Chapter Five
Duncan and Alexandra sat at the table in the small restaurant, their eyes and hands locked together. Just
as Duncan had done, Alexandra was relating her life to him, telling him where she had been and who she had seen.  Duncan was fighting the urge to ask her about the night she left him.  He wanted it to be on her own pace.

Alex had lived a just as illustrious life as Duncan had.  She'd been to many places all through the world, sometimes the same place that Duncan had been in at the same time.  She had lived many lives and, until recently, she had been living in Australia. She had to leave there and decided to come back to France.  She ended up in Paris only by chance, getting on the wrong plane at the airport.  In all her travels
and all the time she had lived, she never met another

Alex explained, rather briefly, that she was very old, so old that she couldn't even remember the date she had been born.  She revealed that it was before time had been recorded. She had met many people that Duncan had only barely heard of.  She told him that she had met Jesus, but then she laughed.  When he asked what was so funny, she replied that it was not safe to tell him, that what she knew could damage a lot of illusions he had.  Duncan could easily believe that.

As Duncan listened to her, something came to him suddenly, something that filled him with regret and sadness.  Alex had not lived a happy life.  She spoke like a robot, not letting any little anecdote come into the conversation.  Duncan found this odd.  He was a baby compared to her and he had tons of stories to tell.  Literally.  Alex was giving him none. She
continued, telling Duncan that there had been only one other man she had given her heart to after Duncan.She found him about 1963 in New York City.  His name was David O'Reilly.

"He was mortal, though, and mortals die and fade away.  That is what happened to David.  We were driving to his parents' house in Albany.  There was a terrible snowstorm going on, but David was anxious to get there.  A car was swerving in front of us, and instead of hitting the car, David jerked the car to the side of the road.  The ice slid us right off the bridge, landing us nose first into a frozen solid river.  It was like hitting concrete.  It was a mess, let me tell you, but I made it.  David, of course did not," she relayed.

Duncan saw it in her eyes, the way that had hurt her to tell.  He knew then that he was the only person she had ever told this to.  It made him feel much closer to the woman across form him, to know her past and her hurts.

"The thing that came out of all of this was the realization that a mortal was not for me.  It tore me apart to lose two men that had become such an important part of me.  I knew that the only one for me was one who was like me, one who could not die so easily.  I never thought that possible, though.  After I had to let you go, my life was never the same. David
never had all of me.  Only you had that chance,"she finished.

Alex looked up at him then, her eyes an endless blue expanse that shocked him with its emptiness.  He had never seen such an empty gaze in her eyes, one that would reveal everything if only he could dig deep enough to see it.

"I've lived in sadness since I left you," she whispered.

This last statement struck Duncan like a whip.  He had lived his life well, and though it was full of terrible memories, it was full of happy ones as well. He had many enemies to contend with, but just as many friends to laugh with.  He didn't know what he would do if he lost everyone close to him.  He knew he would make it through, he'd done it before, but the simple fact was that he didn't want to.

He knew that living his life would have been twice as hard if he had to do it alone.  From Alex had told him, she had no friends, not ever.  He couldn't imagine why.  She was beautiful, intelligent, humorous, and kind.  There are so many who would give everything right now to be with her.  Duncan knew he would.

Duncan tried to coax more out of her, but she was through for the night.  Duncan didn't mind too much. After all, he knew more about her now than he had ever known before.  He could only be left to wonder about her life before his.  He had so many questions that he could ask her.  He wondered what the world had been like, if the history books were right.  He had the feeling that she wouldn't answer him even if he asked.

"Do you know a man named Methos?  A tall slender man with deep brown hair?" he asked, catching onto something.

Methos was the oldest known immortal.  Until Alexandra that is.  He was over two thousand years old.  He had been going under the name of Adam Pierson.  Methos hadn't told him much of the past either, saying that he really didn't want all his illusions crushed.  Once you saw the truth about one thing, you had to see it all and that was a scary thought.

Alex perked up considerably and Duncan knew he had hit something.  He had thought it a very long shot, but Methos was the only immortal old enough to have run across her in the past.

"Actually, I did know a Methos once.  He was a friend of mine over a thousand years ago.  Now that I think about it, he was like you!  This is weird," she commented.

Duncan nodded, enchanted by the look in Alex's eyes. She looked so happy to hear that an old friend was still around.  She laughed suddenly, a blush forming over her features.

