Forever, Immortal
Murphy, Darrel E. Jr.

This story takes place about the middle of the forth season (give
or take) of Highlander, and definitely before "Last Knight" of
Forever Knight. Highlander characters belong to Rysher and Co.
Forever Knight characters belong to Tristar and TPTB (murderous
fiends!). I just hope Highlander doesn't end the same way.
(All other characters are mine, to live and die at my whim. HAHA
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!!!!!!) P.S. Thanks Julie, for your help.
Beta reader: Julia Kocich
                            PART ONE

                            SCENE ONE

Ritchie Ryan cringed at the frigid blast of air that nipped at
his neck through strawberry-blond curls. Winter in Seacouver was
rarely harsh, but he preferred sunlit skies to moonlit clouds any
time. A new Metallica CD in his coat pocket banged against his
thigh. He planned to spring it on MacLeod -- if there was enough
rope at the gym to tie him down.

He hesitated near a streetlamp, his entire being buzzing, the
ancient siren announcing the presence of another Immortal. The
dojo was three blocks away -- it wasn't MacLeod. He heard someone
shuffle in the inky blackness of an alley entrance.

"Who's there?" He approached cautiously. The stench of rotting
Chinese food hung in the air. The streetlamp was at an angle to
the entrance, and Ritchie plunged into darkness. A few feet away,
a flame erupted in mid-air. It quickly died, leaving behind a
cherry ember. The hair on Ritchie's neck rose. He reached beneath
his coat, grasping the hilt of his rapier.

"Someone told me smoking was bad for you," he heard from the
darkness. "Said it could cut your life short." The unmistakable
rasp of steel sliding from steel echoed from the alley walls.

"Ritchie Ryan," Ritchie said, drawing his sword. The shadows
moved, reminding Ritchie of his vulnerability, backlit by the 
streetlamp. He began to circle around, evading the other Immortal
while his eyes adjusted.

"So? Not your lucky day, Ritchie Ryan."

"We'll see," Ritchie promised. He began to see shapes in the
darkness. His opponent was nearly as tall as Duncan -- but built
like a tank. The cigarette hung loosely between a dark handlebar
mustache and a scraggly beard, both shot with gray. His thin
hair was swept back, like someone who lived in the wind.

When he moved, Ritchie saw a body on the ground, its severed
head lying several feet beyond it. Ritchie could see no sign of
a Quickening, no fires, no smoldering leaves. The giant was a
murderer, probably one who was obsenely attracted to killing for
the sake of it.

Ritchie pitched backward as steel dropped from the sky. He
became wide-eyed as he saw the blade rise again, a bastard sword,
longer and heavier than any sword had a right to be. His enemy
whirled it casually, oblivious to its weight.

"Jesus!" Ritchie exclaimed, falling into a defensive posture.
He backed into the wall and jolted, intimately aware of the 
danger of being cornered. He was rewarded with a swing that
billowed the folds in his trenchcoat, followed by a harsh laugh.

"Oh, come on, kid. This isn't any fun!" The monstrous steel
split the air, nearly knocking Ritchie to the ground when he
blocked it with his sword. It was like fighting a helicopter,
he thought wildly, scampering away. Whatever he did, if he was
going to survive, he had to stay away from that blade.

The blade continued swinging around, throwing sparks as it
glanced off the brick wall behind him. Ritchie felt it nick his
collar bone in passing. He began sidestepping, realizing too late
that he was moving back, where the alley grew darker. The
stranger continued to swing the blade, a  macabre dance, herding
him away from the comparative safety of the street.
  Blood trickling down his chest galvanized him to act. He
stepped back quickly. It's all in the timing, he thought. But if
I get it wrong, I'm dead. He stepped off sideways, and dropped 
backward, as though tripping. The other Immortal laughed
triumphantly, ceasing his deadly spinning and charged forward,
sword poised to impale the fallen youth.

Ritchie turned his drop into a roll, coming up in a crouched
position with his rapier braced ahead of him, skewering his
opponent with his own momentum . He, too, screamed in agony, as
the beast's broadsword tore into his spinal column, shattering
several vertebrae. The two Immortals remained locked for what
seemed like eternity, blades enfolded in flesh like some gruesome
yin and yang.

The giant pulled away from Ritchie, hollering hysterically as
he slid off the rapier. His grip on the broadsword momentarily
faltered. Ritchie slashed at the other man's wrist as his rapier
came free, severing tendons and permitting the sword still lodged
in his spine to flip out, clattering on the bricks behind him.

He started to slide back, but his legs refused to move. His
spinal column had been cut. He dropped his guard long enough to
push himself back, until he was nearly sitting on the other
sword. The rapier waved weakly before him, inviting the other
Immortal to feel its bite again.

They were both dying, and they both knew it. Ritchie digested
the grim fact that he had the more severe injuries, but his
opponent probably would not be able to take advantage of the fact
until daylight, when there would be witnesses. Apparently, he
knew this too.

"I'll be back for my sword, Ritchie Ryan. Then I'll take your
head!" He turned and fled, holding his intestines in.

"Great," Ritchie replied, collapsing against the wall. "I
didn't even get your name."

And he died.


He is immortal, and he is not alone. There are others like
him, some good, some evil. He lives forever, unless he is

He is a vampire. He carries no sword,  his people fight for no
Prize. While other Immortals bask in sunlight, he lives in
darkness. He shuns holy ground. He kills, but not for a mystical

He kills to feed.

He kills for blood.


He was a carouche, the lower class among vampires, feeding on
the blood of animals in alleys and dumps, making his home among
the refuse of men. Crocker accepted his station with what passed
for dignity in him, viewing his lifestyle as a public service --
the removal of rats. His only fee was the lifeblood of vermin,
which he hung in his lair above filthy bowls, their decapitated
bodies giving up that which was nectar to his palate.

Hwong Cho was one of his better hunting grounds, their
odoriferous leftovers a beacon to rats for blocks around. He
thought many more took up residence inside the restaurant, but
going after them was out of the question. He flashed through the
night sky, the wind rippling the tattered strands of his less
than ample hair, anticipating the coming hunt.

He landed inside the entrance of the alley, and stiffened,
drawing in great drafts of air through his cavernous nostrils.
There was blood in the wind. Human blood, sending a rapturous
shiver through him. He almost lost himself, drifting inches above
the ground. Caution got the better part of him, and he slipped
into the shadows.

There was almost a rule against killing humans, these days.
Mortals had become distressingly efficient at tracking
down those whose right it was to feed on them. It was better to
live on cow's blood, or procure a supply of human blood from some
blood donation center. On the other hand, whoever was down there
was already bleeding. Crocker grinned at the thought, displaying
a set of rotten teeth that metamorphosed into pearly white fangs.

