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Summary: Buffy made a deal with Mephistopheles to protect her mother while she was in surgery, the hellmouth is gone and Scratch has come to collect on the debt that is owed him. He has several souls for the Slayer to collect in his name.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Multiple Crossings > Buffy-Centered
Marvel Universe > Ghost Rider
texaswookieFR1818101,906610227,9695 Feb 1113 Aug 14No

San Antonio I

Another chapter and hey this time it didn't take me nearly a year to come out with this time. I claim no ownership in this chapter for the BTVS, Supernatural, Walker Texas Ranger. or Highlander characters used in this chapter.

Well folks after this mission is complete we'll have reached about the halfway point in this tale.

Buffy had ridden for the whole night in her Rider form before she finally returned to her human form. The change was becoming easier and easier on her body the more times that she did it. She also noticed that she was able to hold the change during daylight hours longer and longer as well. At this rate she might actually be able to control the change for several hours during the daytime. Having her powers at that level would have been real useful when she first started doing this. She thought briefly back to when she had been stuck fighting demons in the dark while waiting for the sun to set. Since then she had learned how to connect with her powers and could do things like throw balls of hellfire around and even encase the scythe in hellfire to give it an even bigger bang. She had also noticed that some of her demon sensing abilities had started to become more powerful. Nothing like Willow’s abilities to detect magic or anything, but she could tap into her inner Jedi a whole lot easier than she used to be able to. Her senses were at a level that made everything else she had ever done seem pathetic and pitiful.

She shook her head of that as she looked at the demon that had appeared in the middle of the road. She came to a stop and nodded toward the demon. Crowley she greeted him stiffly.

“Pleasure to see ya luv.” Crowley returned, nodding his head as if he was tipping a hat at her.

“Cut the crap Crowley, we both know that there’s someone that you want me to deal with and your usual methods didn’t work.” Buffy returned to him coolly. “Considering that you work for someone else, I’m going to guess you’d rather this would be kept quiet. So unless you don’t want me finding the nearest demon bar and talking about this job I suggest you get on with it instead of trying to play the charming salesman.” The Slayer Rider shot back curtly.

“That does take some of the fun out of doing business though doesn’t it?” Crowley questioned curiously with mock concern.

Buffy merely stared at him exasperated at the smug attitude that the demon was giving her. “Look, you may be the big Kahuna when it comes to all of the Cross Roads Demons that have to follow after you, but I’m not only the Rider I’m also the Slayer.” She reminded the Demon Lord in front of her. “Which means that either way you look at it I do some major ass kicking of guys like you all the time. If I want to deal with some over confident wannabe like you I’ll go and find some way to bring Spike back. He’s better at it, has nicer accent, and pulls the whole Big Bad vibe off better than you can.” She smirked at the demon as she stared him straight in the eyes. “And that’s when he’s got a soul.”

Crowley scowled at the Slayer, but he did stiffen up as he became more businesslike. “Fine, business it is.” He returned to the warrior darkly. “You still got that picture that I gave you?” Buffy nodded as she drew the picture of a man out. “Good, well this bloke made a deal with me to get a sword that would hurt immortals no matter where they were hurt only thing is it also hurts other supernatural beings as well. The annoyance has gone and killed more demons and hellhounds than most mortals ever hear about. Before he was a pain, but a pain that I could stand. He’s even helped me out a few times by dealing with some of my competition who thought to show me up by collecting his soul and delivering it to hell for me. He usually sent them back in lots of different pieces. That being said though the time of our work agreement has come to an end and I need someone to go and collect his soul up for me now.”

“You played them all.” Buffy declared as understanding crossed her face. “You set him up as the thing to deal with to knock you down a couple of pegs, but you made sure that anything that went after him would find itself on the wrong end of a blade that could hurt them.”

Crowley looked somewhat smug at that. “That I did luv, that I did.” He returned to her cockily. “It also saved me some work by having him off them anyways.”

“Only problem is, if you want to go any farther up you can’t take your little puppet with you. For you to keep on rising to the top you have to make sure that your little puppet has to go.” Buffy theorized.

“Ah good, then you do understand.” Crowley noted cheerfully. “It’s nice to be able to talk business with someone that can appreciate the inner workings that deals like the one I’ve got here.”

“You’re probably also worried about what will happen when your buddy finds out that you’re coming at him for real as well.” Buffy spoke as she looked the demon over. “Kind of Frankenstein like really. Or is Demon-stein?” The blonde shrugged at that bit, uncaring of the correct definition it was. “It fits with you though, your more the administrative type demon than the seek and destroy kind. Your also smart enough to know that while you could take this guy, he might get lucky, particularly if you’ve made a habit of sending idiots or hellhounds after him and he’s got the needed supplies to fight all of them. He might even be hoping that you’ll eventually show up.”

Crowley didn’t look all that pleased to hear how much that she truly understood of what was going on. “I thought you were supposed to be a bit slow.” He returned to her suspiciously.

