Title: Can’t Teach an Old Pirate New Tricks
Series: my general crossover, after the 'First Time I Died' sub-series
Author: akire
Email: akire@mailcity.com
Status: C/U
Category: Crossover: Highlander/Relic Hunter/SG:SG1
Spoilers: umm, got a basic grasp of the Highlander universe?  Fine.  Oh
yeah, we're a Clan Denial fanfic.  Relic Hunter , ripping characters
more than plots.  SG, no real spoilers in this one. 
Disclaimers:  D/P, Gekko, and the producers of RH really DO own them.
If you don't recognize it, its probably mine.  If it's silly or crazy,
definitely is mine.  But if anyone sends the lawyers after me, I'm
sending out the boys with swords ;)  Oh yeah, and imitation is the
sincerest form of flattery.  If you recognize a specific fanfic
creation, it belongs to its author (when this series is finished, I may
tally them up). 
Rating: PG, prob.  Hey, I'm not offended by much, if it should be rated
higher, tell me! 
Content Warning: purists beware. 
Summary:  Sydney is talked into telling another story from her Immortal
Dedication:  No dedication, just appropriation of blame, hey Caity? 
Notes:  Yep, more stuff inspired by the story of Anne Bonny and Mary
Notes2: I dragged this out and dusted it off to keep things going until
the next 'major' story in the main arc came through (goes off to
grumble about fickle muses).  So don't expect anything heavier than

On with the show!


"Sydney?  What is this?"  Claudia's question preceded her as she walked
through the partition which separated the main office area from
Sydney's private domain.  In her outstretched hand, she held a small
golden disk, roughly beaten into shaped and scratched with a few coarse
markings.  A hole had been punctured through the middle.

Sydney took the coin from her newest student, and rolled it in her
fingers, a reflective smile on her face.  "It's a gold dubloon,
Claudia.  Specifically, my lucky gold dubloon."

Claudia hooked herself into a chair and eyed her teacher eagerly.  "I
thought you didn't buy into that whole luck/fate thing.  Aren't you
always telling me and Nigel that we make our own fortune?"

"Yes.  But back when I was your age, I – and nearly everyone around me
– believed greatly in the powers of Lady Luck.  Many people had charms
or objects like this."  She smiled.  "Quite a lot of people carried
around a little charm of a skull.  Or a real rabbits foot."

Claudia's face screwed up into a moue of disgust.  "Yuck!  Glad you
didn't leave a bit of bunny in that box for me to find."  The disgust
gave way to curiosity.  "But why a gold coin?"

It was Nigel who answered from the doorway.  "It was the only thing of
value on the corpse of her challenger for captaincy."

Claudia's eyes went as wide as saucers as Sydney chuckled.  "Go on,
Nigel, spoil my story and steal my punchline."

Nigel sauntered inside and dumped a stack of marked scripts in Sydney's
outbox.  "Well, go on then, tell it.  I love a romping tale."

"Is it good?" Claudia asked, not sure if she wanted to hear a tale that
involved a corpse.
Nigel's smile was pure cheek.  "It's better when Danya tells it."

It was Sydney's turn to be surprised.  "When did you two end up talking
about it?"

Nigel shrugged.  "The same way I get any information about your past.
I invited him down, plied him with alcohol and asked questions."  He
tried for schoolboy innocent. "You know, for a man nearly four
millennia old, he sure can't hold his liquor."

Sydney made a mental note to kill her beloved teacher once or twice at
their earliest mutual convenience, before returning to Claudia's
original question.  "Do you really want to hear the story of how I got
that coin?"

Claudia drew her knees up to her chin and nodded.  

"Well, I've told you how I died already.  This occurred only a few days
after I'd revived.  I was still in a bit of a headspin, discovering I
was Immortal.  But that was only half my problem.  With Jack O'Reilly
dead, I now had a ship to run.


