DISCLAIMER: They are not mine, I'm just rubbing them together to see
what happens. The story however, is mine...
AUTHOR'S NOTE: I chose the crossover because it's probable, in tv-verse anyway... I do know the shows, but it's been years since I last saw them... Hip-hip horay for hot women right?
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FANDOMS: Relic Hunter/Highlander: The Raven.
History Is Not Dead
By The Raven
Sydney had not felt this tired for a good long time. Between teaching, relic hunting and well, life... it seemed that she found relatively little time for things such as sleep, R&R, even coffee breaks. Her deep fatigue did not prevent her from being instantly aware that her office was not unoccupied when she entered it. After doing a split second calculation, based on the time of day, the location of her Nigel and Karen, she determined that the chances of the intruder being a friendly were low.
"Show yourself at once, or I will make you sorry you were ever born..."
Sydney said this clearly, every muscle in her body keyed up for whatever might happen next. The air shifted near her and quite suddenly, a figure stepped out of what appeared to be thin air.
"And how do you know that I might not already be sorry that I was born..."
The smooth alto voice reached Sydney a fraction of a heartbeat before Sydney turned sharply to look at her unexpected visitor. Sydney was stunned, though someone who was not observant would not have noticed her brief pause in movement and speech.
"Just who are you and what exactly are you doing in my office this late at night. Come to think of it, how did you get in here anyway?"
As she spoke, Sydney evaluated the speaker, a striking woman with short blonde hair and black clothes that seemed to at once emphasize and conceal a body that Sydney suddenly found herself inexplicably curious about.
"I am Amanda, I am here, because I need to hire you and as for how I got in, well... I was not really into waiting in the hallways and the locks were easy to pick."
The words were said with a smile as the woman moved towards one of the spare chairs and sat down with a theatrical flair, owing partially to the long leather duster she wore.
Charmed for reasons that she could not explain, Sydney simply shook her head and went to sit down at her desk. She might as well take a weight off her feet while this stranger said her peace... It would be just as easy to dismiss her regardless and she truly was quite tired, so she felt justified. Anyway, this 'Amanda' did not seem to pose any sort of threat, at least not towards Sydney.
"Well, you obviously know who I am, so why don't you fill me in as to why you're here, in my office, so late at night, without an appointment..."
Sydney's words were laced with a trace of good humour, she herself was not known for following rules and was known for being rather unconventional. As a consequence, part of her was charmed by Amanda's unorthodox ways and it of course helped, that the woman in black was stunning to look at.
Amanda flashed a brief smile, showing off a row of even white teeth as she adjusted her position minutely and crossed long legs in a dangerously casual way. Sydney Fox had not missed the potentially lethal ability that the blonde woman sitting before her possessed and that just added to the woman's instant appeal. Mentally shaking her head Sydney forced herself to focus fully on the woman sitting before her and after a beat, the woman spoke again.
"I need your help to recover an artifact, it belongs to my personal collection and was recently stolen while I was on a business trip. I have already done some preliminary investigations using my own sources, but I decided that I could use some extra help. Your reputation precedes you and based on what I have been able to surmise about the theft, this would fall into your area of expertise and interest..."
As the low alto voice with its subtle, untraceable accent finished, Sydney rested her chin on her hand and valiantly suppressed a yawn as she collected herself.
"You are aware of my profession correct? How did you determine that this would somehow interest me or be in my field of expertise?"
Sydney chose her words carefully, not wanting to be backed into a corner in spite of her interest in this woman.
The woman regarded Sydney with eyes that seemed ancient for a few minutes, before slightly pursing her lips and reaching into her long overcoat. Quickly removing half a dozen photographs she handed them over to Sydney and then settled back into the somewhat uncomfortable visitors chair to wait.
Sydney slid her glasses on and spread the photos out on her desk. Wow! Her inner voice said as she examined the obviously professional photographs that Amanda had handed her. She had never seen one in such a good state of preservation, let alone one that was so highly unusual.
"How is it that you own this?"
Sydney asked as she gestured the photos on her desk, not really removing her eyes from the pictures as she spoke.
Amanda abruptly stood and stretched out her back, obviously the chair had finally gotten the best of her. The the blonde woman spoke quietly, her low pitched voice sending a shiver up and down Sydney's spine.
"It is a family heirloom. Sounds improbable I know, who has a thousand year old cloak pin as a family heirloom... Anyway, as you can see from its condition, it has never known what it is to be forgotten in the ground... It holds a tremendous amount of sentimental value to me, as you know, its material value is considerable, but because it is made of wrought iron, it is not immediately apparent. I am prepared to compensate you, or your University, or even a museum of your choice, handsomely for any help you provide. Of course, it would also be 'all expenses paid', naturally..."