“Yeah amazing what a few months on my own without life and death fights every night has done for me.” Buffy returned to him. “You didn’t really think I managed to beat people like the Adam through sheer luck now did you? Now how does this overpriced kitchen knife work anyways?”

The Crossroads Demon scowled at her in return. “The blade taps into the energy of anything supernatural.” Crowley explained. “It then turns that power back on the demon by adding power to the sword. A Morha demon would probably be alright against the sword, but they’re extremely rare. There was a rumor about one in LA a year or two ago though.”

“There was, and it’s dead.” Buffy returned neutrally. “I was there when it get destroyed.”

“Shame that, they’re right useful in these kinds of situations.”

“Anyways, this thing taps into your energy and can also absorb any energies being thrown at them. What? It was meant to deal with Immortals.” The demon declared defensively as it saw the incredulous look he was receiving.

“Right.” Buffy uttered in a disbelievingly tone. “Just how drunk were you when you gave some random guy this super sword thing anyways? I mean a sword that can do all that and you just handed it over to some random guy because he asked for it?”

Crowley shrugged his shoulders unrepentantly. “He made a trade, and considering all the pro bono work I’ve gotten off of him it’s been a rather useful deal.”

Buffy shook her head and felt like face palming, but wasn’t about to let the demon see that he was getting to her. She was really tempted to reach over and drag his spine out though. She figured if she could keep the Rider under control, then they might not have to worry about two people using that power throughout the city. That meant that she was only going to have the power of the Slayer to work with though and she wasn’t going to be able to use some of the tricks she had been learning to use. It was going to be a test of her control for her to pull this trick off. She was lucky that the whole Rider thing was something relatively new. It was different with the Slayer though. The Rider was a separate entity that took all of her mental strength to control, the Slayer though was a part of her was something that was a part of her very being. Sure the prophecies and destiny parts sucked majorly a lot of the times but there was also the things she gained from her power. The Rider had a long way to go before it became an extension of her like the Slayer was.

Buffy would be one of the first to admit that the Rider was changing her. Influencing her to play biker girl was one. If it had been Faith, no one would have been surprised, but with her it was more than just a little bit surprising. There was also the fact that her view of the world was more black and white than it used to be, and she was less forgiving. She was so much harder than she used to be. How much of that was the Rider and how much that was her last few months on the Hellmouth she wasn’t sure. Each time that she used the power of the Rider it seemed like it got just a little bit easier for her. She had even begun to rely on its power somewhat. If she was to face off against this guy, then there wouldn’t be the Rider to help her though. It would be her and the Slayer. Maybe she could show them all what a Slayer really could do.

She shook her head of her inner musings and focused on Crowley. “You mentioned an Immortal?” She demanded, hoping he hadn’t noticed her lapse of thought.

“Yes, he’s part of a special breed of Immortal.” Crowley informed her. “For the most part they’re human, a bit stronger and faster than your typical mortal, but nothing on even a vampire. They’re all connected somehow to some greater cosmic battle of balance amongst themselves. The winner gets some unknown and secretive prize if they win.”

“And how do you win?” Buffy asked with interest.

“If you follow their rules then you have to do this whole killing each other thing. The only way to do that though is by cutting off their heads. They all carry swords around in case they ever come across another f their kind. They usually have battles amongst each other every ten or so years called Gatherings. You have to be careful about killing this lot though because it releases their power. Usually in the form of an electrical storm. As you’re not one of their kind though all it’ll do to you is give you a bad hair day though.”

“So where is this guy?”

“Texas,” Crowley returned to her, “you’ll find him in San Antonio.”

Buffy cringed at hearing that. She had slowly but surely been working her way eastward. Using it as a graph to show how many jobs she had done as the Rider, and as a way to show how far she had to go until she was free of having to do his work. This was like a painful reminder that she wasn’t going to slip free until he said so. “How good is this guy anyways?” She questioned.

“He’s really good at what he does.” Crowley admitted grudgingly. “Then again he has to be considering all the stuff that I’ve sent after him over the years. He’s around 300 years old.”

“You’ve been letting this guy and his deal hang around that long?” Buffy asked in surprise at what the Crossroads demon was telling her. She couldn’t decide if she was disgusted or impressed with his methods and the fact that he had managed to keep the game going for this long was even more amazing.

“I like to think of it as my way of thinning out the competition.” Crowley returned to her snootily. “Look luv, there’s signs that the apocalypse is on its way. I want to make sure that I get in line for the best options. If that means I need to cut loose a few undesirables then that’s alright. It’s going to take more than some idiot with an overgrown pig sticker to stop me from rising to power.” He told her confidently.

“Yeah, yeah, and when you’re the Big Bad you’ll show all the other demons that looked down on you in demon high school.” Buffy shot back at him unimpressed. She had heard these types of speeches before. Heck she had been forced to stop Willow from going into these kinds of rants. “What else can you tell me about the target?”

“He’s a Hunter, one of the best of the demon hunters, he was also at the battle of the Alamo.” Crowley returned with a shrug. “He’s not a big fan of the Mexican Government from that little experience I understand.”

