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Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know

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This story is No. 6 in the series "Highlander on the Hellmouth". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: Giles tells Xander how Byron became Immortal and became obsessed with the occult in the process.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Highlander > Giles-CenteredidontlikegravyFR1311,211021,4452 May 092 May 09Yes
Disclaimer: Highlander and Buffy the Vampire Slayer do not belong to me, nor do the characters portrayed here. No harm intended, no profit made.

As the dust from the final vampire settled around them, Xander surveyed the scene and chuckled.

“I guess they aren’t used to their food coming back,” he said.

“Not unless they turn them, no,” Giles replied, wiping some dust from his glasses. The two of them walked out of the nest and into the sunlight.

“I was wondering about that. After the first time I died, it did cross my mind for a second. And I’ve been bitten since. What I’m asking is, can an Immortal become a vampire?”

“No. The demon doesn’t take up residence until the soul has vacated. Immortal souls stay firmly attached to our bodies. Although, you wouldn’t be the first Immortal to think he’d been turned.”

*-*

Durham, England 1815

“Rupert!”

Rwpyrt looked up, surprised to hear his name, and slightly nervous as he felt the approach of another Immortal. His tension wasn’t eased as he identified his teacher further along the riverbank. Although Methos seemed much changed over the last few millennia, and quite amiable on their last encounter, Rwpyrt’s time in the Horsemen’s camp was hard to forget. He would always be wary of the possibility that Methos might just decide take his head on a whim.

Rwpyrt allowed himself to relax, however, when he saw that Methos wasn’t alone. He was accompanied by Lord Byron, a pre-Immortal who had been keeping company with Methos for a year or so. Rwpyrt smiled and waved in greeting as the two approached where he stood on the riverbank.

“It’s a pleasure to see you again, Lord Byron, Doctor Polidori,” Rwpyrt greeted them with a short bow. Methos returned it, but Byron simply nodded.

“Yes, it is, isn’t it,” Byron replied with all the arrogance of his youth and position. Rwpyrt could swear he saw the corner of Methos’ mouth twitch in amusement.

“We were just heading to a tavern for luncheon, would you care to join us?” Methos asked.

“Oh, yes. John is being such a bore today,” Byron said.

“I’d be delighted,” Rwpyrt said and stood back to allow Byron passage before falling into step with Methos.

The three men spent the afternoon drinking and talking, and drinking some more until the hour grew late and the sun was long set past the horizon. Finally, they decided it would be fun to go for a swim and headed back down to the river.

They walked past the edge of the city, nobody around at that late hour, when Rwpyrt became convinced that they were being followed. He looked to Methos, who nodded imperceptibly and placed his hand on the hilt of his sword. They reached the bridge over the river and slowed, and Rwpyrt began to talk loudly.

“I don’t think I should have had that last flagon, John. It’s done me no good at all,” he cried, and staggered to the edge of the bridge, as though to be sick over the side. Sure enough, at that moment, three men came out from the shadows. Startled, Byron took a step back, but then covered his weakness with bravado.

“These seem a rough sort, brigands perhaps. Do you wish for our purses?” challenged Byron, one hand on the hilt of the sword concealed in his cane. The three strangers looked at each other and laughed. They turned back to face them and it was clear to Rwpyrt that they were vampires. The colour drained from Byron’s face before he was roughly shoved aside by Methos.

Methos and Rwpyrt drew their swords and laid into the three vampires who, from their inexperience, were not old and not used to their prey fighting back. The two Immortals made short work of them, and they were soon dust.

“Do these accursed creatures follow you around?” Methos asked wryly as the dust from the last drifted slowly to the ground. Rwpyrt chuckled, but he stopped when he noticed Byron’s lifeless corpse lying on the ground, and a fourth vampire standing over him.

“Bugger,” he muttered and lunged at the vampire, but the creature was obviously not as stupid as his fellows and he ran.

The two Immortals approached Byron and Methos listened for a heartbeat before shaking his head.

“We’d best get him inside. I’ve taken rooms in an inn just up the road,” Rwpyrt informed him. They hoisted Byron onto his feet, walked him up the road as though he were merely unconscious, and made their way to Rwpyrt’s room.


*-*

“So, when he woke up, he thought he was a vampire?” Xander asked. Giles nodded.

“We tried to explain several times, and it sank in eventually, but Byron became obsessed with the occult. Have you never read any of his work?” Giles asked. At the blank look on Xander’s face he laughed. “Look who I’m asking. Here, turn to page 364,” he said, passing Xander a thick leather-bound book of poetry.

Xander opened the book to the page and began to read,
But first, on earth as Vampire sent,
Thy corse shall fall from its tomb be rent:
Then ghastly haunt thy native place
. Wow, this guy was a regular bundle of fun, thought you said he was a party guy?”

“Oh he was,” Giles answered with a chuckle. “But like many geniuses, he had a dark side too.”

“You’re not kidding: And suck the blood of all thy race:
There from the daughter, sister, wife,
At midnight drain the stream of life
.”

“And that’s just one. After he became Immortal, a large part of his life and work involved the supernatural. Unfortunately, not always on the side of good.”

*-*

London, 1988

Rupert kicked in the door of the basement, to find Byron kneeling on the floor in the middle of a complicated series of sigils and symbols drawn in chalk on the floor. He had one hand on a knife, the other on the neck of a goat. Quickly, Giles kicked the knife from Byron’s hand and then rubbed out part of the drawing, breaking the majicks.

“What the hell did you think you were doing! Byron you’re an arse. Playing with forces and creatures beyond your comprehension. You could have brought down the apocalypse upon us all!” Rupert cried out.

“Then I would have brought an end to this interminable ennui that is Immortality.”

“You may be a genius but you are a complete wanker sometimes. You’re only 200! When you’ve clocked off a couple of millennia, then you can come back to me about ennui. You’re like a bloody child, messing about in a sandpit, but you’ve stumbled on a landmine,” Rupert said, grabbing Byron by the shoulders and pulling him to his feet. Byron didn’t resist, he merely sighed and slumped his shoulders.

He looked Byron in the eyes, and he could tell he was in another of his black moods. Usually, Byron just got belligerent and drank until he passed out; then he’d write some angst-ridden rubbish, burn it and hide in his room until it passed. This time, it seemed Byron had other ideas. Shaking his head, Rupert punched Byron, laying him out cold, and hoisted him onto his shoulder.

“You know, carrying you up to bed is becoming a worrying pattern in our relationship,” Rupert muttered as he clambered out of the basement.

The End

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