stop him.

Horton laughed. “Why, the Quickening, of course! I’m the one who arranged for your little trip. My poor mortal alternate obviously failed at defeating you in his world, so I thought it would be nice to bring you here.” He took a step forward, his posture radiating threats. “I keep telling you- I’m the man you can’t kill.”

MWC: caving under pressure, here's my attempt

Posted by LA-LA lander on Thursday, 15 June 2000, at 2:15 p.m.

Just remember that I'm an accountant. A really exciting day for me is when the UPS guy shows up with an order of office supplies. "Wow! New Post-Its! Woohooo!!"

_____________

"So, Mr. Pierson, you haven't filed your tax returns in HOW long?"

Adam Pierson slouched comfortably in a well padded chair, casually surveying the accountant's office where he had just deposited a large envelope containing a hodge podge of receipts, tax documents and IRS notices on the large wooden desk.

"Oh..." Pierson responded distractedly, "it's probably been four or five years. Who can keep track of these things, really?"

"Well, do you have a copy of your last filed return?" asked the accountant.

"It's probably in the envelope there somewhere with all that other stuff," said Pierson with ennui, slouching further in the chair.

"How did you say you heard about our firm?" asked the accountant, dumping the contents of Pierson's envelope on the desk and flipping quickly through the stack of jumbled papers.

"A friend referred me. Duncan MacLeod." A grimace flitted across the corners of Pierson's mouth. "He *insisted* that I come actually."

"MacLeod, you say? Is he one of our clients? The name doesn't sound familiar."

"No, he found you in the phone book I think."

"And I always thought those Yellow Page ads were a waste of money... Well, Mr. Pierson, we can certainly help you bring your tax filings up to date. You do realize, of course, that you're probably going to owe some penalties," commented the accountant, continuing to flip through the stack of papers. "Hmm... Some of these documents look like they've been wet."

"Yes. Had a bit of a flood I'm afraid," said Pierson gazing out the window.

"Now, Mr. Pierson, you've got quite a few expenses here, but I don't see any income. Do you have any W-2's or 1099's, maybe some K-1's, or perhaps you get all the money to pay for these expenses from a secret Swiss account...Ha Ha Ha!" the accountant laughed at her silly joke.

Pierson shifted uncomfortably in his chair. "Ah, yes...it's...uh...a rich uncle, you see. He gives me enough to live on and pay my graduate school tuition. Yes...Uncle...uh...Uncle John. Yes, dear Uncle John. Don't know what I'd do without him." He smiled uncomfortably.

"I see. Well, if he has given you more than the $10,000 per year gift limit you will have to declare the income. Is your uncle married? Because in that case your aunt and uncle could each gift you $10,000 per year, which would give you..."

Pierson suddenly sat up and looked around warily. "Say, are we about done here? Why don't you see what you can do with what you've got there? I've...uh...got to see a man about a horse, as they say. Thanks for your help. I'll be in touch." He flashed a smile and slipped out the door, gripping something inside his long coat.

"Mr. Pierson? How can I reach you? Mr. Pierson?" The accountant was left looking puzzled at the empty doorway, muttering to herself. "Hmmm. Strange fellow. Geez, five years. How does anyone go five years without filing a tax return? It's unthinkable..."

MWC Attempt

Posted by Titania on Thursday, 15 June 2000, at 6:02 p.m.

"Now take that couple over there." Joe said, as he pointed to a couple sitting at a side table. "They've been coming here for three years now to celebrate their anniversary. So don't tell me that this place isn't romantic, Duncan MacLeod."

Duncan gave a small chuckled as he swallowed the last of his beer. His smile changed to sadness as he watched the couple. They were obviously in love. They were holding hands and whispering to one another the was that lovers do. The woman giggled at something the man said and then kissed the man in reply to the unheard question.

Duncan was surprised at how raw his pain still was. All this time without Tessa and he still turned melancholy when he say a couple deeply in love. He watched the couple for a few more seconds. Turning back to Joe he asked "Do you think they'll always be in love like that?"

"Well, let me tell you what I know about them. Tana is smart, stubborn and very caring. Rob's the same way, but he's had a harder time of it. His real parents divorced when he was 9 and his real mother was horrible to him. If it wasn't for his stepmom that would be one messed up young man." "Anyway, they meet in high school when they were both 15. Tana was going to grow up, go to college, major in drama, minor in French and live in Paris for a summer or two. Backpack across Europe, the whole college student thing." "Rob, on the other hand, had no idea what he wanted to be when he grew up, but he loved two things; computers and photography." "Anyway, a few years go by. Tana goes away to college. Rob works for a year and then goes to South Africa to do missionary work. While he's gone, Tana realizes that a degree in drama is going to get her as far as a degree in underwater basket weaving. So she decides to do some missionary work to "find herself" so to speak." "A couple of years go by, they're both finished with their missionary work and meet up again. They were married three months later. Tana never went to Paris, never backpacked across Europe and got a degree in Social Work instead." "Rob self taught himself about computers. He's now working for a good corporation as a computer tech and working on his Microsoft Certification. He's never finished college." "The point of this long story, is this, at 16 neither one of them would have married the other, but through mutual sacrifice, each one is willing to make this marriage work." "Do I think their love will last? Most certainly. Maybe even forever." Joe finished with a soft sigh and turned to fill Duncan's glass for the third time.

Duncan took a sip. Behind him he heard a masculine voice say "Joe, thanks for everything. It was great as usual."

"Sure Rob, no problem." Joe answered as he shook the man's hand.

"Joe, if it wasn't for you we'd never cross the mountains." a laughing female voice answered.

"Yea, I know about you crossing those mountains." Joe laughed in return. "Now you be careful, Tana and don't let this one," he said while pointing to Rob, "get you stranded in the mountains again."

"Hey, I almost forgot. This is Duncan MacLeod, another of my favorite customers." Joe said, introducing the couple to the brooding immortal.

"Rob and Tana" Rob said. They shook hands all around and then Tana said "It was nice to meet you, Duncan. I hope we see you again sometime." She gave Duncan a dazzling smile while her husband helped her with her coat. The couple exited into the night, leaving behind their warmth in the path of Duncan's brooding.

"Joe, I think you're right about them. By the way, how do you know so much about them?" Duncan asked.

"Hey, I am the bartender" Joe grinned in reply.

* * *

During the drive home, Duncan thought about the couple he had met at the bar. Thinking about them, led to thinking about Tessa. Thinking about Tessa, led him to thinking about Debra Campbell and all the loves in between.

