FIC MC 42 Sept ’01 – Immortal Prophecy (1/?)
The White House Situation Room
“Good afternoon, gentlemen,” President Palmer forced a smile and a nod as he entered the long, wood-pannelled room, its walls festooned with computer screens displaying maps, and moved to his position at the top of the long, gleaming boardroom table . Normally he felt nothing but a sense of pride when in the White House, but events of two weeks ago had changed everything. Now, he couldn’t shake the dark mood that followed him around like a cloud. “Please, sit down.”
Once everyone had sat, he spoke again. “David,” he looked towards the National Security Advisor, “I understand you have a matter you wished to raise?”
“Yes sir.” His National Security Advisor hesitated before beginning. “At your behest and with the assistance of the CIA,” David nodded at Jack Ryan, “the FBI,” next to receive a nod was Sean Archer, “and the NSA,” the last nod went to Damien Falco, “we’ve been building a considerable dossier on the actions of the Mithras Brotherhood.”
“I know.” In fact he read everything his advisors brought him on the Brotherhood with childlike eagerness, enthralled by their adventures and proud that two young Americans from far from ideal backgrounds could build anything so magnificent. “But I thought I was here to discuss terrorism?”
“Sir,” a lean-faced man in his late fifites raised a hand, “Dennis Ryland, National Threat Assessment Centre.” Palmer nodded, recognising the department as part of the newly set-up Homeland Security. “I’d contend they are a very real threat, and unlike Islamic fundamentalism, they’re right at the heart of our country.”
“Alright,” Palmer resisted temptation to remove the man from the situation room via a boot up his ass. If nothing else it would be unpresidental. “Let’s hear it.”
“The Mithras Brotherhood, an organisation that has been operating for just over two years has already set up groups in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Arizona, Colorado, Louisiana. New York, Massachusetts, Michigan, Florida, Alabama, Nevada, Georgia, New Jersey, and Tennessee. In addition to groups in a number of both friendly and unfriendly nations. These groups have between twenty to thirty members and are exceptionally well-armed and well-trained.”
“I assume you’re aware of the fact that the Mithras Brotherhood exists to fight demons?” Palmer broke in.
“Yes sir,” Ryland looked briefly uncomfortable.
“And that, they in fact have saved the world on a number of occasions? They have in fact saved my life?” Palmer pressed.
“No one doubts their good intentions,”
Ryland swallowed. “But the fact is they are an unsanctioned para-military
organisation. And as such are a potential threat. Some of the leadership is
”Questionable how?” Palmer was beginning to get very annoyed. “I assume you’ve read the profiles of Xander Harris, Faith Spenser, and the others.”
Ryland blinked at his hostile tone. “I was referring more to the leaders of the regional groups. Some of them have questionable pasts.”
“Preston Lennox, Ethan Hunt, and Ray Quick have questionable pasts?” Jack Ryan snorted. “I’m sorry sir-.”
“Charles Gunn is a former street thug with a long record of petty crime. Seth Gekko was a bank robber. Cameron Poe has served time for manslaughter. If any one of these were to wrestle control from Harris, we could have a serious problem,” Ryland interrupted.
“If these people were chosen by Xander, then I’ll rest easy,” Palmer responded. “Both Tony Stark and Professor Xavier, two men I admire and whose judgement I trust, respect this young man, and therefore so do I.”
“Sir,” David Trenton, his National Security Advisor raised a hand. “How do you think the police chiefs, the mayors, and governers of the states where this Brotherhood operates would react to the revelation that they had what amounts to armed para-military groups in their backyard?”
That was a question for which he had no answer, so he replied with a question of his own. “General Grey,” he looked towards the grizzled chairman of the Joint Chief Of Staff, “wouldn’t you say our military is stretched just dealing with the threats we currently face?”
The military man heistated before nodding. “I wouldn’t admit it outside of this room, sir, but yes.”
Palmer smiled. “So adding another burden to our already straining troops is clearly unwise. Moreover, these teams have experience in their area of operation that would take years and the loss of many soldiers’ lives to gain. These men and women are the experts, I suggest we let them do their job, and praise rather than doubt their heroism.”
“Sir,” Ryland appeared to be like a dog with a bone, “they have stockpiles of weapons, enough to take out a small army. And yet we know where each one is. We could sweep them up in just a few hours.”
“These groups have saved hundreds of lives here and abroad,” Archer put in.
“And what about Xander Harris?” This came from Ryan. “We try and keep a track on him, but we’re always three to five days behind him and his gang. How do you think he’ll react?”
“Surely this kid doesn’t scare you Jack?” Falco snorted.
”Scared?” General Grey chuckled. “Jack’s not scared. He just knows it’s not good sense to poke a sleeping bear. I was only cleared for the Brotherhood file yesterday but what I’ve skimmed tells me these kids are legitimate American heroes. We should be patting them on the back, not working out how we’re going to get them in the gas chamber.”
“Oh come on, General,” Trenton protested, “no one suggested that!”
“That’s where he’s heading,” General Grey nodded towards Ryland. “And I want no part of executing patriots. No, executing heroes.”
“That’s enough,” Palmer interrupted. “We’ve got enough enemies out there wanting to destroy our way of life without creating new ones. The Mithras Brotherhood are not to be harmed.” Seeing Ryland’s mouth start to open, he shook his head warningly. “Moreover, any clandestine moves against them will be considered treason.” He looked around the now hushed room. “Dismissed.”
Palmer heaved a sigh of relief as the room emptied. He only wished he could be sure he was right. That he could be sure the laughing eyes of a beautiful woman saving his life hadn’t somehow beguiled him.
FIC MC 42 Sept ’01 – Immortal Prophecy (2/?)
1st July 1566, France
“He’s dead.” He stepped back, conscious of the widow’s screams even as he stared with wonder at the deathly-pale corpse. In life the man had shook kings and popes alike with his pronouncements. He’d been a man of power, a man respected and awed not only in his home country, but throughout Europe.
The world would never see his like again.
* * *
2ND July 1566, France
He gasped, his eyes opening. He looked up and shuddered, it was completely dark. Was he blind? No, he raised his hands until they hit wood a few inches above. He was, he shrieked inside his head even as he fought to remain calm, buried alive. But why? But how?
He’d been dead, somehow he was certain of it, and yet now he was just as certain he was alive again. “How is it possible?” he trembled. In a strange life nothing close to as unusual as this had happened.
* * *
3rd April 1575, England
“Ahhh,” he struggled to keep his feet as the man approached, slumping against the tavern wall. He’d spent the night drowning his sorrows, and in the past nine years he’d grown a considerable list. His head had been sore before, but the moment the stranger had approached, his head had begun thundering with pain. “What witchcraft is this!”
“No witchcraft friend,” the man was a
Scot from his accent, tall with a warrior’s physique but a poet’s eyes. “I know
what ails you. And I know what you are.”
“Y…you do?” he stared at the Scotsman, nine years of misery making it difficult to trust but he did so want some answers. “And how could you?”
“You were a foundling, were you not?” The stranger glanced around the dirty alley before speaking in a whisper. “Have you not died and yet still breathe?”
“H….how?” he shook his head and immediately wished he hadn’t. The stranger jumped back as vomit spewed from his mouth. “’Tis no miracle of Jesu,” he bitterly said.
“I know because I am like you, I had a teacher once, an older one of our race who taught me all that I know of our people.” The Scotsman paused. “And as payment of that debt I pass that knowledge onto those of our race I find. I am Connor MacLeod. Who are you?”
The Scotsman blanched as he told him. “Truly?” the Scotsman shook his head. “No, that doesn’t matter. You need help and I’m the man to give it.”
* * *
Connor stared at his friend. “You cannot give up your training!”
