My Name is Sue. How Do You Do.
The Holy Ground Highlander Forum Midweek Challenge
Archivist’s Note: The stories and vignettes offered here from various Forumlanders have not been edited or changed other than having a spell-check performed and being reformatted for this website.
The Challenge by Leah CWPack
Saved by an Angel by Storie
Franchesca-Jo’s Training, part 22 by JoMadge
Felicitie by SBO
Some Enchanted Evening by Wain
The More, The Mary-er by vixen69
Duncan’s Dilemma or Richie’s Road to Ruin by StarWatcher
Methos writes a journal entry by HonorH
No-Frills Woman by Leslie Fish
The Truest of Loves by FoM
Let’s Toast Mary by Gnu MacWOW
So Sue Me by LA-LA-Lander
The Legacy by Ysanne
Sue-icide by Leah CWPack
The Fixer by Ghost Cat
MID-WEEK CHALLENGE: MY NAME IS SUE. HOW DO YOU DO
Your challenge, should you decide to participate:
Write a (mercifully) short story or vignette in the Highlander universe featuring a character who is obviously a classic Mary or Marty Sue. Extra points for hitting as many of the typical plot and character clichés as you can manage. Roll up your sleeves and show us your worst!
DISCLAIMER: If you want your crime immortalized, remember to put "MWC" at the beginning of your subject line for the post.
Well, you asked for it ~ MWC: Saved By An Angel
Duncan tossed back one last shot. At least, as far as Joe was concerned, it would be Duncan’s last on this evening. Even Immortals fell prey to alcohol. Though the drunkenness wore off more quickly for them than for mere mortals, there remained the risk that the inebriated Duncan might meet an alert challenger and lose his head. Joe wasn’t willing to compromise his friend any further than Duncan had already compromised himself.
“No more for that guy,” he told Jerry as he excused himself to take a call.
Jerry glanced down the bar at the man with the rumpled clothing and dark, brooding eyes. “Sure thing,” he responded. “His must be a rough story.”
“An old girlfriend of his just died,” Joe answered, careful to speak without irony. He would not want to try to explain how Duncan could remember being in love with the ninety-year-old great-grandmother who had spent her last decade in a nursing home. She had died mercifully in her sleep. Duncan grieved for her as though they had been lovers until the end. Perhaps in a way, Joe reflected, they had.
Friends had come and gone, supporting Duncan with their presence and leaving him with words of encouragement and loving intentions that did nothing to assuage his grief. Connor and Rachael, Amanda, Sean had dropped by; even Cassandra had blown in for a weekend and attempted to heal where it hurt. Her efforts could not touch the farthest reaches of Duncan's soul, could not take hold of that part of him that had belonged exclusively to Laura, his love. Methos lingered constantly in the background of Duncan’s life, not babysitting, but keeping himself available on an as-needed basis.
And then there’s me, Joe thought. How can I feel like a father to someone centuries older than I am? Duncan’s mood, the depth of his hurt and the amount of liquor he had consumed were a potent recipe for a very long night. Joe shook his head and picked up the phone.
The warning drifted through the haze of alcohol and grief, nudging Duncan with the age-old announcement.
Don’ care, he thought. Take my head. Go ‘head…I’ll make ‘t easy for you…stretch out right here on the bar…see? Make it quick. Wanna see Laura again …Tessa … Mother … more of them over there than are left here. Just as soon go. Wha’s keepin’ ya? He closed his eyes and waited.
A fragrance penetrated his thoughts, a spicy scent that brought to mind apples in the moist heat of August. A gentle hand touched the small of his back and caressed upward to the nape of his neck where it massaged firmly, awakening him to the reality he so desperately wanted to escape.
You’re s’pose to put me out of my mis’ry, he thought, not…make me feel…so good…
Duncan forced his eyes open and thought that surely he had died after all and had been too drunk to know when it happened. A vision stood before him, too lovely to have stepped from his most extravagant dreams. He took in the graceful, flowing curves of her voluptuous body, the shimmering blonde mane that cascaded to the fullness of her hips, the luscious lips that were parted, ever so slightly, as she sat on the stool beside him and placed a slender hand on each side of his face, coaxing his eyes upward to meet hers.
Duncan was immediately lost in the mesmerizing gaze, adrift in the hazy shade of winter that colored her eyes.
“Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod,” she said, and smiled.
Duncan caught his breath. She had to be a spirit. Human women were not created so lovely, so flawless. Her voice penetrated his thoughts like music from another world.
“You…are you…” he stammered.
She smiled, and he gasped again at the astonishing beauty that radiated from this celestial creature who graced him with her presence.
“Yes, I am Immortal,” she answered. “I am not here to fight. I have a message for you from Laura.”
“Laura?” Duncan scanned his memory. Oh, yes. Laura. “Laura died two weeks ago,” he recalled.
“There was something she wanted to tell you, but did not have the opportunity. I received a visitation from her last evening and we communed throughout the darkest hours of the night. Laura told me many things about you. Now there are many things that I must tell you about Laura.”
Her voice, her touch, the proximity of her unbelievable body, rendered Duncan a helpless victim of his own carnal greed. He was aroused, wanting, no, needing to possess this infinitely beautiful being, to devour her, to empty himself inside her and claim her forever as his own.
Forever… she was Immortal. Duncan forced his tired muscles to respond as he sat up straight and offered his most appealing smile, hoping the attributes that enchanted ordinary women would be enough to hold the attention and - dare he consider the possibility? - win the affections of the goddess beside him.
“Would you like to come home with me,” he asked tentatively, “and ‘splain the mess’ge to me there?”
She smiled and took Duncan’s hands in hers. They stood together and she led the way out the door. At the last minute, a thought pricked Duncan’s sotted conscience.
“I need to tell Joe ‘bye,” he mumbled. “Bye, Joe,” he waved blearily over his shoulder.
Jerry walked by with a tray of mugs. “Where you going, Duncan?” Then he caught sight of Duncan’s companion and froze, mouth agape, as she smiled and touched her fingertips to his cheek.
“Duncan will be spending the night with me,” she answered, “at my place.”
“Buh…ah,” Jerry tried. The tray slipped from his hands and mugs shattered against the floor, but Jerry remained transfixed by the heavenly vision before him.
“Tell Joe that Duncan is in very capable, experienced hands.”
As they linked arms and navigated the parking lot, Duncan giggled and leaned hard against his exquisite redeemer, startled that one who appeared so ethereally fragile could possess such tremendous physical strength.
“I don’ even know yer name,” he slurred.
Again came the devastating smile. “I am Angelique Worthington-Smythe. It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Duncan MacLeod.”
Forever… he thought muzzily as she helped him into the passenger seat of her Ferrari. She slipped behind the wheel, graceful as a cat, and Duncan smiled at Forever again as Angelique started the car and drove them out of the parking lot, into eternity.
* * * * *
Storie, who *loathes* romance novels...
MWC: Franchesca-Jo's Training, part 22
Posted By: JoMadge (forgive me!!!) <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wednesday, 19 June 2002, at 5:48 p.m.
I follow every footstep
I sleep in every hole you dig
I rest on every feeling
Every feeling small or big
I follow every footstep
I sleep in every hole you dig
It's you, it's you, it's you, it's you
("Kiss the Ground" by the Hooves)
Franchesca-Jo ducked beneath the swinging catanna, her flaming red hair flying in brilliant cascades around her dainty oval-shaped face, her azure-eyes blazing. Beads of sweat rolled off her glowing, ivory skin, causing the mysterious 'Z'-shaped birthmark on her cheek to almost glow in the dojo's dim light.
Duncan McCloud threw back his head and laughed with delight, his deep brown eyes crinkling around the edges (in a way that Franchesca-Jo secretly loved but had never told him). No matter how hard he tried, he could never quite catch Ritchie's recently discovered twin-sister off guard. If he didn't know better, he'd think she was using her psychic powers... but he DID know better. His newest protégé may be head strong, beautiful, fast, and amazingly strong, but above all else she was honest. He hesitated, hoping she didn't notice any change on his face to betray the powerful squeezing in his chest, he simply could not fall in love with one so young. He wouldn't allow himself. She was like a daughter to Joe, a great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandaughter to Methos, and like the sister Amanda never had.
MWC: Felicitie (not the TV Show)
Posted By: SBO, thinking Leah did say "do your worst"
didn't she? <email@example.com>
Date: Wednesday, 19 June 2002, at 5:49 p.m.
Felicitie LeLonde strode into the dojo with the grace of a feline. A feline in heat, by the looks of things as the clientele working out at that particular moment gave a collective and quite audible gasp. She almost swore that she heard their lower jaws hit the floor as they noted her perfect, but petite form, and her cascading curls the color of abundant brown sugar.
“Where’s MacLeod?” she purred at the one closest to her. Nearly done in by her spicy linen fragrance he managed to look into her golden topaz eyes before whispering a strangled “Uhhhp…”
The rickety elevator had already begun its clattering descent as the words left her beautifully colored lips.
She turned toward the sound of the gate grating open. Duncan MacLeod knew he was in serious trouble even before he could see her ethereal beauty. Her knew her immortal signature—it was like no other—and it filled him with a heady mixture of sensual anticipation and inconceivable dread. Felicitie LeLonde was nothing but danger on two legs—very shapely legs at that—and she could out Amanda even Amanda.
“You’re looking well, ma petite,” Duncan cooed, but the bob of his Adam’s apple gave him away. She wore his favorite blouse—lacy, tight fitting and midriff-baring.
Felicitie smiled coyly—the sparkle of her sapphire navel ring tended to have that effect on men—especially her handsome Scotsman. She could smell his fear.
“Don’t you ‘ma petite’ me you brooding hunk!” she could stand it no more and dissolved into tears. For her this time, it was hard to tell if her reaction was from anger or delight at seeing HIM again—the man of her dreams…the man that had left her on the banks of the Seine feeling as fragmented as the crumbs of the apricot croissant they’d shared that morning on the barge—the morning HE’D left her! To her way of thinking, she had never been treated so shabbily...
“We have some unfinished business, Duncan.” She wiped the salty tears away without causing any damage to her stunning make up whatsoever. She reached into her designer coat and began to draw her sword. Duncan caught her arm and the frisson of electricity was almost visible between them.
“Not here, Felicitie, you know why. Come upstairs with me,” he tried to calm her by gathering her into his strong and masculine arms, and attempted to act on the sensual feelings instead of the dread. She fought him and fought well—much to the amazement of the crowd. But then she thought she could gather more flies with honey, she relaxed for a moment. Duncan used this precious time to his advantage and swept her tiny form up and bodily carried her to the elevator. The inhabitants of the dojo cheered as they started their ascent.
