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"The Secret War" - chapter 10

Thursday March 7 1996

Mac's okay. The first news I got was a quick and cheerful wake-up call from Adam Pierson. MacLeod was back to normal, the most amazing thing; it was all in his official report. Adam was off to Greece to meet up with Alexa. The official report was pretty damn thin, not that I expected anything different.

MacLeod had taken Sean Burns' head. They were old friends, and that wasn't going to be easy for Mac to live with. I called Mac at the barge later, from a pay phone. Rachel MacLeod was staying with him for a few days, which was good to hear. When Mac asked hesitantly if I would need a ride from the airport, I told him that I had some things I needed to do here in Seacouver. Wouldn't be able to get away for a few months. His quiet, "Alright, Joe," almost broke my heart.

MacLeod thinks I'm afraid of him. And it's a terrible thing to leave him thinking that. But Ung is one nasty piece of work. He tried to use Mac against me. He misplayed his hand this time, but I can't count on him making that mistake again. MacLeod is safer with an ocean between us. At least this way he won't ask any awkward questions.

Sunday March 10 1996

I assigned Greg Trudeau to Watch MacLeod for me in Paris. Greg was a good man; smart, loyal, able to blend into a crowd. But he had no memory at all for faces. In our business, that's a serious handicap.

Greg was grateful to be given a shot at fieldwork. He swore I wouldn't regret it, and told me he'd spend all his free time studying the files of Mac's known Immortal friends and enemies so that he could recognize any that showed up. 'Course, I'd picked him because of his problem, not in spite of it. Any other field agent in France might recognize Adam Pierson, should Methos show up on Mac's doorstep again. Not Greg.

Saturday March 23 1996

The report Greg filed today was even more confusing than usual. He thought Amanda had stolen another Immortal's crystal necklace. There was a hostage situation and some kind of gun battle in broad daylight on the Nezy crossing, but I couldn't make heads or tails of the rest of it.

The other players in whatever went down over the past few days were vague descriptions: "unknown dark-haired male, possibly Immortal", "unknown balding male, possibly Immortal", and "unknown large-nosed male, possibly Immortal." Since Mac was friendly with the last guy, I guessed it might be Methos. Pretty damn frustrating, trying to piece together the real story from half a world away.

No Quickening was observed.

Immortals didn't usually travels in packs, but it was the fact there was no Quickening on the Nezy-sur-Seine Bridge that tipped me off Hunters might have been involved. Screw this – I had to know what was going on. I called the barge from a pay phone.

I chewed out Mac for not calling to let me know what happened. I chewed out Methos for not coming to me in the first place. Why steal the Methuselah Stone when I could just have requisitioned the damned thing? He said he wasn't sure if I would agree to it. I told him that, for a smart guy, he was an idiot. Amanda I thanked politely for keeping the both of them alive. "A girl does her best, Joe" she replied, sounding quite pleased with herself.

More Watchers gone bad. Sounds like the start of a dirty joke, but I'm not laughing. Amanda's Watcher and Stern, head of Western Europe, were both involved. Methos couldn't tell me if Stern was acting under Ung's orders, against them, or completely independently. Either way, it was one hell of a close call. I should have been there. But they're big boys and girls, and the last thing Mac, Amanda, and Methos need is me drawing Ung's attention to them.

Tuesday March 26, 1996

We Ring the Bell …
For Watchers Daniel Geiger, Arthur Vizcarrondo, and Nathan Stern. Mr. Stern was the head of the Western European Division. The three men died in and around the Nezy-sur-Seine Bridge. Any Watcher with information regarding this tragedy is urged to contact Cameron Whittaker of the Security Department.

Adam and I are the only Watchers who know what really happened. And telling the truth could earn either one of us a death sentence. Me, for being friends with Immortals. Him, for being one. Greg's account is the only official record of what happened. Maybe someday, someone will connect the dots and realize that Greg's report explains why three Watchers ended up dead on that bridge. Maybe that someone will have enough guts to go ask MacLeod or Amanda what happened. And maybe I'll win the lottery.

One more secret. Throw it on the pile. Sometimes I wonder how I sleep at night. When I sleep at night.

March 27, 1996

I lost over two grand in tonight's poker game. I'll need to take more shifts at the bar myself to cover payroll, but it was worth it.

Last Wednesday of the month I throw a poker game for any Watchers in the area who're interested. I started the tradition when I became supervisor for the Pacific Northwest, and kept it up after they demoted me. It was a good way to get to know your people. And that's what tonight was all about.

I told everyone I was feeling flush, and wanted to try out a new system. I called, I raised, I never backed down. I paid through the nose to see every single hand. Because I had to know who was bluffing. I wasn't sure who to trust, and those tells could be the difference between life and death.

My intern Emily started folding every hand, which was a damned interesting response. The Collettes won $300 from me and headed home to look after their baby. The rest of us kept playing. Six hours later, I'd got what I came for. Mike had one hell of a poker face, but he held real still when he was bluffing. Probably had trained himself out of some movement tell.

I've got a great memory. Looking back for those moments of stillness, I found that Mike had been lying to me all along.

Worm in the apple, serpent in paradise, and the assistant manager in my own goddamned bar. Mike was a Hunter.

Read chapter 11.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 14th, 2007 03:18 am (UTC)
Oh, no, Mike!

And what about Emily? Hmm.

And I like Greg. More Greg! Having a terrible memory for faces myself, I have empathy for him.
Jan. 14th, 2007 05:15 am (UTC)
Note to self:

Elistaire has a soft spot for the Watcher OCs.

Poor Joe feels like he can't trust anyone. And ... he shouldn't.

Mike's betrayal is canon, btw. He's a sort of Watcher Internal Affairs, and reports directly to the Tribunal.
Jan. 16th, 2007 01:44 am (UTC)
Elistaire has a soft spot for the Watcher OCs.

Absolutely. And you've written a whole bunch of them and made me very happy. I have a deep dislike of the Watcher Organization and I like to see the way they tick.
Jan. 17th, 2007 04:30 pm (UTC)
Sometimes I wonder how I sleep at night. When I sleep at night.

Ah, very Joe!
Jan. 18th, 2007 02:06 am (UTC)
Yeah, poor Joe. He's good at keeping secrets. But it's not good for him.
Jan. 18th, 2007 10:15 am (UTC)
Is it for anyone?
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )