This Mortal Coil

Keight Cooper

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All standard disclaimers apply: these are not my characters except for Helen and I am making no profit for the use of them so please take pity on me.

Also, there are first a few things that have to be said about this plot. I've always found it sort of distressing that Connor supposedly wins the prize in the first movie, meaning of course he is the last and only immortal, however, somehow there are another two movies (soon to be three) as well as a series, that seems to assume this is not true, though they mention Connor's killing the Kurgan.

This also didn't work with the plot of my idea, and because I tend to be a tad overly-analytical and can't just take this contradiction lightly, I have tried to remedy this by making this assumption: that Connor's killing of the Kurgan, did in fact happen, however, in the reality in which the series takes place, the Kurgan was NOT the last immortal, and by killing him, Connor did not receive the Prize.

This is not as far fetched as it might seem, seeing as by only a few small strokes of the sword, some immortals might have lived on if things had only turned out differently. That being said, I feel a little bit more that my story is at least slightly feasible. However, I was also faced with another question. It has never been intimated that a mortal could in fact kill an immortal, and I only assumed it was possible. The Quickening was a factor here, since we also, or at least I did, assume that mortals cannot experience it. Anyway, here it is, for better or for worse, I shall let you decide. And remember, I am terribly new to this, so any constructive criticism is heartily welcomed. :)


Fades in with Duncan and Richie playing a video game: swordfighting. Richie is obviously Duncan's superior and loving it. Amanda watches over their shoulders, laughing and teasing Duncan. "If only we could play The Game this way," Richie jokes. Duncan says nothing, but continues playing. It is obvious he is about to lose. Finally Richie, laughing, exclaims, "There can be only one!" and gives Duncan's player the final hit that K.O.'s him. Amanda laughs. Duncan seems unamused, but smiles anyway.

A loud knock comes at the door and Amanda starts to go answer it, but Duncan stops her. He wants to get away from Richie who won't stop talking about the game. He opens the door and finds that it's Joe Dawson. He stands looking worried and seems to have hurried, being out of breath.

"Joseph?" Duncan asks. He is puzzled.

"Can I come in?" Dawson asks, not acknowledging Duncan's confusion.

Surprised, Duncan, nods and directs Dawson into the room where Richie and Amanda are. They are equally surprised, but both greet him. Duncan offers Dawson a seat, but he declines. He is obviously agitated.

After a short moment of quiet, Duncan finally speaks up. "So what's wrong Dawson? We weren't expecting you. Watchers aren't really supposed to-"

"I know," Dawson replies. "But it's important." He glances nervously at Amanda and Richie. "I'd like to talk in private, if you don't mind."

"I mind," Amanda interrupts. "If it's that important, shouldn't we all know? You may be Duncan's watcher, but we're all in the Game." Richie nods.

Duncan backs them up. "What you have to say to me, you can say to Amanda and Richie."

Dawson is still obviously abit unconvinced, but continues anyway. "You must go to New York immediately."

There is a short silence, but Dawson offers no elaboration. "Why?" Duncan prods finally.

"Murdock," Dawson answers.

It is clear Duncan knows nothing of the name Dawson mentions. He looks at Amanda and Richie and neither of them seem to know either. "Who's Murdock? I don't know a Murdock," Duncan says.

"No," Dawson adds. "You don't. But your cousin Connor does. And it could mean trouble."

Comes back with a cab pulling up beside the antique store in New York, subtitles reading "New York--the next morning". Duncan, Amanda, and Richie all exit the cab and Richie opens the door for the other two. They enter, expecting to see Rachel, Connor's secretary, but are surprised to see her desk occupied by an attractive younger woman with long brown hair and bright green eyes. She is leaned over the desk, writing something, and humming Beethoven's ninth softly. As they enter, she looks up and smiles slightly. "Hello," she greets them. "May I help you?"

Duncan, a little thrown off by Rachel's absence, nods slightly. "Yes, is Mr. MacLeod in?"

She shakes her head slightly. "No sir, he went off to lunch, but he should return soon."

"Where is Ms. Ellenstein?" Duncan asks.

"Oh," the woman explains, "Rachel went with him to lunch. She has the rest of the day off."

Duncan is slightly annoyed and worried and it shows. He looks down at the woman sitting at the desk. "Would you tell me where they are."

"I'm sorry, sir, I don't know," she answers. "He didn't tell me. But he really should be back soon."

Duncan glances briefly at Amanda who shrugs. "Well-" Duncan begins again.

"You must be Duncan MacLeod," the woman interrupts suddenly.

He is taken off-guard by this. "Um, yes..." A thought occurs to him. "Are you a Watcher?"

She gives him a puzzled look. "A what?"

"Never mind."

She stands up. "Connor told me you'd be coming." She shakes his hand firmly. "Then you must be Amanda," she adds, smiling at Amanda.

Amanda grins back and offers her hand. "Yes, that's me. Pleased to meet you."

