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 2: The Horsemen's Marks
Caspian pushed his dessert plate away with a soft groan, sitting back. He was the last of the Horsemen to finish eating what had been an excellent feast, a celebration of their reunion. Kronos, Methos and Silas were contentedly enjoying their whisky, leaning back in their chairs with the look of the replete. They were the only patrons remaining in the restaurant.
Madeleine was leaning against the bar. Seeing Caspian pour himself more Ardbeg, she sighed softly, whispering "Are they ever going to leave?" to the barman. She found Methos' steady gaze on her when she turned back. She couldn't interpret the look on his angular face. Madeleine straightened up, coming forward. Kronos immediately angled his head to watch her. He reminded her of a wild cat: he might purr, or attack without warning.
"Well, Agents of Armageddon?" she said pleasantly, stopping between Methos and Silas, warier of Kronos and Caspian than of them. Caspian casually returned his attention to her body. She would have jokingly asked if Famine could possibly be full, but the ravenous look in his face as he stared at her breasts suggested that this would be a very bad idea. "More desserts? Cheese and fruit? Coffees? Cappuccinos? Liqueurs?"
Kronos stretched languidly. Madeleine was forcibly struck by the fluid, muscular grace of his movement. All four men looked dangerous, formidable opponents in whatever criminal life she imagined they were engaged in. She thought grimly that she wouldn't be surprised if they were hiding weapons in their coats. They shared looks, then Kronos shook his head. "Nothing more."
Caspian spoke suddenly in the old language, his gaze remaining on Madeleine's chest. Kronos started to grin, together with Silas, as Caspian's words played out. Methos' gaze darted between them; he was shaking his head warningly. Kronos considered Methos, then looked calmly at Madeleine.
"Except your pen," Kronos amended.
She wasn't the only one to look surprised. Caspian looked at Kronos sharply; it seemed to Madeleine that he was complaining. Kronos answered firmly, while Madeleine was aware that Methos seemed to relax a bit. Submitting with a scowl, Caspian turned his attention back to her, putting his hand out. She timidly held the pen out, across the table, but Caspian didn't take it. He merely met her eyes, indicating with a crooked finger that she was to bring it around to him. Caspian's mad grin was unnerving; Methos had to push her to get her moving.
Looking wary, Madeleine circled around the table to Caspian's side. He took the pen, then darted a hand out to seize her left arm, pulling it across his chest. Kronos and Methos both watched alertly, as if Caspian might disobey. Madeleine shook her head quickly at the barman as Caspian exposed the white inner arm, stroking it before drawing a symbol on the smooth skin below the crook of her elbow. Beside her, Silas watched delightedly. Caspian released Madeleine, sharing a grin with Kronos. Silas immediately seized her other arm, laughing like a child. Caspian passed the pen over, and Silas drew his symbol on her right arm, in the sister spot to the one Caspian had chosen.
Madeleine looked curiously at her arms, putting them together, eyebrow raised. "Merci," she bit out. "I feel like a giant doodle pad."
She was aware of Kronos' sharp gaze on her face, and thought it likely that Methos was watching her as well. They were like wolves hungry for signs of weakness, waiting to move in for the kill. She started picking up plates, hoping against hope that the other two men wouldn't feel the need to sign her skin as well. She moved away from Caspian as soon as she could, without provoking his obvious aggression.
Just as she started to turn away, Methos leaned forward and took the pen from Silas. "Wait," Methos commanded, moving around the table to tower over her. She forced herself to stop and show him an untroubled face, ignoring the laughter of the other men. Methos twiddled the pen, looking over Madeleine as he considered where to leave his sign. At length, he pushed her hair off her face, sketching his symbol on her forehead. Behind him, the Horsemen laughed and exchanged comments in the old tongue. When he finished, Methos gently cradled Madeleine's face, kissing the mark on her forehead. He was aware that she was trembling subtly under his lips, afraid but determined not to show her fear. Releasing her, he looked past her to Kronos.
