Standard fanfic disclaimer that wouldn't last ten seconds in a court of law: these aren't my characters, I'm just borrowing them for, um, typing practice. That's it, typing practice. I'll return them to their actual owners (relatively) undamaged. This is an amateur work of fiction; no profit beyond pleasure was derived from the writing. Originally published in Our Favorite Things #23 from Elan Press. A FanQ nominee for Best Crossover.

Father's Day

Touched by an Angel/The Master

Susan M. M.

For Sheila Paulson, without whose encouragement this story would never have been completed.

San Miguel, California, June 1984

Thursday, June 14, 1984

"You ought to go," Monica urged her co-worker. The brunette carefully sanitized her tools as she talked. Borrowing a hairbrush from your sister is one thing, but going to a beauty parlor and finding out the brushes and combs haven't been cleaned between customers is quite another. "You've been working hard. You deserve a break."

"You've been working just as hard," countered Teri.

"Which is why I intend to go," Monica retorted, her Irish brogue just a little stronger than usual. "Music, dancing, shopping – it'll be fun."

Teri just shrugged. "Maybe."

"And there's an outdoor non-denominational service Sunday morning."

Teri didn't reply.

Monica let the subject drop and concentrated on her cleaning. She didn't know why her supervisor Tess had told her to try to get Teri to go to the San Miguel Highland Games, but Tess had gotten her orders from Him, and He always knew what He was doing. And whether she persuaded Teri or not, Monica had every intention of attending the Games. She had been working hard, both as a guardian angel and in her current cover as a beautician. A bit of holiday would be good for her.

Jocelyn, another employee at Esmeralda's Beauty Salon, stopped sweeping the bits of cut hair from the floor. "I thought you were Irish. Why would you want to go to a Scottish get-together?"

"I am Irish," Monica confirmed. At least, Ireland was where the Almighty had called her into being, and of all places on Earth, it was the one she loved best. "But here in America, Highland Games tend to be pan-Celtic festivals. There'll probably be as much Irish music to hear there as Scottish."

"Not to mention handsome men in kilts, and women hoping for a strong breeze," LaDaria, one of the other beauticians, added.

Monica tried not to blush. Never having been human herself, she sometimes found herself embarrassed by certain human instincts and drives.

"So why did you leave Ireland and come here?" Jocelyn continued. "I mean, San Miguel, of all places?"

Monica smiled and gave a half-shrug. "You go where the jobs are. There was work for me to do here," the angel said honestly.

"That art theater downtown is doing a marathon of '30s comedies this weekend. Might be nice to see them all the way through; I always fall asleep when I try to watch them on the late show." Teri hastily changed the subject. Jocelyn had a tendency not only to eavesdrop, but to gossip. The last thing Teri wanted her to do was to start asking why Teri was working as a beautician in San Miguel, CA. Especially since Teri Foster wasn't her real name.

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Friday, June 15, 1984

"You want to take time off to do what?" John Peter McAllister asked his traveling companion. One white eyebrow rose in disbelief.

"Highland Games. What, with a name like McAllister you've never been to one before?" asked Max Keller. He was young enough to be McAllister's son, nearly young enough to be his grandson.

"There aren't many Highland Games in Japan," McAllister pointed out. He'd settled in Japan after WWII, and other than being recalled to active duty during the Korean War, he'd stayed in Japan since then. He'd only returned to the USA a few months ago, for the first time in decades.

"Look, old man, you need a break," Max told his mentor. "I need a break." The curly-haired young man pointed at the hamster, running in his wheel in his travel cage. "Henry needs a break. Besides, if there aren't many Highland Games in Japan, then it probably won't occur to Okasa to look for us there."

The balding man thought about that for a moment. There was a certain logic to Max's reasoning, but he hated to take time off from their search. A few months ago, he'd received a desperate letter from a young woman claiming to be the daughter of his girlfriend during the Korean War. A woman claiming to be his daughter. She'd pleaded for his help. Since he'd been contemplating a career change anyway, he'd left his home in Japan to answer her plea for help. Unfortunately, his former pupil, Okasa, had tried to kill him as he prepared to leave the country.

