Author: Jinni (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Disclaimer: All things BtVS belong to Joss Whedon, et al. All things Highlander belong to Panzer/Davis, et al.
Distribution: The normal places.
Author's Notes: Winning trio from a poll on my Yahoo! Group.
"Sorry, Rich. I can't. Not tonight."
The blonde haired young man shook his head, frustration showing clearly on his youthful face. "I don't get it, Mac. We made plans a week ago and now you're breaking them?"
Duncan shrugged. "Something came up."
He watched as the younger Immortal took a covert glance around the apartment. Something came up? Richie wasn't likely to believe that when --
"Something of a female nature?" Richie snorted derisively. "Who could possibly be more fun than me?"
The Highlander bit the inside of his cheek, a small smile playing on his lips. "Amanda."
"A. . .Amanda?"
"You heard right. And she'll be here any minute - so get going. We'll reschedule our plans."
Richie frowned, the expression fading to a sly smile. "Fine. Say hello to the lovely Amanda for me, then, Mac. I'll call you in, what - two, three days?"
Duncan fwapped Richie on the back of the head, motioning him towards the door. Amanda was due any minute now. The wine was already chilling, roses were waiting on the table. It had been too long since he had last seen her. Too long since she had turned his life upside down with one of her hare-brained schemes.
He had missed her, basically.
The distinct buzz of another approaching Immortal drew him out of his thoughts and back to reality. It was strong, much more like two Immortals coming up the elevator than a single one. He sighed. Richie had run into Amanda on the way out, no doubt; and now they were --
But the head that was slowly appearing as the elevator rose wasn't Richie's. Amanda stood there, smirk on her face as she met his eyes. And, next to her, was a woman of about the same height. She had coppery red hair to shoulder length and pretty green eyes, he noted as he walked over to greet them.
Amanda was in his arms, lips planted on his, before he could manage a word of hello. He could see the red head standing there, arms crossed and looking quite amused by her companion's actions.
"It's good to see you, too," he murmured for Amanda's ears only, brushing a kiss across her earlobe. "Who's your friend?"
"Oh!" Amanda broke from his embrace, leaving him feeling just a little colder and lonelier than he had a moment before. She flashed him a huge grin, one that he recognized as meaning trouble, and stepped back over to stand next to the woman. "This is Willow. My protege."
Duncan didn't miss the brief squeeze that Amanda offered the other woman's hand, or the shy raise of the eyebrows that the red head proffered in return.
"Willow, this is Duncan - a very old friend of mine."
Willow stepped forward, holding out her hand to Duncan. "It's a pleasure to meet you. Amanda's told me so many. . . .things." She glanced over her shoulder and, again, something passed between the two women. Something that he couldn't decipher. Something that, quite frankly, made him a little uneasy.
He lifted her hand to his lips, brushing a kiss across the knuckles and plastering a smile to his face that he didn't completely feel. She was an Immortal. Amanda's 'protege'. That could mean alot of things. If the red head was just her student in the ways of the sword and Immortality, Amanda would just call her her student.
But, no, she used the word protege - which could mean a few things, none of them very good. Thieving and trickery were two of Amanda's top skills, something she would want to pass on to anyone she called her protege.
"Willow and I were doing a tour of the West Coast and I just had to bring her by to visit." Amanda purred, slipping past him to glance around the loft. It looked much like it had the last time she had dropped into town. Nothing new to see, but she spent her time examining it like it was her first time.
"And are you enjoying your time 'touring' so far?" He directed the question and subtle sarcasm at the red head, knowing fully well what 'touring' meant to Amanda. If he looked in the papers for this side of the country he was sure of what he'd find - a string of master-level crimes pulled off without a trace of evidence left behind. That was just how good Amanda was; and with a partner by her side she would be unstoppable.
"It's fun." Willow admitted with a smile. "I've seen so much so far. Learned a whole lot, too."
"I bet." Duncan smiled disarmingly. He turned to see Amanda sitting on his bed, legs crossed at the ankles, staring at them with an unreadable expression on her face. After so many years the woman was still a mystery to him. Especially right now. She was up to something, though as for what that would be - he was at a loss.
"Want to order in and catch up on old times?" The dark haired thief offered with a smile.
Not exactly what he'd had in mind, but then again he hadn't been counting on a third for dinner, either. He smiled. "Sure. I have tons of questions."
Amanda laughed. "I was sure you would."
Willow was, Duncan learned, a recent college graduate and quite intelligent despite the woman she had allowed herself to become the student of. Her First Death had happened only a few years before, in the collapse of a city called Sunnydale. He had heard of it, of course. The whole country had. The city had just sunk into the ground, leaving behind some wreckage and not much else. It was there that she had found herself impaled, killed almost instantly she said, though there was a pain in her eyes that made the comment seem like something other than the truth. Had she suffered? Was that the pain? Or was it something else? The town had been her home and, for all he knew, she mourned the loved ones she had undoubtedly lost in the collapse.
But he didn't press.
Amanda was just as tight lipped about her activities as ever, changing the subject each and every time he got around to asking about this 'tour' of the West Coast they were taking together.