MWC: Some Enchanted Evening
Author’s Note: Okay, I never write disclaimers, so you know something’s going on. Leah told us to write a mercifully short scene, but here’s the thing—this character is impossible to tame! She’s as insidious and irritating as poison ivy. I cut her back in one place, and she sneaks out somewhere else. But that’s Mary Sue for you. I kept it as short as I could.
The tension in Joe’s bar was palpable. Joe had a skeptical frown and hands crossed over his chest. Duncan was beaming with admiration, and the object of his affection, Jasmynne Routledge, had the relaxed concentration and confidence that is born of long practice.
She held a mixing glass close to her face and inspected it, aware that Duncan was lost in her eyes—eyes like melted dark chocolate, flecked with deep and mysterious glints of onyx. She stopped examining the glass for a moment and smiled at Duncan, breaking his trance. He blushed slightly, and she smiled even more broadly.
Jasmynne ran long, delicate, tapered fingers along the top shelf liquors and made a careful selection. Joe raised his eyebrows in a mixture of surprise and grudging approval. She tilted her head as she measured a judicious amount of vermouth into the glass, then swirled it to coat the interior and inverted it over the bar sink.
“Perfect.” Jasmynne’s rich alto voice and Duncan’s baritone spoke the word in unison. He was always amazed that she could sense what he was thinking, finishing his sentences or—as she had just done now—speaking in chorus with him. It was uncanny.
She tipped the bottle of Tanqueray over the mixing glass, allowing a precise amount of the heady liquor to spill inside before interrupting it with a snap of the wrist and a flourish. Four ice cubes followed, and then she mixed the ingredients for a silky finish, aromatic yet without the annoying near-fizz that comes from shaking martinis.
Strained into a tall, chilled glass, the drink reflected silver glints back to the overhead track lighting. The silvery drink paled in comparison to her shining gray hair, the color of moonlight and diamonds, a color that had made many a female Immortal wish that she had met her first death a few decades later. Jasmynne stripped a bit of lemon zest with surgical precision, then held the bright yellow scrap over the glass.
“Duncan?” she purred, reaching out with her other hand to tap his chest pocket. She probed inside with slender fingers and withdrew a heavy enameled lighter.
“You smoking, Mac?” Joe asked.
Duncan nodded. “No, Joe, but Jasmynne needed the lighter to show you this, and I volunteered to be the keeper of the flame.”
Volunteer indeed he had, because he knew it would be a shame to let a bumpy cigarette lighter mar the smooth curve of her generous hips in those tight jeans. A work of art she was, with breasts that retained the insolent perkiness of youth, a woman possessed of a body that was a sensuous delight and a blessed relief after all of those painfully thin and bony women that had paraded in an out of his life since Tessa died.
Tess, he thought. You always wanted me to love again, and I know you’d have been best friends with Jasmynne.
She held the lighter in her right hand and the lemon zest in her left. With timing that a musician like Joe could only envy, she quickly bent the lemon and ignited the flame. The lemon’s oils burst into a tiny display of fireworks and settled on the surface of the martini.
Nodding once and gravely but with a charming smile on her face, she slid the glass to Joe.
Joe sipped and conceded defeat. “Mac’s right. It’s the best damned martini I’ve ever tasted. Where’d you learn to make them?”
“A little neighborhood bar near my villa on the Riviera,” Jasmynne answered.
Duncan made a pleading face at the mixing glass, and Jasmynne began to make a drink for him. “That’s also where she learned about Immortality,” he said. “Six months ago.”
“Oh, that old story,” she said, waving Duncan off.
Duncan persisted, though, and Joe joined in.
“Well, all right,” Jasmynne said. “I was making dinner on the patio overlooking the Mediterranean, putting the finishing touches on the hors d’oeuvres and checking the grill, when I saw a child swim out too far and start to drown. I scrambled down the terraced wall garden and dove into the water to save him. That’s all.”
She finished the second martini and served it to Duncan. He took a sip and kissed her deeply in appreciation of a true artist at work.
“That’s not all,” Duncan said. “She drowned in the process and was so concerned about the little boy she saved that she didn’t even realize she herself had died and been reborn.”
Jasmynne shrugged modestly. “I was just so worried about that sweet-faced little boy. You know, I hadn’t had to do anything like that for years—since I was a lifeguard in college. I didn’t know I remembered what to do. The human body’s amazing, isn’t it?”
Joe looked at her perfectly filled-out jeans and crisp white blouse. “Indeed it is, ma’am.”
Duncan straightened on his barstool and leveled a fierce and territorial look at his friend.
“Anyway,” Jasmynne continued, “by the time I got back, the beurre blanc for my warm roasted red pepper barquettes had broken. I was out of lemon, so I needed to whip up a quick béarnaise.”
She gave a quick, self-deprecating laugh. “You’d think with thirty-four dinner guests, one of them could have kept an eye on the beurre blanc.”
“I was thinking of serving hors d’oeuvres here at the bar, but the kitchenette’s awful tiny,” Joe said, nodding in the direction of the offendingly small room.
No sooner had he said it than Jasmynne was off in the direction he had nodded in.
“It’s okay; she knows what she’s doing. She’s supervising my kitchen remodel,” Duncan said.
Joe called after her, “You’re a lifesaver, Jasmynne—twice!”
“Oh, more than just twice, Dawson,” Duncan said.
“What do you mean?”
Duncan looked to be sure the kitchen door was closed.
Joe whistled. “He came back? He’s one scary son of a b**ch. Watch your head, my friend.”
“I don’t have to. Not anymore.”
Joe looked at the kitchen door. “Jasmynne? Took Kenny’s head?”
The outside door banged closed, and Methos walked to the bar and sat down.
“Who took Kenny’s head?” he asked.
Jasmynne came out of the kitchen. Catching the last snatch of conversation, she turned to Duncan, a full head of steam building.
“I thought we agreed not to talk about him!” she said.
Duncan looked contrite, then consoling. “Jasmynne, you tried to rehabilitate Kenny. If anyone could have done it, it would have been you. You came so close to doing it. You saw through him, saw his true nature sooner than anyone else who ever ran across him. If you hadn’t taken his head, he would have taken mine. You know that.”
She blew a stray platinum and silver lock from her eyes. Methos stared at her pursed lips, moist and full and, even without lipstick, the color of a glorious sunrise.
“Duncan, I just think I could have done more. I should have been able to save Kenny from himself.”
Methos cleared his throat, and Jasmynne turned her liquid chocolate eyes on him. “Shlama alakh” she said. He startled for a moment, then returned his face to its usual impassive mask.
“Jasmynne,” Duncan began. “This is Adam Pierson, the one I told you about. He’s going to help you.”
Methos meandered around the bar and helped himself to a beer. “Why don’t you ask Amanda?”
“Who?” Duncan sat with his elbow on the bar and his chin in his hand, adrift in the smoky, honeyed scent that surrounded Jasmynne like an aura.
“Or why don’t you teach her yourself?” Methos asked, hastening to add, “Not that I mind. It would be my greatest pleasure to teach you, Jasmynne.”
He extended his hand and held onto hers, a warm and soft and perfect hand, with the most delicate of calluses evidencing long hours of sword practice.
Duncan stared pointedly at their joined hands and then at Methos. “Because she’s learned everything I can teach her. But you’ve got a special gift with the broadsword.”
“In six weeks?” Joe asked, incredulous.
“Not possible,” Methos said.
“Adam,” Jasmynne said, her voice as rich and soft as her gently curling hair. “Or should I say Methos?”
“MacLeod.” Methos’ voice held a warning.
Duncan spread his hands placatingly. “I didn’t tell her. I swear.”
“It’s simple logic, really. It would take an experienced Immortal to be skilled enough with a medieval weapon for Duncan to entrust me to him. And you’ve got the chameleon thing down just perfect, don’t you? Low voice, low profile, slipping under everyone’s radar. But there’s more to you than meets the eye. A powerful Immortal behind the meek disguise. Besides, you understood me when I greeted you in Aramaic. A younger Immortal wouldn’t have.”
Methos put his hand on his heart. “Jasmynne, you are the most remarkable woman I’ve ever met. I would be a privilege and an honor to spend every waking minute of every day with you for as long as it takes to teach you everything I know.”
Duncan stood suddenly. “No,” he snapped. “I’ve changed my mind. The one who will spend every waking minute of every day with her is me.” His nostrils flared and his chest heaved.
“Duncan?” Jasmynne asked. “Why are you so angry?”
“Because for me, there can be only one. You, Jasmynne. I want to spend forever with you. Will you marry me?
Jasmynne found herself speechless for the first time all evening. She threw her arms around Duncan and covered him with kisses.
Duncan turned his ladylove toward the door and escorted her to his car, which she had recently tuned up so that it idled nearly silently and never burned oil, leaving Joe and Methos standing open-mouthed at the bar. Once outside, Duncan threw his head back, looked toward the starry sky, and laughed for joy. His long journey had ended at last. He had found the woman of his dreams. He had come home.
MWC: The More, the Mary-er
Posted By: vixen69 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wednesday, 19 June 2002, at 8:30 p.m.
Disclaimer: All this talk of Mary-Sues has alerted Genevieve(some know her-some don't) to her most basic fear--that she bears the taint. I have explained, patiently, that she's more of a K'immie-Sue, and anyway, it was semi-intentional. To which she replied--"Oh, yeah? So..."
I never let her finish sentences like that. And I wanted to really work at the real thing...so here goes...(And it's a wee bit harkening back to a challenge of weeks previous--). I should have hit the worst clichés.
The few patrons of the bar looked up at the arrival of the slender young woman who entered, wondering at the origin of the cool breeze that blew in with her as she opened the door, and some even paused to admire her graceful form. She cast her deep bottle green eyes up to briefly take note of the one for whom she came, already sensing the Immortal presence. A hand as fine boned as a sparrow brushed back her thick, yet silky sable stick-straight locks, which bore a striking contrast with her dove-fair skin--so pale the effect was that of a penguin fighting with a nun over a scooter pie. She realized, with some disappointment, that he was not here--and she puzzled that she could not sense at once who exactly the Immortal was. At times, it had seemed to her that she must have met simply *everybody*.
"Mairead!' Joe called, arms outspread. He came for her, and she smiled before bracing herself for the inevitable bear hug. He stared at her--never having guessed her secret, his response was predicable. "You simply never change."