She turns her attention to Richie and smiles again. "And you must be-"

"Richie Ryan," he interrupts. She offers him her hand, but he reaches up and kisses it. "Enchanted," he says, chuckling. She seems embarrassed.

"Hey!" comes a voice from behind Richie. The three turn around to see Connor standing just inside the door. "No hitting on my girlfriend," he threatens playfully.

The next scene finds them sitting down in Connor's living room. They all settle in and Duncan looks puzzled at Amanda. He is unsure about anything, especially this new woman Connor had not mentioned. Connor seems to pick up on this and after thinking a moment puts his arm around the woman and smiles over at Duncan, Amanda, and Richie. He gestures with his other hand toward Duncan. "This is Duncan MacLeod my cousin, his girlfriend Amanda, and another friend, Richie Ryan."

She nods happily. "Yes, we've just been introduced. Pleasure."

Connor smiles contentedly looking at her, and then looks up at Duncan. "And this is Helen Taylor."

"Hi Helen," Duncan replies, nodding again.

She smiles. "I've heard much about you."

"All good, I hope," he answers, though his heart is not into it.

Connor is able once more to recognize this and continues, "Helen and I have been living together a little longer than a year now. If you'd come around more, you'd know that." He laughs and Duncan does too. "Speaking of which, what is the reason for this sudden visit, may I ask?"

"Something very important," Duncan answers.

"What's that?" Connor retorts, smiling.

Duncan is no longer smiling, and looks over at Helen. He remains quiet. No one says anything, not even Connor.

"Oh," Helen finally says; she grins coyly. "I see. Must be some discussion about sword-slinging."

Duncan, surprised, looks over at Connor, an eyebrow raised. "You've told her?"

Helen laughs. "Yes, yes. I know all about you. Don't worry, I'm just leaving. I'm not a part of this Game of yours." She stands. "I'll come back when you're done with your immortal talk." She exits, and Connor watches her, smiling faintly, a distant look in his eyes.

There is a short quiet after her exit, but Connor finally snaps back into himself. "So, what is it?"

Duncan sighs and relaxes a bit. "Joe Dawson, you know him, my Watcher, came to me last night. He says there is some trouble here. Something bigger than normal."

Connor looks faintly worried. "What is it?"

"I'm not completely certain," Duncan answers, leaning forward slightly. "He said something about Murdock."

Connor reacts slowly, his face in shock. Duncan continues, "He said you'd know who I was talking about."

Connor stands, he is agitated now, his eyes distant once more. He walks to a window across the room and looks out. "Yes," he answers, dryly. "Yes, I know Murdock. I know."

There is a flashback in the normal Highlander fashion. It is from the original movie, the battle scene in which the Kurgan is first introduced. The Kurgan is shown, speaking to a man behind him. His dialogue is, "You know the deal, Murdock. That one is mine." There is a close-up of the man in the backgrounds face, scowling and nodding.

Now it is afternoon. Amanda and Richie are no longer present, Helen is also absent. Connor and Duncan sit across from each other, still talking. Connor has already explained to Duncan how he knows Murdock and who that is.

Duncan thinks for a moment and then asks, "So why is this so terrible? What happened after that? Is he so dangerous?"

Connor scowls. "Murdock and the Kurgan met just before that battle. Murdock was badly injured, just as I was, in that battle. He was dead for two whole days before he managed to come completely back to life. You know how it was back then. They chased him out like the Devil. Murdock was like me then: no idea who he was, what had happened to him, why he was still alive, much less how to defend himself. He came to depend on the one he had met, on the Kurgan, to teach him."

Duncan is confused. "Why would the Kurgan want to help him?"

"Well," Connor answers, shaking his head, "you had to understand the way the Kurgan thought of Murdock. You see, Murdock could be a great fighter, skilled and powerful; but, he was a terrible coward. The Kurgan used him. After Murdock had been trained, he sought out the weakest, newest immortals and fought only them, careful to avoid the more powerful like Ramirez or Methos. So, that helped Kurgan rid himself of all the easy ones. Murdock earned only a little power from those Quickenings, and all along, the Kurgan waited. Finally, sometime after Ramirez was killed, the Kurgan decided that Murdock had finished being useful, so the two of them fought. That way, the Kurgan could gain all those Quickenings without having to go through all the work of killing all those immortals."

There is a slight silence before Duncan speaks again. "So what happened? The Kurgan couldn't have lost since he lived on to fight you: and Murdock is still around."

Connor stands and walks away, looks at a case that holds a very old looking sword. It is recognizable to viewers as the sword of the Kurgan. "No one knows exactly. Murdock managed to escape with his head. He also managed to allude the Kurgan all that time. He did however take the time to study even more. I heard that after he left Scotland he made his way around to China where he took up residence in the Shaolin temples there for a while. Apparently he became an excellent fighter, but was kicked out because he continued to become violent. He learned from more and more masters throughout the centuries, lost his fear."