Sydney collected the photos and handed them back to the blonde woman as she resettled herself into the visitors chair. Removing her glasses, Sydney rubbed her eyes tiredly and then spoke.
"When do you need my answer?"
Amanda looked up at her with her ancient eyes and quickly said.
"I actually need it at once... I leave North America tonight, each day means that the chances of retrieval are slimmer. I am prepared to not only pay your salary and any expenses, but also I will donate fifty thousand dollars to your schools grant program immediately, up front."
As she finished speaking Amanda produced a cell phone and held it up, indicating that the transaction could be completed at once, with just a word from Sydney.
Somewhat startled, Sydney took a few moments to collect herself and finally spoke.
"Don't make me regret this Amanda. Very well, you pay my salary for the duration, my expenses and make the donation to the grants program and we have a deal."
Before she had even finished speaking Amanda was speaking into her phone in rapid and flawless French. From what Sydney picked up the transaction was being completed and almost before the phone call was over, Sydney's fax machine came to life. Moments later Amanda rose and fetched the sheaf of papers that the little machine had spewed forth.
"Here you go Professor Fox. The donation to the grants program and the papers pertaining to paying your salary payments. I expect that I will need your services for no more than ten days and because you will be at my disposal 24 hours a day for that time, I have paid you for 24 hour days. I am a strictly legal kind of person..."
Sydney slid her glasses on again and looked at the papers. The papers showed only a numbered bank account, lending no more clues as to who Amanda was, but they also clearly and accurately showed that the blonde woman had paid the fifty thousand and ten full days of pay in advance.
"Okay, well... I need about an hour to prepare myself and to make up a list of possible equipment needs. I assume you have a destination or did you want me to come up with one?"
Sydney stood and begun to collect things she would need from her office. A satellite phone and its charger, her bag which contained tools and weapons that she used in her trade, an overnight bag with clothing and other essentials and a pile of clothes she was going to change into immediately. A leather bound journal containing resources and contacts from all over the world completed the pile. Amanda had waited for Sydney to finish packing and collecting herself before she answered the question.
"I have determined that central Europe is a good place to start, it is where the first clues led to. Also, as the artifact is European, chances are that it might stay on the continent. As for equipment, we can handle that from the plane, or I can, while you sleep."
Sydney smirked at the hasty addition as she indicated that the blonde woman should exit her office while she changed. Her new employer was nothing except for the picture of good manners, no surprise there... Sydney smiled darkly as she remembered that the woman had basically broken into her office...
Quickly dressing and slinging on her shoulder bag and grabbing her overnight bag, Sydney paused to fire off an email to Nigel and Karen as well as the Dean of her faculty. The people who worked for her and the people she worked for, were used to her comings and goings, so there would be little question or surprise when they checked their emails in the morning.
With that done, Sydney shut her computer off and slid out of her office to find Amanda leaning casually against Karen's desk waiting for her with an air of patience that struck Sydney as eternal. That was something that had struck Sydney from the moment she had set eyes on Amanda. The woman looked to be in her late twenties or early thirties at most, but her eyes had an ancient quality to them and everything about the woman projected infinite calm and patience.
Sydney had also perceived from the woman's movements that Amanda was probably quite lethal too, and was probably possessed by deep passions. The combination caused Sydney's body to react in ways she had not experienced before and Sydney was used to being cool, calm and collected in all situations. Needless to say, she was finding herself slightly out of her element and oddly enough, she was also finding that she liked the feeling...
Sydney Fox was allowing herself to doze lightly as the comfortable taxi sped both women to the airport. It turned out that Amanda had a cab waiting for them when they exited the building, Sydney had allowed herself to experience mild surprise as she had tossed her bag in next to the other one in the trunk. Obviously the blonde woman was either very sure of her powers of persuasion or was tremendously impatient. Either way, Sydney did not perceive Amanda as any kind of threat and the two would have plenty of time to compare notes during the flight. It was therefore time for a catnap...
At the airport forty five minutes later, Sydney was treated to the experience of what money could buy. It was clear that Amanda had a disposable income and was and old hand at traveling. In short order, the two women were seated in first class, their luggage not receiving even the most cursory of inspections and their passports not having received a second glance. The seats were luxurious and the preflight condiments more than adequate to take any remaining edge off both women as they prepared for their journey.
Sydney watched as Amanda finally removed her leather duster, the soft leather making no sound as she carefully rolled it around itself and stowed it away. Sydney was able to observe a few things as she watched the blonde woman move, one being that she wanted her coat to remain within arms reach and had curtly but politely refused the over-attentive flight attendant's help with it. Another thing was that the woman was imply drop dead gorgeous in an intoxicatingly dangerous way.