Nor ever would, of course. Mairead Suibne Mac aodha Draoight had been alive for centuries, but her "mentor" in the Watchers considered her to be no more than the girl of remarkable talent that she had always appeared to be--simply a very good student with a great flair for history, research (but of course, she had a fantastic memory) and a strange knack for seeming to nearly read the minds of those around her.
"Joe!" She exclaimed, her voice warm but melodical, mellow as a Tibetan singing bowl. Her eyes darted about, so briefly but expertly from her long experience with battles and Immortal confrontation that none but the most expert at reading body language would guess at her apprehension. Joe Dawson, her good friend and an experienced Watcher, if nothing else, caught her concern at once.
"You didn't come to see me, did you?" He tried not to sound disappointed, but charmingly failed. He once supposed if he was only younger...if only he knew!
"There was a...certain someone...who asked me here. He said he was a regular and friends with the proprietor--my heart leapt when I found out his friend was also a friend of mine. Perhaps he's here? Duncan MacLeod?"
His face darkened as he suspected that she--the young Watcher that she appeared to be, could hardly know what Duncan was, and Mairead could read at once that he immediately suspected that she was interested in the chivalrous Scotsman. A light twinkled in her eyes like dew on tall grass as she mischievously added, "Not that I suppose you have an eye out for him, or anything."
She held him in her eye, entranced for an instant. He shook his head. "He hasn't been here. Let's talk, and catch up though, Mairead. What have you been doing with yourself...since..."
The breakup. Of course he would have to bring that up--her school-girl-like fling with her fellow-researcher, Adam Pierson. It was her turn to shake her head. Both of them knew by now that the mild-mannered former researcher was the infamous and legendary oldest Immortal, yet only Mairead briefly guessed that the other knew. Joe's tactful backing away from the subject only made her more appreciative of the man's loyalty.
Her eyes penetrated to his soul, and slowly, he admitted--"He sometimes comes by here."
She closed her eyes, her full lashes gently scraping against her cheek like a crow landing in a snowdrift. If he were to see her, here, after she dumped him so abruptly after having heard of his involvement with her sworn enemy Kronos, he of course would be dangerously depressed, almost suicidal, as he'd been the night when she saved his head from an abrupt meeting with the blades of a very large ceiling fan.
"I've been well," she said, evasively. A woman needed her secrets. And especially needed them if she wanted to renew her acquaintance with the brawny and brave MacLeod--it had been too long. Two hundred years, in fact--a chapter that she had ensured had been discreetly removed from his Watcher chronicles.
"Have a seat...I just have a little business to attend to, and then we'll talk," Joe replied, and gestured to a chair at a good table. She sat, and he marveled at the way the candlelight (of course, a candlelit seat--what else?) brightened her skin and warmed it to the point of her almost blushing--rosy as the effect of sterno on a blush zinfandel.
He left, and she continued to discreetly scan the room. She was confident of her skills, having been told by everyone, MacLeod, Methos, even that old dear departed peacock Ramirez, that she had skills surpassing those of most women--skills she modestly attributed to her psychic gifts. Even Cassandra--whom she would kill in an instant if she ever was to see again--had to grudgingly admit she was the superior swordswoman--and witch. Her rose petal lips parted with an intake of breath as she spied the suspected Immortal.
A figure rose from a seat at the bar after a long confab with Dawson. Her trench coat was black leather, and her figure was by no means delicate--not at all. Genevieve Fowler was built like a Renaissance statue, all curves and rosy marble, chiseled and aesthetically pleasing--to a certain type--meaning most men, lesbians, and small children, not to mention dogs, who liked the too-sharp canines of her parted-lipped feral smile. Her gait was part-strut, part-saunter, and her eyes, peering out from the riotous tumble of her blood-on-copper curls, were two lapis enigmas, completely unreadable.
She was sitting across from Mairead in a heart beat, her mere act of sitting being a violence to the chair in which she sat.
"I know what you are, honey. Find another corner," she purred, her strong Philadelphian accent threatening.
"I'm not sure what you mean," Mairead began, her voice stern, ice cold to Genevieve's flame.
"Find another corner," Genevieve reiterated, a gesture made with her hand. "I can tell your kind, you know...Mairead. Suibne. Mac aodha Draoight. Your very name gives you away, you know?"
"Fine...I'm an Immortal..."
The blue and terribly direct eyes would not let up. "That isn't all...is it?"
The Celtic warrior drew herself up, dignified, in her seat. "Fine--you have me. But I am none of your concern...and I'm quite sure *my* dear friends, Duncan, Methos, and Joe, will stick up for me over the likes of you. So you simply go ahead and wreak whatever havoc your...overdone...little self requires. But just be aware," Mairead said, leaning forward, confidentially. "I think you'll get to like me, in time. I'm not so terrible."
"Of course not--terrible. But something worse--you've got an angle. You mean to get back with Methos...ahem...Adam...but only after you've killed Cassandra for some reason...and bedded MacLeod...Exactly what kind of sicko are you?"
The brow of the *young* woman furrowed, her mind reaching out for the threads of the few things she'd already gathered about this Mac aodha...unpronounceable person. "Don't bother telling me...There can be only one, capisce?"
"One Immortal?" Mairead Suibne started.
"Heh!" Genevieve growled. "Look...I'm Kronos' prodigy, MacLeod's guilt-trip and Methos' drinking partner and sometimes bed-buddy--not to mention a dead-ringer for his long-dead teacher and all-around Bronze Age bad-ass. And I'm keeping my little spot here--I like it. And if Joe needs a daughter-substitute--me," Genevieve went on, tapping her chest. "If someone needs to spar with Cassandra--me--since at least I'm not a**hole enough to try killing her. Honey--make like a leaf blower..."
"And drink gas." The forehead furrowed again. She'd been sucking down tequila shooters all night, and, predictably, it made her somewhat violent and disoriented. But she'd had an insight, and before she passed out, she intended to share it.
"You are a goody-two-shoes...you're bad for MacLeod, for Methos, for Joe...because you're only gonna start a bad plot. I know what girls like you do."
Mairead snorted--but very delicately, before correcting herself, and letting loose with a series of gentle chuckles.
"You mere *girl*. I was Methos' best student, and MacLeod's hottest lover, and Joe's very dear friend. And I can read your mind..."
It was her turn for her brow to furrow. Reading Genevieve's mind was like reading the fine print on a corporate merger--she but dimly perceived someone was going to score big, and someone else was gonna get big-time hurt. And she perceived...but briefly before Genevieve shut the window on her explorations, that Genevieve expected that she would be the one to raid the assets and downsize her by her raven-topped, green-eyed little head.
Intuitively, Genevieve was on her feet. "If you *can* read my mind, you know what I'm going to do."
"Is there an alley--but of course there is. There's always a convenient and very well-lit, but secluded alley..." Mairead began, her voice becoming ever more a brogue.
"*Capito bene*," Genevieve responded, and they bolted past the wondering Joe Dawson into the kitchen, and from there to the exit, and proceeded to whip out their swords just past the dumpster. He followed on instinct, and watched briefly, but found it too, too painful.
As he situated himself behind the bar, he was surprised to find Methos taking up his customary stool.
"I heard...er, Mairead, was back in town," he began, almost blushing like a schoolboy. The ever-wise and always charming Mairead often made him feel that way. "Has she been here?"
"Well, I have to explain...she's met Genevieve."
Methos nodded. It was an old story--perhaps even older than himself. He expected the rest, but Joe went on.
"They're out back killing one another."
Methos sighed, thinking on them both. The fire that was Genevieve, the ice that was Mairead. Or was it Mairead's Irish warrior with a long memory and passionate soul fire, and Genevieve's logical, child prodigy, virus-creating, Kronos-admiring, ice?
"Damn. And she was the love of my life," he responded in a desolate drawl."
"Which one?" Joe inquired, curious.
Methos shrugged, and then his eyes glistened. One of them would surely lose--but then? One would surely...survive.
It was ever thus.
MWC -- Duncan's Dilemma --or-- Richie's Road to Ruin
Posted By: StarWatcher, feeling guilty <email@example.com>
Date: Wednesday, 19 June 2002, at 9:42 p.m.
Aieee! I'm ashamed of myself, but you asked for it...
"Joe, I need help," Duncan announced abruptly as he entered the bar one mild summer afternoon.
Fortunately, the bar was only lightly populated this soon after opening; Joe was able to draw his friend aside for a quiet talk while the assistant bartender took care of business. "What is it, Mac?" he asked with concern.
"I'm worried about this new girl Richie's been seeing. He says she's not Immortal -- thankfully -- but she sounds too good to be true. Supposedly she's young, rich, beautiful, talented -- is an expert pilot and a world-class artist besides. He's head over heels for her and planning to go with her to Rio. He's lost every bit of common sense that he ever had, and I'm afraid he's going to be badly hurt.
"I know the Watcher data-base is used to keep track of Immortals, but if this person is so unusual, maybe she's dealt with one of us before. Do you know anything about a woman named LeTasha le Fleur, by any chance? Is there any dirt we can use to dissuade Richie from following her like a love-sick puppy?"
Joe groaned and dropped his head with a long-suffering sigh. "I don't need the Watcher data-base. Unfortunately, I know her all too well. She's my cousin's daughter, and the family scandal. Also unfortunately, she's everything Richie said. LeTasha's a financial prodigy -- had made three million by the time she was 21 -- and flies her own Lear jet whenever and wherever she wants.
"The 'dirt' is that she's a real barracuda -- goes through men like after-dinner mints. She'll twist Richie around her little finger, wine him and dine him in half the hot spots in Europe, then drop him when she becomes bored. Her average relationship lasts about six weeks. But I'm willing to bet that you can talk to Richie till you're blue without making a difference -- LeTasha is so beautiful that no man can believe anything bad about her until she kicks him in the balls."
They looked up as the door opened and Richie walked into the bar. Duncan groaned under his breath as he noticed the ecstatic grin on the young man's face and the exuberant bounce in his step. This boy was flying high, and not about to be talked down by reasoned arguments.
"Mac! Joe!" he exclaimed. "I'm glad you're both here. LeTasha's picking me up in ten minutes, and I wanted you both to meet her. Just wait till you see her! You're gonna love her, Mac; she's funny and smart and beautiful -- everything that Tessa was. This is the woman I want to spend the rest of my life with... she's absolutely perfect!"