"How do you know all this?" Duncan asks, leaning forward.

Connor turns away from the sword case and looks back at Duncan. He is only able to meet Duncan's gaze directly for a moment. "About three years ago-" he falls off for a second then continues, "Murdock killed one of my oldest friends."

Duncan nods: he knows all too well what this is like. He can think of nothing to say.

"I met this man, Fenrir, in Iran about three hundred years ago. He was a travelling swordsman then. He had known Ramirez since very far back; an excellent fighter and a hell of a man. Murdock came to him looking for me," Connor explained, looking at Duncan fiercely. "If Murdock is strong enough to beat Fenrir, I'm just not sure how strong I can be against him."

Duncan sits back again, his brow furled; it is obvious he is worried. "So why did Joe send me here? What can I do that you can't, Connor?"

Connor laughs, though it seems a forced, crying laugh. He returns to his seat across from Duncan and leans forward, as if telling Duncan some secret. "You have more spirit left in you right now. I don't want to fight."

Duncan frowns. "Even though he killed your friend?"

Connor sighs. "Admittedly, that hurts me still. But I'm tiring of the Game, Duncan, as you once did. All I really want right now is to live here, nice and peaceful, with Helen. I love her, Duncan, I do."

Duncan smirks. "You know as well as I do you can't get out of the Game. You told me that yourself once."

Connor chuckles and sips something from a cup that was on the table. "I know, I know. I just, I look back and I see that the Game has always robbed me of my happiness. I just want that. I don't even care about the Prize anymore--it's too hard to care. It's so much easier just to stay here and love Helen. I don't want this to be like it was with Heather, like it was with Brenda-" He falls off. It is obvious he is remembering.

Duncan leans forward closer to him. "You can't stop it, Connor. You know that. Ramirez taught you that. You taught me that, for God's sake."

After a few more moments of daydreaming, Connor nods. "I know, Duncan, I know. But my spirit is not in this. Perhaps that is why your Watcher sent you to me." He is silent a moment then continues, "Or perhaps he sent you to make sure, that, if he kills me, he is stopped." Connor looks up at Duncan questioningly, Duncan looks away. He doesn't like the idea.

Then the camera sweeps away and Helen can be seen standing in the doorway, listening, sheets in her hands, worried look on her face. She has heard everything the two said and it has greatly disturbed her. She thinks.

The next scene shows Amanda laying on a bare mattress in a room, assumedly the guest room of Connor's home. She is staring up at the ceiling thinking in silence.

There is suddenly a light knock at the door, and Amanda jumps slightly then sits up. "Come in."

The door opens, and Helen enters, sheets and a heavy blanket in her arms. She smiles brightly when she sees Amanda, though there is a sort of preoccupation about her. "Sorry to interrupt. Just thought I'd go ahead and bring up the sheets and make your bed."

Amanda stands up and takes some of the sheets from her. "Oh, yeah, thanks. Let me help."

They go about fitting the sheets to the bed. Amanda fits one of the upper corners and notices the elaborately carved headboard. "A lovely bed," she comments.

Helen is tucking in another corner. "Thank you," she replies, taking a moment to admire the beauty herself. "It was Connor's from about two centuries ago. I think it's from Africa somewhere." She grins slightly and stares at the headboard admiringly. It is clear her thoughts are not about the bed, but something much farther away.

Amanda notices and stops tucking in sheets also."You must really love him," she comments, unable to keep from smiling herself.

Helen's eyes meet Amanda's. "Yes, very much," she answers, simply, pulling another sheet up onto the bed.

She has aroused Amanda's curiosity. "How'd you guys meet anyway?" she asks off- handedly.

Helen's attention on the bed sheets slows but does not stop this time. "Well," she begins slowly, thinking, "I've known Connor casually for a while now, since before he and Brenda were involved. Of course, I was quite young then. Barely out of high school. I used to be Brenda's fencing instructor for a short time, and we became friends afterwards. That was about a year before she met Connor. I was almost eighteen then, going to college around here at Sarah Lawrence. To be honest," she adds, laughing, "Connor quite frightened me the first time I met him. He can be a very intense man."

Amanda chuckles. "So what happened then?"

Helen pulls the heavier of the two blanket onto the mattress. "Well, I knew Connor a little while he and Brenda were married. They were so in love. Then, Brenda died: I was very sad and Connor, well, Connor was devastated. The last time I saw him for a while, was at her funeral."

