Disclaimer: I own none of the characters from either the Fever Series or the Highlander series; they are the property of Karen Marie Moning .

I am new to the Fever series having found and read all four books in the last two months. Ijust love the series. Then I started on the HIghlander series and loved them too almost as much.

Karen Marie Moning is a great writer, and I fell in love with Mac and Barrons; they are both such well developed, rich and complex characters that I just have to root for them to finally end up together in Shadowfever. It is clear to me that KMM loves these two characters; some authors get tired of their main characters in a series and unfortunately it shows.

I have written other fics for the Southern Vampire Mystery series (True Blood). When I first thought of doing a fic for Fever, naturally I thought of writing about Mac and Barrons. I soon realized that KMM has developed those two characters so well that there is nothing I could add and would not want to change any thing about either of them. So I decided to write about a character that she hasn't explored much, Ryodan.

My story takes place before the Fever series. It is basically a love story invoving Ryodan, but it also tries to explains my version of what Barrons, Ryodan and the other tall, dark men are. It also explains my version of what drives Barrons to find the Sinsar Dubh. Of course, many would consider this an alternate universe, but I hope it is a good read anyway.


Chapter 1

Soaked to the skin from a heavy rain, Leni Hammond stood outside her ground floor apartment door listening to the phone inside ringing loudly. She was wearing a long raincoat, but the waterproofing had long since disappered, She was cold, wet and clammy. She shivered in the cold morning air, her breath fogged up the window on her front door.

The phone kept ringing; the noise was constant and extremely irritating. She sighed heavily as she hoped the sound wouldn't wake Frank, her elderly next door neighbor. He was such a light sleeper, and he was a crank He complained about everything and everyone. Frank was bound to call her landlord and complain again. She didn't want to get another letter from. She had gotten three warnings for this very thing in the short time that she had lived here. The next letter would be an official notice to vacate the premises for violating her lease. She liked this apartment and didn't want to move.

it was almost three o'clock in the morning; Leni had just finished a twelve hour shift at the hospital where she worked. It was the second twelve hour shift she had worked this week, and she was bone tired. Her back was stiff and her head pounded; she knew if she didn't get some sleep soon, she was going to fall flat on her face. The last thing she wanted to do was talk to anyone right now.

She didn't have to guess who was calling. Her Irish cousin, Bridget, was the only one obnoxious enough to call at this late hour. She probably expected to wake her from a sound sleep; Bridget got a kick out of doing things like that. Of course, her beautiful cousin was a well known international model and usually spent most of her nights club-hopping with friends, so Leni never got the chance to return the favor.

Twenty two year old Bridget McDonald was a six foot tall golden goddess. She was stunningly beautiful with long, silky, perfectly straight, light blonde hair that cascaded down to her waist. She had the face of an angel; most normal women suffered by comparison. Bridget's wide violet eyes and generous smile graced the cover of many fashion magazines. Her regal, statuesque body, covered by a barely there bikini, frequently made the cover of several sports magazines. Bridget was well paid for her work and worth every penny she nade, Men of all ages frequently found themselves tongue-tied and falling all over themselves trying to vie for a smile from Bridget, but right now, the last thing that Leni wanted to do was talk to her gorgeous cousin; once Bridget got on the phone, she yakked for hours.

The fact that her aching arms were were filled with two heavy plastic bags of groceries purchased before her shift started, making it almost impossible for Leni to open her apartment door in time to answer the phone, didn't help matters either. Both bags were wet from the downpour, and one was torn and dangerously close to spilling its contents all over her front stoop. Leni prayed she had enough time to get inside and drop the damn thing on the armchair closest to the door before the carton of eggs inside the bag decorated her the beige plush carpet. If she had to clean up the mess from a dozen broken eggs, she 'd never get to bed.

As she fiddled blindly with wet housekeys, the whole keyring started to slide. Quickly moving her leg up against the door, Leni snagged the keys on the last button of her raincoat. The keys hung precariously threatening to fall the last foot to the door mat. Holding her breath, she finally grabbed the keys and managed to get the door open.

