foreverwarrior: (Miranda (b/w sword))
[personal profile] foreverwarrior
Things remained strained between Natalie and Quinn ever since Nat had talked to her Teacher about meeting two other Immortals. Both had called Nat's Training into question and one had even remarked that Teachers often took their own Student's heads. Needless to say, Quinn hadn't been very fond of that remark.

Both women remained silent as they ran along a path in Central Park. It was the day before Thanksgiving and the Park was pretty much deserted. People were either traveling or taking the day off. The early morning air was fresh, crisp and tinged with the sharp scent of fallen leaves. Deep shadows still clung to the trees, and Natalie almost missed the figure standing perfectly still in the middle of the trail nearly thirty feet away.

He was tall with short brown hair and a long trench coat. His eyes glittered sharply in the new morning light, but it was the katana cradled against one folded arm and the buzz at the base of her skull that caught Natalie's attention.

"Quinn...?" she asked out of the corner of her mouth.

"This is your fight, lass," her Teacher replied, taking a few steps back. "I cannae help yeh. Remember th'Rule about single combat only."

"So, you're just gonna throw me under a bus?" Natalie rounded on her. "I thought I was like a daughter to you! That we were friends! Almost family! And you set me up?"

"It's fer yer own good, Nat." Quinn was firm.

"And what if I refuse to fight?" Natalie shot back.

"Then yer no Student of mine." Her Teacher's tone was final. "Either y'fight, or y'find yerself a new Teacher. Next time y'might no' be so lucky. Next time yer Teacher might just be th'type t'take yer head after all."

"Fuck you," Natalie grumbled as she pulled her sword out from where it was hanging hilt-down against her spine. "Both of you."

She walked a few paces towards the other unknown Immortal, trying to keep a level head and a strangle-hold on her anger.

Connor watched the interplay between student and teacher silently, no expression on his face. This was always the painful part of training a student and it never got easier. If anything the modern students were even harder to train because their mindsets were so very different from those who'd grown up before the age of electricity.

"My name is Connor Macleod, of the Clan Macleod, and I've come for you little girl." He pointed at Natalie with his katana, and then glanced over at Quinn. "Don't interfere, you know the rules." It was all playacting of course, he'd known Quinn for closing in on three centuries now.
He waited, watching as the young woman approached. It would have been better if he could have ambushed her someplace else to have her even more off balance, but Central Park was a good location at this time of day and he doubted they'd be disturbed.

Natalie gritted her teeth and glared at Mr. Connor MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod. She really couldn't give a flying rat what his name was. It just really pissed her off that Quinn felt she had to pull this kind of bullshit. There had been all kinds of simulated training at the Academy, but mostly with dummy rounds; nothing where she could get seriously hurt. This, however, was different. This time, Natalie really could die. Permanently. But she couldn't think about that now.

"Come on girl, I haven't got all day," Connor jibed as he brought his katana into a guard position. "I have a breakfast appointment, and the only way you're going away from here is through me." The plan was to see how angry he could make her, anger led to mistakes and mistakes could get an immortal killed.

He didn't want the girl's head of course, but this was the most dangerous kind of final exam. If Natalie was a good bit better than expected and didn't let up Connor might have no choice but to make the killing blow.

Natalie wrapped the fingers of her left hand tighter around the grip of her sword. She had investigated and interrogated many a child predator, and she wasn't about to let him goad her. "Tough. The only breakfast date you're going to have is with the grim reaper."

She held the blade flat and on level with her forehead and took a sharp step forward, careful not to over-extend herself. Natalie wanted to draw him out and force him to make a move.

Connor smiled inwardly, the lass had passed the first test. Maybe Quinn didn't need to worry as much after all. She wanted him to make the first move, fine. He'd oblige her.

The older immortal had the advantage of height and muscle mass, not to mention centuries of experience. He came in fast and strong, the sword aimed to slash along her midsection and spill her guts. If it succeeded he'd be surprised, but if it did she'd be down for the count and taking her head would be simple.

If that had actually been his goal, of course.

Nat didn't move until the last minute, and when she did, it wasn't to step away from him. Instead, she brought the blade down in a left-handed arc, hoping to drive his sword towards the ground. She also stepped into the movement which brought her shoulder into his. Her thought had been to not only get inside his guard, but also to knock him off balance enough to bring her own sword to bear.

