Title :At the Edge of Mortality

Author: Strangevisitor7

Prompt : #35: Sixth Sense for "crossovers100" . My table is at my LJ. My Claim is Duncan MacLeod

Fandom : Highlander and Quantum Leap

Characters : Duncan MacLeod, Sam Beckett, OIC (Original Immortal Character)

Disclaimer :The characters you know and love all belong to their respective creators. I'm just borrowing.

Summary: Duncan faces defeat and possibly the end of his Immortal life.


At the Edge of Mortality

Duncan was beaten. He could feel it. After 400 years he knew in his gut that this was to be his last duel. Thor Knutson, one of those immortals who was always playing the game, had come for him. Duncan's knee was shattered, his stomach was pierced by multiple stab wounds and his sword was beyond his reach. It had been sent skittering away, along the warehouse floor by a blow that also snapped his wrist.

As the big Viking loomed over the broken Scotsman, Duncan had tried to drag himself away. He hoped that he might delay the final stroke long enough to heal and escape.

"The great Duncan MacLeod," Knutson sneered. "You were always so high and mighty. Acting like you were too good for the game."

"I have no quarrel with you Knutson," Duncan lied. "We can both walk away from this." Duncan continued to move as best he could toward the exit. He had no illusions about his ability to escape but he wasn't giving up until his head was no longer his.

"Don't think you'll be walking anywhere ever again." The Norseman laughed as he blocked Duncan's escape with a series of kicks to his ribs, causing Duncan to collapse onto the floor with his neck vulnerable and no energy to move.

Through the stars of pain Duncan watched as Knutson raised his blade for the killing blow. It was only then that he closed his eyes preparing himself for the end. He had no regrets. He'd lived an honorable life. He knew that Knutson would not live long after taking his head. Conner would see to that. He hoped Conner would also look after Richie, who was still so new to the game. Duncan worried about Amanda too. She needed him around to keep her on the right path.

Duncan's musings continued until his mind registered that his head was still attached. Wondering what had delayed Knutson's victory, Mac risked opening his eyes. The mad Viking was poised over him with sword raised but a confused look on his face.

Duncan wasted no time analyzing the situation and instead took advantage of Knutson's indecision to drag himself away and reclaim his sword. His knee was healing quickly and while it wouldn't yet support his weight, at least, now he could defend himself.

"Wait," yelled Knutson as he watched Mac collect his sword. "I'm not going to hurt you." Mac watched as his would-be killer lowered his sword and backed further away.

Mac didn't understand this new strategy but he wasn't buying it. "Really, because you've spent the better part of the last hour beating me bloody and trying to take my head. Forgive me if I doubt your sincerity."

Knutson looked appalled, "Well, whatever differences we've had in the past, I am sure we can talk about this like civilized men."

"Differences?" Duncan snorted. "We have the standard differences that all Immortals have. You play the game and I don't, unless I have too. Today, it seems, I have to. What is there to discuss except whether you take my head or I take yours?"

"Immortals?" The big man mouthed it as if he'd never heard the word. He looked from the sword in his hand to Duncan's. Confusion flitted across his countenance. He seemed completely overwhelmed by the situation, as if the confident killer of 5 minutes ago was gone.

Duncan stared at this changed man when he suddenly sensed what was different. The man in front of him was definitely lacking the signature buzz of an Immortal. Was that even possible Duncan wondered. It was something to ask Joe, if he made it out of this alive.

"How are you doing that?" Duncan asked aloud.

"What?"

"I can no longer sense your immortality. How are you masking the connection?" he demanded.

Before Knutson could answer, his attention was drawn away from Duncan. While Duncan could see nothing where the Viking's gaze was focused, it appeared that Knutson could see something. He cocked his head, nodded and grimaced as if listening to an unseen entity.

Mac was almost back to full health and decided he was going on the offensive. Let Knutson try to play his mind games without a head. Limping across the warehouse, Mac raised his sword ready to begin the duel again.

"Wait, please!" there was no mistaking the panic in Knutson's voice. "I have no intention of killing you. Let's just go our separate ways."

"Do you think I am a fool? I'm not going to be looking over my shoulder for you especially when I won't be able to sense your approach. I don't know how you're doing it. But, I won't leave other Immortals at your mercy." Duncan was now back at full strength and quickly closed the space between them. "You may have started this but I am going to finish it."

Duncan swung his sword and Knutson blocked it clumsily. The Norwegian backed away from Duncan's onslaught. "Please, stop this," he begged.

Duncan wasn't swayed and moved to attack again. Knutson scrambled behind some boxes overturning them in his wake. "Al," screamed Knutson, "why haven't I leaped? Duncan is alive and I should be going!"

Duncan looked around for this Al person. There was only the two of them in the warehouse. "If you're trying to distract me it won't work. You had your chance and now it's my turn."

"Al, that's not helping!" Knutson wasn't even talking to Duncan any more; he was yelling at his invisible friend.

Duncan easily disarmed Knutson. His sword was poised to begin its downward arc when he felt the buzz of Knutson's immortality return. After delivering the finishing blow, Duncan dropped to the ground as he received the Quickening power.

Duncan noted that round two of their duel had been quite different from the battle that had almost claimed his Immortality. No matter, he sighed, relieved that his brief flirtation with death was over. He made his way back to Joe's bar. He had a few questions that definitely required input from his friends.