"You're making this up, aren't you?  That's what was in those papers my
father sent away.  Stories you and he wrote to make a legitimate
fortune."  Sydney crossed her arms over her freshly mended jerkin, her
eyes flashing hostility along with disbelief.  Leaning against the
bulkhead next to the porthole, Danya smiled slightly.  

"You were shot.  Do you remember that?"

"Yes," she conceded.

"You died."

"I can't have. Unless you died too, and we're just a couple of ghosts
wailing in the wind."

He looked at her, eyes twinkling in amusement at some private joke.  "A
ghost.  Sounds familiar."  

Before she could ask him what he was rambling about now, he crossed the
tiny cabin in two strides and grabbed her hand.  Before she could pull
away, he had his belt knife out and was cutting her palm from edge to

Hissing, she tried to yank her hand back, but he held firm.  "Watch,"
he commanded.  Eyes flashing hatred, Sydney complied.  Her hiss of pain
turned into a sigh of amazement as the wound sealed itself without
scarring.   As Danya finally released her, she rubbed her palm with her
other hand, seeking flaws and finding none.

"How..?" She stuttered, her righteous anger flooding out of her.

"You and I are Immortal.  I found you when you were a baby, and gave
you to Jack to raise as his own.  I never expected him to get into
privateering, and I don't think he suspected that it was in his future
either.  But he has raised you well, you've grown into a woman he was
very proud of."  His eyes softened as he spoke of her father.  "He knew
what you were to become.  He, and the men who came before him, have
been keeping a record of me and others like us for centuries.  I've
been around all your life, Sydney, keeping track of you when I could.
He and I knew that when you were reborn into your Immortality, you
would need someone to teach you about who you were and what you could
expect."  Danya's face saddened.  "I knew Jack wanted to be here for
you.  He hoped he would live to explain the truth to you."  He looked
her in the eye.  "I'm sorry it had to be like this.  But I promised him
I would be here for you, should you need me.  I won't break that
promise."  Bowing slightly, he left the cabin.  Sagging against the
musty bunk, Sydney broke down as grief and confusion overwhelmed her.

It was a long time before she emerged, blinking, into the late
afternoon sun.  The sounds of birds carried across the waters of the
shallow bay they had found refuge in.  As she moved across the deck,
she comforted herself with the sounds of industry as her crew finished
basic repairs after their lethal skirmish with the navy frigate.  The
cannon shot damage had been her first priority, but now that that was
fixed, she could turn her attentions to secondary damage, the tangled
rigging, the ash-dark scars along the Glory's hull.

Anything to keep her mind off the nightmare her life was becoming.

Striding across the decking with authority, she moved towards the
foredeck, where a knot of sailors were huddled, whispering
conspiratorially.  She chewed on her lip for a moment, considering,
then changed direction.  Unseen in the rigging, Danya watched his
student pass underneath.  Grabbing a halyard, he swung easily to a
lower spar, to better view the conflagration he knew was approaching.

Sydney had reached the sailors, who parted before her like a bow wake. 
In the center of the group was John Calbran, a grizzled sailor of many
years experience.  Right now, he was trouble – she could tell by his
cocky stance, the way he was already trying to stare her down.  

"What's this?"  She asked, pitching her words for the group at large,
but keeping her eyes firmly on Calbran.  "Mutiny?"

The crewers she knew personally all seemed to take a step back at once.
Calbran still stared, an annoying smirk plastered over his features.
Sydney was rapidly feeling the need to wipe it off his face for him.

"We just think that it's about time we discussed who will replace your
pa as Captain, and I think it should be me."

She smirked and rested her hand on the shell of her cutlass.  "Hey
Matty, this lad wants to be Captain."

Matty rested against the port side.  "I heard him, Captain," he said
evenly.  That was all Sydney needed to hear. Without Matty's support,
she may as well just fling herself overboard and be done with it.  But
with the Mate behind her, she could take this upstart out without
sparking an all out rebellion.

