Disclaimer: I don’t own Highlander or Stargate or any of the characters of Highlander or Stargate, and I’m not making any money out of them, I’m just doing this for the love of the shows and the love of Richie. All rights and ownership belong to the people who actually own them, I’m just trying them on for size and I promise to return them good as new.
Warning: This story contains a non-graphic same sex relationship, so don’t read it if that sort of thing offends. Also there’s a bit of naughty language, but not much.
Rating PG3. Leading separate lives
“I can’t believe I gave up a bike meet for this.” Richie was staring incredulously at the poster outside the lecture hall that read ‘The Individual Identity in Old Kingdom Biography: a new hypothesis on the role of the king’. “I cannot believe you dragged my ass all the way to Colorado Springs for this b-s.”
“I’m sorry; I thought you would like to learn a little about ancient Egypt.” Replied Methos, testily. “Besides, Daniel’s lectures have always been more…entertaining in the past. I don’t understand it.”
“You and me both buddy.” Methos gave Richie one of his inscrutable looks, which the younger Immortal interpreted in this instance as a glower. He and Mac had accompanied the oldest Immortal on this little jaunt on the promise of an adventure. Jesse had stayed behind to start up his medical practice and he had muttered something about needing to ‘discuss’ something with Steve Sloane. Richie was beginning to wish he could have found some excuse too. The ‘adventure’ had turned out to be listening for an hour to some nerdy archaeologist prattle on about something to do with reading hieroglyphs. “That’s an hour of my life I’m never getting back.”
“Oh shut up. You can spare it.” Mac was watching this with rising hilarity, but he felt he ought to intervene before the two ended up at swords at twenty paces.
“He’s one of us.” It was a statement not a question. Methos looked at him and nodded. Realisation dawned on Richie.
“Ah, so that’s what that was. Huh! I’ve never come across a Pre-Immortal before. Does he know about us?”
“No, so be careful what you say around him. And for God’s sake remember to call me Adam.”
“Sure thing old man.” Methos smiled sarcastically and slapped Richie upside the head. At that moment the guest speaker, Doctor Daniel Jackson, came out of the lecture hall. Seeing Methos he smiled broadly and proffered his hand. Methos took the hand and pulled him into a hug.
“Adam, it’s good to see you. Glad you could make it.”
“It’s good to see you too. These are my friends, Richie Ryan and Duncan MacLeod.” Hands were shaken and greetings exchanged and then Daniel directed them into a nearby restaurant. They chatted amicably over dinner, ‘Adam’ and Daniel reminiscing about their college days, Duncan and Richie swapping occasional glances and grins when something was unintentionally amusing, until Methos shot them a warning glance. Suddenly Daniel looked at his watch.
“Damn, I have to go. Look, how long are you in town? I’d love to meet again, but I really have to be somewhere else right now.”
“We’re here for a week.”
“That’s great. I’ll call you.” He tossed some money on the table to cover the bill and hightailed it out of the restaurant.
“Odd boy.” Commented Richie.
“You don’t know the half of it.” Methos said enigmatically. Suddenly there was a screech of tyres. The three of them leapt to their feet, and ran out to the street, compelled by some dread urge. Sure enough, Daniel Jackson was lying in a crumpled heap by the side of the road. It was a hit-and-run and there were no witnesses about, so Methos went back inside to pay the bill and Duncan and Richie bundled Daniel’s lifeless form into the back of the T’bird.
They lay Daniel on the bed of Methos’ hotel room and went into a huddle on the other side of the room to discuss what to do next while they waited for him to come back. It was taking a surprisingly long time for Daniel to return from a simple hit and run, but one could never really judge these things. Sometimes it was a matter of minutes, sometimes more like hours. Methos spoke first.
“Aw, damn. I thought it would be ages before I had to leave Seacouver to teach Daniel. I just bought an apartment too.” Mac gave Methos a look of pure scepticism.
“Since when do you take students?”
“Daniel’s different. I quite like him, wouldn’t mind if he stuck around a bit.”
“Then why don’t you bring him back with us?”
“No, I don’t think Daniel would or could leave. The work he’s doing here is too important.” The other two looked at him quizzically. “While I was still with the Watchers I did some investigating via some government contacts to see what Daniel was up to. It’s top secret classified stuff, but all you need to know for now is it is damn important for everyone that he keeps doing it. When I still had any sway with the Watchers I managed to install someone at his base to keep an eye on him and let me know the minute he died, and they’ve been sending me regular updates on his activities. You wouldn’t believe me if I told you, which I can’t as it’s classified. But he will definitely not leave Colorado Springs.”
