Duncan wasn’t speaking about Darius, in fact he wasn’t saying much of anything, but Richie had convinced him to play a game of chess to honour the ancient Immortal. Tessa had gone shopping, leaving them alone. They had been playing for two hours now, and Duncan still hadn’t spoken.
Duncan looked up from the board as he felt the approach of another Immortal and stood up to retrieve his sword. The events of the last few days had him more on edge than usual. After a year with the Highlander, Richie knew why his friend was nervous and turned to look at the door, ready to help, or run, if necessary.
“Duncan! Can I come aboard?” called Fitzcairn through the door. Duncan relaxed and walked towards the door.
“Of course Fitz, it’s open,” he replied.
“MacLeod,” Fitz greeted as he entered, his booming Shakespearean tones filling the cabin, “And Richie. It was actually you I wanted to see my lad. I need some advice.”
“From me?” Richie asked, confused.
“Duncan tells me you know a thing or two about motorcycles. I was hoping for your opinion on a recent acquisition of mine.”
“Uh, sure,” Richie replied, shrugging his shoulders. Fitz led the way back on deck and down to the shore. Once they reached the bank however, Richie danced ahead, his arms outstretched. “Oh, wow! Where did you find one of these in France?”
“Well, it’s not an entirely uncivilised country,” Fitz replied with a smile.
“I know, but Fitzcairn! This is a World War Two Harley Davidson! And in perfect condition too,” Richie cooed, lovingly passing a hand over the tank and saddle. That raised a small smile from Duncan, whose mood had brightened with the arrival of Fitz.
“I got it from some old farmer, apparently he’d had it in his barn since the Allies drove out the occupation forces,” Fitz explained.
“How does it ride?”
“Why don’t you try it?”
“Seriously?” Richie asked. Fitz nodded and tossed him the keys. Richie started her with a roar. A goofy smile lit up his face as he revved her before slipping her into gear and riding off down the embankment. Fitz glanced at Duncan and slapped him on the back.
“Mortal life is too short to be full of gloom. These last few days have been hard for us all, I thought the lad and the lady might need some cheer,” he explained.
“That was a nice thing to do Fitz, it’s really cheered him up, thank you. Although I’m not sure I like him riding about without a helmet on.”
“Relax laddie, it’s not like he can come to any real harm.”
“No, but I want him to enjoy as much of his life as possible without worrying about the Game,” Duncan replied, his sombre mood returning. Fitz nodded his head in understanding.
“Will you train him?”
“Hope I never have to, but if it comes to it, I will.”
“I hope you never have to, but he couldn’t ask for a better teacher, MacLeod. Meanwhile, let him enjoy his mortal life while he can, lad.”
“What are you two talking about?” Tessa said, making the two Immortals jump. She had approached them while they were watching Richie and neither one had heard her. Fitz broke into a broad grin, grabbed her hand and kissed it, bowing low as he did so.
“My dear Tessa!” he said, letting go of her, “I was just asking MacLeod when you’ll be departing this fair city.”
Tessa pulled a face.
“Sooner than we’d like; I have to be back in a week or so. But I think Duncan wants to get back sooner?” she said, looking to Duncan. Duncan nodded.
“I think there may be answers about who killed Darius back in the States,” he said, his face darkening. Fitz grew sombre too for a moment, but not forgetting his mission of mercy to cheer them all he soon recovered.
“Then, dear lady, I insist you allow me the honour of escorting you to dinner this evening. Richie and Duncan too of course,” Fitz said, taking Tessa’s hand. Tessa smiled. Before she could answer, they were distracted by the roar of an approaching engine echoing off the underside of the near bridge as Richie returned.
“Richie!” Tessa cried out, “I wish you wouldn’t ride so close to the river, especially without a helmet,” she exclaimed with Gallic exuberance, marching forward to continue her dressing down. Richie looked suitably abashed by her reprimand.
Once she was out of earshot, Fitz leaned over to Duncan and whispered,
“That bike was actually…ah…quite expensive. Left me with a…small cashflow dilemma, lad. I want to take you to this lovely little place I know, but… do you suppose…?”
Duncan rolled his eyes and sighed before reaching to his back pocket for his wallet.