"Richie --" Duncan began, only to be interrupted when the door opened again and Richie's dream girl walked in. Before she had moved ten feet into the room, every man's eyes were fixated upon her. Her sun-kissed chestnut hair, styled in carefree, feathery layers, perfectly enhanced her impish gamin features. The tiny moon-shaped scar beside her left eyebrow did not detract from her beauty, but only embellished it.
She crossed to the bar with careless grace, moving like a contented cat out for a leisurely Sunday stroll. Her willowy but lush form was not marred, but intensified, by a simple peasant blouse and ordinary jeans; she might as well have been wearing a gown by Christian Dior. Duncan's heart sank, even as his libido tried to stand up and salute; there was no way he would be able to persuade Richie away from this goddess on Earth.
"Hi, Uncle Joe," she purred in a low, throaty voice as she reached their group. She ignored Joe's disapproving glower as she turned her smoky cerulean gaze upon the stunned Highlander. "And you must be Duncan," she continued as she graciously extended a dainty hand to shake his with a surprisingly firm grip. "Richie's told me so much about you."
Then with a sultry glance and a lift of a shapely eyebrow, she drew Richie into her immediate orbit. It wasn't difficult; he'd been eagerly awaiting her notice. Duncan watched helplessly as she flirtatiously laid her hand on Richie's arm and allowed him to escort her out of the bar. Richie might not lose his head over this beautiful, vibrant mortal, but he would certainly end up broken-hearted. Duncan could only vow to stand by to help his young friend pick up the pieces after this relationship came to its inevitable end.
OK, now what I want to know is, why can I only write *bad* HL fic? This makes two Lytonnys and a Mary Sue for me. I always knew I have a warped mind, but I didn't know it was *this* severe. I think I need some sackcloth and ashes for penance. :-)
MWC: Methos writes a journal entry
Posted By: HonorH <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wednesday, 19 June 2002, at 10:20 p.m.
Author's note: I'd apologize for the following, but frankly, I'm not that sorry. Keep in mind while reading that my own name is Katherine Susanne Heasley, btw.
Well, it's gone and happened again. I can't tell you how thoroughly bored I am with these little adventures. Perhaps I could persuade Duncan that a nice vacation on a deserted island would be a good idea.
No, THEY would probably find us there, too.
To explain: MacLeod and I were having a nice beer at Joe’s Tuesday night when in walks—of course—a gorgeous woman. Waist-length curly brown hair, fair complexion, curves, blue, oh pardon, cerulean eyes (I’m telling you, it’s the pretentiousness of these creatures that gets to me most), and the requisite streak of white hair. Of course. Can’t have just the usual usual now, can we?
Here’s the kicker: she had no Immortal buzz, but MacLeod instantly recognized her from some interlude back in the 1840s. Naturally, being the noble-yet-hormonal type he is, he had to investigate.
It turned out that her name was Katharina Suzanna Hayes-Lee, and yes, MacLeod did recognize her, and yes, she was an Immortal, but having graduated to a “higher state” (Zeus on a crutch!), she had been granted immunity from the Game. Did I mention she’s only a century or two younger than yours truly? She promised that we, too, could attain her level if only we would “calm the Game within.”
MacLeod, bless his Boy Scout heart, professed some doubt as to the practicality of her plan. I was all set to move him up another notch in my estimation when she took this to mean she should turn her attentions to me. She started flirting and cooing and telling me that yes, she saw all my past, and she knew who I was—
Why do I even try anymore? I ask you. Seems like nearly every buggering Immortal out there now knows who I am nowadays, and THEY can’t seem to resist a chance to show off their “special perceptions.” It’s enough to give me a bad headache. Must get a beer.
Much better. Where was I? Oh, yes. The annoying creature telling me what a good man I truly am, and she understood about the whole Horseman thing. Well, to quote a popular California saying: DUH! Nothing to understand. I was a Very Naughty Boy for about a thousand years, now I’m not. Simple as dirt.
Anyway, I could see where this was leading. I figured I could either stick around and listen to the aforementioned claptrap and get some fairly good sex out of it, or I could leave and keep the contents of my stomach. I left. I must be getting old.
She’s probably turned her attention back to MacLeod by now. He’s not quite at the point I am yet. After running into literally hundreds of these sorts over the years, THEY have utterly lost their appeal to me. Let MacLeod figure it out in his own time. I just hope this one can figure out when she’s worn out her welcome.
MWC: NO-FRILLS WOMAN
Posted By: Leslie Fish <email@example.com>
Date: Thursday, 20 June 2002, at 9:01 a.m.
(Okay, I'm an iconoclast, love smashing clichés, and hate Romance -- with a passion! So I'm gonna have fun with this one.)
The punk challenged him at the edge of the parking-lot.
"I'm Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod," Duncan announced himself cautiously, grasping the hilt of his katana under his coat but not drawing it yet. Perhaps they could both walk away peaceably...
"I'm Gilbert Wilkerson." The boy -- he looked to be in his late 20s, but had the mannerisms of a swaggering teenaged gang-banger -- drew out his sword with a flourish, grinning widely. "And you are dead meat."
Duncan sighed in resignation and drew his sword, stepping quickly into the empty parking-lot behind the row of closed shops. It was nearly midnight on a weekday in Phoenix, and in a working-class part of town. It was very unlikely that anyone would see them fighting back here.
Still, the boy was a fool to choose such an exposed location. From the way he moved as he followed Duncan, he was no great swordsman either; he swung his sword -- a cheap replica of a katana, by the look of it -- in menacing circles, pure bluff intended to intimidate, a waste of energy in the desert-city heat. *Who was his teacher,* Duncan wondered. *Benny Carbassa?* With luck, he could just stab the lout and walk away.
No, no such luck. The boy charged into his attack, sword whirling. He was strong and fast, and knew a few dirty tricks, and that was exactly all he had going for him. Duncan had to concentrate on his parries for the first few minutes, seeing no opening he could take quickly. Wilkerson, seeing his efforts thwarted, made the fatal mistake of losing his temper and hammering harder, with more strength but with no more speed -- and less control. Duncan darted through a fast deflection with an automatic high-slash riposte and realized -- too late -- that the boy had been too close for that riposte to simply wound him. Duncan swore loudly as he saw the boy's sword drop out of his hand, his body fall one way and his head -- face looking surprised -- in another direction.
"Shit!" Duncan snapped, and ran toward the other end of the strip of parking-lot. If he could get enough range, the Quickening wouldn't be too bad: he'd get the power, but none of the boy's memories, knowledge or personality -- things he definitely didn't want. The lightning arced, catching him in the back and knocking him down. "Oh bloody hell," he muttered, bracing himself.
The Quickening was raw, harsh and mercifully brief. Duncan noticed dimly that bits of sheet-metal were falling like hail from the back of the buildings, some of them landing near the body. The junction-box on a nearby utility-pole exploded in a rain of sparks; that would provide logical excuse for the light-show, he guessed. Thank god the nearest streetlight was out of range, and stayed lit.
With any luck at all he could get out of here unseen, get to his car, drive to the airport, catch the red-eye flight and be back in Seacouver before the anyone found the body. With a little scene-setting, he could make it look as if one of those falling metal sheets had done the decapitation. There would be no trouble with the police...
As the lightning faded he climbed shakily to his feet and paced toward Wilkerson's corpse. First, wipe off the sword on the boy's jacket, then sheathe it. Next, retrieve his fallen sword -- yes, a cheap copy -- and shove that under his coat; find someplace to dispose of it far from here. Now -- using a handkerchief to prevent fingerprinting -- pick up one of the shards, dip it in the blood, and leave it in the gap between Wilkerson's neck and head. Enough. Now go.
Duncan started toward the streetward end of the parking-lot, then stopped short as he realized he wasn't alone.
A woman stood there, calmly watching him.
*Wilkerson's Watcher?* he wondered. But would any Watcher, even knowing that he knew about them, reveal herself so plainly? He thought of turning around and running away, but quashed the idea; if she wasn't a Watcher, she'd seen enough that she could give his description to the police. The fact that she was still standing there, unafraid, meant that he might be able to talk his way out of this. He sighed and trudged toward her.
As he approached, the streetlight revealed more details. She had long raven-black hair, held back by a bandana-headband. She wore plain clip-clop sandals, faded jeans, and an oversized white T-shirt bearing the logo of a local marathon; the shirt hung straight from her wide shoulders and considerable breasts, suggesting a nipped-in waist beneath. Her forearms looked lean and muscular, and from what he could see under the jeans her legs were much the same. She certainly wasn't old, but neither did she look very young: 30-something he'd guess, hard to tell in this light. She had the very faint tan of a native Arizonian; nobody with any sense exposed their skin to that slaughtering sunlight if they could help it.
That face was intriguing: long and square-jawed, with cheekbones that suggested Indian blood, thick and level black eyebrows that owed nothing to makeup, dark eyes that didn't seem to be brown. Not a conventionally pretty face, but a strong one: a face that would, he realized, be equally handsome on a man or a woman. Intriguing. And her expression was wary, but unafraid.
He saw that she also had one hand in a front pocket, and on the outside of that pocket gleamed the clip of a small holster.
*Right,* he remembered. *This is Arizona. The real Wild West. No gun-laws.* That might partly explain her confidence.
As he came within reach, she held up her other hand in a clear "stop" gesture. There was no tattoo on her wrist.
Duncan obediently stopped, keeping an eye on the hand in her pocket. His post-Quickening shakiness surged up in a spasm of weird humor, and he couldn't resist the old joke. "Is that a gun in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me?"
She smiled, showing a flash of even teeth, as she caught the reference. "I'm not that glad, or equipped," she answered, in a slightly twangy alto voice. "Are you in the S.C.A.?"
"If you don't know, you aren't. Society for Creative Anachronism. A history-recreation club that specializes in the Middle Ages. They do a lot of sword-fighting, though usually not that style."
Duncan sighed. "All right. What did you see?"
She scratched her chin thoughtfully, not taking the other hand out of her pocket. "I was walking down to the 7-11 on the corner," she said, as if reciting testimony in court, "And I heard swords clanging. I recognize that sound. I followed it, wondering who'd be doing sword-practice in a parking-lot at this hour. I saw that other guy going at you, hammer and tongs, and you blocking, defending yourself."
She paused, arching an eyebrow at him. Duncan got the message and nodded understanding.
"Then I saw your return-move go right through his neck. You looked surprised and upset, as if you hadn't expected that. I got the distinct impression that you really hadn't wanted to kill him."
"I didn't," Duncan confirmed. "That stupid punk, he insisted..."
"You're angry at him for pushing you into it." The woman eyed him keenly. "You didn't want to fight. He started it."