"I had the biggest crush on him, but he had someone. He worked in the village as a smithy.  He was quite good.  He forged himself a sword made entirely of gold.  It was so beautiful and people came from miles around to see it.  One night it was stolen and Methos left our village to go after the thief.  I missed him greatly.  He taught me quite a bit about life, even though I was older than he by a long shot.  Where is he now?" she asked, her eyes shining.

"He lives here in France actually.  Right here in Paris if I'm not mistaken," he answered.

Alex gazed off into the air, staring at something only she could see.  Duncan wasn't even slightly jealous.  He knew that Alexandra was very pleased to know she had a friend out there somewhere that she could discuss her past with, relive old times. Suddenly, though, her eyes clouded over, her mouth tilting down, as if she grasped something distasteful.  She looked back over at Duncan, her eyes not meeting his.

"That's wonderful.  I'm glad to know that he is still in this world," she told him.

"We can go see him if you want.  You could talk about
old times, get reacquainted.."

Alex cut him off sharply with a forceful, "No!"

Duncan looked at her strangely, his eyes searching her face.  He could see panic on her features, a rarity on such a  self-controlled woman.  He didn't know why she was acting so strange, but he knew she didn't want to talk about it.
Alex was staring at her plate, glaring at the hamburger she had barely touched.  Duncan knew she was hungry.  He could see the desperation in her eyes.

"Why aren't you eating?  I know you're hungry," he told her.

"Not really.  Duncan, I've got to go.  But I will find you later,"  she told him, abruptly jumping out of her chair.

Duncan accepted her kiss in confusion, not understanding her hasty departure.  She put on her dark sunglasses and left the restaurant.  Duncan's eyes followed her out the window.  As she walked along, Duncan smiled to himself. With her snug blue jeans, red button down shirt, the first few buttons open, and her confidant stride, she was such a sight to  behold.  A true nineties woman. She fit in beautifully with this time period.

At this thought, Duncan's mind took another route. She had changed quite a bit from the Alex he knew in the late seventeen hundreds.  Her hair was still long, but it had lost some of its curl.  It was no longer in the tight ringlets that most women had strived so hard to achieve two hundred years ago.  It was soft and basically straight until the ends where the curls bounded free. Even some of her body features weren't the same.  She was taller now and not just a little bit.  She was a good six or seven inches taller than she had been. Now she was about five feet ten. The tiny waist that had not needed the strict corsets had filled in, still
small, but not so much that she looked like an hourglass.

Her breasts were a little smaller as well, though that difference wasn't as noticeable.  Before they had been heavy and bountiful, now they were firm and full. It was as if her body transcribed to what was exceptionally beautiful for the time period.  Duncan had always changed a little himself, but the changes were only noticeable to himself.  Alex had an almost entirely different body.  Her face was the same, but
the proportions were different.  Duncan had never heard of anything like this either.  Not for anything.

 Of course, Alex was older, and he knew from remains that had been found of the ancient people that she would have to be able to adapt herself. Duncan was led to Methos.  She had almost seemed afraid to meet him once she thought about it.  That disturbed him.  What did Methos know about her that
she was unable to confront again?  He decided he would find out.  Yes, it would make Alex angry if she knew, but he was so curious about her.  There was so much she wasn't telling him and Duncan hoped hat Methos could fill in some of the blanks.

          Chapter Six

Duncan MacLeod was quite an unexpected guest in Methos' home.  It was obvious at the way Methos' eyes had widened in shock, surprise written all over him. He was welcomed inside though, Methos' sword lowering to his side.

Methos was tall and thin, his face sharp but handsome, his hair dark, cut close around his head.  His brown eyes were wise and old, even though he appeared to be in his early thirties.

Duncan had come across Methos when he was having problems with Kalas, a fellow immortal who swore to have Duncan's head for destroying his voice.  Joe Dawson had recommended that Duncan get to a fellow immortal, Methos, and warn him about Kalas' plan to kill him.  He had gone to see another Watcher by the name of Adam Pierson, who was in charge of following Methos' moves.  When Duncan had arrived, he quickly found out that this Watcher was Methos, hiding under a mortal guise.

"Why Duncan MacLeod!  In all my dreams I never expected to see you here!" he greeted. Duncan smiled and shook his hand.

"It's been a while," he agreed.

