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11 August 2008 @ 03:16 pm
Leap of Angels 2/2  
Here's part two of strangevisitor7's birthday fic The Leap of Angels, part one of which is here.

Huge thanks and piles of virtual snacks once again to silvercobwebsand ithildynfor their invaluable help as beta.

Disclaimer: They aren't mine, none of them, if they were then Richie...well I wouldn't be writing this. No profit made, no harm intended.

The Leap of Angels

Sam was closing up the bar for the night when Methos reappeared. The worried look on the Immortal’s face made Sam stop wiping down the bar. He dismissed the staff early, locked up, handed Methos a beer and sat down with him at a table. Methos swigged half the bottle of beer and then sighed. Sam was startled to realise that the old man didn’t know what to say.
“Methos, what happened?”
The low light in the bar cast a shadow across half of Methos’ face as took another drink and collected his thoughts. He sighed again and leaned forward, cradling the beer in his hands. Sam leaned forward expectantly.
“I think you’re right. I think Duncan might really have lost his marbles. He told me that he’d just seen Kron…well, someone he killed,” Methos replied, visibly blanching. He finished the beer and stared at the empty bottle.
“Do you think that’s it? That all the killing might have got to him? If he’s seeing men he’s killed…”
“No, that makes no sense. Those two definitely deserved to die. I know Mac’s done things he regrets far more. Why on Earth would those two be haunting him?” Methos interrupted with a shake of his head.
“What about this Quickening you told me about? Oh, no, Horton wasn’t Immortal,” Sam interrupted his own train of thought, shaking his own head. He leaned back in his chair to mull over the options. Methos stood suddenly and began pacing the floor.
“I can’t believe MacLeod…After everything he’s been through; he’s always come out okay. He’s a bloody rock!” Methos muttered and drank some more beer. Sam decided to voice the concern he’d had since Duncan’s performance at the airport.
“You don’t think that Duncan could …” he began tentatively. Methos stopped in his tracks and turned to face Sam.
“No! Not a chance in hell. Never,” Methos stated firmly. “Not MacLeod…” he added, a little less sure.
“Look, I’m sorry, Methos. But you said yourself that Richie dying in the Game wouldn’t need to change, and that was the only obvious way he’d lose his head. But what if he wasn’t killed by an enemy, but by a friend,” Sam said, trying to be as delicate as possible. Methos sat again, thought about it for a moment, and then shrugged.
“I have to admit; it wouldn’t be the first time…” he mused aloud, and his face darkened. “But if it is Duncan, and he has gone insane, how the hell do we stop him?”
The next morning, Methos and Sam visited Richie at his apartment. Their worst fears were realised as Richie told them that Duncan was seeing visions that nobody else could see.
“But it’s because of this evil, this demon. Look, there was this old man, he was an archaeologist. Two nights ago he tried to warn Mac that something was after him, something evil that only Mac could defeat. Then the old man died in front of us,” Richie explained. The three of them were sat around Richie’s table, half-drunk cups of coffee in front of them.
“Some old fruit loop dies in front of you and Duncan goes cuckoo. I fail to see how the two are related,” Methos commented.
“I know, it sounds ridiculous, but remember Cassandra’s prophecy about Duncan? What if it’s true?” Richie said. Methos rubbed his temple and then smirked.
“Don’t tell me you believe it! That a demon is stalking Duncan MacLeod?! Give me a break!” he said, trying very hard not to laugh. The situation wasn’t particularly funny, but after 5000 years, there was a lot Methos found amusing that others wouldn’t. Richie didn’t share the elder Immortal’s sense of humour, and he stood up and glared at Methos.
“Is it so ridiculous? We’re Immortal for God’s sake! If we exist, why couldn’t demons? Look, I don’t really care what you believe; I’m helping Duncan fight this thing. You can either help, or stand aside and mock. Don’t really care which,” Richie replied. He grabbed his jacket and started to shepherd Sam and Methos to the door. Sam gently reached for Richie’s arm.