Stepping inside, Leni kicked her shoes off, closed the door with a swing of her hip and dropped the torn bag on the chair. She heard the lock click shut as she headed to the kitchen with the other bag. By the time she made it to the kitchen table, the phone stopped ringing. A second later, her cellphone rang. She fished it out of her handbag and flipped it open. Sure enough, the caller ID read Bridget McDonald.

"Bridget, do you realize what time it is over here? It's three o'clock in the morning. I worked a double shift tonight, and I just got home. I am dead tired and not in the mood to chat. Can't this wait?" she snapped at her cousin.

Bridget only laughed. "I'm sorry, Munchkin. It's eight in the morning here in Dublin, and I've been calling you for hours. I just couldn't wait to tell you my big news."

"Don't call me that. What big news?"

"You'll always be Munchkin to me, shrimp, so don't fight it. And my big news is that I'm getting married on May tenth, and I want you here. I want you to be my Maid of Honor. I want you to come over ASAP to help me prepare for the wedding." Bridget laughed again; she sounded exhilarated.

"Just because you're a tall, ugly, skinny ass bitch doesn't mean you get to call me names, Beanpole. Besides, May tenth is barely three weeks away, and I just can't drop everything like some people can. I have a real job, unlike you." Leni shot back; her tiredness completely forgotten; Bridget had her full attention now.

"If you call emptying bedpans a real job, I feel sorry for you, cousin." Bridget said sarcastically.

"I don't just empty bedpans. I work in the ER. I get to clean up blood and guts too, remember?" Leni shot back. For a few minutes, the two girls traded insult after insult, trying to see who could be the most creative and flamboyant in their name calling, until they both laughed. It was a game that that they played almost every time they talked.

Bridget had spent every summer for almost fifteen years at the New Jersey shore with Leni and their late maternal grandmother, Catriona O'Gallagher. Leni and her grandmother often spent the Christmas holidays in Dublin with Bridget, her parents and her younger brother, Sean. Although Leni was a few months younger than Bridget, the two girls had become the best of friends. They were closer than most sisters.

Leni had spoken to Bridget just last weekend; they scyped, texted, and facebooked each other on a regular basis, but her cousin had never mentioned anything about a new man in her life. Not that Leni expected her to: Bridget had gone through a bad breakup with a long-time boyfriend only five weeks ago. She called Leni and cried on the phone for hours.

Leni knew exactly how she felt: just a few weeks before that, she had broken off her own relationship with her fiance, Dr. Philip Roberts, and cried on the phone to Bridget in Dublin. She had met Philip when she started working as a nurse in the ER at the Raritan Bay Hospital in Old Bridge a year year ago. She had been attracted to the twenty nine year old surgeon from the start. They started dating after a couple of weeks, and she moved in with him three months later. They talked about getting married, and Philip even bought her an engagement ring. They made quite a striking pair.

Philip was tall, dark, and extremely handsome. He could charm the pants off a nun. The nurses had a beefcake poster of him hanging on the wall of their lounge. At one hundred and seventy five pounds, his frame was lean, rugged and muscular. His nicely tanned complexion complimented his dark brown hair and amber eyes. He had a easy smile with perfect white teeth, and when he turned his charm on Leni, she though her heart would burst out of her chest. Leni knew she was a goner from that day on. At twenty one, Leni Hammond was in truly in love for the first time in her life.

Leni was pretty in the "girl next door" kind of way. Five foot one in her stocking feet, she often wore four inch heels to make herself look taller. She had a fair complexion and long, curly, dark blonde hair that never did what she wanted it to. Her hair tended to frizz easily, so she usually wore it in a simple french braid or a low pony tail held in place by a scrungy. Her petite frame sported a nicely rounded body with curves in all the right places. She had shapely legs, trim ankles, small feet and smal, softl hands.

Her wide violet eyes were her best feature: they were intelligent, warm, friendly and framed by long, brown lashes. They were often filled with merriment because Leni had a great sense of humor and liked to laugh a lot. She wasn't beautiful by conventional standards, but when she smiled, her face lit up, and she was stunning in her own right.

