I entered another fan fic crossoever contest last month. I don't know why I did, but I did. And then I promptly forgot all about it untill about 11:00 last night when I remembered that the deadline was at midnight.
So, I had an hour to come up with a 4000 word story that blended a canon character from the Highlander universe to any other established show, movie, or book I wanted.
So, I posted my predicrament to the contest starter and was told that I actually had three hours because he is on the west coast. Uh, goody?
Anyhow, this is all I could come up with in that time and it really does suck. Enjoy!!
It's a Quickeing Charlie Brown!!
“It was a dark and stormy night...” the beagle types solemnly. He pauses, holding a pencil up to his chin. Where should the story go from here? But before he can answer that question, the “mean girl” stops next to his house, rips the sheet from his typewriter and reads the culmination of his work so far.
“This is the stupidest thing I have ever read,” she proclaims, crumples his days work, and goes on her way. The beagle, watching her go, sticks out his tongue.
Just a few yards away, two men stand, one watching the encounter while the other is looking elsewhere.
“Macleod? Did you see that?” Richie asks, incredulous.
“That dog. He was... typing.”
The immortal gives his student a long measuring look. “Have you been drinking?”
“What? No. I’m serious, Mac. And that little girl just” he sighs, giving in, “...oh forget it. Where are we going?”
“I told you. A baseball game.”
“You didn’t mention that it was going to be little league. How old are these kids? Eight? Nine?”
His Highland friend shrugs and says nothing as he finds a seat on the decrepit wooden bleachers. Reluctantly Richie follows suit and prepares for complete boredom.
A group of disorganized kids run out onto the field, the mean girl Richie had seen earlier included. She stops at the pitchers mound for a moment, waving her arms and yelling. Richie can’t make out all of what she says, but hears the words, ‘stupid beagle’ at least twice before she continues on her way to the outfield where she promptly begins to pick dandelions.
Richie sighs. Richie shifts. Richie sighs again.”Mac...”
The tone of his voice alerts Richie and a thought begins to form. A suspicion. “Why are we really here, Mac?”
“You can’t feel it?” He asks, in that tone that means whatever reason they are there should be obvious...and something that wasn’t going to be explained. Richie will have to figure it out for himself, and he already knows that no amount of pestering will get the Scotsman to reveal the reason one moment before he does figure it out.
Richie sighs, and sits back to concentrate. This was obviously some sort of test. But for what? It was a little league game. Kids. A bunch of noisy kids. What could... and then it was there. The feeling. Immortal. Or was it? It was so... faint.
“Mac. Do you feel that?”
“Feel what, Richie?”
“It’s so faint...” his head is cocked to one side, like a puppy hearing a new sound. He looks around, puzzled. There was no one nearby. No other adults. Could it be another Kenny? “Is it one of these kids?”
“Yes and no,” the Highlander responds with frustrating vagueness. Richie wants to scream.
He looks the kids over. Which one? The grubby kid? The catcher with his perfect blond hair? Surely not the kid clutching the blue blanket. Then his eyes slide over him as another pitch is lobed at the plate. Sort of. It goes wide and yet another player is sent to base, filling them.
“Are you asking me or telling me?”
He replies glumly, “I really hate it when you do that,” then says with more firmness, “it’s the pitcher. He’s...” and then another thought occurs to him, “he’s not immortal yet, is he?”
“No. But he could be.”
“Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that,” Richie says quietly, surprising Duncan, but the before the Highlander can respond a much stronger sense grips them both. Another immortal is nearby.
Both scan the field and beyond, looking for the source and spot him. A large man is standing near the outfield fence, staring back at them.
Without a word, Duncan stands.
“Where are you going?” Richie asks, even though he has a good idea.
“To make introductions.”
“With all these children around?”
Duncan gives Richie a bland look and Richie has enough sense to look chagrined. “Right. Sorry, Mac. Never mind.”
He watches as the Highlander moves off and the other man stands waiting for him. Neither man makes a threatening gesture, but neither seem very relaxed either. Shortly, Duncan returns after the other man moves off.
“Let’s go,” he says shortly.
Already knowing what probably just happened, he can’t help but ask, “What happened? Who is that guy?”
“Gannon. He was a student of Tarsis’s in the 19th century. Like Tarsis, he likes to find pre-immortals and train them from childhood to be killers.”
“And you think he’s here for that boy,” Richie states, looking back at the hapless pitcher and trying to imagine him as a killer; and having a difficult time.
“Yes.” Duncan says grimly.
“So, when’s the fight?”