“Then I’ll teach him.” Methos looked at Richie, surprised. “C’mon old man, I’m ready for this. I like the guy, and I want to be his teacher.” Methos looked at Duncan, who just shrugged.
“I think he’s right. I know he’s not that old but I think he is ready to be a teacher. I’m not sure I’m ready for us to be apart again, but if it’s what he wants, it makes sense. You don’t want to move to Colorado, and I’ve got Jesse so I can’t leave Seacouver.” The oldest Immortal looked Richie up and down, critically, then came to a decision.
“Okay, if you’re sure. Just let me talk to him alone, to explain everything. I think it will be less overwhelming coming from me.” Duncan and Richie both nodded, and left to go to the hotel bar. Methos turned to the bed as Daniel gasped out and sat up.
“God, what hit me?”
“I remember.” Daniel felt around his body checking for any breaks. “But I don’t feel any pain.”
“Yes, about that. You died. But now you’re back again.”
“Not again.” Daniel groaned. Methos was taken aback, that wasn’t the usual reaction to the news, but then he remembered some of the Watcher’s reports he’d read.
“Daniel san, we have a lot to talk about.”
Duncan and Richie sat in silence for about an hour, nursing their drinks.
“Do you really want to leave?” Richie started at the question.
“I think it might be best for a while. I need to sort through some things.”
“Like us you mean.” Richie nodded and looked down at his glass. “Well, look if you’re not sure about us…” Duncan left the implied question hanging.
“No, no, Mac, the one thing I am sure of right now is how I feel about you. But I’m not sure about me. See, when you… when I died, I was still young, didn’t have to think about tomorrow, because as an Immortal I figured there would always be a tomorrow. Ever since I’ve been back, I’ve had one target after another to focus all my attention on, getting well, getting fit, finding you, finding answers. I just realised that I haven’t taken any time to plan my future, now that I have one again. Teaching Daniel would be a start to finding myself, figuring out what sort of an Immortal, what sort of a man, I am. Do you see what I mean?” Duncan nodded and reached to take Richie’s hand.
“You do whatever you need to do, okay?” he finished his drink. “Come on, let’s go see if Methos is finished filling in Daniel.”
“So Richie will be your teacher. Trust him; tell him what he needs to know okay? The bonds between teacher and student are of the utmost importance. And trust your team too. Sooner or later your luck will run out again, only this time you won’t need a sarcophagus or the Ancients to intervene, and there are only so many excuses. Trust them, and they’ll be able to help when the time comes. And one of them might just surprise you.” Daniel looked at him quizzically, then put his hand to his head, in pain. Feeling the Buzz too, Methos looked to the door. He put a reassuring hand on Daniel’s arm. “It’s probably just Mac and Richie.” The door opened and the two strolled in. Richie grinned at the two seated on the bed, and flopped down next to Daniel.
“So buddy, it’s me and you now hey?”
“So it would seem. Ad… I mean Methos, explained everything to me.”
“I see he explained everything.” Duncan observed wryly.
“Well, Daniel is a good friend, and some things had to be discussed that he could only hear from a five thousand year old man.” Methos replied, as enigmatic as ever. Duncan looked at him, the frustration clear, but he said nothing. He was used to this sort of cryptic double-talk from the old man and knew he wouldn’t get a sensible answer from him. The telephone rang and Richie leaned over to pick it up.
“Y’ello?” he listened for a moment before handing the receiver to Duncan. “It’s for you, it’s Joe.”
They left Duncan alone to talk to Joe, moving into the adjoining room that Richie had taken. With amusement Methos noted that some of Duncan’s things were in this room. Intuition had been tugging at the old guy for some time now, and this confirmed his suspicions. He was happy that his friends were happy, but he knew better than to confront the ultra-masculine MacLeod about this. If and when he was ready, Mac would tell him. Daniel looked at his watch, suddenly panicked.
“Oh, damn! Can I use your phone? I need to call the base.” Richie nodded, his curiosity showing. “When I left you earlier I was meant to be attending a meeting. Whilst I’m not officially military, I’ve been AWOL for nearly three hours now. I should call in to let them know I’m okay.” He picked up the receiver and punched in a number. He spoke briefly to someone on the other end and then hung up. By the time he had finished, Duncan was standing in the doorway.
“Joe has an old friend in trouble.” He said. “He needs us to go to England as soon as possible. He’s already made arrangements for us to fly out of here tonight.”
“It’s that urgent?” Methos asked.
“Life and death, fate of the universe sort of thing apparently.”
“I’d better go and pack then, hadn’t I?” Methos walked back into his room, closing the door behind him. He had the feeling the other two would need some privacy. The intuitive Dr. Jackson sensed something similar and made a move.
