by Henry Wyckoff
I entered the dojo to find it dark and empty. Perhaps there would be someone upstairs. There was only one person in the loft. Joe, I think his name was. I didn't know him personally. I went by his description.
"Joe." I nodded. "I would think that someone else would be here instead."
"Duncan? He and Amanda went out to see a play. He didn't know you were coming, but I guessed that you might come here after you were released from the hospital. How are you holding up?"
"I'm functional," I shrugged. "I like to say goodbye to places and people after certain... episodes. It's time to move on."
"You might be ready to say goodbye, but you never move on."
"What do you mean?"
He smiled, "Years back, I was the favorite uncle of a few kids I knew. I know the signs."
"What signs would these be?"
"You're still grieving. Did she die, or did she leave you?"
I stared at him, "I prefer to leave the past the way it is. Buried. The dead will bury the dead."
He nodded, "A perfectly sound way of doing things... when you have a mission. Do you have a mission?"
"No," I sighed, looking out the window. "I have nothing going on."
"Exactly. So if you have nowhere to go, why don't you come with me? I have an opportunity for you that you might like to take up. You're perfectly qualified for it, and I think it'll do you a lot more good than anything else that you envisioned."
"What would that be?"
"Let's take a ride. In the meanwhile, have you ever heard about 'the Watchers'...?"
* * * *
Joe had some pretty civilized whiskey, I had to hand it to him. Maybe
it wasn't that surprising, considering that this was the Northwest and that he was Watching Duncan MacLeod.
"What would your organization think if I acted as a free agent?"
Joe shook his head, "We can't allow that kind of thing. Not everyone who has open knowledge of immortals becomes a Watcher, but they are watched very closely themselves. Although we fail at times -- quite miserably -- we try to enforce a non-interference."
"An Immortal Conservation Society..." I mused. Joe laughed at that one. "Who would I be watching?"
"It might change from time to time, but I think that Marie might be a good candidate."
It was my turn to shake my head, "I can't watch Marie in any official sense."
He was curious, "Why would that be?"
I smiled, "Objectivity. As you've said, it's time I let go of the past.
If you'll excuse me, there's someone I really need to talk to."
* * * *
I somehow knew I would find her here. It made a certain amount of sense. The Watchers take care of their own.
She sat alone in the shadows, staring into space and sipping a red wine. The place was not loud, but loud enough for me to sneak up to her. I was right behind her, and she didn't know. Suddenly, I sprang on her shoulders, whispering, "Surprise!"
The yelp was loud enough to be heard across the bar, and everyone chuckled a little bit before they went back to their own affairs. "You're impossible!" I had touched a 'regal' nerve, it seemed, but she was smiling.
I sat down next to her, grinning, "I try to be."
"You think you're so funny..."
I laughed at that, and ordered a Benedictine for myself. "It looks like you're getting ready to move on."
"I am. Now that my son and I have come to a certain... understanding... I see no reason to stay."
"Where would you go? Greece? Macedonia?"
She snorted. "I had enough of that place to last me lifetimes! I'm going to Paris." Her gaze was distant in a daydream fashion.
"Take me with you?"
She looked startled. "What?"
What I did next was very uncharacteristic of me, and I couldn't use drunkenness as an excuse: I hadn't even received my first drink yet. I leaned close, whispering slowly in her ear while my hand found hers, "Take... me... with... you..."
I backed away, a little uncertain and afraid of what her reaction might be. To my surprised, what I found was a very soft expression and a weak smile, "All you had to do was ask." She tightened her grip.
We got very drunk that night. At some point, she said to me, "Let's go home!" I don't remember how it is we got home, and home turned out to
be Duncan's place. With a mischievous grin, she was practically dragging me by the hand to Duncan's bed.
* * * *
Amanda stopped Duncan while he was in the dojo, carrying a bag in from their late-night shopping trip. She was giggling. "I don't think you want to go upstairs!" Amanda had to clamp a hand over her mouth to keep quiet.
Duncan didn't like the sounds of this. "What's going on?"
"Marie and Jay -- " she had to stop herself, shaking her head. "I don't know whose idea it was!"
His tone was flat. "What is it?"
Amanda changed her mind, and dragged him upstairs continually reminding him to be quiet. On arriving, Duncan's mouth hung wide open. Marie, who was still awake... almost... winked at him with a vicious grin. Jay was sound asleep. One could say that he was all over her. Most definitely.
* * * *
Marie and I sat on the roof of Duncan's place, looking over the gray city as the sun rose. We were sitting together, our arms wrapped tightly around one another. It was very pleasant, and I wouldn't have let her go for all the world.
"What now?" she asked, murmuring into my shoulder, memories of early this morning going through both of our heads.
"My future is a blank slate. For the last few years, I've been living pretty aimlessly. No friends and no plans. When I met you, I was trying to find death. Maybe I did, in a metaphorical sense. A part of me did die recently: the part of me that wanted to die."
I could feel her smile, "Do you still think you're empty and have nothing to offer?"
I ignored the joke-between-the-lines. "I had to see it in the right way. I just don't have a lot to say. Could you live with someone who didn't need to fill the air with words?"
"I don't know..." she seemed hesitant, but I knew she was playing with me. "What would you fill the air with?"
Her arms tightened even around me as I buried my lips into her neck, still smelling earlier scents. "You're a maniac!"
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