Disclaimer: The character of Richie Ryan does not belong to me. He is the property of Panzer/Davis, Rysher Entertainment and Gaumont Television. Likewise, the character of Ami Jackson and Mrs. Jackson are not mine. They are the property of Roger Damon Price, Thames/Tetra Television, and ITV television. I use them all here without permission and solely for entertainment.
This story may be downloaded for personal uses, but is not be copied or archived anywhere without the expression permission of the author.
This was the part that Richie Ryan hated the most about international travel. No matter how many times he went through this, his stomach always clenched as he moved through customs. He had a paranoid fear that one day the customs official would look down at his identification and call Richie for the fake that he was. His sword would be taken away and confiscated while Richie rotted in some jail, hoping that another of his kind didn't show up before Mac and Joe managed to get through all the red tape.
Richie felt his stomach clench as the red-faced customs official scrutinized his passport. Sorry, the passport of "Corey Lyle." Several times the man's beady eyes darted from Richie's eternally youthful features to the slightly muddied picture in the passport. With each dart of the eyes, Richie felt the vice grip on his stomach tighten.
Finally, the man nodded, and shoving Richie's passport back into his hands, turned his attention to his next victim.
Richie slowly released the breath he hadn't realized that he was holding. And to think, he would have to go through this again simply to board the plane for the States. For not the first time, he wondered why he had agreed to be a courier for Mac. Richie didn't even know the antiques dealer here in London; and Mac certainly had years more experience at charming his way past customs.
Sword case under his arm, Richie felt waves of security wash over him. That was the other thing he hated about air travel. The long moments of separation from his sword. Mac had told him years ago to make it a part of him, and Richie had done precisely that. And Richie hated the long separation from that part of himself.
He turned swinging the sword case with him, and collided into something.
Someone with a set of very dark and mesmerizing eyes.
"Sorry," Richie managed to say. "I should have been more careful."
"It's alright. I wasn't paying any attention either." Her accent answered the question of whether or not she was native to the area. She smiled, and the smile made her eyes twinkle while lighting up her entire face. It was the sort of smile that had made his heart melt on more than one occasion.
What are you thinking, Richie? He scolded himself, giving the girl, young woman, a second glance. She's a kid; she can't be much older than eighteen, nineteen by a long shot.
And how old do you think she thinks you are? A little voice in the back of his mind reminded him.
Frozen forever at nineteen, it was no wonder this girl-- woman-- whatever was staring at him with undisguised interest. She would have no way of knowing that he was nearly twenty-five; or that he would always look to be no more than a man in his late teens or early twenties.
Yet, Richie had never been one to turn his back on a pretty face. "Maybe the airport should sell collision insurance." It was a horrible joke, and he knew it; but it was worth it to see her smile widen, and hear her soft giggle.
"Maybe they should." She nodded toward his sword case. "I hope that I didn't break anything."
Richie would spend a few days wondering how he managed to forget dropping the sword case. He knelt quickly to recover it, not missing the dirty looks thrown in his direction by people who had to step over or around it. He glanced up at her, as he lifted it. "Nothing breakable. Besides, it's my fault. Sometimes I don't pay attention."
He didn't miss the curious glance that she gave the case. But unlike what he would have expected most people to do, she didn't ask. "Me neither."
"Ami, are you coming home with me, or do you plan to spend the evening in the airport?" The woman standing a few feet away folded her arms across her chest and leveled a low, dangerous glare in their direction.
Richie wondered why mothers always seemed to give him that particular look.
The girl--Ami--rolled her eyes and shrugged. "My Mum. I'd better go." She paused for a moment, then turned and headed toward her mother.
Richie watched her walk with her mother, their animated conversation not quite reaching his ears. For one brief moment, he considered following her, talking to her--
But no. No matter how old (or young) he looked, he wasn't nineteen anymore. And she still teetered on the edge between childhood and womanhood. It was a precarious time, and even Richie knew better than to play with that much fire.
With a sigh, and the burden of his Immortality pressing down on him, Richie Ryan turned and walked in the other direction.
~ End ~
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