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23 April 2008 @ 10:27 pm
Lessons Part 4 Highlander/Xmen Crossover  

I know this part has taken forever, but Richie and Logan have finally stopped sulking, so here is the next part of Immortal X, a crossover between Highlander and X-Men, all of which can be found here

I apologise again to any big X-Men fans out there, my canon is a mix of the comics, the cartoons and the movies, simply because I don’t read enough comics for them to solely provide my canon, so if I cause offence, I didn’t mean to. As for the Highlander fans, this is Denial simply because Richie had too short a fuse and I needed him to be more mature for this to work. So now I’ve thoroughly alienated half of the audience, on with the fic ;-p

Big thanks to 

strangevisitor7 for the kick up the bum I needed to finish this and for being a great beta as always *hugs*

 Disclaimer: I still don’t own X-Men or Highlander, more is the pity. I’m just having a little fun, no harm intended, so please don’t set the Sentinels on me.


Lessons Part 4 - Battles
“Where can I get me one of those!” Richie exclaimed in awe. He’d just been taken to the underground hangar beneath Xavier’s Institute where Rogue had shown him the X-jet and was suitably impressed by the Blackbird. Rogue grinned and clapped him on the back.
“Before we go anywhere, you need to change, sugah,” she commented. Richie looked puzzled and she ushered him into a side room just outside the hangar. Inside, the X-men were assembled, dressed in their uniforms. Logan grinned and pulled a black leather suit from a locker.
“Welcome to the team bub,” he said.
“Seriously? Cool!” Richie said, examining his new duds. Rogue pointed to the back of the jacket, so Richie flipped it over.
“It’s even got a scabbard built in, so you can wear your sword on your back,” Rogue explained, excitedly. “May not be discreet, but if you’re wearing this, we aint being discreet.”
“Time for a fashion show later. We’ll go prep the jet; get changed and meet us there ASAP.” Scott commanded grumpily. As they filed out, Richie asked Rogue,
“Have I done something wrong? He doesn’t seem to like me.”
“Don’t sweat it, Rich. Scott’s the team leader; he’s just cross that he was last to know about you and that you’re joining the team so quickly. After all, you’ve only been here a month,” Rogue explained. Richie nodded.
“Plus, it’s just part of his winning personality,” Logan commented. Richie laughed at that and the two left him to change.
He was surprised to see that the uniform was exactly his size; in fact the leather fitted his skin like a glove. Later he’d have to ask the Professor just how he had gathered such information. But for now, he was too excited and nervous about the mission. He was happy to be part of the team, for the chance to be a real hero. But he had not forgotten the lessons of the ‘other Methos’, he hated having to take part in the Game, only fighting when he had no option. As a consequence, he hadn’t fought anyone for over a year, and this Yakuza sounded badass. Was he really up to it? He zipped the jacket closed and slid his adamantium sword into its new sheath, where it rested comfortably against his back.
No going back now, he thought grimly, and marched out to the X-jet.
Ten hours later, the Blackbird touched down outside Kyoto. Thanks to the active camouflage, the only evidence of her presence was a flattened area in the field of wildflowers. Wolverine, Storm, Rogue and Iceman walked casually down the plane’s loading ramp. Richie came bounding down the invisible ramp and looked up. He reached out a hand and felt the metal plane, but all he could see was blue sky.
“Cool,” he breathed.
“Are we done now, Ryan? We have work to do,” Cyclops snapped at Richie, striding down the ramp and through the flowers in the direction of Kyoto. The rest followed.
Logan caught up to Scott and said in a low voice,
“Ease up on Richie, huh? It’s all pretty new and weird to him.”
“We don’t need some punk-ass kid who isn’t even a mutant…” Scott began.
“He’s thirty four,” Logan interrupted.
“I don’t care how old he is, he’s still a rookie,” Scott replied, “None of us have trained with him, except you; he’s completely untested in battle.”
“Hardly. Richie’s a far more experienced warrior than you, hell than most of the team. He’s been fighting for his life since he was nineteen,” Logan said, his voice a low growl.
“Maybe so,” Scott conceded, “But I don’t see why the Professor put him on the team. We hardly know him.”
“Speak for yourself.”
“Okay, he’s good with a blade and he heals fast, but what good is that?”
“You just described me,” Logan pointed out with a gruff laugh. He dropped back to let Scott mull over their conversation. As he drew near Richie, Bobby, Ororo and Rogue, he could hear they were in full conversation.