“Look, Rich, we’re just concerned about Duncan. And about you. One of you could get hurt,” Sam said, trying to sound fatherly. Leaving the apartment, Richie closed the door behind them and laughed.
“Joe, we’re Immortal. What can happen? Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a friend to help,” Richie answered. Without any goodbye, he headed downstairs, leaving Sam and Methos standing there.
Although they searched everywhere they could think of, Sam and Methos were unable to find either Richie or Duncan for the rest of that day, and the two began to get very worried. If they couldn’t keep Richie away from that racetrack the next night, it was very likely Sam was about to fail this leap. It was an uneasy Sam that lay in Joe’s bed that night, tossing and turning.
He was finally drifting off when a light cough roused him once more. Sitting up, and turning on the light, he was relieved to find Al standing there. The relief didn’t last long however, when he saw the look on Al’s face.
“Al? What’s wrong?”
“Sam, Ziggy did some more digging and well…” Al stopped, and Sam waited to hear what was coming. What could be so bad? Al had always delivered him the facts, even if they meant Sam was in danger himself. “It’s never happened before, but there’s a 100% probability that Richie will be killed tomorrow night. By Duncan.”
Sam sighed and rubbed his tired eyes.
“I was worried that was a possibility. But 100%?” Sam replied.
“I really don’t think we can change this one, Sam. Everything you’re doing is just making things worse. Besides, isn’t it just part of the Game anyway?” Al asked. Sam began to agree, then realised what Al had just said.
“Wait, I never discussed Immortals with you. How do you know about the Game?” Sam demanded, swinging his legs round and standing up. Al grinned, an evil, humourless grin and his eyes glowing momentarily red. “You’re the thing, the demon, aren’t you? My God, you’re real!”
“God has nothing to do with it. But a gold star for figuring it out so fast. You’ve meddled in history for the last time, Sam Beckett. You’ll fail this leap and be stuck in this life. The Highlander will kill the boy tomorrow night and there’s not a thing you can do to stop it!” Ahriman sneered before disappearing, leaving a confused and terrified Sam alone in the dark.
The next day, Richie came to find Methos and Joe. He asked them to accompany him to see the archaeologist’s granddaughter, Allison Landry, so that she could tell them everything she knew. Sam and Methos knew the only way to keep Richie safe was to keep him in sight, so they agreed.
As the three of them walked through a Paris park towards the building where Allison lived, they continued their previous day’s discussion from where they left off, though Sam was quiet, not knowing how to describe what he had seen the night before.
“Most religions have some version of the saviour myth; demons sent to destroy the Earth, and a champion comes to protect it,” Methos said.
“That is exactly what it says in the journal.”
“But millennium theory is nothing new, Richie. Every thousand years, I hear these same stories. Listen, I don’t know, I have never seen a demon,” Methos added.
“A Zoroastrian demon,” Sam said. To the others, he probably sounded sceptical, but he was actually simply trying to get his head around his late night visitor.
“Well then maybe you guys have another explanation for what’s been going on here,” Richie challenged.
Sam wasn’t entirely certain of what he had seen the night before, but he was almost convinced that Richie and Duncan were right. But he couldn’t explain why without revealing to Richie that he wasn’t Joe Dawson. For the time being he would have to continue acting as though he didn’t believe. All that mattered was keeping Richie alive.
“What’s going on, is that Duncan MacLeod’s losing it,” he answered. Richie shrugged, and shook his head dismissively.
“Okay, we’ll talk to the granddaughter,” Methos conceded.
They approached the building to find police, fire trucks and ambulances parked outside. Firemen were bringing a body down a ladder from an upstairs apartment. One of the policemen spotted them and came over to talk to them. He told them it was arson and asked if they had seen a man leaving the area who they wanted to talk to. A man who sounded a lot like Duncan MacLeod. As the policeman walked away, Richie and Sam looked at each other.
“Not a chance, Joe.”
“Hey, Richie, I know how you feel…” Sam began.
