Title: Hubris
Author: akire
Email: akire@mailcity.com
Status: complete/unbetaed
Category: Crossover: Highland/ Tomb Raider, plus mention of others
Spoilers: umm, got a basic grasp of the Highlander universe?  Fine.  Oh
yeah, we're a Clan Denial fanfic.  TR, we're ripping characters, not
plots.  Honest!  Set after the Immortal Underground. 
Disclaimers:  D/P and whoever owns TR 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.  Language may offend some readers. 
Summary: Lara has a difficult new student, and Reia finally confesses
an error of judgement she made over four thousand years ago
Dedication: To the smutsluts who made watching TR: The Movie an
absolute hoot! 
Note:  For those who didn't sit through drama/English lit., hubris is
the pride before the fall. 

That's long enough. On with the show!


"Corey!  Stop!"  The slamming of a door was her only reply as Lara's
headstrong student stormed out of Croft Manor.

This temper tantrum was just the latest in a long series of ever
escalating battle of wills between the teacher and the new Immortal.
Corey Miles, made Immortal when he skidded off the icy road and into a
tree on the edge of this very estate, was proving to be more than a
challenge to Lara's patience.  She rarely took students, and she was
now beginning to remember why.

Breathing deeply to release the tension that had built up during this
latest screaming match, Lara strode back through the main hall and down
into the basement.  Her bike, a variety of high-performance vehicles,
most of her more conventional armoury and some of her larger high-tech
toys were stored down here.  She intended to spend the next few hours
doing routine maintenance and NOT brooding on the subject of her

She didn't count on her multi-tasking brain to intervene.  As she began
to methodically clean and prime each of her handguns in turn, her mind
began to review and catalogue each of Corey's infractions.  She was not
a demanding taskmaster, at least not relative to some other methods and
training regimes she knew of, that was for certain.  She had made it
clear from the beginning that she would want him for a year and a day,
to teach him sword work and basic survival.  She was starting to doubt
that Corey would even make it to the halfway mark.

He was stubborn to the point of obstinate, did not follow instructions,
was lazy and unfocused when performing even the simplest tasks she set
for him.  Arrogant and condescending, to both Lara herself and the tiny
support staff she retained at the Manor.  Her manservant cut him dead
in the corridors every time their paths crossed, and she suspected that
if she handed the mortal a sword, he would do so literally.  What
little public interaction she had observed between her student and
outsiders reinforced this opinion.  Instinctively, she found herself
teaching him with wooden staves, rather than real swords.  Did she even
trust Corey not to violate the student/teacher relationship?  She had
been asking herself that question more and more as the weeks dragged

He was, as some of her society acquaintances would have put it, a bad
egg.  But he was also a new Immortal, and as such deserved to at least
know the basics.  Wiping her hands on a rag, she was about to start on
the larger weapons when an Immortal buzz penetrated her consciousness. 
Closing the locker and resealing it with her personal code, she walked
towards the entry.  "Have you calmed down enough to resume your
exercises, Corey?"

A quietly amused female voice answered instead of Corey's brash tenor. 
"If Corey was that lad on the red bike screaming out your Gate like a
bat out of hell, then I'd hazard a guess and say 'no.'  Problems with
pupil, m'dear?"

Lara smiled honestly for the first time in months.  "Reia!  What an
unexpected pleasure."

Embracing each other at the top of the stairs, Reia returned the grin. 
"Best kind.  I'd heard you had acquired a minion, thought I'd come over
and see how you were going?"

Lara took the subtle opening.  "Not well.  Not well at all."

Reia steered them back towards Lara's personal apartments.  "Need an
ear to vent to and a shoulder to cry on?"

"You may regret that offer."

"Only if you don't offer me a drink before we get started."


Lara wound down her litany of grievances and concerns over an hour
later.  The silence dragged on for nearly a minute before Reia sat up
and topped up their glasses with the last of the bottle of wine between

"This sounds like more than a clash of personality, Lara," she began
with uncharacteristic gravity.  "The way you describe him, it sounds as
if he has...issues."  She chose her words with great care.  "Mainly
issues relating to power and control.  He has the power over death, and
a socially acceptable outlet to fight and kill.  You know as well as I
do what kind of head-trip that is. And we're basically normal."

Lara snorted into her glass at that last bit.  "But what about Corey.
He's never had to work to achieve anything in his life.  It's either
come naturally or been handed to him on a silver platter.  Only son of
local aristocracy, he's lead a sheltered, pleasant life where what he
said basically went."

"I'd call it being a snob, a spoilt brat and a bully, personally."

"But," Lara pressed on, ignoring the side comments.  "Is that
sufficient reason to stop teaching him?  Maybe I'm just a bad teacher? 
Goddess knows I'm out of practise."