Each item of clothing was obviously custom designed, to not only flatter the woman, but to allow her complete freedom of movement. From the low heeled boots, to the leather pants and then the silk shirt, a blue so dark that it looked almost black, all of it concealing and revealing power and grace. Sydney forced her mental gears to grind to a halt, mildly outraged with herself that she was so instantly and absolutely attracted to this mysterious woman with whom she would be spending at least the next ten days with.
The flight was one time and without too much further ado, the powerful engines of the plane were catapulting them into the night sky so that they could chase the earth shadow across the Atlantic to their eventual destination. After the initial fuss of food and drinks, reading materials and headsets had been sorted out, Amanda pulled out a spiral notebook and a short stub of a pencil and turned to Sydney.
"What do you need?"
She said simply, her hands poised to write...
Sydney looked at Amanda's hands, noting that aside from a very complex looking digital watch on her wrist and a pair of diamond studs in her ears, the woman wore no jewelry at all. Sydney also noted the controlled power in the hands that held the little pencil poised over the paper. In no time at all, she found her mind trailing down less than appropriate paths before she managed to get a grip and answer the woman's question.
In short order, Amanda wrote her list and proceeded to use the in-flight phone for the next hour, a succession of calls in several languages insuring that when the women arrived they would have what they needed at hand, thus saving time. Sydney was experienced enough with languages, to know that Amanda spoke each one flawlessly, without a hint of hesitation or accent. It was a marvelous experience to be witness to such a display of intelligence. Sydney hoped that they would have time to talk about things aside from the task at hand, but it remained to be seen of course. Before she felt herself being drawn into sleep, Sydney heard her inner voice reminding her that there was more than she wanted to do with Amanda than talk. Thankfully though, sleep overcame her before she could speculate much on just what kind of booby traps her subconscious was setting for her and then she was in the land of no dreams, just rest...
Two hours later, Sydney found herself surfacing from a deep sleep when the scent of fresh coffee reached her inner mind. Instantly awake, she looked around in a moment of confusion before remembering where she was and exactly what she was doing there. Straightening her seat out and shoving her complimentary blankets to the side, Sydney looked at her travel companion, surprised to see that the blonde woman was asleep. Pausing in her movements to study the face of her mysterious employer, Sydney noted that Amanda did not look any younger in repose, unlike most people, who seemed to shed age when in the arms of Morpheus. Amanda did not look any older, but her face, though unlined by age and in sleep relaxed, did not have the air of youth that should and could be expected from almost anyone occasionally, especially in sleep.
Only moments into Sydney's scrutiny Amanda's eyes opened, their dark depths instantly awake and alert. The blonde woman regarded Sydney for a few heartbeats and then smiles slightly before speaking.
Sydney answered with her own smile and responded in a low voice.
"Yes, I feel much better, more rested. The smell of fresh coffee woke me."
Amanda pushed aside her blankets and stood up to stretch out her slender body and then murmured that she was going to refresh herself and would Sydney ask the flight attendants to leave them a whole pot of coffee, before she disappeared into the shadows at the front of the plane.
Bemused, Sydney motioned to one of the flight attendants and soon a whole pot of coffee along with cups and condiments was sitting on their tray tables. On impulse, Sydney also asked for and promptly received some sparkling mineral water. Amanda came back from her visit to the front of the plane and waited until Sydney had made her way to the front of the plane in turn before she sat down.
After Sydney's return, the two women spent the rest of the flight drinking coffee and making last minute plans for when they landed. Sydney could not help but marvel at how quick Amanda was, in her thinking and her wit. Very quickly, the small spiral notebook was filling with leads and ideas as to where and how they could look for the pin and soon enough an announcement came that the plane was preparing to land and then the flight attendants started to come by at regularly irritating intervals, making any further work impossible. Soon they would be on the ground so these were probably going to be some of the last more quiet moments they would have in a while.
Once on the ground, Sydney was treated to another demonstration of what money can buy. They were able to go without pause through control and customs and were quickly in the parking lot of the airport. Sydney idly pondered what Amanda was looking for, but she was quickly provided with the answer to her question. Amanda paused next to a very functional looking all terrain vehicle, which actually looked like it would go off-road, but also do well on-road as well.
"This is it!"
Announced the blonde woman triumphantly before she reached into a coat pocket and produced a soft roll of cloth, which she unrolled to reveal a score of lock picks in every shape and size.
"Normally, I could just break in, but it has an alarm, so I need to go via the door lock. The keys and the disarmed are on the inside."
Amanda said this in a very conversational way as she selected two slender instruments from her cloth roll and then without pause she inserted them into the door lock. Less than five second later the door was open and Amanda was inside locating the keys and disarming the alarm.