His bed seemed even larger and lonelier than usual that night. He wished that Amanda was in town. At least that way he wouldn't have to sleep alone. He didn't care about the sex, he just wanted somebody to hold. As he slept, he dreamt.

* * * The colors in his dream were muted. Everything looked like it had been exposed to fluorescent light far too long. In his dream he was running. Running to get outside. Running to get to the T-Bird before Richie and Tessa. Running to save them from their deaths. In his dream, he never made it.

Tonight, the dream was different. Tonight, he found the murderer still standing there. Standing there with a smoking gun and a crack addicts blank stare. The murderer was shocked to see him and tried to run. Duncan ran him down and tackled him with no effort. Before the murderer or Duncan had time to think, Duncan drew his katana and sliced downward. The murderer's head left his body just as Duncan released a primal roar that shook the windows of the neighborhood far more than any Quickening would. Tonight, the dream was different, but Duncan was still alone. Still left wondering what he could have done differently.

* * * Duncan woke with a start and stared at the alarm clock. It read 3 a.m.. "That's two more hours than last night" he thought as he dressed. He went to the phone and called Joe.

"Joe, I think I know why you introduced me to that couple tonight...."

FIN

Another MWC... a bit long...

Posted by Torisen on Thursday, 15 June 2000, at 10:46 p.m.

I had reservations about joining in this week's challenge, since this is one of the sorts of fan fiction stories I enjoy the *LEAST*. However, I've really liked all the contributions so far, and it's all in good fun.

*****

Amanda woke with a gasp, leaped to her feet, and immediately sat down again. What the… She felt extremely dizzy, and there was a burning pain in her side. She touched the aching spot to find a not-quite-healed wound, still oozing blood. Oh yes…Victor Hansen had put that there. The last thing she remembered was throwing herself off the roof to escape him. She hadn't expected to have to face him again so soon, and the one thing Amanda didn't need at this point in her life was yet another immortal from her past coming to settle a grudge.

She looked up the way she had come. That's odd, the building looked much different from the street. Well, never mind that now. Victor could appear at any moment. Amanda lurched to her feet, picked up her sword, and stumbled to the mouth of the alley. The street before her didn't look like any part of Paris she was familiar with, but it was comforting in its normalcy, with motorists and pedestrians going about their business. She couldn't feel a buzz, but her head was pounding so hard, she might not have noticed it if there was one. Amanda glanced behind her for any sign of pursuit, then sheathed her sword and began walking down the street as quickly as her aching head would allow.

She couldn't fight like this. She needed a chance to regain her strength. Where was a bit of holy ground when you needed it? Well, she would come upon a church eventually, but first Amanda needed to make sure Hansen wasn't following her. Ahead on her right, the buildings parted in another alley. Amanda turned into the brick-paved space, and halted. The alley was barely ten yards long with a wall blocking the far side. A dead end! Literally, if Victor were to show up now. But wait… off to the side, there was a small gate set in the wall. Amanda darted through it… and burst into relieved laughter when she saw what lay beyond. A cemetery! For the moment, at least, she was safe from ??? But why did she feel so dizzy? Amanda stumbled forward, the world growing increasingly dark as it spun around her…

There were bricks beneath her cheek. In front of her she could see grass, and a very small headstone marked simply "REVERE'S TOMB."

…Paul Revere… he had sure been a cutie…

"Hello? Hello??"

…but what a jerk! Him and his silly midnight ride… He nearly ran me over!…

"Hello? Are you alright?"

Amanda became aware that someone was shaking her.

"Oh. Wha?" She rolled over onto her back and looked up to see a young woman gazing down at her worriedly.

"Oh! Oh good!" said the girl with relief. "I was afraid you weren't breathing and I don't know CPR." Amanda sat up slowly, a hand to her pounding head.

"Ugh… Where am I?" The young woman's expression grew even more concerned.

"Where *are* you? Are you alright? Did you hit your head? Um, how many fingers am I holding up?" She waved a hand in front of Amanda's face.

"Three," Amanda said, batting the hand away. She rose to her feet, nearly falling over half-way up, but the girl caught her arm and steadied her. Amanda looked around her. The cemetery wasn't large, but it was crowded with grave markers - old slate ones, many of them crumbling away. The place was surrounded on three sides by tall buildings. A wrought-iron fence spanned the fourth side, and traffic rushed past just beyond. Off to the left, Amanda could see the back gate through which she had entered.

"You're in the Granary Burial Ground," the girl informed her. Amanda could only stare at her in confusion. "Downtown… near the Commons?… in Boston??" Her voice rose with distress as Amanda's confused expression only grew more pronounced with each added detail. "Hey, wait a minute. Do you know who you look like?"

"Audrey Hepburn?" asked Amanda hopefully.

No, you - hey, you're hurt!" Amanda glanced down at the ragged, blood-stained hole in the side of her blouse.

"Oh, it's nothing -" she began.

"No, let me see." The young woman prodded the skin beneath the tear, only to find it unharmed. "That's - that's odd, there's no wound." She drew back. Amanda quickly adjusted her blouse to make the rip less noticeable.

"What's your name?" she asked the young woman, hoping to distract her from the healed injury.

"Torisen."

"I'm Amanda." There was a pause.

"No you're not," Torisen finally responded.

"Yes I am." Another pause.

"Oh, I get it. This is a joke! Where's the hidden camera? The young woman began eagerly scanning the windows above for some clandestine camera crew.

"Now, look," Amanda began. The sun was growing warm on her shoulders. She started to shrug out of her black leather coat. "I don't know what you -" She stopped as her sword fell clattering from the folds of her coat. They both stared at it. The half dozen standard explanations flew through Amanda's mind as she debated which would work best in this context, hoping her companion wouldn't realize the sword was a good deal longer than the garment that hid it.

"Um, where did that come from?" the girl asked. "How did you get that in your coat?"

"I'm in a play…" Amanda tried to explain as she retrieved the weapon. Torisen was looking from her face to the sword to the missing wound.

"Eeep!" The girl jumped back. "You're real!" she squeaked.

"Real?" Amanda didn't like the sound of that. The young woman took a deep breath, her expression turning from shock to enthusiasm.

"This is just - wow! I have so many questions, I don't know where to begin! What's up with you and Nick? What happened after he became immortal, or did that happen yet? I don't suppose Bert Myers is around? Can I meet him? Oh, and the history! Tell me where the books get it wrong! Too bad you aren't Methos. I'd love to really grill him about the ancient world. And the Forum! They'd never believe this…"

Amanda shook her head in disbelief.

