Disclaimers: The characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Highlander: the Series are not mine. They belong to their respective owners. I do not make any claims on them or their copyrights. I am just using them to tell a story.
Pairing: B/S, X/A, W/K, W/T
History: This takes place after S6 Buffy. Everything you saw, happened. As for Highlander…well, I don’t follow it that closely, so give me some room there.
Rating: PG for violence and adult themes.
Duncan watched from his loft as the blonde got into the cab outside and waved goodbye to her. He sighed, wishing he could do more for the witch but would have to do his best to simply be supportive and listen when she needed him to. Sighing, he headed for the kitchen to see if he could brew something to wake himself up. The buzzing, warning him of another immortal, hit him and he sighed, pouring a cup of coffee. “You’re early Richie. Just let me get my coffee first.” He said.
“Take your time, Macleod.” A deep voice resonated through the dojo.
Duncan turned and stared at the man stepping from the elevator. He stood at an even six feet and was built in a solid form. His suit clung to him as he walked, tailored perfectly to him. “Jenson.” He said softly. “What are you doing here?” he asked, glancing at his Katana resting on the rack across the room.
Jenson smiled. “What do you think I am doing here, Macleod?” He said, smiling. “I haven’t seen you in 250 years, and this is the greeting I get?” he asked, feigning hurt feelings.
Duncan rolled his eyes. “As I recall, it wasn’t on the most pleasant of terms.”
Jenson shrugged. “She was a bad apple, Duncan. You did what I could not.”
Duncan Macleod walked along, dropping the jug as he tried finding his way back to the house. He had a few friends in Egypt and he was staying for a few days on his way through North Africa. The highlander stopped, looking around before getting his bearings again and hurried down a side street, which he was sure would lead to the house he was staying at. He felt the buzz rush through him through the alcoholic stupor he was in and drew his sword. A young woman stepped from behind a pillar, staring at Duncan.
“I am Makiah. Do you intend to battle me?” she asked.
“I have no quarrel with you.” He said, waving the girl out of the way with his claymore. As he turned the corner, however, he almost stumbled over the bodies of four guards. He turned and saw Makiah wiping her sword off. “What have you done?” he said, shaking the cobwebs from inside his head, clearing it a little.
“They dared to challenge me. We are not like them. We are above their petty concerns and cares. One dared to believe he could arrest me.” She snarled contemptuously.
“So you killed them all?!” Duncan gasped.
“Not at first. I only killed the one who dared to lay hands on me. The others, of course, decided to try after that.” She smiled, cocking her head to one side. “Why do you care? We are above them. Their lives are the briefest flickers of candles before us.”
Duncan shook his head. “You are a child, and as such you are dangerous.” He said sadly.
Makiah narrowed her gaze. “So it is to be a duel, then?”
Duncan merely sighed and raised his claymore, bringing it to bear against Makiah’s kopesh.
The fight moved quickly, the girl holding her own due to her familiarity with the terrain and, in no small part, due to Duncan being drunk. But her skills were not equal to almost 150 years of experience and Duncan was able to knock the girl’s weapon away. “There can be only one.” He said, swinging his massive claymore in an arc, severing the girls head from her shoulders.
The quickening was short, but still painful; it was also sobering. Duncan surveyed the scene, realization setting in. She was young, barely more than sixteen years, including her immortal life. He sighed, sad that the immortality did this to a very few. He looked around, trying to figure out how to hide what had happened when he heard a voice calling from around a corner.
“Makiah?!” a voice called in a panic. Duncan sensed another immortal as a man rounded the corner. “Makiah?” he whispered, dropping to his knees next to the headless body. “My god…what have you done?” he said, looking at Duncan. “What have you done to my little girl?”
Duncan felt his stomach lurch and turned to run. The shouts of the man behind him went unheeded.
Jensen clinched his fists as he looked at Duncan. “She was my pride and joy. She had so much love for the world.” He said, his voice tight with rage and danger.
“And she had a god complex and was a murderer.” Duncan explained his action, again.
“Where is she, Macleod?” Jensen asked.
“Where is who?” Duncan said, his eyes racing to his Katana.
Jensen narrowed his gaze. “Your pupil.” He said softly. “I would meet with her.”
“What for?” Duncan asked.
Jenson shrugged. “Call it curiosity. I have heard many things about her. She sounds fascinating.”
Both Duncan and Jensen felt the buzzing letting them know another immortal was near and turned to the elevator as it opened. Richie walked out, running his hands through his hair. “Tara off to Sunnydale already, Mac?” he asked, looking up and stopping. “Uh…did I come at a bad time?”
Duncan shook his head, staring at Richie. “Richie, now is not a good time.” He said, turning back to Jenson. But Jenson had disappeared. “Damn it.” He hissed.
Duncan ran for the window, ready to burst through, but saw no sign of Jensen.
“You have lousy timing Richie.” Duncan said, turning sharply and heading to his loft.
“Sorry Mac.” Richie asked, watching as Duncan pulled out a suitcase. “Uh…where are you going?”
“Sunnydale. I have to warn Tara about some trouble that might be headed her way.” Duncan said. “I only hope I get there in time.” He muttered.
Tara stepped from the tunnel leading from the plane into the airport and looked around. She didn’t know who she was expecting to see, no one knew she was coming, but she still hoped to see a familiar face. Everywhere around her, strangers milled, and bustled; greeted and said their goodbyes. She was in a throng of humanity and felt utterly alone. She sighed, adjusted the shoulder strap for her carry on and walked to baggage claim; She only hoped she wouldn’t be given any grief over her baggage.