Helen pauses a moment, and thinks solemnly. "I didn't see Connor again until about two years later, and I had just graduated Sarah Lawrence about a year before and was working at the Museum of Natural History. He came up to me while I was eating breakfast at this little cafe right across the street from the museum, I was having a cup of coffee before I went to work and all. It was a surprise and pure luck for sure. At first he said he didn't intend to stay long, I think it was painful for him, I reminded him a bit of Brenda. But after several minutes we began talking. It wasn't small talk either. We talked about Brenda, for most of it actually. He still seemed sad about it, but it was clear now he had in most ways resolved his grief. Finally I realized I had to go, I was very late. Before I left he paid for my coffee and asked if I would come by his shop that night, he wanted to see me again. I asked if this was a date, I think I was sort of uncomfortable with it at first, just as he was, because I worried that I was somehow dishonoring Brenda. Anyhow, I asked him if it was a date and he said he wasn't sure. That was good enough for me, so I agreed then left."

They have finished making the bed and they both take a seat on it. Amanda is smiling as is Helen. "So, you went that night?" Amanda prodded.

"Yes," Helen answered. "I went, dressed incredibly casually. It was funny because he took me out to this wonderful restaurant and I was wearing jeans. No one seemed to mind, especially not him. All he did say about my clothes, well: I had this broach on. One of my friends had bought it for me awhile back, a turtle with little emeralds inlaid in its back: and I was wearing it 'cause it matched. He kept looking at it, saying how tacky it was. Finally, he said he couldn't take it and he unpinned it. Isn't that strange that I remember that? I was sort of glad to get rid of it, it was pretty gaudy. We ate and talked and danced some, he's a terrific dancer, but don't tell him I told you that." She chuckles slightly and grins even wider. "Then we went back to his place. I was still a little uncomfortable, you know, what with Brenda in the middle and not knowing what to make of it all. When we got back here he said, It was a date. I said I knew that, I sort of figured it out. He laughed and we came in and had some coffee. I told him I should go and he said, There's one thing I want to do before you go."

Amanda laughs. "Not so smooth."

Helen chuckles. "No, not quite, though that's what I thought at the time. He went in the other room and came back with two swords. They were sort of light, almost like foils, but not quite. He handed me one then hit it with his, like the start of a fencing match. I was surprised, needless to say. I didn't know he knew anything on the subject of fencing and thought it might be fun to really beat him. So we fenced. He held back for a while, letting me score a couple of touches, but finally he let go. I swear the sword came out of my hand in no less than five seconds." She laughed. "I was a little embarrassed, but he said something to the effect that he was a little impressed. He asked me how long I'd been fencing and I told him, since I was a girl, probably around 15 years total. I asked him, since, obviously, he was better than me. The answer seemed odd at the time of course, I thought he was joking. He said, 500 years." She shakes her head remembering.

Amanda is looking at Helen smiling slightly.

"Anyway," Helen continues, "we kept going out after that. And after a while I wasn't so uncomfortable anymore. We were both happy, and Brenda would have wanted that. About a year after that first day, on my 25th birthday, I asked Connor if he thought we should take the next step and move in together. He said first he had to tell me something. That's when he told me about everything: immortals, the Game, the Quickening, the Prize. He told me of his old life in Scotland, the battle, the Kurgan, his life with Heather. He told me about Duncan a bit too," she sighs. "You can't possibly imagine what was going through my head. At first I thought he was completely bonkers, but he showed me. I left that night not knowing what to think, and I must say I wondered if I should break off the relationship. But in the end, I knew how much I loved him. So we moved in together the next day." She smiles.

Amanda looks at Helen for awhile and then sighs heavily. "Wow. How long have you two been together?"

Helen thinks a moment then answers, "Hmm. around a year and a half now. It's been wonderful, if not a little hard."

Amanda is curious and gives Helen a confused look. "What do you mean hard?"

Helen is no longer smiling. She looks away from Amanda and back at the headboard of the bed. "I worry about him so much. I know I shouldn't, but I do. Every time he walks out that door to go get lunch or take care of business, I wonder if he'll come back. I worry I'll never see him again."

Amanda nods. "I know what you mean. The Game isn't an easy thing to handle. I worry about Duncan as much as I do myself."

Helen looks up quickly at Amanda. "No, it's not quite the same for you. You two are both immortal. You could spend forever together, hundreds of years, you have all the time in the world as long as you can manage to avoid losing your head." She stops a moment and looks away from Amanda and again at the head of the bed. "But I only have so much time with Connor. I don't want that to end before it's time." Her look becomes distant and it is clear she is thinking about what she overheard earlier.

Amanda looks at her, with sympathy.

Helen soon snaps away from her thoughts and looks back up at Amanda, smiling, though it is a forced smile. It is apparent she feels awkward with such a show of emotion. "I think I'll go now. I have a few things to take care of. Sleep well." Amanda nods, and Helen exits closing the door behind her.

Duncan is sitting alone in the living room, but Connor is no longer with him. He sits back, sipping from a cup, his thoughts distant. He looks vaguely worried still and deep in thought.

Helen enters looking for Connor, but not finding him, smiles at Duncan. Duncan emerges from his thoughts and smiles up at her. "Hi there," he greets.

"Hi," she returns, still standing. "Where's Connor?"

"He went on up to bed. He needs his rest," Duncan replies.