A young man lay below him, his trenchcoat open and spread
beneath him like a table cloth. He was thin, with a wiry frame
that spoke of strength and speed. There was blood everywhere. It
was too much for Crocker, imagining all that lovely blood  wasted
on the ground.

He feasted on the human that night.



Duncan MacLeod yanked his stinging finger from the coffee pot,
satisfied (he winced at that) that for once the heater coils were
working and he wouldn't have to resort to boiling water on the
stove to get a decent pot of coffee. He'd rather battle all the
Xavier St. Clouds and Slan Quinces in the world than fight this
unreliable BrewMaster. He never seemed to have much luck with
kitchen appliances.

And now the phone was ringing. Ritchie had already woken him,
 letting him know he was back in town and on his way over --
at three o'clock in the morning. He stared back and forth between
the pot and the phone. "Urrr!" Steam began to rise from the
brewer, pitching an amber stream into the pot below.

"MacLeod here."

"Hey, Mac!"

"Joe?" MacLeod swiped a pile of clothes off the arm of his
chair and sat down. "What're you doing up at this time in the

"Just checking up on Ritchie. Is he all right?"

"I haven't seen him yet. He's supposed to be here - " MacLeod
looked at the clock "- uh, he was supposed to be here at least an
hour ago." He leaned forward in his chair. "What's happened?"

An anguished sigh emanated from the phone. "A couple of hours
ago, one of our guys saw Ritchie go into an alley after another
Immortal he was assigned to. Ten minutes later, his Immortal
came out, badly wounded."


"No." There was a long pause. "There wasn't a Quickening. Our
guy had to follow his assignment. He didn't have time to check up
on Ritchie."


MacLeod gathered his trenchcoat about him in the brisk wind,
staring down the street. A light snow had begun to fall, a rare
but not unknown event in Seacouver. He half jogged, half ran to
the alley where Ritchie had fought. He looked around for signs of
people, but no one was out that early.

As he approached the alley, he sensed something was
wrong. Even if Ritchie had "died," there should still be some
sense, some indication of his Presence. He paused, allowing his
eyes to adjust to the darkness.

He felt nothing.

Dawson was wrong. Ritchie wasn't here. Then he saw the head
lying in the darkness. He sank to his knees.

Dawson was wrong. Ritchie was dead. It was a moment MacLeod
had feared for three years. The boy who'd entered his life by
breaking into his antique shop and later informally adopted by
MacLeod had been shot in a carjacking, then, and been unwittingly
thrust into an Immortality he wasn't ready for. For a mortal,
there is no greater pain than to outlive one's own child. The
same could be said for an Immortal whose student had shown so
much promise.

"Ma.." MacLeod's head shot up. That was Ritchie's voice! 
Weak, but his. He peered into the dark, catching sight of another
body lying against the back wall of a Chinese restaurant.

He rose to a crouch and moved to Ritchie's side, raising him
and cradling his head in his arms. He drew back his free hand,
covered with blood. It didn't take long to find the puncture
marks on his throat. Then he saw the sword.

"What's that, a souvenir?" MacLeod attempted to disguise his
concern with humor.

"Spoils of war," Ritchie replied. He gasped frantically when
MacLeod tried to lift him.

"Don't!" MacLeod eased him back against the wall. Nothing
looked right. The flesh wounds on Ritchie's neck should have
stopped bleeding -- they should have healed by now. He could feel
the ridges of another wound in Ritchie's back. He couldn't tell
without removing the coat and shirt; it felt like it had also not
finished healing. But what frightened him most was the panicked
look on his friend's face.

"Mac, I can't feel my legs." He began to feebly slap at his
thighs. "Something's real wrong, here. I can't feel this." He
raised his eyes to MacLeod's, his pale face nearly marble white
from loss of blood -- and fear.

"I can't feel you, Mac."

MacLeod digested this slowly. "I know," he admitted. "Let's
get you back to the loft."

He lifted Ritchie into a fireman's carry, somberly aware that
he had passed out from the pain. The swords would wait, he
decided - then grabbed Ritchie's, anyway. He'd want it when he
revived, but the bastard sword was simply too much to add to his
already cumbersome load.

He stretched Ritchie on the floor mat and went into the office
for the first aid kit. He didn't need it, but men and women who
worked out in the gym did get hurt now and then. After he'd 
cleaned Ritchie's wounds, he sat back and shook his head. Then he
reached for the phone.


Detective Bennett leaned against the brick wall and sighed.
The forensics team had arrived at the alley and was picking it
apart with tweezers and plastic bags. A young man with a lined
police jacket and rubber gloves passed him with a massive sword
wrapped in plastic. Blood from the sword stuck to the clear


"Yeah, Boss!" A puffy, greasy little character shambled over,
 gnawing on a green apple, unperturbed by the grisly display in
the alley. His outward appearance was completely at odds with the
detective's shield in his wallet.

"Do you suppose I could interrupt your breakfast for a

"Sorry." He wrapped the remains of the apple in a handkerchief
and shoved it in his pocket. "You know, I shouldn't even be here
yet. The sun isn't even up!"

"Yeah, yeah. You day guys are all alike. I swear, I don't
think any of you are worth a damn without a good night's sleep."

"That's what I tell the desk every time they call me. Doesn't
stop them." He wiped the apple juice on his coat front and pulled
a notepad from his pocket.

"Okay, just give me an idea what's been going on down here."

"Alright, we got one William Francis - or I should say, half
of William there..." he pointed at the covered remains of a body,
"..and Francis over there." He nodded at the head, which was 
illuminated by the flash of the forensics' photographer. "We got
bloody footprints all over the place - must've been one hell of a
party. And you saw that sword. I've seen smaller blades on an
Apache. Then there's the matter of the other body." He paused

Bennett looked the alley over. "Other body?"

"Oh, it ain't here. We found part of a coat in there, covered
with blood. It ain't Billy boy's, he's still wearing his. Ipso
facto we got another stiff floating around Seacouver. Oh, by the
way, and I ain't saying they're connected, but..." he passed over
a sealed baggie to Bennett.

Bennett turned the package over in his hands, grimacing.
Inside was the gnawed remains of a rat.

"There's about half a dozen of these back in the alley around
Hwong Cho's dumpster, surrounding a dirty glass we found on the
ground, get this, half full of blood, probably from the rats. If
you ask me, I think someone was drinking it."

"Just great." Bennett whipped his hat from his head and ran
his fingers through his hair. In spite of the cold, he was
sweating. Three beheadings in three days, and now some wacko with
a taste for blood - literally. "When's the Toronto Wonder Boy
supposed to arrive?"

"He's came in on the red eye tonight. Not that we need him."

