Immortals, Vampires and Slayers, Oh my!
Ch. 8 – Immortals, Vampires and Slayers, Oh my!
"What are you people?" The question radiated through the small apartment over and over again. Xander wasn't offended, but decided to take up for his friends.
"We are friends of Willow. I've known her since we were in diapers, and Cordy has too. As to what we are...You are in the presence of one slayer, her watcher, a seer, a warrior, a genius, and an ex-Scooby." The Immortals and the other Watcher looked confused.
Methos knew what a slayer is and consequently he knew about her Watcher, as well. "What is a seer and an ex-Scooby?"
Duncan and Joe looked at Methos like he had grown a new head, but he was curious.
"I am a seer," Cordelia spoke up, "for the ptb...the powers that be; I get visions, usually of bad things that are going to happen, so that the warriors can kick their evil booty. An ex-Scooby refers to Xander's position as a team member of the slayer of Sunnydale; he liked to call them the Scooby Gang." Duncan stared at her still confused.
"What is a slayer?" Joe and Duncan asked.
Wes took that one, explaining how one girl, in the entire world, was destined to destroy vampires, and every other evil creature that walks the earth. The ex-watcher smugly explained the Hellmouth, to the disbelieving men; Wes was in his element. The demon in front of them was little proof. They explained that Lorne is an anagogic demon, from another world, Pylea.
Duncan took Methos aside, "you don't seem too surprised about this. What do you know? Are they telling the truth?"
"They are telling the truth, my friend, there are actual demons and slayers that roam this world. The fact that they know so much about both creatures indicates that they are who they say they are. I would listen to them." Duncan nodded, but wanted further explanation into how these creatures exist and why he didn't know about them before.
"So what happened to Willow back at the mall?" Duncan asked the strangers who seem to know everything.
"We're not sure," Xander said. "Willow is a witch; her powers have grown over the last few years, but nothing like we just saw." Methos was shocked. He'd never seen a witch with this amount of power. Cassandra is a weakling compared to this witch. Duncan's thoughts ran along the same line. "Please. We've answered your questions. We have some of our own. Why does Willow have no memory of us? And an even better question, who are you?"
Methos, Joe, and Duncan spoke silently with their eyes. These people obviously dealt with the paranormal all the time, and would not run off and tell the first tabloid they could find. Methos and Joe silently gave their Okays to whatever decision he made. 'Great it's always left up to me.'
"I'm an Immortal. I was born and died my first death in the Highland's of Scotland over four hundred years ago. We also have Watcher's but unlike Slayer's Watchers, ours do not usually interact. Watcher's...well they watch, record events that take place, etc. Immortals, are not entirely immortal, we can be killed by removing our heads. That is where the game comes into play, since there have been immortals there has been the game, the rules: there can only be one, in the end, an immortal cannot fight or kill on holy land, and there are other rules that must be observed in a battle between two immortals, but those aren't important now."
"So your older than Angel," the shy mousy girl who sat beside the large bald man said, she was gripping his hand. "What happens if you die by other means, say you are stabbed or something?"
"We can die as a human, but we will come back as long as we still have our heads." Duncan assured her.
"Yeah, because that would be just silly, to have headless Immortals running around; what kind of scam are you running here?" Xander said angrily. "Does Willow know about this?"
Duncan looked at Methos, "show them." The Highlander demanded. Methos sighed. He approached the wall of daggers, he grabbed the one he used nearly a year before to prove their Immortality, but instead of slicing his hand he rammed the dagger through his heart.
"Son of a bitch!" Faith yelled out. "Let's get Willow and get out of here." Surprisingly it was the demon that calmed the chaos.
"Calm down and watch." Lorne soothed the crowd.
'I'm going to kill Methos for this—again. He always goes out for the shock. I should have known.' Duncan went to the body and pulled out the long dagger, cleaned it and hung it up. The rest of the room was staring at the body.
