Disclaimers: Rysher: Panzer/Davis owns these characters. I’m certainly not making a profit off this. Notes are at the bottom to identify the stray immortals who wandered through. Core Music & Rush own the lyrics. Written for the ‘Quickening’ lyric wheel. Lyrics used marked with a *.
Rated: PG, at most. What do you expect, when it’s from the priest’s POV?
One life, one storm. That’s how it seems to work, Lord, and I do have to wonder what you were thinking when you set this up. Lord, Lord, thy works are marvelous to behold, but I could do without ever seeing this terrible glory again, I have to tell you that now.
Your creation is so intricate, from the beating wings of the smallest butterfly to the constant ebb and flows as the tides respond to lunar gravitation. How can a man see the perfect precision of Your great clockwork and not be moved? Everything turns in perfect, synchronous relation, the winds stirred by planets in rotation -- the very stars of the heavens are born and fall as meteor rain across the night.... How can I not admire, Lord, and be amazed by Your skill?
And yet... I’m fallible, and short-sighted, I suppose, but I cannot see a point to this ‘Game’ these poor souls are playing. Mortal man is imperfect, I know, and these immortals aren’t exactly perfect either -- I only have to look at poor Carl’s fall from the heights to see that -- but I keep hoping that You’ll send a prophet to show them the way out of this mess they’re in. Surely there is one, somewhere. There must be.
Three times now, I’ve watched these trials by combat of theirs, and while I can admire the wild, pure beauty these ‘quickenings’ have, that doesn’t keep from praying every time never to see one again. I even pray for the souls of the losers, although that’s tried me sorely. Gabriel Larca not only set himself up as a god, he tried to take poor Derek down into sin and murder with him. Duncan MacLeod saved Derek from Larca and then helped him get down here to train with Carl, and he’s in my prayers every night for that.
Felice Martens, now, well, I will say she got what the good Lord sent her; how else explain her trying her wiles on someone who’d already been warned by Duncan? A hard, hard woman, and I pray for her soul every night because surely someone warped her, Lord. She was too angry, fighting too hard for it not to have been against something. Now, Carl and Derek didn’t have the time or inclination to do something to set her off like that, so I’m thinking that she was trying to kill someone far away or long dead. But if it was peace she wanted, then Felice got her wish. Carl told her that if she’d just leave Derek alone he’d have no quarrel with her. I do wish she’d listened, but... Thy will be done, and Thy peace on her, O Lord. And I surely think she’ll have need of it!
As for that fool this afternoon, Lord -- and not to speak ill of the dead, but sweet Jesus, that man was an idiot! Well, all I can say is that it was surely a pleasure to see what happened. I don’t suppose I should take pleasure in fighting and dying, but I’ve watched Derek and Carl train so often that I’ve learned to see the beauty in a perfectly executed thrust or pattern of attack and defense, and this afternoon surely had that. And it’s petty and wrong, but I’m just human -- it was a pleasure to watch that trash-talking, loud-mouthed bigot’s face when it wasn’t a black man who came out to fight him, but a white man who took offense at his words and took his head in defense of a ‘nigger child.’
Carl is a good man who’s been teaching Derek all the pride a tall, strong man should have and all the responsibilities that go with that pride and strength. One of the hardest lessons he’s had to teach, and teach by example, is forgiveness. And acceptance, I suppose. He and his teacher, Matthew McCormick, they do go back a ways. Matthew wasn’t a young man when he first found Carl, newly immortal and recently recaptured, and it can’t have been a simple thing for Matthew to be teaching a runaway slave who’d belonged to his wife’s family. But whether he worked from the belief that all immortals are family, regardless of their skin, or whether he just didn’t want Carl to betray the secret of immortality, Carl freely admits that Matthew McCormick was a fine teacher who did his best by his student. Made Carl good enough to make it almost two centuries now, even if they did have a falling out.
But when Matthew called and asked after Derek, whether there was anything Carl needed or Matthew could do to help, well, Carl didn’t take more’n a few minutes to invite him down to visit. Although he did mention that he’d appreciate it if Matthew didn’t get him shot this time.
Tell you the truth, Lord, I wasn’t sure I was going to like Matthew McCormick. Never thought I’d meet a man who’d owned slaves, although come to think of it, Duncan’s old enough to have owned slaves, too. Don’t think he ever did, mind You. Funny, though. Somehow, I like this ‘Southern’ immortal.