“Blade?” Richie asked.
 “Already taken, silly,” Rogue replied.
At Logan’s querying glance, Storm explained, “We were just trying to think of a suitable codename for Richie.”
 “How about Hothead?” quipped Logan. Richie smiled.
“The Immortal?” Bobby suggested.
“Just one problem, if I call myself ‘The Immortal’ every Immortal in the States will come for my head,” Richie pointed out.
“Huh, good point. How about Rapier? That’s kinda cool,” Bobby said. Richie chuckled. “What?”
“My first sword was a rapier.”
“Oh, well what’s this one called?”
“A Gothic Bastard,” Richie replied. The others laughed.
“How about we leave the name choosing to the professor?” Logan said, suddenly serious as they neared the outskirts of the city. “We’ve got more important things to think about. Like finding the Samurai.”
“So why can’t you just find this Yakuza guy and challenge him? Why ask for the Silver Samurai’s permission?” Bobby asked. “Aren’t we doing him a favour?” Richie and Logan shook their heads.
“Bad idea. The Samurai considers it a matter of honour to kill this guy Yamamoto for himself,” Logan explained.
“If I butt in, the Samurai will take it as a personal insult and come gunning for me and probably you too,” Richie continued. Bobby and Rogue nodded in understanding.
As they entered the suburbs of Kyoto, the devastation wrought by the epic battle was clear. Buildings and gardens were just so much rubble and the streets were empty and silent.
“Looks like the civilians have been evacuated,” Scott commented.
“It’s creepy, like a ghost town,” Rogue said with a shiver.
“Let’s get this done,” Richie said stoically. Gone was the gleeful boy from earlier; here was the battle hardened man.
Logan grunted in agreement. He sniffed the air, locating the familiar scent of the Samurai.
“This way.”
They found the Samurai meditating in a nearby teahouse. Logan and Richie entered, leaving the others to check the area for any innocent bystanders that might need help. They removed their boots and walked into the room, cautious not to disturb the Samurai’s meditation. Without looking up, the Samurai said in Japanese,
Logan-san. If you have business with me, I am afraid that now is not the right time.”
“No, that’s not why I’m here, Harada-san, this friend of mine has business with Yamamoto,” Logan replied in flawless Japanese. The Samurai looked up, first at him, then at Richie.
Richie stepped forward and bowed politely. The Samurai eyed him suspiciously. Slowly, Richie drew his sword, and, remembering the etiquette Duncan had taught him, he presented himself to the Samurai. He had taken a few classes in Japanese, and managed to dredge enough from the back of his brain to introduce himself.
Silver Samurai-san, my name is Richie Ryan, and with your permission, I wish to challenge the Yakuza Yamamoto,” he said before kneeling carefully on the mat and bowing low. The Samurai laughed.
“Another gaijin that speaks Japanese! Logan-san, are you teaching all our secrets to your friends?” he exclaimed in English.
“I’m as surprised as you Kenuichio-san,” Logan replied, looking at Richie.
“I took some classes, and Duncan taught me a little,” Richie replied. “My sensei, Duncan MacLeod, he lived in Japan for…a long time,” he explained to the Samurai.
“MacLeod? I know a Connor MacLeod,” the Samurai mused.
“That’s his cousin,” Richie replied. “He was Duncan’s teacher.”
“Then you are his friend?” the Samurai asked. Richie nodded. “Any friend of MacLeod is a friend of mine! Welcome, Richie Ryan.”
Still kneeling, the Samurai gave a short bow, which Richie echoed, making sure he bowed lower than the Samurai. Harada might be friendly, but Richie didn’t want to blow things by not showing proper respect.
“How much do you know about Connor?” Richie asked cautiously. Unsure of what to say, the Samurai looked at Logan. “You can speak freely in front of Logan, he knows everything.”
“I know that he has a hard time dying,” the Samurai replied with a wry smile. “Legend in my family tells of the undying gaijin who watches over my family and has done for over four centuries.”
“That sounds about right,” Richie confirmed. “I’m the same as he is.”
“Ah, and so is Yamamoto. I should have realised. You have come for his Quickening then,” Harada said. Richie nodded. “Then will you do me the honour of sparring with me? To see if you are a match for Yamamoto. Please do not misunderstand me, I mean no disrespect, but you seem young to my eyes. I should hate for MacLeod to be angry with me for causing the death of one of his friends.”
Richie nodded his assent and both men rose and picked up their swords. They bowed and took up ready positions. Having sparred with Duncan so many times over the years, Richie was well used to facing a katana and he was able to hold his own, although the Samurai was an incredibly skilled swordsman for a mortal. After ten minutes, the Samurai put up his sword and ended the duel.