"It's a shame you feel that way Melendez. The captain was
planning on teaming him up with you."

  "At whose suggestion?" He sneered at Bennett's smile.
"You know, I think I liked you better as a sergeant, Bennett."


Anne shuddered in spite of herself as she looked at Ritchie's
wounds. "My God, Duncan, haven't you heard the phrase, 'Play

"What, you think I did this? Mutilation isn't part of my
training regimen."

"Well, you're right, he's not healing. I want to get him to
the hospital..."

"That's not a good idea, Anne." He looked at Ritchie.
"Alright, but can you keep it discreet?"

She stared wide-eyed for a moment. " looks kind of
like he was attacked by a wild animal. Can we get him up?"

"He can't walk."

Anne reached for the phone. "This is Dr. Anne Lindsey. I need
a trauma team at the DeSalvo Martial Arts Studio know
it. Good. Wild dog attack, it looks like. The victim is uh, a
paraplegic. He works out for ... therapy." Yeah, right. "Hurry!"

Anne stepped into the ambulance ten minutes later behind the
bedridden man. "No, Duncan," she cautioned as he started to
follow. "There's not enough room."

"I'll be right behind you." MacLeod ran to his Thunderbird.
He nearly broke the handle in his haste to open the door, but
suddenly stopped, one foot in the floor board.

There was an Immortal nearby.

Crocker froze in mid-flight, dropping precariously low over
the rooftops. He fell on the DeSalvo roof, shaken by a buzz that
filled him and surrounded him, disrupting his thoughts. He peered
over the side, at a tall, dark haired man by a black Thunderbird.
Here was a being of immense power. The blood of his recent victim
vibrated in the stranger's presence. The vampire felt fear, like
staring at the rising sun, and took off blindly into the night.

He had lived and fed in this neighborhood for months, but had
never experienced anything of such paralyzingly horror. What was
happening to him?

Something dark flashed by him, leaving him scrambling in a
backwash of turbulence. He plowed into a mass of flesh, a
terrible shock at a thousand feet up. He saw a blur of blond
curls and heard the menacing growl of another vampire before he
felt himself hurtling to the ground below.

Crocker crashed unceremoniously in a secluded corner of a 
park, over a hundred feet from the nearest lamp post. He grabbed
the earth with both hands, regaining his bearings, as a breeze
swept over him, followed by the muted thump of someone's shoes
coming to rest on the brick walk behind him. An iron grip lifted
him in the air, spinning him effortlessly. Gold-flecked eyes met

"Someone's in an awful hurry tonight."

"Eh, mate, whot's this! I din' do nothin' wrong!"

"I can smell the blood on your breath. Who'd you kill?"

"No one! The bloomin' bleeder was already dyin', sliced an'
diced an' all ready for Ole Crocker.'E was a free meal for me,
doancha see?"

"Hasn't any one told you? 'There ain't no such thing as a free
lunch.'" Nick Knight loosened his grip on the battered vampire's
threadbare overcoat. "Start talking, Crocker. Leave nothing out."


"Nice car," Nick commented dryly.

"Well, some cops prefer department issue," Melendez replied,
missing the sarcasm. "But there just ain't no better car than the
'68 Chevy Nova - if you know how to boost it. She ain't pretty, I
admit. But I got the best mechanics in Seacouver to keep my baby
in top form."

Nick noted the loose threads in the hard top's lining, and the
cracks in the faded dash. Somebody stake me if I ever let my
Caddy get in this condition, he thought. In fairness, the rust
bucket he found himself trapped in at the moment purred, with a
hint of restrained fury under the hood.

"Heads up. Mercy General coming up on  your right. Who are we
looking for again?"

"A young man, early twenties, light hair, good physical
shape." He smiled as Melendez shook his head.

"How do you do it? We tore that area apart this morning."

"Well, as soon as I got in town, I headed for the crime scene.
When I cut through the park..."

"Wait a minute. The park!? Man, you may be good, but that was,
what's the word, nuts?"

"I ran into a homeless man. He told me about the second

They parked in the lot and entered the hospital. The woman
at the main desk looked slightly bored; it had not been a busy
night, and she knew immediately which patient they were looking

"We'd like to talk to Mr. Ryan, if that's possible." Melendez

"I don't know about that." Her brow creased. "The attending
physician," she checked the computer screen beside her, "is Dr.
Lindsey. There she is, down the hall. Doctor Lindsey!"

A dark haired, attractive woman signed some papers on a 
clipboard and, after passing them to another doctor, came to the
desk. The woman at the desk pointed to Knight and Melendez.

"What can I do for you, gentlemen?"

"There was attack this morning, in the downtown area. You have
a patient that might have caught a piece of the action. Ryan."

 "I'm afraid you're wasting your time, Detective. Mr. Ryan
was brought in here after being attacked by a wild dog, not from
some fight."

Nick's pupils collapsed as her words sank in. Natalie had had
to use that wild animal ruse to cover an occasional vampire
attack in Toronto. Ryan was the right man. But why was he still

Nick pulled Melendez aside. "Why don't you check in with your

"Where are you going?"

"I'll check Ryan out, then I'll catch a cab to the hotel. I'm
used to sleeping during the day. I'll call in if I find something

"Great," Melendez muttered as he left. "I lose half a night's
sleep already, and get stuck with a nightowl to boot."

Anne stepped back as Melendez passed. "I don't think it's
 a good idea to disturb my patient right now, Detective. I..."

"It's important," Nick insisted. He felt her pulse in his
head, grasped it, filling her wide eyes with his vision. "I want
you to take me to see"

"Alright." She turned, moving dreamlike. "Follow me."


Intensive care was fairly empty that night. MacLeod had
liberated a chair from the duty nurses' station, and sat
crouched over by the prone form of his protege. An IV bottle 
dripped its healing fluids steadily into Ritchie's arm, which he
found ironic -- medicine for an Immortal. But was he anymore?

"Hey, Ritchie, you're awake."

"Mac." Ritchie spoke in a gurgling whisper. "Gotta cough drop
on ya?"

MacLeod put his hand on the bandages on Ritchie's neck. "Not
right now, but I'll get some. Anne took good care of you. You
lost a lot of blood."

Ritchie tried to sit up, but was easily defeated by gravity.
He shook his head, his eyes moist with tears from the exertion.
"That's not all I lost. Oh, Mac, what happened?"

"I haven't a clue," MacLeod admitted. "I'm going to talk to
Joe, see if the Watchers witnessed any Immortals who became
mortal again."

"God, I hope it isn't permanent."

"What, not feeling so bulletproof now?"

"I mean the paralysis. Mac, what am I supposed to do?"

