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An Immortal Encounter

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This story is No. 5 in the series "Red Raider". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: Faith, Salem, an Immortal (Revised/Expanded from original challenge response)

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Highlander > Faith-Centered(Moderator)acsFR1523,087065,3305 May 0423 Jun 04Yes

An Immortal Encounter

Disclaimer: Faith belongs to Mutant Enemy, Joss Whedon, Fox Television and others. The other character and concepts belongs to Panzer/Davis
Spoilers: For Highlander/Raven - none. For BtVS - it's post Season 7.
Summary: Originally posted as a response to the 20 minutes w/Faith challenged. This version has been revised/expanded to provide background for a future story.
Revisions: [21-Feb-2005] Slight tweaking to better fit my other Amanda/Highlander crossover story that occurs before this one - "The Apprentice"
AN: See end.


----


Looking around as she parked her car, Faith was once more reminded that she didn't care much for history. Trying to forget her own past left her little time or patience for the past of others. When she'd been asked to take part in the reformed Council of Watchers by the surviving members of the Scooby Gang, she'd made a conscious decision to put the past behind her and focus on her future. If something wasn't related to the latest demon or apocalypse of the week she wasn't interested. Her sole concession to any cravings for something other than slaying were the slim volumes of poetry she carried with her, hidden at the bottom of her worn bags. Not even the perpetually nosy Summers sisters had found her secret vice.

The broodiness of Angel wasn't really for her. With her short Slayer lifespan, she didn't have time to sit around and contemplate all of the things she'd done wrong since becoming a slayer. Thinking about them wouldn't accomplish anything. It was better to move forward, participating in the Scooby quest to help the world survive evil, one day at a time.

It was a lonely life, traveling from demonic hot spot to demonic hot spot as a Council agent, sometimes in the company of Robin Wood and his band of Council demon hunters but usually alone. Except for the occasional visit to one of the Council offices she rarely saw anyone else from the Council, receiving most of her assignments by phone or e-mail. And she preferred it that way.

She'd been to Salem before. It was not a place she relished spending time in. Humans had perpetrated the evil that had taken place there, giving it a resonance that reminded her too much of the parts of her past that never quite went away, no matter how much she tried to ignore them. On her way south after dealing with a particularly vicious demonic cult along the Maine coast, she was headed to a meeting in New York with the young slayers stationed there. Stopping to get something to eat, for some reason she'd found herself drawn to the center of old Salem Village. The early morning moonlight glinted off of the tourist oriented witchcraft trial artifacts scattered about, giving it an other-worldly feel.

Just as she was about to head back to her car, the sounds of metal hitting metal rang out near one of the museums. Stealthily approaching what her battle trained ears told her was a sword fight, Faith came upon a surrealistic scene straight out of one of the Gothic comic books she'd devoured before becoming a slayer.

A tall woman, her silvery-white hair almost glowing in the moonlight, was engaged in a vicious battle with a taller and heavier man. Sensing that neither combatant would take kindly to her interference, she stood back just out of sight in the shadows and watched in fascination. They seemed to be evenly matched and their skill with the sword went beyond anything she'd ever seen before. Even with her slayer enhanced senses she could barely follow their movements.

In a move she could only just follow, it was suddenly over. With a shouted "There can be only one!" from the woman the head of the man landed at Faith's feet as his body slumped to the ground. Faith found herself briefly staring into the hypnotic gaze of the woman as an electrical storm that set off all of her slayer senses erupted around her, knocking both of them off of their feet and knocking Faith out in the process as her head collided with a nearby wall.

When Faith came to, she found herself lying on a park bench far from where she'd fallen. Staring down at her with a curious expression was the woman.

"What were you doing here? Don't they teach slayers to stay away from immortal battles" she asked after Faith groaned and sat up.

"What am I doing here?" asked Faith in confusion, wondering how the woman knew she was a slayer. "What's an immortal, and who are you?"

