Four Coins and a Fountain
Highlander/Raven slash. Amanda. U.

One olive-skinned waiter and it would be all over, I suppose. When you're 767 years old and your only long-time friends have a bad habit of trying to lop your head off every other decade you tend to grab pleasures where you find them. And when the only attraction in the vicinty has already been scented by a very old friend the night is almost certainly going to end in tears. Amanda's never been one to give up her possessions lightly, and given her kleptomania for grabbing anything of value around her (be it human or otherwise) it looks as if I'm in for one hell of a battle.

I can't help it. I'm in the mood for violet-eyed beauties with suede hair, goatees and shy smiles. Tunisians especially. Been trying to kick the habit for years now but I keep backsliding, as it were. Even moved to Norway once for some vanilla-and-peaches therapy. Kept me occupied for three score months before I got bored of the paleness and the transparent veins and the rosy pink nipples. So now I'm back in Madeira, at the same villa Amanda lived at all those sunsets ago. You can bet the irony isn't lost on her: this time she's neither the host nor the guest of honour.

I've been here before too, even to one of her and what's-his-name's balls. Doubt she'd remember me. I wasn't quite – how to put it – as well-known as I am now. Infamous might be a better word. And so many faces pass before us it gets difficult to even recognise our own kind. I saw the waiter's expression when he caught my eye earlier. He's been warned. But you can see the moral struggle going on behind those brown orbs between the pride of being singled out and the fear he's a prize in a bull fight.

I questioned him about his age at the start of the night and he said 'nineteen'. I asked if that was in inches or years and do you believe he actually blushed beneath that whipped chocolate complexion. He's either as innocent as he looks or he's had excellent training in what turns me on. Given the complexities of Immortal relationships it's difficult to gauge which is more likely. With one or two exceptions mortals are usually treated as fodder. If I take him and discard him will anyone notice? Or am I being manipulated by someone high in the kindred? Is someone out to provoke Amanda and I into a all out fight?

Intrigues intrigue me, if you'll pardon the alliteration. I was there, in Salem, when puberty spilt blood and juvenile lusts flamed brightly. Not my fault I hasten to add. Fair maidens don't do anything for me though when pushed to the test I can perform with gusto. I once fell for Methos in a big way but there's more than a hint of burning steel in those eyes and I retreated quickly before I got cut. At my time of life cowardice comes easily.

He's still there by the fountain, the waiter. Somehow his collar has become loosened (and our host won't like that one bit), a few dark hairs curling out over the white starched circlet. Amanda's noticed too, I see. She looks at me and smiles with sharp, perfect teeth. I nod back and raise my glass slightly. The amber liquid catches a stray reflection from the waters and for a moment I am reminded of a cat's eye. Or a serpent's…

I wonder if there's anything worth trading for him. Been out of the loop a while so no choice gobbets of information to throw to the beast. Material possessions bore me rigid. You can't carry much gold and jewelery with you when the time comes to move on, so – no pretty trinkets for the lady then. Can't teach her anything – she's had a head start on me in every possible profession by many normal lifetimes. I can match her in swordsmanship, and probably marksmanship too. Never mastered the whip so she wins on that account. Some angel tried to teach me it once but the fad didn't last long and neither did he.

"His name's Samir", a soft voice murmers in my ear. Startled now: I hadn't heard her come up and lapses like that are frequently fatal. "I know" I lie. "His twin brother works in the cafe by the fort." In for a penny, in for a pound… Her eyes narrow briefly as the information is processed. Then she laughs,"You're such a tease." Say what you will about her lifestyle but Amanda is heady perfume. It's almost impossible to upstage her in glamour or charm. The Witch manages it on occasion, but she's as mad as ever she was and hasn't been invited tonight. "Shall we draw lots" Amanda says. But I know she's not serious. She's in a winning mood, not a gambling one.

"I see they've redecorated" I respond lightly. She looks around at the stuccoed walls and their Mondrians. It's all carefully tasteful. It may be an old pile on the outside now but the current owners have spent a small fortune bringing the interior to the new millennium. "I used to own this", Amanda says. "I know," I say, "and your parties were livelier too." And for once she's been wrong footed and stares as if seeing me for the first time. Underneath I'm wearing a warm smug smile though my admission may cost me dear in the weeks to come when she finds out I must have been fucking her husband. As I said, I'm a fool for dark looks…

Methos approaches, like a snake. "Enchanted" he says and bows. I stay in character and curtsey. Amanda doesn't bat an eyelid. "I see you've met my friend" says Methos. And cool as a cat he walks up to the waiter and kisses him on the mouth. It's obvious from the way my waiter's arms encircle his back that they've know each other quite a while.

"Fuck". The word comes out of my mouth automatically. To her credit Amanda remains looking unmoved. I've a sneaking suspicion she's planned this all along. "What a wasted night" I mutter and turn to leave, but she puts a ringed hand on my arm to stop me. "Wait…" she whispers.

Methos extracts his tongue from the waiter and looks back at us. Samir is grinning from ear to ear like the proverbial Cheshire. "Ladies," says Methos. "Fancy a foursome?"

And suddenly the night doesn't seem quite as wasted as before.