I'm now posting this to Wattpad, so I created a cover for it :) (26th Aug 2018)
There was something about the two men who walked into the Haven that just made Kindred look at them. Two Toreadors, one Gangrel and three Brujah all found that they were watching the two walk towards the bar with more than just a passing glance.
"Mac, will you stop following me around," Richie said as he sat down at the bar and Mac took the seat beside him. "You know I'm perfectly capable of taking care of myself, so what the hell's got into you this time."
When it came to challenges and taking heads, Mac was usually a rules man, but ever since Richie had been challenged by another Immortal called Damon, the Highlander had been on edge.
"You're hunting a man who used to be my friend, Richie," Mac said in an almost perfectly calm voice, "I know him better than you, and I want to know what changed him."
Sometimes Mac's bleeding heart was more trouble than it was worth. Richie understood that sometimes there were explanations for things, hell he'd gone off the deep end after Mac's dark quickening, but Damon's approach had been underhand and very direct. Richie had tried to talk to the other Immortal while scrabbling for his life and Damon had come across as out for everything he could get.
"He's mine, MacLeod," Richie said in a very firm tone; on this he was totally decided, "I was the one he tried to kill. It wasn't some game, Mac, this was like an attempt to permanently terminate me. Now my information says he comes here, and this is where I'm going to stay until I find the bastard."
He had almost lost his head because Damon was a cheat. Surviving the ambush had been more luck than judgement and he had no plans to let the son of a bitch try again. Damon had left Seacouver so fast that he had not hidden his trail well and Richie had tracked him easily. Richie did not like the idea of someone like Damon cheating his way to the prize and normally Mac could have been on the same page as he was. Mac had tried to convince him to just let it go several times, but he was long past that; he took people trying to kill him quite personally these days. He did not break the staring contest with his friend until finally Mac nodded.
"Okay," the Highlander said with a resigned expression, "I have no right to interfere; it's just hard for me to believe what he has become, he used to be such a good man."
"Sorry, Mac, but he's not anymore," Richie replied; he did feel sympathy for MacLeod, but things changed, Immortals especially.
He had learned his lesson with Mako about not judging everything on first impressions, but Damon had been very obvious about his contempt and his desire to take his head. Richie didn't forgive things like that, not anymore.
"Let's have a beer," he suggested, since they were both sitting at the bar and he knew that even if Damon did show up Mac would not try and stop him.
Mac might not like what was going to happen, but the Highlander's code of honour would mean that he would let Richie do what he needed to. There might be some awkward silences for a while as Mac came to terms with it, but it would work out. When you were friends with Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod there were just some things you accepted.
When Frank walked into the Haven he knew something was off. His cop instincts fired as soon as he looked around even though, on the surface, everything looked normal. Not sure what it was, he made a beeline for the bar and sat on an empty stool a place away from a couple of men he hadn't seen before. Not that that was unusual in a place like the Haven. For some reason the taller of the men looked over at him and he gave a nod of his head and then ordered a drink, hoping that he hadn't just gained some unwanted Kindred attention.
Kindred made him nervous and the fact he couldn't tell them from normal people made him even more nervous, which was why he had come down to Lillie's club. They were people, people with fangs that enjoyed drinking blood, but people nonetheless, or at least that was what he kept trying to tell himself. Their rules were weird and some of them liked to push the boundaries, but he had to admit Luna seemed to keep his people in line most of the time. It was the Brujah that made him really edgy, but that had a lot to do with him being a cop and them being the mob. He refused to be intimidated. His partner was one of them and he hadn't known any different for a hell of a long time, so he was damn well going to get as much information as he could. Being informed was the best defence as far as he was concerned.
"So you know this place," were the words that caught Frank's attention as he accepted his drink, "how come?"
It was the blond and apparently younger of the two men who had spoken and Frank kept his eyes forward, but his ears open.
"I was friends with the owner once," the second man with the ponytail replied and Frank's interest level went up.
He thought that Lillie had owned the club for a very long time and the odds on these two being Kindred were getting better. Neither of the strangers looked old enough to quite fit how the taller of the two had said 'once'. That was one thing Frank was getting used to; the odd way Kindred viewed time. The younger one of the pair had obviously picked up on the use of the word as well.
