Disclaimer: The Horsemen belong to those who own Highlander, the Series. No profit will be made from this story, and no infringement is intended.
Serving the Horsemen
By Ya Nefer Ma'at
Chapter 1: Introductions
Madeleine took a deep, steadying breath as she approached a table of four wild-looking men. She held the menus in front of her like a shield. The men were talking animatedly, full of life and intemperate passion. Not the type of customer she liked to serve, but sometimes, the type that tipped really well.
They abruptly broke off their conversation, spinning to stare at her, before she was even half-way across the room to them. She paused, startled. It was as if they had sensed her, and her sense was not to their liking. To a man, they studied her, delighted smiles slowly spreading their lips. The men exchanged significant looks and talked excitedly in a language unknown to her, still watching like hawks. Their expressions were disconcerting, to say the least.
Madeleine replaced her uncertain look with a professional smile, stopping between a man with a long scar tracking from forehead to mouth, catching his right eyelid, and another with tattooed head and smooth, Mohawk-style hair.
"Bon soir, gentlemen," she smiled, pretending to be calm. They looked up at her with smiles that made her skin crawl. She hoped that they couldn't sense her nervousness, but suspected that they easily could.
The scarred man spoke, his voice strong and commanding. "We're not gentlemen," he informed her, to the delight of the others.
Madeleine tilted her head, considering his remark. "Good evening, rough-men?" she offered, meeting Scarface's hazel eyes.
He grinned up at her. "Horsemen."
"Horsemen!" Madeleine's eyebrows quirked.
Mon Dieu! Madeleine thought, keeping her face pleasant, Bloody nutjobs! Give me strength!
"So, whichever one of you orders the most food would be Famine, then?"
They roared with laughter at this. The man on her right with the Mohawk hair-style squeezed her thigh appraisingly. "Famine would be the one who wants to eat you," he said softly, pleased with the irritation she showed at his uninvited touch.
"I am not on the menu," Madeleine said firmly, ignoring the laughter. She handed the menus out, hoping to restore the proceedings to something rather more normal. Mohawk was still studying her body, almost salivating, but at least he wasn't fondling her anymore. Scarface, on the other hand, was staring avidly at her face, as if harvesting the thoughts she tried to keep to herself. "May I get you some drinks? Bloody Marys, perhaps?"
More of that savage, wild mirth.
"What do you fancy, brothers?" Scarface smiled at his companions, "Ale, wine, whisky?" They brightened up at 'whisky'. "What types of Scottish whisky do you have?" he asked, returning his sharp gaze to Madeleine.
She cocked her head, glancing back toward the bar. "We have the usual single malts… Glenfiddich, Glenmorangie, Belvenie." She shrugged. "It depends on your tastes. We have Islay single malts, such as Laphroaig and Ardbeg, if you like it smoky. If not, I would recommend Ancient Reserve Isle of Jura or Edra Dour, if money isn't an issue. Tamdhu is perfect you want an excellent whisky with a more reasonable price-tag. Then there's salty." She paused expectantly.
"I'll have smoky whisky," announced Mohawk, still appraising her with that unnerving, single-minded hunger.
"Laphroaig or Ardbeg?"
She inclined her head. "Famine likes it smoky," she observed, looking at the rest.
"So does War!" barked the largest of the men, sitting to Mohawk's right.
His proclamation startled a laugh from Madeleine. "War would," she agreed. "Ardbeg as well?"
"No. Laphroaig." Scarface answered for him. "We're buying bottles, not glasses."
"Bottles." Madeleine frowned. "Um." She seemed to be steeling herself. "Then I will need your car keys. And, a credit card."
Scarface grinned. "Money is not an issue." He presented a wallet bulging with American money. High denominations, too. "Satisfied?"
Madeleine considered him. "I'll see what the manager says. Car keys?"
Scarface dug the keys out, putting them into her hand and closing it, holding her fist between his hands. He continued to hold her eyes. "You keep them. You, and no one else. Take them home with you, when you leave tonight," he instructed. "Understand?"
Madeleine frowned, trying to comprehend the hidden meaning in his tone, unable to understand it from his words. "Oui…" she said eventually, still uncertain.
"Repeat your orders."
Orders? Madeleine cocked her head. Scarface squeezed her hand gently, looking compellingly up at her as if this was very important. "I will keep these, rather than leave them with the barman," she obediently repeated.
"And I will take them home with me tonight."
"Good girl." Scarface released her hands and leaned back.
Madeleine was silent, studying the other. Taking a deep breath, she looked at the keys in her palm. She made a point of dropping them into the pocket of the pretty apron she wore over her simple dress. Scarface watched her, his piercing gaze a sharp contrast to the pleasant smile stretching his lips.
Madeleine straightened up, resuming her professional mien. "Ardbeg for Famine; Laphroaig for War." She followed Scarface's gaze to the fourth Horseman, the one who looked least threatening. "And which whisky would… Death?… like?"
He nodded, smiling slightly, while the others hooted and celebrated him. "What whisky is the salty one?"
He looked inquiringly.
"It's from Thurso, right up on the North Sea. Supposedly, sea spray gets in the mash. I've had some bottles with a wonderful salty edge, but other bottles that were very pedestrian, really. I don't know what our stock is like… you might want to sample it first."
"I'll chance it," Death smiled, looking at Scarface.
"If you don't like it, we'll get another, brother," Scarface smiled back paternally. He turned to meet Madeleine's eyes.
"I guess that makes you Pestilence," she observed.
He grinned, inclining his head regally.
She sighed. "Then I hope that you're going to behave yourself," she said quietly, earning an expectant look, as if she was sure to amuse him with her next words. "Contagion is not welcome in any restaurant."
More unbridled laughter.
"Get me a bottle of Edra Dour, woman," Scarface ordered, smacking Madeleine smartly. He laughed when she jumped, eyes wide. She carefully bit back the words on her tongue, turning toward the bar. His hazel gaze followed her appreciatively.
Methos watched her go as well. "She'll do well in the Game, won't she, once she's out of her first life," he observed thoughtfully.
"I think she will," Kronos smiled broadly, meeting Methos' gaze. "Perhaps we should bring her into her Immortal splendor."
"That would be pleasant, brother," Methos smiled, opening his menu.