Well, this isn't exactly holiday fare, but it came to
me during exams and when Farfie tells you to write,
you write, 'cause he's scary. Though he isn't the
REALLY scary person in this one. This is just an idea
about why Jei acted the way he did when he found out
the truth about his family, influenced by an event
years before.


***
Little Angel, Black as Sin
By Carole
***

Rating : PG
Warnings : xover, creepiness
Pairings : none
Summary : Jei meets a bad man and gets rescued by a
very unlikely guardian angel. Weiss/Highlander Xover.

***

It was dark. This was not the absolute black of
midnight, but the gray of shadows and oncoming storms.
In the sky was the promise of rain, shown by the
shifting clouds above.

On this bleak day, Jei shivered with cold and fear,
wrapping his arms around himself with his hands tucked
under his armpits and biting his lower lip, which had
already become raw. Mama, Sister Ruth and God would be
so disappointed in him. He'd been warned against going
off by himself so many times. They said it was
dangerous.

But he really hadn't meant to, he'd just lost sight of
mama and, no matter how hard he'd looked, he couldn't
find her anywhere. There had been too many people in
the crowded streets, all so much bigger than he,
blocking his way. Jei had tried his best to be good,
to find her, but now he was lost, alone in the cold,
damp air which bit into his extremities like a
thousand miniature dogs.

Eyes scanned from left to right, but now there was no
one save a few shadowy figures, indistinct in their
activities. Some sixth sense told him that they were
to be avoided at all costs. He'd lost track of how far
he'd walked and where he had been long before. Now,
the buildings had changed from shops to run down
edifices of brick and stone, with broken windows and
blocked up doors, danger and warning signs clear even
to him. Even so, he saw movement inside those
buildings.

Jei didn't like it here, not at all. *Jesus, please
let me find mama,* he prayed, because hadn't Sister
Ruth told him that God watched over little children
like him especially? That they had guardian angels.
Sometimes, before, Jei had tried to see his, but he'd
never managed. But he knew that they didn't show
themselves unless you needed them, not on the whims of
a child.

"You lost, little boy?" The voice was scratchy and the
tone made the hairs on the back of his neck rise.
"Need any help finding your way home?"

Jei turned. If the patches had not faded with time to
a dull brown, the man would have looked like a clown.
As it was, he was a sinister figure, one eye turned on
Jei while the other refused stubbornly to focus on
anything. That one good eye though, seemed to pick him
apart all too clearly.

That was not why he suddenly knew more fear than he
had felt even before. It was the slight smile, the one
that looked like his sister's cat as it eyed birds
outside the window, that made him freeze.

This was a Bad Man.

"No, sir. I don't need any help, sir." Fervent prayers
were directed upwards, passing through the clouds into
the heavens above.

The man came forward anyway and Jei instinctively
moved backwards.

"Don't worry, you don't have anything to be scared of
from old Mike." The smile continued, though it
lessened a little as Jei continued to back away.

He ran then, feet hitting stone as he pushed himself
blindly past the man, leaving him behind. Not knowing
where to go, he turned directions on instinct. It was
when he moved into a narrow way between two buildings,
eyes blurry and watering, that he realized he'd made a
mistake. There was no way out of the alley. The fence
of boards and wire was too high for him to climb. It
blocked his escape like an ancient dragon, invincible
in its towering bulk.

"Why are you running? Old Mike isn't going to hurt
you."

There was nowhere for him to go. *Hide,* an inner
voice whispered. Glancing behind him, he made out the
movement as a shape turned the corner.

*Help me. I promise I'll never wander off again. I'll
be a good boy.*

Like the miracle it was to Jei, he noticed the door
that panic had blocked from his sight mere moments
before. Rushing up, he leaned against it, his small
frame straining, feet slipping on muck and garbage as
he pushed at it in vain. He was simply too small and
weak. Jei's head hung in defeat. Below him, the door
cracked into a jagged mouth of wooden teeth just above
the ground, the victim of years of abuse and neglect.
If it had been a year ago, he would never have doubted
his ability to slip inside. Now, however, it was not
nearly so certain.

