Three pairs of eyes tracked the blond young man as he walked through the door of the Central Perk, and took in every detail as he sat down at the counter and ordered. Then the gazes all converged on each other and Rachel raised her eyebrows at Monica.
“That is, isn’t it?” she said quietly.
“Maybe he didn’t see us,” Ross suggested hopefully as he saw the look on his sister’s face.
The expression on Monica’s face was vacantly stunned.
[He ignored me, he looked straight at me and he ignored me!]
The thoughts tracked through her head registering anger and disbelief in her expression, alternately.
“He looked right through me,” she said in a voice that couldn’t decide what volume to use.
“I’m sure he was just thinking of something else at the time,” Ross tried again, sometimes it took work to bolster Monica’s confidence. “You know, when your mind’s on something else you just don’t see what’s in front of your face.”
Both women looked dubious. The palaeontologist’s sister was doing her best to look like a woman scorned, but the little glances of anguish didn’t do much for the image. With a hard stare from their male companion, Rachel chose to exercise her vocal chords.
“Sure, that’s it,” she said brightly, looking over to where the subject of the conversation was reading a magazine. “Why don’t you go over and say hi, Mon?”
There was indecision written all over the dark haired chef and she just sat still, biting her lip.
[What if he ignored me deliberately, what if he never wants to talk to me ever again, what if he’s discovered ... well anything?]
“I’ll go with you,” Rachel finally offered, and tried an encouraging smile.
When the inept waitress stood up and pulled Monica to her feet as well, there was not a lot of choice left. The two friends half walked, half crept around the sofa, like a pair of nervous school girls.
“What do I say?” Monica whispered hoarsely.
“Try, hello,” was the return suggestion as the two just stopped.
They stood there, just behind him, in total silence for a little over thirty seconds, and then he finally noticed them.
[There are two stunning women staring at me. ]
Richie was having trouble believing his own thoughts. Slowly the magazine lowered and his eyes came up, his expression was lightly surprised and a little unsure.
[Play it cool, Ryan.]
A half smile played across his lips and his eyebrows rose at the sight of the pair.
“Can I help you?” he asked as they remained frozen. [Please can I help you.]
The enquiry kick started Monica’s brain, but it didn’t guarantee coherent thought. The handsome, friendly face in front of her virtually guaranteed it’s absence, as it was.
“Ethan?” she said hopefully. [What ever possessed me to let him go?] Monica’s thoughts were beginning to run away with her. [Those eyes, that mouth... Oh, that mouth.]
His eyebrows rose a little more and the smile widened.
[I wish.] Lack of the imperative to pursue the opposite sex had never been one of Richie’s problems.
“I think you have me confused with someone else,” he said lightly. [Man, I wish you didn’t.] “Not that I mind at all.” [Not in the slightest.]
The darker haired one of the pair began to turn a gentle pink and she tried to splutter out an apology. [He’s someone else. Ha! I’m going to die.] Rachel, however, got there first.
“Oh, thank god,” she said cheerfully, “there’s nothing worse than being ignored by an old boyfriend.”
[Rachel, I don’t believe you said that.]
The focus of their attention found that amusing.
[He laughed, he thinks I’m an idiot. Those eyes.]
He seemed a little stumped by all the notice that was being taken of him, but he really couldn’t complain. It wasn’t everyday he had two beautiful women hanging on his every word.
[Say something, Ryan, say something.] “Well I’m flattered,” he said as Monica reached the cherry red stage. “Richie Ryan.” [Name, that was good Rich, but not good enough. If you don’t come up with something soon, they’re going to go away.]
He stuck out his hand and Rachel shook it politely, her companion did not seem to be able to decide what to do.
“Hi,” the young woman said, “I’m Rachel and this is Monica. Sorry for interrupting your read.”
[Your read.] Monica’s mind was screaming at her, what she actually did on the outside was smile. [Sure, Rach. Sorry we’re standing here like a couple of lemons. Sorry we invaded your afternoon.]
“No problem,” Richie replied with a smile that threatened to blow his companions’ minds, “it wasn’t a great article anyway. Can I buy either of you two ladies anything.” [You blew it, too forward.]
He looked at the expressions on the two women’s faces and prayed. Charm was not something anyone would ever accuse young Mr Ryan of having in anything less than bountiful quantities.
“Oh, that’s so sweet,” Rachel gushed, much to Monica’s chagrin: [I’m going to kill you when we get home.] If looks could have atomised things, Rachel would have been dust. “But we already have some drinks, thanks. Why don’t you come over and join us?” she continued, oblivious.
At that point the waitress’ friend’s thoughts just stopped, dead. The look on her companion’s face spoke of panic, but the dark haired chef couldn’t do anything about the situation as Richie accepted. The three moved back towards the couch and Monica finally re-found her voice.
“This is my brother, Ross,” she introduced, her hostess side coming out in well trained obedience. “Ross this is Richie.”
The two men smiled at each other and shook hands.
“So who’s this guy that looks like me?” it seemed like a valid topic of conversation so the Immortal launched in. [ That was such a dumb question.]
“Oh, he’s just some guy Monica dated a while back,” Rachel did not seem to realise what her openness was doing to her friend.
[You are not my friend, you never were. Die, die, die.] Monica’s brain was on overtime.
“You know it’s remarkable, you look exactly like him, from the hair right down to the tip of your nose,” Rachel really didn’t know when to stop.
[Eyes, mouth.] One track barely described her friend.
Richie did have the decency to blush at her bluntness, even as he laughed.
“So what brings you to our neck of the woods?” The male member of the trio leapt in as the image of Rachel revealing their deepest secrets bounced into his head.
[Thank you, Ross.]
“I’m here to meet someone,” the blue eyed individual replied calmly. [I’m going to chop his head off and writhe in agony as his life-force passes to me, but you don’t need to know that.] His face remained totally placid. [Settle down, Richie, it’s a nice afternoon.]
The others saw him relax, and her brother’s intervention had the same effect on Monica.
“Business, or pleasure?” she asked brightly and couldn’t stop herself hoping it was business.
“Oh, definitely, business,” the other replied, “but the guy didn’t show for our appointment so I came in here.” [But I’ll get him next time.]
The well bred hostess side of Monica was surfacing and small talk was her speciality.
“So what do you do, exactly?” she enquired.
Their guest sat back in his chair, easing into the situation nicely. The way Monica’s eyes kept eyeing him up and down had not escaped him, although she didn’t seem to realise she was doing it, and he was beginning to think his stay in New York might not be so bad.
“I manage a dojo,” he told them smoothly and secretly smiled at the way the women’s eyes lit up. [Ryan, you lucked out.]
This was turning out better and better all the time.
They’d been chatting for about half an hour and just about all the information that could be gleaned from idle conversation had been exhausted. Monica had settled right down after she’d found out Richie’s age and Rachel seemed quite happy to let her friend play for the young man’s attention. Ross put his oar in every now and then, but he was more a clinical observer than a participant. It was as the topic of the discourse moved on to basketball that Richie’s head shot up.
[What the?] and his eyes pinned down Chandler as he walked through the door.
The data processor stood in the doorway just staring for a while and then he walked towards his friends. The smile on his face was half genuine and half forced. [This is bad.]
