"Kith and Kin"

Summary: Richie's introduction to Tessa's family doesn't go smoothly.

Author's Note: Sequel to "Hearth and Home". Richie is only fifteen; takes place in season one after "Family Tree".

Warning: This story will contain spanking of a teenager. If this offends, PLEASE don't read it.

Disclaimer: I don't own these characters, nor will I ever. I am simply writing this story purely for my personal enjoyment.

Chapter 11: The True Immortal

The next morning, Richie awoke sore and stiff.

Man, he thought, Pops really does have a hard hand.

He stood up, stretched, and then reached back to rub his backside.

A knock on the door caused him to jump. "Rich?"

Richie bit his lip. Was his father going to punish him, too?

"Yeah, Da," he called out.

"You decent?" Duncan asked.

Richie snorted. "Does it matter?" he asked, sarcastically.

The door opened and Duncan peaked his head in. Seeing that he was indeed wearing something—even it was only his boxer shorts—he came in.

"I would never invade your privacy, son," the Highlander told him, grinning, "even if you don't have anything I haven't seen before."

Richie grinned. "How do you know that?" he asked. "I could have a tattoo on my as—uh—butt or something…"

Duncan raised an eyebrow. "I've seen your butt, remember?"

Richie blushed. "Yeah, I know." He sat down on the bed, wincing.

"Sore?" Duncan asked, sitting down beside him.

"Oh, yeah," he told him. "Pops' hand is as hard as yours."

"I'll give him your compliments," Duncan told him, smirking.

Richie scowled. "Thanks a lot," he said, sighing.

Duncan just chuckled and reached over to pat his son on the back.

"You had it coming, son. You can't say you didn't."

Richie sighed. "I know," he said, feeling guilty all over again. "Can we pay for the bike? I'll give up my allowance…"

"That won't be necessary," Duncan interrupted him. "I tried to get Jean to take something but he…well, he threatened me with a spanking if I said anything more."

"Let me guess," Richie said, smirking, "you wisely shut up."

Duncan nodded, smiling. "I may be stubborn," he told him, "but not stupid."

"Lucky you," Richie said, grunting. "I'm both."

"Hey there," Duncan said, reaching over and wrapping an arm around the boy's shoulders, "none of that. You, Richard Ryan MacLeod, may be stubborn, but what you most definitely are not is stupid."

"How can you say that, Da?" Richie asked him. "I steal Pops' bike to go race it and then I let it fall off a cliff."

"Jean would rather the bike be at the bottom of the cliff than you," the Immortal said, firmly.

"I know," Richie said, "but I still feel guilty."

"Then you can help him by doing chores around here," Duncan told him, "Especially since you won't be doing anything else for a while."

Richie wrinkled his nose. "Grounded?" he asked, unsurprised.

Duncan nodded. "Oh, yeah," he said, "definitely. Not only while we're still here in France but also for a month when get back home."

Richie nodded, resigned. I think I'd prefer the tail blistering…

He wisely decided not to tell his father that.

"Da," he said, looking up at the Immortal, "are you and Tessa really mad at me?"

"We're disappointed, Rich," Duncan told him, honestly, "and are upset that you didn't have enough respect for your grandfather than what you did, but we're not mad. You made a mistake, you're punishments have been given, and now we'll move on from here."

Richie nodded. "I'm glad, Da," he said. "I don't like it when you're mad at me."

"Ah, Rich," Duncan said, giving him a squeeze and planting a fatherly kiss to the top of his son's head, "I don't much like it, either. Tessa and I love you very much, Richie, that's why we get mad when you do things that risk your life. You know that, right?"

Richie nodded. "I know that, Da," he told him, smiling. "I love you, too."

Duncan felt tears sting his eyes at the boy's admission. He had only dreamed the boy would one day be able to say the words to him, but had never thought it would be so soon.

"Da?" Richie asked, looking up at him with wide eyes. "You okay?"

Duncan smiled. "I've never been better," he told him, squeezing him again. "You just surprised me, that's all."

"I'm sorry," Richie said, hesitantly.

"Don't be," the Immortal said, lifting the boy's chin so they were looking each other in the eye. "Don't ever be sorry for saying you love someone, son. Love is the true Immortal—it can't ever be killed or destroyed, no matter how much hatred would want it to. It will always remain as long as there are humans."

Richie smiled. "Gee, Da," he said, shaking his head. "Feeling pretty philosophical today, are we?"

Duncan smirked and pulled the boy into a head lock. "I'll show you philosophical, young man," he told him, rubbing the boy's head fiercely.

"Hey, hey," Richie groaned. "Ah, man!"

Duncan chuckled, letting him go. "You'd better get a shower," he told him, standing up. "Breakfast will be ready soon."

Richie nodded. "All right," he said, smiling. His stomach growled.

Duncan chuckled. "Your butt might be sore," he teased, "but there is definitely nothing wrong with your stomach."

Richie just smiled. "Ha, ha," he said, rolling his eyes, "very funny."

Duncan chuckled as he made his way to the door.

"Hey, Da?"

He looked back. "Yeah, son?"

"I love you."

Duncan beamed.

He didn't think he would ever grow tired of hearing that.

For the moment, all was right with the world and his family.

He couldn't ask for anything more.

The End...

(A.N.I do intend to write a third story in this series called "Clan and Country" but I'm not sure when I'll get to it. So, be patient.)