If there was one thing that Gwen hated more than anything, it was moving. One would think being an Army brat would have gotten her used to this by now, but some things just didn't get easier with time. Not that she had much stuff to pack up. Most of her possessions were in storage since she'd been living in graduate student housing for the last year. It wasn't exactly like barracks, but the small rooms didn't give her much space for her treasures. Until she knew how long she was going to be in Seacouver, she wasn't going to send for anything that she didn't absolutely need.

Gwen's friend from her undergraduate days at Duke University had asked her to come out to teach a few classes in the newly formed department of Near Eastern Studies. Sally had gone on to study Classical History and had come to Seacouver two years ago to teach. When the faculty started talking about this new program of study, she immediately called Gwen Ambrose. This was right up her alley.

Unfortunately for Sally, Gwen only agreed to commit for one semester, two at the most. She was working on her dissertation for her Ph.D, and didn't want to tie herself down until it was finished.

One of the things that Gwen hated about moving was finding a new place to work out. She had been studying martial arts since she was seven and had been kickboxing for he past five years. Most of the gyms she visited were either temples to testosterone or the worst kind of "meet markets." She just wanted to find a place with some other serious martial arts students, a couple of good punching bags and maybe someone to spar with on occasion.

She was on her way to the seventh gym she had found in the phone book. This one looked a little run down from the outside, but much less crowded. As she entered the dojo, Gwen noted some staffs and practice swords on the wall, a heavy bag hanging in one corner and a large area of mats off to one side. Two teenagers were lacing up boxing gloves, while a woman stretched in the corner. A young man with curly red hair was jumping rope, but stopped when he saw her looking around.

"Hi, I'm Richie Ryan," the red head said with a smile. "Can I help you?"

Gwen responded with a smile of her own, "Hi, Richie. My name is Gwen Ambrose. I just moved to the area and I'm looking for a place to work out."

Richie eyed the young woman. She was not very tall, but appeared to be in good shape, muscular, though not built up. She had shoulder length brown hair and the most unusual teal colored eyes he had ever seen.

"Well," Richie said, gesturing around the room, "We don't have much in the way of treadmills or aerobics or anything like that."

"Thank God!" replied Gwen. "All that loud music and posturing. I hate that! Besides, I run in the park. I really want to find someone to spar with who doesn't think that 'little girls like me shouldn't be kickboxing' or who aren't trying to pick me up!!"

"Hey, I'm all for girls being able to protect themselves. We have a few people who come here who would love to see what you've got." Richie grinned at her as he said, "I can't guarantee that no one will try to pick you up, though. I mean we are only human!"

"We?!?" She asked, grinning back. "I'll make you a deal. You can hit on me all you like as long as you don't mind me kicking your butt in the ring."

"Bring it on!!" Richie laughed. "If you're really interested, let's get you signed up. Come on into the office and let me get some information."

Turning back around to the equipment on the walls, Gwen asked, "So what kind of martial arts do you guys teach here? I'd like to do some work with the swords, if someone could show me some moves."

Richie nodded, "I'd be happy to help you. I'm no slouch with a sword, but Mac's really the expert. I can get you started, but you should work with him when he gets back. This is his place."

"Who's Mac?" Gwen asked. "I thought. Well, you seemed to be in charge here."

"Mac is Duncan MacLeod," he explained as the walked into the office. "He's owned the dojo for several years now. In fact, he owns the whole building. He lives in the loft upstairs."

A frown came across Gwen's face, like she was trying to remember something. "MacLeod," she said softly.

"Do you know Mac?" Richie asked.

"No, I'm sure I don't." Gwen said, shaking her head. "My dad had a friend whose last name was MacLeod, but he lived in the New York area, I think. Anyway, that was a long time ago."

"Well, Duncan had a cousin named Connor MacLeod in New York," he offered.

"Maybe it was Connor. I only met him a couple of times. I don't really remember much about him, but my dad seemed a little in awe of him or something." She paused for a moment, then turned back to Richie, "Oh, well. back to business. Where do I need to sign?"

"Mac, I'm telling you, there is something about this girl!" Richie had been raving about Gwen for ten minutes. Duncan had called to see how things were going and to tell him when he expected to be home. He enjoyed spending time in Paris when he could and had been there most of the summer.

"Are you sure it's not just your over-active hormones?" Duncan asked with a laugh.

Richie sighed, "No, it's not like that. I mean, she is very attractive and all, but there is something else. Something almost familiar, but not. You know?"

"Not really, Richie," Duncan said, still laughing. "It sounds to me like you're smitten."

"Maybe, but there really is something else." Richie's voice trailed off.

"I'll call back in a couple of days. Maybe you can figure it out by then. Talk to you later." Duncan and Richie hung up and Richie went back to working on the books for the dojo.

_______________________________________________________________________

Gwen had familiarized herself with the campus, gotten her office in order, checked out the lecture hall and the smaller classroom where she would be teaching and made sure that texts and reference materials her students would need were available. Now she needed to work on her personal life. The only things she had accomplished on that front were the dojo and buying groceries. She hadn't even set up her bed. She had put sheets on the mattress that was still on the floor.

'You'd think in two weeks I'd be more organized than this,' she thought. 'I'm still living out of a suit case!' She dug out her workout clothes and quickly changed. She had made plans with Richie to start working with the practice swords at three and it was already two thirty. Maybe she could bribe him with pizza and beer and he'd help her out her move some of the furniture and set her bed up.

When she arrived at the dojo, however, Richie was nowhere to be seen. Gwen set her bag down in the corner and walked over to the office and knocked on the door. The chair spun around revealing a man darker than Richie, somewhat older and incredibly handsome.

"Uh, hi. I was looking for Richie. We were supposed to meet at three."

"Ah, you must be the famous Gwen! I haven't heard about anything else in the past two weeks." The man rose and stuck out his hand, "I'm Duncan MacLeod."

Gwen chuckled as she shook his hand, "Gwen, yes. Famous, no. And Richie has mentioned you a time or two, as well."

"He told me that you would be here. He said that he had an errand to run, but I expect any time now." As soon as he said that, he felt the familiar buzz announcing the arrival of another immortal. A moment later, Richie came bounding in to the dojo.