“So who’s your new friend?” he asked, his stare never leaving the stranger’s face.
“Richie Ryan,” the Immortal introduced himself and climbed to his feet. [And who the hell are you?]
The two were eyeing each other like a pair of circling lions, and it was difficult to miss. The moment might have gone on a lot longer had Phoebe not also chosen that time to walk in. She wandered through the portal, came to a dead halt as she saw the two men and put her hand to her head.
“Ooh, bad vibes,” she commented loudly.
[Bad vibes!] Richie could see the hostility.
She then proceeded to stand directly in Chandler’s eye line. [Not now, Phoebs.]
“Is this a man thing or can we all join in?” she asked with the most inane smile on her face.
Meanwhile, the others were all trying to work out why their friend had taken an instant dislike to their new one. You could almost cut the atmosphere with a knife.
“Did we miss something?” Ross inquired as he tried to distract Chandler from the very hard stare he was giving Richie.
[Only that your buddy is Immortal and he habitually cuts people’s heads off.] Richie was more than a little disappointed.
“Waiting for somebody, are we?” the data processor said, totally ignoring the fact that his companion had spoken.
“Not you,” the blond individual replied, [But I could make an exception.] “but I do have a job to do in town. You might want to be looking out for a big guy with a face like the back end of a bus. He has a tendency to stab people in the back whilst they’re trying to conclude their business.”
[Subtlety not your strong point then, kid.]
“I’ll take that under advisement,” Chandler replied evenly.
By now the rest of the party were extremely confused. One minute there had been a lively, friendly conversation going on, and the next there was a Mexican stand-off.
“Maybe I should be going,” Richie said, finally breaking eye contact with the older man. [Various parts of my anatomy will hate me forever, I hope you realise that.]
“That might be wise,” the normally personable man agreed blandly. [I won’t be happy until you’re out of state.]
It was not to be, however, because unfortunately for both of them, Monica had seen red. If she didn’t fancy Richie something rotten, she may have paid attention the signs Chandler was sending out, but she had her own plans in mind.
“Nonsense,” she said and stood up, winding her arm into her new friend’s, “Richie’s a stranger in town, we can’t just let him sit here and waste away.”
[I think I’m in trouble.] It may have been an understatement on the part of Richie’s brain.
The glare she sent Chandler could have killed, and much to the blond Immortal’s surprise the man appeared to wither slightly. If he’d been able to, the younger individual might have run, but Monica’s grip was like a vice. The data processor opened his mouth, raised a hand and then broke off, he couldn’t think of what to say. He then narrowed his eyes at Richie and decided on something.
“May I have just a moment of your time?” he requested with a fake smile and indicated the men’s room.
Richie’s gaze went from the woman on his arm, to Chandler, to the door and then to the men’s room. What choice did he have. [I can think of better ideas.]
“We’ll be right back,” he said with slightly more lightness than he felt.
The two vacated the area, leaving everyone but Phoebe looking as if they’d been struck dumb. The blonde, young woman had sat down, and didn’t seem to be in the least bit bothered by the whole thing.
“I don’t understand why they have to fight all the time,” she said, as if it were the most useless piece of information.
Suddenly she was the centre of attention.
The men’s room door slammed shut just after Chandler walked through it.
“Okay,” he said quickly, “cards on the table, are you a head hunting sort of guy?”
Richie never had a chance to answer.
They were interrupted by the sound of a toilet being hurriedly flushed. The rotund man who darted out of the cubical made a dash for the door, giving them both very strange looks.
“I’ve got to remember to check the room before I start these kinds of conversations,” Chandler commented, more to himself than to his companion.
[Good call.] Richie’s mind commented.
The other Immortal gave a quick glance around, just in case and tried to start the discourse again.
“I’m in town after one Immortal,” he said honestly. “His name’s Garland Baker and he came looking for a friend of mine and found me instead.”
Chandler finally took a moment to look at this rival Immortal and consider the situation. He was of course counting on the fact that a Quickening in a men’s room would be very public and very messy, he wasn’t armed at the moment. There was nothing to stop Richie from taking his head, but then again, exploding toilets would not be pleasant.
Then the data processors brain finally caught up with the information.
“Garland Baker,” he said slowly, “I’ve heard of him. That’s big game you’re after. I know several people who’d like to see him amputated at the neck.” [Me, for a start, but I’m not about to tell you that.]
“You and me both,” was how Richie replied, and they almost seemed to have come to an arrangement, “if Duncan hadn’t been in Paris, there would have been one less MacLeod. For once being shorter than him was an advantage.” [Damn, I don’t believe I let that slip.]
His companion’s eyes became a little wider. [Oh, god, he’s heard of Mac.]
“You know Duncan MacLeod?” he asked slowly.
[Hedge, Ryan, Hedge] But his mouth wasn’t playing ball. “Yeah,” the blond Immortal replied, he hadn’t expected the name to mean anything to Chandler. “He taught me everything I know.” [Brilliant , Rich, you’re a genius.]
At that point his companion actually smiled.
“Well that puts a different light on the whole subject,” he said, and much to Richie’s surprise patted him on his arm. “Know his kinsman Connor?”
Thought drew to a shuddering halt.
“We’ve met,” the younger man replied, unsure of where this conversation was going, “I’m staying at his place while I’m in town. He’s off somewhere at the moment, looking for a some sword or other.”
It was difficult to get a handle on Chandler’s mood, it had just changed so suddenly. This had to be one of the weirdest Immortals he’d ever met.
[This guy must have seen way too much of the sixties,] the younger man told himself.
The two reappeared from the bathroom a few minutes later, and suddenly they were the centre of attention once more. Since the conversation between the group of friends stopped as soon as they emerged, it was obviously about them both. The fat man in the corner was still giving them strange looks as well.
“My mistake,” Chandler said brightly as they wandered back over, “I mistook Richie for someone else.” There was no telling what that sentence did to the thought of the rotund man in the corner, but the data processors own were running free. [I still don’t trust him, but since there’s nothing I can do about it, I’ll just have to live with it.]
Monica was giving him a hard stare.
“Then why did you ask who he was?” Rachel often missed the big picture, but never the little things.
“Oh, you know,” the data processor returned, screwing up his face in a very Chandler expression, “guy stuff.”
[For guy, insert Immortal and you’ll get a clearer picture.] Richie was not saying anything at this point. [It’s a fear for life sort of thing, and I really wish I wasn’t here.]
Suddenly this conversation didn’t matter, Monica had decided that they were leaving.
“Oh well, that’s all right then,” she said icily, for Chandler’s benefit, “but you must let us make up for the Neanderthal behaviour, Richie. We’re going back to my and Rachel’s apartment, why don’t you come along?”
There was something about the way she said it that made it impossible to refuse. It was more difficult to say no to, than the Godfather.
“Sure,” the younger Immortal said brightly, and forced a smile, [So long as your friend doesn’t come at me with a carving knife I’d love to.] “that sounds like fun.” [About as much fun as being run through with a rusty sabre if this tension keeps up, but I’m game.]
There was no further discussion, nobody argued with Monica.
Richie was impressed by his new companions residence and he wandered across the room appreciatively.
“Nice place you have here,” he said cheerfully, trying to figure out how he could take his coat off without someone offering to take it for him.