I called him Southern yesterday and he grinned at me like I’d said something funny, then for the rest of the day he used a British accent sharp enough to trim the boards for Miz Marie’s roof. Matthew’s got a sarcastic way of looking at a man sideways when he thinks you’re being a damned fool and a sense of humor that cuts him as much as anyone else, and I can’t help it; I don’t dislike the man. He’s a good one under all those mannerisms of his, perfectly willing to help patch an old woman’s roof -- and claim that a piece of her pie is more than pay enough -- or to help coach the little league team. He doesn’t have Carl’s arm, but Lord, Lord, that man can swing a bat!
Doesn’t hurt my liking him one little bit that when this Billy Rand wanted Derek’s head, and probably Carl’s, too, Matthew was the one who walked out there. Used his thickest drawl when he told the man he was going to have to fight the teacher, not the student. And I think he finished the fight as quickly as he could, too. He’s not a man who likes mess, Matthew, and not one to draw out a butcher’s job. That’s what it was, too. Rand could have taken Derek, surely, but not Matthew.
So we had a fight and then a body to bury, and now I’m sitting here in the dark night, watching the stars and remembering the sheer beauty of lightning on a hot summer’s day and reflecting on the horrible unfairness of invading another man’s privacy the way I did. Because the other thing I’m sure of, Lord, is that that light and fury strips a man’s soul bare, leaving him naked and defenseless for those minutes after it’s over and done. Their souls are reflected in another source of light than Yours then, Lord, laid bare for Your viewing and theirs, and it’s a hard thing to recover from, that sight of what you are and what you might yet be.
Bitterness breeds irritation, I know, and it works the other way around, too. So I didn’t say anything when all the clean-up was done, I just went and found Matthew. He was still sitting on the steps, sprawled out like every bone in his body ached and he wasn’t sure he was ever gonna get comfortable and didn’t know if he had the energy to care. I know, it’s a lot to read in the light of a single mosquito candle, but it was there, Lord, it was there.
A good shepherd of men, like a good bartender, knows when to speak and when to be silent. I just twisted the tops off a couple bottles of home brew and passed one over while he and I sat and watched the night. Sometime after we finished the first bottles and before either of us was actually ready to stand up for more, Carl and Derek came out with bottles, and passed ’em around.
All Carl said was, “Thanks, Matthew;” all Matthew answered was a lazy-sounding, “Most welcome, Carl,” and Derek keeping quiet there to let the two of them talk. Because for all their silence, they were talking. Sweet music in that quiet, though, with everything underneath what they had said: ‘I’m sorry’ and ‘I know’, and ‘It’s all right’ and ‘Damn right it is.’ Sweet music, and a sweet, breezy evening, dark and low with just the stars and the trees and the moon not even really there tonight, off on the other side of the world doing them no good ’cause it’s new moon, not full.
Never thought I’d like the dark so much, Lord, but after those brief, bright moments, I think I’ve had enough light. For a little while, at least.
~ ~ ~ finis 5/26/01 ~ ~ ~
Comments, Commentary, and Miscellanea:
‘De profundis, Domine, clamor ad te’ -- from the depths, O Lord, we cry out unto thee. From the old Latin liturgy of services.
Reverend Thomas Bell, Derek Worth, and Gabriel Larca are from the 5th season episode “Little Tin God;” Carl Robinson is from “Run For Your Life” in 2nd season and “Manhunt” in 5th. Matthew McCormick is from “Manhunt.” Duncan doesn’t need identifying, I hope. Felice Marten/Felicia Martins appeared in the 1st season episode “Free Fall.” Billy Rand is an idiot I created, and I assure you, he was no great loss.
This story is dedicated to every Christian who’s ever tried to live by Christ’s words over the teachings of those who claim to be His Church, with my thanks for the Light you’ve shed.
(lines used marked with *)
Energy is contagious
Tides respond to lunar gravitation *
Everything turns in synchronous relation *
Laughter is infectious
Excitement goes to my head
Winds are stirred by planets in rotation *
Sparks ignite and spread new information
respond, vibrate, feed back, resonate
Sundogs fire on the horizon
Meteor rain stars across the night *
This moment may be brief
But it can be so bright
Hope is epidemic
Bitterness breeds irritation *
Ignorance breeds imitation
Sun dogs fire on the horizon
Meteor rain stars across the night
This moment may be brief
But it can be so bright
Reflected in another source of light *
When the moment dies
The spark still flies
Reflected in another pair of eyes
Dreams are sometimes catching
Desire goes to my head
Love responds to your invitation
Love responds to imagination
respond, vibrate, feed back, resonate