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Not Always What It Seems

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This story is No. 6 in the series "Alissa's Interests". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: The FBI has another case for The Lightman Group- only this one is hitting closer to home than Cal would like

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Television > Lie To Me
Highlander > General
ChristyFR18611,3790157,9556 Jul 1012 Sep 10No

NOTE: This chapter is rated FR15

Chapter Six

Title: Not Always What It Seems
Author: Christy
Rating: FR15
Disclaimer: I do not own any of these series....I'm just borrowing the situation for a bit.  I may not own the series that Alissa filters through, but the concept of her is something I came up with
Genre: Gen/AU Romance
Part: 6/7
Fandoms: Angel/Lie to Me/Highlander/Labyrinth
Timeline: After Angel’s series finale; After season 1 for Lie to Me
Series: Alissa’s Interests
Summary: The FBI has another case for The Lightman group- and this one hits closer to home than Cal would like

Not Always What It Seems
This is a graphic I made for this story...not that much but I feel it gets the point across. The pictures for Methos, Jareth and the Lightman duo were found via Google and are no property of mine. The picture used for my representation of Alissa (she's an Immortal, so hair color changes shouldn't be that surprising) is owned by Jonathon Bowser and the Photoshop brushes were found at Brushezzy.com


The next morning, Joe headed into the kitchen and started fixing some coffee for all three of them. He simply raised a brow when the normally immaculate Alissa stumbled into the room, eyes half closed and hair askew. She grumbled something about “too many late night research parties” as she poured herself a cup with a liberal addition of cream and sugar. The younger man watched as she seemed to claim bits of her sanity with her first cup of the day and was calmly discussing theories with him by the time her second one was done. She was revising the notes she’d taken the night before by the time Methos woke up and made his way downstairs to join them.

“So, what did you two find out after I crashed?” Joe wanted to know.

“Well, we don’t know if the time between death and discovery is always the same amount or not. However, all of the dead Watchers had reported their latest assignments as being the loser in a duel, but not always by the same Immortal, so we think that might be part of the cover. What I’d like to know is why no one noticed the Watchers had all been gone for the two weeks or so before their bodies were found,” Alissa exclaimed.

Joe could only shrug. “All I can say in our defense is that it’s because of the chaos The First left us all in and the simple fact that Watchers are mostly autonomous and loners to boot. It’s kinda hard to make serious friends when you’re moving around after an Immortal. Whomever this guy is- and I think we’re all agreed that it’s an Immortal or some mortal close to him doing the actual torture- they knew exactly when and how to capitalize on this weakness in our system.”

“You mean, such as having a spy in the Council?” Methos hypothesized.

“Either that, or he has access to a seer or some similar conduit of some kind. At least we know it can’t be Cordelia- she would have let us know if another Immortal was nearby in LA,” Alissa commented.

“Which reminds me, how did the lovely Seer become one of us again?” Methos asked.

“Well, she pitched a fit to The Powers That Be after the Shanshu prophecy made Angel an immortal human- something to the effect of that she wasn’t going to let them screw with her and Angel being together anymore. But since the Powers could only grant true immortality via prophecy, they apparently did a little metaphysical bargaining and made her an Immortal, though she tries to avoid The Game like the Plague,” she explained with a smirk.

“Wow, that was almost approaching Willow babble state,” Joe joked with a grin, having met the young witch a few times during the main rebuilding of the Council.

Alissa was going to respond when there was a furious pounding on her front door. Reaching up over the lintel of the doorway, grabbing the dagger she’d hidden there and stowing it at the small of her back, Alissa headed to the front of the house to see what the commotion was all about. After seeing who was there at eleven on a Monday morning, she motioned Lightman and his family into the townhouse. She guided them into the living room, Zoe pale and shaky, Emily holding on tightly to her mother’s hand and Cal looking coldly furious. Pouring two fingers of brandy into a glass, she set the drink into Zoe’s nerveless fingers, urging the other woman to take a seat. Emily sat next to her, but Alissa could clearly see, even if she couldn’t pick up on Cal’s thoughts, that he was too pissed to sit down.

“Cal, would you please stop pacing for a moment?” Zoe asked softly as she sipped on the brandy and watched Cal perch on the edge of the sofa.

“Zoe, what happened?” Alissa asked gently.

“She was bloody well grabbed by that psycho- that’s what!” Cal exploded, bouncing back up. Alissa put a restraining hand on Zoe’s shoulder when she went to protest, and nodded for her to explain.

“I was just leaving the courthouse when I was grabbed by a man with blond hair. He took my arm and pushed a gun into my side, forcing me to get into the car with him. He drove around for a bit and explained that this was Cal’s last warning- if he didn’t want to wake up one day to find me and Emily like the rest of the victims, we had to make sure you were off the case,” she told the older woman, her voice shaking.

“So you want to tell us why the bloody hell they want you away from this case so badly?” Cal demanded.

“Give me one second and I’ll be able to explain,” Alissa told them, heading back to the kitchen and grabbing both Joe and Methos. Both men had made a valiant effort to ignore the shouting match at the front of the house, but hadn’t really managed very well. “Well Joe, looks like I finally got my wish,” she informed him morosely. “So can you come help me explain what’s really going on to them?”