Buffy nodded as she ignored the sarcasm as she tried to remember what she could from her U.S History classes on that subject. It hadn’t been exactly a small thing except to a demon or immortal being.

“Tell you what Rider, being the nice guy that I am I’ll give you a few days to enjoy the place before I send you out searching for him for real.” Crowley offered. “Then when the time comes I’ll send some of my Hounds to escort you to your target. Here’s a file on anything else that you might want to know about your boy.” He added in, as he offered her a file that hadn’t been there a moment ago. “It’ll explain anything else you might need to know, and tell you all about the target and everything related to him.”

Buffy nodded her head in acceptance of his offer as she took the offered information. She got to spend some time doing the touristy thing like the River Walk, Fiesta Texas Six Flags, and some of the other fun things to do around the city. It would make things a bit more fun.

The blonde slayer had been enjoying her stay but, the thought that her target was out there was eating away at her. The Rider didn’t like that they were having to wait until the Crossroads Demon decided that it was okay to hunt. The wait was making it harder and harder for her to control the impatient Rider. While the Slayer was the Hunter, the Rider was a force of nature and didn’t obey orders very well. Not even orders from Demon Lords, and definitely not from wannabe demon lords. She had decided to do a little bit of old fashioned research to see if maybe she could find out where her target was. Which was why she was currently in a bar poring over maps of San Antonio and the surrounding area searching for any clues as to where this immortal might be. From the file Crowley had given her, it seemed that Holy Ground was their safe place from each other. It was but one of the many rules that these particular immortals used. One on One fights, No guns, No fighting on Holy Ground. And of course the one major rule: “There can only be one.” A lot of rules that made figuring out where an immortal that didn’t play an active part in the game was likely to be. Something like him was likely to stay near Holy Ground and weapons. The fact that it left him plenty of time to research every grave and exorcise any and all spirits in the area was a plus. The bad part to that though was that there were a half a dozen old Spanish missions in the area, and that was without counting the Alamo and several of the more modern Holy Ground areas.

She was distracted from her search through old papers and maps when the door to the bar opened and something pinged on her Slaydar. It wasn’t a demon or even a witch, but it was something. Something similar to the Crow, just nowhere near as powerful. Several people seemed to know this was serious though, as they turned to see who had invaded the bar. If there was someone who obviously didn’t belong it was this guy. Of course a year or two ago she would have stuck out even worse than this guy, so she didn’t have a lot of room to talk. He was wearing a cowboy hat with matching shirt, boots, and jeans. He had somewhat scruffy looking hair and a well-trimmed beard. There was a strange type of badge pinned to his shirt and a gun strapped to his side. The man walked with the self-assuredness of a warrior and predator as he moved through the biker bar.

The man paused in front of a group of men that were all working on beers and doing their best to act like they hadn’t noticed the man enter. “I’m Cordell Walker and I’m a Texas Ranger.” He explained to the room in a soft voice that carried all over the room. “I’m here looking for some men who are suspected of running guns and smuggling people across the border.” He held out several pictures and placed them on the table. “Why don’t you boys take a good look at these guys and see if you recognize them.” he suggested to the group.

One man that had been busy draining his glass shrugged at the man as he set his mug down. “Sorry Ranger, don’t recognize him.” The man stated, without even bothering to so much as glance at the pictures.

“Really?” Walker questioned in disbelief. “It might help if you actually looked at the pictures.” He pointed out to the biker. “I also have trouble believing that you don’t know someone that’s supposed to be a member of your club.” He added in.

“Our club is a big one, you can’t expect us to know all of its members now can you Walker? I mean do you know all of the names of the cops where you work?” The man asked with a smirk, as he continued to studiously ignore looking at the pictures.

“Well, why don’t you all have another look then?” Walker requested, as he held the pictures up again.

“Like I said Ranger, I don’t know him.” The man returned blandly. “Now you know your kind aren’t liked in places like this Ranger, so why don’t you get going before something happens to you.”

“I’m thinking that it might help if I hung around for a while and asked a few more people questions.” Walker returned to the man. “Tell you what though, you guys can keep those pictures in case you go through your roster and want to see if those guys are really part of your club.” He then turned to the bartender. “You wouldn’t happen to know these men?” He asked, seemingly ignoring the group.

“Walker we tried to be polite, but now we’re saying it get lost.” The spokesman ordered in annoyance his voice carrying across the now nearly silent bar as everyone was now watching the confrontation between the pair expectantly. It was obvious that he was unused to having people ignore his orders. “If you need help, my boys here can show you towards the exit.” He added, as a half dozen of the bikers around the room turned to look at the Ranger with dark and predatory looks.

“So you’re saying you’d all like to continue the questioning downtown then?” Walker returned to the leader, looking unimpressed at the group that was now facing him.

“I’ll give you points for having stones Walker, but I’m going to have to have my boys show you out now.” The leader growled in annoyance, nodding to the six men that were now moving to surround the ranger in a circle.