"To borrow a modern metaphor, it's a two way street, Lara.  He has to
meet you in the middle, want to learn.  And from the way you were
talking, there are trust issues as well.  You have to be able to trust
him, but he has to earn that trust.  I know it hurts like hell
to have failed a student, but it'd hurt even more if you were to wake
up one day with your head separated from your shoulders."

Lara put down her glass carefully.  "You sound like you're speaking
from experience here."

Reia's face went carefully neutral.  "I've had challenging students in
my time."

Lara shook her head sharply.  "Every student is a challenge.  But have
you ever failed a student?"

Reia looked at the floor, eyes half-closed.  "Yes," she finally
whispered. "Once, long ago, I failed."

Lara lent over in quiet support.  "How did he loose his head?  Did he
run away from you, or did someone challenge him behind your back?"

Reia flopped back and sprawled on the couch with a disgusted snort.
"Oh, I wish it were that easy.  Just an early casualty in the Game,
move on, nothing to see here.  No, once we parted company, he survived
until very recently."

Lara shook her head, failing to understand.  "How...I mean, why do you
think you failed him if he survived?"

Reia jumped to her feet in a sudden bout of nervous energy.  "I don't
just teach sword-work and survival Lara.  I teach a respect for life,
an appreciation of the world around us, the cultures and events that
make life interesting, worth living instead of just enduring.  But for
some reason, I failed to make those lessons stick.  Oh, I turned out a
brilliant swordsman and an excellent survivalist, yes.  But...oh, what
a fuck-up that was from day one."  She strode over to the window, and
stared out at the immaculate grounds below, her fingers drumming an
arrythmic tattoo on the sill.  "Of course, I couldn't admit that, could
I?  How could I say that I was out of my depth?  Oh no, he was my
student, my concern, I could handle it, I could get through to him."
She leant forward until her brow was resting against the cold glass.
"How wrong I was.  And so many people paid for my mistake."

Lara was perplexed now, perplexed but thoroughly curious.  "Rei?  Who
was it?  Who was the student?"

Reia snapped back to her present surrounds with a visible shudder.
"Never mind, Lara, it's over now.  My point is..."  she paused, then
turned and strode back to the couch.  "My point being that you need to
be brutally honest with yourself.  If you think he's beyond your skills
as a teacher, then find him another one.  If you can't find a teacher
who could succeed in getting through to him, then maybe its best to
just cut him loose and let the Game clean up the mess.  Remember the
concept of hubris, Lara.  Pride before the fall.  It will get you both
unless you're honest now."  She snatched up her glass and gulped down
the dregs.  

Lara nodded, head still trying to figure out the tantalizing puzzle
that had been laid out before her.  "Okay.  I'll think about it.  About

"Good.  Well, as much as I hate to pontificate and run, I really

Lara reached out and grabbed Reia's wrist in a vice-grip.  "Leave if
you must, but please, tell me.  Who was the student."

"I can't."  The note of sadness that slipped out from under the mask
heightened Lara's anxiety.

"Please?"  Lara gave an urgent little shake of the wrist.  "I swear, I
will never tell anyone.  We'll never mention this conversation again,
if you like.  But please, tell me."

Reia stared at the grip Lara had her in.  Gently, she flexed and made a
fist.  Taking the hint, Lara dropped her wrist.  Her voice when she
finally spoke was soft and distant.

"The student I failed had many names.  You know him as Kronos."

Lara found it difficult to swallow.  She was almost too young for the
Horsemen to be more than a story to her.  But the Immortal known as
Kronos had caused much pain, in a variety of creative ways over the
centuries.  He was, in her mind as in many others, the closest
personification of pure evil she knew.

"Oh my...Kronos?"

Reia's smile was painful.  "I could see what he was, what he was
destined to be, yet I thought I could change him.  I failed and we paid
the price, mortal and Immoral alike, for four thousand years.  Will
Corey be another Kronos?  Probably not.  Can we take the chance?
That's up to you to decide.  Good afternoon, Lara."

A whisper of fabric and she was gone.  A distant thump as the door was
opened and closed, the muted roar of an engine as she drove away.
Settling back down into her chair, Lara drew her knees up to her chin
and thought about what they had discussed.

She was roused an unmeasured amount of time later.  The shadows had
lengthened and the sky outside was lowering into dusk.  Rising, she
followed the feel of the intruding Buzz into the main hall.  From the
balcony, she looked down as Corey stood just inside the main door,
stripping off helmet, jacket, gloves.


His sigh was audible even from where she stood.  "Yes, oh great one."

She gave a small, wicked smile.  "Get your arse up here.  Things are
changing around here, as of tonight."

She gave her student a level glare.  They would get through this.  She
wasn't giving up.  Not yet.

  ~~ FIN ~~