He could just see it now:
“Let me hang that up for you,” ... Any of the myriad of people that seemed to gather in this place.
“No that’s fine.” ... himself.
“It’s no trouble,” ... The awkward shuffle as he tried to fold the garment so no one would notice what it carried. ... A couple of seconds when there was no reaction, and then :
“There’s a sword in your coat.”
It would not be a pretty sight. In the end he went for the sling it over the back of a chair manoeuvre. [Just nobody sit on it, please.] Paranoia was a difficult thing to control. If he’d know Monica better he probably would have chosen a different course of action, and little did he know he had approximately five minutes before she could bare it sitting there no longer.
[Coats on the coat hook, cushions on the chairs.] Monica just couldn’t help it.
Chandler was still getting the cold shoulder, even after the sudden change of heart he appeared to have had. Monica was not going to forgive him lightly, for putting her new friend in such an uncomfortable few minutes, and he was going to pay for every second. Since he was relatively happy with Richie’s presence, he decided to take the hint.
“Well since everything’s unfolding so well,” he said lightly, “I’ll be going. If you need me I’ll be right next door.” [Don’t blame me if he turns out to be a mad axe murderer. The likely hood of which is much bigger than you think.]
He smiled blandly at Monica, who just glared back.
“Tea or coffee?” the black haired woman asked as her other friend left. [We just came from a coffee shop, Mon, what are you doing?]
“No thanks, I’m fine,” the Immortal replied with a smile that could have killed a dozen prom queens. [Just warn me if you have any other friends who are going to appear out of the woodwork.]
The door swung open.
“Hey, guys, what’s got Chandler so pissed?” Joey chose the moment to enter.
He drew up short as he spotted Richie and it was possible to see the thoughts meander across his face. There was the surprise, the connection and then the beginning of a question. His arm came up in a vague pointing gesture and his mouth half opened.
“Not Ethan,” the Immortal put in quickly with a smile. [He definitely must have made an impression.]
He could see this was going to be a common theme.
“Thank god,” the actor said with a sudden grin, “I thought Monica was backsliding there, for a while.”
The woman in question was beginning to shake. [I’m going to line you all up and shoot every last one of you. Or maybe I should make that torture to death.] She needn’t have worried, but then again, telling Monica not to worry was like asking a priest not to pray. Richie decided to come to the rescue with a neutral comment.
“Nice view,” he said and inched towards the window. [Buildings, well they’re good buildings anyway.]
The company gradually divided into two groups as Monica wandered over to comment on the view and the others gravitated towards the kitchen to have a private word.
“So who is this guy?” Joey asked in a whisper that Richie heard, but ignored.
“Name’s Richie, he manages a dojo some place up north,” Rachel replied in an equally unsubtle whisper.
“Monica has the hots for him, huh?” subtlety was not one of the actor’s strong points.
Both Ross and Rachel glared at him, but Phoebe missed the gist of the conversation as usual.
“Yeah,” she said brightly, and way too loudly,” and he’s not seventeen.”
Now, even if he’d didn’t have sensitive hearing, Richie couldn’t have pretended not to hear that. [Seventeen, what’s this about seventeen. No way I look that young, is there?] His eyebrows shot up at the inference and Monica went a deep shade of pink. It was a good colour for her, but the way she just wanted to curl up and die was not great for her heart.
“There was a small misunderstanding with Ethan,” she tried to cover her embarrassment unsuccessfully, “um, he was a little younger than he first told me.” [I slept with a guy who was still at school, oh god, I can never admit that.]
The Immortal tried to look sympathetic, but was having trouble not seeing the funny side. [Oops.] He would have had a problem not actually laughing if it hadn’t been for the fact that something out the window caught his eye. There was the glint of sunlight on metal and then the glass in front of him gained two holes in rapid succession. He felt his body jerk twice and then looked down stupidly to see two growing patched of red on his nice white shirt.
There was a scream trying to come out of Monica’s mouth, but it seemed to be stuck just behind her tonsils.
“Ouch,” Richie said in a surprised little voice, and promptly fell over.
“Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god,” Rachel had a little vocabulary problem. “he’s been ... been ... shot!”
Monica knelt down beside her fallen guest and waved her hands in his general direction as if it would do some good. She was somewhat incoherent. [Blood, there’s blood everywhere. It’s going to stain the carpet.] There was something very practical about Monica’s brain no matter what it had to deal with.
“I’ll call the emergency services,” Ross said as every one else seemed to just stand there in shock.
“No!” Richie managed the instruction in a small strangled voice.
This could be difficult to explain, but no way he was ending up in the morgue.
“Chandler,” he said breathlessly as he lay on the floor trying to figure out if he was dying, “go get Chandler.” [He’s going to hate me forever, but explaining a dead guy with a sword will make him hate me more.]
It was a very strange request, but since no one was particularly used to having a man shot in the living room, Rachel fled for the door. Phoebe passed Monica a drying cloth and she set about trying to prevent her new friend bleeding to death.
Chandler was sitting in his living room, totally oblivious to anything that was going on when the door burst in to reveal a panicking Rachel.
“Windows ... glass ... blood,” she tried to get a sentence out, but wasn’t having much luck. “The, the, ... bullets ... cute guy ... shot.”
“Do I get any clues, or is this the bonus round?” the data processor had gleaned very little information from the waitress’ montage and his humour was sarcastic as usual.
This did not go down very well with Rachel, who used her anger to actually find a voice. She stepped forward, grabbed Chandler by the collar and hauled him into a standing position.
“He’s been shot,” she managed one word at a time. “Someone shot him through the window.”
“Who?” it was a fair guess, but the young looking man wanted to make sure.
“Richie!” it was almost a yell.
All coherence left Rachel again as panic reasserted itself. Her ability to deal with any situations such as crises had been surgically removed at birth.
“Okay, Rach,” Chandler said, thinking very fast and taking charge of the situation, “you stay here. Don’t do anything, and I’ll handle this.”
She nodded mutely and he made a dash for the door.
Next door was chaos. Everyone was either hovering in a state of total confusion, or trying to prevent their guest from expiring where he lay. Since Richie seemed to have placed his faith in Chandler, when the man in question came through the door the panic flooded minds of his companions centred squarely on him.
[This could be tricky.] That did not quite describe the situation.
The other Immortal walked over to where his comrade was lying and looked down. The scenarios playing through his head were not pretty and they did nothing to improve his mood. To put it mildly, Chandler Bing was annoyed.
“Are you dying?” he asked bluntly, much to the shock of all his companions. [You may have just blown ten years of my life, I hope you’re pleased with yourself.]
The way the room was going in and out of focus and spots were dancing before his eyes gave Richie a clue as to the answer to that question.
“That would be a fair guess,” he said from behind gritted teeth. [And I’m sorry I really am, but you’re going to have to clear up the mess.]
This had gone from the realms of unusual to the completely bizarre.
“We have to get him to a hospital,” Monica had rediscovered her need to control things.
“No!” both Immortals were definitely agreed on one thing.
“That would be a very bad idea,” Chandler informed everybody. [Explaining how the hell he was shot is going to open a whole can of worms that I do not want to go into.]
Richie groaned as Monica forgot what she was doing for a moment and pushed the wrong place on his torso. The other Immortal was way down on sympathy.