MacLeod sat dumbfounded. Friends had asked him that question
in the past -- mortal friends, whom he counseled to accept their
disability and get as much out of life as they had left. But was
that sound advice for Ritchie?

"Duncan? How's he doing?" MacLeod looked up at Anne -- she
looked slightly dazed, as if she'd just woken up. He studied the
man beside her, who was staring at the  bandage on Ritchie's
neck. Twin spots of blood had already leaked through, in line
with his jugular.

"No change," MacLeod said meaningfully, telling her Ritchie
had not begun healing like an Immortal.

Nick had to admit, the young man on the bed didn't fit the
dying victim Crocker had made him out to be -- except for his
appearance, and the giveaway fang marks on the neck. Stretching
his senses, he could pick up a slightly erratic but mortal

How could he still be alive?

"As you can see, Detective," Anne gestured to Ritchie, "he's
in no shape to talk to."

"What's going on?"

"Detective Knight. I'm investigating an attack earlier
tonight. A man was beheaded. I think your friend was there."

"I'm sorry. You've got the wrong man."

"And you are..."

"Duncan MacLeod." He bit down on 'of the Clan MacLeod'. This
wasn't an Immortal before him, yet he was getting some strange
feelings having him standing in front of him.

"What's your connection to Mr. Ryan?"

MacLeod exchanged a brief glance with Anne. "He works out at
my dojo from time to time. He's my friend."

Yeah, I can see how he would have a lot of use for Tai Kwon
Do, Nick thought. He glanced at the clock and froze. It was less
than an hour before sunrise.

"I'll need to speak to you later, if you don't mind."

"Not at all," MacLeod agreed, following Nick's receding form
through the door and down the hall with puzzled eyes.

"How long are you going to keep Ritchie?"

"I don't know. To be honest, now that his throat wound has
been stitched, he's not really in a life threatening condition.
I'll keep him in intensive the next couple days, and I'd like to
run some tests on his spine after he's moved. Honestly, Duncan,
how do I care for an Immortal who's lost his Immortality?"


"Where you off to, Melendez?"

The portly detective froze with one step out the door. "Don't
try to stop me, Bennett. I gotta nice warm bed waiting for me."

"Hey, no sweat off my brow," Bennett replied, "but the Captain
wants to know how the Francis investigation's going. What do I
tell him?"

"Ask Knight. He's the reason I'm leaving early. How about
switching with me, huh?"

"What, does he have bad breath or something?"

"Yeah, something, such as an affinity for the dark. Said he
sleeps during the day. Christ, Bennett, I can't sleep with light
pouring in the windows. What do you say?"

"I say close your blinds." He ignored Melendez's grunt. "You
heard the Captain -- extend  every courtesy to Detective Knight,
even if it does mean working graveyard. So you two don't have
anything yet?"

"Well, we thought we had a lead on a witness, possibly a
second victim. Kid named Richard Ryan, but..."

"Wait a minute. Tall skinny kid, red hair?" Melendez nodded.
"I remember him. Runs around with that antique dealer, MacLeod.
Come to think of it, he doesn't live too far from the murder

"Yeah, but as I was saying, Ryan doesn't sound like our guy.
He's a cripple, you know?"

Bennett's eyes narrowed. "No I don't. Not the last time I saw
him. Something sounds fishy. Maybe you and Knight should dig more
deeply into this one." And I'll do some digging into it here,
he thought. He eyed the forensics report and the photocopy of
the dead man's I.D. and wondered who killed William Francis.


Delta blues filled the air of Joe's Place, a soul wrenching
tune that MacLeod couldn't place. He smiled -- Joe was
improvising again. The chattering employees waved at MacLeod's
familiar appearance as they left for the evening.

 The old man sat on the one table that didn't have chairs
placed upside down on it with his back to the door, picking away
at an old steel guitar. He didn't even break rhythm as he
hollered, "Mac! Pull up a chair."

"Thanks." MacLeod pulled down one of the antique wooden chairs
Joe liked to use and straddled it backward. Joe Dawson finished
playing with a single, mournful note and turned, eyeing MacLeod

"What can I get my favorite Immortal? It's on the house. How
about a mug of Glenmorangie?"

MacLeod grimaced. Connor must be in the area again. Joe knew
that he couldn't stand the other Immortal's favorite drink.
"Thanks, but I'll settle for the usual."

"I'll join you." Joe poured out two shots of Scotch on the
rocks and took the chair opposite MacLeod.

"How's Ritchie?"

"Alive," MacLeod replied. He sipped the Scotch slowly,
avoiding Joe's gaze. "He's hurt badly. He's at Mercy General
right now."

"The hospital." Joe looked perplexed. "I don't get it."

"It's simple, really," MacLeod said. "He was attacked. He
didn't die. But he's not healing, either."

"That's incredible."

"Have the Watchers ever reported an Immortal becoming mortal

Joe shook his head. "No -- and something like that, we'd all
hear about. Believe me."

"What about the Immortal that attacked Ritchie? What can you
tell me about him?"

"MacLeod, you know better." MacLeod could see the disapproval
plainly in Joe's expression. Joe stared at his Scotch, twirling
it and watching the light scatter into a hundred rainbows in the

"Come on. Ritchie's vulnerable now. He can't protect himself.
This guy's going to be back."

"So? You'll be there to protect him."

"He's paralyzed, Joe. He can't use his legs."

Joe stared at the door for a minute. Damn MacLeod for bringing
that up, he thought, unconsciously rubbing at the seam between
his left thigh and the prosthetic attached to it.

"His name is Gunther Kanske. You've never met him -- he's
stuck primarily to Southern Africa the last five centuries."

"What's he doing in Seacouver?"

"He's been running a drug and diamond ring the last few years
-- smuggling diamonds out of South Africa, and drugs in. After
the embargo was lifted, the new South African government began
cracking down on people like Kanske. And his lust for killing
more than just Immortals has made him doubly unpopular."

Joe placed a warning hand on MacLeod's wrist. "I'd watch out
for this guy if I were you, Mac. He's a real life Conan the
Barbarian, with strength and sword to match."

MacLeod, a trace of a smile on his face, stood up. "Well, not
the sword anymore."


Crocker sniffed warily as he hovered above Hwong Cho's and
grinned. The cops were gone. So, too, were the rats, probably
frightened by the fury of activity that had likely filled the
alley all day. He scowled at the ground below.

He flew to an alley a few blocks away. There was a bar there.
It didn't have much in the way of food, but what little refuse
was left attracted a few rats.

He shuddered when he hit the ground. The buzzing had returned,
filling the air with a sparkle that assaulted his vampire senses.
He ignored the plaintive squeal of rodents behind him as he
peaked down the street. Yes, the black Thunderbird was parked out
front, long after closing. He turned, meaning to retreat into the
safety of darkness.

