I do not own Highlander or Angel the Series or Buffy the Vampire SlayerAuthor's Note:
I am not abandoning Dead Man Walking in D.C. However, I have serious writers block on it, so I'm shunting it to the side for now. I will get back to it eventually.
In terms of Highlander Continuity, there's no really good spot for where this takes place. I'm screwing with timeline quite a lot. Specifically I've moved the years of Highlander ahead, and kept Duncan running the antique shop, even after Tessa dies. Duncan and Joe are friends, and Joe is running the bar now. Richie is still alive, in the Dead Man Walking continuity, by this point. Its maybe a few months after Joe opened the bar, specifically.Dead Man Walking In Seacouver
By AlkeniWatchers Council Headquarters
November 7th, 2005
At the sound of a knock at his door, Giles looked up from his computer. Unfortunately, the dread machine was inescapable these days. With Willow and Xander running things on the Cleveland Hellmouth – with Kennedy and Vi as the chief Slayers – and Buffy and Dawn vacationing-slash-working in Rome, Robin Wood finding Slayers in Africa – and communicating infrequently from internet cafes and by satellite phones when necessary – and with everything else he had to do, he'd been forced by circumstance to acquire basic proficiency with the device. It wasn't an enjoyable experience, to say the least. Fortunately, his secretary could handle most things with it.
The door opened and Wesley and Lilah walked in. “You were right. The other shoe is indeed dropping. The Blood King cults are rising across the United States. Fortunately no others have managed to reach the radar of a federal agency, which saves us all a great deal of time.”
“And frustration. If I never have to work with Agent Gibbs on anything ever again, it will be too soon. Or his team.” Lilah replied,
“Is the Dragon of Assyria behind this push?”
“The evidence would suggest otherwise, actually.” Wesley replied.
“It seems the Dragon of Elam and the Dragon of Assyria have had a bit of a falling out. And most of the cult has gone over to the Elamite's camp.” Lilah replied.
“Falling out is a bit of an understatement, don't you think Lilah?” Wesley shot back. “The Elamite sent Karashka Demons after the Assyrian.”
“They're fanatical vampire cultists, and they're both older than Islam. That is just a falling out for them. If they were serious, they'd be throwing around Saevanias.”
“Saevanias?” Giles blinked. “I'm afraid I must admit I'm not familiar with that species.”
“They don't tend to visit this dimension. They look like giant mosquitoes. And they love the taste of vampire. They actually raise human cattle in their home dimension specifically to feed the vampires they eat. Perfectly harmless to humans, but one of the most painful ways for a vampire to die, apparently. Wolfram and Hart had one on retainer, to handle vampire employees that got out of line, or to deal with troublesome vamps outside the firm. I lobbied for them to use it on Angel, but then, the Senior Partners are still being stupid about the prophecy.”
“Would you mind putting together a comprehensive brief on that-”
“I can think of a myriad more better ways to spend my time, Giles. You have an entire research staff, and -”
“A tiny fraction of the books once held by the Council. Besides, you can write the briefing on your flight back to the United States.” Giles opened a drawer and handed them tickets. “Two months ago, Willow's team on the Cleveland Hellmouth with two parts of the Diodorisian Trinity.”
“Which ones?” Wesley said, stiffening. One was bad enough...
“The Crown and the Scepter. Both are now in the vault. Fortunately, the cult didn't know where the third part is. But I do know.” He turned the computer so the screen faced them. “The Amulet of Halicarnassus is in an antiques shop in Seacouver. And as far as I can tell, the owner, a Mr. Duncan Macleod, has no idea how dangerous this artifact is. I called him on the phone, as a collector interested in buying the item. He simply believes it is what it appears to be. A 12th century golden amulet made for some Byzantine noble or another. He bought it at an estate sale. From there, I was able to follow its trail back to its last known location in 1897 from there. It appears to be the genuine article.”
“And you want us to go and get it?”
“You can see why I wouldn't want a Slayer touching that thing, if at all possible?”
“Of course. But why not send one of the other watchers on such a routine mission. As long as they know the proper containment rituals-” Wesley trailed off as the answer dawned on him.
“Someone else found out as well?” Lilah finished
“Someone claiming to be a lawyer from Wolfram and Hart representing an unnamed wealthy Chinese private collector, in fact.. And I don't need to explain to you why we can't let Wolfram and Hart get its hands on the most powerful part of the Diodorisian Trinity.” Giles replied. “Or one of its clients either.” He added, almost as an afterthought.
“We have permission to kill whoever they bring with them as muscle, even if they're human or are we to just incapacitate them if they are?” Wesley asked.
“Full sanction on their minions.” Giles nodded. Sanction Two on the agent to make the purchase, unless there is no other choice, or he attacks you. Even if it is a demon.”