“Oh, if you’re going to die, why don’t you get on and do it!” it was one of those times he really wished he’d thought before opening his mouth. [Verbal flood alert.]
Everyone was looking at him as if he’d just shot Richie himself.
“Thanks so much for the sympathy,” the prone Immortal responded quietly [It means so much to me.] “I don’t think you have long to wait.”
That was an understatement, he’d only just managed to get the line out when death caught up with him. One second he was staring up at Monica, the next he was limp in her arms. She just sat there, stunned.
No-one had noticed that Rachel had made her way back into the room.
“Oh, he’s dead isn’t he?” she said in a very small voice. “They’ll be too late.”
It took a moment for Chandler to cotton on to that thread of information.
“Who’ll be too late?” he asked very slowly, turning his gaze back to her.
“The paramedics and the police,” she said heart brokenly.
The Immortal’s face was turning black with all the storm clouds it was gathering.
“Which part of my instructions didn’t you understand?” he asked pointedly. “Was it the ‘don’t’, the ‘do’ or the ‘anything’, that slipped past you?” [It wasn’t a difficult thing to ask, not complicated or even requiring thought!]
The young woman looked as if she was going to burst into hysterical floods.
“Leave her alone, Chandler,” Ross came leaping to her rescue. “The guy’s dead, what else were we supposed to do?”
“Nothing,” the Immortal was adamant, “that’s all you had to do. Listen very carefully when I say, very, very, VERY, bad things will happen if the police or any one else find him here. There is no time to explain now, but we are going to tidy this place up and when the cops get here we are going to pretend like nothing has happened.”
He looked from startled face to startled face, one by one.
“Do you all understand?” this was a face of Chandler no-one had seen before.
“But he’s like, um, dead,” Phoebe pointed out with an innocent stare.
It earned her a very hard glance in reply.
“Drop the act, Phoebs,” the Immortal said pointedly, “I’ve seen the tattoo. Those little shorts you borrowed off Monica don’t hide it so well. Interesting place to put it by the way.”
“Thanks,” she said brightly and smiled, “it was my idea.”
The entirety of the rest of the room had lost the conversation a little way back. The behaviour of both their friends was bordering on the completely crazy.
“We have to hide him,” Chandler took everyone’s shattered wills in an iron like grasp.
“How about the bathroom?” now her Watcher identity was no longer a secret, Phoebe had no problem lending a few suggestions.
A nod was all she received as an acknowledgement, and the conscious Immortal gently pulled Monica from where she was still kneeling.
“Joey, take his shoulders,” the data processor instructed forcefully.
At first the actor hesitated.
“But this is, like, a felony, right?” he said anxiously.
“Not if they don’t find out about it,” Chandler was in no mood to discuss the matter. [Time is t minus five minutes and counting.]
The brusque manner was not working, however, so he changed tack.
“Look,” he said evenly [Deep breaths, Chandler, you can do it.], “I promise I will explain everything, but after we have dealt with the emergency services.”
With a little more coaxing, Joey finally picked up Richie’s shoulders and the two men dumped him in the bath tub. Chandler shut the door with a sigh of relief. It was then, however, that he noticed obstacle number two: Monica had picked up Richie’s coat. Shortly thereafter she produced the rapier from beneath it.
“That is not a carving knife,” Rachel was on the verge of hysterics again.
“Phoebe, hide it,” there was no time for idle discussion.
The police were renown for their prompt arrival, if you didn’t need them in a hurry. Time eventually ran out a minute or so later, when there was a firm knock on the door.
“This is the police, please open the door,” came the instructions from beyond.
Chandler reached the portal first, and glanced at everyone just to make sure they weren’t about to loose it. With a huge smile on his face he opened the entrance and parted his arms as if greeting visitors.
“Hi, come in, come in,” he said cheerfully. “You must be Diane and Clive, great outfits.”
He turned and grinned at everyone else.
“Everybody, Diane and Clive are finally here,” he told them all to almost no reaction.
Only Phoebe caught on, or at least tried to.
“Hi,” she said winsomely, “it’s so nice to meet you. Can I get you anything?”
The two officers were looking slightly confused. [Thank you god, if they fall for this I’ll never sin again. Well at least I’ll try not to, you’ll give me the odd head here and their won’t you?]
“We’re here to investigate the report of a murder,” the female partner in the police team tried firmly.
“Of course you are,” Chandler said brightly, “but no-one’s found the body yet. Have a drink first and them we’ll get the game going properly.”
The cops were beginning to realise that something wasn’t right here.
“Would you mind explaining exactly what’s going on here, sir?” the male side of the partnership enquired slowly.
The Immortal should have been awarded an OSCAR for his performance. His face slowly went from happy through slightly unsure to worried.
“You are Diane and Clive aren’t you?” he asked tentatively.
“No, sir, we are not,” the woman replied. “I am Officer Kallan and this is Officer Pern.”
If shock had been an art form, Chandler would have taken the world by storm.
“Oh dear,” Phoebe played her part as only Phoebe could.
“Ah, we’re having a party,” her co-star continued slowly. “You know a murder mystery party. Someone didn’t actually call the police did they?”
It was at that moment the paramedics chose to arrive.
“Oh, no, I think there’s been a huge mistake,” Chandler was doing beautifully.
“Then why, may I ask,” Officer Pern enquired as his partner explained the situation to the new arrivals, “do your friends look so uncomfortable.”
That was a tricky question. [Think dammit, think.]
“They’re playing parts,” he offered hopefully.
“And the blood on the carpet?” things were beginning to look a little sticky for the group.
“A clue,” the Immortal was not used to coming up with cover stories quite so quickly.
The police man wandered over and looked down at the stain and then up at the window.
“And this is for realism is it, sir?” the officer enquired.
“Oh yes,” Chandler replied with his best poker face, “this is Professor Plum, Miss Scarlet and Colonel Mustard. They being in the dinning room, next to the window broken by the revolver, the glass would have to be on the inside.”
Monica looked like she couldn’t take much more.
“Yes, sir, well we received a call from a Miss Rachel Green, that wouldn’t be any of you would it?” the officer continued dismissively.
Rachel gave a worried smile and waved her hand.
“But she’s been here all evening,” Chandler stepped in rapidly. “We’ve been having some problems with an ex-roommate, this may be just a sick joke.”
“Is this true, ma’am?” this was one suspicious cop.
All the waitress could manage was a mute nod of the head. If she spoke it was possible she’d just tell everything.
It didn’t stop there either. The two officers were not pleased at all and the questions began to rack up. Chandler was beginning to think he may not be able to talk his way out of this one.
“Maybe we should take a bit more of a look around,” Kallan suggested as they prodded the window for the tenth time.
The sword under Monica’s bed and the body in the tub would not make a great find. There was only one person who was not shocked into complete silence when the bathroom door opened and Richie walked out.
“Look,” he said pointedly, “is someone going to find the body or am I going to be lying in there all night?”
The holes and blood all over his shirt were very evident, as was his apparent good health. Most faces went completely white, but luckily for them, the two police officers were more interested in the new player. The paramedics decided now was a good time to leave, but the cops were a little bit more annoyed.
“Good evening, sir,” Kallan said icily, “you must be the victim.”