Helen nods slightly, understanding. "I see. I've made your and Amanda's bed all up, but if there's anything else you need just tell me."

"Thanks," Duncan answer, smiling again.

Helen turns as if to exit, but stops herself. She turns back to Duncan. "Duncan?"

"Yes?" he returns.

She thinks for a moment how to word her question. "What's wrong? I mean, is it very dangerous? Is everything alright?"

Duncan stops smiling and is silent. He obviously doesn't know what to tell her. Finally, he looks up at her assuredly. "It's nothing out of the ordinary. Just something I thought Connor should know, that's all."

Helen stares at him, knowing he is not being honest. Finally, she nods slightly. "Ok, then. Well, good night. And if you need anything, don't hesitate to ask." She exits, and Duncan remains sitting, sips from his cup, once more and goes on thinking, worried, wondering if he told Helen the right thing.

Connor is lying on the bed, his eyes closed, seemingly asleep. Helen opens the door quietly and peeks around at him. She stands looking at him for a moment, before she enters and then, as carefully as possible, sits down on the bed beside him. Suddenly he opens his eyes and smiles up at her. She jumps slightly and he laughs.

"I thought you'd gone to sleep," Helen says, feigning annoyance but unable not to smile. "Duncan said you came up to get some rest."

Connor props his head up on his arm. "Just had some thinking to do: it was quiet up here alone."

"Do you want me to go?" Helen asks, starting to get up. "I didn't mean to interrupt-"

"No," Connor reassures her. "Please, stay." He sits up beside her. "To be honest I was thinking about you."

She smiles greatly. "Oh, really? What about me?"

"Oh," Connor begins, putting his arm around her and grinning, "about how beautiful you are; how much I love you," he answers, kissing her forehead.

She reaches up and touches his face softly. "I love you too, Connor. Very much. I want you to tell me if something is wrong-"she falls off, unsure whether or not to continue.

Suddenly, Connor stops smiling, and pulls away from her abit. She is worried she has upset him. "I'm sorry, I just want to know if there is some sort of danger. Duncan wouldn't have come for nothing."

He looks away for a moment and is quiet. Then, his eyes distant he says, "There's something I want to say to you, Helen."

She reaches up and touches his face again, softly. "Alright, what is it."

He looks back up at her. "Helen, I've told you how much I love you. You are the best thing in my life." He smiles slightly and takes her hand. "I wanted to know: would you do me the honor of becoming Mrs. Helen Ann MacLeod?"

She is completely surprised and begins to cry, not sobbing, but tears running down her face. She is smiling greatly, stroking his face with the hand he is not holding. She cannot answer.

Connor pulls something out of the nightstand drawer and slides it gently on her finger. It is a silver ring, a band of a sort of Celtic design with interlocking knot designs; it seems very old. "I will get you a normal ring soon, one with diamonds. But this, this ring is from Scotland, from Glenfinnin, where I was born. This is the ring my father gave my mother when they were betrothed, and my mother gave it to me before she died. Only two other women have ever worn it in five hundred years--I want you to have it."

Helen looks down at the ring, still crying. It is clear that she is completely happy. She looks back up at Connor. "I don't want another ring. It could never be as beautiful as this one."

Connor smiles. "Then you will marry me?"

She puts her arms around his neck and, still crying, answers, "Yes, of course I will, Connor MacLeod. Of course I will." She pulls him closer and kisses him on the lips. They embrace and slowly fade out.


It is the next morning. Connor sits at a table eating a small plate of eggs and Helen sits next to him with a cup of tea, reading from a newspaper. Connor simply watches her, holding her hand and running his fingers over the ring on her finger, smiling. Duncan enters, Amanda close behind him: while he is fully groomed, she remains in her pajamas, her hair slightly disheveled. As they enter, Connor looks up and his smile becomes greater. "Good morning, *finally*," he jokes.

Duncan smiles and takes a seat at the table across from Connor. Amanda yawns and finds a seat beside him.

"Would you two like something for breakfast?" Helen asks, pushing her newspaper away. "Or some coffee or tea?"

Amanda shakes her head, thanking Helen.

"I'd like some coffee if you don't mind," Duncan requests dryly.

"No problem," Helen answers standing and walking across the kitchen to pour the coffee.

While she is gone, Duncan leans closer towards Connor and whispers to him. "What are we going to do about Murdock?"

Connor stops smiling and obviously doesn't want to talk about it. "Nothing. I don't want to get into anything I don't have to."

Duncan is annoyed. "Damnit Connor, you can't just ignore this. If it wasn't important, Joe wouldn't have alerted me to it. We need to-" But he falls off, because Helen is coming back with a large mug full of coffee. He leans back again. "Thank you, Helen."

She lays the mug down in front of him carefully and slowly, and he spots the silver ring on her finger. She starts to pull her hand away, but Duncan grabs it and looks at it. Amanda notices him examining it and leans forward to take a look also. Connor watches them smiling.