"You could have been killed if you'd been any closer." She answered with a grimace, avoiding Faith's question. "I would love to have a chat with your watcher. "

Not quite sure how to respond, Faith feigned ignorance. "Watcher? What's a watcher?"

"You know... those obnoxious and conceited men who train vampire slayers?" The woman gave her a look, as if daring her to deny it.

"Oh.. those watchers. They're all dead." Faith told her. "I don't know who you are but..." She was interrupted before she could say anything else.

"My name's Amanda. And what do you mean 'all dead'" the surprised woman asked her.

"Dead as in dead! They ran into something bigger and meaner than they were a couple years ago." Faith couldn't help her slightly malicious grin. She'd never been a big fan of the Council. "Hence, no more tweedy watchers."

Amanda stepped back as Faith stood and stretched her sore muscles. "Then who helps the slayer?" she asked with a frown.

"We do!" she said, proudly including herself.

"And who are 'we'?" Amanda asked her.

"If you want to know that..." Faith looked at her and, sensing nothing evil, grinned seductively at her before continuing, "You'll have to buy me a drink. We can trade information. You tell me about immortals and how you know about slayers, and I'll tell you all about dead watchers."

"Okay..." she answered, obviously intrigued with the leather clad young woman now standing in front of her.

----

Other than a hole-in-the-wall bar catering to the local demon element that they both declined to enter, the only place they could find that was open so late was a small diner on a Salem back street that didn't serve anything stronger than the local brew.

Looking up from the slim menu she'd been handed by the disinterested waitress when they'd been seated, Faith regretfully told her companion "I guess that drink will have to wait for another time."

"There's always tomorrow," Amanda said suggestively before asking her "Unless you have to be somewhere?"

"I'm just passing through." Faith told her. "I need to be in New York in a couple hours."

"That's too bad. I'll be here the rest of the week if you happen to be passing through again and feel like that drink." She offered. "You were going to tell me what happened to your watchers?"

"Oh, them? Nothing too complicated. I don't know if you heard about an explosion in London several years ago?" Faith asked her.

"Yes, wasn't there a gas main explosion?" She frowned. "Some kind of private club was destroyed, killing everyone inside?"

"That would be the one." Faith shrugged. "Most of the Council of Watchers were there for a meeting at the time. Big Evil, angry about something they did, blows up the building, no more watchers."

"And their slayers?" Amanda asked curiously.

"The slayers... were all" Faith stressed the all, "in California at the time." Faith didn't think she needed to explain her own where-abouts at that point in time.

"Slayers?" her companion gave her a surprised look, obviously fishing for information. "I thought they were very rare? There are enough now that they work together?"

"Modern medicine can do wonders." Faith answered. "There are quite a few of us now."

"How many are there?" she asked.

"Can't really say." Faith answered, clearly indicating with her tone that this wasn't a subject she had any desire to further discuss.

"So who does whatever the former watchers used to do?"

Faith could tell she was just barely containing her curiosity. "We started a new organization to replace it."

"We being?" Amanda asked casually.

"The older slayers, some friends, and a couple of the watchers who survived." Faith told her, staring at her coffee. "You could say we have a completely different way of doing things." She looked back up at Amanda. "Unlike the old tweeds we never forget that slayers are still people."

"So it's a whole new group?" Faith nodded at her. "And no one knows anything about immortals?"

"I've never heard of them. But I'm not really the person to ask." Faith shrugged. "I try to stay out in the field doing my job. If someone thinks I need to know about people killing each other with swords and big flashy explosions afterward they'll tell me."

"Someone should probably tell your organization about immortals." Amanda told her.

"Go ahead." Faith said before motioning the waitress over to their booth. The next few minutes were consumed in the intricacies of ordering before she continued. "I won't stop you. Of course they'll probably wonder how you know about slayers."

"I uh... borrowed something from a watcher once." She smiled languidly at Faith for a moment. "He sent his slayer after me. The poor thing had no idea what she was getting herself into."

