Anne watched horrified as Duncan fell to his death from the balcony, landing
on the chairs below that would break his fall. Not to mention the neck and
back of a mortal in a rather fatal way.
"No!" Anne cried out as she rushed to Duncan's side. She felt for a pulse. There was none.
Richie grabbed Ann by the arm and tried his hardest to pull her out of the room. No such luck. Ann refused to budge.
"He's dead. You can't do anything about it." Richie said, technically not lying.
Ann couldn't believe how insensitive Richie was acting. Richie made a little progress in removing Ann from the room.
"Your best friend is dead and that's all you can say?" Ann said shocked.
"When you grow up alone on the streets you get used to it. You don't get too close to people. Duncan was the first person to treat me like I was worth something.
Duncan's hand twitched and Richie managed to pull Ann out of the room.
Two months later. Duncan is in Paris getting on with his life. Anne arrives in Paris for a medical conference. Anne still believes that Duncan is dead.
Anne is sightseeing with some shopping thrown in when she got a quick glance at the back of a man in his mid thirties. He rminded her a lot of Duncan.
"Duncan's dead." Anne reminded herself.
Duncan had no idea that Anne was in town or that he had been spotted.
"Later Anne was out doing some further sightseeing when she saw Duncan's back again. It made her heart ache.
Getting over his death had been hard. she had loved him and the senseless way he died hurt. With all her training she was helpless and it still bothered her. She had thrown herself into her work in hopes that it would ease the pain. It didn't. She thought some distance would help. It didn't.
The next afternoon she was shopping and got another glimpse of Duncan. She was stunned. She still couldn't believe that someone looked that much like Duncan. She wasn't close enough to make a positive identification but from where she was it was pretty convincing. He even moved like Duncan.
Anne followed Duncan to a restaurant. At the restaurant she got her first good look at Duncan. Then she heard his voice.
"Unless he has an identical twin..." Anne said to heself. A mixture of emotions raced through her, joy, surprize,hurt, confusion, and a bit of anger.
later Anne saw Richie talking to an older bearded man, Maurice. Once she saw richie she was further convinced that it was Duncan. Anne tried to get close enough to hear the conversation without being spotted. She heard Duncan's name mentioned. She didn't understand. She saw him fall to his death. A sight which gave her nightmares for weeks.
Anne stayed out of sight and waited for Richie to leave. She then approached the older man. Anne turned her feminine charm up several notches.
Maurice noticed the approach of Anne. A smile spread across his lips.
"How can I help you?" Maurice asked. "My name is Maurice. What is yours?"
"Anne. She said. "Was that Richie Ryan?"
"You know him?"
"We're old friends. I was supposed to meet someone but he didn't show. I thought maybe you could help." Ann said using her charm.
"I can try. He can't be very bright to stand you up."
"You are right. His name is Duncan McLeod."
"You are lucky you came to Maurice. I am a good friend of Duncan's."
"I was sondering if I could surprize him. I misplaced his address. Would you be willing to show me where he lives?" Ann said.
"Maurice hesitated. "I don't..."
"Ann pulled a coupld of bills out of her pocket and showed them to Maurice.
"Anything to help the course of true love."
Was it that obvious, thought Anne.
They soon arrived at Duncan's barge.
"Now you promise not to tell Richie or Duncan about seeing me." Ann said as she handed Maurice a couple more bills.
Anne entered as Maurice left.
Anne started to look around. She wanted to make sure it was the right Duncan McLeod. Then again she wasn't sure how many people would have such a name. She saw no obvious clues on any of the surfaces. She could smell his scent. She opened the desk drawer and found a box. She knew she shouldn't open it. Curiosity won.
Anne opened the box and found pictures of Duncan, Tessa and Richie. Was he married quickly flashed through her mind. The love between Duncan and Tessa radiated from the picture. What did she really know about him? Ann thought.
Ann put the picture back into the box and put the box back into the drawer. She still had no concrete proof that he lived here. The picture was pretty convincing, but it could belong to a friend Ann rationalized.
Ann sat down on the couch to wait. Luckily for her she didn't have long to wait. She heard movement and tried to prepare herself. Duncan entered.
Ann couldn't believe her eyes at first. All those feelings from the other day returned stronger. Joy, surprize, confusion and anger.
Duncan was quite surprized himself. He wasn't sure what to do. He continued to enter. Duncan thought.
"Anne, what are you doing here?"
They were physically close to each other. Anne slapped Duncan. Duncan made no effort to move or prevent it. Duncan was a bit surprized but knew that he most likely deserved it.
"How could you let me think you were dead? Anne said with anger leading the mixed bag of emotions. Then it hit her "why aren't you dead?"
Duncan knew that the time had come for her to know everything. He owed her that much.