Immortals really had to be given some credit, if they’d gone into show business lots of actors would have been out of work.
“That’s me,” Richie replied lightly, [Yep, it’s definitely me.]. “Is there a problem?”
“Didn’t you notice anything going on out here?” Pern stepped in to back up his partner.
Richie tried to look remorseful.
“I sort of dozed off,” he said penitently, “but anyway I was under strict instructions not to move no matter what I heard. Did I miss something, have I ruined the party?”
“We’re not, Clive and Diane,” Kallan was adamant on this point.
Richie’s portrayal of a supplicant wrong doer was a classic.
“Oops,” he said and glanced at Chandler.
Now the other Immortal had known when his compatriot completed his phoenix impression, but he was still a little surprised to see him in the ‘living’ room. He did, however, cover quickly.
“Look,” he breezed in cheerfully, “this has been one big, horrible, mistake.” [Ever letting you anywhere near my friends was a big, horrible mistake.] His glare was focused directly on Richie. “Can’t we just forget about it, maybe, please, huh, huh?”
He gave his cutest smile, and when Richie tried the same thing, Officer Kallan didn’t have a chance. There wasn’t a lot of defence against two killer expressions and Pern knew he’d be writing this one up as a unfathomable hoax the moment his partner smiled.
“Just make sure it doesn’t happen again,” the woman said and was rewarded by another glimpse of heaven.
The moment the two police officers had been ushered out of the door and down the stairs, Chandler turned on Richie.
“Damn fine mess you made of that one,” he started as he meant to go on. [How the hell am I supposed to explain this one?]
There wasn’t much the other Immortal could say about that, but it hadn’t exactly been his fault.
“Well I’m sorry,” he said, [This wasn’t exactly a walk in the park.] “but I didn’t exactly plan this. I never thought Baker would try anything with people around. I didn’t believe even he would stoop that low.”
“We’re talking about the guy who strings cheese wire across bridal paths,” Chandler was beginning to think his companion may be a little naive. [Okay so shooting you through a window wasn’t the first thing I’d have thought of either, but I’m not letting you off this hook.] “What’s the idea walking around looking like an extra from night of the living dead?”
Now rational thought when provoked was one of Richie’s less abundant traits.
“So you’d rather of been dragged off down the station for conspiracy to murder would you?” he shot back defensively. “What was I supposed to do? There is no window in there and I was going to have to come out eventually. I thought that if my appearance got you out of some crap you might actually appreciate it a little more.”
“If you’d never turned up,” the older Immortal was also angry, “I wouldn’t have been in any crap in the first place!”
They seemed oblivious to the rest of the room.
“Excuse me, guys,” Phoebe tried quietly.
There was no reaction as the pair glared at each other furiously.
“Yo, guys,” the shout got their attention.
The emotion drained out of both faces as they turned to see the rest of the room. Casper had more colour in his cheeks than most of Chandler’s friends. Richie facing her and therefore displaying the large red patches on his shirt was too much for Monica. One second she was vertical, the next there was a new rug ornament. Everyone else was routed to the spot so Phoebe went to her companion’s rescue.
When Monica came round, the world seemed to be a much better place. Chandler was patting her hand anxiously and she smiled up at him as she opened her eyes.
“You’ll never believe the dream I was having,” she said quite happily. “There was this guy and he was shot in my living room. Isn’t that silly?”
She watched her carer’s eyes track right, and she couldn’t do anything but follow. Her gaze fixed on Richie and a pitiful little whimper escaped her mouth.
“Oh god,” she said, “it was real.”
The Immortal was stood in her kitchen area looking very sheepish and more than a little worse for wear. Quite suddenly Monica’s face changed.
“Explain, Chandler, now,” she commanded loudly.
It was the older Immortal’s turn to go a whiter shade of pale. He didn’t seem to know where to start and since Richie knew how difficult these things could be, he decided to lend a hand.
“I’m Immortal,” he said bluntly and all eyes turned to him. [Oh what the hell.] “we’re both Immortal, but before we get into the long explanations, does someone have a shirt or something I can borrow? This one’s a little sticky.”
Chandler sent Joey for some alternative clothing, and everyone else stood around eyeing the two unusual individuals as if they’d bite. All the women in the room did a little more eyeing when Richie striped off his top and cleaned the remains of the blood away in the sink, but that was only to be expected. After he slipped on the T-shirt Joey brought, Chandler indicated that they should all sit down.
“You got as far as Immortality,” Ross said sceptically.
Now they’d had time to think, certain things seemed very unreal.
[Well you started this,] Chandler stared hard at his Immortal companion, [you can kick off.]
“Bottom line,” Richie began, taking the hint [Don’t blame me if I screw it up.] , “we’re very hard to kill. We don’t die, we don't age, we fight one another (when we have to), and in the end, there can be only one.”
“If you don’t die, how can there eventually be only one?” even Joey caught onto that loophole.
It did seem to be rather a contradiction in terms.
“We chop each other’s heads off,” Chandler was being brutally honest.
That gave Richie a good indication of how much he actually trusted his friends.
“Don’t ask us where we come from,” he put in evenly, “because we don’t know. We have no parents and we don’t get a clue of what we’re in for until we die for the first time.” [Life can be a real bitch.]
“So how old are you really?” Rachel leapt in with a hard stare turned on Richie.
She was taking nothing at face value anymore, this person looked nineteen, said he was twenty two, and how could she tell what was the truth? The look on Monica’s face said she had been about to ask something similar of Chandler, but she held her peace.
“Everything I told you was true,” Richie promised faithfully, “all I did was leave out some bits.” [Okay I admit they were big bits.]
After that admission, all gazes turned to the other Immortal and he began to squirm.
“And how about you?” Monica took over the questioning. “If you don’t have parents, what was all that with your mother last year?”
That was a good question and it was going to take some explaining. [You may have a point there.] Chandler’s mind tried to pull together some coherent thoughts.
“Okay,” he said eventually with a little shrug, “so biologically she’s not my mother. She’s another Immortal, but she did raise me and she has been embarrassing me since I was a teenager.”
“You didn’t answer the first question,” it was difficult to slip anything past the Inquisitor.
“Thyuorm hukjrf n frhty two,” Chandler seemed reluctant to give his age.
“I couldn’t hear you,” Monica said pointedly.
“Three hundred and fifty two,” the Immortal finally said loudly.
Everyone gasped, except Richie who wasn’t going to mention that he knew people older than that.
“But we went to college together,” Ross said plaintively.
Chandler looked remorseful.
“You’d be amazed what a different hair cut and a suit can do to change your age,” he said in what was supposed to be a bright cheerful voice.
“And the Thanksgiving thing?” Rachel asked, trying desperately to prod a hole in this impossibility.
There was a possibility that Chandler was going to run away at that point.
“Well, I suppose you could say that it wasn’t really a divorce, more of a burn Mom at the stake for being a witch type thing with Dad as one of the lynch mob, and Thanksgiving was more of a new trend than a tradition,” he began slowly, “but I was six and I haven’t been able to look at a pumpkin pie since.”
He did get a few sympathetic looks after that explanation, but it wasn’t enough information.
“But why did someone shoot Richie thought my window?” Monica was beginning to sound less stable.