But there was nothing else to try.

Jei dropped to his knees and onto his belly, his hands
reaching inside the opening, catching on nails and
wood that jammed itself into his hands. Grime covered
him and, as he tried to wriggle through the hole,
scratches and scrapes appeared, clothing ruined, as
pieces of glass and wooded embedded themselves in
flesh. He pushed himself through anyway.

*Move, move faster.*

The little light from the opening suddenly shadowed
and *something* reached out and grabbed his foot,
pulling him backwards. His face fell to the ground as
he was dragged, but he kicked with all his might and
pulled and pushed and wriggled. The hand loosened for
an instant, and that was all he needed. He pulled
himself swiftly forward, not caring as his pant
leggings became caught on an exposed nail, tearing
both them and, as he jerked forward, himself in a
sharp moment of pain.

He restrained a quiet whimper and scrambled to his
feet. The door shuddered as something fell against it,
repeatedly. Keeping his eye on his approaching
nightmare, he moved backwards.

Step, breath.

Step, breath.

Step, breath.

When suddenly, something warm pressed against his back
he almost screamed. A hand came over his mouth,
stopping him.

"Shhh..." a voice hissed at him, and the hand was
removed. "Quiet, little one." The man behind him stood
again and walked in front of Jei, standing between him
and the door.

Which flew open, leaving his savior silhouetted
against it.

"Why did you run, boy? Mike wasn't going to do
anything bad."

"Oh, I doubt that's what he thought." The words were
in familiar English, but they sounded odd, as if the
mouth they came from shaped them differently than any
tongue he knew, going from mere words into a deep bass
melody. Mike wasn't looking at Jei; he was looking at
the man. For that, the boy was grateful.

The same sense that had warned him before came back in
greater force. Like static, the feeling of power rose
and swirled about the darkness, a living thing that
caressed him coldly. The man chuckled.

"And, I think the boy was right."

Mike took a step back. At first Jei thought it was
from the force the man exuded, but the other's eyes
had moved away from him, beyond Jei into something
behind, widening as they did so.

"I didn't see anything. No sir, not me. Not a thing."

"Of course, people like you never do."

And Mike backed out the door and ran as Jei stood like
a statue, frozen as he watched.

The being turned towards him and Jei's sense of
'otherness' was reinforced. The man was a sharp
contrast of colors, skin so pale it looked like it had
never seen the light of day, with hair that was
somehow deeper in shade than the darkness surrounding
it. But not as dark as the eyes, which were pits he
found himself falling into.

Until they lit from within with some unknown power as
the man crouched down to his eye level.

"Well, you seemed to have found just the wrong place
to be at the wrong time. What's your name, boy?"

Jei didn't want to tell him, but it slipped out
anyway. He knew he couldn't lie or stay silent. "Jei,
sir."

An almost paternal smile graced the other's lips,
almost. There was, however, a predatory edge to it
that Mike could never match, even as subtle as it was.

"Are you lost, Jei?"

Jei said nothing.

"I think you are. Would you like to go home?"

Jei looked down at the ground for a minute before
nodding, staring at the black boots that were
splattered with something that seemed to be mud until
you looked at them more closely.

"Well, your family must be worried about you. You know
it's bad for children to run off on their own. Who
knows what they might run into?"

Eyes glittered again as Jei watched and opened his
mouth without intending to. "Are you an angel? Like
Sister Ruth told me about?"

The laughter the followed his question seemed to say
that his idea was the most ridiculous idea that had
ever been, but Jei knew that it wasn't true. This man
wasn't normal at all.

"Why do you ask? Because I saved you?"

"No." Jei shook his head. "Because you feel… old, sir,
and strong."

At this, the man's face took on a more curious cast
and the laughter ceased. "So you can tell that, can
you? You're a very strange little boy. All right then,
I'll ask you a question. Would an angel do that?"

