"The Road Not Taken: An Epilogue"

Summary: Duncan decides Richie needs to learn the meaning of the words "stay put" after their run in with Kim-Sun and Chu-Lin.

Author's Note: I always thought Mac let Richie off the hook a little too easily for sticking his neck out in "The Road Not Taken". So, I've decided to write a little epilogue for that episode.

Warning: Spanking of eighteen year old. Don't like, don't read.

Disclaimer: I don't these characters, and never will. I just wrote this story for fun.

Duncan MacLeod and Tessa Noel lay in bed, having just made love for two hours straight. Both had missed each other terribly the few days Tessa had to go to Paris for an art exhibition and so they'd made up for lost time. However, now that the after glow had begun to dissipate, the four hundred year old Highlander stared up at the ceiling as if lost deep in thought.

Tessa studied her lover, having spent the last twelve years with the Immortal she knew when he was distracted by something. "You never did answer my question," she told him, propping herself up on her elbow.

Duncan looked at her. "What question, love?" he asked, puzzled.

"The one about staying out of trouble," she reminded him, smiling. "You told me you'd tell me about it later, remember?"

He smiled back. "So I did," he said. "Let's just say, it was an interesting couple of days."

"Why?" she asked him, curious. "What happened?"

Duncan sighed. He then told her all about Richie's friend Gary, about Kim Sun and Chu Lin, and what had transpired the day before in that warehouse.

"You are worried that this Kim Sun will come after you?" she asked, a little concerned.

Duncan shook his head. "No, love," he said, "that's not it. Kim Sun knows he can't win in a fight against me."

"Then what is troubling you?" she asked him.

"Richie," he told her, simply.

She looked confused. "What about him?" she asked.

"He could have been killed, Tessa," Duncan told her, seriously. "If Kim Sun and I hadn't gotten there when we did…" He left the statement unfinished, letting her imagination supply what could have befallen their very young protégé.

"Did you talk to him about it?" she asked him.

"You know Richie," he told her, scowling; "he just laughed it off like he does most things. Said I should have told him "to" get involved and then he might have stayed home. Then he shook his head and said something like "kids, go figure."

Tessa grinned. "That's most definitely Richie," she said, sighing. "So, what do you intend to do?"

Duncan shrugged. "I don't, love," he said. "He needs to learn that when I say 'stay put' I mean just that."

"What would your father have done had you not 'stayed put' when he told you to?" Tessa asked him, curious. "Maybe that is what you should do with Richie."

Duncan smirked at that. "I want to make an impression on him, Tessa," he told her, "Not strap him raw with my belt."

Tessa thought a moment, and then smiled when her eyes lit on something on her dressing table. Getting out of bed, she grabbed it and brought it back to show the Immortal. "Do you think this will make an 'impression' upon him," she held up her wooden-handled hair brush for him to see.

Duncan chuckled, his eyes lighting up. "Indeed it will," he said, taking the hairbrush from her and testing the flat of it against his palm. "You're brilliant, love."

Tessa chuckled, but then bit her bottom lip. "I am afraid Richie will not think so," she said, glumly.

Duncan shrugged. "He might be a little sore at you," he told her, "but he'll get over it."

Tessa smiled. "When you are done with him," she said, "I think he will be more than a 'little' sore."

Duncan smiled back. "Oh, I can guarantee that," he said, looking at the hairbrush in his hand.

Now, all that was needed was for the teenager to come home…

Richie strolled into the loft three hours later, whistling to himself. He was in a pretty good mood. The guy who'd killed Gary was toast, Tessa was home safe and sound, and he had a date with Angie tomorrow night to see the newest "Arnold" film. Mac was waiting for him in the living room, sitting casually in the arm chair as if he'd been waiting for him.

"Hey, Mac," Richie said, smiling. "Tessa like her welcome home 'present'?" He waggled his eyebrows at the Immortal so that he got the message of what he meant.

Duncan smirked in spite of his mood. "Yes, she did," he told the teen. "Did Angie get to the shelter all right?"

"Of course," Richie said, shrugging. "Why shouldn't she? I was with her."

Duncan raised an eyebrow. "Uh huh," he said, his expression showing just what he thought about that. "We need to talk, Richie."

Richie lost the smile. "Talk? About what, Mac?" he asked. "What did I do now? This isn't about the bedroom thing, is it? Cuz, I can explain…" The Immortal cut him off.

"This is about yesterday, Richie," Duncan told him, scowling. "About you not staying put when I told you to."

Richie winced. He'd hoped Mac would just let that drop. "Come on, Mac," he complained. "Gary was my friend. I had to do something!"

Duncan understood that, respected the boy's loyalty to his friends; he just wasn't sympathetic with it. "I told you I'd take care of it, Rich," he told him. "Didn't I? Have I ever given you a reason not to trust me when I tell I'm going to do something?"

"Well, no, but…" Again he was cut off.

