The Horsemen Five
I do not own Buffy or Highlander and I make no profit from writing this.AN:
This one took on a mind of its own. It was just supposed to be a simple ficlet but then my fingers started typing and before I knew it everything was being dragged in.
The timeline has been completely screwed and you'll see what I mean when you start reading. Also, happy holidays to immortalbliss who wanted Buffy/Methos. It's probably not exactly what you were looking for but I hope you like it anyway, hun.
Buffy rolled as she touched down; her hands burned as they touched hot sand. The sun pounded down on her crumpled form. She was used to heat; she was a California girl after all, but this was nigh unbearable. The heat made it hard to draw breath and the dusty sand wasn’t helping much. It cloyed in her throat, and she longed for a drink of fresh water, except there was only sand for as far as her Slayer enhanced sight could see.
Where was she? How had she gotten here? One moment she was telling Giles about last night’s patrol and the icky, slimy thing that had ruined her new boots, the next she was in some barren wasteland.
This sucked, she thought as she turned in circles. Had some Hellmouthy thing dropped her in the Nevada desert or something? God, this was so going to ruin her last pair of boots. Still, she was thankful she was wearing boots because her Jimmy Choo’s would so not hold up to this sand for more than a minute. As it was, she was working ten times as hard as the heel of her boots kept sinking into the sand. She mourned the scrapes the sand was putting in her $700 shoes. Whatever had sent her here was so
going to pay!
Picking a direction at random, Buffy began the laborious task of walking through miles of sand. The sun pounded on her back causing sweat to run from every available surface. She longed for water; she longed to rest, but Buffy continued to walk through the day. She ignored her bodies demands for food, for water, and for rest. She was grateful for the temperature drop that occurred with nightfall–until it dropped so far as to cause her to shiver. What the hell was up with the weather?
She was coming into her second day when she heard the sound of horses. At least, she thought it was horses. It could have been camels or something. Didn’t people still ride those in deserts or was that just in the movies?
It turned out the sound was horses and Buffy found herself started at their clothes. Just because you lived in the desert didn’t mean you shouldn’t take care of yourself. They could really do with some moisturizer for that leathery skin. It was darkened to a deep brown by the sun and was deep with wrinkles. Their clothes were simple fabrics that didn’t look very well put together. They were light but layered. Buffy guessed that made it easier to deal with the harsh sun and the cold nights–too hot, take something off; too cold, put something on.
The next thought, after clothing, was that she couldn’t possibly be in Kansas anymore. They were speaking a language that she didn’t know. Well, she didn’t know many languages but research sessions with the Scoobys had given her the ability to pick out the basics of a language. This was not one of them. A word here or there sounded vaguely like an ancient demon language but the lilt and emphasis of the words was all wrong. It was an old language. Were they from an old demon tribe that had survived by hiding in a desert somewhere? But they looked human; hell, they felt
The problem with them being human? They were coming at her with swords. They were roughly hewn, nothing that would stand up to long use. Buffy could already see the chips in the metal. It sent a shiver down her spine. How many bones had those swords cleaved?
Buffy hesitated; she wasn’t sure how to fight someone on horseback. Besides, these people were human; she didn’t fight humans. The moment was upon her before she could decide the best way to fight back. The first sword sliced a deep gash across her chest and through her shoulder. She was lucky she had Slayer reflexes because that strike would have taken a normal human’s head off. Her right arm was useless now. No matter how much she tried to move it, it wouldn’t move. The sword must have sliced through something vital.
Damn it, she wasn’t doing so well with both arms in perfect condition. She didn’t want to hurt the horses; they hadn’t done anything to her after all but they were so high that she couldn’t reach more than the legs of the riders. She didn’t have more than a small stake on her and that wouldn’t do much against humans. Buffy sighed wearily as the seven men circled her. There were too many to fight in her condition. She was weary from walking all day and night with no food or water and now her right arm was useless. That didn’t mean she was going to give up without a fight.
Buffy grabbed one of the men’s legs, tugging him from his horse. The horse startled, running back the way it had come. A quick punch to the face disabled the man and gave her a weapon. It was even worse than she had expected. The metal was oddly distributed; it took a different grip to handle because the weight was situated towards the tip, leaving it trailing in the sand if she tried to use it as she would a perfectly balanced sword. Nothing was right here, was it?
With the sword in hand, it was harder to yank the men from their horses and it seemed they had learned caution with her proficient use of the sword. Sadly for Buffy, they worked well together, moving forward in twos or threes to distract her while another made his way behind. She managed to dodge most of their blows but came out looking more and more like a pincushion.
She managed to knock two more out before their maneuvers worked and a blow to the back of the head knocked her out. She never felt the harsh sand scrape over her cuts as she collapsed.