The man he’d found in England two years previously smiled wanly. “I’ve lived too long to have any illusions about myself. I am a man of science and philosophy not of war. And this body,” his fellow Immortal smiled disparagingly, “is not built for athleticism.”
“You have to continue your training!” Connor insisted.
His companion shook his head, seemingly unaffected by Connor’s fervour. “I have already lived my lifespan and more. I have an urge to travel. Perhaps to fabled India or Marco Polo’s China. Russia maybe.”
“Your knowledge should not fall into evil hands. You most of all.”
“True, old friend.” His friend bared
his neck to him. “Then kill me now and save us the risk.”
After a second, Connor unsheathed his sword then shook his head and re-sheathed the weapon. “I’m not a murderer,” he announced.
“A shame,” his friend smiled sadly. “There is no one I would rather give my quickening to.”
“Stay out of the game my friend,” he warned. “You have little skill.”
“A fact you have made me more than aware of.” His fellow immortal offered him his hand.
After a second Connor took and shook it. “No matter how many centuries pass you can rely on my friendship and my aid. You need only call and I’ll move heaven and earth to be there for you,” he promised.
* * *
Sept ’01, Los Angeles
Holland Manners was unable to completely rid himself of the disquiet that filled him as he looked around his spacious, luxurious office. He thought when he finally achieved power he’d be satisfied, happy even, but working at Wolfram and Hart had taught him that everything in life, especially life itself, was transitory. Hardly a life lesson to promote contentment. He tried to live life to the fullest, grab every moment of joy though expensive vacations, the finest foods, the best cars, and fastest women, but always the disquiet nagged at him, the knowledge he was one mistake away from a horrid, painful death.
He started slightly in his leather chair at a knock on the door. “Please,” knowing his staff expected a certain persona he forced an affable smile, it was one long game of charades at Wolfram & Hart, “come in.”
The man who entered was immaculately dressed in a custom-made suit, tanned, and Oriental. Holland searched his memory for the man’s name for a second. Ah, that was it, the gentleman had only started working for Special Projects the previous month. “Hello, Gavin.”
“Mr. Manners,” the lawyer nodded respectfully but Holland wasn’t fooled. In this snake-pit, Gavin was, just like Lindsey and Lillah, after his job. There were others too, but they were the coming trio, the young turks that he had to hold off. “We’ve had a message from Mr. bin Laden,” Holland hid a smirk at the Oriental’s slight paling, Park either had a conscience or too little nerve, either way he was vulnerable, “requesting that we keep him apprised of US. Intelligence attempts to track him.”
Holland nodded. “As long as the cheques continue to clear he’ll be safe.”
“Mr Kolchak of the LA. Beacon continues to attempt to investigate this firm,” Park warned.
”He doesn’t appear to be the sort you can bribe,” Holland mused. “See if there’s anything juicy we can use to blackmail him. Failing that, there must be someone he cares for.”
“Already on it, sir. And Mr. Orejula,” Holland nodded at the mention of the notorious leader of the Cali Cartel, “would like to be remembered to his good friend, Mr. Manners, and hopes you will come visit with him soon.”
”Wonderful,” Manners muttered. Gilberto threw the best parties – the finest drinks, the prettiest girls, and the most wonderful drugs. He’d have to make sure his wife stayed home for that trip.
“Our agents have picked up two more Potentials,” Park glanced at his notepad, “specifically a Vivian Rollins and a Colleen Gibbs.”
“Ah,” Manners nodded. Harris’ annihilation of the Council and the engineered upcoming Mass Calling had combined to give them an opportunity to harvest some potentials, together with other talented youths. “Excellent, have them smuggled to our Italian office, that’s where the programming is taking place.”
“And finally,” Park licked his lips, “the Prophet has been located in Corsica.”
Holland chuckled. And he’d thought all things were transitory. For him maybe, but not for some. His face straightened. “Have Draco contacted. Tell him I want the head in the next 72 hours. I need to know what he knows.”
FIC MC 42 Sept ’01 – Immortal Prophecy (3?)
The air reverberated to the sound of blade on blade.
Parry, side-step, slash, parry, thrust, duck. Downward slash, parry, thrust, parry, riposte, parry, retreat, lunge, thrust, duck. Feint, lunge, parry, side-step, slash, advance, retreat. Parry, parry, thrust, parry, duck.
Sweat pouring from him, Xander attempted to side-step a thrust only to fall prey to a back-handed slash to the neck. Connor shook his head as the immortal sprang away. “You’re better than this Xander,” the Scotsman reproved. “I shouldn’t beat you that easily!”
“Call that easy?” Xander stared disbelievingly at the immortal even as he wiped some sweat away with the back of his arm. They’d only dropped in to give out Tara’s pin badges and generally check how things were going, but somehow he’d managed to get roped into sparring. “And besides, you’ve got five centuries of practice on me.”
Connor smiled. “And you are the last descendent of a warrior god,” he countered.
“You know, people bring that up waaaay too often,” Xander complained.
“How come you mention it on your credit card applications?” Tara teased.
Xander shot the witch sat with Faith and Kennedy on some benches at the far end of the dojo a grin. “Have you any idea how hard it is to get one of those Platinum Cards?”
“Be one with the blade,” Connor counselled. “Make it second nature, a part of you.”
“That’s one part of him he ain’t stabbing me with.” Faith shrugged as everyone turned towards her. “What? You don’t seriously expect me not to comment?”
Xander was saved from replying when Duncan strode in from through the dojo’s door. “Connor, phone for you.”
“Thanks.” Connor nodded. Xander’s heart sank when the immortal threw his wooden blade to Faith. “Slayer, see what you can teach him.” Connor smiled as Faith caught the blade. “Other than the obvious.”
“Hey!” they both protested in unison.
* * *
Connor chuckled as he strode into the office and sat behind the desk. Those children, so full of energy, life, and impishness. If one had a soul one couldn’t help but like them. Picking up the phone, he spoke into it. “Hello, Connor MacLeod.”
“Bonjour old friend.”
Connor’s skin prickled at the familiar
”The same,” his friend’s voice sounded strained, “they’ve found me.”
”Who?” Connor heard the tension in his growl. No-one could get his hands on Michel, no-one.
“They’re local thugs but they’re working
for a law firm called Wolf something.”
“Wolfram & Hart,” Connor’s heart sank as he corrected his friend. “Give me your address, I’ll be over as soon as I can.” Connor scribbled the address down. “I’ll be there in the day.”
* * *
Xander looked up as Connor re-entered the dojo. Noting the tense look on one of his officers’ faces, Xander shot Faith a look before speaking. “Anything we can help you with?”
Connor carefully closed the door behind him before looking towards Duncan. “Would it be an imposition for you to run the team on your own for a few days?”
“Do you even have to ask?” Duncan smiled.
“Thank you old friend,” Connor bowed his
head briefly to his fellow immortal before looking towards him. “Xander, I have
need of your help.”
”Just tell me what you need,” Xander immediately replied.
“Thank you,” Connor’s answering smile was strained. “Before I tell you what I need, I must first apologise to you, Duncan.” The other immortal blinked at this pronouncement. “I’ve kept a secret from you since the day I met, but it was never truly my secret to reveal. You were not the first but the second of my students. The first was none other than Michel de Nostradamus.”
* * *
Faith looked around in puzzlement at the others’ shocked faces. The others clearly recognised the name, but she didn’t have a freakin’ clue. It was times like this her lack of schooling really pissed her off. She knew she wasn’t dumb, far from it, but having never started high school left her at a serious disadvantage. One day she might even pick up one of those encyclopaedia things and have herself a read.
Until then, she’d have to be nosey. It was real lucky she wasn’t shy. “Like who?”