“I’d better go too. I need to report to the base as soon as possible.”
Richie nodded. As Daniel moved toward the door, Duncan grabbed his arm.
“You’re an archaeologist aren’t you? You have a collection of antiques, am I right?” Daniel nodded. “Do you have any swords in your collection?” another nod “Then on your way to the base stop off and pick one up. This is a quiet town, so you should be safe, but there are head hunters out there that prey on new Immortals. That may even have been who hit you earlier. If you feel another Immortal and it isn’t one of us, run for holy ground, okay?” Daniel nodded his understanding and left, his mind racing with information and questions. Duncan turned to Richie and held him close. “Are you sure you’re ready for this?” he felt Richie nod against his chest “I think he’ll be a quick study. He seems to have a natural grace and there is something about the way he carries himself that would suggest he’s had some military training, maybe even combat experience. Just make sure that you stay attuned to his needs, that you take him in the direction that suits him, okay? I’d recommend a broadsword for him, something two-handed. He obviously works out, so I think he can handle it, but you need to work with him on other techniques too, you never know who he might be facing.” Richie laughed good-naturedly at his concern.
“I get it Mac, don’t worry. I had a pretty good teacher myself you know?” Duncan smiled, “How long until you have to leave for the flight to England?”
“Four hours. Why?”
“Because we’re wasting time, that’s why.” Richie grinned at him. Taking the hint, Duncan pulled him close and kissed him.
A few days later, a dumbstruck Teal’c and Cameron sat on Daniel’s couch whilst Sam and Richie occupied his chairs. Daniel had just explained everything to them, and given them a demonstration of his healing with the standard ‘slash the palm with a knife’ shtick, and they were now trying to process it. It was Sam who spoke first.
“Well, to be honest I’m surprised that this never came up sooner.” Daniel and Richie looked at her, now it was their turn to be dumbstruck. Slowly, a realisation crept over Richie.
“You’re the Watcher.” Sam nodded. “But your wrist is clear. Where’s your tattoo?” Sam smiled.
“Air Force protocol doesn’t allow officers to be tattooed below the elbow, so it isn’t on my wrist.”
“Where is it then?” Cam asked. Daniel was impressed that he could still manage to be a letch under such circumstances. They were all a little disappointed when Sam demonstrated it was on the small of her back.
“Well,” Cam said, “today has definitely been an education.”
“Well, I think the education should continue.” Daniel said, “I think Richie needs to know some stuff about us, like where I’m going to keep disappearing to.” He held up his hand at the protest on Cam’s lips. “I don’t mean specifics, just a rough idea so he isn’t in the dark. He’s going to be my teacher, so I need to trust him completely, and that trust has to work both ways. Look, he’s pretty good at keeping secrets and he’s, we’ve just trusted you three with a huge secret that could put us and every other Immortal in danger if it got out. Can you imagine the witch hunts? He’s trusted us, now we need to trust him.” The four members of SG-1 seemed to have a silent conversation with each other, and come to an agreement. Cam nodded to Daniel.
“Okay, Danny, explain away. But try not to get carried away. Remember the meaning of classified?” So Daniel turned to Richie and began to explain about the Stargate, the Goa’uld and the other details of his peculiar life.
“Oh my god.” Richie said, when he was capable of speech again. “This is unbelievable.”
“Oh yes,” said Cameron sarcastically, “because people living forever and running around cutting each other’s heads off is sooo realistic.”
“Well, when you put it like that.” Richie grinned. “Wow, so you’re all like superheroes or something.”
“Or something.” said Samantha with a wry smile.
“Might I ask how old you are Richard Ryan?” Teal’c asked.
“I’m thirty-three, I was nineteen when I became Immortal.”
“I myself have been a warrior for over one hundred years. Do you feel that you are qualified to teach these skills to Daniel Jackson?” Richie was taken aback by the question. Daniel knew that Teal’c was just being a concerned friend, but he had come across as aggressive, so he stepped up to Richie’s defence.
“Richie is good enough. He must be or MacLeod and Adam wouldn’t have entrusted me to his care. They are both experienced Immortals and they believe he is good enough.” Teal’c raised an eyebrow at his friend’s fierce loyalty to the relative stranger.
“I am sorry Richard Ryan.”
“No sweat, I get that you’re looking out for your buddy. Hey, a hundred years experience as a warrior, I’ll appreciate your advice.” Teal’c gave a short bow, which Richie returned. He didn’t know anything about Jaffa culture, but Mac had taught him enough about samurai etiquette to know that bowing was a sign of respect. He thought that learning an alien fighting style might be fun, and give both him and Daniel an edge in the Game. Plus, he thought to himself with a smile, I’ll finally be better than Mac at something.