“Gimme a break. Mac was not involved with this, you know it,” Richie replied and began walking away. Sam knew that this was a turning point.
“I know, Richie. And, look, maybe there is a demon, I don’t know,” he admitted, “But I do know that Duncan or you could lose your head. Take my advice and just stay out of it.” He was practically pleading. Richie stopped, looking back at him.
“You want me to leave Mac to face this alone? Are you serious?” he replied. Shaking his head he turned and walked to the end of the fire truck. Sam grunted in frustration.
“Is he always like this?” Sam asked Methos, waving his arm in the direction of Richie.
“Pretty much. Fiercely loyal to a fault, that’s Richie. Some might call it noble, I just call it bloody-minded,” Methos answered. He and Sam joined Richie and watched as they lowered the body from the ladder and into the waiting ambulance.
“Who’s that?” Sam asked the cop.
“She was Allison Landry.”
The three of them decamped to a nearby bar to continue their discussion. They sat at a table, looking to the world like three friends having a casual drink together. In reality, their conversation was deadly earnest. In fact, if Richie were to be believed, the fate of the whole world was in the balance. Sam was convinced now, he believed what Richie was saying, but that didn’t alter the fact that Richie was going to die. He had to find a way to stop Richie going to the racetrack that night. He only hoped that if he continued to appeal to reason, he and Methos might convince Richie to stay away from Duncan, at least for a while.
“So, you agree with Joe. You think MacLeod’s crazy?” Richie asked Methos.
“I think he’s hallucinating, Richie. He’s seeing people that he’s killed,” Methos replied calmly, his tone even. Richie shifted uncomfortably in his seat, and then glared at the oldest Immortal. “Who knows what else he’s doing.”
“He did not set that fire,” Richie replied, adamant. Methos stared into his espresso cup, stirring it absently. Sam rubbed his nose and made the decision to stay out of the conversation. Richie leaned forward. “What if he’s not seeing things? What if all this stuff is for real?”
Methos leaned forward in his own chair and spoke in a low voice, almost a whisper.
“So there are demons running around, and dead people walking,” he said.
“You’re walking,” Richie replied, pointing a finger at Methos. The old man rolled his eyes. “How many times have you been killed?”
“Richie, it’s not the same thing and you know it,” Methos replied. Richie shook his head.
“No, no, no. I don’t know it. Nobody knows the reason Immortals exist. Maybe this is it. Maybe we’re here so that one of us can fight this thing.”
“Yeah, this has been going on for thousands of years, and no one has ever heard of it,” Sam said. He had to admit, it sounded ridiculous said aloud like that and so it was easy to sound sceptical. “Not Watchers, not Immortals.”
“Basically, yeah,” Richie answered. It was clear to Sam that Richie was quite firm in his belief. It amazed him that Richie could be so certain based only on what Duncan had told him. Sam wouldn’t believe it if he hadn’t seen the demon himself, yet this young man was willing to put his life on the line for his friend.
No wonder whoever leaps me around thinks he needs to be saved, Sam thought.
Richie looked at the two of them and sighed in frustration.
“Aw, forget it,” he said, standing up. “I’ll see you guys.”
Richie walked away, leaving Sam and Methos at the table.
“Blind loyalty, very common in the young. So, now what?” Methos asked Sam. As if on cue, Al appeared through the imaging chamber door.
“Sam,” he began, “There’s now a 96% probability that Richie will be killed tonight. And Ziggy’s now saying he’s most likely to be killed by MacLeod!” he said. Sam and Methos looked at each other.
“Damn. It looks like you were right. The Highlander is losing it,” Methos said.
“Actually, I’m not so sure. I had a visit last night, from someone pretending to be Al. He said that he was the demon, and that we couldn’t stop Duncan killing Richie,” Sam confessed.
“Don’t tell me you’re seeing things too,” Methos said with a groan. Sam shook his head.
“Well I sure as hell didn’t visit you last night,” Al said. “Maybe you were dreaming? I mean, demons, seriously?” Al pulled at his collar nervously and looked around.
“Don’t you start, Admiral. Sam, you probably ate too much cheese yesterday. It was just a nightmare,” Methos said.