“Nosradamus was a 16th century seer,” Xander’s eyes remained fixed on Connor, “the most famous seer who ever lived.”
“He correctly predicted the rise of Hitler,” a wide-eyed Tara explained. “And lots of other things too.”
“He’s been travelling the world since his ‘death’, never staying in one place for too long,” Connor explained. “Now he’s in Corsica and he says Wolfram & Hart are after him.”
Faith raised an eyebrow at Xander’s sudden tensing. The others probably hadn’t noticed it but she knew her guy. “Wolfram & Hart are after him?”
“There’s more,” Connor hesitated. “There’s also the ‘the forbidden foretellings.”
“The what?” Kennedy asked a second before she could.
Connor grimaced. “’The forbidden foretellings’ were what Michel called a group of prophecies that gave him nightmares and were so terrible he didn’t write them down, preferring to keep them hidden in his mind.” Connor sighed. “As hidden as these things could be.” Connor looked towards Xander. “He didn’t tell me the specifics, but they were about a resurrected warrior god and a time when demons will walk the earth once more.”
“Your friend and I need to have a talk,” Xander announced.
“Good,” Connor smiled, “because I was working up to asking you four to help me rescue him.”
FIC MC 42 Sept ’01 – Immortal Prophecy (4/?)
Poretta Airport, Corsica
“Wow,” Faith looked around the airport, “I have been in some busy happening airports in my time.” The Slayer’s snub nose wrinkled in the way he so found cute, but would of course he would never dare tell her that. “And this certainly ain’t one of them.”
“Gee, Faith,” Xander winced at his girl-friend’s undiplomatic outburst. “I don’t think the check-in clerk heard you. At the other side of the hall.”
“Get some people in here, my voice wouldn’t echo so much.”
”Oh yeah,” Kennedy snarked, “because it wouldn’t be your voice that’s the problem.”
As the two began their bickering and Tara tried to referee, good luck with that, Xander turned to the gloomily standing to one side Immortal. “Any luck?”
The Highlander scowled and shook his head. “Nothing.”
“He could be in the toilet?” Xander weakly suggested. He shrugged at the Scotsman’s look. “Yeah, okay. Not even Faith takes showers that long.” He paused. “So where do we take things now?”
Connor sighed before answering. “Michel gave me directions to his villa five miles outside Bastia. We’ll hire a car and head there.”
“Great!” Faith enthused. “I was thinking-.”
“No,” Xander shuddered, “you can’t drive. You drive like me when we’re getting chased when there’s nothing on the road.”
“If there’s nothing on the road what’s the problem?” Faith fluttered her long eye-lashes when everyone turned and stared incredulously at her. “What?”
* * *
Faith whistled at the Highlander’s announcement. “Very nice,” she commented as she climbed out of the rental car and gazed at the prophet’s house, yeah, very nice.” The villa had a low whitewashed wall all the way around it, the entrance through an arched gap in the wall. The two-storey villa was painted a creamy yellow, its lawns lush and well-tended, and a fountain spouting water just off the path they’d driven. Faith looked towards Xander. “Wouldn’t mind a place like this someday, for our vacations, you know?”
Xander looked at her. “Um, this Mithras thing kinda keeps us too busy for vacations.”
Faith shrugged, suddenly embarrassed by her revealing a day-dream. “Hey,” Faith winked at her man, “ain’t always gonna be this chaotic right? Once everything’s set up and we’re running groups by remote control, just doin’ trouble-shooting and shit. We’re gonna need somewhere to take a load off for a while, right?”
“Right,” Xander agreed with a smile. “I think it’s a great idea. Just name the country.”
Faith beamed back at her man before following Connor up the three steps that led into the villa. The Immortal grimaced as he pushed open the walnut-coloured door. “It’s unlocked, someone’s beat us to it,” he reported in a mutter.
“Faith,” Xander nodded towards the Immortal, “Tara, Ken, we’ll take the upstairs.”
Faith nodded as she followed the Immortal into the lounge. “Wow,” she muttered, “those patio windows really let the light in here.” She raised her hands at the Highlander’s glare. “Geez, sorry. What are we lookin’ for anyhow?”
The Scotsman’s expression softened. “Some sign of if Michel was taken by force and where they might have taken him.”
“Well no sign of a fight in here,” Faith looked around the tidy lounge briefly admiring the light green carpet and matching sofa, but wondering about the lack of a tv. Man, this crib needed a wide-screen. Her nose wrinkled as she noticed the collection of neatly-stacked classical CDs. And some way cooler taste in music.
Connor chuckled as he noticed where her gaze was directed and her reaction. “If you had been alive as long as I and Michel have, you might not find what passes for music today quite so alluring.”
“Yeah,” Faith gazed at the four hundred
and change years old man, trying and failing to see any clue to his age in his
face but finding none. Freaky. “So, this being alive for centuries must be
cool, right? I mean not like a vamp where ya ain’t really you and can’t go out
“Not especially,” the Immortal’s smile was strained. “In my time I seen several lifetimes’ worth of friends and loved ones die while I continue on.”
Yeah, Faith found herself nodding. She hadn’t thought of it like that, but she’d hate to have to go on without Xan or Tar. “If it’s that bad, why do you keep going?”
“If I didn’t, the Prize might go to one who might abuse it,” Connor replied.
“Right,” Faith’s mouth opened and shut as she followed the Immortal through into the kitchen. She couldn’t tell her companion what Xander had revealed to her about ‘The Prize’, like her boy had said doing so would only hurt the poor sap. “How come you don’t cut yourself off from people then, stop yourself from hurting?”
Connor smiled wryly. “Then I would truly become a monster.” Faith stared at the immortal in confusion. “To care means to open one up to the inevitability of loss and also hurt, but unless we have known love, the love of a parent for a child, a sibling for a sibling, a lover for a lover, or a friend for a friend, then are we truly human?”
“I ain’t the one for philosophical stuff,” Faith admitted. “Tar’s the book reader.”
”I’ve had rather more centuries than you to develop such ideas,” Connor’s chuckle died as they found the office towards the back of the hall, the desk overturned, the glass of painting on the wall behind the desk cracked, and the chair flung to the carpet beside a desk-plant. “He didn’t leave, he was taken.” Connor cast a wide-eyed glance around the chaotic office.
“No blood though,” Faith commented. “He couldn’t have struggled that hard.” Connor shot her a hard look. “Sorry, but I thought you said he was a student of yours.”
“He was, but Michel was always a scholar rather than a soldier,” Connor glanced to the doorway behind her, “ah, Xander, perhaps you can help me search?”
An hour later and they were stood outside the house, a fruitless search completed. “I suggest we head into Bastia and search for any unsavoury newcomers,” Connor said.
“That’s not much of a plan,” Kennedy commented.
“Does anyone have any better?” Connor challenged.
Xander sighed. “Okay, we’ll split up.”
“I’ll go with Conn,” Faith found herself volunteered.
Xander shot her one of his bemused looks before nodding. “Sure, Tara and Kennedy, you’re with me.”
FIC MC 42 Sept ’01 – Immortal Prophecy (5/?)
Bastia was a city filled with grand buildings probably older than Faith’s home country and steeped in history. And also wicked creaky looking, an appearance not helped by the whipping winds.
“The last time I was here, I was serving under the forces of General Pasquale Paoli,” Connor annouced.
“The who?” Faith asked.
Connor smiled thinly. “The leader of the
Corsican republic in the late eighteenth century.” Faith shook her head, head
swimming at the age of her apparently human companion. What was weird was he
felt human. At least with vamps she felt something, but from Connor nothing.
“He is an important figure in American history.”
”Yeah?” Faith glanced across at the Scots Immortal. “How so?”
