Series: Popular: the Raven
Author : Mel M/Misty
Archive: please ASK if you want to archive it.
Pairing: just read to find out
Rating: R, possibly leaning toward NC 17
Disclaimers: I don't own or anything attached to any mentioned show/character and I'm making absolutely nothing off of this fic. Well, accept for maybe feedback.
Comments: I need feedback. Remember, FEED ME!
She sighed deeply, running her fingers through her short blonde hair. Why was she here? Looking at her companion she smirked. That's why. She paced uncomfortably. "What are we waiting for?"
"We need to be sure. If she's not one of them then my hunch was wrong."
"Have my hunches ever been wrong?"
"I see your point but what are we going to tell her?"
They saw her walking towards them, alone at last. Sighing deeply Amanda stepped out of the shadows, blocking the other woman's path. The girl looked up at the woman cautiously. "Look, I don't exactly know how to say this but I know something about you that even you don't know."
"I don't give a fuck now move out of my way," the girl grumbled angrily. She wasn't in the mood for this crap.
Amanda stopped the shorter girl as she tried to walk away. "Can you feel it?"
The girl's eyes narrowed. "Look, I don't have time for this shit."
"I can help you. I know what you are because I'm one too. Couldn't you feel me from miles away?"
"I felt something but. . .what the hell is going on? What do you think I am? And who the hell are you?"
"My name's Amanda. We're highlanders, chosen to live for one thing. The prize. The only way to kill a highlander is to behead them. In the end, there can be only one."
"What's that suppose to mean?" the girl growled.
"It means that after all but one of the highlanders is dead, the prize remains a mystery. Listen, I usually don't do this but if you would like I could train you."
"I don't believe this crap," the blonde grumbled, turning to walk off.
Amanda quickly pulled her knife out and stabbed it into the girls hand. As she pulled it out the wound began to mend. The girl swallowed hard. "What do you want?"
She looked around. Hmmm, Nick was gone. Then she remembered the other reason they'd come here. `He must be off investigating that murder,' she thought. "I want to prepare you for what is to come. I can only help you if you want me to." She studied the girl closely. So maybe she'd decided she wanted to train the girl because she was gorgeous and less tainted than herself. She'd read up on this young girl. She was a very new highlander, only 17 years old. She felt like she had to take care of this girl and she'd already made up her mind. Even if she didn't want help, she'd still watch after her.
"How long has she been dead?" Nick asked with a sigh.
"It's hard to say right now but my estimate is about three hours," the officer replied.
"And how far along was she?"
"Only about a month, maybe two. There are no signs of a struggle. It appears some nutcase snuck up on her and cut off her head."
"I see. Mind if I look around?"
"Not at all Nick. It's good to have you back. How long are you staying?"
"I don't know yet Lee but I might be here longer than I expect," he replied before deciding to check out the body. He slipped his gloves on and examined the corps cautiously.
After a thorough exam he determined this murder had everything to do with immortals which meant he'd have to get Amanda involved. What he couldn't figure out was why a highlander would bother attacking a pregnant woman. She still had all of her credit cards, money and jewelry. Letting out a low half growl, half sigh, he headed back to the place he'd left Amanda.
"So now what? I'm still not believing this crap."
"Listen, it takes a while for things to sink in so why don't we start simple."
"Fine. I'm Nicole Julian," the blonde mumbled. She still wasn't buying this.
"I know who you are. I did my homework. You're the newest generation of highlanders. I know there are others but they aren't important. Do you have a place we could sit and talk for a while. I need to tell you something about your father," Amanda informed.
Nicole laughed. "My father? You must be barking up the wrong tree hun. I'm adopted, I have no father."
"Your real father, Sir Nicoli Julian," Amanda replied.
Nicole's eyes widened. "You know my real parents? Place to talk? Sure. We can talk in the fencing room. My mother's deathly afraid of it so she won't go in there if she does decided to come home. Follow me," Nicole replied, leading the way to the previously mentioned room. Amanda knew her father which forced Nicole to lighten up. She wanted to know about her birth parents so she'd be incredibly nice to this woman. She wanted every detail.
Walking along the frostbitten sidewalk he hummed a tune. Then he heard a noise that he'd become far too familiar with. He crept toward the clanking sound hoping Amanda was winning. He turned the corner and hid behind a garbage can in the ally as the two forms fought. Drawing nearer he realized Amanda wasn't in this duel. Two women, one blonde and one brunette, were going at each other's throats with a vengeance.
