AN: I know you guys missed me. Here is the final chapter for the story. Please ENJOY!
Tessa handed Richie a cup of warm tea. He took it gratefully. His throat was raw between the screaming last night and the tears of this morning. The hot liquid was soothing as it went down his throat.
"Better?" Tessa asked.
Richie nodded. "Thanks." He kept his gaze downcast, not daring to look Mac or Tessa in the eyes. He felt so stupid breaking down like that. They probably thought he was such a baby.
"You doing okay tough guy?" Mac asked gently.
Richie shrugged. He did not want to talk about this anymore. He just wanted to curl up in his bed and hide.
"You shouldn't be ashamed of breaking down," Mac said, knowing that was why the teen was so quiet. "You've held a lot in for a long time. It had to come out."
Richie remained silent and Duncan sighed. He needed to go see Daunte again. While the teen had been crying Duncan had coaxed Vin's last name out of him. It wasn't hard for Richie to remember. After all it had been a very traumatic experience for the kid.
"Hey tough guy why don't you go upstairs and take a shower," Mac said. "It'll make you feel a lot better."
Richie nodded. He scooted the chair back and stood up. He didn't say one word as he ascended the stairs to the bathroom.
"That horrible man," Tessa said when they heard the shower start to run. "He should be locked up, or worse he should have done to him what he did to that sweet boy." Fury seeped into each one of her words.
Duncan agreed, but first things first. He stood up and grabbed his jacket.
"Where are you going?" Tessa asked.
"To see Daunte," Mac said putting his jacket on. "If Vin's alive Daunte can find him. Of that I'm sure."
"Go," Tessa said as she practically pushed him out the door. "If this man is alive much of Richie's guilt and pain will be lifted from his shoulders."
Mac gave Tessa a quick peck on the cheek and was immediately out the door. Tessa only hoped that Duncan found this man alive and well even though he deserved to be dead and rotting in hell.
"I'll do what I can Highlander," Daunte said as Duncan got up to leave.
"I appreciate that Daunte," Mac said.
He nodded. "The kids had it rough. Any comfort I can help to bring him I will be glad to do so."
Duncan nodded and walked out. Now he had a little bit of business to take care of. A man named Jesse Adams. Duncan had Daunte get a hold of Jesse's address. After all the parole board needed to know where he was staying, so that was easy enough.
Mac was going to make sure Jesse never came near Richie again.
Jesse was sound asleep until he felt someone flick his nose. His eyes shot open as he stared at the man sitting on the edge of his bed. Jesse knew the man. It was that MacLeod guy that slick was living with.
Jesse reached his hand under his pillow until he felt the cool metal of the gun under his pillow. This Mac guy was going to be sorry he ever messed with Jesse.
Before Jesse's hand could grasp the gun the tip of Mac's sword was at his throat.
"I wouldn't do that if I were you," He said with a wry smile on his face. "Pull your hand out slowly and if there's any sign of that gun your going for you'll never get a chance to use it."
Jesse swallowed the lump in his throat and slowly pulled his hand out. "What do you want?" He asked.
"You hurt Richie," Mac said slowly. "You threatened him with the love Tessa and I have for him. Give me one good reason why I shouldn't kill you right now?"
Jesse smiled a knowing smile. "You don't know your American boy so well do you?"
"I know enough. I know what you forced him to do."
"Sure you do," Jesse said sparing a glance at the long sword. "But do you know what he did all on his own?"
"Oh you mean killing Vin?" Mac asked. He watched as the color drained from Jesse's face. He had lost his upper hand and he knew it.
"I know all about that. It was clearly self defense." Mac leaned in close to him. "So once again I say give me one good reason why I shouldn't kill you right now?"
Jesse's eyes were wide and frantic. He searched his mind for something, anything to get him out of this.
"Nothing?" Mac asked. "All right then."
"Wait!" Jesse said as Mac began apply pressure to Jesse's neck with the tip of the sword. "I have a reason. I can give something back to the boy!"
"What on earth could you have that I would even consider letting you give Richie?" Mac asked angrily.
"I could give him the truth about Vin," Jesse stammered. "He's alive. That should have been a killing blow, but he never even made it to the hospital. The wound healed up by the time Vin came to see me!"
Mac kept his neutral gaze, but his heart was pounding. That could only mean one thing, an immortal. Out loud he said, "That's impossible."
"I know, I know it sounds impossible," Jesse said pleadingly. "But it's the truth I swear it!" His hands were nervously gripping the sheets.
Mac pretended to think about things so that Jesse could sweat a little more. After a few minutes he said, "I'll spare you're life Jesse, but know this if you ever come near Richie or anyone else I care for again I will kill you. It won't be quick either. It will be slow and very painful. Do you understand?"