Methos offered Duncan a seat on the couch and took his own in a recliner.  He leaned forward, his eyes bright."I heard about what happened with Kalas.  You did a good deed that night, one we all thank you for.  I has been a long time since one so evil has gotten so far.  Even Grayson had been stopped before he could cause the trouble he planned.  By you, again.  You are truly one to be thanked," he told Duncan, his tone respectful.

Duncan took the praise awkwardly.  He wasn't use to it.  It was true he had rid the world of quite a few evil immortals, but he knew that there were others that would do the same.  Conner, his clansman and teacher, had always tried to instill in him the realization that there was always someone waiting around the bend and it didn't matter if it was friend
or foe.  In the end, there can be only one.

"Thank you, Methos.  Taking Kalas was a personal matter only, so I can't really accept your praise. Anyway, I didn't come here to talk about that.  I have some questions for you about your past and someone you knew," he told Methos.

Methos sat back in his chair, all the gleam having gone out of his eyes.  He looked wary and even slightly suspicious.  His fingers formed a temple under his chin, giving him the look of a contemplative professor."You know of course that I can only tell you so much. But you are my friend so I will help you best I can,"he replied.

Duncan wasted no time.  His mind was burning for some

"Alexandra Payne."

No recognition flared into Methos' face.  He lifted his eyes for a moment as he thought, but then was shaking his head.  He looked back at Duncan. "Doesn't sound familiar," he answered.

Duncan thought quickly of what Alex had told him.  "Over a thousand years ago. you were a smithy in her village and you carved a pure gold sword.  It was stolen and you chased after the thief, leaving the town," he supplied.

Several moments passed, moments that felt like hours to Duncan.  His breath was lodged in his throat, hoping that Methos would be able to remember that far back.  Then Methos' brow raised, his eyes filled with ancient images.  It was obvious Methos remembered this, but he could not grasp a hold of Alex's memory.

"I do remember the village, but I do not recall meeting an immortal there," he replied, his brow furrowed.

Duncan shook his head quickly, excited now.  He had
gotten Methos to remember the time and it wouldn't
take much more now.

"You wouldn't have.  She has long brown hair, curly,
and the most brilliant of blue eyes.  She is very beautiful, a woman through and through, the type you look at twice.  She claimed to have a tendre for you," Duncan explained, watching Methos closely.

Suddenly, it was there.  The same surprise and joy that had been on Alex's face at his name was there on his at hers.  Duncan sighed in relief.  He knew her and clearly too, judging by the way his face flushed. He was remembering that beauty with wonderful clarity. "Yes, I remember a woman like that, but her name was not Alexandra.  It was Aurelia.  She was truly the beauty of the village.  Not just outside, either.  She was very kind and intelligent, so independent, much before her time.  It was this that allowed us to be
friends.  I knew she had feelings for me, and Duncan, I will be honest; I wanted to be with her as much as she wanted to be with me, but I was mated with another, a woman I had longed since fallen out of love with.  But how is it you know this woman?" Methos asked, something in his eyes that Duncan couldn't place.

Duncan wasn't quite sure of what to tell Methos.  It was obvious that he knew something Duncan did not and wasn't going to reveal it until Duncan did. "She is like us, Methos, an immortal, and she's even older than you.  She's different, though.  She can't feel or be felt by another immortal.  I can't explain it and I was hoping that you could," Duncan told him,
noticing that there was no shock in Methos' face.

The emotions that were playing across Methos' face were confusion, happiness, and wariness.  He was looking at Duncan carefully as if hoping to get inside his head.

"How do you know her?  You haven't answered me yet,"Methos prompted.

Duncan sighed.  He knew he was going to have to divulge some information if he wanted to get any. "Two hundred years ago, I knew her well.  She died one night and I've thought her dead all these years until last week when I found her again, here in Paris.  She professed to know you from her past," Duncan explained.

Methos' head cocked to one side skeptically, his eyes assessing."So why have you come?" he asked.

This was the question that Duncan hoped would never be asked.  He was hoping that he would not be so transparent as this.  He had wanted to go into it gradually, making it seem like he just thought of it all a few moments ago.  He did not want Methos to know that he had come here specifically to get secrets on the woman he loved.

"Methos, being with Alex is the best feeling I have ever known.  She is part of my soul and I don't want to lose her now that I've found her.  No one gets three chances.  I need to know the secret she is keeping from me.  I think you know what it is,Methos," he blurted.