"And I finished it."
"Fair enough." She looked him up and down. "And I can see why you took off running, but kindly explain what happened next."
"The junction-box..." Duncan tried, pointing to its smoking remains.
"That was a few seconds later. I saw slow lightning wind out of that guy's body and strike you like a snake. Yes, it blew out the junction-box and peeled metal off the roof, but that was just a sideline. It was after *you*. It knocked you down and threw you around, but you got up afterward as if nothing had happened. Explain that."
Duncan heaved a deep sigh. There was no avoiding this. No doubt Wilkerson's Watcher was lurking nearby, probably recording this conversation, and would come to recruit the woman afterward. He might as well explain everything. "It's a long story," he said. "Is there anywhere around here that we could sit down and talk?"
"At this hour? On a weekday? In Phoenix?" she grinned. "Nearest place in walking distance is the curb overlooking the gully, down there by the 7-11. Shall we go?"
Duncan nodded acquiescence and stepped politely around her, at a safe distance, keeping his hands carefully in sight. She turned to match him, still keeping that hand in her pocket. They paced silently, a cautious yard apart, down toward the lights of the all-night store.
As they approached the 7-11, Duncan noted a dumpster in the shadows behind the building, and detoured that way. The woman hesitated a moment, then followed, but halted at the edge of the zone of streetlamp light. Her hand was still in her pocket. Duncan nodded grudging approval as he pulled the punk's sword out from under his coat.
*Fingerprints,* he remembered. *Wipe them off.* Now where had that damned handkerchief gotten off to? Dropped somewhere. Wonderful.
"Problem?" the woman asked, taking a small step closer.
"No handkerchief," he snapped, "How do I get rid of the fingerprints?"
The woman thought a moment, then shrugged. She paced up to him in the shadows, gripped the hem of her T-shirt and pulled it off in a single fast jerk. She handed it to him without comment -- with her left hand. Her right was back in her pocket again. Her expression changed not at all.
As Duncan took the shirt and hastily wiped the sword with it, he couldn't help glancing at the woman who stood watching him calmly while wearing nothing above the waist but a headband and a simple cotton brassiere. Those breasts were real, all right. Below them, her smooth stomach and sides tapered into a tight waist and then a flare of wide hips. Above the brassiere, she had shoulder and arm muscles that would not have shamed a lightweight wrestler. He wondered how she'd gotten those as he lifted the dumpster's lid, tossed in the sword, and closed the lid again. He tossed her the shirt and looked away while she put it back on. It occurred to him that he didn't even know her name.
"I'm Duncan MacLeod, by the way," he said. "And you?"
"Lisa Carp," she said -- and he could hear her stepping away, back into the light. "Not terribly romantic, but you don't need a fancy name to be a folksinger."
*Folksinger!* Duncan turned around and followed Lisa back into the zone of street-light. "And do you play an instrument too?"
"Twelve-string guitar," she agreed. "I've got the calluses to prove it."
*So that's where she got the muscles,* Duncan thought, remembering seeing Joe in his undershirt, playing guitar, every muscle from his neck down working steadily. "I've got a friend who's a Blues-player," he said. "You might like to meet him sometime."
"Might," Lisa shrugged. "How about we go into the store, and you get us a couple of ice-cream cones?"
"Ice cream...?" *Too weird.*
"It's hard to fight with ice-cream in your hands," she grinned.
"Good point," Duncan laughed. "Let's go."
She took care to let him precede her into the cramped little store, but he noticed that once inside, she took her hand out of her pocket. In this light he could see that her eyes were definitely blue -- dark blue, with little rims of silver-gray around the irises. She was definitely not wearing any makeup, nor perfume -- she smelled of nothing but clean sweat. Little patches of rough skin on her knuckles and under her eyes suggested that she was in her late 30s rather than early.
He also noticed the small but thick yellow calluses on the tips of her left hand's fingers, and that the tendons in her wrists stood up like cables. A guitar-player, all right. He caught himself imagining her playing duets with Joe. Maybe he could nudge the Watchers into making her Joe's partner...
As he approached the freezer-section, Duncan noticed a nondescript man in a nondescript suit peering in the window, while talking into a cell-phone. That must be Wilkerson's Watcher.
He bought two chocolate-covered ice-cream cones and a bottle of orange juice, and led the way back out the door. The gully, with its flanking curbs, was visible about a dozen yards away, well within sight of the store and clearly within the lamplight, but far enough away for privacy.
A few minutes later the two of them sat on the curb, feet trailing into the dry gully, eating the ice-cream cones. The Watcher lounged by the side of the 7-11, out of earshot, pretending to read a magazine. Lisa had her hand out of her pocket, but resting on her leg near it, while she ate the ice-cream with her left hand. Duncan rubbed a flake of chocolate off his chin and began telling her the whole story of the immortals. He left nothing out, including the Watchers, and casually pointed out Wilkerson's Watcher behind them. Lisa barely turned her head to look, peering through the screen of her long black hair. After that, Duncan noticed, she let her hand slide away from her pocket.
"Fascinating story," she said when he was finished. "Now prove it. I may live in Arizona, but my heart -- as the song goes -- is from Missouri. Show me."
"Uhm... Have you got a knife with you?"
Lisa reached into another pocket and pulled out a key chain. It held an impressive number of keys -- including a police-handcuff key -- a supermarket Preferred Customer tag, and a small Swiss Army knife. Duncan opened the knife, pressed its short blade to his arm, gritted his teeth and pulled hard. Blood promptly welled out of the cut. Duncan handed back the key-chain, and noted that Lisa wiped off the knife-blade on the sole of her nearest sandal before closing the knife.
"Now watch," he said, pointing to the cut.
Lisa duly peered at the cut. Duncan glanced up at the sky, noting the three-quarter moon and thick spangling of desert-sky stars, and marveled that he was sitting here under the moon and stars, eating ice-cream and talking to a handsome woman musician about immortality, and couldn't imagine a less romantic moment in his life.
The healing came with the usual small sizzle of Quickening-lightning. Lisa jumped, then peered closer. She raised both eyebrows, licked her thumb and then used it to wipe away the blood on his arm, revealing the unmarked skin beneath.
"All right," she said slowly, wiping her thumb on a stone. "You're immortal. So...shake hands with me."
She held out her right hand. Duncan saw that there was a ring on the middle finger, a simple band made of two thick wires twisted together, one of light-gray metal, the other dark gray.
Wondering where this was going, Duncan duly took her hand. Her grip clamped firmly on him, surprisingly strong. *Guitar-player's hands, true enough.* He could feel the ring pressing into his palm. Lisa held for a long moment, then released, then clutched his hand and peered closely at it. "No burn," she said.
"What was that all about?" Duncan asked as she let go of his hand.
"That ring is made of iron and silver," she replied. "If the legends are true, you're not an elf, a vampire or a werewolf."
Duncan laughed. "No, just a common-or-garden-variety immortal. You believe in legends?"
"All legends start with a kernel of truth." Her eyes grew distant. "Being a folksinger, I've sung in a lot of strange places, gotten to meet a lot of strange people, seen a lot of strange things..."
"Vampires and werewolves?" Duncan chuckled.
"Nope. Witches. Real ones. Sing for a Pagan festival, and you get a lot of free lessons in psychic practice. I've also seen real live unicorns, and real witches' ceremonies, and real psychic phenomena. I've learned not to discount anything weird. So why not immortals? I figure, if medical science keeps on progressing, in another few decades we can all be immortal -- or at least immune to aging. It's not so strange."
Duncan stared at her for a long moment. "Is that why you were...so blasé about...what you saw? Why you weren't frightened?"
"Maybe." She smiled. "And maybe it's because... Well, nobody gets rich playing folk music, so I've learned to live poor. I lead a stripped-down life, can't afford any excess baggage -- including the emotional kind. I'm strictly a no-frills woman."
"I've got to remember that phrase."
"Hmm, there's a song in that." Lisa paused for a moment, her hands unconsciously framing an invisible guitar, fingers picking notes on imaginary strings. Then she began to sing, a rough Bluesy tune.
"Don't gimme no candy and flowers.
Don't gimme no sweet talk.
Just get to the point and be honest,
Or you can take a walk.
'Cause I'm a no-frills woman,
Not one of those fussy-silly dames.
I'm a no-frills woman.
I got no time for playin' games."
*A Bessy Smith style voice,* Duncan decided. *Joe will like her.* "Did you just make up all that?"
"Yep. The rest of the verses will take longer, though. First verse just states the situation; the other verses have to develop it."
*Joe will love her.* "Look, when the Watchers come to recruit you, be sure to tell them that you want to talk to Joe Dawson. Remember that name; he's my personal Watcher."
"Glad to. And it'll be nice to have a good-paying Day Job that I can like, for a change." Her eyebrows went up again. "Say, if I'm going to be secretly following immortals around, there's no better excuse than to be toting a guitar and a bag of songs. Street-singers go everywhere, plank down their guitar-cases and sing just about everywhere, and nobody thinks anything about it."
"Good cover," Duncan agreed, wondering when he could get up and leave, wondering if there was really any hurry.
"Tell me one more thing," Lisa said, turning to look hard at him. "It won't matter what the answer is, so you can tell me the truth. Am I a pre-immortal?"
Duncan gave her a long look, trying -- really hoping -- to feel that giveaway tingle. No, it wasn't there. He shook his head slowly.
"Didn't think so," she said. "But it doesn't matter; there are other forms of immortality, and those I'm sure I've got."
"'Immortality through works'," Duncan guessed. "Your music."
"Also reincarnation." She grinned impishly. "I know that one's real, because I've done it -- and got proof."
"Proof...?" *Too weird!*
"I went to a city where I'd never set foot in this life, and described how it looked, sounded and smelled 150 years ago. I went to an old restaurant I'd never seen before, and described what the basement looked like before I ever went inside. I went to an equally-old church and described its interior -- and one of the stained-glass windows, which wasn't visible from where I stood -- before I got through the front doors. It's because I used to live in that town, and went to that church, and ate in that restaurant, in another life -- 150 years ago. I have witnesses, and they took notes."
Duncan couldn't think of anything to say.
"So I've got no cause to be jealous of immortals," Lisa went on. "It's just nice to know that they exist -- along with witches, and unicorns and magic."
Duncan nodded slowly. "I hate to leave, but... I really do have a plane to catch." He thought of something else, and reached into his coat-pocket. "Here, take my card. Give me a call tomorrow, when I get home, and I'll see about getting you some gigs up in Seattle." *That's ridiculous,* he remembered. *The Watchers will keep her busy, starting tomorrow.* It occurred to him that he really did hope to see her again.