The black haired man stood before him, holding a wickedly
curved Oriental sword at his side. He stepped forward, and raised
the sword in a cross between a salute and an attack.

"I am Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod."

"Charmed," Crocker replied, flashing his rotten teeth as he
skittered backward into the alley. Unfortunately, this dangerous
creature followed, his weapon poised ahead to strike.

"Whadaya wont with me? I done nothin' ta you. I doan know
you." He stared at the Immortal, the scene bathed in red as his
vampire vision kicked in.

MacLeod advanced on Crocker until they'd reached the back
wall of the alley. Who was this strange Immortal? Why hadn't he
drawn his sword? "You're Kanske," he guessed incorrectly. "Funny,
you don't look like a barbarian."

There was a blast of air from overhead, and MacLeod heard a
familiar voice from the alley entrance. "Police! Drop the sword
and put your hands on your head!"

MacLeod turned and saw Knight standing in the street light,
with his gun held menacingly with its muzzle trained on MacLeod.
Crocker took advantage of the opportunity.

The katana clanked in the darkness as Crocker swept it from
MacLeod's hand with a casual fierceness, and MacLeod found
himself pinned to the alley wall.

Twenty feet off the ground.

Held fast by a demon, with amber, glowing eyes.

And fangs.

"Crocker! Let him go!" Knight growled from below.

"Why? You saw what the bleeding freak was doin'. He was going
ta run me poor body through, prob'ly lop off my dear sweet 'ead
in the deal, for good measure. 'Twould be a public service ta do
'is murdering 'ide in, it would." Nonetheless, he let MacLeod
go -- dropping him unceremoniously from the great height.

MacLeod stared incredulously at the monster in the air -- and
the man on the ground, whose yellow eyes and descended fangs were
his final vision before slipping into oblivion.


MacLeod was back in time, watching Ritchie as he stood over
the slumped body of the Immortal named Mako, making his first
kill. Mako's head rolled on the floor, turning to face MacLeod.
It spoke to him. "You will regret this day, Highlander."

He did regret it. That was the day he sent Ritchie out into
the world to fend for himself, the day MacLeod discharged him as
his student. If only he had kept him, kept him safe...

Cold steel pressed against his throat as consciousness was
thrust upon him like a dash of icy water. MacLeod watched the
manic Crocker as he flirted with MacLeod's chin, raising it with
his own katana.

Knight crouched on his left side, entranced by a bleeding
scrape on MacLeod's cheek. As he watched, little flecks of light
burst randomly along the scraping, leaving unblemished skin in
its wake. Within a minute, only a trace of dry blood was left to
mark the place of the injury.

"I'll ask this once. What are you, MacLeod?"

"I could ask the same of you, detective."

Nick gazed into his eyes. "You will tell me," the words
echoing in the air in time with MacLeod's heartbeat, "what you

MacLeod merely grinned nervously. "Not with my own sword at my
throat, I don't."

Nick flicked his eyes to Crocker. "No! I bloody ain't gonna
take it off 'im. 'E might try somethin', bleeding freak."

"You have my word," MacLeod promised, hands held out in

"Give me the sword, Crocker. I'll make sure he behaves
himself." Crocker bared his teeth -- no longer vampiresque -- and
passed the katana to Knight.

"Don't think I'm hangin' about. 'E's a tricky devil. Grabs at
your very spirit, 'e does. Shakes you to th' core, 'til you no
can think." With that said, he took to the air.

Knight held the katana up, inspecting it. "What's the sword
for, MacLeod?"

"Why do you ask?"

"Knight lifted MacLeod to a seated position, and pressed his
face close. "I think you used it to kill William Francis."

MacLeod snickered softly. "Sorry, wrong man."

"You will explain this to me," Knight indicated the sword,
"and this," running his fingernail along MacLeod's cheek bone, 
"or you'll find yourself sitting in a cold jail cell."

"Sure," MacLeod agreed, "as soon as you explain to me how a
vampire gets to be a cop. You want to know what I am, ask that
Crocker friend of yours. He's like me -- in some ways."

Nick sat, waiting patiently. "Is that why you attacked him?
Because he's a kindred spirit?"

"How long do we wait here, Knight. Until after dawn? Or do you
leave before? Tell me, when you fly, aren't you supposed to
change into a bat?"

"You watch too much TV," Knight replied testily. "Alright, I
can see we're not going to get anywhere. Come on."

"Hauling me in?"

"Unless you can lead me to the man who killed William Francis,
yeah, that sounds like a good plan."

MacLeod considered this. Ordinarily, discussing Immortal
matters with the police was laughable at best. But Knight had a
secret to be kept too (Boy, did he have a secret!), and might
even consider him a threat for knowing it.
  "The killer's name is Gunther Kanske. He's an Immortal."
  Knight sat back, incredulity filling his expression. Duncan
swallowed to relieve his tension.
  "So am I."


Anne peeled back the bandage on Ritchie's throat, and nodded
approvingly. "You know," she whispered, glancing behind her to
be certain there was no one to overhear, "you may not be an
Immortal right now, but you're healing pretty fast, Ritchie."

"Yeah, so when can I go out for track?"

She sighed, and adjusted the blankets around his legs. "I'm
not sure. My last tests indicate your spinal column was shredded.
The area has filled with some kind of scar tissue. If you were a
mortal, I'd have to say, it didn't look good."

Ritchie bobbed his head thoughtfully. "And if I..." He pointed
his index finger at his head like a pistol, pushing emphatically.

"If you still have the potential of Immortality, who knows?
But Duncan doesn't know what will happen if's never
happened before. Have you considered a new lifestyle?" Ritchie
turned his head away. Anne grasped his chin and turned him until
he could see her eyes.

"You're not the first person to lose the use of his legs,
Ritchie. Think about it."

Ritchie turned his head away, lost in thought. He didn't even
hear the click of wood against the floor as the curtain around
his bed slid aside.

"Hey, Ritchie, how's it going?" Joe Dawson planted his cane by
the bedpost and leaned against the rail. Ritchie reluctantly
accepted his extended hand. The presence of the Watcher reminded
him uncomfortably of the Immortality he might have lost.

Joe nodded and gestured at the chair. "Mind if I sit?"

Ritchie shrugged. Anne moved the chair by the bed, rewarded by
one of Joe's boyish grins. "Much obliged, Doc. Why don't you
leave me and the kid alone a minute?" He turned back to Ritchie.

"So, I guess you're feeling pretty down right now."

"Knock it off Joe. You have no idea how I feel."

"Yeah," Joe dropped his head. "Well, maybe not, knock on
wood." He raised his pant leg and rapped his knuckles against his
bared prosthetic.

"It's not the same," Ritchie complained.