Richie helped Daniel to select a broadsword from his collection and showed him how to get it battle sharp, before he began to teach him how to use it. Duncan had been right in his assessment of Daniel; he was both combat experienced and a fast learner. Within two weeks he was proficient with not only the broadsword, but the katana and rapier too. Daniel threw himself into the training wholeheartedly, sparring and training for hours every day, even when he was off-world, but Richie could almost swear that someone had already been teaching him. Richie too was training, learning to be a teacher, and learning Jaffa fighting techniques from Cameron and Teal’c. Plus he was even picking up some Goa’uld, Egyptian and other ancient and alien languages from watching Daniel work.
In the middle of the second week, Richie and Daniel were walking back to Daniel’s apartment after jogging in the woods when they both felt the Buzz. A middle-aged looking Immortal stepped out from behind a tree, cavalry sword drawn. Richie and Daniel both drew their swords and stood en guarde.
“Which one of you is Richie Ryan?” growled the stranger.
“That would be me.” Daniel relaxed slightly, as his mentor stepped forward. “And you are?”
“The name is Dawson Taylor. I’ve come for your head boy.”
“You mean there are people out there who really do have the first name Dawson? I’d have changed it if I were you buddy.” Richie didn’t normally like to taunt like this, not since his own head hunting days, but he still hated being called a boy. Taylor growled and charged at Richie. He sidestepped the blow, coming round with his sword to slice across his opponent’s back. Taylor spun round, blocking Richie’s next swing, but leaving himself open to a swift punch to the stomach.
“That’s for calling me boy” Richie said through gritted teeth, as he struck again at Taylor, this time slicing the man across the chest and upper arm. Daniel watched as they continued to fight for the next few minutes. Taylor seemed to be pretty good, but it was obvious even to Daniel that Richie was the better swordsman. Richie performed a neat little trick he had learned from Teal’c, disarming his opponent, and pressed his blade against Taylor’s neck.
“Do it. Boy.” Spat Taylor. Without hesitation or word, Richie pulled his sword back and delivered the fatal blow. He turned to Daniel to assess his reaction, but the archaeologist’s face showed only concern for his teacher before the world was obliterated by the Quickening.
Daniel watched awestruck as Richie was hit again and again by the lightning. So that’s what a Quickening looks like, he thought, I’m not sure I want to know what it feels like. Richie seemed to be in intense agony, and yet at the same time a kind of ecstasy too. Finally, it stopped and Richie fell to his knees. Daniel rushed forward and helped him to his feet.
They walked back to Daniel’s apartment in silence, Richie still tired from the fight and Quickening, and Daniel lost in his own thoughts. Once inside he brewed them some coffee and they sat down. It was then that Daniel spoke.
“Is it always that painful?”
“Not always, no. The more powerful it is, the worse it is, and the fewer you take the more it hurts. But the sense of power can become addictive, that’s why some are head hunters. All they want is the next Quickening, like a junkie after a fix. They don’t really care about the Game anymore.” Daniel nodded thoughtfully as he processed the information. “Are you okay? I know it can be a bit overwhelming the first time.”
“Yes. I’m okay. I’m generally against violence, but my experiences with the SGC have taught me that it’s sometimes necessary. That’s not the first dead man I’ve seen. Not even the first duel. I’ve killed. It’s not something I’m proud of, but I’ve done it to survive and I know I’m capable of doing it again.” Richie placed his hand on Daniel’s shoulder in sympathy and noticed it was covered in blood.
“Do you mind if I use your bathroom? I should get cleaned up before I head back to the hotel.” He grinned
“You’d better borrow a shirt too.” Daniel returned the grin. “That one’s ruined.” Richie headed to the bathroom as Daniel went to get him a top. Stripping to the waist and binning the ruined shirt, he washed the blood from his body. As he washed his neck, he noticed that the scar was gone and smiled. Daniel came in and handed him a shirt. “Listen, Richie, I’m going off-world for three weeks from tomorrow, so you’re welcome to borrow the apartment if you like, it seems ridiculous to pay for a hotel.”
“Thanks Daniel. That would be great.”
The people of P7X-9876, or the Meshwesh as they called themselves, were technologically in the equivalent of the Middle Ages. They spoke a dialect of Goa’uld, and were deeply superstitious and suspicious of strangers. Their suspicions about SG-1 were not helped by the presence of a Jaffa, although his lack of larval Goa’uld helped convince the village elders that Teal’c was no threat.