One hand brushed his cheek, turning his face into the
darkness and away from the door that he had been
facing all along.

At first it was just an anonymous shape, a pile of
something indecipherable, but it did not remain so. He
stiffened as that shape took on familiar limbs, the
body splayed out as if displayed just for his eyes,
and Jei swallowed with a dry throat awkwardly.

"Don't you like what you see?"

The man raised one hand and silver glittered from a
knife Jei hadn't realized he was holding until now. It
moved to just in front of his face, closer and closer,
until it stopped, brushing his eyelashes gently. Jei
didn't move.

"If thy eye offends thee, pluck it out. Isn't that
what your God says to do?"

Flash. The point moved, brushing against his eyebrow
with a gentle caress.

"Would you like me to make you stop seeing, little
Jei?"

There was silence, as his mind worked over everything,
following the sharp death so close to him.

"Why?" he asked finally.

"Because I wanted to."

Jei blinked.

"Oh, isn't that reason enough? Mortals are vermin, and
this one was annoying me." It was not surprising at
all that the being separated itself from humanity.

The knife-edge trailed down his cheek, pressing just
hard enough to cut. He turned back to the man, who
raised the blade to his lips, licking the tip clean.

Jei shivered.

"You shouldn't let this bother you. You eat the blood
and flesh of your own God. Like to try?"

He wanted to run, but he couldn't. There would be no
escape. This was indeed far from an angel. This was a
demon. The monster, for this was no man, slashed open
his own hand without flinching and Jei watched in
horror as the wound knitted itself closed before his
eyes, nothing remaining but a dark smear of red. Then
he looked up, at the head cocked slightly to the left
in contemplation.

"Pain is just flesh. It is the anguish of the mind,
the soul, that matters. Of course, once the flesh
breaks, the mind follows and that is the sweetest of
all."

One skilled hand flipped the knife upwards in front of
his eyes, holding it steady before him. Jei swallowed
once again, before opening his mouth, leaning forward.

The blade was cold, the metal smooth as he moved
upwards and the taste of salt and copper filled his
mouth. But he was not careful enough and knew some of
it was his own as the edge caught his tongue. He
forced himself to swallow the foul substance under
that grinning gaze.

With that, the creature stood, towering over him. One
hand reached out and firmly grasped his own in a
tight, almost painful, grip.

"Come."

And with that simple word he was practically dragged
outside, as the glittering blade vanished from sight,
hidden somewhere within the clothes that were not
nearly so heavy as the aura surrounding them. Fear
distorted time, it was both forever and an instant as
the alley passed them by, as the streets became once
more familiar and populated, until they were simply a
father and his young son out for a walk as far as
anyone could guess. But Jei knew he was no safer. No
matter where he was, he wouldn't be safe.

Then he heard his mother's voice, yelling his name
frantically. He resisted the urge to pull away, to run
to her, so that the demon would ignore her as well.

"Do you want to know why I'm not going to kill you
yet, Jei? Because I think you'll understand someday,
once you see past all the lies around you. Remember
that when the time comes. So, run on home, back to
your little God. Someday you'll find out there are
older powers."

Dark eyes stared into his. "I'm sure you'll meet me or
one of my brothers when you do."

The grip released his own and he ran towards that
familiar voice, moved with all his might towards his
mother and safety.

"Mama! Mama!"

"Jei! I was so worried about you. Where did you run
off to?"

"I'm sorry, mama. I got lost. I'm sorry, I'm sorry,
I'm sorry..." the litany continued off small lips as
warm, loving arms wrapped around him, his mother
gripping him close.

"Shhh... It's okay now, mama's here." Jei looked over
her shoulder. One black eye winked shut at him and
teeth appeared in the grin that followed, until the
rain promised so much earlier poured down coldly. It
plastered his hair on his forehead, washing away tears
that now blurred his eyes. He blinked them clear, but
when he dared to look again, the dark figure was gone.