"Then you should have stayed here and let me handle it," Duncan told him, sternly. "You rushing in like that nearly got you AND Angie killed yesterday!" He hadn't meant to start shouting, but the boy had scared him. Badly!

Richie was far too young to enter the Game yet, and he was determined to keep him out of it for as long as possible. The boy just wasn't making it easy for him.

"I'm sorry, Mac," Richie said, glumly. "I tried to get Angie to stay at the shelter, but she just wouldn't listen…"

"Sounds like someone else I know," Duncan told him, giving the kid a pointed look.

Richie had the good taste to blush at that.

"You know what you need, Rich?" Duncan told him. "You need a reminder to keep your mind more focused and your feet glued to the ground; and I'm just the man to give it to you."

Richie winced. "A reminder, boss?" he asked. "What sort of a reminder?"

"You'll see," Duncan told him. "Come here, Richard." He reached for Tessa's hairbrush, which had been sitting in front of him on the coffee table the entire time they had been talking.

Richie had seen it, but had ignore it as irrelevant. He didn't think that, anymore.

"You're not serious?" he exclaimed, his face reddening with embarrassment at the use of his full name; as well as what he thought the man intended to do.

Duncan raised an eyebrow at him. "Completely," he told the kid. "Come on, Rich. Let's get this over with."

Richie shook his head. "Y-You can't!" he exclaimed, starting to back up.

"Take one more step, Richard," Duncan told him, his voice low and dangerous, "and you lose your jeans and shorts."

Richie stopped immediately, his face reddening at the threat. "M-Mac, please," he begged. "I-I'm eighteen a-and you're not my father!" It was a lame argument he knew, but he was desperate.

"I know I'm not," Duncan told him, "but you are in my care and I take that responsibility very seriously. You might be an adult according to the law, but in actions and maturity you're still very much a kid. Now, you have until I count to three to come here or I will bust your bare butt. One…"

Richie didn't even hesitate, he beat it to Mac's side immediately. "C-Can't you find some other way to punish me?" he asked, timidly. Even he wasn't dumb enough to tick off the man who was about to bust his behind.

"Putting your life in danger is unacceptable, Rich," Duncan told him. "You're you member of mine and Tessa's family now and we're not going to let you make foolish, careless, or reckless mistakes. Now, c'mere." He gently took the boy by the arm and lowered him face down over his lap.

Richie trembled, completely mortified (and little afraid) at being in this position.

He felt Mac rub his back carefully. "You're safe with me, Rich," the Immortal whispered. "Always."

"That's easy for you to say," Richie told him. "You're not the one getting his butt busted."

Duncan chuckled. "All right," he corrected himself. "You'll be sore, but otherwise you'll be safe." He raised the hair brush back and brought it down, hard.


Richie gasped as those eight smacks sent a stinging heat through his butt that left it tingling. He bit his lip, determined to get through this without making a sound.


Richie whimpered. The stinging heat had now become a slow burn and he felt tears start to sting his eyes, but he WASN'T going to say anything. He was tough. He could take it.


The tears started falling, and he started squirming. The slow burn had now become a sizzling crackle. He didn't know how much more he could take before he started bawling like a baby.


His butt was now on fire, and he couldn't stop the sob that broke out of his throat. He was shaking from trying to hold it in, but he couldn't take anymore.

"I-I'm so sorry, Mac," he told the Immortal. "P-Please stop!"

Duncan's heart twisted at that. "It's almost over," he told the boy, gently. He raised his hand back one final time.


With those final smack delivered, he tossed Tessa's hairbrush aside. Richie was bawling now and he couldn't stand that. Letting the boy off his lap, he stood up and pulled him to him in a hug. Richie didn't resist him, merely clung to him as if his life depended on it.

"H-Hurts," the boy mumbled, sounding much younger than what he was.

"I know," Duncan told him, "but so does dying. Only, it hurts worse and lasts a lot longer."

Richie nodded, sniffing. He rubbed at the tear on his face. "I'm sorry, Sir," he said, quietly.

Duncan looked him. "I know, Rich," he said, "and I forgive you. Next time when I tell you to 'stay put' that's exactly what I mean. Got it?"

Richie nodded his head. "Oh, I got it all right," he said, reaching back to rub his still burning backside.

Duncan chuckled. "Good," he said, smiling. "Now, why don't you go wash your face while I start some lunch." The boy nodded, and went to do as he was told.

Tessa got home just as they were getting ready to eat lunch. "So," she whispered to her lover, "did you make an impression?"

Duncan chuckled. "Look for yourself," he said, nodding at the teenager at the table.

Tessa did so; smiling when she saw the two cushions Richie was sitting on. "I guess you did at that," she told him.

"Come on," Richie told them. "Let's eat. I'm starving."

Smiling at each other, the two of them sat down and the little 'family' ate lunch. For now, they were together and that's all that mattered.

The End