“I wasn’t asleep, and I wasn’t hallucinating. I think it’s all real,” Sam answered firmly. Methos smirked and shook his head.
In the mundane surroundings they were in, Sam could have been forgiven for dismissing the previous night as a bad dream, but he was more sure than ever of what he had seen. He wasn’t about to back down, no matter what Methos said.
“Look, whether it’s real or Duncan’s a candidate for Cuckoo’s Nest, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that unless we stop it, Duncan will kill Richie tomorrow night. It will utterly destroy him, that boy is like a younger brother, like a son to him.”
“Then we need to stop either of them from going to that racetrack. Richie wasn’t listening, so we should try Duncan,” Sam glanced at his watch. “Look, it’s 8 o’clock, we should get to the barge,” Sam added, already standing. Methos quickly followed after him.
They walked out to Methos’ parked car and got in. Al projected his image into the back seat. Methos drove toward the barge, dodging the Parisian traffic, and Sam turned back to Al.
“It’s gone up to 97%, Sam,” he said, his voice full of concern and a little panic. “Gushie, centre me on Richie!” he called out to the room and vanished.
Al appeared to find Richie walking down the street in the rain.
“Well at least you’re heading away from the racetrack,” Al said, relieved.
A car approached them, slowing down as it reached them. Al did a double-take as he saw Joe Dawson in the back seat, being held at gunpoint by another man.
“Joe? Horton?!” Richie said, disbelieving. “Son of a bitch,” he muttered as the car sped off. Richie began to give chase on foot, but he lost it as it turned toward the racetrack. He stopped and walked toward a phone a block away. Al looked at the link in his hand and groaned.
“Gushie, centre me on Sam, now!” he cried.
Methos and Sam walked onto the barge and up to the door.
“Well, at least one of them is still here,” Methos commented, absently tapping the side of his head. Sam nodded his understanding and they entered. Duncan turned to face them, having felt Methos’ arrival.
“So, where are the men in the white coats?” he asked snidely.
“We think you’re in trouble, Mac,” Sam said. Neither he nor Methos made any move toward Duncan. Duncan stepped forward and smirked, amused by the irony.
“Trouble, you think I’m in trouble?”
“Mac, you need help,” Methos said, an uncharacteristic note of sympathy in his voice. Duncan looked at the floor as he said it.
“You can’t do this alone,” Sam added. Duncan looked up, and glared at them.
“I’m not insane,” he protested and walked towards the pair, stopping only a foot or so away. “I saw them; Horton, Kronos. I heard them. I don’t know what they were, but they were real.”
“And you think they were demons,” Methos said. He was trying to sound sympathetic, but to Sam he sounded a little patronising. Duncan was unable to answer, and Sam realised that it was because he knew how crazy it all sounded.
“Please, let us help you, Mac,” Sam pleaded.
“Look, I’ve been reading about this, thinking about it,” Duncan began. He was agitated, pacing the floor. He picked up a leather bound book and waved it at them. “Look at the state of the world. War, famine, chaos. There has to be something to this prophecy,” the Highlander continued; a note of desperation in his voice.
Sam realised that Duncan wanted it to be true. It gave his life, his Immortality, a meaning it had never had before. As Richie had suggested, it could be the reason for Immortals existing. Sam could understand that; after all, he was looking for the answer to why he was leaping from life to life, a reason for his life. Duncan simply thought he had found the answer to his. Perhaps he had, Sam didn’t know, but that wasn’t his concern, he just had to prevent Richie dying.
“Duncan, I believe you. I don’t think you’re crazy,” Sam said, stepping forward. Duncan looked at him, processing what he was saying. At that moment, Al reappeared, panic on his face.
“Sam, Richie just saw you, I mean Joe, and someone called Horton in a car. He chased after it. He’s almost at the racetrack,” Al explained hurriedly. Duncan’s phone began to ring. “That’s probably him now.”
Sam made to answer it, but Duncan blocked his way, confused by his actions. He couldn’t move quickly enough without dropping the pretence of Joe’s disability and doing that would only further add to Duncan’s paranoia. Instead he pointed to the phone.