"You know what I am. How? How do you know Nick and Bert and Methos?" She suddenly reached out and grabbed Torisen's wrists. Hmmm, no tattoo, but then maybe the Watchers had found a less obvious way of identifying themselves…

"You know, this shouldn't be happening," Torisen commented.

"Quite right!" said a voice behind them. The two women spun around to see a rather short, blond man grinning at them broadly. "You two look as if you've seen a ghost… and you wouldn't be far off!"

"Fitz!" Amanda exclaimed. "But your dead! …Aren't you?" She suddenly recalled MacLeod's tale of his experiences during the O'Rourke incident. In truth, Amanda had never really believed him. She had *wanted* to, but it was all too fantastic. Aloud, she had supported Duncan, but privately she assumed it had just been a hallucination. Now, however, it looked as if she owed her friend an apology, even if it was for things unsaid.

"I prefer the term ‘metabolically challenged.'" Fitz responded. "Amanda, it is a delight to see you again." He embraced the puzzled immortal warmly and kissed her on the cheek. "And you, my dear." Fitz turned to Torisen, who took an involuntary step backward. "You've seen me before, too?"

"N- I mean yes! I mean… on the show… and I tried to rent Tommy once but Tower didn't have it and - and…"

Fitz chuckled and held out his hand. "Hugh Fitzcairn, at your service."

"Uh, Torisen," the girl said. She extended her hand only to yank it back when Fitz moved to kiss it.

"Hum. A pleasure," said Fitz with a slight bow.

"Fitz…" Amanda began. "Am I…?"

"No, you're not dead. At least, not permanently."

"Then you're here to show me what the world would be like if I never existed?"

"Not exactly. This is another service we perform. Similar, but a bit different. Instead of showing you a world where you don't exist, we show you a world where immortals don't exist… at least, not *really*." He winked at Torisen, whose eyes grew even wider.

"I see," said Amanda, who didn't.

"But," Fitz continued. "There's been a bloody awful mix-up! It's that new intern of ours, he can't keep anything straight." Fitz extracted a clipboard from some recess of his coat, now free of the need to hide a sword, and flipped through the first several pages. "Ah, here we go! You're not supposed to be in Boston at all! You're not even in the right time zone!"

"I'm not?"

"No! Well, that's fixed easily enough, but believe me, when I get back, someone's going to get a piece of my mind!" Fitzcairn took Amanda by the elbow. "So long!" he said to Torisen, waving. "Now come along Amanda, my dear. Let's get you to Indiana!"

MWC (with a twist)

Posted by Utah HL Fan (de-lurking for the first time) on Friday, 16 June 2000, at 9:40 a.m.

Here's my first try at writing something AND first Post. Please be gentle...

You, a Highlander fan (and Forumlander), find yourself in a rather grimy area in a narrow street of some major city, unsure how you got there. Walking forward, you find yourself emerging from the narrow street onto a bigger one, which follows the bank of a river. Lots of stone everywhere- the street, the riverbank, medieval arches. A couple of blocks away along the river edge you notice a barge anchored.

"Wow." you think. "I wonder if that's the barge they used for filming Highlander? Sure looks like it." You begin walking towards it, but when you're within about 30 feet you start feeling a strange "buzzing" sensation in your head.

As you approach the barge's entrance ramp, suddenly a figure emerges from the door and comes down the ramp at a run. Scared, all you notice at first is the gleaming sword clenched in the person's hand, but then you take in the rage-filled face of.... Adrian Paul. He has the same glare and hate in his eyes as he did in that episode with the Dark Quickening. This couldn't be real.. Could it be Duncan, not Adrian?

As he bears down on you with a feral grin of anticipation, you start looking wildly about for the camera crews, but the two of you are alone. You are getting dizzy from the buzzing feeling. As you turn to run, you trip and fall on your right knee, badly gashing the skin. You roll over just in time to see the katana blade swinging toward your bare neck.

You come to with a start, sitting up in bed to the sound of your alarm, finding that a lamp cord had somehow fallen across your neck. "Wow." you think. "No wonder I dreamed that! Gotta stop watching my Highlander tapes until 3 AM."

Struggling shakily out of bed, you stumble towards the shower and get the water going. As you disrobe and step in, a sudden stinging in your knee startles you fully awake. "What the...?" Looking down, you see that your right knee is badly gashed and the water from the shower is hitting it, causing the stinging. You know it wasn't hurt when you went to bed, and it still looks really fresh. Suddenly your head starts buzzing when your spouse walks by the bathroom door....

MWC:"Pros and Cons" pt 1

Posted by Ghost Cat on Friday, 16 June 2000, at 11:00 a.m.

The weather was strange that day in Seacouver; the clouds were dark and the air heavy with a sense of expectation. Duncan hardly noticed; his entire being was focused on the retreating form of Xavier St. Cloud. As they approached the vacant lot, he shouted out "No where to hide here, Xavier. Just you and me." The Moor just smiled as he drew his weapon. This was as good a place as any to avenge his lost arm.

There was an ominous rumble of thunder where the two Immortals faced each other. As two swords hit with ringing force, a bolt of lightning struck the crossed blades, throwing both men, stunned, to the ground.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

MacLeod recovers first, reaching for his fallen blade. Looking around, he is surprised to find a large, busy hotel on the previously empty lot. He turns back to where he left Xavier, only to catch a glimpse of him slipping into a crowd. Cursing softly beneath his breath, he quickly slips his katana under his long coat and strides into the crowd himself.

And what a crowd it was: men and women of all ages and descriptions wearing everything from trench coats to elaborate period costumes. Everywhere he looked MacLeod saw a blade, on hips, across shoulders, tied to backpacks. Either the Gathering had jumped to a new level without his knowing it, or something very weird was happening. He looks twice at the black T-shirt worn by a teen: the words "Tessa Noel--Lest We Forget" above a stylized gravestone.

MacLeod reaches the hotel entrance without spotting Xavier, very worried about what that man could do in a place like this. A man in a security uniform grabs his shoulder, "I'm sorry, sir. Weapons check, please open your coat."

"I don't know what you're talking about. I have to get in there to meet a (hem) friend." He gives the man an appraising look--the guard seemed nervous, but not overly so. "Is there some kind of problem here?"

Another guard, with a supervisor's tag, jogs over quickly as soon as he notices the line slowing down. His eyes widen slightly as he notices the dark haired stranger; he looks down at his clipboard, looks one more time. 'What fool told him to come in the front?' he thinks to himself with an audible sigh. He pulls the other guard aside, "Wilkin, you idiot, don't you know who that is? Let him through before the rest of them notice."

