Originally posted Friday, March 18, 2005.
This is my losing Highlander/Quantum Leap fan fic. It helps if you have seen the movie “Highlander: Endgame” and the show Quantum Leap… but then again, maybe nothing will help.
Duncan’s arm shoots out as the elevator doors are about to close, seperating him and Kate for possibly the last time. “But at least I can still carry the hope inside me. That’s one blessing of immortality. There’s always tomorrow.” He lets the doors close, then sighs regretfully. He pauses a moment against the frame of the elevator, not yet ready to face an empty apartment when a sensation comes over him similar to when another immortal is near. But this is different. It feels as if his soul, his very essence is being pulled … “What the … “
Sam looks up at his cloudy reflection in the brass of the closed elevator doors. For a moment he studies his new features… dark intelligent eyes, strong stubborn jaw. Not bad, he thinks to himself. Still leaning against the doors he can hear the engines as the elevator car moves down. Was I waiting for it? Or did I just see someone off?
Taking stock of his situation he looks down. His pants are dark, tailored, but his shirt is untucked and unfastened as if he had just hastily thrown it on.
Do I live here? Is this a hotel? What room is mine?
He takes a step, then realizes he has no shoes on. He takes another and realizes he isn’t wearing something else either.
“Al?” Sam calls out while buttoning his shirt. He moves around the corner and down the hall looking for a clue as to which door belongs to this body. “Al!”
“Right behind you. Geez.”
Sam turns, “Where am I?”
The hologram of his long time friend punches at a keypad in his hand. It whirrs once but quiets as he gives it a light smack.
“Uh … Ziggy says New York City. 19… no wait … this is interesting … ” his voice trails off and he puffs once on a cigar.
After a moment of silence Sam says impatiently, “Al! What’s interesting?”
“It says this is the year 2002.”
“2002? That can’t be right.”
Al gives the device another smack. “Ziggy insists. This is the year 2002, your name is Duncan Macleod by the way and,” Al looks up at Sam over his outstretched hand, “you’re here to participate in something called ‘The Game’.”
“Great. What’s that?”
“Ziggy isn’t sure.”
Sam sighs. “All right. I guess the first thing we should do is figure out which room is mine.”
“Oh. Right,” Al turns and walks away holding Ziggy before him, then stops halfway down the hall, “This one.”
“Are you sure?”
“No, but Ziggy is,” and with a devious smile he steps through the door. A moment later, his head pops out, “Will you come on.”
Sitting at an elegant antique desk covered with papers, Sam is rifling through the drawers. Frustrated, he puts down the pages he had been reading, “I can’t find anything about a game.”
“Don’t know what to tell you. That was all Ziggy would say,” Al says from across the room. “It’s beautiful,” he adds quietly, gazing at a katana sword that lays across the bed.
“What? Yeah, nice … ” Sam sighs, thinking. He slumps down lost in thought when a strange pull tugs at his mind. He looks up, distracted.
“What is it?” Al asks.
“I… don’t know. I think I have to go to the roof.”
Ziggy whirrs. Al holds it up as Sam quickly makes his way across the room and out the door.
“Sam … no wait. Don’t go up there … Sam!”
Sam was just about to open the roof access door when Al appears right in front of him. Instinctively Sam pulls back. “Damn it Al.”
“Ziggy says not to go on the roof.”
“I think I have to.”
“I don’t know, but I think someone is out there waiting for me,” and without waiting for Al’s reply, Sam steps through both him and then the door.
It was night. The vents are pouring steam into the air making it difficult to see clearly across the rooftop.
“Hello,” he calls out warily, realizing just now that he has the sword in his hand. He must have grabbed it without thinking.
A man steps out of the shadow, and Sam raises the sword defensively; or so he hopes. “Who are you?”
“You don’t recognize your own kinsman?” the man calls out.
Sam lowers the sword and tries to affect casualness. “Of course I do.”
The man across the way doesn’t move, but his eyes pierce Sam and he can’t break his intense gaze.
Suddenly the man smiles, holding out both hands in entreaty. Sam tries to smile back, but there is something in this stranger’s eyes that will not let him. He could tell he was dangerous, by his walk and the watchfulness of his gaze. This man never did anything without a purpose.
“Al,” Sam whispers desperately. “Al … where are you?”
“Who are you talking to?”
“Myself,” Sam explains quicky, “It’s a bad habit I picked up.”
“It could get you killed,” the man warns. Sam tries again to smile.
Behind him, Sam sees Al appear and he sighs in relief. Holding Ziggy before him Al reads, “His name is Connor Macleod. He is a relative of the man you’re in … sort of… and he is here to… oh… kill himself.”
“What?” Sam can’t help asking.
Connor looks at him sharply, “I said, it could get you killed.”
“I’ll remember that. Why are you here … Connor?”
