Title: A Teacher's Tale (aka Blaer's Story)
Series: consider this part of the backstory to the "Immortal
Underground" arc, but its not necessary to have read that first. 
Author: akire
Email: akire@mailcity.com
Status: Complete/Unbetaed
Category: Crossover: Highlander/The Sentinel.  Short-arsed as far as my
fics go
Spoilers: umm, got a basic grasp of the Highlander universe?  Fine.  Oh
yeah, we're a Clan Denial fanfic.  In The Sentinel, we pick up after
Disclaimers:  D/P and Pet Fly really DO own them.  If you don't
recognize it, it's 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).  Huji
and Hujimas are a creation of the wonderful HollyIlex.  Loved it,
needed it, had to use it, dear! 
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.
Master/servant relations
Summary: Reia blows into town to steal a meal off her last formal
student, and ends up bringing out the Immortal equivalent of the
embarrassing baby photos for the edification of the Major Crimes crew
whilst her student sits blushing in the corner!

That's long enough. On with the show!


"Geez, it's really coming down now!"  Blaer turned away from the window
and took another swig from his beer.  "I wouldn't be surprised if the
gutters overflow."

"Don't tell me that, Sandburg!"  Simon griped as he helped himself to
another beer.  "I haven't checked my downpipes all year!"  Anything
more the dark Captain said was cut off as a bright flash of lightning
barely preceding the bone rattling rumble of thunder directly overhead.

Instinctively checking that Jim still had his dials down at the lowest
functional level, Blaer was the last to notice the grey snow that
filled the television screen.

"Ah, man, don't tell me receptions gone!  That's why we got cable in
the first place!"

Jim shook his head, disappointed.  The basketball game they were
waiting for was only minutes away from starting.  "Must be the repeater
station.  Probably took a direct hit."

Rafe stretched his long legs out in front of him, his neat casual dress
setting him apart in a room full of sweatpants and flannel shirts.
"Yeah, it sounded right overhead.  What is it, five seconds per mile?"

The room went silent as everyone waited for the next lightning and
thunder combination.  But instead, the room echoed with the triple bang
of someone knocking on the door.

Megan tossed her hosts a look, her brow crinkled in confusion.  "Who'd
be out an about on a night like this?"

Jim moved to get up and answer, but Blaer's hand stopped him.  "Got
your revolver handy, Jim?" He murmured as he himself stood and dashed
into his room.  The others were now worried as well as confused,
especially when Blaer returned carrying an object still fairly
unfamiliar to his guests – the short broadsword dubbed the Gothic

Blaer was now grateful he had sat Jim down and forced him to listen as
he outlined scenarios for what to do if an Immortal came knocking.  Jim
himself had reacted like the trained Army officer he was and had
already taken point, weapon drawn and ready.  Waving Simon and the
others back with a gesture, Blaer grinned.  "Just being paranoid,
guys."  He then jerked open the door enough to see past, keeping the
sword hidden behind the door.

The others couldn't hear what the mysterious stranger said as soon as
the door opened, but they relaxed slightly when Blair laughed, flung
the door open and embraced the newcomer in a bear hug, sword and all.

Jim too relaxed and reholstered the weapon.  As Blair released their
guest, he stepped forward and stuck out a hand.  "Nice to see you
again, Reia."

"Hey Jim!"  Blair stepped back to reveal to the group a slender, rain-
soaked redhead in a heavy black duster.  She smiled warmly as she moved
and took Jim's proffered hand.  "Glad to see Blaer has you
housetrained.  Mind if I go dry off?"  She was then bounding away after
Blair towards the bathroom at the back of the loft, muttering about
flying fish and Biblical arks.

The rest of the group looked on, shell-shocked.  "Jim," Simon finally
asked.  "Who was that?"

Jim put his service weapon back into its spot and flopped back into his
seat.  "That," he said with a sigh.  "Is Reia.  I think I better let
her explain the rest."

They did not have long to wait.  A few minutes later, Blaer returned
with leading his still damp-around-the-edges houseguest.  Blaer had
obviously cleared a few points of interest with her while they were
away, as she looked with blatant curiosity at each of the detectives in
turn.  Plopping down on the rug near the first, she ran her fingers
through her damp hair and smiled again. "Hi."

Muted 'hellos' were her response.  Blaer took it on himself to make the
introductions.  "You know Jim, of course.  This is Simon, that's Rafe
and his partner Henry, over there is Joel and that's our lovely Megan. 
Together, we are the Cascade PD's Major Crimes unit.  Guys, this is
Reia, an old friend of mine."  