Madeleine turned as well, exhaling resignedly. She found Kronos looking at her breasts, his expression quite different than the leering stare Caspian had directed on her. When he looked up to meet her eyes, his smile spreading, she brought her chin up. "Oh no," she bit out, hugging the dirty dishes defensively, "You're not drawing on my chest!"
She tried to turn away, but found Methos blocking her. He took her firmly by her arms, staring down at her with a warning expression before squaring her up to Kronos. Caspian pulled the dishes from her, grinning.
"Madeleine!" the barman shouted, starting forward. Kronos sprang up, glaring at him. Madeleine quickly looked over, shaking her head. The barman stopped, staring at them, then reluctantly withdrew to his place behind the bar. When Madeleine looked back, Kronos was standing very close, looking down into her face.
"Madeleine," Kronos repeated. "Pretty name."
Madeleine compressed her lips, staring up at him with false bravado. He pushed her hair up to examine Methos' mark, smiling at Methos over Madeleine's head. He took the pen from Methos, then dropped his gaze to the neckline of Madeleine's blouse, where the tops of her breasts were partially visible. He stroked along the material, looking critically at the smooth flesh. Madeleine exhaled sharply, starting to get angry. He grinned at her, unbuttoning the top button so that the top of her bra was exposed. Humming, he carefully sketched his sign in the V above her breasts. Methos looked over Madeleine's shoulder, watching him work. Kronos grinned at her again, then dipped his head to kiss the skin where he had signed her. His men laughed and egged him on. He lifted his head, looking very pleased with himself.
Madeleine shook Methos off, angrily fastening her blouse. She glared at Kronos.
Kronos smiled, pleased with her spirit. He stopped her when she turned toward the table, catching her chin and forcing her wary gaze back to his. "Be thankful: we usually use knives to carve our marks on our women."
Madeleine looked sharply at him, going white.
"The Apocalypse is at hand," Kronos continued, sliding his hand along her jaw and through her hair to cradle the back of her head. "Your fate, however, is not to die. Once you're dead, come to us, and we'll show you how to live forever."
She looked completely taken aback by his words, causing him to chuckle.
"Mark my words," Kronos smiled, cocking his head playfully, patting Madeleine's cheek. He held her big eyes for a protracted moment, then reached into the pocket of her apron. She jumped at the feeling of his fingers against her body. His other hand, still at the back of her head, stopped her instinctive attempt to move away. Kronos found the bill she had ready for him. He scanned it, releasing her to pull his wallet out.
Madeleine heaved a quick breath, stepping back slowly. She was aware of how Caspian's gaze followed her. She refused to look at any of the Horsemen. Instead, she circled behind Kronos and became busy stacking the remaining dishes, standing by Methos' empty chair. She continued in her work as Caspian and Silas stood up, their attention on Kronos.
Kronos quietly placed a large pile of American money onto the table, glancing at Madeleine as he did so. He stepped over to her. She met his eyes with a sigh, her expression wary. He grinned, pushing a wad of money into her apron. "Your tip, woman," he murmured, stepping back with a pleased look, while Madeleine forced her hands to unclench. "You have served us well, as you will in your true life. Once you're reborn, don't forget that you belong to the Horsemen… and be sure that you don't make us come looking for you!" He pinched her chin before turning away, making her throw her head like a spirited filly. Madeleine joined the barman in watching warily as the Horsemen left.
Out in the cool air and diffuse light of the Bordeaux street, Kronos tossed his car keys in the air, smiling. Madeleine hadn't noticed him retrieving them from her apron. He shared a pleased look with his men. "Come, brothers. We have work to do!" he purred, leading them into the night.
Author's Note: this is as far as I plan to take this story, as Highlander fans will know what happened to the Horsemen following their reunion. Anyone who wishes to take up the story is more than welcome to! Thanks for reading. Cheers, Ya Nefer Ma'at