*****

After introductions were made, Alissa and Joe explained that it was an Immortal and their spy behind the murders of their Watchers. Methos, still in the guise of Adam Pierson, mild mannered research student, had taken Emily upstairs to the entertainment room to keep her occupied while Joe and Alissa explained things.

“So, them being Watchers is why the arm was burned to obscure the tattoo identifying them. Because if it had been noticed, the Council would have caught on sooner and the jig, as they say, would be up,” Zoe summarized.

“Well, I get why they’re doing it- trying to get information on the Immortals so that they can take heads easier. I even get why you and Adam are involved, Joe- you’re both Watchers. But why feel threatened by you at all, MacKenzie? And don’t say it’s the money from your corporation, because this guy seems to really have it in for you specifically,” Cal demanded.

Alissa looked over to Joe with a grin. “Should I go for the melodrama?”

“Might as well,” he replied with a shrug. “First aid kit still in the same place in here?” She nodded then pulled the dagger from its sheath at her back. Cal made to grab it from her and Joe stopped him. “Just sit back and watch,” he ordered.

Zoe’s eyes grew wide as Alissa took a hold of the dagger in a two handed grip and stabbed herself in the heart. Cal rushed over the moment Joe let go of him, pulling the knife out and putting pressure on the wound.

“You’re not going to die on me now, MacKenzie,” he ordered as she grinned again.

“Don’t worry-I won’t be for long,” she whispered and died.

He whipped around, glaring at Joe, who just sat there calmly, the first aid kit on his lap. “What the bloody hell’s wrong with you? How could you just let her kill herself like that?” he yelled out as there was a gasp of breath behind him and Alissa spoke.

“An object lesson, if you will, and, as you can see, I’ve developed a flare for the dramatic over the centuries,” she explained as Joe handed her alcohol swabs and gauze pads. She winced as she wiped the blood off of her. “Lord and Lady, that fucking hurt! The demonstration, Dr Lightman, was to explain why he’s running scared- he knows of me at least, and isn’t sure he can beat me in a fair fight, especially since my Watcher is, well, on the police force. He knows better than to go after him.” She looked down at her blood splattered top and grimaced. “I’m going to go wash and change and we can see what we can do from here on out when I get back.”

As she was walking upstairs, she heard Zoe’s whispered question. “How old is she?” and Joe’s wry reply.

“Very.”

*****

When she came back downstairs in a long cashmere sweater and leggings, Cal and Zoe were busy arguing over whether or not to let Alissa continue assisting in the case.

“Look, Cal, this psycho, as you put it, tried to kidnap me and threatened me and our daughter!” Zoe shouted. “I’m not going to have her helping out if it means any of your family could get killed.”

“All I said was that her continuing to work with us could probably force the other Immortal’s hand,” Cal yelled back as Alissa sent a silent prayer of thanks to Goddess and Consort that Emily didn’t have to hear any of this. “Besides which, Zo, it’s still my company and I say MacKenzie here still gets to help- from the safety of the lab. I’ll have Loker and Torres keep her company while we deal with whatever comes next. Because you’d better believe we have him running now, and pissed off, to boot.” He turned to look at Alissa, who was calmly sitting in her lounge chair, looking as cool and composed as could be. “And that’s not a request, got it? We may know you’re mostly indestructible, but most of everyone else doesn’t, so I want you under lock and key while you’re working with us, clear?”

“Crystal, but I will add that that will only apply when it comes to when I’m at The Lightman Group. I’m not going to put my businesses on hold just because one damn Immortal has an inkling of how bad I can hurt them if I want,” she countered.

“Fair enough,” Cal agreed, then turned to his ex-wife. “Good enough for you, luv?”

Zoe just sighed as she walked over to a returning Emily and hugged her tightly. “I guess it’ll have to do for now,” she said resignedly.

*****

Lightman was going over what evidence they’d managed to find at the latest drop site of one Richard McDonald. Whoever was torturing these people, he was definitely accelerating now- the previous victims seemed to have been taken once every month or so, with it graduated to where the previous victim was being murdered while the torture for the next one was just beginning. Now it seemed like the taking of the Watchers was overlapping more. The thrill from torturing and killing isn’t the same kind of high that it used to be for him anymore, he surmised. So, the man has to find more and more victims in a shorter time span to get the same level of euphoria.

His thoughts were interrupted when Gillian walked into his office briskly. “Cal, you need to see this,” she informed him as she tuned the TV to news coverage of a society gala. Alissa was on screen being escorted by a tall blond man with startling blue green eyes.

“Ms. MacKenzie, rumor has it that you’re helping The Lightman Group with the torture killings case that’s been making the news the past couple of days. Are you really helping the FBI on this case because you knew the victims or because you were almost charged in a similar case out in LA a couple years ago?” the enthusiastic reporter demanded, moving the mike into Alissa’s face.

“Someone’s been talking to the press,” Cal bit out and saw from the momentary flare of anger on Alissa’s face that she thought so too.