So now he traveled a country he no longer knew, seeking a daughter he'd never met, trying to avoid the deadly grasp of a man he'd once loved like a son. And Max, his new pupil, thought they should take time off from their quest to attend the San Miguel Highland Games. McAllister sighed.

There were days McAllister wondered why he had ever become a ninja. Mathematicians don't kill their professors to keep them from betraying arithmetical secrets, nor do plumbers take to violence to protect the mysteries of the pipes. But Okasa, his former pupil in the art of ninjitsu, feared that McAllister, the only occidental American to ever become a ninja master, would betray the secrets of the ancient Japanese assassin cult. John Peter McAllister had always been fascinated by the tales of the ninja, even when others claimed they were only legend. After WWII, he had stayed in Japan, trying to learn all he could about the ninja, learning bits and pieces of martial arts and acrobatics in an attempt to duplicate their abilities. After several years, a friend revealed that he was a ninja, that he and his family had been watching McAllister for quite some time, and permitted him to begin training in the art of ninjitsu. McAllister had only been interested in the abilities of the ninja: to move silently, invisibly, to fight like a panther, to sneak into any building like a ghost. Only recently had he learned that Okasa and some of the other younger ninja had gone back to the ancient trade of assassinations for hire. That was when he had decided to retire. That was when Okasa had decided that he had to die.

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Saturday, June 16, 1984

The angels materialized near the front entrance of the Highland Games, watching the people enter. All three were dressed in glowing white.

"Before we let people see us, we'd better blend in a little better," Tess suggested.

A second later, Andrew was in the kilt. The tartan was the Black Watch's regimental tartan; he'd known many members of the "Gallant Forty-Twa" over the years. His black T-shirt had a picture of the ancient church on Iona. Monica now wore blue jeans and a green T-shirt with a Celtic cross embroidered on it. Tess wore a straw hat, a T-shirt with the lyrics to 'Amazing Grace' printed on it, and a denim skirt. They waited, and a few minutes later Max and McAllister bought their tickets.

McAllister turned his head. He scanned the area, seeing nothing out of place. His body tensed automatically, every nerve, every muscle ready for combat. His gaze lingered where Tess, Andrew, and Monica stood invisible.

"Can he see us?" Monica whispered.

Andrew shook his head. "Not us. Me. A man who lives as close to death for as many years as he has can often sense the presence of an Angel of Death."

"Something the matter, oldtimer?" Max asked.

McAllister shook his head. "Just a feeling. What was it my grandmother used to say? Like a goose walked over my grave."

Max glanced at the program. "What do you want to do first? Go to the Glen of the Clans, or hit the vendors' area, or listen to the music, or watch the athletics, or what?"

One white eyebrow rose. "One thing at a time. Remember, I'm not as young as I used to be."

"Huh," Max scoffed. "You're in better shape than I am. Why don't we start at the Glen of the Clans? We can see if there are any other McAllisters here, and I can check in with my clan tent."

"I always thought Keller was a German name." At least, it had sounded German to McAllister.

Max shook his head. "I've got some German, on my mother's side, but Keller is a Scottish name. We're a sept of Clan Campbell." He consulted the map printed on the back of the program, and led his teacher to the row of clan tents.

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"Madainn mhath," a man in a blue-green kilt greeted them. "Are you folks Campbells?"

"I am." Max bent over to sign the guest register laying on the table. "This is my friend's first Highland Games, and he wanted to know if his clan was here."

"Bruce Campbell," the clan tent volunteer stuck out a hand, and Max and McAllister both shook it. "Max Keller," he read from the register. "Definitely one of ours. And your name is?"

"McAllister. John Peter McAllister."

"Have you got a copy of Black's?" Max asked. "I thought we could look up McAllister there."

Bruce shook his head. "Don't need Black's." He gestured at a fat book, Black's Surnames of Scotland, that was being used as a paperweight. "McAlister is a sept of Clan Donald. Senior cadet branch, if I remember correctly. Louise, do the McAlisters have a tent here this year?"

"No, I don't think so. They're not listed in the program," Louise replied.