"Well, come on Sydney Fox, time waits for no woman, not even one as delicious as you."
Amanda's voice carried a hint of teasing as Sydney shook herself free of her momentary shock at seeing a lock picked so quickly.
"Okay, now we begin. The car has everything we might need packed in it plus a few things I added. We can ditch it anywhere if need and I will have someone retrieve it later, so we don't need to worry about what to do with it in an emergency. Now, Professor Fox, where do we start?"
Sydney immediately searched her memory and suggested that they try a hangout for less than savory elements of society, she knew the bartender there and he heard a lot of gossip. If the pin was in this city and someone had seen it or talked about it, chances were, he would know.
"Well, there is this place I know near the warehouse district..."
Amanda seemed to brighten a little at her words and before Sydney could finish her sentence the blonde woman was directing the car into traffic, already going in the right direction.
"Yes, I know the place, a very good place to start, you can work your contacts, I will work mine and maybe, we work some of them together..."
Sydney noted that Amanda's accent had become slightly stronger, almost as if the woman was allowing herself to show a little more now that she was in Europe. The woman was obviously European, but Sydney had been unable to narrow the accent down any further than that. Though she probably would not admit to it under torture, Sydney was very intrigued by Amanda and her curiosity was well on the way to being at least half the reason she had accepted the job in the first place. Even in the few minutes that it had taken Amanda to state her case back in Sydney's office, she had felt her interest and her passion pique and well, Sydney was not the kind of woman to back down from such a situation.
Amanda drove expertly, seeming to know exactly where she was going and how to get there and Sydney was dully impressed. However, there was no time to sit around and admire the scenery too much, she needed to get herself ready. Reaching into her bag, she checked the contents again and then withdrew her knife, quickly sliding it into it's space in her boot. She also secured the miniature crossbow darts into the quiver on her forearm before settling the bag over her shoulder more comfortably. It rested easily over her short leather jacket and as Amanda parked the car and the two women stepped out, Sydney realised that she had not felt this alive in a while. No time to ponder that though, it was time to get ready to most likely rumble...
The two women entered the bar separately and immediately split up to begin looking for old contacts and making new ones. If they needed to tag team, they would, but until such time, the agreement was to meet back at the car whenever they could. If Sydney knew anything about Amanda, she knew that the mysterious blonde woman could take care of herself, so with that in mind she walked to the bar and proceeded to make contact with her first source. The bartender...
Minutes or hours later, while Sydney was engaged in a somewhat productive and not too unpleasant conversation with the bartender, a loud crash sounded through the dark and dank establishment. Immediately spinning around and managing to spill her shot glass of kerosene-like cheap whiskey Sydney saw the source of the noise. Amanda was holding a not very small man off the ground by his throat and her face clearly broadcast her displeasure. Impressed at the strength that such a feat would take, Sydney tossed her bartender his quite large tip and moved towards the blonde woman. It would not do to have a tangle with local law enforcement at this time, it would simply delay them or even stop them altogether.
Like the Red Sea before Moses, the gawking crowd that had turned to look at the spectacle parted before Sydney. As she got within earshot of Amanda, Sydney realised that the blonde woman was speaking yet another language fluently and though the she could not understand anything that was being said, the tone said it all. Amanda was furious... Deciding to simply put herself within arms reach should the need arise, Sydney stopped and leaned against the wall in a deadly casual fashion, all the while keeping an eye on the situation. After a few long moments, Amanda seemed to be satisfied with whatever the man had croaked at her and unceremoniously let him go, causing him to crash to the flood and upturn a nearby table.
Amanda seemed to collect herself for a moment before turning to Sydney and minutely raising an eyebrow, a silent question as to weather they were done. Sydney in turn nodded her head a fraction and without much further ado, the two women stalked out of the bar and back to the car on the street.
"Want to tell me what that was about?"
Sydney asked as she buckled herself into the car and watched Amanda do the same.
"Later... First lets get a hotel and something to eat. We'll head out early tomorrow morning, but unless we refresh ourselves we're not going to be that much good for anything."
Amanda's voice was ever-so-slightly tight as she pulled the car into the street and proceeded to drive in her expert and efficient way towards a location that Sydney was not yet aware of. Well, Amanda had paid for her services, so unless something happened that Sydney objected to, she would tolerate mystery and silence without complaint.
An hour later, Sydney found herself waiting for Amanda in the hotel restaurant where the two had agreed to meet eachother after. She had managed to take a long overdue shower and refresh her clothes after the long flight and the rather seedy bar that they had been at earlier. Sydney however, knew better than to let her guard down, so her bag was discreetly slung over the back of her chair and her knife nestled comfortably in her boot. She was just perusing the wine list when Amanda made her appearance as if out of thin air at the table. Sydney was rather surprised that she had been unable to detect the other woman's approach but she hid it well. Amanda looked more relaxed, a long hot shower had that effect. The blonde woman slung her leather duster over the back of her chair and sat down with her usual flamboyant air. Sydney had deduced that the coat either had tremendous sentimental value to the woman, or it hid something that the woman was unwilling to be apart from.