"Thanks," said Lisa, taking the card. "I'll definitely keep in touch. You're worth writing a few songs about."
Duncan laughed and stood. "Just don't mention me by name," he said. "For obvious reasons, I don't like publicity."
"Hey, nobody believes fantasy stories," said Lisa, getting to her feet. "And I'll look up your friend, too." She held out her hand.
Duncan took it, and they shook hands briefly. There was no point prolonging the moment. Duncan turned away and walked briskly toward the space where he'd parked his car. Only when he reached it did he pause to look back.
He saw Lisa stroll up to Wilkerson's Watcher and hold up her left hand.
"Sign me up," he clearly heard her say. "And I've got to talk to Joe Dawson."
Wilkerson's Watcher looked as if he were about to have a heart attack. Lisa only grinned at him.
Duncan laughed to himself as he unlocked the car and climbed in. For some reason, the song "Matchmaker, Matchmaker" kept flitting through his head.
Well it's not my best but, MWC-- The Truest of Loves
Posted By: FoM, snicker, chortle <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thursday, 20 June 2002, at 11:39 a.m.
The SUV slowed and turned off the main road onto a little used dirt road that ran between two pastures and a field. The end of it could not be seen from where they, the people in the vehicle, had entered from off the often traveled highway that was paved. Katarina, otherwise known as Amber to Adam, slowed the SUV again and guided it into a pasture and stopped under what could only have been an ancient oak tree. It was as if Heaven itself had provided this beautiful tree especially for them to be shaded from the ravages of the late summer sun beating down on them from a clear cloudless cornflower blue sky.
Amber (or Katarina) looked at Adam whose head lay on the headrest of the car seat. He was still a bit pale. And no wonder, considering what he had just been through. “You’re still a bit pale,” she commented softly, her beautiful voice falling on his ears like sweet music.
“And no wonder…” he murmured.
“Considering what you’ve just been through,” she finished the thought for him. It was as if they could read each other’s mind. It was like that as soon as they met. “I can’t believe you’re even still alive,” her voice softened, “but I’m so glad you are.”
He opened his eyes slowly and gazed at her, amazed all over again at her luscious golden blond hair, the exact color of Persian honey that he had enjoyed so much several thousand years ago when he was friends with the King of the Medes and Persians. Even through his weakness, having just received a quickening, he could still marvel at the way her eyes, the color of a golden winter’s day, could smile at him without her lips even moving.
He sat up slowly, his strength returning and something else stirring inside him that he recognized instantly. He gazed deeply and longingly into her translucent golden eyes. “Amber.” His low voice seemed to resonate deep inside her chest, all the way to her pounding heart. How she loved his voice! It complemented his tallness very well. She thought it was just perfect for him. “Amber Devereux.”
“Yes, Adam?” she whispered.
“Your name is like music on my lips.”
“Oh, Adam!” her voice was husky with emotion.
He spoke slowly, thoughtfully. Adam always thought about his words before saying them. “Thank you.”
“Oh, Adam!” she was proud and humble at the same time, and a little surprised. All of her emotions were in a jumble, as they had been since the first time she met Adam.
“If it weren’t for you…”
“Oh, no, Adam,” she protested slightly, her ivory skin glowing like fine porcelain from China or bone china from England and flushing delicate rose.
“...I wouldn’t be here now. If it weren’t for you and your incredible power of telekinesis, transporting yourself and the Jimmy to the dock just in time to pick me up after the quickening so those evil rogue watchers could not kill me, I wouldn’t be here right now... here... with you... in this Jimmy.”
She merely shook her head, too much emotion choking her throat to speak.
“Well, I know the truth,” Adam countered, “and so do you if you’ll just admit it. You saved my life.”
“I mean it!” He took her hand and pulled it to his heart and his voice grew husky, much as hers had. “I’ve longed for a woman like you, beautiful and yet strong, proud and yet humble, willing to risk your life for one you love…for me.”
“Oh, Adam,” she leaned closer, her luscious naturally voluptuous lips that needed no botox injections to make them fuller, parted slightly in anticipation. “You’re everything I’ve ever dreamed of. What kind of woman would I be if I refused to use my powers for good? Especially” her melodious voice caught in her throat, “for the man I love.”
“Amber!” He pressed his cool masculine lips to hers, so warm and willing. Amber’s heart leapt into her throat. At last, this strong silent man was giving in to his desires and admitting that he loved her.
He drew her close, his muscular arms rock-hard around her tiny waist. As she pressed her full, firm though not hard bosom against him, her sheer topaz blue blouse fell slightly off her right shoulder, revealing her exotic tiny heart-shaped birthmark just above her right breast.
He felt desire flood through him and he knew the feeling he was having was one he had not had since he loved and lost Alexa. “Amber, I haven’t asked anyone this in at least 75 years, but I know it’s destined that we be together. Will you be…my wife?”
“Oh, Adam!” Those were the words she had longed to hear more than any others except the three magic ones, ‘I love you.’. Amber tossed the wintry golden curls behind her shoulders and smiled beautifully at Adam, then paused, as a dark look tinged with sadness came over her face.
Always sensitive to her slightest mood change, Adam asked worriedly, “What is it?”
Amber looked up through eyelashes that Adam thought must be about a mile long and said so sweetly, “Those are the words I’ve longed the most to hear you say, but…I…can’t …marry you.”
“But why, Amber? Is it because I’m an immortal?” He thought it must be that. He thought fast. “We can go away together to the cabin across the sound from Seacouver. You know, the one where Duncan and Tessa went to get out of the game for awhile. No one will ever know.”
“Oh, Adam it’s not that. I just…How can I tell you this?”
“You can tell me anything, Amber. It won’t change my love for you.” He gazed earnestly into her beautiful ethereally golden eyes.
The perfection of Amber’s lovely face was marred by a single tear rolling slowly down her cheek. “I told you…I am …Byers’ distant cousin.” She fought to get the words out.
“Yes, my love, you told me,” Adam answered. “I still love you and want you to marry me. It does not matter to me who your family is.”
At last she gazed back into his green eyes. “But I didn’t tell you that Byers is really…”she bit her full bottom lip, “KRONOS! We were…we… I was his love slave for three hundred and twenty-eight and a half years.” She burst into tears, her beautiful breasts heaving with sobs. “Can you ever forgive me?”
Adam gulped with difficulty. This was shattering news to him. Kronos had always been jealous of him, even when he had Cassandra as a love slave. This was Kronos just trying to copy him, no doubt. However, he knew there was not another woman on earth for him, not even if he should be lucky enough to live for 5,000 more years.
He lifted her chin gently with his long slender finger. “Amber, even if I should be lucky enough not to be killed by another immortal for one or two or even five thousand more years, you would still be the woman for me. You’re my dream come true. I can’t live without you another moment. Say you’ll marry me.”
Amber blinked the tears back and smiled joyously.
“Oh, Adam, then yes, yes, a thousand times yes, my dearest love, I will marry you.”
And as the Jimmy drove slowly toward the sunset filled horizon, the watcher standing nearby hurled twice more, then turned to Joe, weeping, “I can’t take it any more. I RESIGN.”
The End, (but really only the beginning for Amber and Adam!)
MWC: Let's Toast Mary
Posted By: Gnu MacWOW (hoping this exorcises the demon muse)
Date: Thursday, 20 June 2002, at 6:28 p.m.
Ok ya'll...while enjoying all these, I did notice that one of Mary Sue's clichéd roles had not yet been played out. That of the self-sacrificing, life-altering variety...i.e., she gets whacked and everyone gets drunk.
Two immortals danced their deadly pas a deux under the glare of the streetlight in the alley behind Joe's. Flashes of reflected light and sparks jumped from their clashing blades as they twisted and turned in the rain slick alley. The taller of the two, a dark warrior, wielded an ancient Japanese katana, while the slightly smaller, bulkier blonde man used a less distinctive, but nonetheless effective sword. The aggressor's fighting style was a combination of dirty street moves and something far older and deadlier. The fight had gone on too long and both men were showing their fatigue.
From the shadows a figure watched, hidden by the dancing shadows and a long row of crates and boxes. Peeking just from the edges of a camelhair cape, trimmed in mink, were luxurious mahogany curls, which glistened from the slightly rain damp air. A precisely lined and colored bottom lip was caught between perfectly formed white teeth while expertly manicured nails bit deeply into baby-soft palms as eyes the color of fresh spring herbs watched the two men parry and thrust.
One man slipped suddenly and went to his knees, his sword kicked swiftly across the alley into the shadows. Low sounds from the victor, a raspy laugh, a condescending remark. The dark haired man's neck bowed in submission. Her gasp, only slightly inelegant, sounded loud to her shell-like ears. As though watching a movie in slow motion she saw the victor raise his sword for the killing blow. She couldn't allow her lover to die, not like this, not in this alley, not while defending her honor.
There was no time to regret that she'd not let her lover teach her to use a gun, no time to think her actions through as she usually did, there was only one thing to do and she must do it now. Rushing forward as the sword began it's downward arc she threw herself full force at her lover, knocking him aside and taking the bladed blow herself.
Her lover scrambled to her side and held her as her life's blood poured across the glistening pavement. His sobs rent the air with anguish as his tears fell like diamonds to her porcelain cheek. Her expression nearing death held no fear or dread, but a sort of peaceful smile turned her luscious mouth up at the corners while her green eyes held a luminous glimmer still of the humor and love that had always reflected there.
Weakening rapidly she turned her eyes to behold one last time the handsome visage of her love. He bent to touch his lips to hers, her hand lifting to touch his wet cheek, then falling back to her side. With a last exhaled minty-fresh breath she went limp in his muscular arms.
The victor, stricken with horror and immediate regret for his arrogance and struck dumb by the beauty of the face he beheld and her selfless act, merely backed away in reverence of her sacrifice and the obvious love the two had shared.
He would take no quickening from this and he vowed that he would never again try to come between an Immortal and his one true love. Never again would he cut in as lovers danced, entwined in each other's arms. Never again would he come to Joe's and tempt fate by challenging Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod. His sword dropped in an oily puddle he turned and fled.
From the other end of the alley a tall distinguished man in a long black coat and another man leaning heavily on a cane turned away and made their way back into the bar.
"What do you supposed that twit was thinking?" Methos asked in his richly accented British baritone. Joe's response was an inelegant snort and a shrug of his broad shoulders.