It was the blonde young man’s turn to take up the dialogue.
“Another Immortal tried to kill me a week or so ago,” he was trying to be gentle, but it was difficult. [He strung an exploding wire across my door to blow my head off, but you don’t need to know that.], “I followed him here.”
He was being eyed edgily.
“Let me get this straight,” Ross said slowly, “your buisness in New York was to kill someone.”
[Well I wouldn’t have put it quite so bluntly.] Richie thought to himself and tried to come up with a better way of saying it. “He would just have come back for me if I hadn’t trailed him,” the young Immortal explained, [And if they believe that you’re a lucky son of a bitch, Ryan.] “We live by rules, and his ... assassination attempt rates as a challenge. In Immortal circles if you’re challenged you fight, and I have no intention of letting him set up another trap.”
“He’s right,” Chandler agreed, much to his friends’ growing horror. “So you’re telling me that if someone was about to blow you away and you were holding a gun you wouldn’t use it?” The Immortal was not going to let them get away with being totally self-righteous.
Joey and Ross looked a little understanding, but Monica and Rachel were far from comprehending.
“There’s always the police,” Rachel insisted, totally irrationally.
Both Immortals glanced at each other and raised their eyebrows.
“I can see it now,” Chandler started sarcastically. “Yes officer, I’m actually several hundred years old although I look only about twenty something, and there’s another person chasing me with a sword because they want to cut my head off and take my Quickening.”
“Do come this way, sir,” Richie finished off, he was not impressed by the stupidity of the suggestion either, “the padded cell is right this way.”
The two actually smiled at each other, pleased with their co-operation. It wasn’t the full content of the conversation that had caught Monica’s attention, however.
“Quickening,” she began, “what the hell’s a Quickening?”
The blond, curly haired Immortal let his older compatriot have the floor on this one. [Good luck, Chandler, that’s a doozey.]
For a moment the data processor just sat there with a vaguely bemused look on his face, opening his mouth ever few seconds and then closing it again without imparting any information. He resembled a large, beached goldfish.
“Well it’s the transference of the power of one Immortal to another,” he finally decided on a form of address. “We do have a reason for killing each other, you know, and some of us try to avoid decapitating everyone we meet. A quickening is like, like the big O and wiring yourself up to the mains at the same time.”
He looked to Richie and the younger man nodded in agreement. That was one way of describing it.
“Wait, wait,” Phoebe said, she’d only been Chandler’s Watcher a few years and she’d never seen a Quickening, “I don’t get it. What big O? Do you mean big Oh, as in like Oh, that’s it, or like a really great doughnut or what?”
There was a look of disbelief on Richie’s face, he’d never met someone who could miss the point quite so totally.
“No Phoebs,” the other Immortal said patiently, “I mean the big O, you know, the really big, as in is a capital letter O.”
“Oh, you mean orgasm,” the young woman said, really pleased with herself. “Well why didn’t you say so?”
Chandler did a great impression of Mr Spock, one eyebrow actually tried to reach his hairline. Monica had taken to watching Richie again, and the thoughts that ran through her mind were not difficult to see on her face. All the talk about Quickening seemed to have given her ideas.
“So it’s like the big Q, rather than the big O,” there was being happy with oneself and then there was Phoebe.
The outburst did bring all eyes squarely back to her, however.
“And you,” Rachel accused slowly, “how is it you know all about this?”
Richie had missed the earlier conversation about tattoos, but after that question he had a sneaking suspicion about the answer.
“Oh, I’m a Watcher,” the masseuse responded quite openly, “we watch Immortals. They’re not supposed to know about us, but looks like I blew that one. I have this tattoo to prove it as well.”
Without a second thought she hoisted up her skirt and proudly exhibited the small area of pigmentation below her right buttock. None of the gentlemen minded the view and there was even a little disappointment when she sat back down.
“We write down who they do and what they kill,” she told everybody and then paused.
She looked thoughtful for a minute.
“No,” she decided, “make that, what they do and who they kill.”
[This woman is crazy.] Richie was not alone in his conclusion.
“But why shoot you if it’s not going to kill you?” Monica was staring at the blond Immortal again.
At that he had to smile.
“If Chandler hadn’t been here,” he responded much more cheerfully that before, Phoebe had a way of getting to people, “I’d have ended up in the morgue. It’s very difficult to protect yourself when you’re naked and unarmed.”
The way the black haired woman’s eyes lit up as he said ‘naked’ made Richie wish he’d chosen another way of describing that. It wasn’t that he wouldn’t have been interested, it was just that he had more important things to worry about just now.
There were more questions, and the two Immortals did their best to answer most of them. Some were a little up in the air: like when Joey managed to enquire if they knew the meaning of life. With the actor this could have been quite a simple answer, but they chose not to try. Finally after about an hour it came right down to it.
“I have to go find Baker and finish this,” Richie announced as the conversation began to dry up. “I’m sorry to have involved all of you, [But thanks for keeping my butt out of the fire.] my sincere apologies, Chandler, I hope this doesn’t ruin your current persona, and I really have to leave.” [Or Monica’s going to attack me, either that or something equally problematic will happen.]
There was one thing they hadn’t discussed yet.
“Where’s my sword?” he asked calmly.
“Under my bed?” Monica told him quickly, “I’ll show you.”
[This could be tricky.] Richie mused silently.
He’d never been in and out of a woman’s bedroom so quickly before. Normally he wasn’t trying to escape, but the look in the black haired beauty’s eyes was more than a little predatory. Monica seemed to like the idea of Immortals, in fact, it brought our a whole new side to her character.
The goodbyes were very brief and to the point, after which Richie walked away whilst the going was good.
“We can’t just let him go all by himself,” Monica said after about three minutes of complete silence.
The Mortals were all looking at each other and the glances that were being exchanged gave Chandler a really bad feeling.
“Ah, guys,” he began cautiously, “you can’t interfere.”
“Those are your rules, Bing,” Rachel snapped at him, he wasn’t quite forgiven yet, “not ours.”
“Yeah,” even Ross was in on this madness, “what if that guy Baker shoots him in the back or something?”
The data processor was now getting really worried. [Talk them out of it, Chandler. Now!]
“Going after him would be real dangerous,” he tried to appeal to their self preservation instincts. “He can take care of himself, he’s done this before,” it didn’t look like the brutal truth would work either.
Even Phoebe just stared at him and she should have known better.
“We’re going,” she said with a forcefulness that surprised everyone. “I can’t be your Watcher anymore anyway, so I’m going to help for once.”
Defeat was staring Chandler in the face and he knew it. Not one of his friends was going to see sense, what choice did he have.
“Okay,” he said [Even if I block the door way you’re coming through me, right?] , “I’m coming with you. At least I can tell you who not to go up against. Wait right here, I’ll be back in thirty seconds.”
Two minutes later they were all in the hallway and Chandler appeared from his apartment carrying a long thin wrapped object.
“Is that a ...?” Rachel began.
“A sword, yes,” the data processor replied. “If Richie looses I might just need it.”
“So that’s what that is,” Joey commented lightly, he seemed to be enjoying all this, “and you told me it was a fencing strut.”
Nobody dwelt on why the actor may have come to believe that, and Chandler did not try and explain. As usual Joey was half a thought behind everyone else, and as they were contemplating murder, he was still on twenty questions.