"Now then, time to eat, drink and talk."
Amanda's voice purred its way through Sydney's body and for a few long moments, Sydney felt herself fighting for control. She could tell that Amanda was at least mildly interested in their flirtation, but it was too early to determine anything for certain and anyway, they had work to do. Or so Sydney tried to convince herself anyway. Without much success...
After ordering food and wine, the women sat back and relaxed while they waited. Eventually, Sydney broke into the comfortable silence.
"So, what was that all about at the bar?"
Infinite eyes regarded her steadily from across the table as Amanda evaluated the question. Sydney felt studied, gauged, like the blonde woman was carefully deciding just what to tell her.
"The gentleman whom you saw me getting a little physical with, well he had a few things to say that did not agree with my sensibilities. I wanted to, hmm, remind him just who he was talking to..."
Amanda trailed off as she proceeded to spread rich yellow butter onto one of the hot rolls they had been provided with.
"And just who is that?"
Sydney asked the question before she was able to think better of it and almost cursed herself mentally. However, she was curious about Amanda and privately hoped that the woman would let her in a little.
Dark eyes regarded her steadily for a few long moments as the woman chewed on her bread with obvious relish.
"Someone who is not to be trifled with..."
Came the eventual low reply.
Their conversation was interrupted for a few moments as the first course of their meal was delivered and the server fussed over them. Sydney had to admit, that she was not minding being treated to the perks that an apparently unlimited budget could provide. It was a five star hotel, the food promised to be exquisite and well, the company was certainly stimulating. Reminding herself to keep her mind on the job, Sydney sipped at her wine and regarded the blonde woman sitting across from her. Amanda had a certain agelessness to her, there was something eternal about the energy the woman projected. Sydney was well schooled and trained in the Martial Arts and was quite sensitive to such things, though also for reasons other than the various fighting arts she had studied in her lifetime. She only hoped that before their time ran out, that she would be able to unravel the mystery that this woman was just a little bit...
As the evening progressed and the wine flowed, Amanda seemed to relax more and become more animated. Sydney learned that she was sitting with someone whose knowledge of history rivaled her own and who truly seemed to have a grip on her life. It made for delightful conversation and along with the excellent food and the superb wine, Sydney had pretty much decided that she could not remember the last time she had simply had such a good time.
As the evening progressed into night, Sydney became aware of something else as well. Amanda's long legs had slowly migrated their way to her side of the table under the long tablecloth with effectively hid the conversation that was happening under the table. As dinner progressed into desert and coffee, Sydney was having a harder and harder time ignoring her body's demands as the blonde woman played an intimate game of footsies with her and finally, Sydney simply decided that she would not ignore her body anymore. When she joined in the under-the-table fun, she was rewarded with a small smile that spoke volumes, Amanda was more than aware of her attraction and more than willing to reciprocate it.
Finally rising in preparation to return to their rooms, Amanda displayed perfect chivalry in her offer to walk Sydney back to her room. Neither her voice nor any of her actions betraying anything except honorable intentions to Sydney. The walk was conducted in silence and soon Sydney found herself at her door and completely unwilling to part company with this enchanting woman called Amanda. With that in mind, Sydney turned to face the blonde woman and found herself pinned by those infinite dark eyes, that seemed so very ancient indeed, in spite of Amanda's apparent youth. Without asking for permission, Amanda stepped forward and took Sydney's face into her hands, quickly bringing their mouths together for a gentle kiss. The blonde woman backed off fractionally after a few heartbeats, obviously signaling that the ball was now in Sydney's court and any next move would have to come from her.
Without hesitation Sydney slid her arms around Amanda's slender waist under the ever-present leather duster and pulled the blonde woman to herself. Their second kiss was not so brief and not so gentle, with both Amanda and Sydney responding instantly to the attraction that had been there from the very first moment they had set eyes on eachother. As Sydney felt her blood start to scream with passion, she was dimly aware of the need to get them into her room and out of the corridor. It would not do to be caught in the hallway and under Amanda's skilled mouth Sydney found herself almost unable to think, let alone move. Eventually, she disengaged their mouths and rested her forehead against Amanda's, feeling the other woman pant in tandem with her at their mutually passionate exertions.
The whispered half question from Amanda finally provoked Sydney to disengage her arms from around the blonde woman's waist and quickly she fished out her room key and within moments the women were inside. Turning to slip the 'Do-Not-Disturb' sign on the door and then securing the latches on the door, Sydney was dimly aware of Amanda moving into the main part of the room and that she had removed her leather duster once more.