Joel nodded.  "We kinda got that from the reception you gave her."  He
looked significantly over at the sheathed sword that Blaer had left on
the table.

Reia laughed as she basked in the warmth the fire was kicking off.
"Nothing says 'love' like being welcomed with a three foot steel."

Megan, who had a confessed fascination with Immortal's and their lives,
could hold back no more.  "Have you guys known each other long?"

Blaer almost blushed, suddenly seeing where that question could lead.
He thanked the stars that his teacher was a fairly reserved person
around new faces.  "A while." 

Reia swiped playfully in his general direction.  "Bratwurst!  Your
friends deserve better than such a vague answer!"

Blair didn't bother to conceal his groan.  Reia was obviously going to
make him pay tonight for some long forgotten sin.

Megan tag-teamed with the ancient woman.  "Can you tell us some stories
from his past?  In everything he's told us, he rides off into the
sunset like a hero…"

"…and he neatly forgets to mention falling out of his saddle, I bet."


"What?" The picture of innocence.

Blaer conceded defeat.  "It was only the once."  He glowered as the
Major Crimes teamed laughed out loud alongside his old teacher.   "What
is it, pick on Blaer night?"

Jim rubbed his Guide's shoulder.  "Well, since watching the game's

Reia smirked.  "Gather round kids, and let me fill you in on some
stories about my dear Bratwurst that obviously hit the cutting room
floor in his versions."  She even had the gall to swipe his half-
finished beer off the floor next to his foot.

"Great! First she embarrasses me, now she's drinking my beer."  Blaer
rolled his eyes, but didn't complain when he was hustled by the others
into the tighter circle they were forming around their guest.

"Where to start?" Reia wondered idly as she played with the neck of the

"How 'bout the beginning?"

She smirked again as Blaer groaned.  "I take it you haven't told them
how you came into your Immortality?"

He draped his arms loosely on his knees as his head rolled back to rest
on the couch.  "Strangely enough, it never came up."

Reia ignored the sarcasm, took a swig of his beer, and began.


Winter Camp at the base of the Ural Mountains: Midwinter 301 AD

Reia ducked her head under the lintel of her host's home as she emerged
into the watery grey twilight.  It had snowed heavily during the night
and the cold winds coming off the mountains had turned the ground
dangerously icy.  In the distance, she could see people gathering
together to prepare for the midwinter solstice festival.  She pulled
her furs tighter around her slim frame and shivered.  Why was she here
in this frozen wasteland again?

As if in answer to her mental rant, a fur- and leather-clad figure
careened around the icy corner and bounded down the alley between
dwellings.  Even draped in the heavy clothing of his clan, he was
identifiable by the shock of curly red hair that hung in greasy shanks
down past his shoulders.  As he flew by, she scented the faint but
distinctive buzz of a pre-Immortal.  

She had yet to introduce herself to the Chieftain's younger son.  She
was planning to watch the lad, earn his trust slowly and gently, build
a rapport with him, so that when the time came for his first death, he
would be ready for her to step in and teach him.

She wrinkled her nose as she cleared the doorway.  'Scented' was
definitely the operative word here.  The first topic in her agenda:
personal hygiene.  She could understand not wanting to submerge any
limb in the icy water of his homeland, hence her very clear desire to
return south with her charge as soon as expedient.  

Idly, she watched her future student half-run, half-slide down the
incline and vanish into the pre-solstice throng.  Stepping out into the
pathway, she was very nearly bowled over by a second man, far larger
and heavier than the Chieftain's youngest.  By his clothes and the
well-worn axe he carried, she picked him as one of the hunters who kept
the clan fed during these lean winter months.  Regaining her balance,
she watched as the bear of a man followed Blaer's path down the
hillside.  He was rumbling, angry, belching threats and imprecations to
his Gods as he moved away from her.

Frowning, Reia shadowed the man down the hillside and into the work

"Stop hiding behind the mother's skirts, you sniveling..!"  Tuning out
the threats she now had no doubt were aimed at her future charge, she
instead turned her focus to sniffing out the faint buzz of the pre-
Immortal hiding somewhere in the rapidly thinning crowd.  The hunter
had been joined by clansmen and friends loyal to him, and together they
were forming an ever tightening net around the boy.  Outside their
ring, the rest of the clan had come down to watch the excitement.
Melding into the mob, she moved around until she found her host.