 When Methos shrank away from him, Duncan knew he was right.  Methos knew what Alex was keeping from him.  He knew why she was so special.  A certain satisfaction flooded through him now.  He would soon be able to know all of her, though not the way he wanted.  He had wanted her to tell him, but it was obvious that it wasn't possible. Methos got to his feet, striding away from Duncan. Duncan followed, finding Methos' reaction strange.  He had never known Methos to turn his back on him.

"Methos!  What is it?" Duncan asked.

Suddenly, Methos whirled on him, his eyes blazing in anger.  Duncan had to take a step back.  Methos had never looked at him like that.

"What is it?" he sneered.  "I thought that you were not one to pry into peoples' lives, but now I'm not so sure.  Even if there is some hidden secret, I wouldn't divulge it.  This is a question for her, not a friend, Duncan MacLeod!" he shouted, his accent becoming thick in his ire.

Duncan was taken aback.  He had never expected this response, especially not from the mild mannered Methos.  It was right before him, though.  His  friend's shoulders were rising with his breath, his face flushed, his eyes cold. A deep consternation filled him, a disquietude taking over all his confusion.  Methos' reaction could only mean one thing; it wasn't good.  Whatever Alexandra was keeping to herself was something of either shame or  horror.  Neither brought up any pretty pictures.

Methos obviously understood Duncan's  expression, for
his own softened.  His face smoothed over and he moved
closer to Duncan.  He put a reassuring hand on his shoulder.

"I'm sorry.  I didn't mean to get so angry. It's just that from what I remember of  Aurelia..Alexandra, I know that she has a hard time trusting people.  There is no secret that she is keeping that will destroy anything between you," he explained.

Duncan calmed a little, but he was still wary. Methos was lying.  Well, maybe not lying, but he was holding something back from him and he wasn't going to let him in.  For now, the only thing that Duncan could do was leave and hope that Alexandra would trust him enough to tell him the secret that was on her mind every time she spoke to him, judging her words and actions by what she could reveal and what she

"I apologize as well, Methos.  That was completely uncalled for and I had no business putting you into such a tight spot," Duncan capitulated.

Methos immediately accepted and cheered, asking Duncan about his life in Paris.  They made small talk for several moments, but it was awkward now.  Duncan left shortly after, not wanting to compromise Methos any further.

As he moved through the streets, his mind spun frantically around what Methos had told him and what he omitted.  It was obvious Methos was hiding something.  He would not have gotten that angry otherwise.  It was also evident that he cared a great deal for Alexandra, Aurelia in his time.  Duncan felt a certain jealousy right then.  Alex had trusted
Methos so long ago, but she was unable to trust him.

Did he do something to her to lose that trust? Duncan knew he would say nothing to her about his meeting.  He knew she would only get angry and close up to him even more.  He understood why, though.  Just as Methos said, he was not one to pry into people's lives because he liked to keep his own to himself.  He wasn't quite sure why he did it.  Maybe it was guilt.There was denying that he would always be guilty for Alex's 'death' two hundred years.  He knew that it
wasn't really his fault, but something in him knew that he should have stayed with her that night.  He let her down.  Now he wanted to make it all up to her, but he couldn't do that unless she trusted him too.

A haunting sadness came over him then.  He knew this wasn't necessarily about her anymore.  It had become about him a long time ago.  He wanted all of her, but she was afraid to give it to him.  Two hundred years ago, they had been deliriously happy and Duncan had no clue of any secret being held from him.  No, that wasn't true.  Even then, Alex had seemed guarded, always calculating her words.  Even so, he had loved her more than life itself.  That was all that mattered.  Why bother with some little thing that wasn't even a problem?  If he would drop it, the secret would not come in between them.

Duncan decided that if Alex wanted to tell him, she would.  If not, he would get on with his life.  He wasn't going to dwell on it.  Finding Alex again was too precious to risk losing her again. Duncan sighed in relief.  The sadness and worry left
him in a great rush at his decision.  He smiled to a woman passing him in the street, making her blush and simper.  The grin grew to a laugh.  Yes, he was making the right choice.  He felt so refreshed and relieved to be rid of the worry and wonder.

Then he felt it, the presence of another immortal. Duncan's mind was instantly on defense, all thoughts of Alex pushed aside.  He reached instantly for his sword as he moved down a tiny alley. He had no trouble spotting the other  immortal.  He was tall and fair-headed, a stranger to Duncan. Duncan was on guard, his muscles tensed and ready for action.  This man had a very long life line.

The man held up his hands in a peaceful gesture, a smile crossing his face.  Duncan saw that he had no sword on his person so he lowered his.