The younger guard stammers an apology to MacLeod as the supervisor guides him through several back hallways. Duncan follows without trouble, better to try to talk his way out in private than to make a public scene. Things were getting more confusing by the minute. A weapons check at the door to a hotel? Guards who recognize him on sight? This smelled of Xavier's trickery, but how could he have arranged all this so quickly?

The supervisor seems a bit uncomfortable; he can't stop talking. "I'm really quite sorry this had to happen. We weren't told to expect you up front, it's usually a better idea to meet the Guest out back before the fans get wind of it. Plus most of the time there's a couple of bodyguards to keep an eye on things in case we don't find you right away. You going incognito for a reason today, sir? Or can I call you Mr. Paul?"

MWC:"Pros and Cons" pt 2

Posted by Ghost Cat on Friday, 16 June 2000, at 11:03 a.m., in response to MWC:"Pros and Cons" pt 1, posted by Ghost Cat on Friday, 16 June 2000, at 11:00 a.m.

Mac forces a smile despite his growing confusion, "You can call me Duncan, but I'd really prefer if you didn't use my name at all".

"Wow, you really like to get into character. Whatever works, I guess. Even the costume looks authentic". Before he can stop it, the guard reaches out an admiring hand, "Is that real leather?" The coat opens slightly as Duncan tries to pull away, revealing a flash of steel. The guard freezes instantly, dropping the cloth as he backs away a step. "Look, I'm all for attention to detail, but you really should peacebond that thing, if only to set an example for everyone else. I'm truly sorry, I thought they told you that kind of thing in advance…"

Duncan thinks quickly as the guard starts to reach into his pocket. The situation was rapidly spinning out of control, and who knew what Xavier might be doing while he wasted his time here. He flashed his best smile and stepped forward, "You really don't have to apologize for doing your job. If anything, I should be the one to apologize."

The guard looks up, startled, "Apologize, for what?"

"For this-" a single hand-strike, hard and fast; the guard drops soundlessly to the floor. He'd wake up with a headache, but otherwise none the worse for wear. With hardly a pause, he dashes down the hall. Another convention guard, on patrol, enters the hall just in time to see a dark figure turn a corner. He leans over the fallen supervisor, grabbing his radio mike, "Savage is down. We've got an intruder, possibly armed, heading toward the Green Room." Over a burst of static, he hears dispatch confirm the alarm, followed by a muttered "This whole place is 'possibly armed', give me a Trek con any day".

Xavier has no idea where he is or how he got here, but he hasn't survived this long letting opportunities slip away. With MacLeod acting as a free diversion, it isn't difficult to slip into the building unnoticed. Whatever event was taking place here today seemed to make even the most bizarre occurrences normal by comparison. As he weaves though the hordes of (ugh) mortals, no one seems to pay him much attention. A few random comments are directed his way, things that make no sense like "Cool K'Immie" or "Check out the arm" and several mock hisses and boos. Ducking through a door to escape the attention, he finds himself in a kind of mini marketplace, makeshift tables displaying merchandise of all kinds, most of it plastered with that damned Highlander's face. Now that he's looking for it, Xavier notices that many of the mortals here seem to be _imitating_ him-disgusting. If he was forced to stay here much longer he is quite sure he'd be physically ill.

MacLeod rushes down another empty corridor, only to see it end in a single door. He hardly slows as he slams through the door-and comes to a dead stop. Confronting him are two men armed with guns and…himself? If it weren't for the short hair Duncan could easily be looking in a mirror. Caught in a moment of shock, he doesn't notice the one bodyguard, already spooked by the security alarm, tighten his finger on the trigger. 'Not again' is all he has time to think before a hammer blow hits him in the chest.

Adrian Paul is a pretty easygoing guy; you had to be to voluntarily appear at conventions that had their own weapon codes. He'd seen some strange things in his day, a few overzealous fans, a stalker or two; but never before (outside a nice safe sound stage) had he watched his own double shot dead in front of his eyes. And when that same dead man gets to his feet and efficiently disarms both his bodyguards without breaking a sweat, Adrian knows things have gone too far. Either he was dealing with a very unstable man in a bulletproof vest; or else reality had just turned inside out. "What the hell is going on here?"

"Xavier St. Cloud," says the double, as if that explained everything. The two stare each other down for several heartbeats, a silent challenge. 'It's the Shatner effect' Adrian thinks, 'I've lived the myth so long I'm starting to believe it myself.' Nevertheless something clicks in his mind and he knows what needs to be done. "What can I do to help?"

The stranger nods once, "Get as many people out of here as you can, and make sure no one gets in my way".

MWC:"Pros and Cons" pt 3

Posted by Ghost Cat on Friday, 16 June 2000, at 11:04 a.m., in response to MWC:"Pros and Cons" pt 2, posted by Ghost Cat on Friday, 16 June 2000, at 11:03 a.m.

Debra wanders the convention in a daze, still in awe: her first Highlander Con, and in Vancouver no less. It was so amazing, so wonderful, though there are some intimidating moments: one guy out there in a Xavier getup looks like he's gone off the deep end. She could hardly wait for the guest of honor to appear. As if on cue, a door opens and a familiar figure steps into view. At most cons, the guest always seemed fairly casual, no one here expected that AP would appear in character. The intensity that came across on screen seems to hang in the air like a coming storm. The bare blade is a bit of a surprise, considering the Holy Ground policy, but Deb supposes that the star of the show was allowed to make a grand entrance.

One of the K'Immies in the crowd spins around with unnatural speed and Deb is close enough to see a look of pure hatred. This was no costumed fan. Like a wave the crowd parts, leaving plenty of room for what they suspected was an unscheduled sword demonstration. It is into this expectant silence that another Adrian Paul steps, microphone in hand and flanked by convention security. One guard looked like he was nursing a nasty bump.

If there is one thing that can capture the attention of every Highlander fan on the planet, it is the Voice, and Adrian uses it to full advantage. "Attention everyone, we have a Situation. Please leave the Hall in a calm and orderly fashion; there are guards at the doors to help guide you out. This is not a drill, this is NOT part of the show." A few people drift toward the exits on herd instinct, but most of the fans remain focused on the two duelists, afraid to miss anything exciting. Poor Debbie is frozen by the thought of two Duncans--two Adrians--too bizarre!

A second voice, same as the first, needs no amplification to reach the farthest corners of the hall, "Listen to the man, people. This is Real. Get out of here, NOW!"