"What's the boy done now?"

Reia had known Katra's family for nearly three generations.  It was
Katra who had first informed her of this strange boy-child found
abandoned in the standing stones used by the nomadic tribe, and who now
sheltered her as honoured guest in this most suspicious and closed

Katra rolled her eyes.  "Couldn't keep inside his own furs again."  She
gestured to the hunter leading the pack.  "He came back from the
valleys early, caught his daughter and Blaer…" Katra made a discreet
gesture to suggest just how Blaer had been keeping himself warm.  "He's
never much liked the boy.  When we first found him, he was ready to
drown the boy in the nearest stream."

Reia 'tsked' under her breath and made a mental note to add 'self-
restraint' to the list of lessons to teach the child immediately.  But
before she could inquire further, a triumphant roar echoed over the
gathered crowd.  The hunter had Blaer by a fistful of hair, and was
yanking the boy about as he yelled at him, playing to the audience.

"…what do you have to say, whelp!"

'At least he hasn't started that whole daemon-spawn thing yet,' she

"He was sent by demons to bring a curse down on us all!  We should have
killed him while we had a chance!"

'There we go,' she thought to herself sourly. Anxiously, she scanned
the crowd, looking for the Chieftain.  Nobody else would dare speak up
for the foolish boy, and if no one intervened soon, the hunter might
just take advantage and kill him like he would have liked to when Blaer
was a babe.

Thankfully, the voice she was hoping to hear sounded over the crowd.
She watched has the silver-haired patriarch pushed his way with
authority to the centre of the impromptu circle.  Old now, by the
standards of his people, the Chieftain still projected an aura of
competent authority.  However, his diminishing skills in the hunt left
no doubt in her mind that the Chief's days were few.  She hoped he
still had the unquestioned authority to pull his surrogate son out of
his latest mess.

The hunter and the Chieftain exchanged low, angry words, the hunter
shaking Blaer by the fist of hair every time he made a point.  Even
from her dreadful position, she could tell that the hunter was not
going to back down from his moment without a fight.  The Chieftain
spoke his decision, hand out, demanding the return of his son.  The
hunter snarled, pulling the boy away from his father.  

Reia pushed roughly through the crowd, trying to see and heard better. 
She moved forward just in time to see the flash of a blade and the
anguished scream of a father.  Pushing through the final line of
people, she stared at Blaer's body lying, twitching, on the snow.  The
white powder on the ground was already beginning to go red with blood.


"He just stabbed you?"

Blaer nodded.  "Yeah.  Let me tell you, was Isurprised!"

Rafe leaned over a punched Blair's arm gently.  "'Hump-a- tableleg
Sandburg strikes again!"  Blair snorted at the gibe.

"What happened next, Reia?"


The long night.  The lethally cold mountain wind carried snow off the
high passes to gather around the lifeless form of the Chieftain's
youngest, bound and presented with burial gifts to ease his passing
into the next realm.  Reia shoved her hands under her arms and
considered her options.  She needed to snatch him away before he
resurrected and proved 'true' the accusations of demon origin.  But how
to do that with so many people moving about.

"Why couldn't you have died on Samheim?" She muttered at the distant
corpse.  "Everyone locked up tight, would have been easy then.  I can
see you are going to be a challenging student, boy."  A sound behind
her caught her attention.  She stared through the darkness and snow,
unsure who it was until they spoke.

"Has he woken?"

"Not yet, Katra, but it won't be long now.  I can't think of how to
smuggle him out with so many people around, either.  Especially if he

Katra looked at the still shape for a long moment, then thrust the
bundle she was carrying at her guest.  "Your pack.  I've added some
things my son has outgrown.  That one has always felt the cold."

Reia narrowed her eyes.  "Katra?"

"Just be ready to go."  A firm grasp on the shoulder in farewell, and
the woman was scurrying away through the snow.  Confused, Reia
shouldered her pack and moved to the burial stand.  There it was, the
full Immortal buzz.

"Welcome to the Game," she told the stirring figure with a smile.

"Huh?"  The voice was thick, sleepy and confused.  She hoped he would
stay muddled enough for her to finish her rescue.