Suddenly a small bolt of energy healed the area where the dagger had been sticking out of the Immortal's chest moments before. The body started choking on the blood that had filled its lungs, and Methos sat up. "Zeus that is painful."
"Well if you weren't such a show off..." Duncan trailed off, knowing it was no use, he had proved their point.
"Okay...well..." Xander said. "That doesn't explain why Willow is here and why she doesn't remember us."
Duncan continued his story from earlier, "over two years ago, Methos, who is also an Immortal was coming off a bus in LA when he felt the buzz (the feeling we get in the back of our mind when an Immortal is around) of a pre-Immortal. He followed this pre-Immortal to her motel room, and found out her name was 'Willow Summers'..."
"But that's not..." Xander started to say.
"We know that now." Methos said. "Anyway, I thought I had enough information on her to find her again, but it turned out that Willow was going by an alias, we weren't sure if even the first name was an alias, too. Willow, interestingly enough, didn't appear in the list of pre-Immortals in the Watcher's database. The only thing I knew at the time was that she moved to LA in the hopes of making it on her own." Xander was shaking his head, while Cordy rubbed his arm comfortingly.
Duncan took over. "Methos came to me about taking over a new student..." seeing their confused looks he went on "...older immortals sometimes take on new immortals as students, to teach them how to fight and the rules of the game." They understood this, and nodded for him to go on. "Methos went back to find her, and she was gone from the motel, and since we couldn't find her so I decided to move to LA, open a dojo and look for her in my off time. Joe, my Watcher, followed and opened up a Jazz club here called 'Joe's', and Methos...well he tends to hang around wherever we are..." Duncan said this in jest, but Methos threw a throw pillow at him anyway.
Duncan swatted it away like a gnat and went on. "I looked for almost a year, and began to despair of ever finding her when I came upon a pre-Immortal buzz turning into an Immortal one. I knew that someone had just died their first death. I followed it, Willow was the only known, or un-known pre-Immortal in the area. When I approached the scene there were already scores of police, and ambulances around the scene, but I saw her dead...it was a gruesome death. It is required for an Immortal to die violently on their first death, but I had never seen anything so bad before..." Duncan whispered; remembering Willow's body laying on the ground...so much blood.
Xander and Cordelia were crying into each other's shoulders; they could only imagine the horror that Duncan saw on that fateful night. Duncan decided to go on; the rest of the story would help to ease their pain, a little.
"I followed the ambulance to the morgue, and found her inside already healed, and already Immortal, but she had no idea who she was or where she was. I brought her back here, and I've trained her over the last year to be one of us." Duncan didn't want to tell them about their burgeoning relationship, which was too personal, and too new. The Highlander was already feeling the loss of her against his body, and to explain that would require his further absence from her side. Only Joe and Methos knew the full extent of their relationship. They looked disapprovingly at him for leaving the details, but again, they left it up to his better judgment.
Xander sat there and thought for a minute, he looked up and saw Lorne. "Did you know she was here a year ago?!" Xander stood up ready to storm at the demon, Lorne held up his hands in defense.
"I wasn't for sure where she was at, but I knew she was safe and with someone who would protect her until it was time for you to come back into her life. This is that time. I only found out where the little dumpling was a couple of days ago." Xander calmed down, but was still shaking with grief for his best friend whose life was suddenly drastically changed.
"What was the day you found her?" Xander asked, he could tell that Duncan cared for Willow, and would remember the date clearly.
"It was October 24th," Duncan said without thought. This was a gift for Duncan, he always remembered important dates, but this date had changed his life, and he would never forget, somewhat like today.
Xander stood up, "I'm going to kill him." He spit out, and began to walk out the door. Faith and Cordelia ran after Xander. Wes, Gunn and Fred stayed behind.
"Who is he mad at, and why is that date so important?" Methos asked. Duncan didn't know, and he almost didn't want to know.
