Crossover: HL/Pretender

Characters: DM, Jarod, Kyle

For Prompt: 024 Family

Summary: family is what you make it. Sometimes it needs protecting and sometimes it doesn't.

A/N: this is not meant to be slash in any way! I was just trying to be descriptive and everything I thought of sounded stupidly gay…

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"Kyle stop!"

"Jarod," the pitiful man on the ground burbled through a mouthful of blood, "you can't interfere…"

Kyle turned to gaze at his big brother. "Jarod? You're alive?"

"I'm alive. Now put down the sword…"

Kyle glanced back down at the man on the ground, the deep shadows of the middle of the night obscuring his outline. Kyle lifted his sword to take the final stroke.

I decide who lives or dies… His grip tightened, his face set.

It was like Jarod could read his mind. "No. It doesn't have to be that way anymore. The Centre doesn't control us anymore…"

Kyle wanted to believe Jarod, he did, but for once this wasn't about the Centre.

A stink of rotting meat seeped out of the dumpsters his victim was slumped against making it difficult to think of anything but retching. No! He had to kill Macleod! Macleod was a threat. Even now his wounds were healing: Kyle knew he could take him again if necessary, but he had to move soon, while he still had his nerve.

Without moving his gaze from the panting man on the ground, Kyle spoke to Jarod, gesturing minutely with the claymore in his hand.

"He knows who we are Jarod. He'll come for us, for you. You don't know how these Immortals are…"

"I know Kyle! Duncan told me. He taught me all about what we are…"

Kyle did turn then, surprise making him drop his guard. "Taught you?"

Macleod slipped in the alley muck as he shifted to try and stand, but Kyle whipped around before he got further than his knees, his sword raised making Macleod freeze. His brother grabbed his arm, but he knew he could break the hold in a moment if only his bloodlust wasn't sapped by the presence of his moralising sibling. Jarod's faith in this man was the only thing keeping him alive, but Kyle was starting to think it might be enough.

Macleod coughed, blood spattering to add to the general grime in the alley and leave a shiny, ruby droplet on the toe of Kyle's shoe.

"Has no one told you what you are?" Macleod rasped.

"I know I can't die. And I know how to kill you. I don't need anything else."

Jarod moved closer behind him, taking his arms and trying to ease them down. He was taller than Kyle, his mouth level with his ear as he reached passed him. Warm breath brushed his cheek as Jarod spoke and made him tense in discomfort.

"Kyle, please? Duncan can help us both…"

He shrugged off his brother's hold, but let his sword hang loosely by his side.

"We're pretenders: what help have we ever needed?"

"We need something to learn from. We need someone to become to understand everything…"

Kyle could hear Macleod getting up, but did not raise his sword again. Jarod had always been the sensible one…and maybe he was right but…

"This one," Kyle flicked his claymore in Macleod's direction, making the other man flinch. "He was at the Centre. He came after me when I tried to come to you, help you with the boy…"

Jarod laughed. "Duncan was helping me!"

"I thought you were with the Centre."

Kyle looked coldly at Macleod for his words…but he trusted his brother.

"Sorry." He admitted.

Macleod saluted with his sword in acceptance, before putting the offending article back inside his long coat.

Jarod was grinning from ear to ear as he pulled Kyle into a warm hug.

"I thought you were dead. Your heart…"

Kyle couldn't help the smile that played at his lips as Jarod's happiness washed through him. Still, he slowly pulled away, unused to the contact. He shrugged in answer to Jarod's implied question. "It grew back."

Macleod was scanning the ends of the alley, straightening his clothes and trying to hide the worst of the blood stains. Kyle understood: he had been running and hiding for more than long enough to know the gestures of a hunted man. The late hour would help to some extent, but this was a land of streetlights and they needed to leave quickly before they were spotted.

"Come on. We can talk at the dojo." Macleod offered, catching the understanding in the pretenders eyes.

Kyle was still suspicious, but followed obediently behind as they walked, the orange of the streetlights washing over them serenely once they began the short walk down the main road.

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A few curious looks followed them into the dojo, but nothing more. Macleod let Kyle precede them inside, stopping Jarod with an arm across the door.

"Are you going to tell him? That he's not really your brother?"

Jarod's deep brown eyes met his squarely, with a hint of challenge.

"I'll tell him that our parents adopted us both from NuGenesis, but I won't lie to him. He'll always be my brother."