The Ranger still had yet to even look worried as he moved to the center of the circle of goons. Everyone was silent as they waited to see how this would end now. Despite the possible troubles Buffy was actually looking forward to seeing what happened next. Her instincts were telling her that this man was more than a match for the half a dozen that had been put up against him. Her eyes moved over to a skinny dark skinned guy that was dressed in a white cowboy shirt and hat complete with a tie a gun resting in a shoulder holster. The guy didn’t seem to be worried about his companion though and was actually watching the scene before him in an almost bored manner. Her eyes darted back toward where Walker was waiting for them to make a move.

“So are you guys going to do anything?” Walker questioned them.

The taunt was enough to force the group into action. A big guy that was off to the side swung a pool stick at the ranger’s head. Walker spun and caught the stick, and with a twist of his ankle he spun around and slammed his forearm into the weapon snapping it in half. He tossed the broken end at one of the incoming men. He turned back to the man holding a broken stick and performed a kick that caught the man on the side of his face and sent him flying into a table which shattered under him. He side stepped a punch rom another man and caught the arm and with a tug and he had the guy flipping over his arm. A final punch to the gut had the guy curl up on himself. He turned to look at the remaining four members. A third member came up with a barstool in his hands only to receive a kick to his stomach that easily dropped him. Two men came charging at him at once and Walker ducked as they slammed into each other while they were dazed he grabbed the pair and slammed them into a wall where they dropped. That left one member of the muscle. This man instead of charging at the Ranger moved into a crouch and approached him cautiously. Walker watched the man cautiously. The man fired off a kick that Walker caught and twisted. The man moved with the counter and managed to stay on his feet. The man managed to right himself only to receive a punch to his face followed by another. Each blow sent him stumbling back. He managed to get his own punch off, but other than jerking the Ranger’s head back there was no obvious effect from the blow. He tried another punch only for Walker to catch the incoming fist. With a twist he had the biker on his knees. He then brought his knee up knocking the man down. A member of the crowd ran at the Ranger expecting to catch the Ranger unawares. Walker accepted the tackle and planted his foot into the man’s stomach and rolled with the blow and ended up on top and then punched the biker.

“That’s enough Ranger.” A voice called out. “You keep this up and I’m going to cut this girl up.” The man that had ordered the fight held one of the waitresses in one arm, while a sharp knife was up against her throat. The girl whimpered but was otherwise silent.

Buffy scowled as she regarded the man that was threatening the girl. She figured this was going to be where the posturing came in, now that the guy had the Ranger stopped from beating the crap out of his men. She noticed that even as the Ranger climbed off the ground that he seemed calm and unruffled. As if despite the sudden change in things, he was still the one in control of the situation.

“Get on your feet.” The man with the knife ordered to his men, who slowly climbed back up.

“Kidnapping is only making this worse.” Walker pointed out to them.

“Shut it Ranger,” the man ordered, “you should have known better than to try and take us on here.” He noted while glaring at the man.

Buffy had, had enough as she let her feet slam to the ground causing several people to turn in her direction. “Okay, you’ve shown that he may not have made the smartest choice in taking his eyes off of you, but that’s all you’ve done.” Buffy snarked in annoyance. “Now thanks to what you’re doing this place is likely going to get shut down since your threatening people here.” She slammed the bottle that she had been drinking from on the table as she rose to her feet. Nearly everyone’s eyes had been drawn to the bottle even as she drew and threw a knife at the guy. The blade thunked into the knife wielder’s wrist. The man screamed and released his prisoner and his knife as he cradled his arm. “You should really have left the rest of us out of your little game.” Buffy stared at the man from across the room as if daring him to make a move.

“Get her.” The man shouted.

Two men peeled out of the crowd to confront the small blonde who was standing and staring at them with a smirk on her face. She felt the Rider flare for a moment before she tapped it back down. She didn’t need the Rider for this.

She twisted out of the way of the first punch and stuck her leg out tripping him, and then a slayer enhanced push sent him flying with a bone rattling force into the wall. Buffy thought she saw some cracks in the wall where the guy had hit. Turning to face the other one she saw him move into a boxer’s stance. When you combined that with the big rings he wore it was like fighting someone with knucklers on. He tried a few crosses that Buff was able to duck move her head out of the way of. She was used to fighting things faster and stronger than this guy could ever hope to be.

“Fight back.” The guy growled angrily. “Or is all you can do is throw knives?” He demanded.

“Considering that it was your boss that started with the knives, and the only way you guys know how to fight is in groups I hardly think that your one to talk.” Buffy returned to him, as she jumped back to avoid a punch aimed for her chest. Buffy hated to admit it, but this fight was boring. There was no challenge to it. She had gotten used to fighting numerous opponents at once. For her, this was like stretching now. The next time he swung at her she caught the arm and with one hand while the other slammed into his shoulder. She watched unimpressed as the man fell to the ground now that the shoulder had been knocked out of socket. She then kicked him in the leg smirking as she heard the leg break. She would have done more, but she noticed that she had an audience. Still, the guy was down and out of this fight. There wasn’t anything else to worry about. She turned and noticed that the Rangers were watching her with interest. The dark skinned guy looked like he was about to say something but quickly closed his mouth.