"And what are you doing bringing a Macdonald clansman to our tent, anyway?" Bruce asked, giving a mock growl.

"No wonder we give each other so much grief," Max teased. McAllister had a blank look on his face, so Max continued, "In the old days, Macdonalds and Campbells were like the Hatfields and the McCoys."

McAllister nodded.

"These days, McAlister has their own clan society, but they started out with Clan Donald. You could probably stop by their tent for more information," Bruce suggested.

"Maybe I will," McAllister said. "This is my first time at one of these things. I'm not quite sure what to expect."

"Oh, we have something for everyone. Clan tents for connecting with relatives and studying your heritage –"

"Not to mention a good place to stash your stuff," Max interrupted, "or rest your feet a minute."

"You're more than welcome to do that," Bruce assured him, "you and your friend, despite his birth defect. Not his fault he was born into the wrong clan."

McAllister stifled a chuckle.

"If you're of a scholarly turn of mind, the Heritage Tent has several lectures. There's music, there are the athletic competitions, dance competitions – my daughter's in that – shopping, food, and the tug-of-war." Bruce looked at Max. "You look young and strong. We could use you in the tug-of-war."

"Sure," Max agreed.

"Three or four pipe bands present this year; they'll be having a competition," Bruce continued. "Sheepdog demonstrations, whisky tasting, Highland cattle on display, and the contests, of course: bonniest knees, kilted mile, etc. We've got something for everyone. That table back there," he pointed to a food-laden table in the back of the tent, "is the common heritage of mankind. Help yourself to a snack while you look over the program. Of course," he looked at Max, "we can always use a few more volunteers at the clan tent."

Max shook his head. "Not this year. I'm playing tour guide."

"Fair enough. The tug-of-war is at noon, and lunch right afterwards. We'll expect you for both."

Max and McAllister retreated into the shade of the tent. They sat down in two empty folding chairs and examined the program.

"Two performance stages?" McAllister asked. "And a dance stage?"

Max grinned. "Music's an important part of these things."

"The Heritage Tent looks interesting." He read the list of lectures. "Boadicea, Grania O'Malley, Flora Macdonald, and other Great Women of Celtic History. Robert Burns' Bawdy Songs – over 18 only, please. The Clearances. The Loch Ness Monster, Fact or Fiction? Introduction to Gaelic. So You're Going to Wear the Kilt. The True Story of Macbeth." He looked at his student. "Where shall we start?"

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Just then, Teri walked through the main gate. Monica materialized and came out to greet her.

"Teri, hi! Glad you decided to come after all." Monica held up her program. "Where are you going first?

"Thought I'd go hear some music."

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Back at the Clan Campbell tent, an invisible Andrew whispered, "Music."

"Whatever you like," Max invited. "It's your first time."

"Shall we go hear some music then?"

All three angels smiled.

"Let me take another look at that map," Max said. "Okay, this way to the Main Stage." The pair rose and headed off to hear the fiddler.

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"Music sounds great," Monica agreed, pleased at how easy this assignment was going to be.

Teri glanced at the map. "C'mon, this way to the East Stage. I love harp music, don't you?"

"Um, yes," Monica admitted honestly. She glanced at Tess for help.

Tess lost her smile. Maybe this would take a little longer than originally planned.

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Frankie Sarducci looked around uneasily. He was a short, stocky man with olive skin and black hair. "What is that sound?"

"Bagpipes," replied Roger Cunningham succinctly.

Sarducci frowned as two men in kilts walked by. "Guys shouldn't wear skirts."

Cunningham chuckled. "It's called the kilt." His freckled face and curly red hair betrayed a Celtic heritage.

"You really think she'll be here?" Sarducci wouldn't have been here, at this strange place with oddly dressed men and screeching music, if Papa Salvatore hadn't insisted one of his enforcers accompany Cunningham to take care of loose ends.

"She'll be here," Cunningham replied confidently. "I know how she thinks. She'll feel safe in a crowd. And with a name like McAllister … she'll be here."

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"I was born of Scottish parents, one day when I was young," the folk trio sang. "That's how the Scottish dialect became my native tongue."

