All I Needed by Raine Wynd
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Author's Notes:
TPTB own the Highlander concepts and its characters. I'm just borrowing them for a walk down my version of Wonderland, and I might be inclined to bring them back. However, Gilbert St. Clair, Carina St. Clair, and Jack Williams are mine. This is for the K'immie revolution of the Lyric Wheel. Thanks to Jennifer Campbell for the lyrics to Sting's "Moon Over Bourbon Street", borrowed here without permission.

Huge thanks to Amand-r, who suggested the k'immie for this when I despaired of ever being able to find one worthy of the song.

Comments, constructive criticism, AriZona Green Tea coupons, and anagrams may be sent to the author. :-)

This takes place shortly after the flashback in "The Vampire."

I've heard it said that the wee hours of the morning are no times to go wandering through the halls of one's mind. The city streets are fairly deserted at this time of night. There's a full moon over Bourbon Street, but it's shadowed by the clouds, and so its light is faint. Perhaps that is best. Were I to see it, I might be tempted to make a wish, like some child who believes that wishes on full moons will come true. But I know that wishes are as useless as dust. Nothing can change what happened.

She was an innocent girl, a debutante from the finest families in New Orleans. My intentions had been sincere, but I knew that every move I made that brought me closer to a sense of peace was one step closer to danger. I was young, but I'd already had cause to know that falling in love with a mortal meant exposing her to the kill-or-be-killed world in which I lived. I felt safe in New Orleans; no one remembered me from two generations ago, when I'd been mortal. Maybe that was why I paid the warnings of my instinct little heed. I was Immortal... and reckless in that knowledge. I was invincible; I'd won every challenge that had come my way, discounting the fact I'd rarely been challenged. Perhaps that made me arrogant enough to believe I'd never lose my head.

Certainly Gilbert St. Clair believed it. He'd left for a trip to France several months earlier, and had entrusted his daughter, Carina, to me. He'd confided to me that he wanted us to marry. Whether or not he told Carina didn't matter to me. I was sure that she wouldn't object to the match. We got along well, and she had seemed interested in me. Gilbert's trip was the perfect opportunity for me to get to know her better, and vice versa. I was certain that a wife was the only thing I needed to make my life complete. My head was full of visions of contentment. All I needed was Carina.

Perhaps I should've made my intentions more clear, been there for her more when her father died. But Nicholas Ward swept her off her feet before anyone, not even me, her father's closest friend, could say anything. I was left to ponder the mystery of her father's death. I'd been called away on business, and arrived back in town only to be told that Gilbert had been killed by a werewolf. Gilbert had been one of the few people I could trust with my secret, and his death devastated me.

I didn't want to believe the stories of a werewolf. It was too incredible of a story, yet Gilbert was dead. Immortality could be believed, for I couldn't deny what I was. Somehow, werewolves just didn't seem possible. But who was I to deny the stories I'd heard about one being on the loose in New Orleans, the city where magic seemed even more possible than most?

Maybe I was wrong to doubt Nicholas. Still, something about him made me wonder just how much substance lay beneath the fashionable facade he presented. I told myself it was nothing more than the usual lies and half-truths that Immortals had to weave in order to survive. It bothered me somehow that he claimed a friendship with Gilbert that I hadn't known about; Gilbert was forever introducing me to the people he'd met even in the most casual of encounters. I should've listened to that warning.

Unfortunately, I didn't. I chose instead to force myself into a restless slumber.

The night held little fascination for the man who walked Bourbon Street. A black coat covered his proud frame, protection against the bitter winter wind. A full moon hung high in the midnight sky, but the streetlights still burned, for the night sky was just cloudy enough to warrant the extra light. The respectable people of New Orleans had long since gone to bed, but the man in the street cared little about respectability. Respect was nothing more than fear for the ignorant, and the unwise. He felt that emotion radiate clearly from the eyes who watched him walk. Silently, he sneered. The man ignored the pale faces that stared at him from the shelter of doorways and narrow alleys; he had a mission to accomplish tonight. The brim of his hat concealed his face, but those who had seen it swore it was the face of a fallen angel.

Another man might've contemplated regret, pondered the meaning behind his actions. Not so for this one. His morals had been fashioned in a different time, when life was harsher for the masses than it was now. He was trapped in this life like an innocent lamb, but he was far from innocent. He'd long ago stopped asking the questions why, and had started expecting the answers to be given to him when he demanded. He did not like it when that order was upset.

He had a plan. It was a simple one: marry money. Throughout the centuries, Nicholas Ward had married well many times. This last time should've been as simple as the others, but his recent encounter with Duncan MacLeod had screwed up his plans. By now, he should've been in Paris, enjoying the fruits of his last scheme. Instead, he'd had to leave the city, and though he'd planned on doing so, he hadn't expected to go this far away from the land he'd called home for centuries. Nor had he expected to have to leave the city so quickly after one of his schemes.