“The Sons Of Liberty regarded him as an inspiration in their own struggle for independence from the English.”
“But that was back in the 18th Century, like when they didn’t have planes or nothing, how could people be influenced by a guy from another country?” Faith queried.
“Ripples in the water, Faith. Ripples in the water.” Connor chuckled at her confused look. “People will always want to talk about heroes, never villians. In turn, stories of bravery and heroism will always inspire others to acts of courage. That’s why I believe good will always win through over evil, evil can only intimidate never inspire.” Faith stared at the Immortal and shook her head. “You disagree?”
“Nah, I was just thinking you don’t need
that sword, you could just talk people to death.” Connor chuckled. “Hey, just
‘cause you’re immortal doesn’t mean every one around you, you’re a little
long-winded you know?”
”While you are the soul of brevity of course.”
Faith shot her companion a suspicious look. “You callin’ me a name or somethin’?”
Connor tipped his head and smiled. “A gentleman would never do such to a lady.”
Faith barked a laugh. “’Case you ain’t noticed, I ain’t no lady.”
The Immortal stepped in front of her, blocking her path. “On the contrary,” all at once Connor’s face was intense and deathly serious, and a little bit scary, “you are a lady of immense attributes.” Faith snorted. She’d heard some lines, although it was partially true, she did have some pretty immense attributes. “Do you not defend your friends to the best of your abilities? Do you not loyally stick by those you love? Do you not also defend those less capable to defend themselves?” Connor smiled. “Loyalty, honour, and courage are the true qualities of a lady, not manners. And you have the three in abundance.”
“Yeah okay,” for once in her life Faith felt embarrassed and lost for some dry quip.
Luckily for her, Connor was gracious enough to just continue on his path. “Ah there it is.”
Faith stared doubtfully at the ramshackle bar the Immortal was pointing at. “Looks homely,” she muttered.
Connor smiled at her. “You can stay here if you wish.”
“Nah, you’re five by five.” Faith stopped and glanced at the Immortal. “But just for notes, don’t even think of buying me dinner in that place.”
“I’ll take that under advisement,” the Scotsman gravely replied as they crossed the road. “A lady would not think of eating in such an establishment.”
”Damn straight,” Faith agreed as they stepped through the bar’s doors.
A mumble ran through the place at her arrival, the only other sound, the fan whirling in the background and the jukebox crackling out some euro-pop. Faith’s nose wrinkled at the dirty wood-panelled floor and greasy bar, the stench of tobacco and other substances thick in the air. “I was right,” she murmured, “it does remind me of home.”
And the bar’s clientele brought back unpleasant memories too. The fat, middle-aged men with their saggy bodies, unhealthy complexions, and leering eyes could have been her mom’s clients. Wicked creepy.
Despite her powers, Faith decided to stick close to the Immortal and shadowed Connor to the bar where he started speaking in French to the thin, reedy man with ferret’s eyes stood behind the bar. A fat man rushed over to Faith’s side and pulled out a wallet thick with notes. “How much, girl?” he growled in barely intelligible English, piggy eyes shining and corpulent lips moistening.
“How much?” Faith looked at the fat man and smiled sweetly before yanking her arm free. “Not at any price, not for you.” She attempted to step around the man, but his hand came up to grab a rather more personal part of her body. Her elbow crashed into the man’s face, shattering his nose, and flinging him fourteen foot across the darkly-lit room and into the wall beside the jukebox, wood panels cracking as he slid to the floor.
”As you can see my friend has anger management problems,” Connor stared at the bartender. “Right now, I am the only one standing between your bar and complete destruction. Should I leave…” Right on cue Faith snatched up a half-drunk glass of beer, gulped its contents down, hey who likes waste, and threw the glass into the far wall. The glass smashed into the clock’s face, showering shards everywhere. Faith was rather gratified by the way everyone backed away from her and into the furthest corner. “I’m sure you wouldn’t want your fine establishment wrecking?”
Faith snorted. Yeah, she might sneeze hard and blow the damn place down.
The bartender’s eyes jumped from Connor, to her, and back again before shooting off a ton of French. Connor smiled. “Merci.”
Once they were outside, Faith took a lungful of Bastia slightly salty but far fresher air. “What did Frenchie say?” Connor shot her a look. “Not PC enough? How about Snaily?”
“Never mind,” Connor sighed. “I no longer
wonder Xander looks so harrased.”
“He told me where a group of dangerous and
recently arrived thugs, thugs even the local gangs avoid, are staying.” Connor
fell silent as they walked through Bastia’s winding back-streets. When they
arrived outside a garishly decorated house, he turned to her. “Unfortunately
you cannot come in here with me as it is a whorehouse.”
Connor looked at her. “A lady does not go
into such places.” Faith’s mouth opened in a protest. “Besides there’s a
bowling alley opposite, go and have some fun.” Before she had chance to speak
the Immortal was up the brothel’s three steps and inside.
”I swear,” Faith said between gritted teeth as she reluctantly turned towards the bowling alley, “that is one Immortal who’s head I am taking!” Hair swinging, she strode across the street and entered the bowling alley.
And entered hell.
Ridiculously up-beat music blasted out of the hall’s music system, competing with children’s, Faith shuddered at the thought of having a sprog, excited screams, and the rattle of bowls rumbling down their wood-panelled lanes to crash into the bowling pins, their scores immediately flashing up on the neon overhead screens. The plastic tables were an eye-bleedingly bright yellow and the frog-green benches bolted into the ground. From the far end of the alley there came the smells of cooking fast food, maybe she’d investigate there, pick-up a hot-dog. A clown waddled over to give her a welcoming hug, but a snarl sent him scurrying back to the crèche to entertain the toddlers there.
A young man rushed around the wooden counter where they gave out bowling shoes, they’d have to tranq her before she put them on, and said something in French. She shook her head. “English, American actually, but you get the point.”
“How may I help you?”
“Oh please,” Faith drawled, “do I look like the bowling type?”
The teen gulped as he looked over her outfit of plunging-necklined midriff top under a leather jacket, sneakers, and so-tight she could hardly breathe leather pants before forcing his eyes back to her face. “The brothel’s across the road, mademoiselle.”
Faith’s eyes hardened. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
The pimply faced kid coloured, his mouth opened. Blood exploded from his mouth, showering her. “Shit!” Even as the dying youth dropped into her arms, Faith spun around to see a quartet of gun-wielding thugs striding through the door, the guns indiscriminately slaughtering anyone in their path. “Oh yeah,” Faith drawled as she dived for cover, bullets slicing through the air around her, ears echoing to the screams of the injured. “I’m just so much better off here than in a whorehouse!”
FIC MC 42 Sept ’01 – Immortal Prophecy (6/?)
Faith hit the floor behind the counter filled with bowling balls, wincing at the screams around her as people took lead that was meant for her, but there wasn’t a hell of a lot she could do about it. Her arsenal consisted of a KA-BAR knife strapped to her left calf, which was worth exactly squat against four Mac-10s. “I need a weapon,” she muttered. She grinned as her eyes fell on the rows of bowling balls in front of her. “Any port in a storm,” she muttered as she glided into a crouch.
Snatching hold of a 14lb pound ball, she put her fingers in the holes, flexed her wrist back and then powered it forward in the direction of the shooters. The ball flew off her hand like it had been shot from a cannon, shooting over the counter. Faith smirked as one of the gunmen let out a grunt and fell, shots from his gun taking out one of the overhead score-charts as he fell to the ground. “Score!”