Duncan reached under the pillow and pulled out the gun. He tucked it in the back of his pants and pulled the sword away from Jesse's throat. Mac got up and walked to the door.
"Oh and Jesse," He said smiling sardonically. "If I find out you lied about this, I will come back for you." He walked out.
Mac walked into the antique shop. Richie was busy cleaning, but without head phones this time. When the bell rang from the door Richie turned to see who it was.
Mac was saddened by the look of Richie. His face was pale and his eyes were dark and sunken in. In only a few days this had taken a tole on the young man.
"Can I talk to you tough guy?"
Richie nodded solemnly. This was the moment he had dreaded. Sure Mac had reassured him that he would never kick him out, but other people had done that before too. Mac had the time to mull things over and Richie knew what was coming.
Richie followed Mac into his office and sat down. He slumped down in his chair and Mac couldn't help but see a small, fragile child sitting there.
"You don't have to say it," Richie said. "I'll pack my things and be out by tonight."
Duncan tilted his head confused. "Why would you do that?"
It was Richie's turn to look confused. "Isn't that why you wanted to talk to me; to kick me out?"
Mac stood up, walked around the desk, and knelt next to Richie's chair. "Tough guy I told you that I was not going to kick you out. I meant it."
"Then what's going on?" Richie asked. If Mac wasn't going to kick him out he hadn't the slightest what there was to talk about.
"I went and saw Jesse," Mac said. "I wanted to let you know that he will never bother you again, ever."
Richie's heart skipped a beat. Was it true, was it over? No, it wasn't over. His heart sank again. "Vin is still dead because of me."
Mac shook his head. "No he's not. Jesse lied to you. Vin is immortal. You couldn't have killed him unless you took his head."
"How do you know?" Richie asked cautiously.
"Jesse told me," Mac held up a hand before Richie could cut in. "Not like you think. Jesse doesn't know about immortals, but he described what happened. He said it should have been a killing blow, but the wound was completely healed by the time Vin came to see him which was only a day or two later."
Richie looked away from him. Could it be true? Was Vin really alive?
Mac went to go answer a knock at his office door. Richie was so stuck in his thoughts he didn't even realize Daunte had walked in.
"Richie?" Mac said putting a gentle hand on his shoulder.
Richie looked up, confusion written all over his face.
"You remember Daunte right?" Mac asked.
Richie nodded slowly.
"Hey Richie," Daunte said. "I see Mac already beat me this time, but it's true. This Vin guy is an immortal, or rather was. When I looked him up in the database it was much like what you would see for Mac or me. You would see the family line and the name being passed down. Things like that. I called up a friend of mine and found out that Vin got into a nasty battle with another immortal and he didn't come out the victor."
"I didn't kill him?" Richie asked.
Daunte smiled and shook his head. "No kid, you didn't kill him."
Later that night Daunte had joined Richie, Mac, and Tessa for dinner. It was the least they could do for all of Daunte's help.
Richie had regained a little of his composure, though the truth was still sinking in. Little by little the teen that Tessa and Mac both knew and loved was emerging from the shadows.
"Mac can I talk to you for a minute?" Richie asked after they had cleared the table.
"Sure," Mac said following him upstairs to his room.
The room was still a disaster. Most of what Richie had broken was beyond fixing. Mac had told him not to worry about that they would go shopping in the morning.
"What's up tough guy?" Mac asked as he shut the door.
"Look I'm not good at this," Richie said running a hand through his blonde curls. "I wanted to say, you know thanks, for everything you did."
"Richie, Tessa and I care about you," Mac said. "You don't have to be afraid to come to us with anything. We will never condemn you for it. We will never turn you away for it, no matter what it is."
Richie nodded. "I think I'm starting to realize that."
"I won't force you to talk about your past," Mac said. "I know you're not ready to tell us everything, but when something's wrong, don't be afraid to come to us. We're always here for you."
"This is the first time I believe that," Richie said not quite meeting Duncan's eyes.
Mac knew the kid was embarrassed. "Come on tough guy," He said throwing an arm around the younger mans shoulders. "Tessa made pumpkin pie for desert."
Richie smiled and the two went back down stairs. Within a few weeks Richie was his normal self again. He still got into trouble here and there, but he was a lot more comfortable in his own shoes.
Duncan was glad to see the return of Richie Ryan. Jesse had skipped town not long after Mac had threatened him. Good riddance was Mac's attitude. The man was smart. He knew if he came near Richie again that he was a dead.
Now Richie could leave his past where it belonged, in the past. If he needed to talk Duncan and Tessa would be there and Richie finally realized that.
Mac loved the smiles and helped with the heartache. Richie may not say it out loud, but Mac and Tessa were the parents he had always dreamed about.