“You are well trained Richie-chan, you do your sensei great honour. I have one more test for you, if you will accept.”
“Of course Harada-san,” Richie replied, and he followed Harada outside. More than a little confused, he looked to Logan, who simply shrugged. The Samurai led them to where a little patch of wildflowers was growing and stopped.
“A truly skilled swordsman has grace and a deft hand, far more important than brute strength,” he said. To demonstrate his point, he swung his blade, neatly cutting the head from one single flower, leaving all the others untouched. “If you can do the same, I will know you can take on Yamamoto.”
Daunted, but determined, Richie stepped forward. He focussed his attention, his entire being, on the flower he intended to behead. He shook loose his shoulders, like a golfer preparing to tee-off. He inhaled, slowly and deeply, pulled his sword back and swung.
There was a pause, when Richie thought he had missed entirely, but then the intended flower head toppled and floated gently to the ground. Richie let out the breath he’d been holding and looked at Harada, who bowed deep and low.
“Richie-san, you are indeed a skilled warrior and more than a match for Yamamoto.”
Aragato, Harada-san,” Richie replied and returned the Samurai’s bow.
The Samurai led the X-men to the building where he suspected Yamamoto was being hidden to heal. It was an impressive tower block, made all the more imposing because it towered above the more traditional buildings that surrounded it. As they got close, Richie felt the all too familiar Buzz of another Immortal.
“He’s here. And now he knows we’re here,” he said grimly.
“Fan out,” Scott instructed. The X-men and Silver Samurai moved to take up positions nearby. Before Logan moved, Richie caught his attention,
“Don’t forget, no matter what happens, you mustn’t interfere. Just make sure Yamamoto’s goons don’t either,” Richie said. Logan nodded.
“We got your back, bub,” he replied, before moving to take up position with the others.
Alone, Richie walked towards the entrance. A young man in a well-tailored suit came out of the front entrance, the katana by his side incongruous with his business suit. He stopped in the plaza in front of the building and gave a curt bow before addressing Richie,
“What do you want, gaijin?” he demanded.
“I’m calling Yamamoto out. Challenging him,” Richie replied. The man laughed with no humour.
“Then you have found him,” he replied, raising his hand to the hilt of his sword. Richie examined him for a moment, and then shook his head.
“No, you’re not him. Bring him out.”
The Yakuza whipped out a pistol from a shoulder holster under his jacket.
“How about I shoot you and take your head?” he snarled.
A beam of energy suddenly hit the lackey’s hand, making him drop the gun. Howling and clutching his hand in pain, the goon turned to find the source. Cyclops walked up behind Richie, his hand still poised on his visor.
“I don’t think so. Fetch your boss,” Scott commanded.
The Yakuza glared at Scott, and his hand moved toward his sword.
“Don’t even think about it, bub,” Logan said, low in the henchman’s ear. He had dropped down behind the Yakuza while he was distracted by Scott and Richie and now one of Logan’s claws was pressed against the man’s throat. “You so much as look at that sword, you’ll be wearing your own blood,” Logan snarled. “Now, fetch your boss like a good little messenger boy.”
“There’s no need,” Richie said, drawing his sword and looking behind Logan. As Logan was talking, Richie had again felt the Buzz and knew Yamamoto was coming out. All eyes were on the door as a muscular, tall Japanese man in his late sixties walked out, katana in his hand.
“You’re Yamamoto?” Richie asked; his surprise showing in his voice and face.
“Surprised at my age? Shame on you Mr. Ryan, you of all people should know we have no control over the age of first death,” Yamamoto replied. His voice was warm and amused, but it did not reach his eyes.
“How did you know…?” Richie began, then realised the answer for himself. “You have a Watcher on your payroll.”
“Very useful,” Yamamoto confirmed. “One should always know everything about one’s opponent.”
“Me, I’m more the kill first, ask questions later kinda guy,” Richie quipped, his bravado masking his fear. A Watcher on his staff might mean that Yamamoto knew all Richie’s weaknesses, and all his moves. But, it might also mean that Yamamoto was not that great with a sword; that he had survived by cheating. “Let’s get this done,” Richie said.