They day is warm and bright, without a cloud in the sky. Duncan has been up since before dawn, preparing for the battle ahead. He knows little of this Gannon, but knew Tarsis, and if he was his student then chances are this Gannon is a sociopath too. Tarsis’s other student, Kagan, had been. And he had met the same fate as Tarsis in Paris just last year after Duncan had confronted him trying to protect Maurices’ niece Simone.
How many more students did Tarsis leave behind? The questions sends a small shiver along his spine. Best not to think about it. Think about this day, this fight. He pushes that nasty thought aside and continues his meditation.
Only a few hours left till he is to meet Gannon at the field and Duncan needs to be ready. At least one thought comforts him as he works to clear his mind again; that he has sent Richie to look after the boy, and keep Gannon from trying to take him and run. With that, he empties his mind again.
Hours later, he dons his trench and heads out the door, his t-bird earing him looks of awe from the children playing on the sidewalks, jumping rope or playing with marbles. He smiles. It was like this town was stuck in the 50s. And where were the adults?
He doesn’t have time to ponder as he pulls his car into the small dirt lot near the baseball field he and Richie had been at just 24 hours before. He can’t see him, but he can sense that Gannon is already there.
Walking slowly down a small hill past the baseball field, he sees him standing alone in a field. From this vantage point Duncan can also see the pitcher in another field beyond a small corpse of trees trying in vain to get a kite into the air. Too close!
He strides with purpose to Gannon, “the boy is here. We can’t fight out here in the open.”
“Ah, but we can. Those trees will keep him from seeing. And I don’t want to have to track him down after I take your head. He will be mine before your body can cool.”
“A sociopath and lazy,” Duncan replies as he unsheathes his katana and removes his trench coat in one smooth motion. Gannon does the same and without a salute or other warning, charges.
And impatient, the Highlander thinks to himself as he easily parries the brutish charge. Gannon turns to attack again and again, and each time Duncan is able to deflect easily. The only obstacle to ending the fight more quickly is Gannon’s unpredictable charging patterns. But they were due to his clumsy style then part of any strategy... unless clumsy was a strategy. If he had really been a student of Tarsis’s, he must have been one the other immortal had tossed aside as useless. Unlike Kagan, this oaf had been given freedom from that tyrant, and still chose to become a monster.
Duncan beats back another attack, then spins and slices upward, opening a large gash in Gannon’s stomach. Gannon drops his sword, dropping both arms to cover the ghastly wound. Weakened, he drops to his knees.
As Duncan’s final strike descends, he can feel another immortal and realizes it must be Richie. If he is this close, the boy can’t be too far behind! Too late to pull the death blow, Gannon’s body slumps headless to the ground and Duncan can hear a small voice behind him.
“Hey mister, what are you doing?”
He turns just in time to see Richie running towards him and the boy in a hopeless effort to shield the boy from the inevitable. In the boy's small hands his red paper kite.
Before Duncan can utter a warning, the Quickening begins. Lance after lance of electricity slams into his body. Inside the chaos of the Quickening, he loses site of the boy and Richie and can only feel the pain and the flooding of power, as little as it was from Gannon. The life of the pathetic immortal fills him and Duncan sees child after child fall to Gannon’s sword. He wasn’t keeping them to raise. He took them, triggered their immortality, then killed them a second time to take their tiny Quickenings.
Duncan falls to his knees, then vomits.
Startled by Duncan’s reaction to the Quickening, Richie steps forward, “Mac? You ok?”
He struggles to stand, his legs still shaking, “Yeah. Fine.” He looks around, alarmed, “where is the boy?”
Richie struggles to keep from smiling, and points. Only yards from the conflict, the boy is tangled in a tree by the string of his kite.
Duncan turns to Richie who explains with a grin, “ I almost go to him, but just before the Quickeing hit, a gust of wind grabbed his kite and dropped him there. He didn’t see a thing, Mac,” Richie reassures the immortal.
“Good,” Duncan says thickly, still reeling from the images he had seen. “Let’s get this body out of here. No one needs to find this garbage.”
“What about the kid?” Richie asks.
Duncan considers, feeling pity for the round headed kid, but decides he is better strung up in a tree then a witness to their grisly work. “Leave him. He’ll be fine.”
Moments after they had completed their chore, the mean girl finds the boy hanging in the tree.
“Lucy. Did you see that?”
“What Charlie Brown?” she asks, rolling her eyes.
“That lightening! It hit me and I landed here in the tree!”
She looks up into the clear blue sky, then turns back to Charlie Brown, eyes angry. “Your kite got tangled in the branches you blockhead!” she shouts, both fists in the air. “There is no lightening! It’s a clear day Charlie Brown!”
She storms off, leaving him in the tree.