The next day Richie was up and moving around; he tired easily, but was mostly recovered. Especially his appetite. So far he had eaten a frozen pizza, two turkey sandwiches, an omelet, and four apples… it was just past two in the afternoon.
"How you doing?" Duncan asked Richie, waiting for Joe to admit he was one move away from checkmate.
"You have any juice?" Richie asked, his head in the fridge.
"You already finished it."
"Oh." He closed the door. "Ice cream?"
Duncan smiled at the familiar situation. "Should I go to the store?"
"Got any soda?"
"Bingo." Richie popped the top.
"Make a list.' Duncan made his final move. "Checkmate."
"Damn." Joe sat back on the couch.
Richie settled on a bar stool with pen and paper from a drawer. Amanda left the couch and joined him.
"Yeah?" She put a hand on his forehead. "You're warm."
"I'm freezing." He hunched into his sweatshirt.
"Why don't you…"
"I'm good." He started his list.
"You're not hungry." She took his pen.
"Thief," Richie irritably shot back.
"I could say the same." She wasn't going to let him off that easy.
"I'm fine, Amanda."
"Knock it off."
"You can't ignore it."
"Watch me." He took his unwritten list to the desk, veering slightly as he walked. It'd be time for a nap soon.
Amanda left him alone and went back to Joe and Duncan.
"Good try," Joe shrugged.
"He'll come to us when he's ready," Duncan told them. "Until then, let him take care of himself."
Later that day, Duncan and Joe decided to do the shopping and leave Amanda to handle Richie. He seemed more comfortable around women in times like this.
"What's his excuse today?" Charlie grumbled as Duncan walked past the machine he was cleaning, which was Richie's job.
Duncan grabbed Charlie's arm, a little harder than he had meant to, and took him aside.
"Those bodies they found, you've heard about that?" he asked in a low tone.
"Yeah, who hasn't; it's all over the news."
"One of them was Richie's father."
Charlie eyed him. "Are you serious?"
"He needs some time."
"Well, yeah, man, of course…"
"Tell him I'm sorry."
"I will. And don't spread this around. He doesn't want everyone to know. If anyone asks, he's sick."
"Sure, man. No problem."
When they got back, Amanda was flipping through a book and Richie was nowhere to be seen. Duncan put his grocery bags on the counter.
"Where is he?"
"Roof. He's having deep philosophical thoughts."
"Oh," Duncan nodded. "He does that." He started to put away the groceries.
"Thoughts about what?" Joe asked.
"Life and death," Amanda answered, still page turning.
"The ultimate deep thought."
"I'm going to check on him." Duncan started toward the back staircase.
"He wants to be alone," she told him.
"He can tell me that himself." He went up the backstairs and out into the cool evening air. Richie was wrapped in a blanket, sitting on the side of the building, his feet dangling over the edge.
"You should wear your shoes," Duncan said, sitting next to Richie.
"You sound like Tessa. She thought you'd never get sick or hurt just so long as you wore shoes."
Duncan shifted uncomfortably on the ledge. "I hate it when you do this. Doesn't it scare you?"
Richie laughed a bitter, scoffing laugh. "You're kidding right? After all the crap I've lived through, immortal and otherwise, I should be scared of not having my feet on the ground?"
"Well, it scares the hell outta me."
"You can move."
"I'm trying to talk to you."
Richie sighed. "Mac, I'm fine; I'm over it; I'm used to it."
"That scares me the most. Death isn't something you should get used to."
"Mac, let me spell it out for you. I. Want. To. Be. A. Lone. Go away."
"Are you sure?"
"Alright." Duncan got up and turned to leave.
"For the record," Richie said before he closed the door behind him. "I didn't mean I was used to death. I mean I was used to not having him around."
"Okay." Duncan closed the door, knowing there was nothing he could do.
"Now everything's back to normal," Richie told the street.
"Don't forget the showers," Charlie smiled, pushing an old mop into Richie's hands.
"Payback's a bitch," Richie mumbled.
"Feels pretty good from this end."
"I figured as much." He took his mop and bucket and went off to scrub and wash down the filthiest room in the building.
Charlie watched him go with a satisfied smirk. Once Richie came back, Duncan had stepped back and let Charlie take charge. Richie actually showed up on time and did his work. And with all the busy grunt work taken care of, Charlie could concentrate on the running of the dojo. Except Duncan tended to camp out on the computer feeding his antique hobby.
"So you going to settle the accounts while you're on there?" Charlie asked, looming over Duncan.
"Naw, that's what I pay you for," he smiled.