"Why don't you have a seat and I'll explain."
"Everything." Duncan said. "First, what brings you here and how did you find me?"
"I'm here for a medical conference. I saw your back a couple of times while I was sightseeing, shooping. I kept telling myself that you're dead. Then I saw your face and heard your voice. Later I was out walking and saw Richie talking with Maurice. I bribed Maurice into letting me in. Your turn."
Duncan vowed to have a talk with Maurice. Then again it had brought Anne and him together again.
"I did die." Duncan began. "But I can't stay dead. I'm immortal."
"Ah, I see, a head injury." Anne said using the tone she used with those who were a few cards short of a full deck.
"I'm telling you the truth. Do you want to hear it?" Duncan said with a bit of annoyance in his voice. Mostly because of the way she was treating him.
"I was born in the Highlands of Scotland 400 years ago. I am Duncan McLeod of the Clan McLeod." Duncan said. Duncan saw the same look on her face.
Duncan walked over to the kitchen where he picked up the sharpest biggest knife short of a cleaver. He shoved the knife into his chest. Duncan thought as he fell to the fell to the floor dead.
Anne screamed as she rushed to Duncan's side. She felt for a pulse and found none. She examined him and saw that it was fatal. She couldn't believe it. She'd watched him die twice in so many months. She headed for the phone when a sudden gasp made her turn around. She bent down again to feel for a pulse again and felt one.
"Oh, my God." Anne said as she headed for the phone again. She had reached the operator. Hello, operator, I need help."
Life reentered Duncan's body. He heard Anne and forced himself to his feet.
"I'm not sure of the address. It is-" Anne said surprized when Duncan's hand broke the connection.
Duncan was sore. Anne detected this despite the fact that Duncan made a small effort to hide that fact. Anne's hands went to where the wound was. She was shocked to see it completely healed.
"Now do you believe me?" Duncan asked as he led Anne back to the couch. They sat down across from each other.
All Anne could do was nod stunned.
"The onlly way I can be permanently killed is by beheading."
"That's why you carry the sword."
"Yes." Duncan proceeded to tell her about The Game, quickenings, everything.
"Why couldn't you tell me any of this before?"
Duncan's heart sank. All of his memories of Tessa returned. Ann noticed the great sadness in his eyes.
"The last peson I gave my heart to was killed in a carjacking. I was completely devastated. It was partially my fault. I should've been with her not inside the house." Duncan broke off not wanting to go into that area now. "I didn't care about anything. Couldn't care about anyone. I was so depressed I probably would've taken my on life if I could've."
Anne sat quietly and listened. She was moved by his story. Her mind flashed back to the picture she had seen.
"I was just recovering when I met you. I couldn't get close. I never wanted to be hurt that badly again."
"I would've understood. At least I would've know that it wasn't me. That you did like me but were too afraid to get hurt." Ann said.
"I never meant to hurt you." Duncan said.
"You've never been hurt like that before?"
"No. I was hurt a few times before but never like that. I usually didn't let anyone get that close." Duncan stood and went over to the desk. He opened the drawer and removed the box which contained the picture. He sat back down beside Ann. Duncan opened the box and removed the picture. "Her name was Tessa Noel. She was so vibrant. So alive. She was an artist. She liked to make sculpture out of metal, wood, clay. They were beautiful pieces." Duncan said as a tear rolled down his cheek. He brushed it away with the back of his hand.
Ann laid her hand on top of his. No words were necessary. They sat that way for several minutes before Duncan put the picture back into the box and closed it.
"Does Richie know about your being immortal." Ann said. She had a little trouble with the last word.
"You told him?"
"Not exactly. He was also killed that night. He was mortal up till then. He kinda figured it out when he woke up in the morgue." Duncan said with a little grin.
"Perfectly mortal like you. We've been friends for several years."
"Did that fall hurt?"
"Yes. I was sore everywhere. It hurt to breathe for the first two hours. I felt much better the next morning. It always hurts whenever I get injured or die. The injury heals very quickly but the soreness is there for a while. I also feel it after the quickening. Then it is some pain but mostly exhaustion."
Ann isn't sure how she feels about the fact that he carries a sword and commits homicide. Even if it is in self-defense.
Duncan detects this but knows she has to work it out herself.
"Dinner tonight?" Duncan asked.
"No. I need time to think." Anne said. She saw Duncan's reaction. "How about lunch tomorrow instead?"
Richie entered. "Duncan-"
Richie was stunned. He didn't know what to say or do.
"It's okay, Richie. I told her everything." Duncan said. He looked like a huge weight had been lifted from his shoulders.
"Hi, Anne. I hope you don't hold..."
"Hi. Richie. No. I know you were just trying to protect everyone involved."
Anne left and Duncan answered most of Richie's questions.