"Pretty," Amanda comments, sitting back again.

Duncan is quiet for a moment, continuing to examine at it, before he looks back up at Connor. "Is that what I think it is?" he asks, eyes wide, voice curiously happy.

Connor nods. "I was wondering if you'd recognize it." He lets out a small chuckle.

Amanda seems confused. "What's what? What are you two talking about?"

Duncan continues looking over at Connor, but explains to Amanda. "It's a Scottish betrothal ring," he says, smiling. "It's been in the MacLeod line for hundreds of years." He releases Helen's hand.

Amanda sits up a little more. "Does that mean what I think it means?" she asks, a smile beginning to creep onto her tired face.

"Yes," Connor answers, putting an arm around Helen's waist. "We're going to be married."

Amanda and Duncan both look at each other, grinning widely. Duncan extends a hand to Connor, and they shake heartily. "Congratulations, cousin," Duncan says. "And you once told me *I* got all the good women." He grins coyly, then leans across the table and hugs Helen lightly. "Welcome to the family." Amanda walks around and hugs Helen fully, laughing happily. "Congratulations-"

Richie enters loudly, humming something unrecognizable, rock- sounding. He, too, is still in his pajamas with bed head. As he enters everyone stops what they're doing to look at him. He looks about confused. "What, what? What's going on, what did I miss?"

Connor opens his mouth to explain, but is interrupted by a voice. "Excuse me, Mr. MacLeod?"

Everyone turns to see who it is. Connor's secretary, Rachel Stein, stands in the doorway. She is obviously upset by something.

"Rachel," Connor answers, "is something wrong?" He is still embracing Helen, but no longer smiling.

Rachel nods. "There was something on the door when I arrived this morning. It's for you."

He releases Helen and walks over to Rachel. "What is it?"

She hands him a large cloth that is covering something up. Connor takes it, his face stern, and lays it on the table. He looks at Duncan briefly, his eyes somehow showing he knows what is about to be seen.

Slowly, Connor pulls the cloth away. Inside is a sword, curved, like a saber, with a large gold handle. It is covered with blood, long dried on the blade, and they are disgusted to see even small pieces of bone left in slivers on it. Helen pulls back in disgust, but the others stand examining it.

Duncan shakes his head. "This blood isn't fresh at all." He looks up at Connor. "Do you suppose Murdock sent this?"

Connor does not look back up at Duncan to reply, but continues staring at the blade. "I know this was Murdock," he answers. "This was Fenrir's sword." His face is angry, his eyes burning. He turns to Rachel. "Where was this?"

"It was stuck in the side of the building when I arrived," she answers. "It was holding this up." She hands him a piece of paper, which he takes and reads aloud.


He died begging for his life, you know. I killed him with his own saber.

You, MacLeod, are next.

Meet me on the bridge downtown late tonight or I'll stick something even more interesting on your door tomorrow."

As he finishes, he looks over, worried and angry, at Duncan. "It seems you are right, cousin. The Game, it seems, has once again found me."

We find Connor sharpening his sword silently, deep in thought. Helen sits across from him, in a divan, watching him sadly, her look distant.

Duncan enters stands watching Connor for a moment, but then, slowly, speaks. "I'm going with you Connor."

Connor stops for a moment and looks up at Duncan. "You know that's not how it works, Duncan. You can't interfere. This is between Murdock and me now. Immortals cannot help one another. You've no place in between."

Duncan shakes his head. "I won't interfere, but I won't let him keep going either. I'll be there to stop him if-" He falls off.

Connor squints sharply at him, smirking, understanding. "If he's too much for me to handle."

Helen shoots Connor a worried glance.

He smiles at her reassuringly. "No need, cousin. I'm feeling strong and ready today."

Duncan, obviously, disapproves, but says nothing. He finds a seat beside Helen.

They sit a moment, in silence, and Connor returns to sharpening his sword. Duncan and Helen both watch him for awhile, then Helen looks over at Duncan, her eyes full of worry. He nods slightly, and they both return to Connor, silent, with only the loud clank of the sword echoing through the room.

Everyone is seated in the main room, it is completely silent, and everyone is enveloped in their own thoughts. Connor sits on a sofa beside Helen, his hand running slowly through her hair. Duncan and Amanda sit across from them on another sofa, quiet, their looks empty as they each think things over. Richie sits in a rocking chair at the end of that sofa, rocking slowly back and forth, looking bored, and cleaning his fingernails.

Connor looks over at a digital clock sitting on the table beside him that reads in cold, red numbers 11:47. He stares at it for a moment and sees it become 11:48 and then turns to look at Helen. His hand falls from her hair.

She feels his gaze and turns her face up toward him. He is smiling at her lovingly, but she can no longer find it in herself to smile. She turns her face away.

He reaches over and turns her head back toward him and kisses her. "I will be back soon," he assures her and stands to leave, picking up his katana off the table beside him. He starts to exit.

