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In The Beginning There Can Be Only One

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Summary: Willow's choice for Halloween has consequences stretching into the future. Way into the future.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Highlander > Willow-Centered(Current Donor)RngrThorneFR1834,6790359,89010 Apr 0927 Jul 14No

Chapter One

I don't own Buffy or Highlander. This little idea bit me some time back. It's not fleshed out into a full story since I don't intend to continue it. More of a plot bunny than anything.

After publishing this I remembered that it was inspired at least in part by scribbler's "Terran Jedi" series. Good read.

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My name is Willow Rosenberg. I was born in the year 1680 in the city of Kilkenny, Ireland to Tobias and Danielle Rosenberg, and I am Immortal. There are others like me, some good, some evil. Living many secret lives I have traveled through time toward the Gathering. In the end, there can be only one.

Folding the piece of paper, the redhead gave a final glance at her image in the mirror. She had on a long sleeve red top that revealed her midriff and a pair of tight leather pants that were tucked into thigh-high boots. After running a hand nervously over her navel, Willow grabbed a loop of ribbon with a plastic sword tied to it from the bed and draped it over her left shoulder. A long black jacket went on next, leaving her to adjust it so that the sword was hidden.

"Halloween here I come," she muttered as she heard the doorbell.

"You're gonna knock 'em dead," came a familiar voice from the door. Turning, Willow saw Buffy give her a 'thumbs-up' and a smile.

"Nah, I'll leave that to you," Willow replied with a self-conscious smile. "I mean, who can resist you in that dress?"

Buffy looked down at the red gown then back at Willow as she absently brushed a lock of hair from her black wig out of her face. "I do look great," she admitted.

"Very, um, fashionable, in an 18th century kind of way."

"Thanks. And you look very, uh, immortal-ish." The doorbell rang again. "I better let soldier-boy in."

"Oh, I'm done here," Willow told her.

"Cool."

======

Willow looked around at the confusion and panic around her. "Looks like Paris during a wine shortage," she grumbled. A shaggy-looking creature moved toward her, but yelped and ran when she pulled her sword from her coat and gashed it across the nose.

"Okay," she said to herself, "it's time to find the exit and . . ." A familiar sensation raced through her mind. As the buzzing increased, she stepped farther into the street and looked around her until her gaze locked with a young-looking man standing between two houses. He nodded and smiled before turning and walking back between the buildings.

Keeping her sword in her hand, Willow followed him into the back yard of one of the homes. He was waiting in the center of the yard, his own sword out as well. <br><br>

"My name is Willow Rosenberg," she told him, "and I have no wish to fight you."

"Well, Willow Rosenberg," he stopped and looked at her in confusion. "Rosenberg? With red hair?"

"What's wrong with that?" she asked, annoyed.

"Isn't Rosenberg German?"

"Never seen a German with red hair before?"

"No, not really," he replied.

"Oh. Well, my mother was Irish," she offered.

"Ah."

"You were saying?"

"Huh? Oh! Yes." Smirking, he raised his sword. "My name is Lawrence Campbell and I DO wish to fight you. I think your Quickening will be quite . . ." he thought for a word.

"Tasty?" she offered.

"No."

"Um, tart?"

"That's not it."

"Sweet?"

"Yeah! That's the one! Sweet!" Nodding his head, Lawrence said, "Thank you. Now you die."

"That's what I get for helping people," Willow complained as she brought up her sword to parry his attack.

======

"My, my," Spike whispered as he ran the back of his hand over the frightened Buffy's cheek, "not so much into the slaying right now, are you?" A whimper was his only reply. Turning to where a couple of the former-children were holding onto Angel and Xander, he smiled. "This is the fun part," he told them. Turning back around, he let his 'game face' come out. "Time to say goodbye to the living world." <br><br>

======

Getting stabbed in the chest hurt. The pain radiated through Willow's body even as she grabbed Lawrence's shirt with her left hand.

"That should keep you from struggling," he said with a leer.

"It's too bad you forgot something," she gasped.

"And what's that, my dear?"

"That wasn't my head." Keeping her grip on him, Willow brought her sword arm up and over then slashed back hard. With his head gone, the body went limp and the hand released his sword.

Willow fell away from Lawrence, dropping her sword in the process. With a cry of pain she pulled the length of steel from her chest and tossed it aside. There she lay for a long moment until the Quickening struck.

======

Giles flinched away from the statue he had just started reaching for as lightning began to dance across it. The arcs became stronger until they were joined by a cry of anguish. "TOOOOO MUUUUCH!" He barely had time to dive out of the room before it was ripped apart by an explosion.

======

The lightning show that had surrounded Willow stopped suddenly, dropping her body to the yard. She took two breaths before grunting and lying still, her hand lying next to the plastic hilt of her toy sword.