Sydney turned towards Amanda, feeling the triple thrum of arousal, anticipation and excitement running through her body as she did. Wearing the same leather pants that she had work previously, but with a black silk shirt this time, Amanda cut s striking figure. The blonde woman was breathing deeply from the earlier kisses and the look on her face was commanding Sydney to stop standing at the door and hurry the hell up and come closer.
Spurred on by the demanding invitation, Sydney walked towards the blonde woman, shedding her jacket and shoulder bag as she went, not caring where she dropped them. The two women came together in the middle of the spacious hotel room and the kiss that followed was electric. Freed from any inhibitions about being seen, Sydney tore open Amanda's shirt, not prepared to wait another moment before she gained access to the beautiful body that the garment had been concealing from her. Her actions revealed Amanda's perfectly sculpted form, the clean lines and curves were enhanced by clearly delineated muscles.
Though Sydney admired Amanda's obvious athleticism she was much more interested in the blonde woman's black lace encase breasts. As she brought her hand up to cup the heavy globes, Sydney felt something give inside of her as the caged beast inside of her broke free. Without further thought, Sydney forced Amanda to walk backwards, though it did not take any effort as the other woman was more than willing to go wherever Sydney was leading her...
As the dawn light begun to steal its way into the hotel rooms, sneaking around hastily closed velvet curtains and across polished hardwood floors, Sydney Fox awoke rather abruptly. The reason for her rude awakening was Amanda leaping from the bed in one fluid motion. Blinking on confusion and herself, leaping from the bed, Sydney struggled to force her mind to function. In a half dozen quick strides, Amanda had made her way to her leather duster and reached into it.
In a smooth, obviously practiced motion, Sydney saw the blonde woman draw out a long shiny object. A moment later, she realised that it was a sword, her Historian mind automatically cataloging it as a swept hilt broad sword, essentially a rapier on steroids. Amanda seemed to be looking around with intense concentration, oblivious to her nudity, her movements showing Sydney a level of mastery she had never witnessed. It was clear that Amanda was a an expert with her blade of choice.
A moment later, the hotel room door was forced upon, the sounds of wood and metal stressing and breaking filled the quiet hotel room.
A moment later a tall man walked in, Sydney just had the time to see that the man had a long silvery blade in his hand and a murderous look on his face before her world came grinding to a halt. A heartbeat passed and Sydney saw the barrel of a black gun pointing at her, then she saw nothing, just felt a brief flash of excruciating pain before darkness took her into its cold embrace...
Amanda cursed, she had failed... Sydney Fox was dead and the only thing between certain death and Sydney Fox, was Amanda herself. She had underestimated the determination of the Immortal who had been hunting Sydney and those like her. A man who made it his business, to kill perspective Immortals and then take their heads as soon as they came back to life. It was a cowards way and as soon as Amanda had found out about the man's next target, she had decided that she would try to stop him. Now, Sydney Fox was dead and she was facing another Immortal wearing nothing except for her birthday suit and Sydney's scent.
"I have no quarrel with you, though I will take your head if you do not stand aside woman..."
The man's voice was harsh and his eyes glittered with a cold light as he spoke.
"I have a quarrel with you though and as for my head, you are welcome to try. I am Amanda and I challenge you..."
As she spoke Amanda slipped on her duster and buttoned it up one handed, her sword glittering in the dawn light. She was not overconfident in her abilities, but she was sure of them and she would be damned if this man was going to take Sydney's head. When she saw the slight hesitation in the man's movements she suppressed a triumphant grin. The gesture told her a number of thing, the primary ones being that he was young probably not yet past his natural age and two, he was not used to fighting Immortals who could actually defend themselves and who knew what was going on.
Amanda did not wait for the man to answer, rather she assumed a guard position and waited... It would be better to do this outside, but she could not leave Sydney's body unguarded lest someone discover it or otherwise molest it. It took many hours to come alive after the first death, unlike the ones that followed, so it would be many hours until Sydney would even marginally be able to stand for herself.
Amanda's thoughts stopped when the man launched his attack, a blinding flurry of blows raining down on Amanda, but not causing her to pause even for a moment. Amanda was a thousand years old, infinitely more experienced and able than this young upstart who obviously harbored an evil heart. Moving quickly, though not displaying her full ability, Amanda parried his blows and brought her blade across his abdomen, a move which she knew would cause him debilitating pain. The man folded slightly and backed away from her, but Amanda gave no quarter. The rumor was that this man was responsible for at least 30 deaths and beheadings of new Immortals, something which even the most hardened and self serving of the Immortals did not have the stomach for. A bad seed, is what he was...