"Mister Calbran, are you trying to take command of my vessel?"

He raised an eye and loosened his own weapon.  "Your vessel?  I don't
think you can hold her!"

Matty's lilting voice rang out across the deck.  "Stand down and show
respect tae the Captain, Mister Calbran.  If ye have grievance, than
let it be heard properly."  Matty's offer was an out – if Calbran was
smart enough to take it, then the issue would be put to a vote.  After
all, pirate crews lived, thrived or died by the strength of their

Calbran wasn't that smart. He drew his sword in one flourish.  "If you
want to keep your Captaincy from me, then you're going to have to
fight!"  He lunged without further preamble.

Sydney slid easily over the deck as Calbran's cutlass cut through the
air where she once stood.  "Mister Calbran, stand down or I will put
you down!"  For the first time since her father's death she was
beginning to feel the old fire, the passion for life.

Calbran didn't deign to answer her, but instead reversed his stroke,
aiming for her belly.  The fight was on in earnest.  The rest of the
crew watched in preternatural silence as the fight for their ship was
played out across the decks.  No one cheered.  They were matched as
sword fighters, but whereas Calbran had greater strength, Sydney had
more finesse, and more passion.  She had more to loose than just her
life. Hey, she thought to herself as she parried another thrust.  If
this Danya guy was right, then dying was the least of her worries.

Calbran made a clumsy thrust and overbalanced forward, and she brought
her weapon down in a hard arc.  Calbran rolled to the side, but her
blade slit him from armpit to hip.  He lay on the deck, blood pulsing
from the wound as he lay gasping like a landed fish.  Rolling onto his
back, he fumbled into his belt sack with his good arm.  Flinging his
hand out, Sydney watched with detached calm as a glinting gold coin
tumbled over the deck.  "Buy a drink and curse my name, Captain," he
muttered.  Calbran's eyes rolled back into his head and he died, as red
blood pooled in an ever growing puddle around his corpse.

Sighing, she dropped her arms to her sides and looked up into the
rigging to avoid having to look her crew in the eye.  She was afraid
that Calbran's sentiment was only the tip of the bad feeling among the
crew.  Instead of finding the solace of in the bare rigging, she found
blue eyes staring at her.  How that bastard old man had found his way
into the rigging without breaking his neck, she had no idea, but there
he was, watching her with an intensity she found unnerving.

She decided that her crews' gaze would be more comfortable than his,
and returned her face to eyelevel.  Matty, as always, was a steadying
presence, an anchor point for her in her uncertainty.  Starting from
there, she walked a tight circle, her own eyes hardening as she raked
her gaze across her entire crew.  "Anyone else wish to try and take the
Glory away?"  Another circle in absolute silence.  "Good.  My father
died, but we survived.  We have a lot to do to get this old tub
seaworthy, then we can start going about recouping our costs and
getting our revenge for those that have fallen."  Another circle.
"Those who will not work under my command can leave now.  The rest of
you, back to work!"  As if a gun had gone off, the entire crew leapt
to, scurrying back to their tasks without a backwards glance at their
fallen comrade.  She sighed silently as Matty caught her eye.  She
nodded her understanding – she had earnt her reprieve, now she had to
prove her worth.

Breathing deeply, she crouched down over the corpse.  The glitter of
gold in sunlight caught her eye, and she rose and walked over to where
the coin had dropped.  Picking it up, she rolled it pensively between
her fingers.  A shadow fell across her hand, causing the coin to loose
its lacklustre gleam.

"You fight well..,"

"Thanks," she growled.

"...for an amateur." He added scathingly.  "But we will correct
that, have no fear."

"What makes you think I want you to 'correct' my style?"  She turned to
meet his eyes, her lip curling into a sneer.  "What do you get out of
it?  Why the hell do you stay?!"


"What?"  She was vaguely aware that the middle of the main deck was not
the best place to hold this discussion, but her fury was boiling.