“Uh hi.” Buffy chirped, as she wiggled her fingers at them.

“Hi.” Walker returned from where he was comforting the waitress.

“Sorry about doing the interrupting thing, the girl needed saving though.” Buffy nervously explained.

“It’s alright.” Walker assured her. “I’m Ranger Walker and this here is Ranger James Trivette.”

“Just call me Jimmy.” The Ranger informed her with a bright smile on his face, as he did his best to ignore the moaning man at the feet of the woman.

“I’m Buffy.” The blonde greeted cheerfully. “Is the damsel alright?” She questioned nodding towards the waitress.

“She’ll be fine.” Walker returned.

“So now what?” A curious Buffy asked of the two men warily. Her experience with the law wasn’t exactly a good one and not one that she wanted add to her not fun memories.

“Now we get your statement on what just happened.” Jimmy returned. “After that you’ll be free to go wherever it is that you need to.”

Buffy nodded as she quickly told her version of the fight, after that she headed out to do some of the scouting that she had been planning on doing. The Two Rangers doubted that the young woman would be one that they would forget to soon.

Walker spent the next several hours thinking about the blonde. There was just something about her that kept drawing his attention back to her. While a part of him was curious, there was another part that was bothered as if he had known that he had been dealing with something dangerous. He hadn’t felt chills like that since his days in the war. Heck, a part of him was almost sure that the chills she had given him were worse than his war chills. Not able to rest his suspicions he had Trivette work with his computer to search for anything while he searched through case files to find out what he could about her. There was something off about her, and he was determined to find out what it was.

From what they had managed to gather the only crimes that they might be able to pin on her was her possession of a Sunnydale California License. According to some of their records Buffy Summers was dead due to a possible suicide, but there was also papers that showed her as the primary guardian for her sister a few months later as well as documentation that she had worked at least briefly for the school. Either the real Buffy Summers was dead, or someone had made a major mistake in the records in Sunnydale. It could also be she was a long term user of a fake Sunnydale ID as well. Sunnydale ID’s had become a favorite for forgers in the last year thanks to the town collapsing and many of the people still being found. He really doubted that’s what had set him on edge though.

“Come on partner.” Trivette wearily told his partner clapping him on the shoulder. “It’s been a long day, and this isn’t exactly our jurisdiction.” He reminded the man. “There may be something off about that girl. Knowing that your suspicious is enough to make me suspicious, but we can’t bring her in for questioning just on your instincts either.” He reminded him.

“I know.” Walker admitted to the man grudgingly. “There’s just something about her that’s got me suspicious is all.” He explained to the man. He himself wasn’t certain what had him on edge about the blonde.

“Well maybe a beer will take your mind off of these things.” Trivette suggested with a grin. “While it won’t be C.D’s, I’m sure we can also find some decent chili to.”

The two Rangers soon found themselves at a Mexican restaurant/bar. While they were drinking Walker noticed an old man sidled up alongside of them. “Iron Tree.” Walker greeted the old man embracing him in a brotherly hug. “It’s been to long my friend.”

“That it has Washo, that it has.” The man returned with a grin.

Walker smiled as he turned to his partner. “Trivette, meet Hosea Iron Tree Garcia, a fellow half breed.” He explained. “He’s part Hispanic and part Cherokee. Iron Tree here taught me that to be true to myself I had to respect the heritage of not just my father, but also of my mother. All heritage is important and helps form a person.”

Iron Tree smiled grimly at the younger man as Walker ordered him a beer. “Washo, I bring word to you from the Wise Men.” He explained as he accepted his beer. “The Spirits have told them that the Heir to the Legacy that Carter Slade is a part of now wanders in this city on a mission.”

Walker looked grim at the information that he had just been given.

“Carter Slade?” Trivette questioned the pair. “Walker why does that name sound so familiar?”

“Long time ago Carter Slade was one of the Legendary Texas Rangers.” Walker explained to his friend. “The man was a shining beacon of what Texas Rangers were supposed to be. Unfortunately Carter got lost somewhere along the way, and his greed took him over. He was arrested and sentenced to death for his crimes by hanging.”

“Oh.” Trivette returned, unsure what to say about that. The idea that a fellow Ranger had that happen to them was somewhat uncomfortable.

“According to legend, he made a deal with a demon that granted him power that could have burned through the plains. He became the Rider of the Devil, and because of him over a thousand people died in one night.” Walker told him. “At least so the legend says.”

“It is a tale that has been passed down for many years.” Iron Tree agreed. “Now the power of the Rider has returned to this part of the country. From what I can tell it was in Austin a year or two or go, then it moved on to California, before moving towards the Canadian border, before it vanished, and now it is here according to the Elders. Washo knows what will happen if the Rider is freed here of all places, what’s even worse though, is that the Hunter could be taken from us. While the Hunter has not always been a good ally, he is still an ally, and one that is useful when battling against the spirit world. Even if lately he no longer makes peace when we come calling.”