A chilling laugh, known and hated by every Highlander, cuts through the chaos. "Look at your flock Highlander, sheep who wish they were wolves. They all worship you, and they'll all have the honor of seeing you go down." Scornful eyes search for an easy victim; Debra turns to run-too slow, too late! -And finds herself caught in a claw-like grip. "How about you, do you wish you were Immortal? How'd you like to lose your head?" Somehow you never truly appreciate the phrase 'cold steel' until it's laid against your own throat. For years she'd been accused of letting her fantasies run away with her, but this was too real for comfort.

"Let her go, Xavier; you know you want me." It was a stock phrase that could have been lifted out of any episode script, but there was a genuine compassion in the voice that no rehearsed line could achieve. Deb is swung around like a rag doll, displayed like a prize. To check a growing sense of panic, she focuses on a pair of clear brown eyes; those eyes seemed very, very old to her. Adrian Paul was a damned fine actor, but some things could not be faked. This was Duncan MacLeod, of the Clan MacLeod. And if that was the real Mac, then she was about to be sliced open by an 800-year-old man with no conscience.

She closed her eyes, forced her breathing to slow…Think dammit, concentrate! You call yourself an Highlander, it's Name that K'Immie, and the winner gets to stay alive. Her racing thoughts now have something to focus on: Xavier St. Cloud. 800 years old, overconfident, likes gimmicks, cheats at duels (don't they all?). Concentrate; don't let your mind wander, girl. What are the weaknesses? Hates Mac, hates mortals (now there's a reassuring thought); underestimates mortals. Bingo!

Panic rises to the surface: not me, I'm not the hero type. A snatch of dialogue drifts through her mind unbidden… There are those who watch, and there are those who take action.

"Take the bastard, Duncan!" she shouts, driving an elbow into her captor's gut with all her strength. It was a maneuver she had seen a hundred times, but never tried herself. She hears a satisfying grunt of pain in the same instant she feels a cold line drawn across her neck. There is a strange sense of detachment as she feels her body start to fall; smells the copper-salt tang of her own blood; hears a swish and a thud from above. So this is what shock feels like. The world turns surreal as one MacLeod crouches over her, yelling for an ambulance, while another stood framed in a pale blue aurora. "Goodbye, Duncan" she whispers as consciousness drifts slowly away.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The convention closed after the first day, shut down due to "electrical damage". None of the fans seemed to mind. They couldn't stop talking about the fantastic promotional stunt, especially at the height of the "Quickening" when "Duncan" disappeared in a flash of blue light. "Xavier's" body was never found, thus proving without a doubt that the whole thing had been staged.

Debra awoke in a hospital, her first sight the handsome face of a man she knew instinctively as an actor and not the man she had been willing to lay down her life for. Adrian knew the truth, and somehow felt responsible. The Hero of the Con was showered with personal AP attention that a hundred female fans would have killed for. Amazingly enough, she survived with no permanent damage except a faint scar she laughingly called her Kalas impersonation. She continued to watch the show, and treasured her personalized photo; but after that she never could bring herself to go to another HL-Con. Just as well, once you've met Duncan MacLeod AND Adrian Paul, everything else is pretty much an anti-climax…

MWC-couldn't resist

Posted by Anasazi Lady MacWoW on Friday, 16 June 2000, at 12:30 p.m.

His eyes had hurt from the sunshine at the top of the subway escalator, so he had sought shelter in the maze of underground levels of this place, called a hotel according to its signs. Having escaped after so many years of underground captivity, first in that foul desert well, then being held below that abomination called the Pentagon after being found during the desert war, he really didn’t fancy another spate underground! And gads, this place really had a lot of stairs and his legs were unused to so much climbing. Perhaps the maze-like corridors would keep the inevitable pursuers from finding him. Careful not to be seen, he was curious about what all these modern people were doing. So far he’d only been able to tell that they were engaged in some type of ritual adoration rites. He presumed that’s what they must be as the people in these subterranean levels all wore identical ornaments, a shiny paper with a circle and sword emblem. They kept gathering in a hall of some sort, one he had not yet been able to see into. From that room, noises of joy, of music and of dancing had emerged. The short, scar-faced man remained hidden, watching, waiting to see if these people could be made to aid in his escape.

There were many women here, but one interested him especially. She also wore the special circle and sword emblem but what most interested him was her shirt, those pictures on it! Could they really be pictures of himself and his Brothers? How could that be? Carefully, he followed her as she entered a stairwell and slowly ascended upwards. As she paused frequently to catch her breath, he saw that she carried other pictures; many of them were of the man he most wanted to find in all the world. His Brother in all but birth, might he be cursed forever! He noted where she entered a sleeping room and waited for her to emerge. Now she wore another shirt clearly bearing a picture that could only be his Brother. Rage rose within him. He wanted to capture her, to torture her until she told him how she knew about them but he knew he had to wait. After so many centuries, he had learned the value of patience. He might not be as good a planner as his Brother, but he could see that this woman might be more use alive, if only she did not succumb to the pain of the stairs. After all she had the circle and sword emblem and seemed to know her way around in this infernal maze.

He considered his problem. He could not be noticed. There were so few men here that each attracted unnecessary amounts of attention. What a fuss they made over that tall young one with the haircut so like his! When he found the small bag with modern clothing and a uniform of those who cleaned the hotel, he had what was required. Pulling the hat low over his face, he knew he’d be all but invisible to these hordes of worshippers. That evening he found a worshipper napping on a hallway chair and deftly stole her circle and sword emblem.

All night, he lingered outside the sleeping room of the woman with the picture shirts. She seemed to require little sleep, returning late and arising far too early, once again wearing a likeness of his Brother. It was time to make use of her. Now wearing clothes from the worker’s bag, pants of some dense blue material, a baggy shirt and the circle and sword paper emblem, he followed the woman through the maze to a room filled with tables of merchandise, some sort of modern marketplace he imagined. Once there, he found he had misjudged his ability to hide among the throngs. The worshippers’ behavior puzzled him greatly. Some ignored him, but some looked at him and asked him to stand with them while others lit some type of fast burning implement that made bright lights in his eyes. Not knowing what else to do, he humored them until they went away. The woman had joined the lines of worshippers. Certainly it would be time soon to see what god these mortals awaited.

He pretended to admire the vendors’ merchandise and watched while lines of the worshippers grew long. suddenly, there was a stir among them and he felt a strange buzz in the room, not unlike those he once was accustomed to. A retinue accompanying one of the gods approached. He stared. It could not be! He approached closer. This could be no god, yet he surely was no mortal either. The crowd moved aside and the tall man at the center of attention said, “Greetings Brother.”