Still, plans could change, and Nicholas had become an expert of sorts in adjusting his plans. He wasted little time in ruing his misfortune, and instead had decided to follow a rumor he'd heard some months ago. There had been talk of some wealthy businessmen in the Americas, and Nicholas had been intrigued enough to follow that rumor. Meeting Gilbert St. Clair on the ship from France had been a stroke of divine luck, for Gilbert was not only a wealthy merchant, he had a daughter as well. Gilbert had spoken of a suitor he had had in mind, a Jack Williams, but Nicholas had largely discounted him within the first few minutes of meeting him.

Nicholas' eyes narrowed as his steps slowed. Even though he didn't think Jack to be a threat, Jack was still another Immortal, and had to be eliminated. Nicholas didn't want any interference; he'd made the mistake of assuming that Duncan would stand aside. He wasn't about to make that same mistake again. No, this time he was going to ensure that another Immortal didn't interfere with his plans.

Nicholas grimaced as he thought of how MacLeod had ruined his last attempt at gaining a fortune. Nicholas had thought the vampire idea had been particularly inspired, and had contemplated using it again here in New Orleans when he'd heard that werewolves were the story of the month. Never one to avoid capitalizing on sensationalism, Nicholas had thought the gossip to be particularly useful.

Standing at the edge of being sensed by Jack, Nicholas stared at the house where his enemy lay sleeping. He disliked having to kill another Immortal; it was so terribly flashy with no flair. Still, Nicholas didn't hesitate any longer.

No one would stand in his way of taking the St. Clair fortune. All he needed was Carina, and even she wouldn't last long. Nicholas smiled, and moved towards eliminating one more obstacle in his path.

The sense of Presence jerked me out of my sleep. I had no memory of falling asleep, but already the adrenaline was rushing to my brain, trying desperately to compensate for the sudden shift of awareness. I was up and on my feet, scrambling for the sword I'd foolishly had left across the room. I should've known better than to presume that a locked door would've provided better protection. The door proved no barrier to a strong kick, as much a victim of Nicholas as I soon became. I didn't have a chance.

Even as I felt the blade cut through my throat, I prayed that someone would make Nicholas pay for what he's done.

Nicholas smiled as the last of the Quickening faded into his soul. Taking Jack Williams's head had been pathetically easy. Whistling tunelessly, he rose to his feet and left the lightning-ravaged room behind. Mentally, he ticked off the remaining players in his plan, and grinned wolfishly.

By the end of the week, he figured, he would have another fortune in his hands. It was a pity, he thought, that Carina had to die. He shrugged fatalistically. Mortals were so fragile, and their time was so fleeting.

She would've died eventually anyway, her dark beauty all faded and her spirit undoubtedly broken by marriage and children. He was merely ensuring that the memories of her were not marred by the scars of time. It was, after all, his choice to destroy what he loved and to love what he destroyed. He couldn't think of a better way to obtain money. All he needed was a bit of charm, an introduction to a wealthy family with a marriageable daughter, a good piece of gossip, selectively dropped here and there for the ignorant masses to spread, and Nicholas was set.

Nothing had changed that in all the centuries of his life. Duncan MacLeod might have tried to stop him, but Nicholas was an ocean away from him now. No one would stop him now. He was so close to a fortune, he could taste it.

Throwing his head back, he gazed up at the moon. Impulsively, he howled, relishing in the thrill. He knew, come morning, that the story of a werewolf on the loose would be the hot gossip once more.

Carina would be no doubt distraught by the sudden death of her father's friend, and would need all the reassurance in the world. Nicholas, of course, would make sure he was there to comfort her in the time of her need. He would point out the perils of a woman alone, with no one to protect her from those that would harm her. Nicholas would graciously offer to provide that protection, if only she married him.

Carina wouldn't stand a chance against his charm.

He smiled again.

For once, everything was going to plan.

– Finis – 5.21.99
I used lots of lines from this song.

Moon over Bourbon Street
written by Sting

There's a moon over Bourbon Street tonight.
I see faces as they pass beneath the pale lamp light.
I've no choice but to follow that call.
The bright lights, the people and the moon and all.

I pray every day to be strong,
For I know what I do must be wrong.
Oh, you'll never see my shade,
Or hear the sound of my feet,
While there's a moon over Bourbon Street.

It was many years ago that I became what I am.
I was trapped in this life like an innocent lamb.
Now I can never show my face at noon,
and you'll only see me walking by the light of the moon.

The brim of my hat hides the eye of a beast.
I've the face of a sinner, but the hands of a priest.
Oh, you'll never see my shade,
Or hear the sound of my feet,
While there's a moon over Bourbon Street.

She walks every day through the streets of New Orleans;
She's innocent and young, from a family of means.
I have stood many times outside her window at night,
To struggle with my instinct in the pale moonlight.
How could I be this way, when I pray to God above?
I must love what I destroy and destroy the thing I love.

Oh, you'll never see my shade,
Or hear the sound of my feet,
While there's a moon over Bourbon Street.