"Really?" Faith raised an eyebrow at this information. "What'd you do to her?"

"Nothing she didn't enjoy. She got his trinket back... eventually." She grinned at Faith. "I spent some time studying the two of them and the people they worked for. They agreed to stay out of our way if we stayed out of theirs. So, assuming everyone who might know about us is dead, who in your new organization should be told about immortals?"

"It depends on what they are and why you want us to know."

"We're just people who live a long time. We do our own thing. Play our games." Amanda shrugged as if she wasn't saying anything special but Faith sensed some stress around the idea of immortal games. "We just want to be left alone. We don't really need to be mistaken for the things slayers like to kill. And interfering in one of our games can be deadly, even for a slayer."

"You probably want someone to talk with both the Council Head and the Slayer then. She's normally in Cleveland. If not, they can tell you where to find her. His office is in London."

"The Slayer?" She looked confused. "You said there were a few now. What are you then? I could have sworn you were a slayer. You feel like one."

"I am 'a' slayer. But 'the' Slayer speaks for all of us." Faith tried to keep the smirk off of her face. She was pretty sure that Buffy hadn't figured out yet that she'd set it up with Willow and Giles to put Buffy in charge of all of the slayers so she could keep doing what she did best, fighting demons and vampires while Buffy was stuck doing paperwork and wandering around all of the Council offices keeping an eye on all of the baby slayers. "Is there a rush?"

"No. Not really. I'll pass the word to assorted people I know that someone really needs to let your people know about us." She smiled as if secretly amused by something. "Maybe I'll look her up the next time I'm passing through Cleveland."

At this point their food arrived and they both spent the next few minutes hungrily eating.

"So..." Faith said, "you said you were going to explain immortals?"

"I did, didn't I." She gave Faith a contemplative look, and Faith assumed she wasn't going to get even remotely close to the whole story. She certainly didn't plan on giving away all of her secrets to someone she'd just met. "It's a simple thing, really."

"I can handle simple. Go right ahead." Faith encouraged her.

"There are certain people who, if they die violently, come back to life and don't age after that. Such as myself."

"Sort of like vampires?"

"Oh. No. Definitely not." Amanda visibly shuddered. "We are alive. And we can still die. We just keep coming back to life."

"And that display earlier?" Faith asked, waving her fork for emphasis.

"Well, there are exceptions to coming back to life. Some immortals like to kill other immortals."

"Why?" Faith couldn't imagine a reason for such behavior.

"Power. You saw what happened. If an immortal kills another immortal they get their power. The thing that makes someone immortal." Amanda paused for a minute before continuing. "Someone turned it into a game. Even those of us who don't want to be involved have to play. Eventually there will only be one of us left. So, you see, slayers don't need to worry about us anyway. We'll kill each other off all on our own."

"So where do immortals come from?" Faith wondered out loud.

"We don't really know." She told Faith with a shrug before asking a similar question. "Where do slayers come from?"

"We don't know." Faith answered what was obviously an untruth with one herself. She was sure Amanda had lied for the same reason as she had. You didn't tell a potential enemy a possible weakness. She put down her fork and taking one last sip of coffee got up to go, throwing some money on the table. "I've really got to go. That dead watcher story will have to wait for that drink you owe me." she said, winking at the other woman. "It was interesting meeting you."

"And you. I hope we can meet again some time." Amanda told her as she too got up from the table.

----

By the time she'd finished in New York, Faith's encounter with Amanda had almost slipped her mind. It was just another in the long string of strange events that made up her semi-normal life. She was in too much of a hurry to do more than send a message to Giles and Buffy that contained just the basic facts - that there were people running around, claiming to be immortal, who preferred to be left alone by slayers to kill each other in some bizarre game involving swords. And that standing nearby when two of them fought to the death wasn't an experience she planned on repeating any time soon.

----

Author's notes:
AN[1]: Feedback welcome.
AN[2]: This fits into my crossover/AU Red Raider - some time between Working Vacation and Girl in a Bar.
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