Faith reached for another ball, only for Slayer instinct to send her exploding out of her crouch and leaping backwards over the desk behind her like a high-jumper doing the Fosbury flop. Bullets ripped through the carpet where she’d been crouched, the gunman’s eyes widening at her flexibility and reflexes. Hitting the ground on her side facing towards her attacker, the muzzle of his gun beginning to turn towards her, Faith drew her knife and flung it into the man’s chest.
Blood crimsoned out of the killer’s chest as he fell onto his back just to the right of the counter. Faith took one look at his temptingly dropped sub-machine gun and started to run in a crouch towards it.
“My mistake!” The moment she broke cover, the two remaining gunmen swung towards her. Abandoning all thoughts of getting the gun, Faith turned and charged down the nearest lane, boots slapping against the shiny wood surface. “I’m not gonna make it!” she screamed as she dived for the pins, the wooden skittles exploding into dust as she dived through them.
Despite her negative pronouncement, Faith slid through the back of the alley. “Fuck,” she wiped her sweat-drenched forehead with the back of her arm as she rolled away from the lane end she’d just flown through, “and I thought bowling was borin,” She shook her head. “This is more excitement than even I can handle.”
Leaning forward, she snatched up a trio of bowling pins from the next alley and threw one to the left end of the shadowy passage behind the alleys. The moment it thudded to the ground, she was up and racing in the other direction. Breaking cover to find the duo sending hot lead into the end where she’d thrown her diversionary pin, Faith lifted her arms back and threw the pins at the men’s heads with all the venom she could manage.
Faith’s heart dropped when at the last second one of the trench coated killers seemed to sense something and started to turn towards her. “Thank fuck for that,” she muttered as the pins crashed home before either man had chance to react, hitting home with enough power to snap their heads back with neck-breaking force, their bodies sinking to the ground.
“Damn,” Faith grimaced as she started through the bowling alley, guilt threatening to crush her. Where families had just been merrily playing together, like real parents did with their kids, now corpses and the moaning wounded lay everywhere, blood slicking the ground. Many of the tables had been torn apart by the bullets and more than one of the overhead screens had crashed to the ground. “Still playing that fucking pop music though,” Faith noted as she started towards the doorway, she’d get outside, phone the police on her cell, and then get the hell out of dodge.
Faith stopped as she drew level with the counter and groaned. Hands raised, she slowly turned to face the grey-faced thug struggling to his feet, left arm hanging loosely by his side, but right hand unerringly pointing a snub-nosed ’38 at her. “You’re the one who I hit with the bowling ball, right?” Faith smiled weakly. “Would it help if I said sorry?” Her smile suddenly broadened. “Or look behind you?”
“Non,” the Frenchmen shook his head before pulling the hammer back on his gun; Faith noted the bowling ball lying on top of the flattened sub-machine gun just behind the hired killer.
Connor’s blade sliced through the man’s neck from behind, separating head from shoulders in a shower of blood. “Told ya.” Faith stared over the decapitated corpse to glare at the Scotsman. “So a brothel’s not a suitable place for a lady and a bowling alley is?” she asked as she crouched and dragged her knife out of the other dead man’s body and snatched up the knifed man’s MAC-10.
”You’re welcome, mi’ lady.” Connor bowed mockingly before sobering. “You are unhurt?”
“Yeah,” Faith forced her eyes to scan the wounded, “what about these tho’?”
Connor scowled. “We cannot stay behind to help them, but I’ll phone the police as soon as we get outside. Come quickly.”
”Woof, woof,” Faith muttered as she followed behind the swordsman, the Immortal hanging up his cell as he strode outside. “Find anything at the brothel, other than some real babes?”
The Immortal shot her a dark look that bounced off her leather-clad hide. “The brothel is used by organised crime gangs to shelter certain parties for a charge. On this instance, six-.”
”Whoa,” Faith glanced back at the bowling alley even as they hurried away from it, in the opposite direction to the approaching sirens. “Six of them? What about the other two?”
“I dealt with them,” the Highlander explained as he clambered over a crumbling brick wall.
“Five by five,” Faith nodded as she vaulted over the wall to find herself on a cobbled path sloping downwards and under an arched bridge. “Find anything else?”
”Yes,” Faith glanced up to see the Highlander’s face was as cold as stone, “I found that there are at least two more groups of six in town and that their leader was one of my kind.”
“One of the worst,” Connor replied. “He was-.”
”Wait,” Faith raised a palm at the ringing of her cell, pulling it out, she answered. “Yo, Xan-.”
“Faith!” Xander yelled, gunfire clearly audible over the cell-line. “We need help now!”
Faith shot Connor a concerned look. “We’re on our way, stud!”
FIC MC 42 Sept ’01 – Immortal Prophecy (7/?)
Xander yawned and stretched his back as he followed Kennedy and Tara in clambering out of the cramped club. “No-one in there.”
Kennedy shot him a look. “Last time we did this needle in the haystack thing I got stabbed, remember?”
Xander grinned at the potential. “I know, that why I bought Tara with us for protection.”
“Yeah!” Kennedy hugged her blushing girl-friend. “No one messes with my girl!”
Xander chuckled at Tara’s embarrassment. “Put her down Kennedy and we’ll go to that café and get a coffee before going on.”
“Sounds like a plan,” Tara agreed.
Xander followed the two girls out of the alley and started across the road. He was half-way across the empty road when a tinted-window car screeched around the corner and straight at him. “Oh no!” Hoping to save his legs from breaking, he leapt into the air and landed on his side on the hood, the force of the impact lifting him into the air and spinning him around before dumping him on the hard cobbles.
The breath exploded from him upon his landing, head cracking painfully on the cobbles. That had always looked so much easier in the movies. Body aching, Xander forced his head up to see the car spinning around to come at him. “Oooooh,” Xander groaned as he rolled out of the way, grabbed a near-by lamppost and pulled himself up.
The car screeched to a stop across the road, six men quickly clambering out. Xander attempted to back away, but his legs almost buckled under him except for Kennedy grabbing him, he heard Tara whispering something beneath her breath.
Suddenly the world exploded in blazing light. “What the-.” Xander’s eyes watered even as he panicked that the fall had done some irreparable damage.
“A spell I did,” Tara explained. “Don’t worry it’ll pass. As the caster I can still see. Hold onto me and I’ll get you both into the coffee house.”
“Thanks,” Xander’s gratitude was echoed by Kennedy. He fumbled his arm around Tara’s shoulder and allowed the Witch to drag them into the coffee house.
Already his eyes were starting to clear, just shapes but enough so he could see the fat shop owner heading towards him. The man shouted something in French and then flew backwards as the window exploded. “They can see again!” Tara screamed as they hit the ground.
“Gee, what gave it away!” snarked Kennedy.
“Yeah, but so can I!” Reaching up, Xander grabbed the leg of the table by the window and flung it on its side. He grimaced as he saw the coffee owner’s body crumpled on the ground, blood pooling beneath his convulsing body. Another innocent death to chalk up to him. “You two,” he glanced at his companions, “get the patrons and take them out through the back. The two girls looked at her. “Just do it!”
* * *
”This way!” Kennedy started leading screaming customers and staff towards the kitchen exit, a scowl on her face. “We should be helping him!” she snapped at Tara stood at the back. “We don’t need protecting!”
“You just don’t get him do you?” Tara disapprovingly shook her head. “We might not need protecting but they do! And Xander hates people dying because of him!”
“That’s stupid!” Kennedy protested. “He’s not the one to blame, those guys are!”
”It’s how he feels!” Tara replied. “And he wouldn’t be Xander if he didn’t!”
“Guess not,” Kennedy reached to open the back door only to dive to the ground when the glass window it exploded inwards. “Oh no!” she grunted as she hit the floor. “Tara,” she rolled onto her side and looked to her girl-friend at the back of the advancing mob, “back up! There’s more of them!”