Helen stands up quickly and grabs his arm, stopping him. He turns back towards her.

"Promise me one thing, Connor MacLeod," she whispers, embracing him. "You will not be late."

He chuckles faintly and smiles at her beautifully. "I wouldn't dream of it." He pulls her close and they kiss once more, long, before he turns away and leaves. The door to the store can be heard slamming behind him.

She stands there, a moment, looking in the direction he had left, her eyes beginning to fill with tears. Then she sits down once more, and, looking down at her hand, strokes the ring on her finger.

Duncan looks over at Amanda, sadness and worry in his eyes. He glances over at Helen, who has tears running down her cheeks now, and, in an instant, it is possible to see a decision being made in his eyes. Suddenly, he stands up and grabs a coat from the rack by the window.

"Hey, where are you going?" Richie asks, taking his attention away from his fingernails and sitting up a bit.

"I'm going to the bridge," he answers, matter-of-factly.

Amanda stands too. "Connor said no. You can't interfere, you know the rules, imm-"

"I don't care!" he interrupts. "I won't interfere but I won't see my clansman killed either. If anything happens to Connor, I'll be waiting."

He starts to exit, hurriedly, but Helen stands quickly, and stops him. "Wait, Duncan!"

He stops, and turns back toward her.

She looks at him a moment, unsure, worried, afraid. She is quiet and wipes the tears from her cheek. Her voice is calm and level, but soft. "Take good care of him."

Breathing in deeply, Duncan nods firmly and exits.

Helen is finally overcome, and collapses onto the floor, crying. Amanda and Richie come to her side, comforting her.

It is dark. Connor is walking slowly down an empty street. Everything is quiet, he can see the bridge up ahead farther. He stops for a moment, looks up at the bridge. He knows that Murdock is waiting for him there. Then, with a slight smile he reaches in his pocket and pulls something out of it. It is a small pin, a turtle with little chips of emeralds inlaid in its shell. He runs his fingers over it slowly, and grins.

Suddenly, he senses the presence of an immortal. He throws the pin back into his pocket and pulls his sword out from under his trenchcoat. He looks about carefully.

Duncan emerges from the shadows behind him, sword in his hands. "It's just me."

Connor sighs and tucks his sword back into his coat. "What are you doing here, Duncan?" he asks, scowling. "You cannot interfere."

Duncan's face is severe now. "I'm not here for you, Connor. I'm here for Helen. I'll wait for you here."

Connor is quiet and continues to meet Duncan's gaze. He is thinking, and finally he nods silently.

Duncan reaches out and shakes Connor's hand heartily. "Good luck, Connor."

Connor smiles greatly and laughs. "Hehe. There can be only one."

He turns away from Duncan and disappears into the shadows of the night.

Connor stands waiting on the bridge. His hands run lightly over the ivory hilt, waiting. As he breathes out you can see a faint outline of his breath float up into the night air. His eyes are fierce, his mouth tight, his body loose.

Finally, he senses the presence of another immortal and, accordingly, draws his blade.

A tall, stout man emerges from the shadows. He is around four inches taller than Connor, and his build is more obvious. He has shortly cut, nut brown hair and a mustache and beard. He is dressed in a long black coat and from it, pulls a long, heavy Claymore, much like the one Connor carried before he inherited Ramirez's katana. Connor has a short flashback in which he sees this man riding alongside the Kurgan in the clan battle.

"Highlander," Murdock says, acridly.

Connor grins and chuckles. "I might say the same thing to you, Murdock."

Murdock smirks. "What has it been, something around 400 years? Long time, no see."

"A pity," Connor agrees. "You should have dropped by sooner." He thrusts forward but is blocked solidly by Murdock's Claymore.

Murdock smiles. "It has been a while, hasn't it? I've learned much since the last time we met, MacLeod." He makes a similar attack as the one Connor made, but is blocked equally.

"Courage and truth is something that time hasn't taught you," Connor retorts. They thrust and parry a little more, both proving their skills to be about equal.

"Maybe not," Murdock answers. "But I did learn enough to slaughter that Arab friend of yours." He laughs. "And I'll do the same to you." He attacks quickly, and after several thrusts, manages to knock Connor down, with a resounding thud, his sword falling beside him.

There is a shot of Duncan. He hears the sound of Connor and his blade hit the ground and, without even a moment's thought, runs in the direction of the bridge.

Back to Connor and Murdock. Connor is holding back Murdock's blade from his neck with great difficulty, when they both sense Duncan's approach. Murdock looks up to see who it is and Connor is able to kick his feet out from under him, sending Murdock toppling to the ground.

Everyone regains their ground and Murdock looks over at Duncan, then back at Connor. "What's he doing here? It's not a fair fight."

Connor snears. "He won't interfere. Come on, you haggus. Fight me. Fight me, damn you!" He waves his sword.

