Title: A Life Well-Lived
Rating: FR 15
Disclaimer: Everything Highlander-related belongs to R:P/D. I suppose Izzy, my OFC, belongs to me, but she’s straight, so I’ll let Richie keep her.
Warnings: A teensy mention of a slashy relationship - blink and you’ll miss it. There’s some Highlander-style violence. C’mon, you know what I’m talking about - swords, and all that jazz. Finally, I’m nicer to Richie than R:P/D, but only by about a hundred years.
A/N: Okay, deep breath, I have some explainin’ to do. I was very surprised when I ran across this fic earlier today. I had totally forgotten that I had written it. This is fairly strange, ‘cause I not so prolific that I can afford to leave fic alone and adrift in the confusion of the “My Documents” folder. Even stranger still, this was a Richie-fic! I’ve never been a huge Richie fan. Mostly, I thought he was annoying, and I felt a little sorry for Stan Kirsh that he had to play such an obnoxious little bugger. I was just starting to like Richie when the PTBs decided to whack him. ‘Cause Duncan really needed one more thing to brood about. Anyway, I would have liked seeing Richie when he was a tad older and more mature - let’s say, in about thirty years? This is obviously AU, since he survives the AAA arc.
A/N 2: This is quite short, more of a “What if?” scenario, rather than a fully fleshed-out story. I wasn’t even going to post it, but then I realized that it fit in with the September fic-a-thon school theme. There’s a shout-out to OSU, ‘cause I went to law school there. The course “Knights, Peasants, and Friars” is real. It was a requirement for my history major in undergrad.
2119 - Seacouver, Washington, U.S.A.
Richie sat on the soft grass and laid the flowers on the ground in front of him. Tulips - Izzy had always loved tulips. He reached out to brush a few leaves off of the headstone. His fingers slipped down the front of the stone and lightly traced the engraved letters.
Isabel Marie Ryan
He couldn’t believe that she had been gone for more than thirty years. A smile spread across his face as he remembered their first meeting. It had not been an accurate indicator of their future relationship.
2027 - The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, U.S.A.
Richie had decided to go back to school in the mid-20s. He could easily pass for a college student, and he had saved enough that he wouldn’t need to worry about taking out loans. He was pre-law, and he felt terribly respectable. It was a far cry from his rough and tumble origins, and, to his surprise, he found himself enjoying the college experience, even though he had just turned fifty-three. He allowed himself a mental snort. Didn’t Mac tell him that he hadn’t calmed down until he was in his eighties? By that standard, he was way ahead of the curve. Speaking of curves, he hoped that this class was graded on a curve. He chose it to satisfy a graduation requirement, and because it fit into his schedule, not out of any great love for the subject matter. What was it called again? He glanced at the syllabus. Knights, Peasants, and Friars: European History 500-1450. Richie sighed.
He felt a little better when he caught sight of the young woman who had just entered the classroom. She was undeniably beautiful, at least to his eyes. The desperately thin female body had started to go out of vogue in the early teens, but she was still a touch more round than was the current fashion. Richie thought she was just about right. She had medium-brown hair that hung nearly to her waist, and her eyes were a stormy grayish-hazel. Those eyes made contact with his and narrowed in annoyance. He realized he had been staring. Oops. He gave her charming smile #3. Her expression didn’t change. Damn.
She dropped her pile of folders and books on the table at the front of the lecture hall. She rapped her knuckles on the table to get everyone’s attention.
“Quiet down everybody. This is Knights, Peasants, and Friars: European History 500-1450. If that doesn’t sound familiar, then you probably shouldn’t be here.” There was some muffled swearing as two people gathered up their books and headed for the door. “I’m Isabel Hathaway, the TA for Professor Jensen. Everybody should have the syllabus, but if you need one, you can get a copy from me at the end of class.”
She’s the TA? Double damn.
2119 - Seacouver
Richie smiled wryly at the memory. She had made him work for a response that was anything more than politely professional. Eventually, she warmed up to him a bit, but she wouldn’t even consider dating until Richie was no longer her student. The quarter flew by, and, when Richie went to Paris to spend the holidays with Mac, Isabel went too. Of course, Mac loved her. He had no resistance when it came to strong females. Isabel and Methos, a.k.a. Adam Pierson Jr., had a scholarly geek fest whenever they got together. They happily argued about obscure points of history while Mac beat Richie at chess. She had even played matchmaker and gotten Mac and Methos to stop dancing around each other.
2030 - OSU
By the time Richie was ready to start applying to law schools, Isabel had gotten her Master’s Degree and was making progress toward her doctorate. Richie had known for quite some time that he wanted to marry her. She made him feel complete, and he was a better person with her than without her. He had little doubt that she would say yes, but he knew he couldn’t marry her and keep his immortality a secret. It had been hard enough dodging the issue the last few years, and he couldn’t bear lying to her anymore. Richie had the ring in his pocket and a dagger waiting in the drawer of the coffee table. Not exactly your normal proposal equipment.
Isabel walked in the door, dropped her keys on the kitchen counter and kicked off her shoes. She flopped down on the couch in a sprawl that she had literally learned from Methos - she had asked him for lessons - and closed her eyes. Richie bit his lip nervously, “Izzy, we need to talk.”
She opened one eye to peer at him. “That sounds ominous. What’s up?”
He pulled the ring box out of his pocket and held it clenched in his fist. “I . . . I love you, and I want to be with you from now on.” He opened the box to show her the ring. “I want to marry you.”
Her face shifted from slight wariness to sheer delight so fast that Richie felt his heart skip a beat. She started to say something, but he stopped her with a gesture. “Before you say anything, I have to tell you something. I haven’t been completely honest with you. I’ve got a secret that’s . . . well, really big, and it could affect your decision.”
And then he told her. He told her about Immortals, and the Game, and then he cut his hand so that she could watch it heal. She took it very well, although she was a bit disappointed when she found out he was only fifty-six years old. She perked up when he told her that Mac was over four hundred.
2119 - Seacouver
Richie stood up, brushed the grass from his coat, and blew Isabel a kiss before he turned to leave the cemetery. He headed toward the bar that was still known as “Joe’s.”
Ten minutes later he knelt in a dirty alley, watched the silver flash of the descending blade, and knew that his Isabel would be waiting for him.
~ Fin ~