Time and Tide
A Crossover Collaboration by: A J & TNT
Hugh had been having the most glorious time. The limo, the casino, the girls, the drugs, it had all been wonderful … and then the short-haired harridan had come along, unceremoniously yanked him out of the luxurious greenroom, forced a half a shirt on him, and propelled him onstage with just a whispered "Knock 'em dead, Rog!"
Standing under the glaring lights in a sleeveless silk vest with billowing ruffles down the front, Fitz grabbed the microphone stand to steady himself. The band behind him started into a riff, the crowd below the stage started going nuts, and the MC of the evening yelled out, "Ladies and gentlemen of Las Vegas, I give you … THE WHO!"
Barely recognizing the song, Hugh Fitzcairn caught the mike the MC tossed him, and started to scream "HELLO!"s to the crowd, while trying to remember lyrics that matched the music playing behind him. Then it hit him, and he grooved along as Tommy to the 'Pinball Wizard'.
As the song ended, he saw a hauntingly similar face in the crowd, and knew what had happened. "Ladies and gentlemen, I'll be right back. Then we'll really get this party started!" He leaped down, seized the genuine frontman of The Who, and whisked backstage before anyone else could comment on the sudden twins amongst them. Turning to Daltry, he ripped the shirt off the man's back, shimmied out of the silk nothing the harridan had shoved him into, and handed it over with a grin. "Knock 'em dead, Rog." His dumbfounded doppleganger barely had a chance to gape at Fitz before the MC came and dragged him up on the stage.
As he was leaving quietly out a backstage door, the harridan accosted Hugh again. "What are you doing?! Get back on stage, Rog!" Fitz grinned.
"Rog is on stage, you loony wench," he said good-naturedly. When she continued to glare at him, he pulled her in for a bruising kiss, muttered "Standard disclaimer applies," against her lips, and disappeared out the door.
Angelo had driven to the mall in desperation. With his minimal knowledge of his quarry, he'd looked at the Heatherfield Library and the chain bookstore nestled between the Hospital and the Museum a mile away, before bowing to the inevitable and going to the town's most obvious teen hangout. Parking at the entrance that boasted the food court and cinema, Angelo locked his new Dodge Charger up and started in. He was brought to a standstill twenty steps later by the sight of Nick, Amanda, and a mystery redhead who looked like the primary victim of their traffic accident earlier that afternoon.
'No way…' He stepped behind the nearest SUV and concentrated, listening for any possible conversation from the trio. Nor was he disappointed.
"I can't believe it!" Cassidy was sputtering in the (thankfully empty!) parking lot. "Geeky, scrawny, normal Martin? Immortal?!"
"Keep it to yourself, darling," Amanda sounded distracted, Angelo noticed. He could tell Nick thought so too. The former Toronto cop was only half-paying attention around him, or he would have spotted Angelo right away.
As was, Angelo slowly edged himself around the SUV so he fell into only Nick's line of sight, and waited for the detective to meet his gaze. With a nod of acknowledgement and a flash of the Watcher's tattoo on the back of his wrist, Angelo let Nick know what, if not who, he was, and gave another nod towards his Charger. Then he slipped back that way himself to wait.
Nick Wolfe arrived at the blue Charger a couple moments later, "What's up?" he asked without preamble.
"Hey, Nick. I'm Angelo. I'm Martin's Watcher. The kid gave me the slip at his house, but I guessed right after all, it sounds like. Where'd you see him last?" Nick dropped his head, chuckling.
"Your boy's catching a movie with his girlfriend. Her name's Irma, and I think she's a cousin of our other rookie, Cassidy." Nick gave a nod at where Cassidy and Amanda were quietly chatting themselves, next to Nick's many-times refurbished Ford Bronco. "We'll have to meet later to sort it all out, I'm sure, but for now ..." Nick stuck his hand out, and Angelo shook it with a grin.
"Hey, I'm local; just come down Six Street, south of the river, and look for my blue baby, here," Angelo told him. "My uncle Joe's supposed to send a care package of Watcher tools and a referred tutor for Martin in a day or two. You two are welcome to camp out at my place while you're here in Heatherfield."
"Careful, we may just take you up on that," Nick replied. "At least until we find somewhere for ourselves. 'Til then … Angelo, right?" The paramedic nodded.
"Thanks Angelo," Nick said and walked back to the waiting women.
Amanda was just telling Cass about the number-one rule of Immortality: "There can be only one," and the lengths some of the less-scrupulous amongst their number would go to advance in The Game. "Have you ever used a sword?"