"I have no business with you, stranger," he called."I am Duncan MacLeod of the clan MacLeod.  I have no fight with you either," he replied, replacing his sword into his trench-coat.

They moved toward one another slowly, openly
assessing each other.  Duncan had never seen this man,
which was odd.  He had met so many that it was something new to not have met someone who was this old.  Surely he would have ran across him sometime in his life.

The stranger stopped before MacLeod, his pale eyes
sparkling in merriment.  Duncan felt not one bad vibe
off of this man and relaxed."John Spiner.  I am also Scottish of sort.  My mother had moved here from there when she met my father. Never made it back," he told Duncan.

 Duncan decided that he liked this man.  His manner was open and friendly. He was a handsome man, wealthy judging by his fine dress and impressive gold watch.

"Well, my friend, what brings you to Paris?  I don't think you are a native.  I've never seen you and I know all the immortals in France," John asked, a fair eyebrow raised.

"A friend of mine brings me here.  He's participating
in a motorbike competition.  I have lived here before,
though,"he replied. John spread his arms wide, his suit coat gaping open.

"This is my home.  I live here when I'm not
traveling," he said.

John offered his hand and the two men shook. "I must be off.  I hope you enjoy the city," he finished.

"It was nice to meet you," Duncan told him.

"Likewise," John replied.

The two men separated and Duncan moved back toward
the street.  John Spiner was certainly one of the better older immortals he'd met.  Most feel that the ones younger than they are beneath their notice and only for quick fixes.  John seemed truly pleased to meet him.

Duncan reached the hotel shortly after and collapsed on the bed.  Instead of sleeping, as he wished, his mind was whirling with thoughts of Alex.

 Alexandra's sapphire eyes probed his intently, as if searching for a hidden answer.

"You really want me to go with you?" she asked again,her voice uncertain.

Duncan sighed.  For nearly an hour now he had been trying to convince her to go back home with him.  He was sure she would be all for it, but she visibly reluctant.  He wasn't going to get angry.  That didn't work with Alex.  Instead he was trying to be charming, even though frustration was quickly driving him to the breaking point.

"Would I be begging you if I didn't?" he asked, an eyebrow cocked.

Alex sighed and sat back on the couch.  They were in her apartment and her eyes were casting over all her things.  Her mouth was pursed and Duncan suspected that the two answers were warring in her head this very moment.  Then she turned back to him, her expression desperate.

"Duncan, I'm afraid to just drop everything and come with you," she offered, trying to appease him.

Duncan wasn't going to let her do it.  He only stared at her, his eyes brutally stark.

"You were perfectly able to drop everything and leave
me," he reasoned, a little cruelly.

Alex stood then, looming over him, her eyes blazing."That is not fair, Duncan MacLeod!  I had no other choice but to walk out and you know it!  It was not easy, either, so you can just forget that right now. That was a completely different situation, anyway," she shouted heatedly, her arms crossed.

Duncan just looked at her, not disagreeing or agreeing.  He knew that his words were wrong, but he had said them for that very reason.  He wanted to get a response out of her, maybe take her back in time so she would be reminded of how hard it was to leave him.

Alex was glaring at him now, knowing what he was up to.  Duncan's face was a mask of innocent expectation, his eyes wide and questioning.  He had always given her this look when he wanted something and it had never failed before.  He just hoped that now, when it counted the most, it would work again.

Alex suddenly threw up her hands in defeat, a great sigh passing her lips."Fine, Duncan, I will go with you!  Just stop looking at me like that!" she conceded.

Duncan smiled in triumph and got to his feet.  He crushed her to his chest, kissing her with all the happiness and passion he was feeling right now.  She responded to him with far more amorous thoughts, shoving him onto the couch.  It didn't take long for her to follow.

        Chapter Seven

Alexandra adapted rather quickly to Duncan's life in the city.  She helped him run the dojo after she displayed her astonishing martial arts skill.  She loved his loft, delighting in the antique items he had used to furnish it.  She found some of them familiar from when she knew him before.  Some were after their time together, some before.

Alex was a constant grace in Duncan's life.  She was the woman he remembered her to be, fun-loving and passionate.  She teased and joked with him during the
day, listened to his desire's tune by night.  She got along well with Richie, but he knew that Richie was still a little unsure of her status as an immortal. Duncan ignored it.

