George stepped into Joe's and looked around. She hadn't had much experience of bars before she'd died. Truthfully, she'd never been in a bar at all before she died. She had her fellow reapers Mason and Daisy to thank for her familiarity with them in her afterlife. They might have come with her but they both had appointments at the post office.
So did Roxy and Rube, for that matter. George suspected that someone would be going postal today. Multiple reaps at the post office on April 15th? Overworked postal employees and cranky last-minute taxpayers snarling at one another all day? What else could it be?
The bar seemed okay. There was a stage in the back for live performances, empty now. Music poured out of a jukebox instead. George was morbidly amused to recognize Dead Can Dance. The bar wasn't terribly busy. The bartender, a bearded man with graying hair was conversing quietly but intently with a customer, tall, dark and handsome.
George admired him for a moment. He made quite a picture. Jeans that showed off his ass very well, broad shoulders in a cable-knit sweater, short dark hair and a beautiful but masculine profile. He was way too old for her, of course. He had to be in his thirties.
She pulled a crumpled Post-It from her pocket and studied it.
E.T.D. 10:47 p.m.
She put it away again and scanned the room, wondering which of the patrons was W. Campbell. Walter? William? She studied a woman idly toying with a glass of beer. Wanda?
George glanced over at the handsome man at the bar again. He looked vaguely familiar. She shrugged and moved closer, curious about the nagging sense of recognition. The bartender broke off whatever he was saying as she approached.
"Help you, miss?" he asked.
George studied the dark haired man openly. "No," she said eventually, diffidently, never looking at the bartender.
"Do I know you?" the stranger asked. His voice, his accent, combined with his appearance to make the connection George was seeking.
"The University," George said, surprised into speaking the thought aloud. She'd seen him once at the University, where her father was a professor. "I mean, you work at the University, don't you?"
"I teach a couple of classes there. Are you a student?"
"No," George said. "I...know Professor Lass. I've seen you there."
He extended a hand and George stared at it for a moment, uncertain of what to do. "My name is Duncan MacLeod. And you are?" Duncan MacLeod. Not W. Campbell.
"I'm Geo--Millie," George said. "I'm Millie." She took his hand briefly, harmlessly. It occurred to her that she very seldom touched the living anymore except to take their souls.
"Pleased to meet you," he said.
There was an awkward silence. The ball was back in George's court, but she had no idea what to say. She opened her mouth to speak with no idea what she was going to say when she saw MacLeod's attention shift. He stood a little straighter, reminding her of how tall he was and how broad his shoulders were, and fixed his gaze on the door behind her. His left hand came to rest on the long coat draped over the bar at his side.
George saw that the bartender noticed MacLeod's behavior as well. He turned to watch the door, and then George did the same. A moment later the door opened and a man in a duster stepped inside, spotted MacLeod and walked up to plant himself squarely in MacLeod's space.
"Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod?"
MacLeod frowned, but replied, "Yes."
"William Campbell," the stranger said. "We have unfinished business."
George relaxed now that she knew who she was here for. She glanced at her wristwatch. William Campbell had about eight minutes to live. She paid little attention as MacLeod tried unsuccessfully to talk Campbell out of whatever misguided challenge he'd come to present. If she had his name on her Post-It, he was toast. A goner.
At last MacLeod agreed to follow Campbell outside. As Campbell turned to leave, George contrived to brush against him, popping his soul with practiced ease. He paid her no mind and stalked out the door with MacLeod following.
George followed them both a moment later, unseen and unremarked, one of the perks of being undead. The two men walked swiftly to an alley not far from the Joe's Place. Turning to face one another, they shocked George out of her blase attitude by each drawing a big ass sword from inside his coat!
"Holy shit!" George cried as the swords clashed. "What the fuck!?" She watched with her mouth agape as they fought the sort of duel she'd only ever seen in pirate movies.
It was a remarkably brief contest. MacLeod clearly outclassed his opponent. Campbell's smug expression soon turned to alarm and then despair. Moments later George gasped as MacLeod's sword took Campbell's head off. His head and body fell to the ground at MacLeod's feet.
George thought she was done being surprised until the light show started. She looked over at Campbell's soul, standing by her side. "What the hell is that?"
"My Quickening," Campbell said in a dazed voice. "I never thought I'd see that," he added. He looked at George with shock dulled eyes. "Am I dead?"
George nodded. "Yep."
Campbell nodded as if this merely confirmed a suspicion. "I really thought I could take him, you know?"
George shrugged. "Guess you were wrong."
MacLeod was doing an electric boogaloo in the middle of a lightning storm now. They watched it in silence for a few moments.
"What happens now?" Campbell asked her.
"You live the cliche," George answered. "Walk toward the light."
The lightning storm surrounding MacLeod seemed to be reaching a climax.
"Oh. Of course," Campbell said, and he walked toward MacLeod and into the heart of the lightning storm--the "Quickening," as he'd called it.
"I didn't mean--" George started to shout after him, but Campbell vanished into the brilliance of the Quickening, which guttered out a moment later, leaving MacLeod to sag to his knees exhausted and gasping in the sudden darkness.
George stared for a minute. After two years as a Grim Reaper, she thought she'd seen everything. Apparently not. As MacLeod climbed slowly to his feet, George turned and walked away. Rube would be at Der Waffle Haus by the time she got back, and he had questions to answer.