Meanwhile, Quinn looked on in stony silence. She trusted Connor and she also knew Natalie's strengths as well as her weaknesses. Still, that didn't mean her stomach wasn't tied in knots. She hated watching them, feared one of them might carry things too far, hoped that they'd both make it out alive. But she quickly choked down her fear and tried to objectively critique Natalie's form and strategy.

The two immortals clashed repeatedly, steel ringing on steel, until Connor spotted a weakness in Natalie's technique. Not a fault of Quinn's, the girl was just sloppy, and the older immortal took full advantage of it. With a flick of his wrist he disarmed Natalie, waited just long enough for the awareness to enter her eyes, and ran his blade through her right between her ribs.

Connor roughly pulled his blade free and watched with a dispassionate expression as the younger immortal bled out.

Getting shot, twice, was one thing. But the feel of icy cold steel slicing through her ribs was something Natalie would never forget. She was dead, she knew it. She stared down at her hand as she tried to cover the wound, but it wasn't enough. Blood still dribbled through her fingers, hot and slick.

"I'm sorry..." Nat wasn't sure why she was apologizing. Maybe she could've been a better Student, a better FBI Agent, a better friend... But all that didn't matter now, not when her vision started to dim and the pain began receding.

Quinn watched through watery eyes as her Student slumped to the ground. She had seen the same fault Connor had, and it had taken great restraint not to intervene. Still, seeing Nat's lifeless body on the ground was tougher than Quinn had realized. The girl was right; she was almost like a daughter to her. Perhaps they were too close.

"Alright, Connor. I jes hope she's not complete pissed with me after this. Th'lass might take it inter her head t'find a new Teacher or worse: strike out on her own. And that won't do her a bit'o good."

Connor looked down at the girl, the wound would take a few hours to heal and he didn't particularly want to be around when she revived. "Either way, it should be a lesson to her to keep up her studies. I'm one of the best, but even a child could take advantage of that mistake."

He shook his head and looked over at Quinn. "I'm sorry you had to see that, Quinn. I'm sorry I had to do that." It had been very hard for him to restrain the impulse to follow through and take her head. Centuries of experience and practice had made the movements automatic, and it took conscious effort not to finish the job.

"Right then. Guess I should take th'lass on home after all this." Quinn exhaled a long sigh. "I'm thinking we'll have a lot t'talk about when she wakes up."

If nothing else, sparring practices were going to be a lot more intense now that Natalie had something to prove. Quinn just rubbed her forehead and hoped the girl still wanted her for a Teacher after she'd pretty much betrayed her. It was one part of Immortality Quinn hated with a passion, but it was a necessary evil.

"Would y'mind giving a hand with her?" she asked finally. "M'car's in th'lot just on th'other side o' those trees."

"Of course." Connor finished cleaning his sword and returned it to its scabbard, then scooped the girl up in his arms. "She needs to go on a diet," he grunted as he adjusted his stance to carry her weight.

"Natalie? Diet?" Quinn half-snorted, half-laughed. "Christ! Th'girl's skinny as a rail!"

He followed his friend through the trees and out to the lot, and deposited Natalie's lifeless corpse into the back seat of Quinn's car.

"There, that should take care of that. You'll need help getting her out back at your place?"

"Nah, I should do fine. But thanks, though." Quinn walked around to the driver's door. "I'm sorry y'hadta do this, Connor. Hell, I wished I hadn'ta hadta call yeh. And it might be a bit awkward and all, but yer welcome t'come over fer dinner tomorrow."

"Since I have to be in town all day for an estate auction I might as well." Connor nodded at the invitation. "It might help show there's no ill intent on my part. Perhaps I could show her a thing or two to improve her technique, if she's not too angry at me."

He didn't go around looking for other immortals to challenge, and usually gave others one chance to back down before engaging when challenged himself. If they insisted, well, Connor didn't believe in leaving enemies at his back.

"Yeah, I'm just hopin' she's not furious at me fer caliin' yeh in." Quinn remarked before climbing behind the wheel. "But I'll letcha know. And thanks."

"Anytime, Frey, you know that. I'll see you tomorrow." Connor nodded, and having said all there was to say, turned to walk back to his own car.

Quinn just gave a short wave before turning the engine over and pulling out of the parking lot. If Nat was anything like her, she'd have hell to pay. She just hoped the girl had learned something.

Quinnleigh Kincaid
Highlander/Immortal OC
1830 Words
Natalie is [ profile] jurisimmortalis & mine to use.
Connor is [ profile] immortal_connor & written by his scribe.


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October 2010

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