He became happy again.  It seemed so simple for most
people, but he knew that he had truly not been happy
without her.  Some of the shadows that had been
hanging over his head for two hundred years slowly
faded away, leaving a warm glow at the edge of his
mind.  Alex had given that back to him.

She loved to go into public, dinner, movies, dancing,
everything that Duncan had been a little reserved about lately.  All his reservations quickly faded away after the first several outings.  He loved to be with her and was willing to go anywhere she chose.  For a change, he enjoyed walks through the park without worrying about who he might see.  Alex had pushed the worry far into his mind.  Right now he wanted to live and not think about how quick it could end.

A few days after they arrived, Duncan went to see Joe
Dawson, a Watcher and his friend, at his bar.  It was during the day so it was empty.  Joe was an older man, his hair and beard gray, but he was still very handsome.  When Duncan arrived, Joe was on the stage playing the blues on his guitar.  Joe had a personal affinity with the guitar and he played it remarkably well.  It had remained steady through his life, something that never took, only gave.

Joe looked up as Duncan approached, a smile blooming
over his face.  He put his guitar over to the side and
stood.  The two friends shook hands and moved to a

"Well, back from Paris I see.  Was it a good trip?"Joe asked, sitting down.

Duncan laughed wryly.  Better than Joe knew.

"Yes, it was a wonderful trip.  Joe, I came to ask you a few questions about some things," he started.

Duncan decided that he would not mince words.  Joe wasn't one who appreciated it.  Duncan knew that if anyone could tell him if Alex's special qualities were possible, it was Joe.  He knew more about the immortals than anyone else.  Including the immortals themselves.

Joe looked at Duncan closely, his eyes narrowed. There was something different here.  Duncan didn't look like himself.  Joe hated to think it, but his friend looked as if he had left his sorrows in Paris, evening out his face, taking the lines away from his eyes.  The change was startling, but he had seen it
before, a much more mute version than now.  When Duncan had met Ann, he looked somewhat like this, but now it was intensified.  Joe knew it had to be a woman.

"What is it, Mac?  You know I'll tell you what I  can," he offered.

Duncan leaned over on the table, his mouth firm. "I met someone in Paris, someone I haven't seen in two hundred years.  The thing about all of this is that I've never known her to be an immortal," he told Joe.

Joe's confusion was evident.  He sat away from MacLeod, his hands raised. "Woah, MacLeod.  What are you saying?" he  asked.

"What I'm saying is that I've never felt her.  I've never detected her presence," Duncan clarified.

 The incredulous expression of disbelief answered Duncan's question without even having asked. Joe had never heard of it so it didn't exist.  Joe knew everything, all the rules, all the names, but he didn't know this.  The hope that was in him faded slowly away replaced by utter confusion.

"Duncan, that isn't possible.  An immortal can be detected, that is a requirement to being immortal.  There aren't choices there," Joe explained to him.

"I know.  But what other explanation is there?  She has been alive for a very long time.  I know she isn't inventing things because she and Methos know each other.  Methos insists that there is nothing to her immortality and she sticks by the fact that she is made different because she is so old.  Is that
possible?" Duncan asked, a little desperate to believe anything.

Joe slowly shook his head.  "You are telling me that there is someone out there who is older than Methos, who until now has been the oldest immortal, but she isn't the same as the
rest of you, right?" Joe asked, wanting to be sure. Duncan nodded, still clinging to the belief he had in Alex.

Joe sat back for several moments, thinking about what he had been told.  Duncan could understand that it was a lot of information to choke down and sort through, but he needed answers.  If he was going to be with Alex for the rest of his days, he had to be able to believe in her, trust her to tell him the truth.  Of course, he had to admit that he was betraying Alex a little by going to Methos and Joe, but since she
wasn't going to tell him, he had to get it from someone.

When Joe looked back up at him, his eyes were assessing Duncan careful, taking in the slight break of Duncan's usual calm mask.

  "What is this woman to you?" he asked finally,breaking the silence. Duncan was taken aback by the question.  He couldn't imagine why Joe needed to know about Alex.  Why did he need to know that he was alive again because of her presence, that he was so deeply in love with her, he was sure his soul was forged to hers?

"I care for her," he said carefully, hedging for reasons he didn't really know.

Joe leaned forward suddenly then, his brows drawing over his eyes in an angry knot. "Bullshit, MacLeod.  I know it is more than that.  My God, a blind man could see it on your face how much you love this woman," he told Duncan, his voice sharp and harsh.