MW Challenge...if you thought your day sucked...

Posted by Chimera on Saturday, 17 June 2000, at 6:58 a.m.

I slapped the alarm clock into submission, awakening to yet another grey day. Thunder rolled ominously and a huge bolt of lightning flashed somewhere very close by. Sighing heavily, I dragged myself out of bed and down the hall to the bathroom, flicking on the light switch. Nothing. Great, I thought, no electricity, no shower as the country well pump is run by electricity.

Walking back to the kitchen, I went to turn on the coffee maker, and cursed. No coffee either! This is too much! Going back to the bedroom, I hauled out the ironing board, and then remembered again. No power, can't iron my clothes for work. Looking at the curling iron on my dresser, I realized with horror, I also couldn't do anything with my hair. Great, just great!

The smell of smoke attracted my attention to the window where I saw the electric transformer on the hydro pole at the road smoldering. Lightning must have hit it, I thought, as I hurried into some clothes to have a look. It was screened by a dense row of trees at the roadside. Rushing down the lane and onto the road, I suddenly stopped, astonished by the man leaning against the pole with a sword hanging loosely in his hand. He looked haggard and in pain, and when he saw me, he was alarmed. I followed his gaze to the ditch nearby where something that looked like a pile of clothes lay. I averted my eyes, knowing what it was.

He straightened himself and started toward me. I must have had a horrified expression on my face, as he raised his hand placatingly, and said, in a wonderfully warm voice, "I won't hurt you. This isn't what it looks like. It was a fair fight, and he lost. Just go back into your house and forget what you saw."

Swallowing hard, I said, gesturing to the ditch, "What about....uh that? The hydro linemen should be here soon. How will I explain a decapitated body in front of my house?"

"That's already being taken care of. You'd best leave now." He smiled reassuringly and I tried to move but couldn't, mesmerized by those sad brown eyes.

Our attention was distracted by a car, hurtling toward us like a comet with a vapor trail of dust. It crunched to a stop on the gravel road, and a woman leapt out with a sword in her hand. She glared at us both, and with an angry frown, glanced at the ditch.

"Amanda!" the man and I said at the same time.

The two Immortals shot me a quizzical glance, and Amanda said, "How do you know my name?"

"I heard him say it." I answered rather lamely, shrugging, and hoping to disappear before any more questions were asked.

"What about her? Who is she?" Amanda snapped, gesturing toward me with the business end of the sword. I backed off a few steps.

"She lives in that house, and has promised not to say anything," MacLeod said, looking at me.

I nodded my assurance but Amanda narrowed her gaze at me. "You'd better get out of here," she said, "When the other get here, they don't like witnesses, if you know what I mean."

I shuddered, and turned back down my lane toward the house. Behind me, screened by the trees, I could hear Amanda's voice rise in anger.

"MacLeod, what are you doing here? This was my fight! You can't keep on trying to protect me. I can look after myself." Her voice suddenly stopped, and I turned around to see the two entwined in an ardent embrace. Feeling like an intruder, I continued down the lane to my house.

As I reached the door, I heard another vehicle roar down the gravel road, and stop in front of the house. I could hear new voices quite plainly.

"Why are you two still here?" a male voice complained.

"You're not supposed to stay around for this!" another voice added.

I heard a car door slam, the engine start and the vehicle pulled away, its sound fading into the distance. I still couldn't bring myself to go inside yet, wondering who the men were and what they were doing. I hadn't long to wait. I heard a loud noise and realized it was a large vacuum cleaner, its roaring and sucking sound shattering the country stillness. I went into the house humming "Dust in the Wind."

For you, Leah. I couldn't resist.

MWC - Rehearsal

Posted by lynnann - a mind no longer mush : ) on Sunday, 18 June 2000, at 12:51 a.m.

Suggested by an incident from college in my dim and murky past....

MacLeod was intensely focused upon his foe, another Immortal seeking the Highlander’s Quickening. Johann Heinrich, a former student of Ernst Daimler, learned of MacLeod’s part in his teacher’s death in Paris, and he had followed Duncan from Paris to Seacouver for revenge. They battled back and forth for what could have been moments, but somehow seemed so much longer. The earth shook suddenly, and both of the combatants staggered. The second, much larger jolt threw them both to the ground. Not even MacLeod’s panther-like grace could stabilize his footing. Both men leapt to their feet and circled each other warily, looking for an opening, any weakness that could be used to their advantage. Unable to take real notice of his surroundings, MacLeod was still aware something had changed suddenly. There were buildings where there had been none, few trees where there had been an abundance of them, and a sun near the horizon, when sunset should have been another hour or so away. Time enough to puzzle it out when this battle was finished, he decided.

The sandy-haired Immortal lunged suddenly, and was rewarded with the knowledge that he had gotten inside MacLeod’s defenses, when his sword drew blood. But MacLeod stopped his blade just short of Heinrich’s neck in the next instant. “Drop it!” When the Immortal hesitated, Duncan drew the katana a mere inch, leaving an angry gash of blood streaming down the neck “I said, drop it!”

“Get it over with, Highlander,” the man sneered. “I would.”

A small voice above them spoke with some trepidation, “Uhm, you do realize you’re not alone, don’t you?”

MacLeod stripped the man’s sword away from him, and threw it across the lawn. He stepped back and muttered lowly, “Stay out of my way, Heinrich, and you might make it to the Gathering.” The Immortal cursed in his native German at the Highlander, who replied in the same tongue. Johann Heinrich ran across the grass and scooped up the broadsword. He leapt from the wall to a lower level of grass crisscrossed with sidewalks, and he disappeared around the corner of the building. A quick glance around him as he slipped the katana beneath his coat, and MacLeod guessed he was on a nearly deserted college campus somewhere. Then he looked up at the building closest to him. A worried face stared down at him, with large brown eyes. A young woman sat on a wide ledge between a backpack and books.

“How long have you been there?”

“For awhile. But I didn’t look up until I heard the swords. Sometimes the guys from the drama department come out here to rehearse their swashbuckling. What I saw was no rehearsal.” She began to pack up her things.

“Why would you think that?”

“First, you’re older than the average college student, although I suppose a visiting fight choreographer might be … ah, older. Second, you are fighting with a katana, and he had a broadsword, which would not be done in your normal Shakespearean production, an anachronism, you know? Third, you look suspiciously like an actor I’ve seen on television, and it is unlikely I would ever meet Him, so fourth, I must be dreaming. In that case, you are Duncan MacLeod, and I don’t ever want to wake up. Let’s face it; I don’t think you’re in Seacouver anymore, Toto.”