Buffy came to chained to the Earth. The metal brackets around wrist and ankle had little more than a link or two before they disappeared under the sand. Her knees dug into the sand, and she could feel the grains becoming embedded into her skin. She was stripped bare, likely in an effort to find any concealed weapons, and her knees were slightly spread leaving her embarrassingly exposed. Her body was curled around her knees and her head hung between her spread arms. It was a very vulnerable position, submissive, and it rankled the Slayer in her.
There was a sound of cloth as the ‘doorway’ was pushed aside and near silent feet walking towards her. A woman with mousy brown hair and dark skin leaned over her. She wore clothing in even worse condition than the warriors from before. The woman also looked much too thin. She didn’t speak as she dipped a cloth into a bowl of water, lightly brushing it over Buffy face. The woman was efficient as she cleaned her of blood, even reaching under her to clean the deep cut on her chest. The water was a dark bloody color by the time she was finished. Fingertips against her cheek startled Buffy, and looking up showed a deep sorrow and a weary apology before the woman gathered up her supplies and left as quietly as she had come.
It wasn’t long before a man, one who might have been on the horses from earlier, came through the door. His stance was arrogant and condescending as he looked down on her. When he spoke it was that same oddly lilting language. The backhand caught her off guard but she guessed he had asked a question. There was nothing she could do, no way to defend herself and no way to miraculously learn his language; all she could do was brace her head with each hit. Finally, the man either got tired of her or realized she couldn’t understand her.
The next few days were filled with nothing but the woman coming to clean her each day. The man hadn’t been back since then. On what she thought was the fourth day of her imprisonment a robed man came through the tented doorway. His skin was darker than tan, even those of this sun darkened tribe, and he carried himself differently. His walk was more of a rolling gait that spoke of confidence and not arrogance. When he settled himself before her, his words were different. Buffy frowned, squinting her eyes as she listened carefully. She recognized this language. It wasn’t anything that she had researched with the Scoobys but it was something that was a part of her, something so deep that there was no way to tell where it had come from.
“Where do you come from, child?” The man’s voice was deep and slightly hoarse but it wasn’t that that had Buffy cringing; it was the way he was petting her face.
“I’m not from around here.” Her snappy retort came out deep and halting and definitely not
“How did you come by your strength?” The man pried. “What manner of demon has possessed you?”
“Not a demon,” Buffy gritted out. The petting hand was suddenly gripping her chin tightly.
“I don’t believe you,” the man said softly as his thumb stroked over the curve of her jaw.
“You can not believe all you like. I’m not a demon!”
A sickly smirk stretched his lips. “There is a tribe,” the hand not holding her jaw pointed to Buffy’s left, “that way. They are wizards of the darkest sort who claim to serve a higher power; they claim they can save us from the evils that travel the lands. They say they will summon a demon and bind it to do their bidding … all they need is a girl. We give them one of our daughters in hopes that she will have allegiance to us but it seems they have found another. Where is our daughter, demon? What have you done to her?” The man roared as his fingers crushed her jaw.
Things weren’t looking at all right. The more the man talked about his daughter the more it was looking like she was a lot further from home than she had first assumed. It was beginning to sound like this wizard tribe had created the first Slayer and if that were true she was thousands of years from home.
The next day, Buffy was moved to the center of ‘town’, much like they did in medieval times with people in the stockades. She was led through town in chains that she couldn’t seem to break. According to the robed man, they had been made for Slayers. They had given up a young girl to a tribe of dark wizards in hopes of having her possessed by a demon, going so far as to have the chains made so they could assure her allegiance to them … and yet they were so ‘worried’ for her. Buffy snorted, getting a harsh tug on the chains in retaliation.
It looked like the entire town was there, armed with all manner of things and each one chanting “demon”. They didn’t all seem to be familiar with the language they were using but each one knew that word. There were a few shouts, one stood out among the rest. It was a man’s voice and Buffy listened closely. Oh, he was vying for torture before death. Was that what was going to happen? Were they going to kill her? Would her death activate a Slayer in the future or would Giles and the Scoobys be left defenseless?
She was chained to the Earth once again, and she watched with apprehension as the townspeople moved forward around her. There was nothing she could do as the first object came sailing through the air. Pain radiated from the spot a piece metal, nothing more than a small stone but the pain was bright and pounding. Other things followed quickly after and the crowd jeered and laughter as she was bloodied. Oh god, they were going to stone her to death with whatever they could get their hands on. Mercifully, a thrown torch hit her in the head and she welcomed the comforting blackness.
Buffy came to an unknown time later, sputtering and coughing through a mouthful of water as she tried to breathe. Were they making sure she would feel the moment of her death? Except the man standing over her wasn’t one of the tribe; his skin color and facial features were all wrong. It took a second for the scent of blood to register over the scent of her own. She was dirty and filthy with blood but every wound, even the deep muscle in her arm, was healed. She moved her hand carefully and was stunned to feel no pain.