“The Hunter?” Trivette questioned curiously. “I’m guessing that’s another story from somewhere?” He asked in an almost dejected yet knowing manner.

“Sort of.” Walker admitted. “The Hunter is an ancient being that has been around the Earth for many lifetimes of man. He’s supposed to be the guardian of this area, and keep the angry spirits at bay.”

“Supposed to?”

“Well according to the shaman’s and wise men in the last fifty to sixty years the Hunter no longer keeps to his vow to protect these lands as he once did. That he no longer acts as a protector for these lands and lets evil spirits do as they please.” Walker informed his partner.

“But its just a story right?” Trivette questioned them worriedly. “I mean it’s not like you believe that there’s really some ancient being that battles evil spirits and has recently decided to forget about everyone now right?” He asked the pair desperately. Personally he didn’t believe in things like spirits and ghosts, but he had been around Walker long enough to know that the unexplainable often happened around him. So a healthy dose of willingness to believe was useful in their partnership.

“No one knows for sure one way or the other.” Walker returned evasively.

“So we have to find some historical Ranger who may or may not be after some mythical Hunter then?” Trivette summarized before beating his head against the bar. “Why can’t things ever be simple when you go all Cherokee on me?” He complained.

“Just lucky I guess.” Walker returned, as he clapped his partner on the back. “Come on, lets go.” He ordered as he offered the man a hand up.

“Go where?”

“To where all of the angry spirits might be. I can’t think of a better place to start than the Alamo. It was built as a mission first, and then used as a fortress. I can’t imagine a better place to start looking for someone that hunts angry spirits then there.”

“Find Carter Slade’s Legacy Washo.” Iron Tree requested. “The elders would speak with them and try to turn them from this path if they can.”

“We’ll see what we can do.” Walker assured his friend. “If there was some way that we could identify them though it would make it easier.”

Iron Tree nodded his understanding. “I was told to tell you this by Gray Wolf. To find the Legacy of Carter Slade seek out the blonde Rider, the former Gateway Guardian. He said that you would know this person when you saw them. He also requested that you bring them to him first for this information.”

Walker narrowed his eyes slightly at this bit of information, but nodded his understanding. “Inform the Elders we will do all that we can.” He assured the older man. The man nodded his thanks and walked away to give his report.

Buffy sighed as she did a mental checklist of some of the things that she had done while in San Antonio. She had spent some time getting to do the various attractions around town and even gotten to go to Six Flags. She couldn’t even remember the last time she had gotten to do something so fun. She was currently scouting out the Alamo. Even if her target wasn’t here, it would give her something of an idea about the guy. As she walked through the bunkhouse building she could feel the echo of the souls that had died here. Only these weren’t the angry vengeful type of spirits or echoes. No these souls were content, as if they had known what they were doing and why. There were a few bad eggs, but for the most part they were content. They had all paid the price somewhat willingly it seemed, they had fallen for what they believed in.

She chuckled a bit as she saw a quote from Crockett “You may all go to Hell, and I will go to Texas.” San Antonio wasn’t that bad as far as she was concerned. In fact it was actually kind of comfy she could understand why the Rider used to operate mainly in Texas. Then again she could turn herself into a fire elemental. So it was kind of cheating.

She had bought a few odds and ends for Dawn and the others to let them know she was thinking of them. She knew her gifts were frustrating for the group, since she usually sent them through the Haliwell sisters or someone else that she had met along the way. That was if she didn’t just mail them on her way out of town. Sure it was kind of petty tricking the group into converging on wherever it was that she sent stuff from, but was also kind of fun to. She figured she had earned the right to do so after all the years that she had been the Slayer. She only wished she could have picked Jarod’s brain some on better ways to create mailing points and whatnot for people to find. From what she knew of him it sounded like he was pretty skilled at it. She had heard rumors of the kind hearted Jarod the more she traveled the road. Sometimes she wouldn’t hear anything for days then there would be the rumor of a Jarod doing something odd like spending days inside a boxcar, or there would be a be some piece of news that had his particular brand of crazy with it. Yeah, if anyone would know how to drive her old team crazy with nonsense clues it would be him. If she ever met him again she would have to ask him for pointers on that sort of thing. Still this way was working good, as even Willow Rosenburg in full hacker mode could only figure out so much when trying to plot her course when she was having to back track her after several days of snail mail.

She was looking at a display case that held Old Betsy from the Davy Crockett show from way back when. The gun had been gifted to the Alamo by the actor himself it seemed. She looked up and was surprised to see the Texas Rangers from yesterday approaching her. She could feel the slight supernatural buzz that Walker gave off.

“Miss. Summers.” Walker greeted her.

