Joe and Amanda
(Seacouver -- Joe's Bar)
Joe was wiping down the bar and preparing to leave when he heard the lock click in front door. “What?” He turned, and saw Amanda opening the door, dropping her lock picks into her leather Gucci purse as she stepped through the entrance. “Amanda? What brings you here? And picking the lock, really?”
“Practice.” Amanda answered.
“You don't need practice.” Joe threw his rag across the bar to the sink. “Why not knock?”
“What's the fun in that?” Amanda sauntered behind the bar, pouring herself a glass of wine. “Have a beer, Joe. It's on me.” She reached the beer under the bar, snapping the top off with opener that was screwed underneath.
“It's my beer.” Joe grumbled. Amanda smiled flirtatiously from behind the bar. “What are you up to, Amanda?”
“Who says I'm up to anything?”
“You're flirting with me, Amanda. We both know you're way outta my league. You were out of my league when I had two legs. So, you want something.”
“That's not fair, Joe Dawson.” Amanda snapped, an edge of bitterness in her voice. “And it's not true, either.”
“Fine, fine. Forget I said anything.” Joe looked her in the eye, seeing the hurt look on her face. “Really, I'm tired. Long day. I didn't mean to hurt your feelings, if I did.”
“Methos says I flirt when I'm scared. It's a defense mechanism.” Amanda ran her finger around the lip of her glass, fidgeting.
“Must be something pretty big if it scares you enough to flirt with me.”
“Mmm.” Amanda reached in her bag, pulling out a heavy envelope and sliding it across the bar. “Here.”
“What's this?” Joe opened the envelope, seeing the airline ticket inside. “Denver, first class? Why?”
“Ringside seats. The fight of the century. And the next.”
“In Colorado Springs.” Amanda sipped her wine, looking over the top. “Something big is happening.”
“The oldest of the old are gathering. Some of them. Maybe all of them.”
“In Colorado Springs?” Joe looked skeptical. “Forgive me, I'm not sure I believe you.”
“Who was my teacher?”
“Rebecca Horne. She died, three, four years ago?”
“She wasn't really my teacher, you know.” Amanda informed him. “Aganesthes and Methos taught both of us. Raised both of us. Sort of. We were more like siblings. Sisters.”
“Really?” Joe poured Amanda another glass of wine. “Why are you telling me this?”
“Methos asked for me. And you.”
“Methos never asks you for anything. He knows better.”
“And yet. He did.” Amanda reached underneath her blouse. A small stone disk hung on a leather strap. “I think he wants me to steal this. But I retrieved it a few months back.”
“Looks old. Almost Egyptian.” Joe fingered the disk, it looked like rough stone, but felt perfectly smooth. “The workmanship, precise, like it was etched with a laser. Or something.”
“Or something, I think.” Amanda dropped it back between her breasts. “It's called the ring of Osiris. I'm not sure what it does. But it is old, ancient even.”
“Cassandra said it was needed. She called me.” Amanda sipped from her glass. “She will be there.”
“Cassandra and Methos, working together? In the same city?” Joe was dumbfounded.
“Aganesthes told me a story when I was a child. I asked her about Adam and Cassandra, why they fought so hard. She said – and it doesn't translate really – but that the two of them were really the same. Like two identical poles of a magnet that push against each other. Or two children who squabble with each other after playing happily for days. She said, once they had the whole universe to retreat to their corners. They were – are – the greatest of friends, the most bitter of enemies. Aganesthes said the Earth was too small for the both them. The old – the truly old – either tire of each other, or are inseparable. Darius retreated to a monastery to escape the other elders. Cassandra and Adam fight. Aganesthes and Adam – they are inseparable. I think it causes them physical pain to be apart.”
“And Aganesthes and Cassandra, how are they?”
“Good friends. Aganesthes gets along with almost all the old ones. She is a good reader of people.” Amanda shrugged. “But I think Aganesthes and Cassandra may truly be sisters, as in the same parents. They've learned to share a planet and have their own lives.”
“Parents? I thought all of you were foundlings.”
“Not the old ones – the truly old ones were born. Adam and Aganesthes were raised together in the same...” Amanda said a word. “It doesn't translate. House, commune? A longhouse, a bunch of families together under the same roof. Their parents were close friends, they were born three days apart."