"Oh," he said and Frank caught the hint of a smile out the corner of his eye, "old, old friend or just old friend?"
"Just a passing acquaintance," Duncan told Richie with a smile, "and it was quite a while ago. This place is a lot different from the one I knew."
Frank was almost sure he was listening to two Kindred having a conversation, or at least one Kindred and a mortal who knew the truth, but what caught his attention was movement from a table just off the bar. He knew the faces of the couple sitting there; they were Lillie's people, both Toreadors, and from the looks of it he didn't think he was the only one to have been listening in. Something about what the taller man had said seemed to have rattled them and as he watched, one of them slipped out of her chair and headed up to Lillie's office. Frank couldn't help wondering what was going on, but he had no way of finding out without drawing attention to himself, so he just settled down to wait.
Lillie was expecting Julian to turn up any time, so she was not pleased when there was a knock on the door and as she opened it she discovered it was not the Prince of the city. If there was one thing she did not like it was being kept waiting.
"Yes?" she said, hiding her annoyance, after all it was not Maxine's fault that Julian was late again.
"Apologies for the interruption, Primogen," her subordinate said with a bow of her head, "but there are two men in the club you should know about."
Not really what she had expected, but she motioned the other Toreador into the room.
"And why, pray tell," she asked, "should I be interested in mortals?"
If they had been Kindred, Maxine would have called them that, and she was not in the mood for mortals at the moment. What she was in the mood for was giving Julian a lesson in manners, but she made it a rule never to take such things out on her delicate Toreadors.
"There is something," Maxine paused, clearly searching for words, "different about them and one claims to have known you."
At least it was a diversion.
"Do you have a name for this mysterious man?" she asked; if she did know him it might be fun to let Julian wait for a change.
"The other one called him MacLeod," Maxine told her. "He is tall and has long black hair which he wears in a ponytail. He moves like a predator."
That sparked Lillie's curiosity and a long forgotten memory of a dark eyed Scott. It made her smile.
"I knew a MacLeod once," she said, half to herself, half to her companion, "but that was sixty years ago, and he was mortal."
The man she remembered had been so alive that even though she had found him intoxicating she had never considered embracing him. It would have been sacrilege.
She looked at her subordinate contemplatively for a few moments. The meeting with Julian was important, but this could turn out to be far more interesting. She was of course fighting the eternal Kindred curse: boredom. Playing with a man who claimed to know her might be fun, and she could always break off when Julian finally decided to make an appearance.
"I'll be down in a few minutes," she told her companion, "keep an eye on them 'til then."
"Of course," Maxine replied with a small smile and Lillie had no doubt her subordinate knew just what she had in mind. "Oh, and the Prince's cop is downstairs as well, he came in a few minutes after the other two."
Lillie's red covered lips drew into a smile to match her companion's, it was possible there was more fun to be had this evening than she had first thought.
When Lillie came down the stairs and walked across the floor of her club, she was at her most devastating. She had made sure she looked every inch the head of her clan and when it came to Toreadors, that was saying something. Her ability to snare men was unequalled even among her peers, and she saw several mortals staring at her openly as she moved. Her Kindred minions smiled approvingly as she passed, and even those of other clans gave her a second look. It pleased her and almost distracted her from her target, but as she walked through the parting sea of bodies she finally laid eyes on the mystery man and almost faltered.
Memory was such a fragile thing, but the black hair and the square set of the shoulders struck a chord in her that she could not quite dismiss. The brief affair she had had with a dark eyed Scot so many years ago had made an impression on her, and something stirred within Lillie as she looked at the back of this new MacLeod. It was when she heard him speak to his companion in a deep voice with the slightest hint of an accent that her heart actually beat in her chest. Not a single Kindred in the club could have missed her reaction, but she was so focused on MacLeod that she did not remotely care.
This mortal stranger had her whole attention and she took another step forward. It was then that he stopped speaking in the middle of a sentence and stiffened as if he had felt something at well, and then he was turning. Lillie could not quite believe it as she saw his face; this was not some stranger, this was the same man.
"Duncan MacLeod?" Lillie said, unable to help herself as she took what her eyes were telling her.
He should have been old and grey, but he was just the same and she did not know what to do.