“First time I’ve been called that. Where am I exactly?”

“Seacouver is about a thousand miles that-a-way,” she pointed north of the setting sun. “Well, I mean Vancouver… who came up with that idea, anyway? I know… writers! What’re ya gonna do?”

“Go home, have a stiff drink, and hope I wake up soon.”

“I can drive you to the airport, if you like. I assume you have money for a plane ticket.”

“The miracle of plastic,” he said, reaching for his hip pocket.

Any Highlander fan would have easily read the look on his face. Before he could get any words out, the young woman sighed, “Amanda?”

“She took my wallet!” He would have laughed in exasperation, but Duncan looked up again. “How do you know about Amanda?”

She climbed down from her perch. “I’m having one of my Highlander dreams again. Like Joe Dawson, I know a lot about you Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod.”

“You’re a Watcher?”

“Not in that sense. I hate to break it to you, Duncan, but you’re a TV series. I never miss it, so I guess that makes me a watcher. ”

“A television series? Right. About what, exactly?”

“Immortals, of course, the Gathering? This is odd. I’ve never had to explain this to you before. I just know any minute the alarm is going to go off. If it does, will you come back tonight?” she begged.

“I’ll see what I can do,” he said wryly. “About that ride to the airport?”

“The car is this way. What are you going to do for money? I’d loan it to you, but I’m a poor college student, and my card is maxed out.”

“I’ll call a friend and have him pay for the ticket.”

“Joe? Adam? I don’t suppose Richie…” she eyed his short hair.

“I thought you knew everything about me? Richie’s dead.”

“I was hopeful, okay. I didn’t want to believe it. I thought maybe he got locked up in some closet somewhere at the track. I’m sorry, Duncan. Really, I am.”

“I’m sorry I snapped at you…” he paused; his manner indicated he was waiting for a name.

“Call me Tat. It’s okay; I’d be a little short-tempered if I was told I was make-believe, too. Here’s a phone, if you want to call someone.”

She stood next to the kiosk and watched him dial. She stifled a giggle. This dream was vivid! He glared at the receiver as the obnoxious beeps and voice told him that he had dialed in error, and to hang up, check his number and try again. He tried once more and then slammed the receiver down.

“It’s the prefix, Mac. It isn’t going to work here. They use 555 on TV and in films, so regular people aren’t bothered by nuts who think the show is real.”

“So I have no way to contact anyone? This is just great.”

“Well, one of us is bound to wake up soon, then, presto,” she snapped her fingers, “Problem solved.”

“What if neither of us is dreaming?”

She had to laugh. “Oh, I’m dreaming, all right. I like to think I know the difference between a dream and reality.”

He stepped closer, until she had to look up to see his eyes, his dreamy eyes. “Does this feel like a dream, Tat?” and he lowered his lips to hers.

Her eyes were closed, and she swayed when he stepped back. “Oh yes, I’m dreaming… Ow! Hey!” She yelped when he pinched her. “No fair.”

“You’re not dreaming, am I?”

She reached over and pinched him. “What?” He grinned for the first time since he got there. “No kiss?”

“No. If I’m not dreaming, I don’t want to get used to your kisses,” she lied. “One of us isn’t real, and I don’t care to be disappointed when someone goes ‘poof’.”

“What about the money for a ticket?” he asked as he caught up to her.

“I do crazy things in my dreams. I’ll drive you. I have three credit cards for service stations, that should get us there, and snacks along the way. What you do after that is your problem.”

“You’d do that?”

“Hey, you’re a boy scout. Well I’m a girl scout. Besides, I’ve got family in that general direction. With the long weekend, I’ve got four days before I have to be back in class, and my boss is out of town. Road trip! Yeah!”

lynnann :)

My MWC attempt (for last week's challenge).....

Posted by Harmony on Monday, 19 June 2000, at 3:55 p.m.

.....I know I'm a day late and a dollar short as you guys have already started on this week's challenge....but RL has been bearing down on me.

This one came to me last night and it really dates me. I admit, it's fairy warped, but then, my mind has been warped for years. Anyway....this one is just for fun.

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

It was Saturday. She hated Saturdays. All week long she could busy herself with reading, writing, cruising the net or indulging her favorite past time, playing on the Rysher Highlander forum. But on Saturdays she had to clean house. Vacuuming, dusting, washing and folding laundry, the list of chores seemed endless. She needed something to help distract her from the monotony of housework. She grabbed the TV remote and pressed the on button, figuring she could at least watch a little TV as she folded the mountain of laundry which had been directly deposited from the dryer to the end of the long sofa.

She watched as the darkened screen of the family's thirty-one inch SONY came to life with color and light. The somewhat bizarre images of the Sci-Fi channel sprang forth, as a commercial for LEXX was the first thing to assault her senses. Too weird. Zap, she snapped the channel button. CNN Headline News. She watched a bit of that, but all the top stories of the hour were either too grim or too boring. Sigh!

Zap. Zap. Zap. Channel after channel. Maybe this wasn't such a good idea after all, she thought to herself. She zapped once more, with every intention of turning it off, when something caught her attention. Strains of a song that was buried in her subconscious; music of a long ago memory. The Tijuana Brass. She looked up and couldn't believe her eyes. Some channel was showing reruns of the old 'Dating Game'. At first she thought it was a current remake, but no, there was host Jim Lang. The set was the same, with the big, bright 60's flower power set design in florescent colors. The same funky chair and moving partition that served to separate the contestant from the bachelors.

Jim Lang was introducing the bachelorette of the hour. A pretty little thing, dressed in sixties mod, black leather mini skirt and loud floral print peasant top, long bare legs with an ankle bracelet gently dangling above her tiny sandaled feet. Long, straight blonde hair framing her cute face. Same old, same old…. blonde bimbo.

Barbie. That was her name. How original, Harmony thought to herself as she stacked the folded bath towels and momentarily turned her attention to her son's jeans. Levi's were such a pain in the butt to fold.

When she finished with the jeans, she turned her attention back to the show. Jim was introducing the bachelors.

"Okay, bachelor number one hails from many places, but calls Seacouver home, even though he has a residence in Paris. Whoa, buddy, it says here you live on a barge. Far out! His hobbies are opera, reading, restoring houses and martial arts. Looks like we have our own Bruce Lee right here, folks. Say hello to Duncan MacLeod."