Okasa ignored the musicians. He stood at the edge of the crowd, scanning the audience for a glimpse of McAllister or Max.

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Teri watched the Highland dance competition. For ten-year-olds, the dancers were pretty good.

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Sarducci saw Cunningham in the distance. He nodded once, to let him know he'd seen him, and hurried to join him. "Any sign of her?"

Cunningham shook his head. "Not yet."

"Maybe she ain't here," Sarducci suggested. He glanced at the athletic fields and swore. "What's he doing?"

Cunningham followed his gaze. "Caber toss."

"He's gonna pick up that telephone pole?"

Cunningham snorted. "Not just pick it up. He's going to throw it."

"Like at the carnival, when you hit the bell with the hammer to prove how strong you are?" asked Sarducci. Guys in skirts throwing tree trunks around: this place was too weird for him.

"The goal is accuracy, not brute strength," Cunningham explained with an annoyingly superior attitude. "He has to throw it end over end, and it needs to land as straight as possible."

Nearby, Max and McAllister were watching the hammer toss. Max couldn't help laughing when the athlete whirled around before tossing the heavy hammer, revealing loud Hawaiian shorts beneath his green Murray of Atholl kilt.

"The athletes don't 'go regimental'," a bystander explained. She was six or seven months pregnant, wearing a Boadicea T-shirt. "Too much chance of embarrassment."

"Regimental," McAllister repeated. "Is that what they call it when – "

She nodded. "The old army regiments issued kilts to the soldiers, but they didn't issue anything to wear under it. Or as the old joke goes, nothing's worn, everything works just fine." She patted her belly. "And I should know."

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McAllister and Max stood on the north side of the path, watching as the parade marched by. First a color guard by the Scottish-American Military Society, then a pipe and drum band, then the various clans: Armstrong, Barclay, Buchanan, Cameron, Campbell. Each proudly held a banner with their clan name. Most carried a Scottish flag, either the blue St. Andrew's flag or the yellow banner with the red lion rampant. Some carried a banner made of their tartan, or a clan society flag; some carried the Stars and Stripes.

McAllister glanced behind him.

"Something wrong?" Max asked.

"Just felt like someone was watching me."


Andrew frowned.

"I haven't seen him. Like you said, it's unlikely he'd look for us here," McAllister said. Nonetheless, he looked over his shoulder again.

Across the parade, on the south side of the parade, Tess was frowning, too, but for a different reason. She stood beside Teri. The ex-model watched the clans go by: Donald, Douglas, Elliot, Fraser, Gordon, Graham, etc. Teri didn't even notice the old man standing across the path.

The clans continued marching: Lindsay, MacCallum, MacIntosh, MacKenzie, MacLeod, Murray, Sinclair, Stuart, Wallace. Teri smiled at a mother in a MacLeod kilted skirt pushing a stroller gaily decorated with yellow and black balloons. She didn't bother looking across the parade to the old man standing on the other side.

Two more pipe and drum bands followed the clans, and then the parade was over. Teri and McAllister both faded into the crowd, in opposite directions. Tess sighed. Something told her this assignment was going to be tougher than it had looked at first.

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"Ah, when I was young, well, a pub was a pub,

With mahogany tables and a sawdust floor.

Nothing fancy, but plain enough –

They don't build pubs like that anymore.

And they're pulling 'em down, the old pubs,

Around the town, the old pubs," a bearded singer sang out.

In the audience, McAllister and Max sat, tapping their feet in time to the music. Teri stopped, listened for a few bars, and decided a song about urban renewal in Glasgow in the '60s – especially one about bars – wasn't that interesting. She wandered on to check out the shepherding demonstration. She liked dogs.

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The clan conveners stood three feet apart from each other and issued ritual insults.

"We only keep you guys around to cook the hamburgers for the barbeque," Bruce Campbell sneered.

"We only buy the soup out of charity, to keep you off the dole queue," Richard MacDonald retorted.

"Them's fighting words!" both declared in unison.

Andrew and Tess watched as ten men grabbed the rope and readied themselves.