"Promise," he replied simply.  "A promise I made your father; the
promise I see in you."  Danya reached down and lifted her sword arm,
slipping his fingers over the top of hers, sandwiching his hand between
hers and the steel of the clamshell.  "I can teach you to survive.
You've been given a magnificient gift, Sydney, and yet it is also a
dreadful curse."  His face curled into a small but honest smile as he
looked at their joined hand.   "Immortality can be many things. You
need to be prepared."

"And if I don't want your help?"

"Then I will bury you at sea, like your father."  He slipped his hand
away, and the sword clanged against the decking.  

He was at the poop deck before Sydney gathered her wits together enough
to curse him even mentally.  But his words carried a weight of

Turning on her boot heel, she strode to the bowsprit.  The sea always
calmed her before, but floating at anchor in this woe-begotten bay
allowed for little introspection.

Again, she heard her father's final words to her.  'Trust him...'

"How can I trust him, papa?" She whispered.  "He was your confidant,
not mine."  Her grief was giving way to senseless anger.  "Neither of
you even bothered to tell me the truth!" 

"Perhaps they had good reason?"  Sydney nearly leapt overboard in

"Matty!  I didn't hear you!"

The Mate smiled gently.  "You were lost in conversation there, Cap't." 
With the grace of a giant man, he folded his arms to rest against the
bow.  "Actually, I've been meaning to have a word with you.  'Bout your

He had Sydney's undivided attention. "What about papa, Matty?"

Matty looked at her, a gentle smile on her face.  "He had diaries,
letters to you, and stuff.  Private, like.  He locked 'em in his little
safe, right down the back.  He made me promise that if anything
happened to him, I was to get you to read 'em."   Nodding to himself as
he fulfilled his promise, Matty pushed himself fully upright again.
"You go along, I'll keep this mob in line."

Sydney was shaking her head slightly.  "Matty, I don't know the
combination for that safe," she told him plaintively.  

Matty looked down at her with knowing eyes.  "But your new friend
does."  Discretely, Matty gestured to the castle.  Danya was leaning
against the small structure, eyes fixed on Sydney.  As soon as he saw
her look, he ducked down towards the cabins.

Sydney looked to Matty.  "Go on, Sydney m'girl.  Your father trusted
him with you, that's got to be worth something in the man's favour."
Gently, he scooted his friend's daughter on her way.


Ducking under the low lintel, Sydney saw that Danya had already removed
the false wall which hid the safe from prying eyes.  Wordlessly, the
older man shuffled sideways on his knees to allow Sydney access.

"You know the combination."  It was a statement.

Danya nodded.  "Yes.  And now so do you."  Long fingers wrapped around
the tumbler, and slowly span them through the combination.
Automatically, Sydney committed them to memory.

On well-oiled hinges, the safe's door swung open.  Rising to his feet
in one fluid motion, Danya sketched a half bow.  "I'll be in my cabin
when you are finished."  Before Sydney could protest, he was gone,
closing the door behind him.

Hesitantly, Sydney reached in and pulled out the first bundle of pages.

"My dearest daughter.  I must confess a secret I have kept from you
all these years.  For even though I call you my daughter, and consider
you a child of my heart, you are not a child of my flesh.  And though
we have stayed side by side through our many adventures, your destiny
is different from mine..."


It was full dark by the time she reemerged.  Most of the crew had
either shambled off to sleep or were preparing themselves for the first
watch.  Moving more by memory than by the feeble lantern light, she
climbed to the wheelhouse.  As she expected, she found Matty there.

"Did ya find all ya were looking for, Capt'?"

Sydney ignored the question. "Have you seen Danya around anywhere,

"Aye."  He pointed up through the darkness towards the crow's nest.

It was a difficult climb in the dark, but Sydney had almost spent all
her life on ships of one kind or another.  With a final pant, she
hauled herself into the crow's nest proper.

Daniel was sitting crosslegged on the floor of the tiny perch, his back
against the mast which speared through the centre.