"Lillie?" the man replied, recognition clear in his features.
Being a Toreador, Lillie knew she could be impulsive and irrational, acting on emotions before thinking and she had worked hard to quell that side of her nature, but it was not enough for the reaction that ran through her at that moment. Duncan MacLeod was one of those men who were hard to forget and it had been a short, but very intense affair between them; emotions that came back full force.
They stared at each other in motionless disbelief for long seconds and then Lillie acted as her nature took over. She stepped forward, reaching out to touch what she had thought long lost and she was met halfway. Winding her arms around the intoxicating man she pulled him close as he did the same to her and their lips met in a passionate kiss as if they had never been apart. It was at that moment that she knew he was the same man, that this MacLeod was her MacLeod and that was the point her thoughts kicked back in.
They drew apart by mutual agreement as if Duncan's thoughts were on exactly the same track as hers.
"But you're not..," she said at exactly the same time as her companion.
Neither of them chose to finish the sentence.
"A friend of yours, Mac?" was the sound that distracted her from staring at the impossibly young face in front of her and she glanced at the young man still sitting at the bar.
"Richie," MacLeod said almost formally, "this is Lillie."
"Pleased to meet you," Lillie said, gathering herself and remembering her clan responsibilities.
This was strange, but then many things in life were and she pulled the mantel of Primogen back around herself.
"We should go upstairs," she said, turning on her charm and facing Duncan again, "where we can talk."
It was clear that MacLeod was as curious as she was, but he turned to his friend almost straight away. The younger man appeared mortal and he could make things awkward, but then Duncan appeared mortal as well so for all she knew they could have been the same.
"Go, Mac," Richie said with a knowing grin, "I can drink alone."
It was almost as if the younger man expected MacLeod to be helpless before her, which was interesting in and of itself. She exerted her Kindred power just a little to make sure he did not hesitate and he offered her his arm in a very gentlemanly fashion. Touching him made her skin tingle and she had no idea why this man had such an effect on her, but it was intoxicating.
"Don't get into trouble," MacLeod threw over his shoulder to his friend as Lillie led him to her office and that was just greeted by laughter.
It made Lillie smile; she could see the humour in the statement as well.
Frank was more than a little shocked to see Lillie acting so uncontrolled, but now he was even more interested. The guy who's name he had gathered was Richie, was still laughing as he turned back to the bar.
"Don't you just hate it when that happens," Richie said in a conversational tone before going back to his drink.
The smile was friendly, but the look in the other man's eyes warned Frank's cop instincts that all was not quite as it seemed. What he appeared to be looking at was a teenager drinking illegally in a night club, who had just lost his older companion. Frank already knew that Richie was older than he looked when the bartender had checked his ID, something to which he had seemed resigned. There was also something about the way Richie held himself, an air that would have told rivals that this man knew how to take care of himself. Frank was almost certain he was about to enter a conversation with a Kindred, especially after Lillie's reaction to MacLeod.
"Par for the course around here," Frank returned with a smile of his own when the other man looked back at him.
If he wanted to know about them, he was going to have to talk to more than Lillie and Julian, so Frank hoped he didn't look too keen.
"You from out of town?" he enquired in a vaguely friendly way.
"Yep," Richie replied, seemingly happy for a casual conversation, "just in the area looking for a business associate. San Francisco is a nice city, and it's warmer down here than up north."
"Nights are shorter though," Frank decided to see what sort of reaction he could get.
To his surprise the man sitting next to him just grinned and cast an eye around the room.
"Well you can't have everything," Richie said lightly.
Frank went from almost sure to just about positive after that and decided that he might as well pump the only Kindred in the place who didn't know who he was for as much information as possible.
"Frank," he said and stuck out his hand.
"Richie," his companion introduced himself and shook the offered limb.
The grip that took hold of his hand was very strong and Frank added another tick on his score sheet.
"Well since I seem to have lost the only person I know in this town," the Richie said amiably, "can I buy you a drink, Frank? Then you can tell where all the local hot spots are."
That was okay with Frank and so he settled in for what he hoped would be a very interesting exchange.