“Wolfram and Hart won't get the message if we don't kill the lawyer. That's how you tell them you're serious.” Lilah pointed out. She'd developed an almost frightening desire to stick it to Wolfram and Hart in recent months. Although, their attempt to murder her adoptive mother as retribution for her departure from the firm made that desire understandable.
“Exactly. Killing the human or demon hired guns is business as usual. Whereas killing a lawyer is an escalation of tensions between our two organizations. I'm not prepared for the superpowers of supernatural world to go to open warfare. I like our current cold war just fine, thank you very much.”
“How much are we paying for the amulet, then?”
“Six-thousand U.S. Dollars.” Giles answered. “I'm sending you with twenty-five thousand, if Wolfram and Hart forces you into a bidding war. Anything more than that and...” He shrugged, “Well, I'm sure you can find ways to ensure that the amulet doesn't make the trip from Seavouver to the premises of a Wolfram and Hart office or to their client.”
Wesley and Lilah nodded, then Wesley looked at the tickets.
“When do we leave?” Lilah asked.
“Tomorrow afternoon.” Wesley answered, handing Lilah her ticket and putting his into his coat pocket. “Anything else?” He asked Giles.
“Nothing else relating to this task. Though, I've been meaning to ask, have either of you encountered another immortal since Caleb?”
Wesley shook his head. “Fortunately, no.”
“Do you intend to continue to flout the existing rules of the Game as you did with Alfonso, and tried with Caleb?”
“Of course.” Lilah answered before Wesley could. “I'm not interested in losing my head – I like it where it is, thank you very much. And I like Wesley's head where it is too. And neither of us are likely to be able to stand up to truly dedicated headhunters.
“Are there no ramifications?”
“Only if we behead another immortal on holy or unholy ground.” Wesley replied. “Sanctified, in that sense.”
“Pompeii.” Giles said flatly, knowing the true story.
“Pompeii.” Wesley agreed.Antique Shop
Seacouver, United States
November 9th, 2005
Wesley and Lilah felt it as they approached the antique shop owned by Duncan Macleod. That distant rumbling... they'd spent enough time around eachother that when one of them approached the other, they only felt it a little. But this immortal...much older than them, and much more powerful. But nearby. Not as powerful as Caleb – powered up by the energies of the First Evil as he was, but the power was real. Lilah looked Wesley in the eye.
“A little too public for your gun right now isn't it, Wes?” She nodded to Wesley's hand, which had been reaching inside his coat to retrieve one of his handguns. “Even if there is an Immortal nearby, we're not going to be fighting out in public like this. Calm down.”
Wesley pulled his hand away.
“Good. Now, let's buy what we came here for, then find whoever it is that is giving me a headache.”
“Lilah.” Wesley said pointedly. “I thought we agreed no headhunting.”
“Doesn't mean we can't give this immortal the chance to try at us, and then I can take his head, no?” Lilah remarked. “So if we don't go near him, we may never find out if he's a headhunter or-” As they walked into the antique shop, the feeling grew even stronger, and they realized that the man behind the counter was the immortal they were sensing.
The tall, black-haired man that appeared to be innocently examining a sword, as if checking it for flaws before putting it out for sale...well, powerfully built would perhaps be a little bit of an understatement. He looked up as they entered, keeping the sword on the counter but one hand wrapped carefully around the hilt.
“I am Duncan Macleod of the Clan Macleod.” He said firmly.
“I'm Wesley Wyndam-Pryce.” Wesley replied cooly.
“I'm Lilah Morgan.” Lilah's tone was, if anything, icier. “And If, you'll believe it, we're the people from the IWC. You spoke to a Mr. Rupert Giles a few days ago, about a 12th century Byzantine amulet?” Wesley opened his coat – slowly, and even more slowly, took out a thick manilla envelope. “We're the ones here to buy it. I believe the negotiated price was six thousand dollars?”
Duncan Macleod paused a moment, then. “Alright.” He'd never had two other immortals in his store at the same time, both simply wanting to engage in business. Only other time he'd had two immortals in this particular store would be when Sland and Connor... had shown up, the night he'd been pulled back into the Game after his retirement from it. “Unfortunately, much as I'd like to help.” he smiled just a little, “There's been a better offer from-”
“A lawyer working with Wolfram and Hart, on behalf of a collector?” Wesley asked.
“I don't believe I remember telling your Rupert Giles about the other offer.”
“You didn't need to.” Wesley said. “We knew they'd want the amulet. We're...professional rivals, call it. How much did they offer?”
“Ten thousand. The amulet is very nice, but I don't think I ever expected it to be worth that kind of money to anyone.”
“Twenty-Five thousand.” Wesley handed Duncan the envelope. “You can count yourself to make sure.”
“Why do you want it so badly?” Duncan asked.
“Does it really matter to the sale?”
“It has historical value.” Lilah said. “Significant historical value.”
“Care to elaborate?”
“I'd really rather not. Why do you care, anyway?” Lilah cocked her head to the side.
