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26 March 2011 @ 06:40 pm
Everything Gets Complicated Highlander: the Raven Fic 3/4  
Remember my Highlander: The Raven series? Don't blame you, I've not posted any since Nov 09! So to refresh your memories, here's a link to the first part of this story which you can read here.

This is part 3 and the final part is finished, I'm just waiting for it to come back from beta and then I can post it so not such a long wait :)

Huge thanks to the wonderful aeron_lanart who is a patient and wise beta.

Disclaimer: Highlander the Raven belongs to Davis/Panzer and not me.

Everything Gets Complicated Part Three

The following morning, Amanda was sitting at the bar of Sanctuary, before opening, admiring the craftsmanship of her latest acquisitions and wondering who she knew in Paris that could handle a dozen Faberge eggs and, more importantly, give her a good price for them.

She looked up as she felt the approach of another Immortal, her eyes going first to the door that led to the upstairs apartment. When Nick didn’t appear, she turned and then smiled when Liam came into view.

“Morning, Amanda,” he said warmly.

“Good morning,” she replied as she stood and made her way behind the bar. “Coffee?” she asked and turned her back on Liam to start up the machine.

“Mm, please. Is Nick about?”

Amanda looked back at Liam and pouted.

“You mean you’re not here to see me? I’m so disappointed,” she said before smiling and turning back to the coffee machine. “He’s upstairs. Probably still asleep, we were working until late.”

“So I see,” Liam commented, picking up one of the eggs from the bar. “So he took my suggestion?”

“What suggestion?” Amanda asked as she placed two cappuccinos on the bar in front of him.

“Nick was wondering about getting a job, and I suggested the two of you could take up what you were doing before,” he answered.

“I’m not sure that’s such a good idea,” Amanda said and returned to her seat. “I mean, we’re getting along really well at the moment, but if we were working together again…”

The conversation was derailed as they both felt the approach of another Immortal, before the man in question entered from the apartment. Sleepily, he smiled and gave Liam a little wave, presumably not capable of speech at present. When Nick reached the bar, Amanda passed him her coffee and he drank it greedily. The effect was instantaneous and near magical, and Nick once more became a coherent and functioning member of society.

“Not a morning person then, Nick?” Liam asked with amusement. Nick grinned before taking the stool next to Amanda. “Listen, I came to warn you. Eric wouldn’t listen, he’s gunning for your head,” Liam added, growing serious again. Nick nodded and shrugged.

“Paris is a big city, what are the chances of him finding me again?”

Amanda slapped his arm, hard, making him wince.

“About doubled now you’ve said that!” she said. “This is serious, Nick. Get down to the basement, now.”

“Before breakfast?” Nick said, sounding like a petulant child. Amanda just stared at him with steely determination until he relented. “Yes ma’am,” he said as he stood and threw her a salute before turning smartly on his heel and marching toward the training room.

“Liam, promise me you’ll do everything you can to keep them apart. Nick’s not ready,” Amanda said and placed a hand on Liam’s arm. He nodded and placed his hand over hers.

“I’ll do what I can. But face it, love, how many Immortals do you know have gone a whole decade without a single challenge?” Liam reasoned. “You can’t protect him from the Game forever.”

“I can damn well try,” Amanda muttered. Liam chuckled and pecked Amanda on the cheek before getting up and heading toward the door. He paused and turned back to her.

“Are you worried he’s not ready, or that he doesn’t want to be ready?”

“A little of both, I guess.”

Liam walked back and laid his hands on hers again.

“He’ll be fine, I’m sure of it,” he said gently and then turned to walk out. “Just have faith!” he called over his shoulder as he left. Amanda huffed and then smiled before she too got up and followed after Nick.

*-*

Shortly after they’d bought Sanctuary, Amanda had discovered Korda’s training room. With so many Immortals in his little group, it really didn’t surprise her that he had such a well supplied place to train. He would never know if or when one of them would decide to stop being afraid of him and take a swing at his neck. She’d made a few changes, added some mirrors and made it more suited to her style of fighting; plus she installed a punchbag for Nick.

She watched him as he moved through the positions she had taught him with the sword he’d stolen from her ten years ago. He hadn’t been kidding when he told her he knew how to fence. He had been nowhere near the par of most Immortals, but he had been good for someone born in the twentieth century. Fencing was not fighting for your life though, and it meant he had to unlearn all the etiquette he’d been taught at school before she could even begin to teach him.

He was a fast learner, and he’d not been idle this last decade; his body still moved with the savage grace of a boxer, muscle memory working as hard as the one in his head until the sword moves she’d taught him had become second nature.

As she watched him shadow fence, she felt a surge of pride at how quickly he’d developed, but she still couldn’t help but worry at how he’d fare in a challenge.

“Admiring the view?” he said as he continued. Amanda had to admit that it was a nice view; he’d always had a cute ass and he preferred practising with his shirt off. Something she was keen not to discourage.

“You’re dropping your right shoulder, and you leave your neck open too often,” she said eventually. “But it’s coming on well.”

He stopped and smiled at her.

“I had a good teacher,” he said. She grinned and then drew her own sword.

“Knowing the moves is one thing. In a real fight, you need to improvise, think on your feet to survive. En garde!” she commanded and fell into a ready stance. Nick did likewise and the two circled each other for a moment.

Amanda thrust her blade forward, a testing blow, and one that Nick easily parried so she struck twice more in quick succession. Nick parried those too without difficulty, knocking her sword aside and coming in for his own lunge.

Amanda danced back before the sword could touch her and brought her own around in an arc, only to be intercepted by Nick’s blade.