"That is the day Willow found out that her mate was sleeping with his sire, and he had been ignoring Willow for a few months before that." Wesley answered clearly over come with emotion at what the redhead must have gone through that day to be murdered. Willow had enough power in her tiny little finger to destroy a master vampire. She must have...oh. "I think I know what happened today...at the mall...she must have blocked her powers..." Wes was cut off by the sound of softly padded feet walking into the room.
"I d-didn't think I could take the pain I was going through that day without a magical backlash so I...blocked my powers. By the time he found me...I was t-too weak to fight off a nine year old." Tears were streaming down Willows face, Duncan wanted to approach her and hold her, but knew she would not even recognize him in her current state. "He was human," Willow laughed hysterically. "He beat me with his fist and then against the wall. I'm not sure what happened after that, all I remember is waking up in a dark box and then..." Willow couldn't go on. She knew now what her subconscious had been hiding her from this last year. The horrible truth about her death, the loss and betrayal of Angel, everything, it was too much.
Xander, Cordelia and Faith were standing by the stairs; they heard every word. Xander approached his redheaded friend slowly. She looked up when she saw his boots, "Xander...I've missed you so much." Willow cried out, and he took her in his arms. Duncan stared at them knowing he was losing her, but there was nothing he could do. Willow had loved someone the night she died, and he knew better than most that when Willow loved it was completely, 'but the man betrayed her' a little voice inside his head said. It doesn't matter she would still love him, whoever he is.
Willow lay in the arms of her friends for hours, never seeing the people move around her, it was as if time now stood still for her. Lorne excused himself, he gave a brief hug to Willow before leaving for his new humble abode; the demon knew that he would have an angry vampire back at the hotel. One that wouldn't understand what had happened to Willow, one that would realize his feelings for the sad redhead went much deeper than he ever imagined. Even though they were fated didn't mean they would end up together, Lorne couldn't see that far ahead, but he knew that the next few weeks would be the most difficult times that Angel, Willow, or Duncan have ever faced.
Angel paced the lobby waiting to hear anything over at the other company. They would let him know where she was at. They could not keep him away from his mate.
Lorne walked in, Angel was about to brush past him when he smelt him, the demon smelt like Willow. Angel's face morphed, he grabbed the demon and shook him, "Where is she Lorne?" Angel growled.
"Let me go, and I'll tell you everything I know." Angel released the demon, and allowed him to sit down. Angel sat across from him, the earphones still lying across his desk hoping to hear her voice at any moment.
"Willow is safe, Xander is with her. Angel, she didn't know who she was for the past year and only remembered who she was when she saw you at the mall today. That's only part of the reason for her rapid transformation today. She is not the same person you knew over a year ago. The reason you cannot contact her through her bond to you is because there is no bond anymore, she no longer carries your mark." Lorne stopped so Angel could digest that.
"That's not possible; no one can get rid of the mark unless they die!" Angel growled out.
"Willow did die, Angel, one year ago, the night you discovered Darla was back and chose her over your mate, was the night she died."
Angel was shaking his head, no, no, he didn't do this to her...couldn't have. "But...I saw her at the mall...she was breathing. I could smell her; it was her." Angel said vehemently.
"Yes, she is alive, now, and she will forever be young now. Willow is now an Immortal, they live by a different set of rules than vampires; they can only be killed in one way, by decapitation." Angel didn't know whether to laugh or cry, they were more suited for each other now more than ever. Willow would be around for an eternity, and he could be with her, but he had caused her to run out, upset, caused her to get killed.
"How?" Angel asked. "How did she die?" The anagogic turned greener, if that was possible.
"That's not...a man...he beat her up, severely, then attempted to rape her, and then he slit her throat when he couldn't get it up." Angel looked horrified at the demon sitting across from him.
"She remembers all of that?" Many of his victims wouldn't have made it past he initial beating, during his Angelus days. Lorne shook his head.
"Willow doesn't remember anything past her head being slammed against the wall, and I'm betting she never will."
