?

Log in

No account? Create an account
 
 
01 April 2011 @ 06:23 pm
Everything Gets Complicated - A Highlander the Raven Fic 4/4  
See, I told you that part four wouldn't be long! Thanks to the wonderful aeron_lanart being a fantastic and speedy beta I now can bring you the concluding part of Everything Gets Complicated which you can read from the beginning here.

Disclaimer: It's still not mine, not one little bit. Well, except my OMC, he's mine. But anyone you recognise, not mine.


Nick sat at his desk, fingers steepled, and stared at a picture of Eric Thompson on the computer screen in front of him. He’d gone over the guy’s rap sheet a dozen times and almost knew it by heart. He had a juvie record for petty theft and a couple of DUIs but other than the jewellery robberies he’d never been involved in anything major. And he’d never hurt anybody. Nick could see no reason to take Eric’s head. He only hoped that if the time came, he’d be able to reason with the man.

He was disturbed by the sound of the door opening and looked up to see Bert Myers poking his head round the door.

“Hey, buddy!” he greeted with a grin.

“Hey yourself. I figured you’d be back in the States by now,” Nick replied and swivelled the chair so he could follow Bert’s progress into the room.

“Well, I was thinking. You know, I’m not getting any younger and all this jetlag is a pain in the ass. And Amanda mentioned that you needed work, so I thought you could maybe take over the European operations for me again,” he explained as he dropped into the chair on the opposite side of the desk from Nick.

“Did she put you up to this? Because I’m not a charity.”

“Hey, it’s no skin off my nose. Frankly, I’m worried you’re going to disappear again, but she promised you were back for good,” Bert answered. “You are, aren’t you?”

“I’m not planning on leaving town again,” Nick answered with a small smile. He paused, pretending to think about the offer. “Sure, why not.”

“That’s great; the guy who replaced you was an idiot. Fresh out of Quantico, decided he didn’t want to work for the FBI after all. Guy thought he knew everything, knew nothing. So, same terms as before, right?”

“As long as you adjust for inflation, sure,” Nick said with a smile. Bert glared at him then chuckled and wagged his finger at him.

“You drive a hard bargain, Nick Wolfe. Now, about your first assignment.”

*-*

Nick scanned the crowd, blinking from the flash bulbs of the paparazzi cameras as he tried to see past them for potential threats. Security detail for an actress at the Cannes Film Festival wasn’t challenging work, he had plenty of people on his team who could have done as good a job, but he was grateful for the opportunity to get out of Paris. Hopefully by the time he returned, Eric Thompson would be somebody else’s problem. Besides, as Hollywood actresses went, Natalie Stanton was really down to earth and friendly; the assignment was actually a pleasure.

Amanda had insisted on coming along; he wasn’t entirely certain why as she had definitely been to the film festival before. She kept regaling him with stories of her exploits and famous conquests every time they passed a café or bar or street corner that she remembered fondly. He figured she was watching out for him and it was kind of cute; annoying, but cute. He hadn’t liked it when he was mortal and he certainly wasn’t going to put up with it for long now he was Immortal.

He escorted his charge safely to her limousine, where another team of his people were waiting to take her to her hotel and watch over her for the night. Job done for the day, Nick relaxed, only to tense again as he felt the approach of another Immortal. Hoping it was Amanda he looked around for her and smiled as he spotted her. She waved and made her way through the press, pausing to have her photograph taken before she eventually reached him.

“Goodness! Our friend is certainly popular,” she commented, a little out of breath, before she leaned up and pecked him on the cheek.

“Not with everyone, or else we wouldn’t be here,” Nick replied dryly. He wrapped an arm around her waist and escorted her away from the theatre toward the water. “So, where are we eating tonight?”

“I booked us a table at a little place I know just out of town. It used to serve the most exquisite Basque salt cod dish. Of course I haven’t been there since about 1976, but places like that don’t change much,” she replied.

“Sounds wonderful,” Nick said and let her launch into an anecdote about her and Robert Redford as they walked along. He smiled, truly happy for the first time in a really long time, probably for the first time since Lauren died.

“Penny for them,” Amanda said and Nick realised that she’d stopped talking some time ago. He grinned apologetically.

“I was just thinking how you were right,” he said. Amanda stopped walking and turned to stand in front of him, a look of shock on her face.

“I’m sorry, did you just say I was right?” she said and smirked. She looked at her watch. “I just want to mark the time and date so I remember this moment. Now, what am I right about?”

Nick smiled wider and put his arm back around Amanda, turning her back in the direction they were going and walking forward.

“Being Immortal. It’s not so bad.”

Amanda leaned her head onto his shoulder and he could feel her muscles move as she smiled.

“Told you so.”

*-*

The following afternoon, Nick and Amanda were escorting Natalie from a lunch date back to her hotel. She had decided to walk the short distance in order to enjoy the beautiful sunshine, and Nick was having a difficult time keeping the paparazzi at a safe distance. He was a few feet from Natalie, pushing one of them out of her way, when out of the corner of his eye he spotted someone dart forward.