"Remember that one time - in Prague?" Amanda prompted Duncan with a jab to his side. He glanced over at her, taking a sip of the wine he held in his hand. There were so many times and places he had spent with Amanda that it was difficult sometimes to place the exact one. But not this one.
"The night you got me arrested?"
Willow snorted, drawing an amused glance from her mentor.
"I did not." Amanda protested. "Was it my fault that you were in the wrong place at the wrong time?"
"Well, come to think of it, yes," Duncan chuckled. "I do believe we were there to recover some sort of family heirloom?" He turned to Willow. "Problem was - it wasn't *her* family's heirloom and the piece in question was under guard at a museum."
The red head laughed, her eyes sparkling with merriment. "That sounds like the Amanda I know and love."
It was the inflection of her words, he would tell himself later, that made him suddenly jump to a conclusion about the subtle looks and touches they had given each other all night.
"The two of you --?" He spluttered, glancing at Amanda and not Willow for confirmation.
She raised an eyebrow at him. "If you mean to ask if we're. . .together. Yes. We are."
Duncan was floored to say the least. He glanced down at the floor, hardly noticing when Willow slid even closer to Amanda on the couch. There went his weekend of wild passion that he had been hoping for. Richie was going to have an aneurism when he found out that Amanda was now 'playing for the other team'.
"I'm sorry if this comes as a shock to you --" Willow murmured, leaning forward. He looked up, eyes resting on the low-scooped neck of her blouse and the endowments that showed beneath it, before meeting her eyes.
"It's not -- " He puased. "I mean --"
A bitter sigh of disappointment left his lips before he could hold it back. Amanda was supposed to be unchanging. The one person he could count on for a good night of fun and stress relief.
But now. . . .
"You look like a cat that just found out that the cream has gone missing." Amanda laughed, clapping her hands together. She was positively delighted by this, her eyes were glowing with amusement.
"Yeah, well," Duncan grumbled, standing up. "You know why."
"I do?" She looked up at him, the picture of feigned innocence. She stood slowly, smoothing out imaginary wrinkles in her dress. There was nothing innocent about her, despite the look on her face. The ever present twinkle was in her eye and there was a quirk of her lips that spoke volumes of mischief. "I'm afraid I don't, Duncan. Why don't you fill me in?"
He glanced over her shoulder to where Willow still sat. The red head seemed as serene as ever, even though her supposed lover was currently all but stalking him with her eyes. He felt a flush heat his face and tore his eyes from her back to Amanda. "You know --"
"No." She shrugged. "I don't. I mean, certainly you can't be jealous of the happiness I've found with Willow, right? Night after night of joyous, body-shaking happiness?"
Duncan's breath caught in his throat, ending in a ragged cough. He backed up a step to escape those eyes that were trying their best to bore their way into his very heart and soul. She was teasing him, the little minx! With her lover laughing silently in the background, Amanda was teasing him with her sultry voice and voluptuous --
"My eyes are up here, Duncan." Her tone was sharp when she reached out to jerk his head up from where his eyes had landed on her perfectly formed torso. "Now - what has you all flustered? If you disapprove of my relationship --"
"I don't!" He protested, a crease of frustration forming between his eyebrows. "I have no problem with you . . .loving. . ." The word was hard to say. "Another woman."
Except for the fact that it meant *he* didn't get to enjoy the joys of her flesh again.
"'Loving'." Amanda laughed. "Is that what you call it? So chivalrous, even to this day. Duncan MacLeod, the eternal gentleman."
She had closed the distance between the two of them again, so that her hand was resting on his chest, a finger toying absently with one of the buttoms.
"She's good for me," Amanda whispered. "I bet she could be good for you, too."
Duncan felt as though his eyes might possibly bulge right from his head. She couldn't possible have just said. . .
"Wanna join us for the night?"
There was no room in the bed for Duncan to roll over. No room for him to get any more comfortable than he already was.
But he was okay with that.
He turned from one side to the other, admiring dark hair and red. Light and dark. Both beautiful.
And they had both. . .
He clamped down on that thought. Sleep was what he needed right now. Not more of what had kept him awake all night.
"Sleep." Amanda mumbled, half-incoherent. "More later, if you're a good boy. Sleep now."
Duncan chuckled, leaning to brush a kiss on her forehead. She smiled, not opening her eyes.
"I knew you'd like Willow."
"I do." He nodded, shutting his own eyes. "Which is why I'm going to ask you to stop this little 'tour' of yours. She doesn't need to be caught up in that lifestyle."
"And what exactly do you think this 'tour' is about, MacLeod?"
"Well. . ." He shrugged. "The same thing your little excursions always entail. You said she was your protege."
Amanda's soft laugh filled the air, quietly rumbling into a hearty chuckle that left him confused.
"Duncan, darling." She purred in his ear. "Did you enjoy what she did last night? The movements . . . the positions. . . the --"
"Yes!" He cut her off, knowing that if he did not he'd be in no condition to sleep.
"Well, then. There you have it - my protege."
"Your --" He broke off, shaking his head. "You're an evil woman, Amanda."
"You love me anyway."
He smiled, pulling her into his embrace.
That he did.