“So how come,” he started cheerfully, “if you don’t get ill, you had flu that time.”
“Good acting,” his friend replied. “You never pulled a sicky?”
He was not in the mood for long explanations.
“How about all those,” he struggled for the right word, “episodes?”
“And just because I’m Immortal I’m not allowed mid life crises?” this really was getting a little silly.
It finally looked like Baker had come to the conclusion that he was going to have to fight his young challenger, because when Richie entered the building from where the shots had originated he found a trail big enough to lead a blind man. [Well, I suspect you have something nasty planned for me, but I’m ready for you this time.]
He finally came to the conclusion that he was supposed to find his enemy when there was an address scrawled on the wall. He headed off in the correct direction, totally unaware that there were six people following him. Four of his friends may not have been experienced at this sort of thing, but under Chandler’s guidance, with a bit of help form Phoebe, they turned into quite a good replacement for the Get Smart team.
The warehouse district seemed like an appropriate place for a battle and Richie noted the presence of another Immortal the moment he entered one of the big buildings. It was as the lights came up in a dramatic flare that the covert operations of his trailers became apparent as Chandler took that one step too far.
“Get your butt down here, Baker,” he called out, ignoring the other’s presence for now. [Chandler, I hope that’s you, and if you’ve scared off this pain in the butt, I’ll have your head.].
“Now is that anyway to talk to a friend?” much to Richie’s relief the other Immortal appeared from behind a huge stack of crates.
He hadn’t noticed the presence of another Immortal, but his opponent noticed that he was carrying a gun.
“Still not in a sporting mood then?” the younger of the two asked, [You’re in deep ca-ca, Ryan. Find a way out, now.]
“Oh, you’re a little too risky for my taste,” Baker returned and brought up the barrel, “I thought I’d just make sure.”
Chandler chose a perfect moment to enter, his sword was drawn.
“You can’t hold a gun in a Quickening,” he pointed out as for the first time the evil Immortal noted his presence. “If you shoot him, I won’t interfere, of course, but the moment you’re on the floor, you’re all mine. Fight him like we really should, and this is all none of my business.”
“Why don’t I just shoot you both and get both heads?” Baker had a point.
[Brilliant, Bing, you forgot something.] Chandler wasn’t into guns.
Richie on the other hand had been in situations like this before. They sort of just happened when you hung out with Duncan MacLeod.
“You could try,” he said cockily. [It would probably work too.], “but there’s one thing you don’t know.”
There was a momentary look of disquiet on Baker’s face and the blond Immortal took the opportunity to put one hand behind his back and point at a pile of crates to his left. Chandler didn’t need much of a hint.
“Yo, Bing,” Richie continued chattily, “secret weapon ... Run!”
There was one problem with projectile weapons, you couldn’t hit two targets at the same time, especially if they were moving in opposite directions. Richie had no problem sprinting and he and Chandler went for two patches of cover, on opposing sides of the warehouse. It wasn’t exactly a graceful way to go about a challenge, but then Baker was being about as sporting as an elephant gun against a hamster. Shots rang out, but the somewhat scruffy Immortal didn’t manage to hit either of his opponents.
“You know,” Richie called from behind his wooden barrier, “it would be so much easier if we just did this the traditional way.” [For you and me both, pal.]
He had no idea where they could possibly go from here, but he was hoping for divine inspiration very shortly. How come things like this never happened to Mac, every one he went against eventually just pulled a sword in the time honoured fashion. [Okay so the guy with the poison had been a little under hand,] he thought to himself, [and then there was Brian with the truck. ... Shut up, Ryan, that’s not important now.]
Both Chandler and Richie knew that if they put their heads over the side of their cover they’d get them shot off, but if something didn’t happen soon Baker was just going to leave.
“Come on, Garland,” the younger of the two tried to appeal to his enemy’s sense of honour, “let’s finish this man to man.”
“Step into the open and we’ll finish this real quick,” the other replied coldly. “And then I’ll have time to deal with your pathetic friend.”
“Stick and stones,” came from Chandler’s direction.
The Immortals in the room were, however, unaware of one thing: there were five Mortals on the prowl who’d circled around the back of the building. Normally they’d have been cowering in terror behind some large object, but something about seeing a man come back to life had inspired them.
“Excuse me,” Ross’ voice called from halfway down the building, “but I heard gun shots. Is everyone all right in here?”
The two sheltering combatants nearly died of heart failure.
“Oh, I see you’re fine,” the palaeontologist said as Baker turned towards him with the gun, “I’ll just be leaving then.”
“Stay right where you are,” the nasty, armed, piece of work instructed coldly.
Baker had done some research on his latest victim since he’d returned to New York and he knew that Richie was a student of MacLeod. He didn’t recognise Ross from Adam, since he didn’t take much notice of Mortals, but he knew that his opponent would care.
“Come out here now, both of you,” he said loudly, “or I’ll shoot the Mortal.”
[This is bad, this is really really bad.] Chandler was having a head fit.
Both heads appeared over the crates to observe the scene before them and they were just in time to see a most remarkable rescue attempt. Monica and Phoebe had crept up behind Baker and as his victims came out from behind their hiding places the two women each brought down a large wooden plank on the Immortal’s head. He collapsed ungracefully into a heap on the floor and Rachel and Joey appeared from a slightly different direction, also armed with boards. The two conscious Immortals looked both surprised and very impressed.
“Wow, what a rush,” Phoebs commented with uncharacteristic blood lust.
Thought returned to Baker to find him lying in exactly the same place into which he had fallen. His first view of the world was a pair of feet, with a blade hanging just by the legs to which they were attached.
“Welcome back,” Richie said cordially. [You are mine, you over stuffed pirate.] “Now we’re going to do this my way.”
The gun had been removed and Garland soon caught sight of Joey holding it. He knew when he was in a corner, and he climbed to his feet, drawing his sword.
“Oh well,” he said lightly, “you’re a risk, but I never said I couldn’t beat you.”
“The bacon is cleared for landing,” Chandler’s voice just oozed sarcasm.
He and his friends were stood back by the entrance, they had all agreed this was Richie’s fight.
Baker didn’t believe in hanging around and without another word he launched himself at his opponent. There was not a problem with this attitude from Richie’s direction and he was quite happy to deflect the blow aimed at his shoulder. This evil Immortal had been relying on tricks too long, he’d lost the edge from his fighting skills and his adversary flicked under his guard to take a nick out of his hand. [Touche away!] Richie had grown up on cartoons, his brain couldn’t help it.
Their blades met again with a loud clang of steel and for a second time the younger Immortal drew blood. [Take that, you cad.] There were of course the black and white movies as well.
[Cawabunga!] High budget, low intellectual content blockbusters.
[Flow, Grasshopper.] Seventies TV series and their remakes.
[Feel the force within you.] Science fiction, high budget movies.
[Haieeee ya!] Bruce Lee pictures.
[It may look like an Immortal, it may sound like an Immortal, but it’s really a pod person from Mars.] Low budget science fiction.
And finally [There can be only one.] Duncan MacLeod.
As Baker’s head bounced across the concrete in a most disgusting way, Rachel fainted and much to his delight, Ross caught her. Richie turned and looked at Chandler, who nodded his respect and then the Quickening hit.