Harmony's eyes become wide, transfixed by the incredibility of the scene.

"Bachelor number two is one interesting guy. He claims to be older than he looks and attributes this to his nomadic lifestyle, where his hobbies include horseback riding and hunting down exotic animals. His bio says he is the original leader of the pack. Okay, my man, whatever that means. Everybody give a big welcome to Kronos…..no last name, just Kronos. Cool, just like Liberace or Cher". Jim was chuckling.

"And last but not least, bachelor number three joins us all the way from England. He loves all women, his meerschaum pipe and has even dabbled with his own rock group. What a guy! Say hello to Hugh Fitzcairn."

Harmony watched, mesmerized, as the game got underway. Barbie was asking her first question.

"Bachelor number one, what's the first thing you notice about a girl?"

DM: "Well, they say the eyes are the windows to the soul. I'd have to say a woman's eyes are the first thing I notice."

Barbie: "Bachelor number three, same question."

Fitz: "Ah well, it's different with every woman. Each one has something very unique that captures my attention. The laddie here has a point, the eyes are usually the most compelling, but then there are the lips, the tilt of her head, the irresistible combination of her womanly charms."

Barbie: "Uh,….I see."

Duncan gives Fitz an exasperated look.

Barbie: "Bachelor number two, where would you take a date for a romantic getaway?"

K: "I know this old submarine base tucked away in Bordeaux."

Barbie: "Really? How….unique." Barbie makes a face at the camera.

Duncan can't hold his tongue any longer.

D: "Oh, that's romantic! Cold, damp, musty….what every woman dreams of….NOT."

Kronos gives Duncan a menacing look.

Meanwhile, Harmony is beside herself on the couch. Where is everybody? Her husband isn't anywhere around. She calls to her kids, but gets no answer. Somebody needs to see this; they'll never believe her.

Jim Lang: "Now, now fellows, let's not get nasty. This is suppose to be fun."

Barbie: "Bachelor number one, what do you consider a romantic place for a date?"

DM: "Where is not as important as whom. Anyplace can be romantic when you're in the company of someone special. Even my barge on the Seine has been the site for a romantic dinner or two."

Barbie: "Oh, tell me more."

DM: "Why tell you when I can show you?"

Barbie: "I like the way you think, number one. Okay, bachelor number three, what is your deepest fear?"

Fitz: "That one's easy, a sharp blade."

Barbie: "Really? Are you afraid of cutting yourself?"

Fitz: "Not bloody likely. More like….er….never mind." Fitz throws a guarded look toward Duncan.

Barbie: "O..kay. Bachelor number two, describe bachelor number three."

Kronos looks Fitz over.

K: "I could take him."

Fitz: "I beg your pardon?"

K: "You heard me."

Fitz: "Listen my scar-faced friend, in a fair fight I would…."

Jim Lang: "Gentlemen, please! What is it with these guys? A bit of decorum, please."

Fitz: "My sincere apologies, sir."

Kronos remains silent, scowling.

Barbie: "Bachelor number one, describe bachelor number two."

DM (looking Kronos over): "Less than average height, a tattoo here and there, has questionable taste in companions and this absurd obsession with the end of time."

Barbie: "Really? Do you two know each other?"

DM: "Unfortunately."

Barbie: "What about bachelor number three, do you know him, too?"

DM: "Yeah, Fitz is great. You can't go wrong with him, he really knows how to treat a woman right."

Fitz: "Decent of you to say, MacLeod. Thank you laddie."

Duncan grins and lets out a little laugh.

DM: "Don't mention it, Fitz."

Jim Lang: "I have to say, this is the most unusual set of bachelors we've ever had on the show."

Harmony nods in agreement, thinking, 'you can say that again'.

Barbie: "Turn about is fair play. Bachelor number three, describe bachelor number one."

Fitz (looking at Duncan): "He's a nice-looking chap. Tall and well built with dark hair and bedroom eyes."

Duncan looks at the audience and silently mouths 'bedroom eyes?"

Jim Lang: "Time for one more question."

Barbie: "Okay, this one is for all the bachelors. In your lifetime, what has been the most important lesson you've learned?"

Wow, Harmony thinks….great question. Maybe Barbie isn't such a bimbo after all.

Barbie: "Let's start with bachelor number three."

Fitz: "Woman and fine wine are the essence of life. That and keeping your head about you, of course."

Barbie: "Bachelor number two?"

K: "Domination."

Barbie (sarcastically): "How charming."

Duncan was staring at Kronos again.

Barbie: "How about you, number one?"

DM: "Honesty, mercy and more importantly, forgiveness and acceptance.

Barbie: "Wow. Nice, number one."

Jim Lang: "Okay, time's up. Will our bachelorette pick bachelor number one, bachelor number two or bachelor number three? Stay tuned to find out after this important commercial message."

The screen image changed to an ad for Dippity Do. Harmony mused about how long it had been since she'd seen a commercial for that product. Just then, her husband walked into the room.

"You're not going to believe what I've been watching! An episode of the old Dating Game with Duncan, Kronos and Fitz as bachelors. Where have you been?"

"Outside washing the car. You know honey, this Highlander obsession of yours is really starting to get out of hand. Now you're seeing things."

"Oh shut up! I'm not crazy. Just watch, I'm telling you these guys are on this game show. Shhh, it's coming back on."

Old Brandy turned to look at the screen and saw nothing but snow. He went over to look at the channel number.

"Harmony, this is set on channel 80. We don't get a channel 80. We only have 60 channels. Is this some kind of a warped joke?"

"No," Harmony sputtered. "I was just watching it. What happened?"

Harmony jumped off the couch and went to the TV. She checked the channel setting and saw hubby was right. It was on channel 80. She started flipping through the channels, desperately searching for the Dating Game. Nothing, nada, nil.

"This was real, I tell you." Harmony told her husband.

"I think you need a vacation. No Highlander for at least a month."

"I'm not crazy! It was on, I watched it. Don't you believe me?" Harmony asked.

"I think you must have been dreaming." replied hubby.

"If I was dreaming, how did the friggin' clothes get folded? I was awake and watching that show."

Old Brandy walked from the room shaking his head. Harmony picked up the remote and zapped the television back to channel 80. There on the screen were Duncan, Barbie and Jim, throwing a kiss to the audience. Harmony jumped up to go grab hubby, but then sat back down. She knew a lost cause when she saw it. He'd never make it back into the room before the show ended.

Oh well, at least she got to see the end. This Barbie person turned out not to be such an airhead after all. She definitely picked the right man. *sigh*

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