"Obviously she'd never been on the receiving end of one of Mac's righteously seething rants about fighting his battles for him and staying the hell out of his business."
Methos resumed his sprawl at the bar and admired the perfectly balanced foamy head on his freshly drawn draft. "Oh well, here's to..." Methos paused, a look of intense concentration etching his chiseled face " Uh Joe...what was her name again? Mary Jane? Mary Sue?"
MWC: So Sue Me
Note: This is one of those inconsiderate little stories that wakes you up at 3 a.m. and won't let you sleep until you get up and scribble it down, then *still* won't let you sleep because it starts in with the editing. Hope it's not too long. :)
Duncan MacLeod struggled to his feet yet again, barely scrambling out of the way of a fierce blow from the sword of Kirk Klark. Duncan tried to catch his breath as he fought off the continued attack of Kirk’s expertly wielded sword. Duncan had never fought such a skilled opponent. A sudden unexpected thrust sent Duncan sprawling on his back, his katana thrown several yards away. With Kirk’s sword blade at his throat, Duncan wondered if he had finally met his match after four hundred some-odd years.
As Kirk drew back his sword for the killing blow, he looked up behind Duncan and spat out, “YOU!”
Feeling the distinct buzz of another immortal, Duncan thought that whoever it was may have just saved his head, if he could...just...get...to his sword.
Kirk’s blade was quickly back at Duncan’s neck, as Kirk spoke to the third immortal, “You can’t interfere! The battle has been joined.”
Duncan instantly forgot his efforts to reach the katana, as a voice like rich molasses replied, “I wouldn’t dream of interfering, but I think we have a score to settle.”
“Right you are,” Kirk said with an evil yet suave grin. “If you’ll just wait a minute while a finish up here, I’ll be right with you.”
“Kirk, darling, I’m not sure I can wait that long. I’m on a bit of a tight schedule.”
“Alright, alright,” Kirk scowled. With that, he took a revolver out of his coat and shot Duncan in the chest. “Don’t you go anywhere.”
Through his sudden pain, Duncan looked up as a vision of long, lithe beauty walked around him. He looked up, up, up the shapely legs and perfect hips, past the curvaceous bosom, to a mane of golden blond framing a porcelain skinned face with the bluest eyes he had ever seen. Duncan gasped, not just from the pain in his chest.
“Oh Kirk,” the vision said, as she gazed down at Duncan where he lay disheveled and bleeding, “that wasn’t very nice.”
"So sue me," Kirk smirked.
Looking back at Duncan Lana said, “Sorry to have interrupted. I’m Lana LaLander. Don’t bother to get up.”
“Gggghh...not...errrghh...a...problem...*gasp*, Duncan replied, trying his best to look manly under the circumstances.
“Shall we?” asked Kirk gallantly.
Lana bowed with a sweeping gesture of her sword followed by a skilled thrust at Kirk. Her athletic grace and agility put Cirque du Soleil to shame. She had sword techniques that Duncan had never seen in all his travels. Her moves had moves. Duncan struggled to remain conscious as the life drained slowly out of him, just so he could watch her. Kirk had bested Duncan, but for his every thrust, Lana had a parry. She leapt and climbed nimbly over the rough terrain, never missing a stroke or a step, forward and backward, and in high heels no less. With a flying spin kick she sent Kirk sprawling. Resting her sword tip gently on the ground in front of her, she waited patiently for him to struggle to his feet and retrieve his sword. She was barely out of breath.
As Duncan looked up at her, the street light behind her formed a halo around her golden hair. She smiled at Duncan. “How’s it going over there?”
“Ghhggghh...errrrgh...ugh...” was all Duncan could manage.
“Yeah, I know how you feel. Are you ready Kirk?”
Kirk set his jaw with determination and attacked with fury. Lana lightly sidestepped, deflecting his blow.
“This really has been fun, Kirk darling, but I’m afraid it’s time to bring things to a head.” With that she spun, and with a single stroke Kirk Klark’s day came to a close.
Duncan watched with his last remaining strength as Lana rode the tide of Kirk’s Quickening. She took it with athletic grace, much as Duncan himself was known for doing, not like those dorky looking guest Immortals who seemed unsure of what to do with themselves and rather resembled someone in spastic arrest, rather than someone accepting a charge of Immortal power.
As the final fury of the Q spent itself, Duncan lost his battle with consciousness as Lana took a deep breath and tossed her honey-colored mane. “Whew! That was invigorating!”
Several minutes later, Duncan awoke to see Lana sitting near him with his katana across her knees, stroking the head of the dragon absently.
“Welcome back,” she smiled.
Duncan struggled to stand and Lana was on her feet to give him a hand up. She found herself standing with her well-formed chest next to his. Duncan’s arms closed around her reflexively.
Looking down into her sparkling eyes, Duncan asked, “How can I ever repay you for saving my hide?”
“Well, it’s a hide worth saving,” Lana replied, as she firmly grabbed his pert and perfect gluteus to the maximus. As Duncan jumped, she took a step back, flashing her sapphire eyes at him.
“So,” she said, looking him over, “you look like you could stand to freshen up a bit.”
Duncan looked down at his torn and bloody shirt, as he smoothed his hair self-consciously.
“Here,“ said Lana, pulling a freshly laundered mesh sweater in his size from out of nowhere. “Put this on.” She watched with approval as Duncan took off his shirt, wiping the blood from his sculpted chest, and put on the sweater.
“Come on and buy me a double low fat mocha, and we’ll discuss my payment,” said Lana, looking at Duncan knowingly.
He let himself be willingly lead away by her strong, yet delicate and slender hand in his.
MWC -- The Legacy
“I canna speak of it, Joe. Dinna ask me, aye?” Mac’s accent grew more impenetrable with each syllable, a sure sign of his emotional state.
Joe Dawson, Watcher and friend of the Scottish Immortal now weeping into a bar towel, sighed heavily and patted the man’s broad shoulder. Too many losses, too many sacrifices, Joe thought sadly, and now this tragedy. It’s a wonder Duncan MacLeod had the strength to lift his glass of fine single malt whisky – his sixth, or perhaps his seventh. Joe totaled the tab in his head, feeling a guilty frisson of pleasure glide up his spine. He reached for the bottle and poured another for the sobbing Scot.
“Okay, Mac. Here. I know it was hard to lose her that way.”
There was a burst of frenzied weeping from the damp folds of the towel, then a quivering voice replied, “Och, noh! Ye dinna know! She was like a fluffy wee owl, Joe!”
Joe frowned in puzzlement. “A floofy yowl?” he asked, pondering this esoteric Scottish endearment.
“Owl! A fluffy wee owl. Hoppin’ about and hootin’ wi’ glee, she always was, an’ wi’ those big spectacles on her dear, wee nose…”
“Ah, an owl. Yeah, she was a cute little thing, Syanne was. No bigger than five feet two, and all of that ‘Woman’ with a capital ‘Woo!’ Nice melons, too.” Joe caught Mac’s outraged glare and added hastily, “She taught me how to pick out the ripest cantaloupes at the market, Mac. She had a talent for it.”
“Oh, aye,” MacLeod agreed, “and a fine hand at cookin’ she was, too. Her haggis would bring a man to his knees.”
“Yeah,” grunted Joe, popping a Tums in remembrance.
“An’ her hair, Joe, short, dark, ruffled silk all silvered through wi’ starshine, like. God, if I could but have such hair myself,” moaned Mac, yanking at his thick, rich brown tangles. “Many and many a night we’d lie under the skylight, wi’ my fingers siftin’ through those dappled tresses, and her fingers…” The Scot cut himself off abruptly and cleared his throat, sitting up a bit straighter on the barstool. “Never mind,” he mumbled.
Joe looked intrigued, but held his tongue. Oh sure, he thought sardonically, a guy Watches and Watches, but never gets to see any of the good stuff.
“Syanne, Syanne,” MacLeod breathed, his handsome face pitiful in its grief, “’twas all my fault. Again.”
“Now, Mac, don’t beat yourself up like that. Syanne made her own choices, and she somehow knew…” Joe stopped himself, but MacLeod had noticed the slip.
“Knew what, Joe? How?”
“Oh hell, Mac. She was psychic. She knew that she was destined to die three months after you met. That’s why she froze so many haggises – haggi? –ahead in those meal-sized Rubbermaid thingies. She didn’t know how she’d die, but she knew when.”
“Oh, sweet, sweet Syanne,” mourned MacLeod, “so that’s how you always knew when to start a meal so that I’d step through the door to perfection laid out on the table, and dinner, too. Joe, she met every one of my needs, and some that I didn’t even know existed….that one with the real whipped cream and the English cucumber….” Preoccupied with his memories, Mac drifted into silence.
Joe banged his fist down on the bar in frustration. At Mac’s startled jump he brushed an imaginary squashed insect onto the floor. “Mosquito,” he explained gruffly, “go on, go on.”
“Syanne was my dream, Joe, my wee dream in a cardigan and sensible shoes. Ah, Syanne, how you loved kicking those shoes off after I had taken a quickening…” Mac’s voice had gone throaty and deep, and Joe was leaning over the bar, hanging on every word. “She sang like Ella Fitzgerald, Joe, did you know that? I’d come home all acrackle with quickening energy, and she’d end up singing at the top of her little lungs.”
“Singing what?” Joe asked breathlessly.
“’I Get a Kick Out of You,’ mainly,” MacLeod replied dreamily, “and it was surprising how much breath control she had, for a small woman.”
“Geeze,” Joe said reverently, “and I thought being psychic, a gourmet cook, and a reference maven was enough. Mac, are you okay now?”
The Highlander took a deep breath and smiled sadly. “I will be, Joe. When you’ve had someone like Syanne in your life, mending the broken parts of you, showing you the joys of living, you’ll never be the same. You’ll be better.”
The two men sat in quiet companionship, then Joe saw the big man stiffen and turn his attention to the door of the bar. In a moment Methos walked in, and the Watcher and his subject relaxed. Methos sauntered over, a plastic grocery bag in his hand.
“Hi, Joe. Mac, thought you’d be here. If you’d like some company tonight, we could have dinner together. How does that sound?” His sharp, hazely-greeny eyes traveled over the Highlander, noting the fading signs of grief.
“Great, Methos. Want to come to my place? I’ve got frozen haggis, and we could talk about Syanne.”
Joe saw the ancient Immortal ruthlessly fight the telltale gag reflex and win. Practice, Joe thought admiringly, lots of practice.
“Fine,” Methos said, reaching into the sack he carried, “I liked her too, you know, and I’ve got dessert here to go with the haggis.”