Duncan grew angry himself, not knowing why Joe was
flying off the handle like this. “What does it matter if I love her?  What has that to do with anything?" he cried, defensive for no reason.

Joe sat back against his chair, a little more calm
now. "Because it makes you desperate for any explanation,
Duncan.  From the way you speak, I know she must love you as much as you care for her. All I'm saying is that she may indeed be something else, another type of immortal.  She may indeed have some sort of secret that she is keeping from you, but it could mean as little as her not wanting to shadow herself in your eyes.You say she is very old.  Perhaps she is equipped differently.  We have seen the remains of older humans and they don't look just like us now.  If she were as old as that, she would have to be able to adapt to look as she does now.  Of course, I'm assuming that she looks like a normal human being.  Since she may have that skill, which you do not, she could have others.  For instance, not being detected by another immortal," Joe finished pensively.

Duncan let out a long held sigh.  If Joe could believe it, then so could Duncan.  Relief flooded through him.  There was no evil secret about her origins.  Perhaps it was just something that happened in the past that she was afraid to tell him of.  It didn't matter now, though, because he could go back to
her tonight, all his curiosity left here at the bar.

"I'll keep looking around for you, asking about her special attributes.  Perhaps something else will come up, an even better explanation than I gave you. In the meantime, I was wondering if I could possibly meet her sometime," Joe asked, a smile breaking the tension.

Duncan nodded his assent and thanked Joe for all his help.  Then he left the bar, a little spring to his step.  He was anxious to get back to Alexandra, to hold her.  He was sorry that he doubted her and he needed to make it up to her.  He hadn't felt this relaxed in a while, his mind hadn't been so clear.  It felt good.

 The dojo was empty and bright, the sun shining through the big windows.  The only occupant was its owner, who stood by the wall.  A long curving sword rested there in a sheath, the object of his attention. Duncan removed it from the wall carefully, holding it as cautiously as he would a small baby.  With a smooth movement, he pulled the kitana from the sheath, swinging it behind his back in a nearly negligent
movement.  With a certain reverence, he returned the
sheath to its cradle on the wall.

He turned and moved several steps away.  He began to
twirl the sword expertly in his hands and over his arms.  He coupled the motions with powerful lunges and kicks. Duncan exercised with his sword whenever his heart was feeling a little heavy.  The sword was a part of him after so long and so far, it had let him do no wrong.  His anger and frustration would often be pulled from him by the sword, leaving him far more relaxed.  Now, though, he wasn't upset.  He was merely getting rid of some energy.

Several weeks had passed since he went to Joe.  Alex seemed to relax around him as he lost his constant wariness.  Things were how they were two hundred years
ago.  They were always teasing and joking, but they could speak to each other about anything.  Their nights were filled with passion and love, and he slept easy again.  Though, some nights, Alex would do something strange.  She would get up and leave.  When he asked her about it, she told him that she took walks to clear her head.  At first, Duncan's suspicion flared up, but he forced himself to trust her.  He had to learn sometime.

After ten minutes of swordplay, sweat was pouring down his bare chest, soaking into the waist band of his black sweat pants.  His heart was pounding, his breath tightly controlled to keep him from gasping.

Already, he was feeling a little more normal, alert and wary, when before he had been tense and fidgety.  He wasn't aware he was being watched until he swung around in a high kick.  He abruptly stopped, disconcernted.  He was good at sensing when someone was near him, immortal or not.  He had no idea this time though.

Alexandra leaned against the door frame, her gaze transfixed on him.  Duncan took her in as well, admiring her appearance.  Her snug black jeans hugged the curve of her hips and waist, the black turtleneck she wore set off the pale creaminess of her skin, not to mention a few other curves.  Her hair was loose and flowing about her shoulders and back like tendrils of silk.  Duncan then noticed that she had snapped out of the trance she had been in and was now looking at him intently.

"Good afternoon.  Where did you go?  I missed you," he told her, moving toward her.Alex shrugged and moved toward him as well, her black boots clicking sharply over the floor.

"I had some things to take care of," she replied evasively.

Duncan was about to say something else, but suddenly Alex was before him, smiling slyly.  She trailed a tapering finger down his chest, over his stomach, hooking it into the waist band of his pants.  Duncan looked at her in surprise as she jerked him toward her.

"How about a little sparring, MacLeod?" she suggested.