"Are you ready to talk now?"

"I have questions."

"Of that I have no doubt."

She paused for a moment to settle herself securely in the remaining
space, trying not to get to close to him.  "My father's journal says
you found me, and gave me to him to raise."

"That is correct."

"Why didn't you raise me yourself?"  She wished there was a lantern up
here, so she could see his face.  But somehow, it was easier to voice
these questions in the dark.

"You loved your father?  Yes, of course you did, you have grieved for
his loss like a daughter.  Let me tell you something about the Game.
It is a hard life, Sydney.  More difficult than anything you have known
before.  It has incredible dangers, demands much of those who are
destined for it.  I will be your teacher, your guide.  And even though
you despise me now -- you're still stinging from the times I took your
fathers' attentions away from you, still rejecting me because I'm the
messenger of your fate – but in time you and I will develop a
relationship.  Don't look so incredulous," he scolded her gently, and
she found herself automatically wiping all expression from her face.
"It will happen, simply because we are so alike, because we will spend
so much time together."  He leaned forward as if to impart a great
secret.  "What I'm trying to say Sydney is that, even if you don't
believe it now, in time we will grow to care for each other."

She snorted, trying to sound like a tough, independent pirate captain. 
"I find that hard to believe.  Anyway, what does that have to do with
anything.  Answer my question!"

"Why didn't I raise you myself? Besides from the fact that I have faced
numerous Challenges since you were born and now, Challengers who would
have taken you as a child Quickening simply because you were there?
Well, Sydney, as  I said, we will grow to care for each other.  I will
grow even more fond of you, as I did with all my other students.  But,
like all students, there is a risk.  Do you know how many new
Immortal's make it through their first decade?  Not many at all.  I
have lost students before, Sydney.  Despite everything I taught them,
they just didn't have it in them when the time came.  And it hurt – it
hurt more than words can express, to loose a student.  Now imagine what
it would feel like if instead of loosing a student, I was loosing a

She snarled in the darkness.  "Like it would hurt any less for Jack

His tone was gentle.  "Ahh, but Jack O'Reilly had one benefit over us
in that regard. His pain would end with his mortal life."


"What's so funny, Nigel?"

The Englishman smiled.  "Nothing."


"It's just Danya tells it so differently.  He starts off with you
fighting the Challenger – and he makes it sound like some epic battle,
a clash of the titans event – then merely says you took a few days to
adjust to it all before he starts griping about how you hated

Sydney laughed.  "Well, that's true too."

Claudia's lip curled into a dainty little sneer.  "Did he make you do
laps too?"  Sydney's first step with her new charge had been to improve
Claudia's fitness level.  It was finally Nigel's persuasive arguments
about having a 'killer bod' after it all that finally got the girl
running resentful laps of the training course every morning.

"He made me do laps of islands.  Climb the mast a few times each day.
He had me on the move morning day and night.  He had this one trick..."
she trailed off, shaking her head.

"Oh please," Nigel said.  "This isn't that one about the fallen coconut
tree and the..."

"Flying coconuts of death!"

Claudia threw up her arms.  "Don't want to hear it!"  She pointed to
Sydney.  "She's already punishing me enough, don't give her ideas!"

Nigel laughed and patted her shoulder.  "I understand that Danya could
be quite inventive in his training regimes."

Sydney leered at her students.  "Oh, I'm sure I could dream up
something if you've got nothing better to do."

The pair were out of her office so fast they almost had little dust
clouds flying in their wake.  Chuckling to herself, Sydney leaned over
and picked up the dubloon from the table where Claudia had left it.
Fingering it pensively, she reflected on those early conversations
between her teacher and herself.  "You were right old man.  As much as
I hate to admit it, you were right all the way."

She looked down at the coin laying in the palm of her hand.  Perhaps
she should get a leather thong, give it to Claudia.  Even with the best
teaching she could give, sometimes people needed all the luck they
could get.