It was a young man in his mid-twenties, medium height and build and wearing jeans and a grey hooded sweatshirt that was at odds in the heat of Cannes. Knowing something was wrong, Nick started back toward his charge and as he did the man pulled a gun from the waistband of his jeans.

“Gun!” he called out, prompting Amanda to grab Natalie and drag her to the floor. He pulled out his own gun but the assailant had already taken aim at Natalie. With no time to think, Nick dove into the path of the bullet as the man fired, taking a shot in the stomach. He grunted and fell to the ground as the man ran off, presumably panicked that he’d missed.

“Nick!” Amanda cried and started forward. In her head she must know he would be fine, but this was the first time he’d been injured since he’d been back and he could understand if she forgot for a second that he was Immortal too now. For a second he had almost forgotten as well.

“I’m fine, get Natalie to safety,” he instructed. She did as he said as he scrambled to his feet and gave chase to the shooter.

He kept a grip on his stomach out of habit and it was strange to feel the wound healing beneath his fingertips. Although he’d put himself in harm’s way often enough, he’d hardly been injured in the last ten years and never as badly as this. Luckily he had a dark shirt on that wouldn’t show the blood.

He spotted the guy in the sweatshirt a few hundred yards ahead of him and picked up his pace, ignoring the rapidly receding pain in his gut. They were heading away from the main drag where most of the people attending the festival were and there were fewer people around. Nick paused to try and take a shot but the guy ran around a corner and into a side street.

“Dammit!” Nick cursed and gave chase once more. As he rounded the corner he was momentarily taken aback as the assailant was waiting for him and took a swing at him. Luckily the guy clearly didn’t know how to throw a punch and he was shorter than Nick so the blow connected with his shoulder.

Nick quickly disarmed the man and delivered a blow to his chin, knocking him out cold.

“Huh, lousy shot and a glass jaw, tough luck, kid,” he commented as the man sank to the floor.

Just then, the local gendarme arrived and Nick handed Natalie’s attacker over to their custody.

*-*

Hours later, Nick finally finished giving his statement to the police and made his way back to the hotel to check up on Natalie. He found her in her room with Amanda; she seemed understandably shaken, but she was laughing and joking with Amanda when he entered.

“I got him,” Nick reassured Natalie as he came in. “He won’t be bothering you any more. How are you?”

“How am I? You were the one that got shot, Nick,” Natalie replied. Amanda chuckled.

“Body armour is a marvellous thing,” she said. Natalie looked sceptical.

“Body armour?”

“Yup, I’d suggest you wear some but it would spoil the cut of those lovely dresses.”

Nick approached them and pulled up his shirt.

“Do I look like I’ve been shot in the stomach?” he said. Natalie reached out her hand to touch him.

“Hands off the merchandise, honey,” Amanda joked. Natalie laughed.

“Thank you, Nick. Both of you. You’ve been the best security team I’ve had,” she said.

“Just doing our jobs. We’ll finish out the contract, just in case he wasn’t your only stalker, but I’m sure there’ll be no more trouble,” Nick replied.

*-*

It was the final night of the festival, and there had been no trouble since the shooting. Natalie was attending her last event, a charitable fundraiser, and Nick and Amanda were outside making sure it was safe and waiting for her limo to arrive when they both felt the approach of an Immortal. Nick’s hand went on instinct to his gun.

“You really have to learn not to do that,” Amanda muttered to him.

“Better I go for my gun now than I go for my sword at the wrong moment,” he replied.

They looked around them, trying to find the Immortal in the crowd and Nick’s heart sank as he spotted Eric Thompson. He let out a small groan and Amanda turned to follow his eyeline.

“You know him?” she asked.

“That’s Thompson,” he replied as Thompson made his way toward them. “How’d you find me?” Nick asked once he was in earshot.

“Saw you guarding the starlet on E! You should have been more discreet,” he replied. “We have unfinished business.”

Nick took a step closer to try and intimidate the shorter man but Amanda stepped between them.

“Here is neither the time nor the place,” she said. Thompson looked around at the press and gathered public and nodded.

“There’s an abandoned warehouse at the opposite end of town. Be there at midnight.”

“I look forward to it,” Nick lied. Thompson glared at him and then slipped away through the crowd. Nick grabbed Amanda by the arm and started to lead her inside.

“Hey! What are you doing?” she protested.

“You are going to take care of Natalie, make sure she gets to her hotel safely.”

“Are you leaving? Aruba is nice this time of year,” Amanda asked and Nick was shocked to hear hope in her voice.

“Amanda, wherever I go he’ll find me eventually. Besides, I promised Myers I wasn’t going to skip out on him again,” he replied. Amanda looked crestfallen, but she nodded her acceptance. “Promise me you’ll stay out of this. Stay here and look after Natalie.”

“I promise,” she replied, a little too quickly. Nick glared at her and she had the decency to look ashamed. “I promise,” she repeated and this time Nick believed her.