"Shh.  Don't speak, just listen.  I am Reia.  You will follow me.  You
will not speak."  She pulled him to stand on swaying legs.  A shout
from behind startled her.  Expecting accusing fingers and witnesses,
she was instead greeting by the glow of a growing fire.  One of the
homes was burning.  With a gasp, she realised it was Katra's.  But
there was no time to ponder the sacrifice.  People were moving to
investigate, to help.  They had to leave now.  Draping his arm across
her shoulder, she began dragging him downhill to the treeline.


"What happened next?"

Reia stretched cramped legs absently.  "We got out of clan territory,
headed south into warmer climes more suitable for bathing."  She smiled
at the memory.  "On the way, I explained to him what he was, what the
Game was, and offered to make him my huji."

"Your what?"

She looked to Blaer, seeking his opinion on whether to proceed.
Explaining the lifestyle of huji and hujima was difficult in a
twentieth century context.  She was mildly surprised when Blaer
answered himself, in his 'academic' voice.  Even after all these years,
she was still amazed at the mind of a natural teacher that lurked under
those beguiling curls.

"The term 'Huji' has no English equivalent, Jim.  But basically a huji
was part body servant, part pack-slave, part personal assistant, part
apprentice.  Once I agreed to become Reia's huji, I was basically hers.
I did nothing without her express say-so.  What she said, went."

"In theory at least."  Reia stretched again and rose to liberate a pair
of bottles from the kitchen.  "You have to admit, Bratwurst, you were
sometimes less than perfectly obedient."

He accepted the replacement bottle.  "Hey, all part of my charm,
hujimas."  She snorted and slipped back to her place in front of the

The rest of Major Crimes were looking between the old pair as if they
were contestants in a tennis match.  "What do you mean, part slave?"

Reia smoothed condensation off her drink.  "The English language is so
limiting," she remarked to herself with a sigh.  "'Slave' is the best
equivalent word to describe the absolute – and I mean absolute –
unquestioning obedience a huji was meant to display.  I needed such
obedience to get him to do things he disliked, task he would otherwise
shirk.  By forcing him, he learnt skills he would normally lack, and
would develop the self-discipline needed to survive."  She smirked at
her past huji.  "I seem to remember the periods of silence were
particularly difficult for you?"

Blair groaned.  "Oh man, I remember those.  I swear, I felt like I was
going to burst with unsaid words."

"Our hairboy?  Silent?  Never!"  The rest of major crimes voiced their

"Oh, believe it guys.  She could, and DID, make me stay silent for
weeks.  The only time I could speak was mealtimes, and they were always
on set subjects.  Like, for breakfast, it was about me."

"Self reflection," Reia elaborated.  "You needed to recognise your own
foibles before you could begin work to correct them."

"Yeah.  Let me tell you know, the department headshrinkers could learn
a thing from this woman."  He pointed at the elder redhead.  "She had
me looking into corners of my soul I didn't even know were there."

Reia laughed.  "But it wasn't all one way.  Remember the…well, its
called lunch these days."

Blaer nodded, deep in memories now.  "Yeah, I could ask her anything
about her past, and she would answer.  I didn't realise at the time how
rare that was.   I've met Immortals who don't even know what identity
their teachers used before the current one.  Their loss!"

Reia dragged the explanation back on track.  "Evening meal was time for
him to ask any questions about things that had happened during the day.
Remember that we took a lot of our meals around a fire or heath, it was
only natural to talk.  No TVs or radios to distract you."

Blaer nodded.  "But I couldn't speak during the day, unless it was to
answer a direct question.  She said jump, I said how high."

Simon leaned forward.  "Reia?  Can you teach me how you did it?"

"Did what in particular?"

"Made Sandburg follow orders."

The group laughed, Blair loudest of all.  "Come on man, I'm too old for
that to work now."

Reia smirked.  "Huji!"  Her voice was pitched low and direct, an
imperious note of summoning clear in the tone.  Everyone in the room
felt the tug to obey.

Blaer was not immune.  Before he even realised it, he was at her side,
on his knees.

She took his chin in one slim hand and tilted his face to look her in
the eye.  "Too old, huji dear?"

He met her smirk with his own.  "Blind luck, Teach."

"Don't push it, huji of mine," she murmured in his native tongue.
"Anyway, Simon," she continued in English.  "It took me decades to turn
him into a halfway decent huji.  You'll just have to struggle on,
secure in the knowledge that he can be brought to heel.  Eventually."

"Uh, guys.  Still in the room here."


Blair gave up and went to make up a bed for his guest.  It was obvious
she was going to be staying awhile.