* * *
Xander drew out his Mac-10 and fired at the sextuplet advancing across the road. The cars parked between him and the gunmen took most of the damage, windows shattering and tryes popping, but two of the men dropped to the ground, blood spraying from their corpses. Xander ducked down as bullets chewed the café’s window sill and splinters flew off the table he was shielding behind.
His eyes widened when he saw Tara leading the screaming patrons back in, noise that only made his throbbing head worse. “I thought I told you to get out of here!”
”We can’t!” the retort came from Kennedy. “There’s three behind us too!” The potential held out a hungrily empty hand. “We need guns too!”
”Fine!” Xander threw the pair mini-Uzis. “Be careful! I’m going to call Faith for help!”
* * *
Kennedy fired off a short burst as the first man charged through the kitchen’s back entrance. Her rounds caught the man high in the chest, knocking him on his back, legs twitching reflexively. She ducked behind the steel preperation area when the two more men appeared in the kitchen and started shooting.
Pans flew off tops and crashed to the ground, cupboard doors were turned to sawdust, and ingrediant bags punctured as the two men unleashed their hot lead. “Shit!” Kennedy cursed as she hid under the top. “Why me! I’m a good girl! Why do I end up with three crazies?”
All of a sudden the duo’s guns fell silent. Kennedy jumped up, gun swinging ready to shoot before they had chance to reload. “Please don’t shoot me,” Connor smiled. “Not after I helped you.”
Kennedy looked at the two beheaded corpses. The Immortal had to be quick to take down two armed men so easily. “What about-.”
“Xander?” The Scotsman’s smile slipped. “I’d be rather more worrired about his attackers if I was you.”
* * *
Faith’s blood surged as she raced down the street on a stolen moped, one hand guiding the vehicle, the other holding her submachine gun. The four men crouched behind cars were so absorbed with trying to kill HER man and the sound of their guns so loud, they didn’t notice her until she was almost level with them.
By then it was too late. The first spun like a top when she shot him, the second had half-turned when she took his face off, the third was turning towards her, but showed too much of his head over the top of the car he’d been hiding alongside and got shot in the head from someone in the shop. Seeing the last man’s gun rising to fire at her, Faith threw herself off the bike. Hitting the ground on her side, she allowed momentum to carry her in a side roll to the man. The man gaped at her, his gun slowly coming down.
Faith fan-kicked the gun out of his hands before follwing up with a toe-kick to the face. The man’s head snapped back, crashing against the bullet-scarred car he’d been hiding behind. The dazed man pitched forward, right onto a brutal right hook that shattered bone and dropped him an unconscious heap beside her. “Yo!” Faith yelled. “In the café, it’s me. Everything’s five by five, stop shootin’!”
FIC MC 42 Sept ’01 – Immortal Prophecy (8/?)
Xander spared the downed café owner a guilty look before looking towards Connor, Tara, and Kennedy. “Let’s get out of here,” he suggested as he stood, conscious of the sound of approaching sirens.
”They won’t be here for a while,” Connor comforted as they headed outside to find Faith hog-tying one of the gangsters, the other five lying dead in the street.
“You never told me how you got so good at that,” Xander commented as he quickly boosted the trunk of a near-by car parked just outside the firing zone and therefore undamaged by the carnage. “It’s just plain disturbing.”
“Girl’s gotta have some mysteries about her, Harris,” the Slayer winked at him before lifting the unconscious and bleeding man into the trunk.
Xander grinned at his girl-friend before slamming the trunk down. “We’ll get out of town and fast.”
“I know a couple of places the nationalists used in the olden days,” Connor put in. “We can hide there.”
“And you can tell us about this Draco dude,” Xander raised an eyebrow at the suspicious look Faith was shooting Connor’s way. Something had clearly happened.
* * *
They were in a copse some four and half mile off a dirt-track, and further concealed by the hill they’d just driven down. In far-gone days this had been a hiding place where the Corsican nationalists had stored weapons.
“Hey,” Faith’s husky voice suddenly interrupted his thoughts. “How about you stop day-dreaming and tell us who this Draco dude is?”
Connor smiled uneasily at his expectant companions. They were all so young for the burden foisted on their shoulders. “Alaric I was the king of the Visigoths, a fearsomely warlike people of the fifth century,” he lapsed into silence, imagined images of the pillaging Visigoths flashing before his eye, “the king who sacked Rome in 410 AD. His personal bodyguard, the Century, consisted of one hundred warriors, hand-picked by Alaric himself. Draco was the leader of a Ten in the Century, and died the day Rome fell, slain by an arrow through the throat. He rose the next day.”
”He’s an Immortal?”
Connor nodded at the witch’s whisper. “One of the most fearsome and oldest remaining Immortals. The last time I spoke to Joe Dawson, he said that Draco had taken around 1,000 Quickenings.” Faith whistled. “He doesn’t play by the rules, will fight an Immortal with mortals’ assistance, will injure an Immortal with a gun before beheading them.” Connor shook his head. “But these are the least of his crimes; he’s utterly amoral and ruthless.”
“Sounds like a fun guy to hang with,” the Slayer commented before glancing to the car, “from the sounds of it our guest’s awake.”
* * *
Pierre Fontaine blinked as the trunk opened. His mouth opened to unleash the most sulphurous of curses.
“Shut up!” Stars erupted in his eyes when the curvy brunette crashed a right into his mouth, teeth flying everywhere and the back of his head bouncing off the bottom of the trunk. He’d barely had time to register his discomfort when the beauty had hold of his collar and was somehow lifting him out of the trunk and flinging him to the ground.
“You tried to kill us so don’t think we won’t have a problem hurting to get what we want,” declared the older of the two men before crouching down beside him. “Where is Draco and is Michel still alive?”
“I don’t –oooof.” He gasped and wheezed for air when the man straightened and delivered a kick to his ribs.
”We’ll try again, shall we? Where is Draco? Is Michel still alive?”
“There is,” Pierre blinked the tears away from his eyes, “a château, seven miles away in the foothills. We killed the owners two days ago and took shelter there. Fifteen of us were sent into town to deal with any who came asking questions.”
“How many men are still with him?” the older man demanded.
Pierre licked his lips, mouth dry with fear and heart thumping. “Five.”
“He’s lying,” whispered the pale-faced
“Eight!” Pierre screamed as the man’s foot drew back. “There’s eight still with him!”
“Tara?” the older man asked. The blonde nodded. The man returned his chill eyes to him. “And Michel, is he alive?”
“I don’t know,” Pierre babbled. “I don’t know. Draco keeps him in the wine cellar, won’t let anyone else see him.”
“It’s the truth,” the blonde added.
The man nodded. “Then give use directions to this château.” Pierre quickly babbled out the directions. “Excellent, Faith,” the man looked towards the sultry beauty, “could you please put our guest back in the trunk?”
“Sure Conn.” He gasped when the brown-eyed temptress grabbed him by the neck and threw him into the trunk, his shoulder popping out with the force of his landing. His mouth opened in a scream.
* * *
Faith slammed the trunk shut on the man’s howls. “I take it we’re dumping his ass at a bacon shop when this is over?” Faith sighed at Connor’s blank stare. “Police station?”
“Ah,” the Scotsman smiled, “yes.”
“Cool,” Faith nodded.
“Are we going to this chateau then?” Xander impatiently asked.
“Yes,” Connor’s eyes were blue ice. “I think it is past time Draco met his maker.”
FIC MC 42 Sept ’01 – Immortal Prophecy (9/?)
“It seems some friends have arrived in town looking for you. Made quite the mess.” Draco announced as he walked down the wooden steps that led into the cellar, his eyes fixed on the defeated man chained to the wall opposite him. He smiled at the brief hope that flared and then died in his fellow Immortal’s eyes, the hope replaced by grim realisation. “That means, I’ll have to take your head now.”