“By the time you get to my age, not much surprises you.” Duncan answered. “Finding that two sets of people that want something as badly as you and your...professional rivals seem to that doesn't seem to be all that valuable is a little bit surprising.”
“Like Lilah said.” Wesley replied, shrugging. “It has significant historical value. To be honestly, we don't ask Rupert Giles all that many questions.” He lied through his teeth there, and from the look on Duncan's face, the Scottish immortal knew it.
“And is this Giles immortal as well?”
Wesley shook his head, and couldn't help but laugh. “No, no. But we were in the same line of work before our first deaths a earlier this year.”
“We're only the ones handling the purchase of this one because...well...Wolfram and Hart doesn't like losing out on anything.” Lilah said, then smirked. “I should know. I used to work for them.”
“So what is your normal line of work?”
“Troubleshooting.” Wesley replied cooly. “In the most basic way possible.”
“And your first deaths were earlier this year? You don't carry yourselves like new immortals.”
“We both knew about immortals before we died.” Lilah said, shrugging.How is that...
he considered. “Watchers?”
“Not me.” Lilah replied. “Wesley was.”
Duncan made a mental note to talk to Joe about Wesley. There was something strange about these two. He nodded to the scar on Wesley's neck. “That what killed you?”
“A rather fanatical young woman and I had a disagreement about who had the rights to an orphaned child. I died, the child was kidnapped, and a few months later, the woman found herself short a head. Why do you ask?”
“I have a feeling we'll be meeting again. There can be only one, after all.” He sighed. “I like to know about others of my kind.”
“Of all the rules of the Game, that one is certainly the stupidest. I mean, where is it written that there can only be one? Who decided that every immortal has to kill every other until one is left. I'm sure you met immortals you've been fond of in your lifespan. Wouldn't you rather not kill them?”
“The game and its rules are what define us.” Duncan said. “Of course I'd rather not kill my friends. And I don't.”
“But when there are only you and your friends left. If that becomes the case, anyway. What then? And the rules are archaic and stupid. Using only swords? A challenge must be accepted? Only one on one? The rules are perpetuated for the more powerful immortals. Who taught you them, after all?” He smirked. “I've found that a gun works wonders in dealing with all manner of problems. Including the only immortal I've had the misfortune to find that wanted my head.”
“Well, there was Caleb.” Lilah pointed out. “But then, he didn't want your head.”
“Caleb?” Duncan lighted on the name.
“You know the name? Dresses like a priest, hates women and has a disturbing tendency to use scripture and scripture-esque language all the time?”
“That's the one.” Duncan had run into the man, decades ago. The fact that he hadn't managed to kill the monster was something that had weighed on him.
“Well, he's dead now.” Wesley replied. “Died earlier this year, in Sunnydale, a week or so before the town collapsed. And he wasn't killed by an Immortal. No one got the quickening, which would be good for everyone involved. A Dark Quickening, if there ever was one, I'd suspect.”
Duncan counted the money in the envelope. It was all there. He opened a drawer and handed Wesley a box. Wesley opened it. “The Amulet of Halicarnassus. Excellent.” He slipped in into his coat. “Mr. Macleod. It was a pleasure.” he mimed tipping a hat. Joe's Bar
Seacouver, United States
November 9th, 2005
Duncan accepted the beer from Joe. “You know a watcher named Wesley Wyndam-Pryce?”
Joe thought for a minute, then shook his head. “Never heard the name. Why?”
“Because I just had two immortals walk into my store, pay twenty-five thousand dollars for a 12th century amulet worth, at most, a third of that, and...they died the first time this year. But knew about immortals before they died. I asked if they had been watchers. One of them said he was.”
Joe shook his head again. “Describe them.”
“Going to set new watchers on them?”
“Its what we do.”
Duncan shrugged and described them. When he was done, Joe shook his head. “I don't recognize either of them, But I do know the name Wolfram and Hart. Real nasty piece of work law-firm. But they've been around...according to the watcher records, for centuries, in one form or another. Not always in the law. We've always thought its run one or more immortals. The 'Senior Partners' – seems like there's three of them. One called the Wolf, one the Ram, and another the Hart. They deal in demons, dark magic...” He shook his head.
Duncan's immediate response wasn't denial of demons, or magic. He'd had his run-ins with both, in his time. He tried to minimize them, though.
“Although...” Joe said, something occurring to him. “Speaking of demons, I think I remember another group that calls itself the Watchers. Unrelated to us.”
“What do they watch then?”
“Demons.” Joe replied. “Hunt them too. From time to time, our two worlds – immortals, and demons – cross paths.”
“So that amulet...” Duncan shook his head. “Demon related?” Then he scoffed. “Of course.”
“If Wolfram and Hart and a demon-watcher both wanted it?” Joe nodded. “You can bet your entire lifespan on it, and then some.”