======

Spike's teeth were almost at her throat when Buffy shoved him across the room. "Next time try buying me dinner first," she told him as the pulled the now-askew wig off of her head.

Xander looked around with as much confusion as the children. "What the . . ."

"I guess play time's over," Spike muttered before running for the door.

======

Willow, still in the outfit from the night before, was standing in the middle of the display floor as Giles stepped inside. "Willow?" he asked as he looked around the emptied room.

"He left you a note," she told him, holding out a piece of paper.

"'Be seeing you,'" he read aloud. "I should have killed him when I had the chance."

A soft chuckle came from the redhead. "That doesn't sound like the Giles we know."

Pulling off his glasses, he started to clean them as he said, "Well, maybe there are parts of me you don't know."

"Yeah, I guess," came the whisper.

"Are you all right?"

This time the chuckle was louder but there was not humor in it. "All right?" She turned to look at him. "That depends. Am I ever going to be me again?" With a shake of her head she answered, "No. Will I ever be sick or get hurt too bad to heal?" She held up a knife. "You tell me." With a grimace she drew the knife across her palm then held it out for Giles to see.

"Willow, what are you . . ." His voice failed him as he watched the blood stopped then reversed itself. Then the wound closed and began to fade. "How can you do that?" he asked in a whisper.

"I became what I pretended to be."

"Everyone who had something from this shop did," he clarified.

There was pain in her voice, "But I'm still what I was pretending, Giles. I can feel it."

"What was it you were pretending," he asked fearfully.

"I wanted to be someone tough. Someone who wasn't so, so," she shrugged and sighed before finishing, "mousey."

"You're not --"

"I was," she cut him off. "I was nervous and frightened and I wanted to be big and strong like a Slayer. And when I saw the toy sword I had an idea." Holding the jacket open, she gave a sad smile. "Xander and I have watched a few episodes of the tv show and I thought, 'hey, Immortals are tough and kinda cool in a sorry-I-have-to-cut-your-head-off kind of way.'"

"So you're now Immortal."

"I'm AN Immortal. I felt it when I woke up." Nodding her head back toward the door, she explained, "There are more out there, now. Somehow last night's Quickening created them."

"That would explain the power surge," Giles said more to himself than to her.

"Power surge?"

"Just as I was about to destroy the statue Ethan was using for the spell it began to arc with electricity. Then, just before it exploded I heard a voice call out 'too much.'" There was a small smile. "I think you overloaded it."

"I did?" The smile was genuine this time. "I overloaded a god? That's kinda cool."

"Actually, I've always thought Willow Rosenberg was kind of cool," Giles told

"Oh stop it," she ordered as she blushed.

"You're smart, cheerful and brave." Before she could argue he held up a hand. "You and Xander both fight beside the Slayer. Buffy has the power but the two of you have never backed down. That's true bravery. Just because you're now Immortal doesn't make you any less brave."

"Thanks," Willow told him as she looked at the floor. "I just wish I hadn't had to kill him."

"Do you know who he was?" Giles asked.

"He said his name was Lawrence Campbell, but it was really Arnold Simmons." Seeing his confusion, she explained, "I took his Quickening. Well, part of it anyway. With it came both his imagined history and his real one."

"How does that work?" Giles curiosity wanted to know.

"Some say it's just our power, but others think it's actually the soul of the Immortal that's transferred." After pausing for a deep breath, she went on, "Either way, memories and skills of the one killed are transferred to the victor." A fake smile appeared again as she said, "In this case, me."

"You have his skills?"

"He was a mechanic. If you have car trouble I'm now your go-to gal. He," she stopped and looked away. "Arnold was dressed up to answer the door at his house," she explained. "I killed him in the back yard of his own home." Tears began to fall as her lip trembled. "I-I killed him in the house he bought from his parents. He-he g-grew up there." Giles barely made it to her side before Willow collapsed, sobbing. "Oh god," she sobbed into is jacket, "I'm a murderer."

"Hush," he whispered as he held her. "You were under a spell."

"What about the next time?" she asked weakly. "There are more out there. And some of them will be real bad guys."

"We'll deal with them like we deal with everything here," he insisted. When she looked up at him he smiled at her and said, "Together."

"Yeah," she smiled at him. "We'll do it together."

Nodding, he helped the new Immortal to her feet. "Let's get out of here," he told her.

"Yeah, costume shops make my skin crawl all of a sudden."

======

Spike looked at the mirror in confusion. "I don't bloody get it," he grumbled. "When did I get a reflection?" Baring his teeth, he stared at himself. "And where the hell did my fangs go?" Glancing at the door, he raised an eyebrow. "I wonder."

Ten minutes later Spike was walking down the street looking up at the sun. "This is bloody amazing," he whispered. Seeing his reflection in a window, he smiled at it. "I could get use to this," he told himself.
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