“You won’t fight even me?” hissed the prophet.
“Of course not. You’re no match for me but,” he drew his sword and raised the weapon, “you might get a lucky strike, I can’t risk that.” The blade swung down and sideways, slicing through the Frenchman’s neck, blood spewing out. “Ahhhhhhh!” A bestial snarl erupted from Draco’s lips as the dead Immortal’s Quickening tore through him, his personality merging with the hundreds he’d already took, his soul a maelstrom of pain and confusion.
When it passed, Draco found that the force of the Quickening had driven him onto one knee. Shaking his head clear, he strode back up the stairs.
* * *
The four-storied château was red-bricked with plenty of windows and beautifully arched roofs, the middle of the building set a few feet forward to the extensions to the left and right.
“All those trees around it should make getting close quite easy, Xand,” Faith whispered. “Weird how they don’t have any guards outside though.”
“Probably scared about drawing attention to themselves. Remember they killed the owners’,” Xander pointed out.
“Yeah,” Faith nodded. “Nice people. I
say Tara pulls one of those diversionary spells of hers-.”
“I can do a spell that’ll stop them from spotting you until you’re actually in the house.”
“Good,” Xander nodded. “Tell us when you’re ready.”
“What’s wrong?” Xander glanced at a suddenly taut-faced Connor.
The Immortal scowled. “Up until a minute ago, I could sense two old Immortals in there. Now there’s just one.”
Xander shook his head. “I’m sorry, man.” He looked towards Faith and the others. “When we get inside, it’s Connor’s job to find Draco, ours to deal with the guards, okay?”
* * *
The moment they entered the building, Connor split from the others, allowing his Immortal senses to guide him up a sweeping staircase, his back pressed to the cream-painted wall, and his eyes set on the landing behind a gold-plated railing. The family who had lived here had been wealthy, but their money hadn’t helped them when Draco had come. Just more victims to lie at the Visigoth’s feet, Connor surmised the innocents Draco had killed must number in the tens of thousands.
Connor dived to the russet coloured carpet as he reached the landing, rolling around to face the arched entrance, his sword flashing up to slice through the hamstring of the heavy breather he’d heard there. “Shit!” the man screamed as he crashed to the ground, his sub-machine gun falling out of his grip. Eyes desperate, the man lunged for his weapon only for Connor to knock it away.
“I don’t think so.” Connor glided to his feet, sword swinging down to decapitate his enemy. He stepped past the body and continued on his way, down a corridor filled with lavishly coloured paintings of castles and battle scenes.
Suddenly a door to his right crashed open. Connor threw himself against the wall. The man began to turn to face him, but Connor was already lunging forward, his blade thrusting through the man’s throat, blood vomiting out of his open mouth.
Connor wiped the weapon off before continuing, not bothering to sheath it. His enemy was near, very near. He couldn’t leave him to Xander and the others, perhaps Faith could take him, but he couldn’t take the risk. Reaching a door he stopped. Draco was in there, he could sense him. A single kick sent the door crashing open, revealing an apparent reading room, complete with a desk shoved up against the left wall, and a stuffed full bookcase shoved up against the right.
“I sensed your approach.” The tall, wide-shouldered man’s stone-face broke into a humourless smile at his entrance. “But then I could hardly miss it.” He rose and walked to the centre of the room with a surprising fluidity of movement for a man of his size, the sun flooding in from the room’s balcony. “The famed Highlander, Connor MacLeod,” the man’s cold grey eyes flashed with amusement. “Famed? Perhaps infamous would be a better description. Richie Ryan, Hugh Fitzcairn, Darius, Charlie DeSalvo, and Ramírez. Oh,” the man’s smiled broadened, “and of course the most recent and infamous, dear Michel Nostradumus. Just how many of those you claim to love have you allowed to die?”
Connor managed to keep his temper in
check, reminding himself that losing his temper was the surest route to losing
his head. “Be sure of one thing,” he declared, “no more of those I love will
die by your hand.”
Draco smiled. “So sure. I admire your confidence. It will avail you little though.” Draco drew his own blade, a gleaming broadsword. “You know in two hundred and fifty years of being an Immortal, Nostradumus didn’t take a single quickening. If not for the knowledge he carried, he wouldn’t have been worth the effort. What a pathetic excuse for an Immortal.”
“Michel was a man of peace and honour,”
Connor scowled. “Two values you have no concept of.”
”How biting,” Draco threw his head back and laughed. “How true. Now let’s get this over so I can get on with killing your friends.”
FIC MC 42 Sept ’01 – Immortal Prophecy (10/11)
“Hey, you really weren’t paying attention were you?” The guard half-turned to face him, moved right into his boot to the face. The man crumpled to the ground. “That was pathetically easy.”
Faith poked her head up from behind the dining room table. “Ya just can’t help grand-standing can you?”
“He’s a man,” Kennedy explained, “it’s genetic.”
“Oh god, an unholy alliance,” Xander muttered. He gulped at Faith’s hard stare.
”What did he say?” Kennedy asked.
”Don’t worry about that, just glare at him,” the Slayer replied.
Xander gulped at stereo-glare. “Shouldn’t we go and find Connor.”
“Okay,” Faith nodded. “But don’t think you’re off the hook.”
”Perish the thought,” Xander grunted,
“I heard that too,” Faith warned.
“When you’re in a hole stop digging,” Kennedy advised.
* * *
The languidly standing Visigoth exploded
into action, his blade flashing up in a back-handed slash that Connor blocked
inches from his face before gliding into a thrust that Draco bounded away from.
“Ah, MacLeod,” the tall man’s giggle bubbled over with insanity, “let us see if
your skills match your legend.”
Connor didn’t bother to grace his opponent with an answer, leaping forward with a downwards slash that Draco blocked, the manic smile remaining on his face. “The kill,” the Immortal cackled, “there’s nothing like it.”
Connor feinted with a thrust to the stomach. Draco correctly chose to ignore his feint in favour of bending his knees to duck under Connor’s reverse slash before thrusting his own blade up at Connor’s chest.
The Highlander leaned back, the sword impaling air where a second ago he’d stood. And then Draco was leaping up to crash into him, his shoulder smashing into Connor’s chest. Knocked off balance, he stumbled backwards. Teeth bared in a grin, Draco bounded forward, blade flashing in a left to right arc.
Connor threw himself to the ground, kicking out at his opponents’ legs as he did so. The Visigoth grunted as he stumbled into the wall, the reprieve giving Connor just enough time to roll up to his feet.
He’d barely got upright when Draco charged him again, his blade flashing down in a skull-cleaving blow. Connor’s blade swung up to parry the attack and counter with a two-handed slash at his rival’s neck. Draco leapt to the left and thrust at Connor’s stomach. Connor twisted at the hips, the blade sliding just to the right of his stomach, and swung back at his opponent’s neck.
Draco stepped towards him and inside the attack, his elbow crashing into the side of Connor’s head. He blinked his eyes clear just in time to stumble away from another attempted decapitation, backing away before the other Immortal’s attack.
Then he lunged forward, sword thrusting upwards in an attempted disembowelling. A bang rang out. Connor gasped as his leg exploded in pain, his knee shattered. He crashed to the ground, looking up in disbelief at the smoking gun Draco held in his left hand. “A worthy fight,” Draco chuckled. “But I don’t play by the rules.”
“That’s good, ‘cause neither do I.”
* * *
Draco gasped at the voice behind him; he began to turn, only for his left forearm to blaze with pain, his hand opening reflexily to drop his revolver to the ground. He stared in disbelief first at the dagger sticking out of his arm and then at the smirking youth. “This is nothing to do with you!” he protested.