"Never is," Joe agreed. "At least you might have some chance,
however slight, if you're still Immortal, of walking on your own
two feet again someday. Look at me!"

He removed the wooden leg, something he rarely did in company.
"It would take a real miracle for me. You don't think I pray
every day that somehow this..." he lifted the leg, "isn't some
fever induced nightmare, that I would wake up back at that field
hospital in 'Nam, with a pretty nurse leaning over me and saying,
'Don't worry, Joe, you're going to be just fine?'"

Ritchie attempted a smile visualizing a young Joe Dawson with
a pretty nurse. "And what if I'm not Immortal anymore?"

"Yeah, what if? I guess you'll be in the same boat as I was at
your age. Is my life so bad?"

"I don't know Joe. I have to think."

Joe stood up and grabbed his cane. As he reached the curtain,
he stopped. "I wouldn't take too long, Ritchie. If you wait, all
the pretty nurses will be taken."

And he left.


"Nice car," Knight said, admiring Duncan's classic fifties'

"You like it? I know it's old, but I've put a lot into keeping
it in good shape."

"I can tell," Knight agreed. The seamless fusion of canvas top
to the front window was barely detectable. The dash was dark and
the leather -- original, from the looks -- was soft. He leaned
forward slightly, and shook his head.

"You have a slight knocking in your motor."

MacLeod turned and looked at Knight. "You're kidding. I don't
hear anything."

"You might not, but I can. It's probably something minor."

"I'll remember that," MacLeod promised, casting a sideways
glance every few seconds. They continued the ride in silence to
the dojo.

"You never did say why you carry a sword," Knight said as the
elevator they rode stopped at MacLeod's loft apartment.

"It's an Immortal thing."

"Oh," Knight nodded, as if he understood totally, and accepted
the answer completely.

"Look, I won't even pretend I understand what your life must
be like. Until today, I classed vampires with leprechauns and
Santa Claus. Our Immortality has its price, and is why I carry a
sword. And why I occasionally use it."

"Santa Claus, huh?"

MacLeod lifted his katana, and sat it gently on a rack on the
wall. "When one Immortal meets another, there is always a drive
to kill. We fight to the death. The survivor takes all the skills
 and strength of his opponent into him. Tradition dictates that
we fight until only one Immortal remains, with the power of all
Immortals within his or her soul."

Knight took a deep breath, digesting this. "And just when I
was beginning to envy your kind of Immortality. Being able to
stand in the sun, eat normal food, all those little mortal

"Well, when I consider your brand of Immortality, living on a
diet of blood, never knowing when someone will slip up behind you
and slip a stake in your heart, knowing if when I died, nothing
of me would remain, not to mention having to avoid mirrors..."

"Oh that is just a myth. I can see myself in a mirror quite
well. And at least you don't have to kill to feed."

"Granted. But I think I'll take my chances as an Immortal."
He stretched a bit and headed for the kitchen. "Look, I'm hungry.
You don't mind?"

"Go ahead. It's your place."

While MacLeod puttered with his dinner, Knight leaned back in
his easy chair and sighed. "So tell me about Kanske and Francis.
Was it a battle between Immortals?"

MacLeod came back to the center of the loft and took a spot
on the couch, sinking into the soft material. He held a crumbling
sandwich above his other hand to catch the crumbs. "I never heard
of an Immortal named William Francis. But then I never heard of
Gunther Kanske before today, either."

"How did you find out about him?"

"Connections," MacLeod replied vaguely. "I doubt that Francis
was Immortal, though. There usually aren't too many Immortals in
one area, unless they know one another. Right now there's me,
Ritchie and Kanske."

"The kid in the hospital is one of you? I thought you said you
healed from any kind of wound."

"Normally, yes." MacLeod laid the sandwich on a paper on the
end table. "Something happened to Ritchie this time. We don't
know what. But he's lost his Immortality somehow."

Knight thought about the fang marks on Ritchie's neck. "Let
me ask you a question. What would happen if a vampire attacked an

MacLeod thought it a rhetorical question for a second, then
a light suddenly shone in his eyes. "Crocker?"


The tendrils of early light reached over the horizon, sending
evil, both mortal and immortal fleeing into their dark lairs.
Crocker settled in his winter retreat -- an abandoned section of
the sewer system, walled up from the rest of Seacouver's sewers
decades ago. A homeless family had been its former residents --
they had been Crocker's first meal in his new home.

"Hey lil micees, Crocker's 'ome!" He cackled gleefully at the
frantic scurry of rats, grabbing one as it passed with practiced
ease and ripping it open. He feasted greedily, all the while
inspecting the burrow for any surprises.

The surprise dropped in from above.

Crocker fell back against the wall. "Buzz, buzz, bloody buzz!
Go away, ye bleeding freak!"

"Now, don't be inhospital," responded a raspy voice. A hand-
held battery lamp burst to life, casting macabre shadows from the
towering monster that held it.

He rubbed his speckled beard and thick mustache thoughtfully,
appraising the claustrophobic tunnel. "Nice place," he said,
his voice dripping with sarcasm. "I might want to stay here a

"I'll no be takin' ya in." Crocker felt a bloodthirsty tension
building within him.

"Oh, that's quite alright. I prefer to live alone." Kanske
reached into his coat.

"Who ye be?"

An English broadsword slipped from its concealed scabbard. "I
think I've heard that question before. Pity, I killed the last
guy who asked me that." He smiled. "It's a personal problem."

Crocker looked about. His eyes began to glitter with red, the
fangs dropping unbidden in anticipation of blood. But his visitor
wielded a sword, like the other demon. He left Crocker nowhere to
run. Nowhere to run. Nowhere to...

A swinging blade ended the thought. Kanske kissed the bloody
blade. "Always carry a spare. Good advice!" He wiped the blade
on Crocker's decapitated body and stood back to receive the

He leaned his head back, a peaceful expression on his face,
with his arms stretched wide. Any second now, and the first flick
of lightning would strike.

His brow furrowed as time elapsed. He opened his eyes, and
nearly panicked. He was enveloped in darkness.

At first, he thought the lamp had gone out, but he could make
out its dim glow, as if from a distance. He took a breath -- and
began choking.

He was surrounded by a billowing cloud of inpenetrable smoke.

He heard the shallow water beneath him bubbling, and heard a
sibilant hiss in the distance, like the sound of hot metal
plunged in water. He retreated to the entrance, while the air
began to clear.

Crocker's body was gone.

Kanske stared at the spot where he knew the other had fallen,
and grunted, "What the hell?"


MacLeod met Anne at the hospital entrance. "Hi Anne." He bent
to kiss her cheek.