“We need to talk. About Kell.”
“What about … him?” He asks, both Al and Connor.
Al calls out quickly, “Kell … he’s an enemy of this guy Connor, and Duncan.”
“We have to stop him. But we cannot do it together,” Connor says darkly.
Connor looks at Sam as if he has lost his mind. “The rules! Only one of us can challenge him … and it has to be you.”
Ziggy whirrs and Al becomes frantic, “Oh … oh Sam! This guy is gonna challenge you to a fight. You can’t fight him … ”
“Why?” Sam asks, then amends as Connor begins to speak, “Why not you?”
Connor looks down for a moment, before meeting Sam’s eyes once again. “Because brother, I will not be here … ” and he draws a sword, similar to the one Sam holds, and without warning attacks.
“What are you doing?!” Sam yells, desperately trying to protect himself from the whirlwind of blows.
“Oh, this isn’t good … ” he hears Al say from behind him.
“What is the matter with you? Attack!” Connor commands.
“I don’t want to fight you.”
“You have no choice. None of us do. There can be only one. It can’t be Kell.”
“Al!” Sam calls out.
“Ok … this guy wants you to… what?” Al exclaims, then finishes in disbelief, “he wants you to take his head. ”
Al explains, the words spilling over themselves, “If you take his head you gain his power. This guy Kell, he killed Connor’s family, friends … oh … everyone he cared about except you … I mean Duncan … and only one of them can challenge this guy, and … ” he pauses, reading the display then finishes sadly, “he doesn’t think he can win.”
Sam continues to back away, “Connor. Listen to me. I know you think you can’t beat him, but there has got to be another way.”
“There is none, not for us Duncan. You knew that.”
“Maybe we can’t challenge … Kell … together, but we can beat him together.”
“Then we are in agreement.”
“No!” Sam exclaims realizing what Connor means. “No. I need you here. Alive.”
“Sam, there is a 73% chance Duncan will win against this Kell without Connor’s … power. It goes up to 90 with it … But after that battle … ” Ziggy whirs and Sam thinks for a moment that it sounded sad, matching the tone in Al’s voice, “Duncan will be dead within the next three years. His guilt drives him to this same kind of suicide run with a guy named … Methos. Apparently this Methos guy just gets tired of Duncan’s whining.”
Distracted by Al, Sam backs himself into a corner against the wall around the edge of the roof. Connor’s attack had slowed, but the blows were still deadly and making Sam’s arms tired. He lowers the increasingly heavy blade and feels Connor’s sword slice his flesh, tearing across his stomach. In pain he drops to his knees, pressing a hand against the wound. Panicked, he pulls at his tattered shirt and watches in amazement as it heals, electricity running along the smooth bloody edges, sealing it.
In shock he looks up at Connor who is standing at the ready, but doesn’t move despite Sam’s obvious disadvantage.
He won’t kill me, Sam realizes. Al’s words came back to him, ‘He wants you to take his head.’
“Get up,” Connor says coldly, “you’re fine.”
Sam tries to stall, thinking. “Please Connor,” he says in between gasps, “I won’t kill you.”
“Damn it Duncan. One of us has to die tonight … “
“Sam? Get up! What are you doing?”
“How about both of us?” Sam asks quietly.
In a desperate move, Sam jumps up unarmed and throws himself at Connor, pushing both of them off balance. Startled, and trying to keep his balance, Connor drops his sword. It clatters loudly on the rooftop as together they lean precariously over the edge, and for a moment both are suspended before gravity takes hold and they fall.
“SAM!” Al rushes to edge, looks over and sees their broken bodies on the concrete below.
The alley was dark, wet, and silent. Even without touching them, Al can tell both men are dead. He stands helplessly over the bodies frantically punches buttons “Ziggy, damn you … “
“Sam? Sam! Can you hear me?”
The body of Duncan Macleod sits up.
“Yeah Al,” He struggles to stand, then turns toward Connor. “He’s waking up.”
“How … ?” Al begins, then looks at Ziggy as it whirs and squeaks excitedly. “Oh! Immortal?” He looks at Sam, “How did you know?”
“Normal people don’t heal from sword cuts in minutes Al. Did it work?”
“Ziggy says that yes, Connor lives. Duncan convinces him to go to some monastery … And Duncan goes on to defeat Kell … oh … and a Macleod wins ‘The Prize’, whatever that is.”
“Great. Which one?”
Al gives the device a light tap, “Ziggy can’t say. It’s 50/50.”
Sam starts to respond but feels the all to familiar sensation of a leap beginning …
… and finds himself standing inside an abandoned train station. He moves to a window and looks at the reflection of a young man with close-cropped blonde hair.
“Al?” he calls out hopefully.
“Right here Sam … your name is Richie Ryan and in this building is … oh … Duncan Macleod, who thinks you are someone called Ahriman … “