Murdock looks back at Duncan, unsure. "I don't trust any of you Macleods..." But, all the same, he begins to fight again, and they thrust and parry, fighting back and forth, equally matching one another.

Finally, Connor finds a break and slashes across Murdock's chest, cutting through his clothes and causing some blood to flow.

Murdock is taken aback and feels the cut with his hand, slowly. "Damn you, MacLeod. This was a new shirt," he says with his thick, Scottish accent. Suddenly, he pulls out a gun, a 45, and shoots Connor directly in his heart. Connor doubles over, and falls to the ground, his sword falling from his hands. Duncan, yells, but, he too is shot, this time in the gut and falls to the ground.

Murdock smiles broadly and laughs. He walks over to Connor who is doubled over himself, pressing on the bloody wound, fumbling with his left hand for his katana, but to no avail. He knows it is lost.

"That was much easier than I was expecting, MacLeod," Murdock says, taking a tighter grip of his sword. "You went twice as fast as that Arab bastard." He raises his sword and Connor closes his eyes. We see his hand grip tightly around the turtle pin as he waits for the blade to fall. Murdock raises his sword high and smiles. He pulls the blade down...

Just as the blade is about to strike Connor's neck there is a loud clanking of metal, as a sword blocks the blow of the claymore and pushes it back upwards. The camera pulls back, and, unexpectedly we see that it is Helen, wielding the saber that was once Fenrir's. He is so startled that he makes no attempt to pull away. She pulls up and kicks him solidly in the stomach sending him sprawling back on the ground, his sword flying from his hand. She raises the blade and yelling, pulls it down, severing his head.

Connor pulls himself up from the ground in shock. "Helen!" he yells, running towards her. "What are you doing here?" He looks down at Murdock's lifeless body.

Duncan has finally managed to pull himself up and is running over. "What happened?"

"Helen killed him," Connor is barely able to reply.

Duncan looks over in utter shock at Connor. "Is that possible? W-W-" but he is unable to finish.

Connor shakes his head. "I don't know: but, he's dead," he answers, positively.

Amanda and Richie both come, running, onto the bridge. Out of breath, they stop. They look down at Murdock's corpse and back over at Connor and Duncan. Richie explains. "We didn't even realize she was gone. She got up to get us something to drink-" he stops.

Amanda sees the bloody saber in Helen's hands. "Did-did, she-" she stutters, "kill him?"

Duncan nods, still unsure of what to make of it.

"Can a mortal kill an immortal?" Richie asks, his brow furled.

All four of them simultaneously look to Helen, enigmatically.

She throws down the saber, tiredly, and, smiling back at them replies softly, "There can be only one." With that she runs forward and embraces Connor, crying.

Duncan walks over to Murdock's body and heaves it over the side of the bridge into the river. Suddenly, something occurs to him. "If she killed him, what happens to the Quickening?"

But Connor and Helen do not respond. They are both embracing, kissing passionately, the familiar light of the Quickening flashing between the two of them as they kiss, pushing around them mightily, lighting up their faces.

It is late the next morning and Duncan, Amanda and Richie are packed and waiting by the door to get into the cab that awaits them outside. Connor and Helen stand ready to bid them farewell.

Richie takes Amanda's bag and waves flippantly at Connor and Helen. "Hey, if I'm ever in town again I'll look you folks up. You throw some wild parties." He is obviously being sarcastic, and smiles. Connor smiles back at him. Richie carries the bags out the door and throws them into the cab.

Amanda hugs Helen, grinning. "I'll watch out for you," Amanda says, laughing at Helen. "You've got quite a swing there."

Helen smiles and nods. "I think I'm done with swordplay for now. I far prefer the quiet life of antiques."

Amanda shakes Connor's hand firmly. "You will invite us to the wedding?" she asks him.

"Of course," he answers, smirking, "when we're invited to your's."

Amanda raises and eyebrow, and turns and exits.

Duncan stands in his spot for a moment. "I still can't believe it. I can't believe a mortal-"

"Duncan," Helen interrupts him, smiling. "forget about it."

He looks at her warmly, then, nods. "Of course."

"Besides," she answers, "sometimes a mortal has to take things into her own hands." She laughs.

Connor looks over at her lovingly and pulls her closer.

Duncan smiles and shakes Connor's hand. "Cousin," he says, nodding his goodbye.

"Don't be such a stranger," Connor tells him, nodding in return.

Duncan picks up his bag and, turning, walks through the door.

Connor turns to Helen and looks at her lovingly. "How are you feeling this morning?"

She smiles, sighing. "I'm a little tired, physically, but inside, it's like everything is charged up. I feel like I could live forever."

Connor chuckles. "Maybe it was that Quickening last night," he says, sarcastically, turning and walking back into the next room.

Helen turns away. "Yes, perhaps," she answers, smiling, and there is a flash of lightning visible in her eyes. "Forever," she whispers to herself.


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