"I'm glad you're here. Maybe you can talk some sense into

"Who?" He followed her gaze upward. "Ritchie?" He stepped
back, placing his hands on his belt. "What's he doing?"

"Oh, not much. I just told him we were moving him to a regular
room and he told me he wants to be discharged. Now."

They met Ritchie halfway down the hall from his room, pushing
himself along in a liberated wheelchair. MacLeod caught him
easily, and spun the chair around, taking him back to his new

"Hey, Mac! I was just on my way to see you!"

"Where did you think you were going?" MacLeod stopped the
chair inside the door and locked the wheels.

"Well, you know, back to the loft. But I'm glad you stopped

"Oh, really? Why is that?"

Ritchie grinned lopsidedly, gesturing at his gown. "I need a
better outfit if I'm going out in public. What do you say. Go
back to the loft, rustle me up some clothes, and spring me."

"Ho, ho, very funny!" MacLeod turned to leave.

Ritchie reached out for him. "Hey Mac. Look at me. It's
Ritchie. Come on!"

"No way." He nodded toward Anne. "Doctor's orders."

"Mac!" Ritchie waved for Duncan to come closer. MacLeod bent
over him. "I've been a prisoner here for three days. Anne, you
said I was out of danger. What do I need to be cooped up here
for? At home, you can feed me in bed cheaper than they will

"Oh, well I wouldn't want to miss that," MacLeod responded
bitingly. "No."


"Look," MacLeod stooped beside the wheelchair. "You're safer
here than you would be at the loft."

"From what? The common cold?"

"There's an Immortal out there gunning for your head. There
are people all around you here. I might have to leave you alone
at the loft."

"Oh, yeah," Ritchie sneered. "Like he can find me now."

Duncan stiffened, and stepped out into the hall, looking both
ways. "Careful what you ask for. He's here."

"Oh, man," Ritchie said, pushing himself deeper into the
wheelchair. "And you wander why I want to leave."

Anne grabbed MacLeod's arm. "He wouldn't try something here,
would he?"

"I don't know. Best to apply that ounce of prevention. Come
on. Let's get you to holy ground."

He wheeled Ritchie down the hall to the elevator, and they
rode it down to the main floor. "Anne, get Ritchie to the chapel.
Don't let anyone take him out until I come back."

"Be careful."

"I'll try not to lose my head," he promised.

He neglected, perhaps on purpose, to mention the fact that
Kanske was there, not because of Ritchie, whom he couldn't sense,
but because of MacLeod's Presence.

MacLeod headed for the nearest exit. Come and get me!


Melendez yawned and stared at his watch for the tenth time
that morning. Mercy General towered above him. He peered bleary
eyed at the monolithic structure, cursing Knight for not being
part of this stakeout the captain ordered on MacLeod. Bennett was
sure MacLeod was involved because of a beheading four years ago
that somehow involved the antique dealer, and had convinced the
captain he needed watched.

MacLeod stalked out the front door. This caused two things to
happen at once. Melendez spilled his coffee as he jerked awake.
"Jesus!' He grabbed the microphone of his radio. "This is
Forty-six Charlie. MacLeod has left the building at the north
exit. Heading west. All units on channel four, converge." The
police cars watching the various entrances of the hospital began
to close in on MacLeod's position.

The other thing that happened was Kanske. He stepped away from
the corner of the building."

"So, the infamous Duncan MacLeod."

Melendez saw the two men moving toward one another.

"Kanske." the giant bowed. "You after me?"

"I'm after any Immortal with his head still attached," Kanske
replied, patting the spot in his coat where his sword must be,
"as you should be." He reached into his coat.

MacLeod gripped the handle of his katana. "Are you insane?
We're outside, in sight! Ours is a private fight!"

Kanske guffawed as he withdrew a pack of cigarettes. "Don't
you want to share a smoke with me, even? No? Oh, well, I guess
it's as well. You know what they say, smoking is hazardous to
your health..."

"Yeah, it can kill you." MacLeod finished.

"Actually," Kanske added, pulling his broadsword free, "this
is more likely to kill you."

"Uh, oh," Melendez exclaimed from the safety of his car. "The
fodder's hit the propeller now." He unbuckled the clip on his
gun belt and pulled the car away from the curb.

Swords arced through the light of the morning sun, producing a
brilliant flash with every resounding clang. MacLeod was faster,
but Kanske was much, much stronger.

"Quite an audience, don't you think?" Kanske said as he nearly
drove MacLeod through the hospital wall. "Come to see the fall of
the Great Duncan MacLeod."

"You keep calling me great, I'm going to get a swelled head."

"The better for me to chop off, my dear," Kanske said in his
best falsetto.

"You're mad, Kanske. If you kill me here, everyone will know
about Immortals." It was worse than the time in Paris, when the
Immortal Kalas threatened to expose Immortals to the world. At
least Kalas was willing to keep the secret while he was alive.
The electrical discharge of that Quickening from the top of the
Eiffel tower had blown out half the power in Paris, and charred
the Watcher CD that Kalas had stolen.

A Quickening in downtown Seacouver would expose Immortals just
as effectively. Only a real madman would want that. Only Kanske.

An unmarked car screeched to a halt just a few yards from the
dueling Immortals. Its action was mirrored by half a dozen other
cars, marked and unmarked alike. Melendez popped above the roof
of the car, his gun bearing down on the combatants.

"Drop the swords, both of you! Now!"

Kanske threw back his head and roared. "Do you hear that,
Highlander? The insects want to stop our little Game!"

"Give it up," MacLeod pleaded. "The killing ends here, Kanske.
It's over."

"Yeah?" Kanske pointed his sword at Melendez. "Hey, copper,
what do you say? Let me kill this guy. I promise you a fireworks
show you won't believe."

"I'm just going to tell you one more time," Melendez swore.
"And then I'm going to drop you. Put down the swords and step

Duncan stared at Melendez and then Kanske, and stooped, laying
his katana on the cement. "Do what they say, Kanske." He dropped
his voice to a murmur. "It can wait."

Kanske chuckled. "Well, I guess it's a question of timing. You
see," he raised his sword, "I can still kill you. Who's faster --
me, or the copper?"

MacLeod watched, almost detached, as the sword descended with
frightening speed, aimed directly at his exposed neck.

Thunder filled the air.


"Well, it's about time you showed up, Knight."

Knight looked back and forth between Bennett and Melendez.
"Did I miss something?"

"Oh, just the end to the career of one of the most vicious
serial killers in recent history." Bennett tossed a forensics
report on the desk by Knight.

Knight thumbed through it. "Blood samples from Kanske matched
blood found at the Francis crime scene. I guess that clears Mr.

"Yeah," Melendez agreed. "You were sure wrong about him. But
I still don't get why he was carrying a sword around."

