Only for those interested in how the writer's mind works. This was actually the first version of the story I wrote after I read my Lyric Wheel Challenge lyric.

This story is set following the episode The Valkyrie.

Little Blue, Version Two by Laura Mason

 Oh, Highlander. Your smile looks like heaven, but your eyes hold a storm about to brew. And there's not a damn thing I can do about that, is there? I sit here, useless to myself – and to you. At least Amanda is here, distracting you, keeping your mind here in Joe's bar. Not letting the clouds assembled on the horizon of your smile break into a full storm. Amanda can hold them back; I can't.

Ryan and Dawson do their parts, too. With such a fine flock of friends, why did I ever think you needed me here? Deluding myself again. You don't need me; I wanted to be here. I need... no, I survived millennia without you, I don't *need* you.

I could have taken Ingrid's head with no qualms. If I had, you might be after my head now. Instead, you suffer. Wonderfully, dramatically -- and I'm not implying that it isn't genuine, that you aren't honestly suffering. Everything about you is honest, including this pain you feel at a friend's death. You judge others, you judge yourself, and it's a damn good thing that you can't take your own head.

I'm not the only one who was worried, judging by Joe's efforts to get Richie and Amanda back here. Joe even managed to convince Amanda to keep Cory away; she must have been spooked. So the Clan gathers, and the chieftain recovers... But what the hell am I doing here?

It might be nice to pretend I'm a part of the Clan. Not a full member, you understand. More like the bastard son, welcomed back after repenting of his youthful excesses. But of course you don't know about my youth. You have no idea what I've done, been. How much repentance is still necessary. If you did, you'd have taken my head when I offered it to you two years ago.

I know damn well I'm not in your Clan. It's obvious even to a fool like me.

"Adam, are you still using those tickets tomorrow? For the Wheel of History tryout?" Dawson's question floats over to me.

"Yeah, Joe."

"They take people from the studio audience to audition. Isn't that kind of public for you?" Joe looks concerned. I think he just wants to keep me talking. I shrug instead and turn back to my beer, but not soon enough.

Don't smile at me, MacLeod. When I see your smiling face... I know I should be happy for you, be happy you can smile again. I don't enjoy your misery. But when you smile at me, all the beer in the world can't soothe the rage I feel.

I don't mind being kicked out of the loft so you can sleep with Amanda. I gave up our morning walk in search of coffee and newspapers so that you were able to meet Richie for a spar instead. I give up quiet evenings reading in the loft so you can spend time with Joe, giving him your stories and your friendship. And I don't mind, honestly I don't. How could I resent them for loving you? If they were blind, unappreciative, unresponsive – then I'd hate them. If they hurt you...

I can't hate others for being part of your Clan, for orbiting you just like I do. They need the sunshine and warmth as much as I do. What I can do is hate you for not realizing that I need you. Your time, your attention. You try to give everyone what they want and need, so why don't you see what I need? You don't really see me at all, do you? That may be the only reason I'm still alive, still allowed here on the fringes of your life.

"Adam, is anyone using the other ticket tomorrow?" I shake my head, and you continue. "Great. Can I have it?"

What? "Are you planning to heckle the contestants, MacLeod?"

"No."

"Who are you giving it to?" That's the only explanation, you aren't coming with me, Richie wants to go or...

"No one, I want to go. It sounds like fun."

"What about Richie? Don't you two have a spar tomorrow?"

"Richie is heading back to Portland to meet some friends for a camping trip."

"I don't have another ticket for Amanda."

"She's catching a plane to Hong Kong in the morning," and you smile. "Cory is waiting for her there, though I'm not supposed to know that." At my disbelieving look, your smile fades and the pain in your eyes peeks out at me again. "I appreciate what Joe did. But it's time to stand on my own again, and let my friends get back to their lives."

Amanda calls you to dance with her, and I'm left marveling. Your friends are going back to their lives. I stay here, making me the one without a life, true enough. Until you walked into my flat, I hadn't lived for years. And now I just seem to be hanging around you, waiting for whatever Duncan MacLeod's life will bring next.

Even on the fringes, it's dangerous for me to be here. But I'd rather be near you than be safe. Being your friend is agony -- and I'm so happy to be your friend I can't speak it, can't show it.

You want to be with me tomorrow for a stupid game show tryout. That's incredible, wonderful, reassuring -- unbelievable. Almost as terrifying as knowing that I want to be with you, always. If you see my tears, you'll think I'm drinking too much, perhaps remembering my dead. You probably haven't lived long enough to understand, to be grateful for pain when it proves you're still alive.

 Feedback welcome

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