//Someday you'll understand... we'll meet again//

No, he would never understand. Didn't want to
understand such things. Demons should be left alone,
that was what everyone said.

And so her repeated one of the things that Sister Ruth
had taught him over and over again.

*The Devil lies, the Devil lies...*

He would be safe. God would protect him. No matter
what had been said, he knew that was why he was still
alive. He hugged his mother closer. No one had to know
about this, he knew they would worry if he told them.

***

Caspian pushed his hair back from his eyes as he
looked up into the falling rain, smiling as he walked.
The immortal moved through even the worst
neighborhoods with the confidence of a superior
predator back to his kill. The Watcher had finally
decided that Caspian was not worthy of the Prize and
that he should take him out of the running early.
Fool. Unlike so many younglings, he knew about his
stalker, who had been the stalked without realizing
it. But that was not what made him smile. The nuisance
had been put to an end too quickly, without the
artistry he would normally have allowed himself. This
way, the Watchers would take care of their own. Their
own corpses, that is.

No, what made him smile was little Jei's parting gaze,
as the boy searched in vain for the monster who would
now be sure to haunt his nightmares, red hair
flattened and wild, clothes torn, cheek bleeding.

At first, he didn't know what had made him spare the
boy, why he hadn't killed him immediately. Perhaps it
was his utter helplessness, his innocence. Or perhaps
it was the hint of gold that had flashed in those too
intelligent eyes that reminded him of his brother,
though his brother had never been innocent, not as
long as Caspian had known him. No, Death was as much
the monster as Caspian himself, the only innocence
about him contrived to trick his victims into his
waiting embrace. More likely, though, was the way a
boy had seen what he truly was: an immortal, a god of
an older time, Famine himself. And he had been amused,
as only one above the cattle that crawled this earth
could be.

There was no doubt that this boy, for all his faith
now, would be like them either, mortal though he was.
Caspian had never possessed Methos' uncanny
intelligence, or Kronos' mad brilliance, but he had
something else, something that made all of his
brothers listen even as they scoffed at his ideas.
Caspian had instincts, refined my millennia into
something almost supernatural. They were why he
escaped detection again and again, why he was always
successful in what he did, why he had lived as long as
he had when those more skilled died young.

They were always right. Always.

And he felt it in that boy's eyes. The future hung
about him like a cloak.

Someday, he would return to Ireland to see how right
he was. Now, however, he had to prepare for his trip.
It was time to become Evan Caspari, for Romania was
waiting.

Yes, he would have to meet little Jei again. For that
future was black, as black as sin, and he had not had
an interesting hunt in much too long.

END

Notes :
For those of you not familiar with Highlander, or
those of you who are that are still confused as to
Caspian is, I will add a little explanation. Caspian
is an immortal, at least 3000 years old, who was in
one episode of the series entitled "Revelations 6:8"
as one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. He was
rescued by his 'brothers' Methos, Kronos and Silas
from a Romanian insane asylum where he had been
confined in solitary after driving several of his
doctors insane, as well as injuring fellow detainees.
The doctor states that they aren't sure how many
people he's killed, but they found parts of them in
the freezer, in the basement... you get the idea. I am
of the feeling, though, that he is actually quite
intelligent, or at least canny, since he must not have
been caught before in modern times. So, he was
probably planning to ditch his identity just before he
was captured, which was why he hadn't yet disposed of
the evidence.

I had to let someone that twisted meet Farf. I
considered having it happen later, but the timelines
didn't mesh, plus I don't think Caspian and Farfie
would get along so well. So, Caspian got to meet Jei
instead and mess with the boy's head.

Just so you know, one of the arguments my best friend
used to convince me to try to get into Weiss was "You
like Caspian, so you'll like Farfarello." She was
right, too. ~grin~

Too bad Caspian is dead. He had a run in with White
Knight MacLeod and became a foot shorter. So, it'll
have to be Methos who meets Schwarz if I do decide to
keep going with this idea. Who knows? Maybe I'll be
inspired again at some later date. Suggestions are
welcome.