Yamamoto gave a curt bow in response and stepped forward, drew his sword and spun it in one fluid motion. The move looked complicated and impressive, but Richie knew enough to see that it was just an easy but showy move designed to intimidate.
Richie took up an opening stance, defensive yet allowing him to be aggressive if Yamamoto didn’t attack first. The two Immortals stood facing each other in the plaza, sizing each other up, waiting for the right moment. Richie could tell that Yamamoto wanted to force Richie to strike the first blow, and a few years ago it probably would have worked, but Richie was more experienced and patient now.
He waited until he could see that Yamamoto was growing impatient, and then feinted, causing Yamamoto to move to intercept a blow that wasn’t coming. Richie then stepped forward, anticipating, and slashed where Yamamoto was going to be. Yamamoto was caught off guard, and Richie’s blade connected low, drawing a long red gash across Yamamoto’s stomach.
The X-men watched in fascination as the two Immortals duelled. They weren’t watching for long however; once Richie took first blood, Yamamoto’s Yakuza appeared from Yamamoto’s building and took up positions in the street and nearby buildings from which to shoot Richie. Obviously they were under orders to attack if Yamamoto was losing, so Scott signalled to the other X-men and the Silver Samurai to stop the Yakuza interfering.
Clutching the gaping wound in his stomach, Yamamoto snarled and lunged at Richie. The wound was slowing the older Immortal, but not enough for Richie to get out of the way in time. Yamamoto’s sword caught Richie’s left shoulder, the adamantium blade slicing through leather, flesh and bone alike.
Richie gasped in pain, but had the presence of mind to bring his own sword down. Yamamoto’s arm broke with a sickening crack as Richie’s own adamantium pommel hit home.
Panting for breath, both Immortals stepped back, each warily watching their opponent. Richie’s left arm hung limp by his side. Yamamoto switched his sword to his good arm, the injured one hanging useless, a mirror image of Richie.
“Not bad Ryan, MacLeod taught you well. Too bad it was for nothing,” Yamamoto taunted. He was obviously stalling for time, but that suited Richie just fine.
Richie could see the wound in Yamamoto’s stomach was healing beneath his shirt, so it all came down to whose arm healed first. Richie could feel the flesh and bone knitting together underneath his leather suit and fervently hoped it was fast enough.
Ten Yakuza were crouched in a nearby alley, watching the scene unfold, waiting for a signal from their boss. They were sent into confusion as a storm appeared from nowhere, and they were buffeted by wind, hail and lightning, but they were not cowards and stood their ground. Storm and Cyclops were able to use the disorder to pick off the henchmen without difficulty. Although the men were criminals, the X-men had no desire to kill these humans, and so Storm knocked them unconscious with lightning or froze them where they stood, and Cyclops incapacitated them with his least powerful concussive blast.
Across the street, Rogue and Iceman were also doing their best to uphold the values of the X-men and not harm any of the ten men they were fighting. Iceman had penned most of them inside the shop where they had been waiting by creating a wall of ice in front of the doors and windows, but a couple had escaped and the two youngest X-men were now defending themselves. Iceman was pinned down under an umbrella of ice as the Yakuza fired their semi-automatics at him. Unseen, Rogue slipped round behind the two men. Too late, they heard her approach and span round as Rogue reached out and touched them both for the briefest of moments. Rendered unconscious, the two Yakuza slumped to the pavement and Iceman bound them together with a thick rope of ice.
On the other side of the plaza where Richie and Yamamoto were fighting, Wolverine and the Silver Samurai were fighting blade to blade with the Yakuza. Unlike his team mates, Wolverine was unconcerned with who lived or died. He had not let the berserker rage in him take control, but he was letting it have free reign, laying into the nameless goons with the animal joy that he only got from fighting. The Samurai was being equally merciless, using his mutant ability to slice through the Yakuza’s weapons as if they were made of cheese instead of Japanese steel.
Nobody knows for certain what it is that determines the speed with which an Immortal heals, what makes some heal quicker than others and some wounds to take longer. Whatever it was, Richie was relieved to discover that he healed faster than Yamamoto. His shoulder wound was nothing more than a gash now, one that he could feel closing already; the pain almost gone. Yamamoto, on the other hand, was clearly still in pain and not ready to restart the fight.