“Duncan, that’s Richie. Tell him that I’m here, that he couldn’t have seen me,” Sam said. Duncan stared at Sam in disbelief.
“Just do it Mac, please! Trust us, his life depends on this,” insisted Methos. Duncan continued to stare at them.
“And you’re calling me crazy?” he said as he picked up the receiver. “Hello?...Richie!” he listened for a moment and continued to stare incredulously at Methos and Sam. “Joe’s here, with me and Methos. You couldn’t have seen him, it’s a trick. It’s a trick Richie, a trap, don’t go. Damn!” Duncan hung up and addressed Methos and Sam. “He’s gone to the old racetrack. He doesn’t know what he’s facing…”
“Mac, listen to me. Please, you have to trust me. You can’t go. Let me and Methos take care of this, please. Stay here in case he calls again. Just whatever you do, do not go to that racetrack,” Sam pleaded. Duncan looked at him warily for a moment, but he trusted Joe Dawson and so he nodded.
As Sam and Methos left the barge and headed to Methos’ car, Sam asked him,
“Do you think he’ll stay here?”
“Not likely, Mac hates to sit on the sidelines. Damn! Are you absolutely sure he’s going to kill Richie?” he asked as he got in the driver’s side. They looked to Al, who nodded.
“Ziggy’s now saying a 99% chance that Richie is killed by MacLeod, tonight.”
“Damn!” the old man repeated and sped off toward the racetrack.
They reached the empty parking lot and pulled up outside the entrance. Leaping out of the car, Methos and Sam ran inside; Sam simply carried Joe’s cane, in too much of a hurry to pretend to use it. The building was dark, the walls dusty with disuse, and stray wires hung from the ceiling. They ran down an escalator to a lower level and then Methos stopped and motioned for Sam to do the same. Al appeared next to them, and looked at the handlink.
“It’s dropped to 95%, Sam, but you need to get him out of here, fast. It’s still too high a chance!” Al said. Sam nodded, too breathless to talk. Methos had caught his breath and said,
“He’s close. Richie!” His voice echoed in the empty corridor.
“Methos?” came back the reply. Methos and Sam sighed with relief as Richie came into sight, his sword raised in front of him. As he saw Sam he lowered it, confused. “What…Joe?! You’re okay! How did you get away?”
“Horton never had me. It was a trick, Richie. I was with Methos, on Mac’s barge the whole time. Look, there’s no time to explain, but you have to leave, now,” Sam said. As he finished, Richie and Methos looked around, as though a sound had caught their attention.
“Mac must be here,” Richie said. “We should find him, help him.”
“Sam…” Al warned.
Sam knew there was no time to stop Richie with words, so he used the element of surprise. He delivered a roundhouse kick to Richie’s head, sending him, unconscious, to the floor. Then he and Methos hoisted him onto their shoulders and carried him out of the darkened building to the parking lot. There they gently lowered him into the rear seat of Methos’ car and waited for Duncan.
“You did it, Sam. Ziggy says that Richie is alive and well, and going to stay that way,” Al said, a big grin on his face. “I’m glad; I’m really starting to like the guy.”
“Me too. Hell, if I’d know a swift kick to the head would knock some sense into the kid, I’d have done it years ago,” said Methos, a wry grin tugging at the corner of his mouth. Sam smiled at him.
“It’s been good seeing you again, old man,” Sam said, holding out his hand. Methos took it and pulled him in for a hug.
“You too, Sam. I hope it won’t be the last time. Safe travels, my friend,” Methos replied.
As the words left Methos’ mouth, Sam was enveloped in a bright white light and he leaped, leaving Methos to explain to a bewildered Joe what they were doing hugging in a parking lot and to convince Richie that he had concussion and couldn’t possibly have been kicked in the head by a man with two prosthetic legs.
dejladejla on August 11th, 2008 03:38 pm (UTC)
Definitely one way to fix it! And I do like the ending. Although one thing Methos seems to be very good at is explanations that don't make sense.
But, I don't want to be a pie,idontlikegravy on August 11th, 2008 10:38 pm (UTC)
LOL, that's true, he does have a knack. Phew, and I thought I'd left him in trouble! *grin*
The other Weird Al: Highlander - Richieaeron_lanart on August 11th, 2008 04:52 pm (UTC)
Love the ending, but I bet Methos somehow manages to explain it all away.