"Why didn't she use her magic? A human managed to do that to her when vampires were running scared of her the day before. How? Did the man have superhuman strength, a special amulet, something to shield him?" This was the point Lorne had dreaded, the point when the situation would become clear to the vampire.
"She didn't have her powers when he found her...Willow blocked them...when she began to lose control of her powers, after finding out about you and Darla." Lorne shuddered at the wailing scream that filled the air; he had never heard the sound before in his entire life.
"No!" Angel screamed out to anybody and nobody. The vampire's real face appeared, his full strength was needed. He picked up the vase closest to him and through it across the room. He didn't even see the green demon walk upstairs, leaving him to his own self-destruction. "No!" Angel tore into the couch with his bare hands running his hands through the stuffing madly, he flipped the round couch in the middle of the lobby and kicked it through the lobby doors. If it had been daylight he would have torn out of the hotel to see the last sunset, because there was no way he could live through the next few minutes. Anything and everything breakable or perishable was torn apart in the hotel lobby in a matter of moments. "I didn't mean it...I'm so sorry my love. I didn't mean it..." Angel fell to the floor his tears falling to the floor. "I killed her, she loved me and I killed her..." He said exhausted.
"Wake up, Angel." A familiar voice beckoned to him, a heavy brogue he hadn't heard in almost two years.
Angel lifted his face off the hard floor, the demon that stood in front of him was dead; how was he here?
"I'm still dead Angel. I've been sent to clean up the mess you've made of things...well not this mess," Doyle said looking around the Hyperion. "The mess you made of Willow." Angel looked uncertain, but hopeful. "Did you know that you two were fated to be together, yes, you and Willow are the equivalent to star-crossed lovers, soul-mates, whatever name you want to put to it; that's what you were supposed to be. Then imagine my surprise when I have a looksie and to my great surprise Willow is no longer with you, she has died, come back an Immortal, she doesn't know who she is, you've kicked out the only friends you've ever had, and you're sleeping with Angelus' sire."
Angel wanted to deny it, but it was all true. It was actually worse than he could ever imagine.
"Well this time things are going to be different Angel, you will not win Willow as easily as you did before. You will have some heady competition for her affections, she still loves you, but she's fallen for someone else, too over the last year. An Immortal that has given her everything, has loved her and loves her with everything he has, but Willow will not fall out of love with you easily. I can say this, if you don't try to win her back, she will eventually give up on you and the world will fall into hell, because you need her to save it and she needs you too. Unfortunately, this puts you between a rock and a hard place, because you will need her new lover as well. I do not envy your predicament, I'll tell you that." Doyle gave him a stern look before turning away.
"New lover?" Angel questioned the demon, tears falling down his face; this would not be easy at all.
"You've got a chance with her, but you may have to accept some changes in both of your lives for it to work and you probably will not like them at first...eventually you will."
"What changes?" Angel asked his dead friend.
"Does it matter?" Doyle asked.
"No, really it doesn't. How do I find her?" Angel asked.
"Willow's staying with Duncan MacLeod at a dojo that he runs in LA, about ten blocks from here. I don't recommend looking for her today. Willow needs a little time to adjust." Doyle walked out of the hotel; the vampire would have to figure out the rest on his own.
"Wait...!" Angel called out, but when he stepped out of the front door the ghost of Doyle was gone.
Willow woke in the protective arms of her friends. She could feel her magic overfilling her body, waiting to be used, it had been so long. The redhead was afraid to use the magic, after what happened in the mall it might overwhelm her again, take over. Willow closed her eyes, wanting to dream in the protective arms of her friends...Duncan...oh goddess, what must he think of me?
Willow opened her eyes and climbed out from underneath her friends arms. She didn't see anyone in the brightly lit room, she walked into the bedroom. Duncan was lying on the bed in his boxers...shiver...with her pillow in the protective encircle of his arms. Willow wanted to cry from the confusion, but decided that she would like him to hold her, one more time, even if he sent her away later today, the redhead wanted to feel his body next to hers one more night.