“Um hi.” Buffy returned nervously wondering if they had changed their minds on whether or not they were going to charge her. Her bad experience with the law left her unsure what to expect from these guys. The fact that she had been shot at by lawmen didn’t make her feel any better either. Something that increased a lot since she had become the Rider. Every time she had a job it seemed like the police starting popping shots off at her. Sure she new the Rider didn’t do subtle but it was weird remembering getting shot at like that. She really wished people would quit trying to make a Swiss Cheese Buffy. Besides she just knew that if the others heard about it there would be some sort of holy or saint Buffy jokes from Xander and Faith. The only good thing about Dark Willow had been the fact that she had healed al of her damage leaving no scar. There was also the chance of running into the same man on opposite ends of town. She didn’t believe in coincidences or leprechauns for a reason. “Did you need something Ranger Walker?” She finally questioned him.

“I’m looking for someone, and I think that you might be that person.” Walker explained to the woman. “I’m looking for the blonde Rider that was the former Guardian of the Gateway.” He explained to her watching her carefully.

Buffy flinched at the title that was spoken. “Gateway Guardian huh? That hasn’t been me for a while. Then again I made sure that it is never just one person anymore.”

“Which is why he probably told me you were the former one.” Walker returned, glad to see that the woman hadn’t denied her role. He was also glad to see that he had been right that there was more to this woman than was apparently obvious.

“So why did you think that I was your person? There are plenty of other bikers here.” Buffy noted nodding towards the various veterans that were wandering around the place.

“That may be, but there aren’t that many blonde ones.” Walker pointed out.

Buffy nodded her head in agreement at that as she realized that there really weren’t that many blonde riders around. Shaggy gray and white haired ones yes, but there wasn’t more than one or two other blondes dressed in biker leathers out here. “Okay, point to you.” She conceded. “Now what?”

“Now we get going, there’s someone that wants to meet with you.” Walker explained to her.

Buffy rolled her eyes at that. “If I had known I wasn’t going to be here that long I wouldn’t have paid the parking fee.” She grumbled. “You owe me for the parking fee.” She told them.

“Trivette here will pay it.” Walker assured the girl.

“What, why me?” Trivette asked, even as he reached for his wallet.

“Because you’re the one who’s always losing my money in your get rich quick schemes”. Walker returned to him, even as his friend handed the blonde the money to cover the amount she had spent. Jimmy scowled but didn’t say anything much to the amusement of the Slayer.

The three exited the Alamo and walked down the street passing Ripley’s and the Texas Ranger Museum. The men showed her to where their truck was waiting. Buffy noted that her bike wasn’t too far from where the truck was. She quickly jogged passed and got on her ride. The Rangers nodded and took off leading her along a winding road to a bar that was a bit off the main roads. They got out and Buffy followed the Rangers inside to a table where two men were already sitting down and waiting.

“Buffy Summers, meet Iron Tree and Shaman Gray Wolf.” Walker introduced, as he took one of the chairs. “Gray Wolf is one of the local shamans in the area.”

Buffy nodded, remembering her own spirit walk from not too long ago.

“Washo.” Gray Wolf greeted in an old yet strong voice. His eyes never straying from the small girl that had entered alongside of the Ranger.

Buffy flashed a smile at the old Indian in greeting. “So you’re the guy that went and messed up my secret identity before I had even done anything huh?” Buffy questioned curiously. “Man, and I thought being secret identity gal before was hard. At least back then it was usually because I messed up not because someone was telling everybody else.” She joked, as she remembered how it seemed half the people she met knew her secret on her first day in Sunnydale.

“Indeed Warrior I did.” Gray Wolf admitted without a trace of guilt in his voice or face. The old Indian was old dressed in a combination of western wear and handmade leathers with his hair down up in two graying braids. “There are those amongst the Council who would not see you succeed in your mission and would try and bind you or even stop you from collecting the bounty that you have been sent for. They are fools to think that they can dictate to a being such as the Rider for no mortal can truly command its power. Not even one such as yourself can command it.”

Buffy flinched at that, not liking that the man was telling her that her control might not be as strong as she thought that it was. The implications that she could lose control were not ones she wanted to think about. She knew exactly the kind of damage that the Rider could do if it were inclined to. Then again, all she had ever really learned how to do was to call on the power, she had never actually tried to tap down on the power. Something that she was going to have to do in order for this mission to work.

“That is not why we must talk though, it is your mission here that concerns us. You have come to collect the one known as the Hunter.”

“The immortal that travels around this area?” Buffy questioned carefully.

Jimmy looked surprised that this girl seemed to know what the Shaman was talking about. Even dressed in the leathers, she looked more like she was auditioning for the part of Sandra Dee than she did a serious biker. So the idea that she actually knew about these sorts of things was surprising to say the least.

“He does.” Gray Wolf confirmed. “He has become maddened by his long life though. My comrades think that he still provides a service to the Land and the People. The truth is he has become as dangerous as the man killing bear. More dangerous actually as he has the intelligence of man to support him.”

“An intelligent enemy is always the most dangerous kind.” Buffy agreed with a frown. “Almost as bas one that is patient.”