That's a very satisfying addition to Denial. Thank you.
But, I don't want to be a pie,: richie and jackidontlikegravy on August 11th, 2008 10:40 pm (UTC)
You just know he'll have an answer by the time Rich wakes up *grin*. Thank you, although I don't know what this Denial is. ;-p
Kay: fitz -- here nor theresilvercobwebs on August 11th, 2008 07:59 pm (UTC)
Yay, it's all posted! :)
But, I don't want to be a pie,: dinobaitidontlikegravy on August 11th, 2008 10:41 pm (UTC)
Yup. Couldn't have done it without you *hugs* Here, have some chocolate.
nettesco9nettesco9 on August 11th, 2008 08:10 pm (UTC)
I love this story, I have always thought that Richie shouldn't have died at the race track and that was one of the best alternatives to that episode I have read.

But, I don't want to be a pie,: richie smileidontlikegravy on August 11th, 2008 10:41 pm (UTC)

Thank you very much. :)

ETA: This is becoming a bit of a habit. I don't want to just deny it ever happened (not that there's anything wrong with that, it just doesn't work for me) so I keep writing ways to resurrect him instead! *grin*

Edited at 2008-08-11 10:43 pm (UTC)
Fiona: joe 2lasairfhiona on August 12th, 2008 07:26 am (UTC)
Great fix! :o)
But, I don't want to be a pie,: fixableidontlikegravy on August 12th, 2008 09:03 am (UTC)
Thank you! :)
Ithithildyn on August 12th, 2008 04:57 pm (UTC)
Never seen QL, but I enjoyed the story immensely :)
But, I don't want to be a pie,: cities of goldidontlikegravy on August 13th, 2008 12:44 am (UTC)
Thank you, hun *hugs*

And thank you again for the help :)
Ithithildyn on August 13th, 2008 12:44 am (UTC)
You're quite welcome :)
herk227herk227 on August 12th, 2008 06:47 pm (UTC)
Promptly delivered :)

Now I want to see all the other times those two meet.

No matter what you do I will always demand MORE!!!
But, I don't want to be a pie,: writingidontlikegravy on August 13th, 2008 12:45 am (UTC)

No! No more new bunnies! Must finish what I've already started!
(Deleted comment)
But, I don't want to be a pie,: fixableidontlikegravy on August 13th, 2008 04:39 pm (UTC)
*blush* Thank you, glad you enjoyed it :)
I will call her George: Hugstrangevisitor7 on August 15th, 2008 02:33 pm (UTC)
I fail because I never told you how much I adore this. Forgive me. I was actually rereading it when I noticed I never commented *headdesk*

You are the most awesome Richie death denier ever. I love this and it is my canon - I have no need to ever watch that false episode!!!

*Hugs and Squishes*
But, I don't want to be a pie,: craig holds richardidontlikegravy on August 16th, 2008 05:23 pm (UTC)
I'm very pleased you enjoyed it lovely. *hugs back*
Carriesparrowsverse on August 18th, 2008 08:01 pm (UTC)
I got here by way of strangevisitor7's journal and had to see how you would 'fix' the ending of Archangel. I definately love this version! Especially with adding QL in. :D

I have also friended you. :D
But, I don't want to be a pie,: fixableidontlikegravy on August 20th, 2008 06:03 pm (UTC)
You are very welcome :)

Glad you enjoyed it, hope you come back for more (I'm frequently paddling in Denial, often with strangevisitor7 in tow.