Chapter 12: A Wish Granted
That night, after both Methos and Kenny had fallen asleep on the sofa, Duncan lay down in his bed and closed his eyes.
He was in the old Antique Store, the place he'd been the happiest in his four hundred years.
"Hey, Mac," Ritchie greeted him, smiling.
"Richie," he whispered, feeling his chest tighten at the sight of the boy. Tears welled in his eyes.
"Ah, Mac," Richie said, "don't. It wasn't your fault."
"How can you say that?" Duncan asked him, angrily. "I killed you!"
He dropped to his knees, heartbroken.
"Hey, Big Guy," Richie said, kneeling down in front of him, "it wasn't your fault. You were being screwed with…besides, you told me not to go there, remember?"
Duncan nodded. Of course, he remembered. "Why didn't you listen to me?"
Richie smirked, shrugged. "When did I ever listen when you said 'stay put'?" he asked him.
Duncan glared at him. "I should have tanned your hide after each and every one of those times," he growled, suddenly angry at the kid.
Richie nodded. "Probably," he said, grinning.
Duncan smiled back, but then sobered. How could he be laughing? "I'm sorry, Rich," he sobbed, "so sorry!"
"Hey," Richie said, wrapping his arms around him, "I should have paid more attention to those 'duck and cover' lessons you tried to give. It's okay."
Duncan shook his head. "No, it's not," he said, scrubbing at his face. "You're gone! You and Tessa are gone!"
"We're here now, my love," a familiar voice spoke and he felt arms wrap around him from behind.
"Tessa?" he asked, glancing over his shoulder to find her beautiful smiling face resting her chin on his back.
"Hello, love," she whispered. "I've missed you."
"Oh God, Tess," he cried, closing his eyes.
"Shhh," the beautiful French woman said, "it's all right."
"How can you both say that?" he asked looking from her to Richie. "You're both gone. The two people that mattered most to me are gone?"
"We're here now, Mac," Richie reminded him, smiling.
"And we're always with you in spirit," Tessa told him. "As long as you remember us and remember how much we loved you then are we truly gone?"
"It's not the same," he whispered. "I want you back. Both of you."
"Are time has passed, love," Tessa told him, "but yours has not."
"Yeah, Mac," Richie said, "you still got Kenny and the Old Timer to look after."
Duncan snorted. "Methos is 4600 years older than me," he told him, "and Kenneth is four hundred. They've both survived a long time before I came into the picture."
"Did they?" Tessa asked him. "Kenneth died a child, my love, and became a head hunter using his innocence as his ultimate weapon. He was simply surviving, not living."
"Yeah, Mac," Richie agreed, "and Methos may be the oldest living Immortal but he's still as human as the next guy. They both need you, and you need them."
Duncan sighed. "I need you," he told him. "Both of you."
"You'll always have us, love," Tessa told him. "Can you really turn your back on them?"
Duncan sighed. "No," he said, resigned. "I suppose I can't. You know me too well."
Tessa smiled, kissing him. "Of course I do," she told him, smirking. "We're soul-mates, after all."
"Yeah," Duncan told her. "We are."
"What am I?" Richie asked, smirking. "Chopped liver?"
Duncan chuckled. "No, Rich," he told him, reaching out to pull him into a hug. "You're much more than chopped liver—you're more than just my student, too."
Richie smiled. "I know," the boy said. "You were the best dad a guy could have, Mac. I love you."
Duncan felt his chest tighten again. "I love you too, son," he said, pulling the boy into a hug.
"You must go back now, love," Tessa told him. "You have a family that needs you."
Duncan nodded. "I know," he said, but he really didn't want to leave.
"We'll be here waitin' on you, Big Guy," Richie told him.
He nodded. "You'll both be with me always," he told them.
He watched as they smiled and then seemed to grow smaller in the distance…
Duncan awoke with a start. Bright sunlight flitted through the windows.
Glancing at the sofa, he saw that Kenny and Methos continued to snore softly.
His wish had been granted…although, not quite the way he had wanted.
He now knew Tessa and Richie would always be with him in spirit and they would be waiting for him when it came his time.
For now, though, he did have a family that needed him.
Kenny needed him to be a father—or at least a jailer—and Methos…well, Methos needed looking after just as much as the Child Immortal.
He shook his head. And he had thought Richie was a handful?
For the first time in a long time, Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod felt alive again.
He had now had not one, but two, reasons for living and he supposed as long as they needed him he would remain.
And then…well, then he would rejoin his soul-mate and his son.
He had set out to reform Kenny and in the process had found a family once more.
He supposed, he couldn't ask for a better possible future.