”I’m making it my business.” Draco barely had time to bring his blade up before the youth swung at his throat. “You’re not an Immortal!” he gasped.
”No,” the boy’s smirk widened as he thrust at his stomach, Draco swinging his blade down to parry the blade aside, “I’m something far worse.” The youth leaned away from his retaliatory thrust. “Your worst nightmare.”
Draco scowled. “The Mithras brat.”
“I prefer Xander,” the boy ducked under his backhanded swing, “but that’ll do.” The youth smashed his free hand into Draco’s nose. Pain flared through his proboscis, blood bursting from his nostrils.
Draco stumbled backwards, sword working desperately to build a wall of shimmering steel between him and his advancing attacker. Finally he backed onto the balcony, the youth charged him. Draco leapt to the right and swung his sword in a decapitating slash.
Except the youth had guessed his move and moved to intercept, his sword thrusting up to spear Draco through the upper shoulder. “Damn,” the youth pulled the sword out, “I was aiming for the throat, but that has got to hurt.” Draco dropped his sword, the weapon clanging on the stone pavings. “The innocent blood of thousands is on your hands, you seriously think you not having a weapon is going to stop me?”
“Perhaps not,” Draco forced a smile as he jerked backwards, ripping the sword out of his shoulder, blood showering both him and his rival, “but this will.” He leapt backwards and onto the balcony’s wooden railing. He smiled briefly at the shocked realisation in the youth’s eyes and then stepped off into mid-air.
* * *
“Damn,” Xander groaned as the Immortal dropped into a stream running behind the house, his doubtless soon resurrecting corpse carried off by the fast-running waters. “I bet we’ll be seeing him again.”
”That’s you, Harris, always with the chatter and not the kill.”
Xander counted to ten in the face of his girl-friend’s continued nagging. Women, can’t live with them, sex is lonely without them. He glanced towards an ashen-faced Connor. “We better get him to a doc-,” Xander shook his head. “What am I thinking? He’ll be alright in an hour and so, and doctors will only do their nuts trying to work out what he is.”
”Thank you,” the Immortal gasped between gritted teeth as Faith and Kennedy helped him to his feet.
Xander shrugged. “You’re a Brotherhood member, no thanks needed.”
FIC MC 42 Sept ’01 – Immortal Prophecy Finale
New Jersey, 2 days later
“That is some fine-ass pussy!” Jay grinned as he and his hetro-life partner sauntered to their favoured comic shop in New Jersey, ‘Brodie’s Secret Stash’, to find a blonde and brunette stood outside the shop peering inside while they held hands. “Girls, you are a pair of fine mamas,” he gave them his most debonair look while grinding his crotch seductively, “how about we go around the back and get b-u-s-y! I am the master of the C.L.I.T!!!!!”
”W…we’re gay,” the blonde blushed and stuttered. Oh yeah, she wanted some of what Jay was carrying.
“Hey baby!” Jay thrust his crotch towards both girls in turn. “I’ve got the equipment that’ll straighten you out.” He glanced towards Silent Bob. “I’ve got dibs on the blonde you can have the brunette. We’ll swap afterwards.”
“Hey!” the brunette shouted, eyes indignant. “I’m nobody’s second choice.” The brunette’s brow furrowed. “Not that I actually wanted you!”
“Hey kitty boo-boo fuck,” Jay opened his mouth and waggled his tongue at the babe. “Jay’s got enough meat to go around.”
“Oh,” the blonde reddened and shuddered, “gross.”
The brunette nodded. “I never thought I could be more turned off men. And yet he,” the honey shot Jay a yearning look, belying her words, “managed it!”
“Baby,” Jay leered down the brunette’s low-cut top, “I’ve got something you could wrap those lips around, you wouldn’t be complaining then!”
“Sorry,” the brunette snapped. “I don’t have a thing for twigs.”
“Hey dickwad, are ya gonna start running now or am I just gonna kick your ass?”
“Foreplay, I fucking love whips and chains!” Jay’s smile faded as he turned and recognised the leather-clad babe stood behind him. “You!” His eyes widened in horrified recognition. From the look in the hot-bodied slut’s eyes, she still didn’t get him. “Smoochy boochy! Run for your life, Silent Bob!” Wailing incoherently and heart thundering, Jay raced off, hair flying and his hetro-life partner in frantic pursuit.
When would New Jersey be safe for a brother to get his mack on?
* * *
“Who was that idiot?” Kennedy shook her head before grinning. “An ex of yours, Faith?”
“Remind me why I just helped you out?” Faith shot the potential a disgusted look. “And a hell no. I have standards!”
“What’s up honey?”
Faith grinned reluctantly at the other girls’ titters when Xander stumbled out of the shop he’d just dragged her into, his hands full of his purchases. “They had a first edition Justice League! A first edition!”
“Standards hey?” Tara giggled.
God, it was so embarrassing, why couldn’t he have taken her to an adult entertainment shop like a normal boy-friend? “Like I said,” Faith muttered out of the side of her mouth, “I have standards. Never said they were high ones.”
Xander stared blankly at first her and then the others. “Did I miss something?”
* * *
“Ah,” Holland Manners beamed, “Draco, a pleasure to see you again. Please, sit down.” The Immortal swordsman was a little later than expected, but Holland felt it was only fair to make allowances. After all, there were few enough people who managed to thwart the Brotherhood’s elite team.
”Thank you,” the Immortal’s grunt sounded like death’s own rattle.
“Tell me,” Holland poured and passed his guest a glass of his best malt whiskey, “just how good is this Mithras?”
”The Slayer’s fire, but the boy,” Draco took a sip of his drink before continuing, “the boy’s like stone that won’t be worn away. He’s a hard one.”
Well, Holland forced a smile, that was a little bleak. Comforting himself that they had numbers and power on their side, he pressed on. “You took Nostradamus’ head I assume?” Draco nodded. “What did it reveal?”
Draco’s smile had all the warmth of an artic winter. “I took his quickening, he tried to die without passing it, fought harder than most, but I got it.”
“You’ll be going downstairs to speak to our psychic department for the full story, but what did he reveal to you?”
Draco chuckled. “I assume the money has been wired to my Swiss account?”
”Yes, two million dollars,” Holland nodded impatiently. “Now if you wouldn’t mind?”
Draco took a sip of his whiskey before speaking. “Well for one thing, I wouldn’t worry about that soulled vampire of yours, he’s a side issue. At least for the next century or so, his time will be some time in the early 2130s. The Council is and always will be inconsequential. But this Brotherhood the boy is building; they’re your real threat. They have more resources and are far more wide-spread than the vampire and are far more proactive than the Council ever will be.”
“Even allowing for the mass Calling?” Holland had to ask.
“Slayers aren’t going to be the problem,” Draco sipped his whiskey again. The man guzzled it like it was cheap soda! “The Council leadership will see to that. Or rather the power behind the throne will. Next to luck, an army’s leadership is its most important attribute.” Draco shook his head. “It’s Mithras who’ll dog you. When the time’s ripe, it’ll be him, his allies, and his troops who’ll stand in your way. And as bad as the Brotherhood are, his allies add even more firepower, let me tell you.”
Holland licked his lips, mouth drying in anticipation. “The date?” he managed to croak.
“Date remains the same as your seers thought, May\Jun ’04.” Draco sipped at his whiskey. “Location has changed though.”
”Oh really?” Holland’s eyes widened. “That is surprising. The prophecies indicate it should happen at the Hellmouth.” HH
Draco smiled and gestured with his glass for a refill. After a second Holland obeyed, mind whirling at the bombshell. Once he’d taken a sip, the Immortal continued. “And that’s not all-.”
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