"You're in a good mood."
"I just got a four thousand dollar piece for eighty dollars at a garage sale."
"That'd put me in a good mood too. Such a good mood, I'd let my staff off early since no one's here…"
Duncan grinned. "Sure, why not. Take a long weekend. I can handle the place."
"Thanks, man." Charlie grabbed his jacket and made for door. MacLeod could tell the kid he was off.
"Excuse me, I'm looking---"
"Office," Charlie cheerily cut him off.
"Thanks," the man said. He started for the office, but Duncan was already approaching him. "I'm a friend of Jack's," he assured him, hands in the air. "My name is Richard. I came to bring Mackenzie his share of the estate."
"Mackenzie?" Duncan hadn't heard that name in a while.
"Yes. We're sort of brothers, well, as close as a few guys like us can get. Is he around? Or Duncan MacLeod? Mackenzie lives with him now."
"I'm Duncan MacLeod. And 'Mackenzie' is right in there."
Richard made no move toward the locker room. "Can I go see him?"
"He's an adult," Duncan shrugged. "It's up to him."
"Oh, well, thank you." Richard went into the locker room and heard a lone voice muttering.
"Filthy bastards, none of them ever heard of a towel?"
Richard followed the voice and saw a young blonde haired man wiping down lockers splattered with some cream.
"You don't pay me enough, Mac," the young man said, not looking up.
"I don't pay you at all."
The young man looked up in surprise at the strange voice.
"Mr. MacLeod told me you were back here."
"Ooookay," Richie drawled. "And you would be?"
"Richard. Ryan. I came up to give you this." He reached into his pocket and pulled out an envelope. "It's your share of the estate," he explained. "We sold most of Jack's things and split the money."
"Oh, uh…" Richie took the envelope. "Thanks, I guess. I…" he trailed off, not knowing what to say.
"Sure, kid. You're one of us."
"I guess so."
"There's a list in there too. How to get in contact with any of us. If you need to. Anytime."
"Um, okay, thanks."
Richie didn't know what to say. He had gotten over, well, not over, but past everything with Jack. He hadn't expected anything else. Much less more people showing up trying to act like old family.
They stood awkwardly neither sure what to do next.
"So, uh, thanks and all, but I have ta get back to work."
"He had something he wanted to give you. I brought that, too."
"Sure, thanks, uh, could you just leave it in the office or something? I really gotta get this taken care of…" The situation was just too strange for him. He wanted out.
"Sure, I'll leave it with Mr. MacLeod."
"Thanks." Richie went back to scrubbing.
One Richard left, Richie sat down on one of the benches. He didn't know how long he had been sitting there when Duncan came in to get him.
"Rich, you should come out here."
Richie followed him out into the office.
Richie looked out the office window. Parked next to his, second hand, spare parts, labor of love, was a brand new, shiny, limited edition Harley.
"Whose is it?" Richie asked carefully. Duncan smiled innocently at him. "Are you kidding me?"
"MacLeod, don't shit with me."
"It's from Jack."
In a blink, Richie was out the door and around the corner. He dashed for the bike, but stopped short of touching it. Like an archeologist gathering the nerve to touch a priceless artifact, he examined the bike, his hands tracing the air around it.
"Are you going to keep it?" Duncan asked, amused.
"Did he already leave?"
"He said you seemed pretty upset."
"Yeah, well, now I feel like a jack ass."
"I do," Richie assured him, straddling the bike. "Oh, man." He ran his hands over the chrome and leather. His other bike caught his eye. "Don't feel bad, baby. You're gonna look like this some day."
"I heard you ran into some money today. You could hit the garage tonight."
"That's true. I could work on her all weekend."
He dug in his pocket for the envelope. Any paper in his possession for more than five seconds instantly looked like an old treasure map; this one was no different. He tore it open, hoping his inheritance would buy him at least some of the parts he still needed.
"Holy…" It would, and then some. "I think I got more money than you, now," he drooled up at Duncan.
"Let me see that." Duncan took the cashiers check out of Richie's hands. He had to count the zeros several times. "Close," he had to admit. "If you play your cards right this can last you quite a while."
"Now I know I'm a jack ass." Richie took the check back. "Wouldn't even talk to the guy."
"You could always call him." Duncan gestured to the second page in the envelope.
"Yeah, I should."
In the office, Richie dialed Richard's hotel. "Can I have room 628 please?... Hey, Richard, it's uh, well, Mackenzie, I guess… I was, uh, just wondering how long you were going to be in town. Maybe we could do dinner or something…"