MacLeod’s golden complexion deepened with a slow, hot blush as he looked into the sack, then at Methos. The two men bade the Watcher farewell and strode out of the bar together. Joe told himself that it couldn’t have been a carton of whipping cream that he had glimpsed.
Somewhere up in Heaven, a short angel with salt and pepper hair was arguing hotly with her supervisor.
"I said I'd be happy if Duncan never looked at a skinny, gorgeous woman again, but this is ridiculous!"
The supervisor watched the little angel stomp off and shook his head patiently. "They never read the fine print," he murmured.
Joe Dawson stood behind the counter of his bar, tension in every muscle of his body. He glanced over at the figure across the room, sitting behind the table in a darkened corner. "Ready?"
The figure nodded.
"Good, because here comes another one," he grated between clenched teeth.
As if on cue, the door swung open with under the pressure of an elegant hand, and a striking figure stood in the entryway.
"Hello," the woman breathed, between bee-stung lips. "Is Duncan here?" She sauntered into the bar with the glide of a swan on a pond with no ripples, her perfect, lush figure encased in simple clothing that she adorned as if it had come from a Parisian designer, rather than the clearance racks at the rear of The Gap.
"Who wants to know?" Joe grated out, reaching for a steno pad and pencil stub under the bar. He poised, ready to write.
"Diamondique LePlaissir O'Malley Du Croissant," the woman breathed, her voice as melodic as a Loreena McKinnett note from an early album. "I've heard Duncan MacLeod frequents this establishment, and I've come to see him."
"You, and the 38 others so far, this week," Joe grumbled, adding the name to his list. "I swear, my first impulse was to call the Orkin man, my second was the CDC."
The woman blinked her Bermuda ocean green eyes, the lashes fluttering like synchronized waves of grain. "I don't...understand."
Joe signed out a mighty gust. "Lady, you are the latest in a long epidemic. I'm overrun this week. I don't know *why* all of 'em have decided to come to my bar, but I had a bellyful, after the first five. The trash collectors still suspect I had something to do with the head in the dumpster, out in the back alley," he grumbled. "I'm putting that payoff on Genevive's tab."
"I don't know what you're referring to, but I must see Duncan," the woman went on, lovely beyond description but oblivious, despite her six university degrees and a doctorate in brain surgery. "I need to warn him of the danger, console him with my love, be a pillar of strength to my knight of Glenfinnan, my katana cutie, my brooder of the brogue..."
"Now would be a good time," Joe Dawson moaned.
"...my dark-haired highlander, my Son of the Seine, my..."
The woman's lips continued to move, but her tongue suddenly appeared to be paralyzed. A confusion passed over her perfect, peach-complexioned features.
The commanding voice echoed eerily from the area of the darkened table. "You are going to leave, now. You will go down to the nearest city park, find a secluded area, draw your sword, and cut off your own head."
With a silent nod of understanding, the beautiful woman turned and slowly left, the lingering scent of freshly-picked strawberries the only evidence that she had been there.
Joe let out a sigh of extreme relief. "Do you think that's the last of them?" he asked the figure at the table.
Cassandra rose from the shadows, a look of fatigue on her own features. "I certainly hope so. They are more difficult to eradicate than the Horsemen, when the occur in swarms of this kind. Thankfully, this is rare."
"A shame you can't at least enjoy the Quickenings."
"No one," Cassandra pronounced, "would want one of *those* inside of them."
"What do you think brought on this rash of them?"
"I don't know. Something truly evil and twisted. Ahriman, perhaps." The witch shrugged. She slid onto one of the bar stools. "A white wine, Joe. Please."
"God knows you've earned it," Joe nodded.
Suddenly, the distant sound of laughter, like tinkling wind chimes, sounded outside the door.
The wine bottle suspended in mid-pour, Joe Dawson exchanged a weary look with his customer and he groaned. "Here we go again..."
MWC: "The Fixer"
Posted By: Ghost Cat (The Muse is back...but is it a good thing,
or a bad thing?) <email@example.com>
Date: Sunday, 23 June 2002, at 8:02 p.m.
The horses thundered through the dunes, kicking up plumes of sand behind them, as their riders urged them on to greater, more dangerous speeds. They rode like hunters, like a pack of wolves, like a Force of Nature. In their path stood a lone figure, on foot and seemingly unarmed. It was inconceivable that a single female (for that was obvious, even from a distance) would stop this onrushing tide of destruction. The leader grinned, a feral baring of teeth, and spurred his stallion for a trampling charge. These four Horsemen were so at one with their mounts that they may have inspired the legend of centaurs; yet, for the first time, Kronos’ horse refused to obey.
The woman raised one hand in a commanding gesture, the sleeve of her garment sliding down to reveal smooth, unblemished skin the color of white marble. The horse came to a halt before her, rearing up and pawing the air. If the others did not have such fear/respect of their Brother, they would be tempted to call the horse’s gesture a salute.
With an angry jerk on the reins, the leader of the Horsemen brought his mount under control. The effect of glaring downward at this insignificant female would have been more impressive if the woman had not been so imperiously tall. The woman held her ground, unmoved by the implied threat. Unlike most Bedouin travelers, she wore her head bare; a curtain of luxuriant hair, streaked light and dark like the pelt some exotic animal, hung nearly to her waist, framing the face of a goddess. Though the phrase “grey-eyed Athena” would not be used for at least another thousand years, the pale eyes that would someday inspire those words gazed calmly at the warlord Immortals. As if this were not enough, the overwhelming sense of her Immortal Quickening, on the edge of igniting the air itself, made it clear this woman was not to be taken lightly.
Though a lesser man, Immortal or otherwise, would have fallen down to worship her, Kronos controlled his passion. The voice of War spoke out in anger; “Who dares stand in the way of the Four Horsemen?”
“My name is Athena Diana Palladia Silvershadow, but that is not important.” Her voice was as clear and pure as the tone of a bell; she did not need to shout to be heard. She gave each horseman a soul-searching gaze in turn; “I know you: Kronos, Methos, Silas, Caspian. And I know that you will not pass this way.”
Before Kronos could speak, another Brother, dark haired behind a skull mask, rode forward on his white horse. “We go where we will and we take what we wish. If we choose to raid in this direction, then we shall not be denied.” The two locked gazes for several seconds in silent challenge, before the woman spoke again. “I say to you again, you will not pass this way. There is nothing here that you would desire.”
Death smiled behind his mask, “I see one thing that I desire.” From the corner of her eye, Athena could see a small, emaciated nomad, gathering scraps of wood. She was running out of time. She moistened her lips, a nervous gesture that was nonetheless incredibly erotic. Moving to one side to keep Stick Boy from their line of sight, she gave Methos her most seductive smile. “I believe that something could be arranged.” A graceful motion seemed to conjure a tent from nothing. Methos accepted her silent invitation, while the others made themselves comfortable to wait their turns. The things I have to do to put things right…
§ § §
The sudden twist of reality that returned her to the present made Athena’s legs weak. The room was empty; a pity, since it was a shame to waste such a perfect swoon. Time travel was tricky business, and it took a great deal of Quickening energy to make the passage. Too many times and she would find her Immortal spark reduced to a mere glimmer. Unless, of course, she took another head; something she had sworn on her own grave to never do again. It was a necessary sacrifice, though; knowing what she knew, how could she not act?
Reaching unerringly to a nearby desk, she picked up a pad and pencil. She had a perfect photographic memory, but it was always better to be thorough. She checked her list carefully; so far she had been able to stop the Horsemen from raiding Cassandra’s village, delay Kenny’s first death until the age of 16 (she sighed, wishing she could have done more for the poor child), and save the life of Lauren Gale. She had also undone the event in Horton's past that had put him against all Immortals (a secret only she knew), nobly taken that nasty Dark Quickening upon her own shoulders (shrugging it off like a summer cold) and, finally, solved that pesky demon problem. All in the name of duty. One more she thought to herself, only enough energy for one more intervention.
A cascade of hair shadowed her face as she read the pages; long fingers, the nails perfectly manicured, absently combed her mane back into place. Finally, with dread certainty, she knew what she had to do. She knew in her heart that it would mean that her one true love, Duncan MacLeod, would never be hers again, but she was willing to give up her own happiness for his.
She carefully prepared herself for the journey, drifting easily into the proper meditative trance. A deft mental twist, and she was Elsewhere. There was a moment of disorientation, as the scene resolved itself around her: a Tudor house, a dark city street. She was in the right place, but for a moment she wondered if she was when she needed to be. She knew that this was a tricky fix: Richie needed to fulfill his destiny as an Immortal, but Tessa must not die. She saw the trio stumble out of the house, heard Duncan’s voice say that he wanted to go back inside. She waited until they separated before confronting MacLeod in the shadow of the house.
He was still keyed for battle, yet her heart-stopping beauty halted his blade in mid-stroke. She knew him with the intimacy of a soul mate, yet there was no recognition in his eyes. “Who are you?” he whispered dreamily. “There’s no time,” Athena hissed. “Go back to Tessa, she needs you. I’ll check the house.” He hesitated for a moment, confusion marring his perfect Highland features. She touched his cheek one last time, a gentle caress. “Trust me.” It was enough; he turned and ran in the direction of the street. She heard the gunshots, felt the gut wrenching sensation of Time reordering itself, and knew her task was complete.
With a sigh, she allowed her essence to seek its rightful time and place; to her shock, she found herself outside of Time completely. Worse, she was not alone. Cassandra was there, the one person immune to her charms. The witch did not look happy. For the first time, Athena felt a stab of uncertainty and confusion. “Wh-what’s wrong?” she stammered.
Cassandra turned her green-eyed gaze on the Time Traveler. “What’s wrong? Everything, you little fool.” She pointed a long-nailed finger in accusation; “The prophecy you twit. You do remember the prophecy don’t you? A Highland child, born on the winter solstice, who has seen both Darkness and Light. How can he be the one who has seen Darkness and Light if you go and negate every tragedy that ever happened to him? Kantos killed MacLeod; he won the Game. Humanity is enslaved and it’s all your fault!”
Athena shrank visibly, “I-I didn’t think….”
“Exactly. You didn’t think. Now I’m going to have to go and undo your mess. Just stay here and contemplate everything you’ve done.”
“But, but, I don’t have enough strength to get out of here again.”
“That’s your problem,” the flame-haired Immortal answered scornfully, and disappeared.
Athena’s voice wailed into the Nothingness: “I just wanted to fix everything. I wanted to make it all Right!”