Shaking her head, she let her eyes wander. There were three other men tromping through the camp and the sand was littered with bodies and bright with blood. Pulling her eyes from the sickening sight, Buffy took a look at the man above her. He looked almost Roman, like maybe his people would one day be the ones to birth the Romans. He was dressed in the typical garb but it looked to be of better quality than those of this little village. Long, dark hair was cut raggedly and looked to have never been brushed and his face had light blue paint smeared in a large stripe across his face, from forehead to chin, cutting right over his eye and part of his lips. It left a small patch near a pierced ear bare.
She watched as he raised a sword and swung down on her chains. There was a bright spark as metal met metal but nothing gave. It was a wonder that he hadn’t damaged his sword. “It’s not going to work,” Buffy rasped. Days of living off what little water the servant girl could manage to smuggle her had taken its toll on her body; it seemed that not even the miracle that had fixed her body could help that.
The man’s face showed surprise as he looked down at her, almost like he hadn’t expected her to talk. Her thoughts went back to the servant girl and the way she had never spoken–maybe that was how all woman in this time were.
“Silas,” the man shouted causing a large man to look up from his fighting with another man. He ambled his way over, weaving effortlessly through the dead bodies. “The chains.”
Buffy sighed in frustration as the man raised a large axe over his head, swinging it down on the chains. It elicited nothing but more sparks. Alright, that’s it! She grabbed the next downward swing, wrenching the axe out of the stunned man’s hands. She ignored their shouts and the way the first man looked at her as she hefted the axe in her hands. She used the flat side to dig through the sand where the chain was buried. Long minutes passed before she found the spike. Buffy braced her feet against the sliding sand and wrenched with all her weight, pulling harshly on the chain. The spike pulled free from the earth and spun out of her hands. Panting, she gave a narrow-eyed look at the two, now four, men watching her. The least they could do was help, she huffed in disgust.
The next chain came out faster, not having been buried as deeply. It would be impossible to get the chains off without a knowledgeable wizard or witch. It wasn’t all
bad though, at least she had a built in weapon now. It almost made her wish the spikes were wood.
Buffy pulled herself to her knees, eyes watching the men warily as they watched her. The shortest man, the one with only a small skunk stripe on top of his head that ended in a ponytail, watched her as his hands fondled a long dagger. A look from the first man had him glaring but at least he didn’t come at her. Was the first man the leader or just the voice of reason?
Whatever he was, he was moving forward. Her focus moved solely to him, eyes flicking down to the hand he was holding out. After a moment of thought, Buffy reached forward to gently place her hand in his. There was a spark between their palms, a warm feeling settling into her belly and buzzing in her head. It was a pleasant feeling, one she could get used to, she decided. She allowed him to pull her to her feet and their hands lingered together as neither wished to let go first.
“Taken on another stray, Methos?” This came from the other long haired man and she shivered slightly under his gaze because his eyes were roaming her body with lust bright in them.
“She is one of us,” Methos stated, “or can you not feel it, Kronos?”
“One of you?” Buffy questioned.
“Don’t worry about that now. We want to be out of here before the sun rises and we’re wasting nightfall.”
That seemed to be the cue for the others as they broke up. She watched them paw through the dead, taking tokens, grabbing dried food from stalls, and rummaging through tents for blankets. Methos led her over to a trough where their horses were drinking and helped her clean herself of blood. Buffy looked up as clothing was dangled before, bestowing Silas with a grateful smile that caused the large man to beam.
Clean and dressed, the others not far behind, Methos helped her up onto a horse, following behind her with a promise of her own horse. Buffy wasn’t so sure about that; horses had never been too fond of her. Besides, as Methos’s arms wound around her, pulling her close, she didn’t think having her own horse would be as nice as this.
She had a feeling Methos was going to be an important part of her future and she couldn’t say she was disagreeable with this idea.
In an unknown realm, two beings looked into the pool of rippling water.
“Will she make a difference?” The female asked. “Will this world be saved?” She would never admit it to any but her brother, but she had come to enjoy this world. It would be … sorrowful if it were to end. It was why she had suggested this course of action.
The male’s sparkling fingers trailed through the water, sending out ripples and causing the images within its depths to change. They flickered by so quickly that none were recognizable. “The future will change, but that is what we were hoping for.” The man sighed as nothing concrete came from his viewing. “But you know as well as I do, sister, that the future cannot be viewed so linearly.”
The female echoed the male’s sigh. “Then there is nothing left to do but wait.”
The two Oracles settled in to watch the future they had created with their split second decision unfold. It was all a gamble, unleashing an immortal Slayer into the world and placing her with the Four Horsemen, but there was hope that the man Methos became the first time around would happen again. This was the world’s last hope.
Buffy and Methos.
The Slayer and Death.
Death was her gift.