*-*

The building was due for redevelopment and it stuck out like a sore thumb amongst the swish new apartments and bars; Nick found it easily. Thompson was waiting outside for him and he looked surprised that Nick had shown up. Once inside, away from prying eyes, Thompson drew a cutlass from his coat and turned to face Nick. But Nick drew his gun and pointed it at Thompson who sneered at him.

“So you’re a cheat, too. Why am I not surprised?”

“I’m not going to cheat, Thompson. But I want you to listen to me and this way I know I have your full attention,” he replied. “I don’t want to fight you.”

“Tough, that’s the Game,” he answered. “Now draw your sword.”

“We can walk away, Eric, just get on with our lives. What has either of us done to the other that deserves this?”

“Draw. Your. Sword.”

Nick shrugged and put down his gun before he drew his sword and took off his coat.

“I had to give you one last chance.”

Thompson laughed.

“Pretty confident, aren’t we? You’ll be laughing the other side of your face once I cut it off,” he said.

“Well, if your fighting is as good as your witty repartee, this will be over pretty quick,” Nick replied.

Thompson yelled in rage and lunged forward, quickly closing the distance between them. Nick barely had time to bring his sword up to block him. The heavier cutlass clanged on the blade of the rapier, sending vibrations down Nick’s arm, but he held onto his sword and stepped back to give himself room. Thompson pressed the attack, delivering two more blows from above Nick’s head, but Nick held his blade horizontally in front of his face, guarding himself from Thompson’s strikes. On the third blow, Nick took a small sidestep, allowing himself to parry with the stronger end of the blade, nearer the hilt, giving him a position of strength with which to push Thompson’s blade away before bringing his own around for a sweeping cut across Eric’s chest.

Thompson leaped back out of harm’s way, the tip of Nick’s sword ruffling his clothes as it swept by. Nick was already bringing his sword up to block Thompson’s next attack, a wild arc that had no real direction to it. Clearly Thompson hadn’t expected Nick to be able to fight; he wasn’t very good and he was angry, which was making him sloppy.

Nick lowered his sword a little and took a step back and Thompson fell for the feint, rushing forward with his blade raised. He swung at Nick, who easily knocked the sword aside and stepped into the charge to drive his own blade deep into Eric’s chest.

Shocked, Eric dropped his sword and it fell to the floor with a clatter as Nick pulled his blade out. Thompson fell to his knees, his mouth a round ‘o’ of surprise and Nick placed his blade against his neck. He looked up at Nick, eyes filled with hate.

“Go on then. There can be only one,” he said with a sneer. Nick didn’t move the sword, instead he shook his head.

“You have every right to be angry with me; I did take one life from you, but now I’m giving you a new one. Forever,” he said. The irony of him repeating the very words Amanda had said when he died was not lost on him. “Walk away.”

Thompson looked at him, a mixture of emotions evident on his face. Relief became the predominant one and he nodded so Nick lowered his blade. Eric scrambled to his feet and backed away from Nick, pausing only to retrieve his sword from where it lay.

“Don’t think this is over, Wolfe. If I ever see you again, I will take your head,” he said melodramatically before he turned and walked away.

“I doubt that,” Nick muttered at his retreating back. He heard applause behind him and turned to find Amanda stood watching. She took a few tentative steps forward. “I thought I told you not to come.”

“Part of me was worried that you might let him win,” she said, uncharacteristically uncertain.

“And let a schmuck like that have my Quickening? I might owe him, but I definitely don’t owe him that,” Nick replied.

“Schmuck?” Amanda said amused. “He was obsessed, and you know as well as I how dangerous an obsessed man can be. He wanted revenge at any cost.”

“Wanting to take my head though, it’s a bit extreme,” Nick said and shook his head. Amanda chewed her bottom lip thoughtfully.

“Is it really? I mean, surely you of all people can see why he’s so mad…”

“Well, that’s exactly my point! I have every reason to…Amanda, you don’t think I wanted to…Never!” Nick sounded angry, and Amanda actually took a step away from him, but he was only angry that she thought he could do such a thing. “I thought I’d made it clear that I’ve forgiven you,” he said softly and closed the distance between them to pull her into his arms. “I’ve forgiven you Amanda, can’t you forgive yourself?”

Wrapped tightly in his embrace, Amanda could only shake her head, which was buried against his chest. Nick could feel her tears making his shirt wet, so he lifted her chin and gently kissed her. After a moment, she relaxed into it and began to kiss him back. He still wasn’t sure she believed him, but it was a start.
 
 
 
The other Weird Al: Highlander - Amandaaeron_lanart on April 3rd, 2011 02:35 am (UTC)
Did I tell you how much I like this? So, can I bribe you with chocolate to get more Raven fic? I love the way you write Amanda and Nick (and I'm always happy to beta just so I can see it first).
But, I don't want to be a pie,: naked nickidontlikegravy on April 4th, 2011 05:12 pm (UTC)
Thank You Hunnybun!

No need for bribery, although chocolate is of course always appreciated (Maya Gold or good old Dairy Milk preferred!!)

Actually, I might be writing more once I've got Harry tucked away and the next Watcher Abby that I'm writing is finished. Ith kinda inspired a bunny that refuses to go away :)