“Oh, Cara, I’m just here to support my friends and the charity I’ve founded. Even if I was helping the Lightman Group or the FBI, I wouldn’t be able to talk about an ongoing investigation. As for the one out in LA, if it weren’t for that, I wouldn’t have met Jareth,” she said with a big grin, pulling her escort more into camera range.

Smelling an even bigger story from the usually private head of MacKenzie Corporation, Cara asked who Jareth was.

“Well, I did want to wait for a better time, but he’s my fiancé,” Alissa told her, her fingers interlaced with Jareth’s.

“Bollocks!” Cal grit out. “That’s an out and out lie. And not talking about any ‘ongoing investigations’- she all but told the bloody bastard that she’s still on the case. I’m gonna go kill her now,” he told Gillian as he stormed out, Foster hot on his heels.

“Cal, don’t do it! Calm down first, for God’s sake,” she reasoned, then frowned when all she heard him mutter was “Won’t hurt her for long.”

*****

Alissa lay in bed, her husband curled up in bed behind her when she heard pounding on the door downstairs.

“You did say he’d get here tonight and not wait until morning,” he murmured into her hair as the pounding continued.

She turned to look over her shoulder at him with a smile. “Englishmen can have horrible tempers at times,” she joked as she reluctantly got out of bed and quickly dressed.

She opened the door once downstairs and Cal flew in like the proverbial tornado. “So, where would you like to start?” she asked calmly as she walked into the living room, Cal close on her heels.

“Where would I like to-!? Well, for starters, I’d like to wring your pretty lil neck. What happened to staying out of harm’s way until we figured out exactly who this bastard was? How’s that for a start?”

Alissa threw her sweater off to the side. “Look, I already said I wasn’t going to put a kibosh on my other businesses- that would seem too unusual and we’re trying NOT to panic anyone, remember?”

“And what’s this bullshit about a damn fiancé? You two are so in tune with each other, it’s scary, and you only get that way from years of knowing each other- knowing someone intimately- and for a hell of a lot longer than two years, luv.”

“Fine, he’s been my husband for quite a few years, but if I had come out and said we were married back when Alissa MacKenzie was supposedly twenty back when we DID get married, my cover as her would have been blown, since he can’t really pass for under his mid-30s,” she shot back, getting into his face.

“So, how long have you two been married, then?” Cal asked, genuinely curious at this point.

“Well, according to the Gregorian Calendar, since 1992,” she replied simply.

“Why say it like that? And how the hell did you hide it from my background check? Alias maybe?” he wondered, but her face told him that wasn’t the answer.

“What does it matter?” she demanded. “You’re just pissed off that I was able to lie and hide something this big from you. You can’t handle that,” she insisted, poking a finger into his chest.

“I wouldn’t do that if I were you, luv,” he warned her in a tight voice.

“Oh, is that it? Cal Lightman doesn’t fight women, huh? Especially one who’s had enough training to kick his ass?” she taunted. She was mad at this point- she hated that they’d had to hide their marriage but she wasn’t about to justify her reasoning to someone who wanted to keep her on the sidelines and protect her like she was some kind of goddamned damsel in distress.

“Like hell,” he insisted as she swung at him and hit him on the cheek. It knocked him back a bit and he grabbed her by the arm as she went to swing for him again. He meant to grab and hold her still for a moment, but she twisted her wrist in such a way that she was free moments later. The momentum carried her to the floor momentarily before she jumped back up again and went for the ribs. He knocked her hand away and caught her in the mouth. He went to apologize, but thought better of it, considering how mad he still was at her.

“You could have told me about Jareth back when I first came to see you. Amber’s obviously his,” he told her as they continued to exchange a flurry of punches and blocks.

“Right! Says the man who didn’t believe in Immortals,” she shot back with a right cross.

Cal jumped back, tripped over the end table and fell hard on his ass. He looked up to see Loker coming into the room and decided for one more jab, though verbal this time. “Well, how does your husband feel about you shagging Loker?” he demanded.

If he’d blinked, he would have missed the slight nod Eli gave Alissa as she leaned down to give Lightman a hand up. “Does Jareth mind? Considering Loker was my lover years before I even met Jareth, and we’re open about who we see, I don’t see why,” she said with a smile, then winced when it pulled on her split lip.

Cal looked back and forth between the two, the pieces starting to fall into place. “You’re an Immortal too, then?”

“Yes,” Loker acknowledged. “But that’s not all that important right now- Ria’s been kidnapped and it looks like it’s the same guys we’ve been trying to catch.”

Lightman looked over at Alissa and jerked a thumb in Loker’s direction. “He doesn’t know about the Watchers bit, then?”

Alissa shook her head as she walked over and took the clothes Jareth held for her. “No. Most Immortals don’t,” she responded.

“Will someone please tell me what the hell you’re talking about and what it has to do with Torres?” Loker demanded.

“My guess would be that she’s your Watcher and the Immortal behind this wants your head next,” Cal surmised. “Where was the last place you saw her?” he asked, then grinned when Loker had a hard time forming a reply. “Your place, then? All right, we’ll start there while you call Reynolds.”

The End?

You have reached the end of "Not Always What It Seems" – so far. This story is incomplete and the last chapter was posted on 12 Sep 10.

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