In the blink of an eye the brunette had won. Everything rattled and shook as she received her reward. Windows shattered, alarms went off and lightning struck her. Her breathing was quick when the surge ended. She instantly felt his presence. "Don't tell anyone or you'll regret it," she warned.
Blinking, he realized she was serious. She sounded too young to be making threats like that but he knew better than to underestimate people, especially highlanders.
"So how do you know my dead beat dad?"
"Knew. He was a good man. He lived in London before he found out he was a highlander. His clan banished him so he moved to Transelvania. There he became Sir Kain," Amanda began.
"Sir Kain?" Nicole asked quickly, eager for an explanation.
"Yes. He killed the real Sir Kain in battle so he took over the man's life. The next time he died he figured out that he would have to recreate himself every time he died so people wouldn't shun him. That was when he met me. I stole from him once. When I was brought in for theft he granted me a pardon. He was Baron Adams at the time. We became very good friends throughout the years but I knew there was something about him that was different. He'd married many women but none of them got pregnant. This is normal for highlanders. We can't have kids. Or so I thought. Then he met Alicia back in the 80's. She was Italian and Irish with light red-brown hair and green eyes. He was going by the name Sir Nicoli Julian, dubbed by the Queen herself. Two months after they met she was pregnant. He accused her of cheating but she wasn't. A man by the name of James McPherson, who also had this problem months later, told him that highlanders that would die within the next fifteen years were being carefully selected to bare a new generation. No women were selected for various reasons. That was when he forged legal documents to prove he was who he said he was and so you and Alicia wouldn't have problems in the future. Cole did his best to protect the both of you," Amanda continued, taking a breather.
Nicole just sat there in shock. Her father was noble? Her father had been remarkable from what she'd heard but she wanted to know more. She wanted know how she fit in.
"I remember the day you were born. I was living here in Santa Monica when he called to tell me your mother was in labor. I got to the hospital just as they were delivering you. Cole came out with your little body wrapped in a blanket. He was so happy. . ." Amanda paused, not letting herself cry over the past. "He couldn't even speak. I'd never been good with kids but you liked me. About a month after that your mom died in a car crash. Your father knew this was some kind of sign so he put you up for adoption. When he saw that one of his kin was looking to adopt you he jumped at the opportunity. She was part of his brother's side of the family. He didn't know what she was like and he never got the chance to find out. The day she picked you up he was in a bad fight and they took his head. He knew he would die that day and he made me promise I'd take care of you. I didn't know until recently that you were one of the chosen but I've been keeping tabs on you all of your life. So here I am and that's your father's tale," she finished.
With a deep sigh, he watched his breath in the cold night air. Standing where he had before he realized he couldn't feel Amanda near him. Usually he could unless he was preoccupied but now he couldn't. She liked to sneak up on him so he waited.
Brooke sighed as she knocked tiredly on Nicole's door. She hadn't spent much time with her best gal pal for several reason, the most prominent being her hellish schedule. She'd decided to take one of her only opportunities to visit Nic because. . .well, quiet frankly she missed her company and conversation. She knocked again. This was starting to worry her. After waiting a few minutes she decided to search Nic's fav spot on the grounds.
Nick didn't like this. `Maybe she went inside,' he thought, heading toward the back of the massive mansion.
Then they collided. Brooke caught herself on the wall as Nick backed away. "Who are you?" they both screamed.
Nick decided to speak up first. "I'm a homicide investigator with the Santa Monica PD. My partner's with Miss Julian and I need to speak with her as soon as possible about our newest case," he replied, smudging the truth a little.
"Police? Murder? What's going on? My name's Brooke McQueen. I'm Nicole's best friend. Is she a suspect?" the blonde interrogated nervously.
Nick smiled. She was really cute. "No, she's not a suspect but we think she may be a witness. BTW, you ever considered being an officer?" he asked with a full grin.
"No, why?" she asked, a bit lost on his attempt at a joke.
"Cause you'd be very efficient in the interrogation rooms," he replied as seriously as he could.
They both laughed for a moment before an awkward silence set in. "Why don't we find Nicole and your partner together? We'll have more luck. Besides, I have a key," she offered.
"What was he like?"
"I won't sugar coat the truth because you're his daughter. He was vicious when he fought but he was loyal and honest. He acted tough but he was the sweetest man I'd ever met."
"Really?" Nic asked in a shocked manner. Maybe there was hope for her yet.
"Yeah. Why? Does that surprise you?"
"Not really. I can tell you one thing though, I'll never be as good as my father," Nicole replied.