Willow climbed into the bed; she nearly had to yank her pillow out of Duncan's arms. As soon as she managed to remove the ungracious pillow, his arms encircled her body, and pulled her against him. 'I will miss this.' Willow decided, being held was something that had always been important to the redhead, and 'oh my...could he hold me tightly'.
Angel spent the next day cleaning the lobby of the hotel. A customer walked in halfway through the experience and figured that Angel had been attacked by some type of chaos demon, which worked out well for the client, being that he was having problems with those exact creatures himself.
Lorne refused to help Angel with the mess he made the day before, but volunteered to do basic office work, and answer the telephone when it rang. It was about midday when Angel offered to buy lunch for Lorne. They sat in silence awaiting the delivery boy with Lorne's large order of Chinese food. Lorne could tell Angel had questions for him, but was reluctant to ask.
"What?" This caused Angel to come out of his brooding state; the vampire looked questioningly at the demon. "What exactly do you want to know?"
"Willow...she's...living with that broody Scotsman...isn't she?" Lorne almost cackled in delight. Angel had no clue how much he was like Duncan; their cars were even similar. This was going to be a lot of fun.
"Yes...his name is Duncan...but I believe the other two refer to him as MacLeod." Lorne stopped he wasn't going to give away anything Angel couldn't ask for.
"How is she...? Does she remember everything?"
This was not a comfortable topic; the demon hadn't seen anyone as torn apart as Angel and Willow were yesterday. The uncomfortable thing about the situation is that they were the cause of each other's pain. "Willow's in pain...she remembers everything from before, apparently. I left after she woke up."
"Did she say anything...ask about me?" Lorne shook his head. Angel should have known she wouldn't, the redhead was probably doing her best to forget him.
"Did you know the powers were going to send Doyle this morning?" Angel asked, he had a clue that Lorne knew far more than he was saying, and wanted to find out.
Lorne look surprised and a tad worried, but quickly covered it. "Yes...I knew..." Lorne got up to leave; to see if his food was here yet.
"Sit down Lorne." Angel didn't even move, but his demand left no wiggle room. "What do you know?"
"Ever since your girl Friday came to me, looking for information on the redhead, the powers have been in contact with me. Handing out information I need...apparently they've decided that I'm supposed to join your band of do-gooders. I only know what they've told me. Most of it, I or Doyle told you." Lorne tried to look innocent, but Angel didn't buy it.
"What have you been told?" Angel asked with a calm face, but clearly not calm being left out of the loop.
"I only know this: Everything Doyle told you yesterday is true, but times are about to get even tougher. You need to win back the trust of your friends and Willow or your un-life will not last much longer, and neither will Willow's. A great power is supposed to rise and it will come after the two of you first...I don't know anything about this power, so don't ask. I also know there will be others joining our team, including the Immortal that your lady love is currently shacking up with."
Angel frowned at this.
"The powers have not indicated whether you will win back her love, you three are constantly in a state of chaos, no one knows exactly what will happen. In other words, there are many roads each of you can take, and many of those will lead to your personal destruction. You know the right road, but it is up to Willow, Duncan and you to take it. That is all I can tell you for now. Except I've seen visions of the future if you take the wrong one, and it's not pretty. Everyone will die horrible deaths in a rain of fire and destruction brought down by the demons of hell." The thought made Lorne want to belch out his last Sea Breeze, but he calmed himself. "I will help you as much as I can, but my job is not to bring everyone back together; it's yours. They will never trust you fully, unless 'you' make the amends." Lorne left him with those thoughts as he went to the door were the young delivery driver stood holding his food. The little punk almost dropped it when he saw his green face, red eyes and horns.
"I'm a movie actor; this is just makeup." The driver nodded, and gave Lorne his change.
"Have a nice day. You'll need it." Lorne saw the driver's future if Angel didn't do what was necessary, and it wasn't pretty, either.