“Not bad at all,” she said. Nick nodded at the compliment, but he didn’t lower his guard. Pleased by that, Amanda let loose a ferocious barrage of blows, using all her acrobatic skills to gain momentum that she channelled down the sword to give power to her strikes.

Nick was able to deflect most of the attack, but he was on the defensive, unable to land any blows of his own, and at least once her blade connected with his flesh. But then Nick seemed to gather himself and he began to strike back, although he wasn’t cutting Amanda.

“You’re holding back. Don’t, I won’t break,” she panted. In answer, Nick flicked his blade in a way she hadn’t taught him; it caught her off guard and he slipped through her defences, nicking her left shoulder. “Better.”

Using his height against him, she slipped under him and got in close, grabbing his neck with her free hand and drawing him in for a kiss. Stunned, Nick stopped fighting and kissed her back, dropping the sword in the process. Exactly what she’d been waiting for. She pulled back and swept her leg around, knocking him flat on his ass before pointing her sword at him.

“You cheated.”

“Of course I did,” she said, offering him a hand up. “Immortals don’t fight fair. Well, not all of us, anyway.”

“So you’re saying I should cheat?” he replied with a grin once he was on his feet. He leaned down to pick up the sword he’d dropped, but Amanda stopped him. He looked up at her with a puzzled expression.

“I think that sword’s too short for you,” she said before heading over to a locker in the corner. She opened it and pulled out an ornate sword box. “I was hoping for a slightly more romantic moment, but considering the circumstances I think this is the right time.”

She walked back to Nick and held the box out to him. Tentatively he undid the latches and eased open the lid before he reached out his hand to touch the sword within. A second later he pulled back his hand and gave her one of his suspicious cop looks.

“Where did you get this?” he asked. She chuckled.

“Relax, it’s perfectly legal. It belonged to one of my dearest friends. When he died, he left me the sword. Now I would like you to have it,” she explained. Nick’s expression softened into one of love and gratitude and he took the sword from the case almost reverently.

“Thank you,” he said and leaned over the case to kiss her.

*-*

Nick sat in his office, his new sword in his hand. He marvelled at the beauty of it; this wasn’t just a weapon, it was a work of art. He didn’t know a great deal about swords, he guessed it was called a rapier; it was the kind of sword guys like Errol Flynn used to wave about, or Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride. That was the most accurate comparison Nick could think of; the hilt was an intricate series of overlapping strands of metal that formed a kind of cage over the wielder’s hand. Unlike Montoya’s sword, there were neither jewels encrusted into the metal or any gold plating; instead there was a beautiful vine pattern etched into the hilt that extended in both directions to the pommel and onto the first inch of the blade.

Amanda had gifted it to him, and it was beautiful, but now he would have to use it to kill if he wanted to survive. He knew he was capable of taking a head; after all he had done it before. But he had been fuelled by hate and revenge then, could he really do it just to preserve his own life?

He had a suspicion that if the circumstances were right then he could. The thought bothered him. He laid the sword on the desk in front of him and began to rub the bridge of his nose to alleviate a headache that wasn’t even there.

Deciding to talk to Liam again, Nick got to his feet. He hesitated for a moment before picking up the sword.

*-*

“She’s scared, Nick. Scared that you won’t even try to win,” Liam reasoned as he bounced the basketball on the court. Nick made a lunge for it, but Liam sidestepped him and threw the ball toward the hoop.

“Still? What does she think I’ve been busting my butt for?” Nick said and shook his head. The ball missed the hoop and Nick leapt to catch it before Liam. “She’s the one dragged me into this mess.”

“That was a low blow, Nick. Look, I know that might seem selfish of her…” Liam began but Nick stopped the play and interrupted.

“At first I did think she had been selfish, that was what made me so angry at her. But then I had plenty of time to think things over; hell, think was all I did at first. I realised that there had been plenty of times that I was shot at, or someone tried to blow me up, or stab me and all Amanda had to do was nothing and I’d have died. But she kept saving me. And now I know that she was trying to keep me mortal for as long as she could.”

“That doesn’t sound like the act of a selfish woman,” Liam agreed.

“I still think she did the wrong thing, but I realised that it was for the right reasons and I can’t be mad at her for that, Liam.”

“But have you told her that?” he said and with a grin he snatched the ball from Nick, turned and with a flick of his wrist put the ball through the hoop.

“This Thompson, you know him well?” Nick said. He picked up the ball and passed it to Liam who tucked it under his arm.

“Eric? Not especially, I found him just before I met you. You’re changing the subject.”

“Humour me.”

Game over, the two wandered toward a bench just outside the church and sat down.

“He was just wandering about the world, completely oblivious to what he was. He thought he was in purgatory. I set him straight and found him a teacher. He pops by occasionally for a chat, but other than that I hardly see him,” Liam explained. Nick nodded thoughtfully. “You’re looking for a reason to kill him.”

“That obvious, huh?” Nick grinned sheepishly at Liam before looking down at the ground.

“Even if you do have to fight him, you don’t have to take his head, Nick. Fight and win and you can show mercy.”

“And he just walks away, honour satisfied? This isn’t the 17th century, Liam, and we’re not gentlemen duelling. I know next to nothing about the guy, but what I do know is he’s a criminal,” Nick answered. Liam placed a hand on Nick’s shoulder, making him look up and meet his gaze.

“So was Amanda when you met her. Doesn’t mean they don’t have honour.”

This now concludes in Part Four
 
 
 
Ith: Highlander - Amanda: Flirtithildyn on March 26th, 2011 08:03 pm (UTC)
Glad to see more of this!
But, I don't want to be a pie,: amandaidontlikegravy on March 26th, 2011 09:01 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad to be writing it again :)