"If you continue to think that way you won't live very long. This is your chance at changing things," Amanda countered as she held out Anathros, Sword of Earth.
"What's this for?"
"It's for you, to keep you alive. It was your father's. I saved it for you. Highlanders live and die by the sword so don't fuck around. This is life or death. As warriors we have rules. No battles on Holy grounds, no innocent bloodshed, and the power of a challenge. What I mean is if somebody challenges you, you have two options. You can decline or accept. These days only loyal highlanders abide by that," she informed.
Nicole took the sword and smiled. She'd be the best highlander she could. Honest, loyal and caring yet she wouldn't change who she was. Well, maybe she would but just a little. For Nicole Julian this was a new beginning.
"Shall we train?"
"Lead on oh wise one," Nicole joked.
Nicole panted lightly. "Wanna get some fresh air?"
Amanda nodded and they headed outside for a brief cool down. They walked quietly toward the peach orchard as they caught their breath. Suddenly a form leapt from one tree and landed a few feet behind them. "Sam?" Nicole asked before she turned around. She could sense her foe clearly like a wolf on the hunt.
"Stay out of this Satan. I want her," the brunette growled.
Nic shook her head, turning around. "No you don't Sam. Don't even try. She's way outta your league."
Amanda smiled. "I'm flattered Sam but I'll have to decline."
Sam relaxed from the fighting stance she was in. "Ok. Maybe. . ."
Before she could finish another unwelcome guest appeared. She was tall and thin with dark brown skin, chocolate eyes and black hair pulled into a ponytail. "Amanda! I challenge you," she commanded deeply.
"Alexxa Jordyn," Amanda announced to the others as she gestured for them to give her room. Holding her sword downward in front of her, she spoke in a serious tone, "I accept."
They moved like two agile dragons battling for control of the land beneath them. Their swords cried loudly in the night, clouding its blackness with unease. Sam and Nicole stood side by side in awe. This was like nothing they'd ever seen before. Sure they'd almost had a few physical altercations but nothing like this. It gave them both a head rush.
Brooke smiled shyly as Nick made some funny remark to her previous statement. Then it was silent. The silence was shattered by the howling of metal, the taste of blood and the smell of vengeance. Brooke froze. Something didn't seem right. "Did you hear that?" she whispered cautiously.
Nick swallowed hard. He knew Amanda was facing an immortal and he wished he could say he didn't hear it but he had no choice. If Amanda was in danger he needed to be there. He had to make sure she was doing ok but he had a slight problem. Brooke. "Yeah, we'd better check it out," he replied, keeping the blonde where he could see her. They approached the peach orchard quietly.
It happened so quick. Amanda was in a bind at first but as usual she got out of it. The tables turned and the battle was won. Alexxa's head lay on the ground as Amanda received her reward. A storm surrounded all of them, thrashing and crashing about.
Sam and Nicole were in amazement. Sam had felt that surge before but Nicole hadn't. They watched carefully, every action teaching them how to take in such a power.
Brooke's eyes widened and she fainted into Nicks arms. He sighed deeply as he tried to figure out what he would tell her when she woke.
The air was silent for a moment before Sam decided to speak, "Nicole, I challenge you."
"I accept," Nicole replied, repeating the motions Amanda had before her duel.
Their bout began, both swinging ferociously. Their momentum slowed quickly but neither let their guard down. Their swords screamed like bickering children. They exchanged blows back and forth until Sam made a little mistake. Nicole brought the blade down. It suddenly halted inches from the journalists neck. She couldn't do it.
Sam took this opportunity to stab her sword through her nemesis before backing away. She held the blade to Nicole's throat inching closer.
Amanda gave Nick a worried look as she pointed to the waking blonde in the man's arms. He aimed his gun at Sam for show.
Both girls realized what was happening and Sam lowered her sword. Brooke opened her eyes completly and ran to Nicole's side. "What the hell is going on here?" she demanded, giving Sam the "Bitch McQueen" glare.
"I'll explain later," Nick answered for all of them. "Maybe we should all get some sleep," he suggested.
Nicole looked around. Sam was gone. She shrugged and looked at the others. "You guys can stay at my mansion for the night if you want," she offered.
The others nodded, following her inside. Closing the door behind them Nicole looked at her guests. Examining Nick she realized she didn't know him but that he did know Amanda. "Brookie, would you mind showing. . .um, what's your name again?"
Amanda's face faltered. "Nicole, this is Nick. He's a cop."
"Nice to meet you," he greeted gruffly.