The big O and wiring yourself up to the mains didn’t exactly describe the sensation that ran through Richie’s body. The energy entered every cell and threatened to tear nuclei from membranes, causing an agony that could only be understood if experienced. The blond Immortal would probably have likened it to having various parts of his anatomy shredded with a mincer. If it had just been that, however, most Immortals would probably have put it down as a bad lot and gone off to set up house in the back end of Kansas. Okay, so Richie didn’t have as much experience as he’d like on the male, female bonding front, but he had enough to know that a Quickening was as stimulating, if not more so, than any sexual encounter of which he’d ever been part. He figured that the pain was put there to stop every Immortal leaping on every one of their kin just for the muscle twitching, mind blowing, total loss of motor control, experience. The transfer of power was the best and the worst thing that ever happened to Richie, and after this one he fell to the floor, utterly drained and completely ecstatic.
“Shows over, guys,” Chandler commented as those of his companions who were still standing remained rooted to the spot, gaping.
“I’ll bet that smarts,” Phoebe commented as she watched a shaky Richie try and climb to his feel.
Monica just flew to his side, the look in her eyes was more frightening than Baker holding a gun.
The two Immortals sat on Monica’s couch, each with a beer in one hand. They were alone, since Phoebe and Monica were looking after Rachel in the other room, and Ross and Joey had decided they needed to have a talk about Chandler without him being able to hear. As soon as everyone had gone to their various tasks, an awkward silence had fallen.
“You know, I really am sorry for all the trouble I’ve caused,” Richie said eventually. [Honest.] “What are you going to do?”
“They seem to be getting used to the idea,” Chandler replied, staring into his drink, “I’ll stick around, see how it goes. New York’s a good spot for Immortals, every one who comes to town is looking for Connor MacLeod, the rest of us are usually ignored.” [Usually anyway.]
[I wonder how much he hates me?] Richie couldn’t help pondering on the subject. The two of them wouldn’t fight it out, they’d done the warrior bonding thing by going up against Baker, and to try and kill each other just wouldn’t be the Game. It was unlikely they’d ever be friends either, however, because it was doubtful Chandler could ever forgive his younger counterpart for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
“What are you going to do now?” the data processor enquired, unwilling to let the conversation end there.
“Go home, I suppose,” the blond Immortal replied, “in a few days anyway.” [But first I was thinking of making sure Monica has adjusted to the existence of Immortals. She definitely needs some quality time, my time. All my attention, for a while at least, if she doesn’t kill me first, that is.]
Chandler looked at him as if he knew exactly what was going through his head. [Good luck, kid, you have no idea what you’re letting yourself in for.]
“Try not to die in front of any more people I know, okay?” was what he said out loud.
“No problem,” the younger man said, “I left the cape and tights at home so I’m not in the mood for super hero stuff. I can’t think of any other reason I’d end up dying here.”
Rachel was comatosed thanks to the sleeping pill her flatmate had fed her, Phoebe and Ross had long since left the building and Joey and Chandler had just returned to their apartment to discuss the ins and outs of Immortality, again. That just left Richie, who really wasn’t quite sure where he should be, and Monica who hadn’t lost the predatory glint from her eyes.
There were intentions, and then there were actions, neither of the two people left in the room seemed exactly sure of how to proceed. The chef had the ‘I want you badly’ expression on her face, and Richie was sitting there with the ‘I’m not going to argue’ pose to his stance, but that was as far as either of them had managed.
“So,” Richie said eventually, “nice place you have here.” [Oh my god, I don’t believe how lame that sounded.]
There was a moments silence as Monica just looked at him.
“Blow the conversation,” she said finally, totally out of character, “the bedroom’s this way.” [I don’t care. Tonight you’re mine.]
The move from one room to the next took less than ten seconds and as he stepped over the threshold, Monica pinned Richie to the wall with a long, passionate kiss. He warmed to the situation very rapidly. The strong embrace that enfolded her sent shivers down the black haired woman’s spine and she had to really fight the urge to literally rip her partner’s clothes off.
[I don’t believe I’m doing this.] The small voice of reason in her brain found just a moment to surface. [I’ve known this man less than twelve hours.] He pulled her closer. [ God, maybe I do.]
She threw caution to the wind when Richie nuzzled her neck, [Screw it, I’ll buy Joey a new T-shirt.] There was a very satisfying tearing sound.
The look on Richie’s face was somewhere between dazed and content. [Wow, this woman was serious.] Monica finally seemed to have worn herself out, but the Immortal wasn’t counting on it, there had been lulls in the storm before. He’d very quickly been extremely glad he was in peak physical condition, the chef’s attentions may have killed a lesser man. He took the opportunity to glance at the clock as his companion leant on his shoulder, stroking his chest gently. [Five hours!] His mind rebelled at the idea. His body hadn’t but then it had been rather preoccupied at the time.
“You know, I never knew some of those things were possible,” Monica said quietly and gazed at him.
[That’s exactly what I said.] Richie couldn’t help it, the grin spread from ear to ear.
The chef took this as a challenge, and discovered a new lease of life.
“Know any more?” she enquired with a wicked smile.
It was five in the morning and Monica was still awake. Her bed companion was sleeping peacefully next to her, having all but passed out ten or so minutes previously. The corners of her mouth kept curling upwards when she watched him just lying there. [He looks so young, ... and handsome ... and ... Monica he’s asleep!]
She sighed and decided that she wasn’t tired at all. Slowly the enigmatic half smile on her face metamorphosed into a fully fledged grin. Very gently she lifted the covers off her dozing partner and took a moment to survey his naked body.
“Definitely not seventeen,” she decided quietly.
Her eyes just watched his deep, even breathing. [Sculptured, strong muscles ... slim waist ... flat stomach ... large, well formed ... Monica what are you doing?] She let the sheet fall as she caught herself. [So perfect ... and he’s never going to grow old.] The thought stuck in the chef’s brain and slowly she began to look very content. Monica was planning her retirement.
Two days and a night out later.
“You know if we hadn’t stayed for that last drink we’d have been able to get taxis,” Monica said loudly as all seven friends walked down the block.
“Well at least it’s not raining,” Ross commented with his misplaced optimism.
No-one appeared particularly entertained by that thought.
“Whoopee do,” Chandler commented, “we get to be mugged on a starry night.” [If I wasn’t Immortal, I’d be worried.]
New York was not a great place in which to take a late night stroll, and it wasn’t long before the data processor found himself proved all too right. Three youths appeared in front of them and as they turned there was one behind, all were carrying blades.
“Hand over your money and no-one gets hurt,” the leader of the gang did not have many original lines.
Chandler and Richie looked at each other and slowly they both smiled. Much to the younger’s delight they’d discovered over the last couple of days that they shared very similar minds. When Richie hadn’t been occupied with Monica, (which wasn’t all that often, since the chef had discovered an appetite for anything but food) the two had spent a great deal of time talking. They were both armed tonight, and neither of them could resist.
“He’s got a knife,” Chandler provided the beginning of the dialogue.
“Nah, that’s not a knife,” Richie returned in perfect time, and reached under his coat as his companion did the same. “Now this is a knife.” ...
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