"Excuse me a minute," Andrew said. He walked over to a heavy-set, middle-aged man on the Clan Donald team. "Are you sure you want to do this, Tim?"

The man looked up at him. "Huh?"

"Are you sure you want to do this? Is there someone else who could take your place?" Andrew asked.

"Are we ready?" Richard MacDonald called out.

"No," Andrew shouted.

A woman with salt-and-pepper hair hurried up to the line. "Just what do you think you're doing?"

"I'm in the tug-of-war every year," Tim protested.

"You know what the doctor said," his wife reminded him.

"Don't nag, Karen. I'm perfectly capable –"

"Perfectly capable of having a second heart attack," Andrew interrupted. "Let someone else take your place on the tug-of-war team. Otherwise …."

Richard MacDonald came up to them. "Is there a problem?"

"No," Tim said, but Karen said "Yes" simultaneously.

"Did you know Tim McDaniel has a heart condition?" Andrew asked.

"What?" Richard turned to Tim. "Is that true?"

"Yes," Karen asserted.

"It's minor," Tim insisted.

"I'd rather lose the tug-of-war than lose you. Hang on a minute, Bruce," Richard yelled. "We need to make a team change. I need another volunteer." He looked Tim in the eye. "Sorry, Tim."

Andrew wandered back to Tess.

"Trying to avoid extra work?" she asked him.

He shrugged.

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Okasa stood at the edge of the Heritage Tent. The Japanese man glanced inside.

"Men have been hung on less evidence than exists for the Loch Ness Monster," the speaker announced, a chubby woman whose red hair was beginning to go white. "Of course, that may say more about our judicial system than it does about Nessie."

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"In the city of Chicago, as the evening shadows fall,

There are people dreaming of the hills of Donegal.

Eighteen forty-seven was the year it all began:

Deadly plagues of hunger drove a million from the land."

Andrew lost his smile as his listened to the song. He remembered the potato famine all too well; it had kept him much busier than he liked.

McAllister looked around the amphitheatre. He couldn't shake the feeling of someone looking over his shoulder. But there was no sign of Okasa, nor of any other sign of danger. All he saw was a young man in a black T-shirt. He gave the fellow a second look. A long, ovalish face and long blond hair, he was the man who'd caused the fuss at the tug-of-war. But he looked familiar beyond that. McAllister was reminded slightly of the bartender at the officer's club in Tokyo during the Korean War, but that man would be middle-aged by now.

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Teri slipped into a port-a-potty. A moment later, Max approached the privies.

"Good," Tess approved. "We get these two together, then our job is half done."

Monica nodded in agreement.

Max headed for the port-a-potty that Teri was in and pulled open the door. "Oops! Sorry!" He quickly slammed the door shut.

"Oh, no," Monica said.

"Not your fault. The latch doesn't work," Teri called out.

Turning his back on the large blue rectangular booth, Max stood guard, so no one else could accidentally intrude on her.

Tess turned to Monica. "If that's your idea of a joke, we need to have a discussion about your sense of humor, young lady."

"I didn't do this," Monica protested her innocence.

A moment later the port-a-potty door started to open. Max hurried out of the way and into the next 'sanitary convenience.' Teri walked over to the portable sink.

"Hi, Monica," Teri greeted her co-worker as she washed her hands.

"That fellow who nearly walked in on you, he watched the door afterwards, so it wouldn't happen again," Monica told her.

"What do you know? A gentleman in this day and age," Teri replied.

"He was kind of cute," Monica pointed out. "Did you want to wait till he gets out, maybe say thank you?"

"No, I think it would just embarrass him." Teri shrugged. "It happened too quickly for him to see anything. I think he was more upset than I was. See you later." She walked out of the privy area and turned to the left.

Monica started to ask where she was going next. Before she could say anything, two little girls came up to the sink.

"How do you make the water come out?" one asked, looking for a handle but not finding it.

"Push down on the foot pump, honey," Tess told her.

Monica and Tess pressed the foot pump for the two little girls. Max came out of the port-a-potty and headed for the sink. He quickly washed his hands and turned to the right to rejoin his teacher. Monica looked around. Teri was already out of sight.

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