Beginning Three

"I still don’t think this is wise." Adam Peirson muttered and the woman grinned at him.

"We need the information, love. And what? Do you plan on letting *her* run your life?" She blinked at him and shook her head. "Well, you might be willing for her to dictate where you go and what you do but I’m not! You’ve already paid for your crimes. Now, come on!"

Adam eyed the club with misgivings then sighed, letting her tug him into the building. Their companion followed warily.


Joe Dawson was half-way through a trial-run of his newest song when he saw the four other people at the table acquire what was known in Watcher circles as the "Look", that spacey expression that indicated another Immortal was nearby. He stop in mid-word, looking at then in concern. Duncan MacLeod saw his expression.

"Two Immortals." He said in a low voice and turned expectantly toward the door. It opened and a figure stepped inside.

"Whew!" Richie said, his eyes widening. "I hope she isn’t here to challenge anyone!"

Joe seconded that. The woman in the doorway was just a few degrees shy of gorgeous, more along the lovely strain. Her skin was a warm dusky color, her hair, cut short save for a long braid falling down her back, a startling white and, as she drew closer, they could see her eyes were such a light blue as to be silver. She was tall and lean, dressed in off-the-rack jeans and a man’s shirt. Indian-style boots and short jacket completed the ensemble and Joe wondered where her sword was hidden.

"Down, boys." A familiar voice came from behind the woman. "She’s spoken for." And Methos stepped to the woman’s side, his bearing possessive. He wore his long coat, his sword undoubtedly hidden under it.

MacLeod sat up. "What are you doing here?" He demanded, his voice harsh.

Methos looked at the woman, obviously deferring to her.

"We’ve come to cajole Joe into doing something for us." She said pleasantly, stopping next to the table. "You must be Duncan, then. And Richie." She racked an eye over the youngest Immortal at the table then dismissed him just as quickly. She looked at one of the two female Immortals. "Amanda?" Amanda nodded warily and the newcomer smiled, turning toward the remaining Immortal. "Then that makes you Cassandra." She started around the table.

"Sable..." Methos said in a warning tone.

"Calmness, lover. I only wish to talk to her."

Cassandra stood, looking at Methos with a cold smile. "Yes, I think we should talk and. . .urk!"

Sable was surprisingly strong. With one hand clamped on Cassandra’s throat, she lifted the woman easily and slammed her against the wall three times in rapid succession.

"I have your attention, I trust." Cassandra stared at her blankly, gasping for breath. "Good because I don’t want to repeat myself. If you do anything that causes Methos any harm in any way, shape or form, be it physical, emotional, mental, etc., etc., I shall make what happened three thousand years ago seem like a pleasurable picnic and then I shall tear off your head and mount it over the mantelpiece. Understood?" She waited a moment then slammed Cassandra against the wall two more times. "I can’t hear you." Sable said pleasantly.

"Yes! Yes. . ."

"Good." Sable released the woman and stepped back to look at the others still sitting at the table, gaping in surprise. "Now, where was I?"

"Something about cajoling Joe. . ." Methos prompted, his expression bemused.

"Oh right." She paused, head tilted, waiting. The next second, she was ducking under a fierce swing of Cassandra’s sword, rolling to one side as it clanged loudly against Methos’ broadsword. The two Immortals stood there, swords locked, one fiercely angry, the other still bemused.

"Down, Cassandra." Methos said pleasantly. "Sheath it and sit down."

"You can’t interfere in a challenge!" Cassandra hissed.

"I can when the one you are challenging is mortal."

"She. . .a pre-Immortal then! I’ll change that. . ."

"No, you won’t!" Methos twisted his sword, tearing Cassandra’s weapon from her hands. Sable reached out almost casually and caught it, studying it intently.

"And here I thought you weren’t going to remember our anniversary. Thank you, lover. Just what I always wanted." Sable used the sword to lean on. "Sit down, Cassandra, before I forget my manners and blow out poor Joe’s sound system. Something I doubt he’ll thank either of us for."

Cassandra stood there for a long moment, literally trembling with rage then slowly sat down.

"And you can take your hands off your weapons as well, MacLeod. Ryan. Amanda. Believe it or not, we have just come to talk."

"And she’s right about me not wanting my sound system blown out. Insurance doesn’t cover Quickenings." Joe cut in. "Challenges go outside. Far away outside."

Seeing that Methos had already sheathed his weapon, the other Immortals slowly relaxed, moving their hands from the hilts of theirs.

"Thank you." Sable said and turned back to Joe but before she could speak, he cut in.

"Before you say anything, there’s nothing I can. . .make that will. . .do for you. Him." He amended, throwing a hard look at Methos.

"And here I thought Cassandra was the only one going overboard with holding a grudge." She smiled beguilingly. "Actually, Joe, I plan on appealing to your sense of curiosity. And to be honest, if you choose not to help, it’ll be your loss. We can get what we want some other way. It’ll just take longer."

Joe eyed her warily but his curiosity was peaked. "What is this about?" He finally asked.

Sable’s smile widened. She turned to look at MacLeod. "How many Immortals just entered this room?"

MacLeod’s eyes narrowed. "I thought. . .two. but if you’re mortal. . ." He paused, concentrating. "There are four at this table and two. . ." He turned to look toward the bar where Methos had retreated. The ancient Immortal had acquired a beer and a wolf. The latter was at his feet, looking up at him appealingly. MacLeod stared at the duo, shaking his head. "No. That’s not possible."

"Two over there. . ." Amanda stared. "An Immortal wolf?!"

"Very good." Sable said approvingly. "Nightstorm! Come over here, dearling."

The wolf looked at her, looked at the beer Methos held then looked back at Sable. He walked over to the woman, grumbling all the way.

"We talked about this, Nightstorm." Sable’s hand reached out casually, tugging a dagger from Amanda’s boot before the Immortal had any idea of her intentions. "Hope you don’t mind, Amanda. Come on, Nightstorm. Paw."

The wolf mumbled at her but finally rested a paw on the table, looking as put-out as a furry face could. Sable calmly drew the knife over the paw, ignoring the wolf’s fangs as he snapped at the cutting blade. Blood welled from the wound.

"You realize he’s going to limp for a week." Methos walked to the woman’s side, slipping an arm around her shoulders. "And insist on being babied all that time."

"Hmmmmm." Sable threw him a sidelong look. "Reminds me of someone I know." She took the bottle from his hand and poured the contents over the injured paw. The wolf promptly began to wash the beer and blood away.

"Hey! Be careful with that!" Methos snatched the bottle away. "Last time he got drunk, I had to pay to have a tavern remodeled! And hid a body to boot!"

"Spoilsport." Sable said teasingly.

Joe stared at the unblemished paw unbelievingly. "I didn’t think animals could become Immortal." He said slowly.

"Surprise." Methos said, reaching out to scratch behind the wolf’s ears. "They can. Or, at least, Nightstorm did. The deities know how many nonhuman Immortals there have been that were simply killed by hunters and other animals. Can you imagine an Immortal rabbit?" Methos shook his head.

"And you found him?" Cassandra said, her voice still harsh.

"More like he found me. We became friends, he introduced me to Sable. . ." He smiled at the woman. "Now we are trying to find out whose Quickenings he may have. He’s managed to give us a partial list but the spellings are undoubtedly off. And some never bothered to introduce themselves and their Quickenings aren’t being very helpful. Are they, old boy?" He rubbed the wolf’s ruff and he grumbled, shaking his head vigorously.

"Gave you a partial list?" There was disbelief in MacLeod’s voice and Methos eyed him before shrugging.

"Yes, gave us a partial list."

end beginning three

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