"Well he's an antique dealer. Maybe he was looking for a

"Hmmph!" Bennett put the forensics file back in its folder.
"I guess you'll be headed back north."

Knight nodded. "Yeah, I just have a few personal matters to
wrap up here. Sorry I wasn't much help."

"Oh, I wouldn't say that," Melendez said. "If you hadn't put
us on to MacLeod, we wouldn't have been there in his last attack.
Duncan MacLeod might have become his fourth victim. As it is,
Kanske's a slab of meat on a slab of metal in the morgue."

A female in uniform tapped on Melendez's shoulder. "Here's the
last bit of evidence, detective. If you wouldn't mind..."

"No prob," Melendez took the English broadsword from her,
checked it through the plastic, and signed the verification form
for it. When he looked up, he saw Knight flinch.

"Hey Knight, you act like you've never seen a sword before."

"It's just something I ate." He could smell a trace of
decomposing vampire blood seeping from the opening of the bag.

He leaned against one of the support columns outside for a
moment. Well, Crocker, he thought, I hope you've found peace. He
walked down to the black Thunderbird parked at the curb.

"About time," MacLeod complained. "This is a no parking zone,
you know?"

 They rode in silence back to the dojo. Joe Dawson and Anne
were waiting at the front door. MacLeod was first out of the car.

"What's going on?"

"The prodigal son has returned," Joe announced. "You know what
they say, 'You can't keep a good man down.'"

"Where is he?"

"He's waiting in the office," Anne replied. "Duncan, don't be
mad at him."

MacLeod lent his arm to Joe up the stairs. "Thanks, Mac. I'll
let him know you're back." He headed for the office.

"Hey, Ritchie," Joe said cheerfully, poking his head through 
the door. From the dojo entrance, MacLeod could see the joy fall
in Joe's eyes and despair take its place as he stepped back and
closed the door. He crossed the floor to one of the weightlifting
seats and sat down, resting his head on his cane.

MacLeod stared at the door, fighting the dread rising in his
chest. He rushed to the door and slammed it open.

Ritchie lay face up in a pool of blood, with a knife lying
near one of his slit wrists.


MacLeod read the note a second time, ignoring the tear stains
it was accumulating:


  Since we met, you've been my teacher, my friend, the
  father I never had. When I became Immortal, it seemed we
  would share that friendship forever.

  Now that has all changed. Tell Joe I'm sorry. He has a
  great life. But it's not one I could ever hope to live up

  I pray that I am still Immortal. If I'm not, don't be sad
  on my account. These last four years have been better
  than anything I could ever have hoped for. Thanks for
  putting up with me.


Anne came out after checking Ritchie. "He's dead. Do you want
me to call someone?"

"No, don't." MacLeod stared at Ritchie's still form. "Not yet.
He wanted to come home. And I'm not going to send him away until
I have to."

He stood above his fallen friend, and picked up the knife that
had ended his life.

Joe's beeper went off. He stared embarrassed at MacLeod.
MacLeod nodded at the elevator. "You can use my phone upstairs."

MacLeod examined the knife in his hand. "You know, I got this
just last week. It's a ceremonial sacrificial knife from ancient
Israel. I would never have thought it would be used again."

He showed it to Knight, who flinched. "I think I'll look at it
from over here." It might not be a cross, but a vampire couldn't
be too careful around holy objects.

"I'm sorry, I forgot."

"What did you forget, Duncan?" Anne asked.

MacLeod exchanged glances with Knight. He was saved from
formulating an answer -- a lie, really -- by the rumbling of the

Joe stepped out, breathless, but slid to a stop at the sight
of Knight. "You're still here. Don't you have a suicide to

"It's alright, Joe. He knows about Immortals."

"Oh, really? Wonders never cease." Joe gestured to the door.
"Well, you'd better hurry. That was Kanske's Watcher. A certain
unmentionable Immortal busted out of the morgue and is headed for
the airport."


MacLeod clenched his fist on Ritchie's rapier. His katana was
still locked up in the police evidence locker, and it seemed
appropriate that his friend's weapon should bring down Kanske --
as it should have in the first place. Knight directed his car
with a skill honed by almost a century of driving.

MacLeod was almost envious of the vampire's superior senses.
He slid through holes in the traffic that MacLeod didn't even see
until they were through. He was embarrassed at doubting Knight's
suggestion to drive his car. The vampire was a better driver than
him. Besides, Knight needed him to identify Kanske. Even if the
vampire had flown to the airport ahead of MacLeod, he might not
have been able to distinguish the Immortal from the rest of the

They were stopped only momentarily at the main gate. Knight's
badge got them through, but it was only in time for MacLeod to
see, from afar, the ascending form of Gunther Kanske as he
boarded a Clipper.

"Miss," MacLeod asked a passing airport attendant. "Where is
that flight going?"

"Minneapolis, sir."

The airport intercom buzzed. "Phone call for Duncan MacLeod at
the main desk."

MacLeod thanked the desk clerk minutes later. "Hello?"

"Hey, Mac. Did you miss me?"

MacLeod felt his knees start to buckle. "Ritchie, I'm glad to
hear your voice." Knight slapped his back, listening from behind
him. "Glad to have you back, but I've got to run."

"Just a minute, Mac." MacLeod listened to silence for a second
as Ritchie handed the phone to someone else.

"MacLeod, this is Joe. Did you find Kanske?"

"No. He skipped out before I could catch him. He's headed to
Minneapolis. So am I."

A chuckle emanated from the phone. "Minneapolis, huh? I
wouldn't bother."

"Why not?"

"Because a certain highland kinsman is passing through
Minneapolis, and he has a history with Kanske. Bad history, if
you get my meaning."

"Good luck, Connor." But he knew the older Highlander didn't
need it. He had the skills and strength of more Immortals than
MacLeod could count. He saw Kanske's plane turn away toward the
runway. Kanske didn't have a chance.

"Yeah, well. Say, Mac, this Knight, fellow. He's not an
Immortal, is he?"

Duncan smiled. "Not exactly. I'll tell you about it someday,
Joe. But you're going to have to get me pretty drunk."

He turned to find Knight paying for a ticket to Toronto.
"Tonight is fine. I travel light," he heard.

"Leaving so soon?" MacLeod followed Knight to the plane.

"Well, Tracy -- my partner -- is pretty new at detective work.
I need to get back before she gets into trouble. What about this

MacLeod stared up at the night sky. "I expect he'll meet a bad
end soon. You know, Knight, you don't really need the plane, do

"No," Knight admitted, "but it's more convenient." He leaned
closer to MacLeod and dropped his voice lower. "I'd hate to be
caught in mid-air at sunrise."

The End

Darrel E. Murphy Jr.
In the End, there can be only One