Driving her advantage, Amanda again broke the mans guard but this time, her blade found its mark and almost as soon as it had begun, the fight was over. As head, body and sword went in three separate directions, Amanda fell to her knees and waited for the Quickening to come. The reward for taking a head and one that in this case, she wished she could avoid, but it was unavoidable and even as her thoughts scattered she felt the first tendrils of energy take hold of her.
Mercifully, due to the Immortal's young age and his appetite for new Immortals, the Quickening was not overly powerful nor did it take along time. When it was over, Amanda looked around the hotel room. Not too much damage, just some disorder and breakage. However, it was time to get busy... Rising to her feet, Amanda quickly got into her clothes and secured Sydney's belongings into her bags. Moving to the hotels bathroom, she snagged a plush bathrobe and moved towards the bed, where Sydney was still in the throes of death.
The sight wenched at Amanda's ancient heart, even though she had sen death and experienced it firsthand countless times. Quickly dressing Sydney in the robe, Amanda made short work of moving Sydney and all of her belongings to her room, on a separate floor of the hotel. Energized by the new Quickening, Amanda was able to complete her task and secure the hotel room in short order. She left the Immortal and his sword where they lay, knowing that the body would confuse and throw off any investigation, something which she desperately needed until she had managed to get Sydney and herself out of the area.
Back in her own hotel room, Amanda ordered room service and then brought out her satellite phone. It was time to arrange a few things, essential things... Sydney Fox had wormed her way into Amanda's heart over the past two days and Amanda also realised that she was now faced with having to be the new Immortal's mentor as well.
Amanda had researched Sydney Fox extensively, her natural curiosity and the woman's obvious charm and beauty having made the task come naturally to the blonde Immortal. Soon she felt as if she had made the necessary arrangements and was satisfied. Sydney was still, well dead, but Amanda knew to be patient, she just needed to make sure that she was there when the brunette woman did rise from the dead. It was a terrible experience to do through alone, this Amanda knew from firsthand experience... She had been killed a Millennia ago on a long forgotten battlefield while fighting the Romans, but that was not something she wanted to travel down memory lane about just now...
She had managed to shower and dress by the time room service arrived and was busily drinking some much deserved coffee when another knock on her door interrupted her thoughts. Amanda knew that it would be unlikely that anyone had connected the hotel room that Sydney had used with her, as they had been booked under different names and credit cards, but it was also possible that the hotel staff were doing the rounds of the guests as a precaution. Amanda would, in time, provide Sydney a solid alibi for the events that happened in her hotel room, but first, Sydney would need to rise. So, it was with some trepidation that she went to the door and opened it, infinitely relieved when it was merely a delivery man, who handed over a well wrapped long package to her and asked her for ID and signature before he left with a 5 Euro tip in his pocket.
Moving back to her breakfast, Amanda smiled slightly, impressed with the swift delivery of the item she had ordered only a few hours ago. Obviously, either one had been in the city, or not too far from it, as even by a quick flight, she had not expected delivery until later in the day at the earliest. Unwrapping the package, Amanda quickly uncovered a oilcloth wrapped sword, which she carefully unwrapped and examined. It was a Chinese style sword, one reminiscent of the type that was seen being used by Tai Chi practitioners all over the world.
The difference between those swords and this was, was that this was 100% real, designed for combat, made by one of the finest living blade-smiths. It also cost a whopping 10 000 dollars, but Amanda had been determined that she would give Sydney her first sword. The woman would need it immediately and Amanda knew that the woman was already quite expert with the use of this particular type of blade. Sydney would have to develop an entirely new type of regime when it came to training, as only the fittest, fastest, strongest and smartest Immortals survived.
Amanda finished her examination of the blade, finding it to be razor sharp and perfectly made and then she rewrapped it and its scabbard in the oilcloth and set it aside for later. Reminded that her own sword had seen use not so long ago, Amanda fetched her blade and carefully examined it and wiped its blade down. The edge was unharmed and the sword had yet again served her faithfully. It was one of several that Amanda used and owned, but it was also her favorite, combining the best qualities of a heavier broad sword yet with the ability to be used more like a rapier. Amanda decided that she would do some exercise while she waited for Sydney to come back to life, a few basic sword Kata and some stretching would not go astray. After all, it had been a few days since she had been able to take the time to work out and it's not like she could go anywhere to do anything else.
It was as she was finishing with her warm down that Amanda heard a gasp from the bed. Instantly moving to the bedside, she tried to prepare herself for what was going to happen next. It tended to be a bit textbook, but it did vary with personality of course. As she looked down at Sydney, Amanda saw the woman take another deep, gasping breath before she emitted a strangled sound and started to flail about wildly.
