by Henry Wyckoff
A Highlander/Sentinel Crossover
* * *
Joe hobbled to the bar and had a seat, "It's not often I see you around here."
"For good reason. You know about me and beer . . . " The speaker was a very old man, old enough to make George Burns look young, but he wasn't the fragile type. He was a Georgian (as in part of the former Soviet Union) and lived up to the stereotype; he was 113 years old and looked like a young 60. But he wasn't immortal. He aged, and that was a matter of public record. If he followed the stereotype, he'd be dead in seven more years.
"To what can I owe the honor of your visit?"
Old Man smiled, "You know very well. You don't think I could reach this age and not know where my friends and weaknesses are? You call Adam Pierson a friend, and a field agent in Cascade calls him immortal. I am starting to wonder where your true loyalties are." Before Joe could protest, he held his hands up, "I'm not accusing you of anything. I'm just suggesting that you walk very carefully and remember your Oath. It's one thing to feel some friendship towards certain immortals who hold an admirable sense of morals, but remember that death is an essential tradeoff to immortality. People die in this Game. Remember that, mortal."
"I know that all too well. I was in Vietnam."
"In my lifetime, I saw my family butchered by Armenians over another insignificant border dispute. I was in Stalingrad. I was in Berlin. I was in Prague. I was in Budapest. Do not think to make me pity you. You might have lost your legs, but I lost my family, friends, and my very soul many times over. Watch what you say, Joe Dawson." It was very rare that the Old Man became angry, and this was one such time.
Joe poured some whiskey. "Why did you really come here?"
"There are greater things in heaven and earth that are dreamt of in your philosophy, Joe Dawson, and one such man walks in Cascade. It was he who . . . defenestrated poor Adam Pierson, and sent him falling over a hundred and fifty feet, only to land in the limo of John di'Anno, the local Don. The Chronicles do not speak of a man who calls himself Latro Campi. For a violent man who wields a Lindesfarne axe, and is not 'identified' as an immortal by a possible immortal, do you not find this strange?"
This was the first Joe had heard about any of that. "Very." He hid his shock very well, both at Pierson's defenestration and the appearance of this enigma.
"I'll leave you to your whiskey."
The Old Man left, leaving Joe in a state of confusion.
* * *
Blair, for one rare moment in his life, showed a lapse of judgment; he hit the Scotch a wee bit too hard, so much that he was deathly afraid that it might show up in his speech, or choice of it. In fact, he felt that he was speaking way too slowly, and that if he spoke any faster, Angela might actually point out the mis-spellings in his very words.
It wasn't so much his hitting the Scotch, but rather his 'manly' feeling that he should match Angela drink for drink. Funny thing was, he didn't consider himself much of a drinker, and hadn't even in college.
It all started when Angela said, "I didn't know you liked Scotch." She pointed at the bottle of Oban.
"I do," he protested. Actually, he hated the taste of it, but preferred it to many exotic cuisines he had been forced to sample. "Care for some?" It was his . . . sort of. Actually, it was in his care.
"You know me!"
All too well. Angela was a bit on the alcoholic side, but functional enough to make Blair confused, and not adamant.
Before he knew it, he had pulled out the cork, and after half an hour, they were more than tipsy, considering the beer and whiskey the'd already had back at Collins.
Angela was giggling, ". . . You remember the time we spiked Professor van Buren's morning coffee with vodka? He didn't even notice it, and he was stumbling around in class?"
Blair certainly remembered it, because he was the one who'd actually done it. "He was vomiting for two days!"
"So? He deserved it!" She poured another Scotch for herself. "Some more Oban?"
"No . . . Angela, I think you had enough. We've been drinking all day . . . "
"Not enough," she slurred. "You're still your DAMNED Boy Scout self!" She was screaming the last.
"Angela -- what's wrong?" He was genuinely confused, and tried to put his arms around her.
"GET AWAY FROM ME!" The sight of anyone drunk and crying was not a good one. "Why did you want me to come back to Cascade...?"
"Because I was concerned! I didn't want you to get screwed for something that I caused!"
Angela was facing the window, "How noble! All this time, and all you were concerned about was my safety . . . "
"Angela . . . what's wrong? What was I supposed to do? Leave you to the wolves?" She didn't answer. "What do you want?"
"All this time," she muttered, "I wanted you, but you never noticed . . . you never noticed me."
Blair shook his head. He had noticed, but he'd been afraid to. "I noticed you, but it was wrong. You were married! Remember?"
"OF COURSE I REMEMBER!" she screamed, holding her face in her hands.
"So what was I supposed to do? I saw the way you were staring at me, but you were married! When you got divorced . . . well, I didn't think it was the right thing to do." His own volume was rising, "What did you want me to do! You were my friend, and I didn't want to ruin that! Sex ruins all friendships, don't you know that?"
There. It was out in open. Both Angela's needs and Blair's reasons.
Angela had her own response. "That's such bullshit! Sex ruins friendships! What the hell is wrong with you?!"
"What do you mean? What the hell are you talking about?"
She slapped him and walked out the apartment.
All Blair could do was shake his head, "Great. I alienate my best friend, and all because I try to do the right thing . . . " The ironic thing was that the whole time he'd known her, he had felt a bit more than friendship for her.
* * *
Hues called his boss. "I have some bad news. No sighting of Pierson, and I can't confirm his life or death; di'Anno is very intense about his security. It could be that there's a meeting of the Dons, or he's protecting Pierson, and there's no reason he'd do that.
"No, sir, from what we do know about Pierson, he wouldn't do that. No, there's a mystery here, and I don't like mysteries.
"Yes, sir . . . I'll keep on it. Over and out."
* * *
Latro laughed at the bartender, "Here's another twenty! Give me another Oban!"
"You're dreaming, buddy."
"Time to go home."
"IT'S TIME T0 DO WHAT????!"
"But I don't want to go home!" There was some laughter after that. "Look -- I'm from Germany! What am I supposed to do, get on a boat and sail back to Essen?"
"Yeah . . . don't fall overboard!"
"I don't understand!"
"WE DON'T GOT NO MORE!"
"YOU DON'T GOT NO MORE LIQUOR?"
What happened next was the brawl of the century; Latro versus the bouncer. It didn't last long. Not surprisingly, it was Latro who landed on the sidewalk. He passed out not long after, and was picked up by the cops for vagrancy and public nuisance. The cops found his possession of an axe not too uncommon. After all, this guy was a vagrant, and this was Washington State.
A guy had to chop wood, after all.
* * * *
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