“Indeed, you understand the danger then.” Gray Wolf complimented. “He must be taken out of play before he becomes any more of a danger than he already is. The world has changed, only he has no longer changed with it. He believes that we owe him, and has forsaken his duty. He also brings more of the threats himself these days than anything else. The threats are willing to destroy all that is of this land to destroy him. His time has past, even if those amongst the Council do not see it.”

“Even knowing all this, why are you telling me?” Buffy asked him curiously. “I was led to believe that you preferred to handle your own problems on your own.”

“It is the way that things are.” Gray Wolf returned. “The land and the people suffer from the war that he brings to us. We must stop him before it becomes too much. You are the tool that the high spirits have sent to aide us in smiting down this being that brings nothing but trouble to us.

Buffy nodded, deciding not to remind this guy that in reality she worked for people that weren’t normally on the same team as the Spirits he was thinking of. She then looked over at the Rangers. “Are you guys okay with what we’re doing here? I mean you do realize what we’re talking about right?”

“I have a suspicion.” Walker admitted neutrally. “However, because of the badges we wear this is as much as we can help you in this matter. If we find you while doing your business we’ll probably have to have you arrested.” He warned her and the others at the table.

“Fair enough.” Buffy agreed, she then turned to look at the shaman. “Tell me what you know of him.”

“I tell you and you take care of the Hunter and leave with minimum amount of damage Rider that is the deal yes?” Gray Wolf questioned.

“That’s the deal, I get my target and let your people protect your people from now on.” Buffy agreed.

“Very well.” Gray Wolf declared as he leaned forward to tell her what he knew of the one known as the Hunter.

A group of men were sitting at a table at a restaurant on the Riverwalk watching the various people as they passed. The older looking men was gray haired with a beard and a cane sitting next to him. At his side were two men, one with long hair the other with short hair. Despite the heat each of the men was wearing a trench coat.

“Remind me again why we’re here?” The short haired member of the group grumbled. He was Methos, arguably the oldest of the known race of Immortal’s.

The long haired member smirked at his companion. Duncan MacLeod was one of two well-known Immortals that had been known simply as the Highlander. The fact that they were clansmen helped in that regard. “I’m here because Joe asked me to.” He explained nodding to Joe Dawson one of the mysterious Watchers who chronicled the lives of Immortals as they moved through the shadows of history. “You’re here because you are too cheap to pay your beer tab and thought that doing some favors for getting it reduced would be better.” He reminded his companion amusedly.

Methos merely scowled at the Highlander in annoyance at the way he described their individual reasons for being here. “When you say it like that, you almost make me sound like a scoundrel.” He drawled back at the man not looking the slightest bit offended though.

“Imagine that.” Duncan returned in amusement. “I wonder why that might be?”

“No idea.” Methos returned with a grin. “Now just why are we here anyways Joe? There’s a reason I usually stick to places with a cooler climate I’ve spent more than my fair share of time in the desert after all.” He reminded the man. Considering he had spent his early immortal years raiding in the deserts, that was something of an understatement.

“Maybe,” Joe returned, “but this is where the rumors are for the immortal that I’m looking for.”

“So who or what are we looking for.”

“We’re just checking for the rumors about a possible immortal that has been running around these parts for the last couple hundred years. Every Immortal that has traveled through this part of the country has simply disappeared. None of the Watcher’s we’ve sent have been able to integrate themselves into the community to the level needed to see if it’s anything more than rumors though.” The older looking but youngest of the group explained to the two men. Duncan had been born in the late 1500’s, and no one was really sure just how old Methos really was just that he was old. Many speculated two or three thousand years at the least.

“So what, we’re here as you bloodhounds then?” Methos asked. All immortals could sense each other to a certain extent it was the buzz of the quickening that let them identify each other.

“Believe me, if I could have found a dog to do the job it would have been a lot easier.” Joe returned to him. “I mean it would save me a lot more money than trying to deal with you.” The two men smirked at each other knowingly taking any true bite out of the words that they were throwing at each other.

“So all we have to do is search the 7th most populated city in the United States for one Immortal?” Methos asked dryly. “Sounds like all sorts of fun, thanks for including me in this you two.”

“You could have just paid your bar tab.” Joe pointed out to him in amusement. “It would have been a lot more convenient for all of us actually.” He jibed at the ‘old man’ of the Immortals.

“Maybe, but not nearly as much fun.” Methos returned to him with a smirk of his own. “Besides, if I left the two of you to wander this city you’ll likely get lost or something similar. Then I would have to come all the way out here anyways to rescue you for whatever craziness that you got yourself involved in this time.”

“Glad to know that you’re so willing to support us.” Duncan thanked, while raising his glass in salute.

“Well what kind of friend would I be then?”

“A sober one.” Joe shot back.

The two Immortals suddenly stopped laughing as they felt a familiar tingle. The pair nodded before their eyes began scanning the area for any threats.

“He’s out there, isn’t he?” Joe questioned eagerly.

“Aye he is.” Duncan agreed with the Watcher. “He’s a powerful one as well, I think that it would best if we proceeded with caution.”

“So much for an easy job.” Methos grumbled.
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