"Oh, pleased to meet you Nick. Brookie, could you show him around? I wouldn't want him to get lost or anything," Nicole asked.
"Where are you going?" Brooke demanded.
"To train," Nicole replied.
Brooke nodded, leading the man up a very extensive spiral staircase. Nicole sighed. This whole immortal thing didn't seem too fun anymore. Staggering to the closest first aide kits, she opened it to take out what she needed.
Amanda smiled. "You're hurt. Shouldn't you rest?"
"I probably should but if I wanna stay in the game I have to learn as much as I can," Nicole explained, lifting her shirt to cleans her wound.
"Very wise attitude for a beginner," she complimented as she helped the other blonde wrap the wound.
"It has nothing to do with my experience as a highlander. I'm a survivor so I learn quick, take what I get and take care of me first. Well, unless I have somebody I care about in the picture, like Brookie."
"She means a lot to you doesn't she?"
"Yeah. She's the reason I'm still alive inside. She's my best friend."
Amanda bowed her head. "You know what being immortal entails, right?"
"I know I'm gonna out live her but that only makes me cherish our time together even more. I understand a lot more than people think."
Amanda smirked. "Then let's train."
Later in one of the spare rooms. . .
"So what was that whole episode about?" Brooke asked curiously.
"That? Promise you won't laugh or call me crazy?"
"Well, Amanda, Nicole, Alexxa and Sam are immortals chosen to battle one another for the prize. Nobody knows what this prize is but it's a kill or be killed situation. They're called highlanders and the only way to kill one is by decapitating them," he explained seriously.
Brooke blinked a few times. "So flesh wounds don't kill them?"
"No. They might look dead but after a nights rest they'll be ready for battle again. All highlanders change their identity. They have to sometimes."
"Because people think they're dead and bury them. If they came back as the same person it would only make things more complicated."
"True. Can they have kids? I mean, it would be really hard to live longer than your kids. Are the kids immortal? Do Highlanders age?"
"Whoa, one question at a time. Highlanders can't have kids unless they're chosen to. The major stipulation to that is that only men are chosen and they're destined to die within the next 15 years. As far as age, yeah they do. They age if they don't kill off other highlanders. Each time they kill a highlander their body becomes younger again. I don't know how many years younger but most highlanders don't look over 30. Any more questions?"
"Loosen up! You're too tense," Amanda commanded.
Nicole took this advice, loosening her stance. She noticed her movements flowed smoothly instead of rigidly like before. She noticed the moves Amanda was doing and whispered softly, "I like your fighting style. Will you teach me some time?"
"Once you've learned all you can about wielding your sword and what your limitations are I'd be more than happy to teach you."
"Well, I think I'm gonna hit the hay," Nick yawned.
"Sounds like a good idea. Your room's right across the hall," Brooke replied.
Nick waved a good night and left, closing the door behind himself. Brooke grabbed her journal from the hidden pocket in her backpack with a sigh. She had to write down what she'd just heard. If all of this was true she had to deal with it. On the other hand, if Nick was making all of this up then her sanity was safe. The funny thing was she actually believed what he'd told her. Opening the pink booklet she began to write about her particularly odd day and her longing heart.
Nicole clutched her wound with a groan. "What the. . ."
"Know your opponents weak points. Are you alright?"
Nicole nodded. "I think I need to change the bandage though."
The walked over to the first aide supplies, once again getting what they needed. Nicole fumbled as she tried to hold her shirt up and unwrap the wound. Amanda gently pushed Nic's hand out of her way and took off the dressing. Nicole tried to help but Amanda wouldn't let her. "Hold your shirt up," the older woman commanded.
Nicole did as she was told as the other blonde wrapped the wound. Amanda met Nicole's eyes with a smile. "Had enough yet or do you wanna train more?"
Nicole fell deep into the highlanders eyes. She couldn't speak right away but she answered a moment later, "I think I'd better get some rest so I can train tomorrow."
"Smart idea," Amanda whispered as she leaned closer. She knew what was gonna happen. Hell, she'd even tried to talk herself out of falling for this beautiful young girl but it didn't work. Training had only made it worse too. Waiting for a response, she blinked slowly.
Nicole closed her eyes a she pressed her lips against the lushness of the other woman's full lips. They both fell deep into the passion, their kiss growing feverish. Knowing this would escalate into more private acts they broke away hesitantly.
Neither said anything. Nicole took Amanda's hand and led her up the stairs. Once in Miss Julian's luxurious condo-like room, Amanda sat on the bed with a grin. Closing the door, the screen goes black.
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