Duncan wasn't sure what was in her eyes right now. She didn't look like his Alex, her expression was unknown to him.  He shook away his thoughts.  There he went again, making more out of things than were there. With a smile, he rested his sword against the wall.

"Sure.  I won't hurt you too bad," he told her, a gleam in his eye.

She smiled at that and began to remove her jacket and boots.  Duncan moved slowly around her, throwing small
little punches that a child could sidestep.  Alex dodged them without hardly thinking about it.

"Duncan, if you aren't going to fight me, I'll have to whip your ass even more than I planned," she told him, arms crossed over her chest.

Duncan's eyebrows raised in mock fear. That was just before Alex's foot slammed into his head, knocking him on the  floor.  Duncan lay there for a moment, clearing his head.  She was playing a little rougher than he had intended.  She was going to rock his world in rather unpleasant ways if he didn't do something.

He got to his feet and faced her again, a little more serious this time.  He became slightly uneasy.  Alex's face was different, colder, almost...predatory.  He felt something close over his heart like ice.  It was fear.  His mind didn't know why, but his body knew something was wrong.

He made a move to trip her, but Alex jumped up, quicker than Duncan thought possible.  She retaliated by punching him in the mouth.  Duncan dropped back again, fingering his wounded lip.  He looked up at her in admiration."You're fast,",he told her.

 Alex smiled then, a cold hard smile. "I try." She moved at him then, so fast he didn't realize it until he was flat on his back, Alex straddling him.

Duncan let his eyes drift shut as he tried to catch his breath.  She was vicious, but he certainly didn't mind this position.  He felt Alex's fingers drift over his bloody lips, seeming to probe the wound. Then they moved away.  He felt Alex stiffen suddenly, then she relaxed over him.

He opened his eyes finally and he saw her staring down at him, a satisfied grin on her face that didn't quite reach her eyes.  The perfumed fall of her thick hair fell over him, the deep strands framing her pale face.

Then she was kissing him, deep and hard, her tongue
teasing the contours of his mouth.  Duncan's hands wrapped around her hips, supporting her as she leaned over.  Alex's mouth increased its pressure and Duncan knew that this wasn't just any kiss.  This was something else, something dangerous.

Her lips moved greedily over his, taking more than he was at present giving.  Duncan was taken aback. Alex's motions were frightening him.  It felt as if she were attempting to draw him inside her, to devour him.  Her fingers were like talons on his face, not relenting as he tried to pull away.  Panic flooded through him, swift and powerful, his instincts knowing that this was something he needed to get out of.
He couldn't breath, she was suffocating him.  There was an urgency driving her and it was too strong for him to break.  He was not excited anymore.  He was pushing at her shoulders, trying to get her to release him, but he was thwarted by her astounding strength.

He tried to buck her off of him, but her thighs were like vises around his.Duncan was able to move his lips against hers, trying to speak.  "Alex, Alex, stop.  Stop," he breated against the pressure of her mouth.

She didn't pause or hesitate, but kept right at him as if there were some wild hunger she had to satisfy. Duncan would freely admit that she was a sexually aggressive woman, but she had never done anything like this.  Anyway, he knew it wasn't about sex.  It was something else all together.

Duncan stopped being concerned about hurting her and
thrust brutally at her shoulders.  Alex flew back and Duncan quickly crab walked away.  Alex sat on her knees, hunched over and panting.  Duncan stared at her as he would a rabid dog; knowing that if you run he'll chase, but terrified to stand still.  Her face was astonished, her eyes wide and shocked.  She looked as if she'd just waken up from a terrible nightmare.

"Duncan, I am so sorry.  I can't believe I attacked you like that!  I'm...I'm sorry."

Her words faded into a mumble at the end, her words a
mixture of confusion and sorrow.  She got to her feet and grabbed her boots and jacket.  Her movements were far from graceful now.  She was stumbling, her hands reaching out to steady herself.  Grabbing her stomach, she doubled over for a moment, her mouth opening in a low moan.  Then she straightened, holding onto the door.  She turned back to him, her beautiful features pained. "I am so sorry," she whispered. Then she was gone.

 Duncan watched her go, uncertainty and concern fighting for domination of his expression.  Why had she acted like that?  What had she wanted from him?  When she had been on him, she had been so strong, like nothing he had ever seen.  But when she stood after he threw her, she could barely stay on her feet.  Not only that, when she had spoke, she sounded surprised, but only that it was him she attacked.  Did she do
this sort of thing often? What the hell was going on?