"Shhh, Sydney, it's ok, calm down... Shhh...."
Amanda, mindful of Sydney's martial arts prowess, was careful as she soothed the confused and struggling woman. Her efforts were finally rewarded when Sydney sagged against her crying inexplicable tears, then, predictably, the woman started to dry retch. Amanda knew that it was in response to the sensation that being in her presence caused. Unused to it, Sydney's mind and body would react violently to the feeling and Amanda sympathized, as she, even after all these years, was still sometimes put out by it.
"Wha.. what happened? What's going on? I.. I was shot, you had a sword, that man.. wha...?
Sydney's frantic voice was reaching high octaves as she struggled away from Amanda's arms and held her stomach.
"Sydney, look at me..."
Amanda had the wisdom and experience of a thousand years behind her, her voice was soothing and calming and had enough steel in it, that Sydney automatically locked eyes with her.
"What I am going to tell you, will sound unbelievable, fantastical, insane, absurd and many other words that would simply be redundant to use. Before I tell you, I want you to know a few things... First, I care about you, more than I care to say, even after such a short time and second, I will help you, so you must realise that you are not alone..."
Sydney seemed to have given up her attempts to speak and simply lay back somewhat meekly in the bed, while Amanda fetched each of them a fresh cup of coffee and Amanda started to lay it all out. Her own immortality, now Sydney's, the history, the rules, the sensations that other Immortals caused in the stomach... Amanda explained that the cloak pin had been her way of luring Sydney away from the danger that was stalking her. Amanda explained about how the only for them to die, was to be beheaded and that though a great proportion of Immortals only fought when they had not other choice, each one always had to be ready to fight. Amanda explained that Sydney would not age physically, would not remain the age she was... and though mortal things could kill her, only beheading could end her life for good.
"You're telling me that you're a thousand years old...? This is crap talk, get away from me, what is going on..."
Sydney struggled to sit up, but Amanda would not allow it...
"Sydney, look at me!"
She commanded, her eyes boring into Sydney's chocolate brown eyes.
"I will prove it to you..."
With those words, Amanda reached for her boot knife and plunged it into her belly, straight into her liver. She would bleed out within minutes, but thanks to the recent Quickening, she would heal and come back to live very quickly. The pain was excruciating, but Amanda knew of no other way to prove to Sydney what they both were. She smiled grimly as she carefully lay herself on Sydney's robe so as not to stain the bed and soon, she felt darkness overtake her.
Moments, a lifetime, an eternity later Amanda sat up gasping for breath and coughing and blinking in momentary confusion as her senses came together and she looked around. Instantly recalling why she had died, she looked for Sydney, only to find the woman sitting exactly where she had been when Amanda had killed herself.
"Oh my God, it's true..."
Sydney's horrified whisper reached Amanda's ears as the brunette woman was examining her abdomen for signs of trauma.
"Yes, it is... And now you are Immortal Sydney and as much as I'd like to be able to give you years to adapt to it, in an hour someone would challenge you so you have to accept it now."
With those words, Amanda rose a little unsteadily and walked towards the table where the new sword lay. She used the oilcloth to wipe her boot knife before sliding it away and then unwrapped the sword, sliding it into its scabbard. Walking back to the still shell-shocked woman, she held out the sword and motioned for the woman to take it.
"My first mentor, gave me my first sword. You will undoubtedly possess many, but for now, you must learn to keep this always with you..."
Amanda was a little shocked to discover that she could still feel shy, after all of these years but she could feel the hint of a blush creeping up her neck. She removed her ruined shirt and walked to her bag to pull out another one, this once a tight ribbed cotton one with a lacing at the neck.
"I've never seen one as fine as this..."
She turned at Sydney's words and found the other woman standing, naked, holding the sword out before her and admiring its blade.
"Only the best Sydney, if you want to live..."
Chocolate eyes turned to her and Sydney seemed to regard her for long moments before she spoke softly.
"Come and make love to me Amanda, you are the only thing that I knew is real right now, at this moment and I need you, right now..."
Instantly, Amanda removed the shirt she had just put on and bent to unlace her boots, kicking off her leather pants as she approached the bed.
Tomorrow, they could worry about what to do next, what would happen next... Later, Sydney could start preparing her life with the goal of eternity in mind, later... At the very least, Amanda had eight more days guaranteed with Sydney, unless the woman returned the salary she had been paid for some inexplicable reason... Amanda did not think that Sydney would take much persuading to stay, or even to take a short sabbatical if need be. Professor Sydney Fox was not a foolish or irrational woman...
Now, all that mattered, all that was needed, was two women, one ancient, one not so ancient, but still, soul mates. Two women to make love, make it real, make it good...
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