Richie took a moment to check the surroundings. He could see the X-men battling with Yamamoto’s men and knew that he was safe from them. Now was the moment. Using his advantage, Richie ran forward, blade ready to take Yamamoto’s head. Startled, Yamamoto raised his sword to block Richie’s blow, but at the last second Richie dropped his sword, driving his blade into Yamamoto’s chest up to the hilt. Gasping, Yamamoto dropped his sword with a clatter. He looked up at Richie, his mouth a perfect ‘o’ of surprise.
“No, this is wrong! You aren’t this good!” he sputtered, blood spraying from his mouth. Richie looked down at him, cold and calm.
“Never judge an Immortal by his Chronicle,” he said before pulling his sword from Yamamoto’s chest. He raised his sword over his shoulder. “There can be only one,” he said, then swung.
 “Well, that seems to be the last of them,” Logan said as he dropped the body of the man he had been fighting onto the street opposite the plaza. Nobody was paying attention to him though; the X-men were gathered around the plaza, and all eyes were fixed on Richie and the headless corpse of Yamamoto.
An eerie mist rolled across the floor, and sparks of electricity began to light up the area around the body.
“Storm?” Scott queried.
“It is not me, Scott,” Storm replied, as puzzled as he was.
“That would be my fault. You should all get clear, this could get…” Richie began, but he was cut off as he was struck by a bolt of lightning. The X-men all took a step backward, and Rogue let out a little gasp as bolt after bolt of blue lightning struck Richie’s body.
“Storm!” Scott yelled over the din. Storm reached out with her mind, then dropped her arms and shook her head.
“I can do nothing. This is no storm,” she replied. “Look, it seems to be coming from Yamamoto!”
Suddenly, the windows in the surrounding buildings exploded, sending shards of glass down upon them. Bobby raised his arms, and created an ice umbrella above them. The others could only stand under it and watch in mute horror as Richie screamed, engulfed in the lightning, his sword raised above him like a lightning rod.
As the lightning subsided, Richie dropped to his knees, exhausted. Storm and Wolverine ran forward to help him to his feet.
“Richie, I thought I had seen every kind of storm, but truly I have never seen lightning such as that,” Ororo exclaimed. Richie smiled at her weakly.
“Guess I’ve got some explaining to do,” he said.
“Maybe, but it can wait. Let’s go home,” Logan said firmly. Richie nodded, relieved to delay any explanation until the exhaustion of the Quickening had passed, and allowed Logan to help him as the team walked back toward the X-jet.
Richie tried not to meet anyone’s gaze as they walked, unsure of what they were thinking. He knew that mutants were more open-minded than most, but he wasn’t a mutant. Just because the Professor and Logan had accepted his Immortality, didn’t mean that the rest of the team would. And, sooner or later, they would realise that Paul was Immortal too, and then maybe treat him differently from the other students. Richie realised that the real battle might just be beginning.
Lessons now concludes in Part 5
diane: Gorgeous Duncandswdiane on April 23rd, 2008 11:17 pm (UTC)
I'm enjoying this story very much as a long time reader of X-men comics and an HL fan, even though Richie far from the my favorite character in HL.

One small quibble is the comment that Richie has never had a choice about taking a head. There was a time in his life that Richie went head hunting, I believe after Duncan attacked him during the dark quickening. I sure know that Carter Whalen didn't want to fight him, and Richie forced the fight on him. It is a minor quibble but a bit bothering to me that he would be dishonest with the professor.

Anyway, I am enjoying your story.
But, I don't want to be a pie,: richie smileidontlikegravy on April 24th, 2008 12:16 am (UTC)
Thanks for your feedback, I'm glad you're enjoying the story so far.

It's a fair point about Richie, but I didn't want him to just blurt out everything to a complete stranger immediately, that's why he fudges the truth a little. In his mind I think that he believes that almost all the heads he has taken were kill or be killed situations, although he knows deep down that isn't true. He would be more honest with Logan (who of course would understand) but his early mistakes and the period after the Dark Quickening are things Rich would rather forget about and that was neither the time or the place for detailed explanation.

But as you probably figured out from the end of this part, Richie will have to produce a more in depth explanation if he wants to remain a part of the X-men, and the truth is going to come out.

Thanks again for your feedback and I hope this explanation makes sense. :)