Lillie planted a kiss on Duncan's smiling lips almost before the door of the office closed. She hadn't felt a need like the one cursing through her body at that moment for quite some time, and she almost let it consume her. The fact that her desire was more than mirrored in the eyes of her companion did not help her to be rational. She was at the mercy of her more basic urges and it was difficult to resist.
"Oh, Duncan," she said as his hands ran up the back of her dress, "it's been so long. You should be an old man, but you're still so ... alive."
It was partly a question, but her companion was too busy nibbling at her neck to be interested, or so it seemed. All logic had been thrown out the window the moment they had lain eyes on each other and neither of them were doing very well at pulling it back. Lillie, however, being Primogen of her clan, had not reached that position without a little self control and, fighting again her own nature, she pushed her companion away just for a moment.
"What are you?" she asked breathlessly.
Duncan smiled at that, and ran his fingers down the side of her face.
"I could ask the same thing," Duncan returned as if they weren't talking about something neither of them could understand, "but you're not going to tell me, are you? Does it matter, Lillie? I'm here, you're here, let's just forget the details."
It was dangerous, it was confusing, but Lillie did not know how to reply to that. She should have been questioning her motives and the influence that Duncan seemed to have over her. She might have, had it been just her, but she could feel he was just as out of control. They were interacting on a level she did not fully comprehend. When they had last met she had put it down to simple male/female chemistry, but with the new knowledge she now had she did not think it was that simple. There was only so much self control that she could exert, and, staring into Duncan's deep brown eyes, she found out where her limit was. With a smile of total abandon she pulled him close.
"You're right," she said seductively, "just don't tell my friends."
Several of Duncan's shirt buttons were not up to the test of her rather fast fingers and they bounced across the floor as she swiftly began to relieve him of some of his clothes. Just about then, Lillie couldn't have cared if the Prince himself had been about to walk in, she had thoughts only for getting into Duncan's pants.
It was like a crazy dance as they slowly moved across the floor relieving each other of items of clothing as they went. Lillie pulled off Duncan's shirt and threw it off to the side, heedless of where it landed and, in response, Duncan popped the fastening on the back of her dress. As he slowly pulled down the zipper, she waited, poised and then let it fall to the ground with only the slightest shrug of her shoulders. She was wearing very little underneath and smiled at the way Duncan's eyes ran over her body. For a little while she let him look and then pulled him close by the belt on his pants, while releasing the buckle so she could yank it free.
There was something of a battle to the whole thing as they both sought to make the other reach the point of complete undress first, but of course Lillie was at a disadvantage. She did not let Duncan have it all his own way though and she made sure he was fully naked before she allowed him to lower her onto the soft, sheepskin rug on the floor. At least it was warmer than the top of the desk would have been and a lot softer on the skin.
"You do things to me, I can't explain," she said with a feral smile. "I like that."
She was rewarded for that with a kiss and she arched up against him as he proceeded to kiss down her neck. All Duncan's attention was on her and she liked that; she liked that a lot. The world had narrowed down to this and Lillie did not care about anything else. For a while she let him explore, enjoying the touch of his lips and his hands, but she wanted more and soon she felt the need to take control.
When she used her Kindred strength to lift up and then flip them, so she came to rest straddling Duncan, he appeared rather surprised, but she licked her lips and gave him her most sultry expression and his worry did not last long.
"My turn to play," she said and ran her hands down his chest.
"Always happy to oblige," was the quick response, but Lillie soon made sure Duncan lost the ability to speak by bending forward and starting to nibble on his torso.
Her nails made little red streaks down his sides, and Duncan was nothing if not responsive. She had forgotten just how much. She was in the mood to make sure this was going to be an experience neither of them were going to forget for a very long time, especially as it seemed neither of them were likely to run out of years in the near future.
"Remember last time?" she enquired with a mischievous glint in her eye, and pulled away slightly.
"How could I forget?" was the instant reply, and a large smile filled Duncan's features.
Oh, they were definitely on the same page and Lillie let her passions rise. They had played long and hard the last time they had met and Lillie wanted to play just as hard this time. She remembered Duncan's almost supernatural stamina and, given what she knew now, it was possible it really was supernatural, but that was a detail she really didn't care about. All she was interested in was trying it out. She would worry about they whys and wherefores later.
End of Part 1