"Er, no … but I'm familiar with the basics," Cassidy replied. "I've got a friend who's a real fan of Renaissance festivals. Let's just say I've seen more than my fair share of up-close sparring."
"Well, we're about to expand on that education, young lady." Amanda turned to Nick. "What did your friend want?"
"Oh, he was looking for Martin. He's his Watcher. Angelo … Dawson, I think he said was his name."
"Little Angie?" Amanda chuckled. "All grown up and in the family business, I see."
"You know him?"
"I used to babysit him," Amanda replied. "Back when Duncan and Joe were both pretending to be 'just folks,' and his sister Katie needed someone to keep an eye on her son while she was still … 'trying to save her marriage', I believe is the phrase."
"TMI," Cassidy uttered, shaking her head. "So… what's a Watcher?"
"A Watcher," Nick began, "is a mortal who keeps track of a specific Immortal. Watchers are part of a secret society, who observe and record the exploits of their subjects, but …" He sighed. "We're sworn never to interfere …" Nick held up his left arm, showing Cassidy a tattoo of a stylized 'W' inside a circle on his wrist.
"Soooo ... if 'Manda and I were to get into it right here and now, you'd just stand back and watch us slaughter each other?" Cassidy asked wickedly.
"NO!" Nick hissed, glaring at the unrepentant redhead. Amanda laughed.
"And here I thought you only got that irate with me, love," she teased.
"So who's my Watcher?" Cass asked.
"Ah, I don't think you've got one assigned to you yet," Nick hedged, grimacing.
"Well, no one's reported your first death," he continued.
"Uh, actually, yes they have …" she countered, spinning one toe of her spare pair of running shoes in the dirt. "But it was forty years ago."
"Wait … forty years?" Amanda demanded, even while Nick was grabbing his laptop out of his Bronco's backseat.
"Cassidy … MacLean, right?" he queried, typing her name into the Watcher's database. Cass nodded, peeking over his shoulder. She still didn't get the whole computer concept yet, even thought the W.I.T.C.H. girls had been helping with her re-education in modern living. "Hmm … nothing. So, who knows you're dead, but not?"
"Oh, everyone knows I died; it was a … skiing accident …" Cassidy looked away, and inward. Even after all this time, Nerissa's betrayal still rankled. "Everyone … everyone thinks I'm my own long-lost daughter." She faked a giggle and naughty grin. "I certainly spread myself around in those days. 'Course, it was the sixties."
"Ah, beatniks, peace rallies, and free love, eh?" Amanda said, nodding knowingly.
"Yeah …" Cass replied, thinking of the worlds–spanning missions she and C.H.K.Y.N. had been spending 'the summer of love' on instead. Including her final one …
"So who knows the truth?" Nick asked.
"Well my best friends from back then knew," Cassidy admitted. "They were there at the time it happened. Yanni …" She gulped haltingly. "Yanni had to identify the body …"
"If you've died before, why'd you ask me about your leg?" Amanda asked.
"Oh, ah … well, I remember the car hitting me this time. Back then, all I remember was we were at the top of the slope, there was a crack of thunder, and the next thing I know, I'm back from the dead."
"Ouch," Amanda uttered, giving Nick a sad look.
"Yeah, but I'll take coming back surrounded by my best friends in the infinite dimensions to another trip to the morgue any day," Cass countered.
"Hey, at least we're out of Toronto," Nick chuckled. "I swear the M.E. was this close to losing her mind ..." He held up thumb and forefinger less than a centimeter apart. At Cassidy's blank look, he added, "We went through a few weeks back when Amada and I first met where several of her old … acquaintances ... treated the morgue like a cheap hotel with a revolving door." Amanda couldn't help her laugh, and Cassidy, picturing the possible misadventures of Amanda's likely bevy of 'old acquaintances,' started snickering as well.
"Oh, man, we've got to get your old friends and mine together to compare notes someday," the Water-girl muttered, her usual sense of humor restored.
"Well, the ones that would get the joke anyway, darling," Amanda replied, chuckling.
"Alright, let's go get us some Chinese, and I'll show you two around," Cassidy said.
"Sounds like a plan," Nick returned, opening the doors on the passenger side of his Bronco for the two women.
"Whah, thaink you, kahnd suh!" Amanda said in her best Southern Belle accent with a grin. She gave him a kiss on the cheek before stepping up into the truck. Cass giggled quietly at their display as she got into the back seat. Nick handed her his laptop, for return to its case on the seat next to her. "Next, we'll have to find the right place for your fighting lessons," Amanda continued.
"I think I know just the spot," Cassidy replied. "I'll add it to the tour."
… she didn't foresee just how strange that detour would be …