Leni found out the hard way that Philip had been two timing her all along with several other nurses at the hospital. Apparently, everyone else in the ER seem to know he was a romeo, except her. She walked into a linen supply closet early one morning and caught Philip with his pants down around his ankles having sex with Anna Jones, another nurse who worked in the ER.

Leni took off her engagement ring and threw it in Philip's face. She moved out of his apartment that afternoon. She switched to the afternoon shift two days later and worked two to ten at night to avoid seeing him at the hospital, but it wasn't necessary. Philip moved to Robert Wood Johnson in New Brunswick a few weeks later, so did Anna Jones.

Now, on her cellphone, Leni peppered her cousin with rapid fire questions while she put the groceries away. "When did this happen? Did you and Jimmy get back together? If not, who's the guy? How long have you known him? How did you meet? Why didn't you tell me about him before? Didn't you just tell me last week that you were still in love with Jimmy?"

"I wasn't engaged until last night. You are the first one I've told. I haven't even told my parents or my brother. I met Tegan a month ago in a bar in Dublin called Chester's. I can't wait until you meet him. He's so handsome, he could have any woman he wants; I can't really believe he wants me. He is so different from any other man I have ever met. I swear it was love at first sight. I have been out with him almost every night since, and I moved in with him a week ago."

"Last night he told me he loved me and asked me to marry him. He's fantastic, and I just can't explain to you the way he makes me feel, Leni. I want to be with him so much, I hate it when I have to leave him to go to work in the morning. I've never felt this way about a man before, not even Jimmy. I am so happy, I just can't believe it!" The words gushed out of Bridget like a water over Niagara Falls.

Leni was stunned; she was concerned about what she was hearing.

"What do you mean, you can't believe he wants you. You are the most beautiful woman I know, Bridget. Any man would have to be blind if he didn't want you. But you've only known this guy for what, a month? And you're going to marry him already? Are you nuts? What's the rush? Why don't you take your time and get to know him a little better before you rush off into something as permanent as marriage? If it's the real thing, he'll wait. By the way, how come you never mentioned this guy to me before? Why all the secrecy?"

"I wasn't trying to keep him a secret from you, Leni. I was so afraid if I said anything to anybody about Tegan, I would just bollix up everything, and I don't want to lose him. I know I haven't known him long, but I feel like I have known him all my life. Besides, I didn't say anything to you because I knew you would react exactly the way you are doing now. I want you as my Maid of Honor, but even if you refuse, I am going to marry him anyway. Please say you will come, I need you. You are my best friend," Bridget pleaded.

At that last remark. Leni's heart melted. Bridget always knew she would do anything for her. Besides, she had two weeks of vacation coming, and Della Grant, the ER Head Nurse and her boss, had been insisting that she use it or lose it. She had tentatively scheduled to take time off in late May, but since the ER had its full complement of nurses, she should have no problem taking her vacation next week. Of course, if she were going to stay for the wedding, she would have to ask for an extra week without pay.

She was pretty sure Della would approve her request since she thought Leni was working too hard. But what Della didn't know is that Leni had wanted the extra time at work; it helped her keep her mind off her cheating ex-fiance. Besides, Phil had been appearing at her apartment and leaving messages on her cellphone begging her to take him back. She wanted nothing to do with him anymore and told him so. Phil persisted and was making her life miserable. She was tired of his antics and wanted him to just get out of her life.

"Okay, I'll come. I'll be your Maid of Honor, but I won't pretend that I understand any of this. I think you're acting too quickly, but it's your life." Leni finally said.

"Wonderful! Great! I just knew you would do it, so I already booked you a round trip ticket. Your flight leaves Newark at ten next Tuesday morning. I'll email you the details. I'll pick you up at the airport when you get here. Don't worry about the expense: everything is all ready paid for." Bridget cried happily.

"Bridget McDonald, you are too much. Now shut up and get off my phone!"

I have a few ideas where I want to go with this. Please review and let me know if you think it is worth pursuing.