The planet was a prime source of Naqada, and having lost so many mining concessions to the Ori incursion into our galaxy, SG-1 had authority to trade whatever was necessary to secure mining rights from the Meshwesh. The negotiations were going well after the initial hostility had been resolved, and Daniel was confident that they would sign an agreement by the end of their three weeks. Then, as O’Neill would have said, everything went to hell in a handcart.
A group of religious fanatics who wished to restore the old ways had taken it upon themselves to assassinate the ‘shol’va’ and his companions. In the middle of the final week of negotiations, they burst into the council chamber and fired a crossbow at Teal’c. Without thinking, Daniel stepped in front of his friend and got a bolt in the chest for his trouble. Equally instinctively, the other three opened fire on the assassins. Unfortunately, they also hit the council leader, and got themselves locked up to face murder charges.
As part of their current religion, the Meshwesh felt it necessary to give Daniel a proper burial, with all the attendant ceremony. They removed the arrow from his body and placed him on the altar of their temple, where he would lie, under vigil, for three days before the funeral. He actually only lay there for about ten minutes after the arrow was removed. He gasped loudly, convulsing once, before coughing like a 90 year old, twenty-a-day man. The terrified villagers who had been watching over his body ran from the temple yelling “Biwa! Biwa!” Daniel knew it would only be a matter of time before that shout changed from “Miracle!” to “Demon!”, so he hoisted himself to his feet and staggered out to the street. By the time he had got outside, he was recovered and word had spread of the ‘miracle’. A crowd had gathered around the temple, some of whom, Daniel noticed with amusement, were brandishing pitchforks. One of the council elders stepped forward.
“You see now! These strangers are evil! He comes back from the dead; I say he is a demon! We should burn him and the others!” While Daniel was fairly certain the fire wouldn’t kill him permanently, he wasn’t exactly gagging to experience burning to death, and it would be permanent for the others.
“No! I am not a demon. It is a miracle! The gods have spared me because they want the friendship between our worlds to succeed!”
“You lie, demon!” Daniel could see he was getting nowhere fast. It was time to change tactics, but how? Perhaps his new found Immortality gave him greater access to his ascended memories, or maybe it was the stress of the situation that triggered his recall, but suddenly he remembered a little trick Oma had taught him while he was ascended and hoped it might still work. Concentrating on his hand like he had never done before, he managed to conjure a flame at the end of his fingers. The villagers stepped back as one, some shrieking, most muttering threats.
“Yes, I am a demon” he snarled dramatically, “a fire demon, and if you don’t want me to burn this place to the ground, you will release my friends and let us return through the Chappa’ai unharmed.” The elder who had spoken nodded to a group of men who ran off toward the village gaol. “Now, lead me to my possessions.” Not sure how much longer he could keep up the flame, Daniel made a show of putting it out by closing his fist. It hurt like hell, but he knew that didn’t matter. The village elder led him into the council chamber where his things had been left. Now he had his Zat, he didn’t worry about being able to recreate the fire, and he shouldered his pack. He felt a sharp pain in his left shoulder and looked to find another crossbow bolt sticking out from it. He pulled the bolt out as he turned to find the guilty party. Locating the frightened villager, he fired one shot at him, sending him to the ground. He couldn’t break character now if they were to all get home alive, and one shot would only stun the man. “Anyone else want to try something?” he snarled in Goa’uld. Any thoughts of action were quickly banished as the villagers witnessed blue lightning flicker across the wound in Daniel’s shoulder, before it and the wound vanished. Zat armed and pointing at the villagers, Daniel walked back to the square, where he joined the others. “Hi guys! Time for a short stroll on the direction of earth don’t you think?”
“Couldn’t agree with you more Daniel.” Cameron took one last look around at the stunned villagers before heading to the Gate with the others. “I’m guessing that they had never seen anyone come back from the grave before?”
“No, I don’t think they had.” Daniel chuckled, “They thought I was a demon, especially when I threatened to lay waste to their village.”
“So what will we put in our reports? I think it’s safe to say that the trade deal ain’t gonna happen.”
“How about that the negotiations broke down due to the suspicious and hostile temperament of the natives?” suggested Sam.
“Sounds like an excellent plan to me. Damn you Watchers are good at cover-ups aintcha?” Cameron smiled. They reached the Gate and Daniel headed for the DHD, pausing before he hit the buttons to say,
“I can see how the whole god-thing could be seductive to someone with a thirst for power, like the Goa’uld.” Teal’c raised an eyebrow.
“Then it is fortunate for us all that you are not like them Daniel Jackson.” Daniel grinned and dialled home on the DHD. The L World will continue in Part 4: London Calling