As the thin brunette potential walked with a steady but careful pace, her eyes darted left and right, constantly on the lookout for anything wrong, anything out of place; Anything that would kill her. She had traveled over three thousand miles, from Ohio to Sunnydale. She had heard her Watcher mention the move on the phone before he was cut nearly in half by a blinded, robed man. Seeing her Watcher cut down with such ferocity, she knew that this is what was hunting her so she ran for the car they had come to the deserted pay phone in and gunned the still running engine, squealing the tires and spinning out of the parking lot. She never looked back. She got to the airport and jumped on the first plane headed to Sunnydale.
As she walked, she looked up just in time to see one of those men giving out flowers, she supposed they were at all of the airports. She just hurried past him, wrapping her arms around herself as she hurried along. She heard the metallic sound of metal scraping metal and spun, seeing the flower man drop his bouquet and holding a curved dagger, staring at her. He opened his mouth in a wordless cry and charged her. She turned and sprinted; unfortunately it was only a few feet before she collided with another woman. They crashed to the ground in a tangle of arms and legs
Kennedy sighed, looking at her watch for the fifth time in twenty minutes. “Where is she?” she asked Rona and the blonde scooby that was sent with her.
Anya looked at Kennedy and shrugged. “Maybe she’s dead.” She stated plainly. “It would be about our luck if she was dead. It is becoming more and more likely that the potentials have shorter life spans than the slayers do.”
Kennedy rolled her eyes. “That would really suck.” She pouted. They had been sent to pick up the newest potential and so far, hadn’t seen hide nor hair of her.
Rona grinned. “Yeah, cause that would mean you missed quality make-out time this morning.” She laughed.
Kennedy glared at her friend. “Damn right.” She grumbled.
Anya shook her head. There was a time when all she thought of was sex, money and staying alive… and not necessarily in that order. But she had grown as a person, and besides, she wasn’t with Xander anymore, so she didn’t have to think about sex and she was a Vengeance Demon again, so she was damn hard to kill. “She just went to Los Angeles for a few days. She said she would be back very shortly. Be patient.” She said, scanning the crowd again.
Kennedy nodded. “You’re right. I just miss her is all.” She said softly, hopping down from the short wall she was sitting on. “And besides, I can always ravage her when she gets back.”
Anya nodded cheerily. “That’s the spirit!” she said enthusiastically. She stopped suddenly, cocking her head. “Oh my. Look, can you two handle this? I am being summoned.” She said, looking around.
Kennedy nodded after getting affirmation from Rona. “We’re good. Go. Have fun.” She said, shaking her head. She didn’t understand this vengeance business, and she wasn’t sure she wanted to. “We’ll be fine.”
Anya smiled. “Tell Buffy I’ll be over tonight, time permitting.” She said, teleporting away in a rush of smoke and mist.
Kennedy looked at Rona. “Well. This has been pretty uneventful. I’m gonna go check by the gate, see if she isn’t waiting for us there, ok?”
Rona nodded, still scanning the crowd. “Just hurry, and be careful. We’re still on the hit list to.” She said, suddenly worried, and feeling very exposed. She was fine when Anya the Vengeance Demon was with them. Now, they were just two girls being hunted by an army on religious devotees to The First.
Kennedy waved back as she walked off, acknowledging that she heard Rona. “Yeah, yeah. Chill. What can happen in a crowded airport?”
Tara took a few seconds to detangle herself from the girl she ran into. “I’m sorry. I wasn’t looking where I was going.” She apologized.
The girl, however, seemed to be uninterested in Tara as she scrambled to her feet. She turned to look behind her and tried running off again.
Tara, having honed her danger sense for two years as a Scooby and then as Duncan’s pupil, turned and saw what the girl was running from. The robed man that was running towards them was only a few feet away now, death in its eyes. Tara could almost sense the evil intent from him. He was defiantly supernatural. Tara grabbed the girls hand and ran as fast as she could. ‘I’ll come back for my things.’ She thought to herself as they ran. She could think of only one place they could go to be safe. She ran out the airport doors and jumped into the first cab she found, pulling the scared girl after her. She looked at the driver and then shut the door. “1630 Revello, fast!” she said, turning to the girl. She just hoped Buffy was still there. She had been gone a year and this was hardly the way she had hoped to come back into town.
Kennedy walked back to Rona and grabbed the girl. “We’re leaving…now.” She said in a hushed voice, trying to hide the panic in her voice.
“What about the newbie?” Rona asked, looking around, alert to Kennedy’s nervous voice.
“She’s probably dead.” Kennedy said hurriedly, heading for the door. “This place is crawling with Bringers.”
Rona picked up her pace and the two potentials hurried from the airport.
The cab stopped in front of the familiar two story, brown house Tara had once called a home. She felt her nerves shudder all over again as she handed the driver a ten and stepped from the vehicle. She was scared. Walking to the door, the scared girl in tow, Tara climbed the steps to the door and knocked. She waited patiently before knocking again, her senses on overdrive as she scanned the area, making sure they weren’t followed. The door opened and Tara felt her breath catch, wondering who she would see first, which one of the gang she would have to convince that she was real. She was about to say something, but words escaped her. The redhead in front of her was just staring.
“Can I help you?” the redhead asked.
“Um. I’m not sure.” Tara said. She didn’t know this girl. “I was looking for an old friend of mine. She used to live here.”
“Lot’s of people live here now. Tell me the name and I’ll give it a shout out.” She smiled.
Tara returned the smile, but with a nervous tension. “Um. Buffy. Buffy Summers.”
The redhead shook her head immediately. “Oh. Sorry. She’s not here. She nipped out for a bit of food.” She said.
Tara felt a little relief wash through her. “Oh. Ok. Um…when will she be back?” she asked.
The redhead shrugged. “Hard to say. She just left, and there are a lot of mouths to feed. Could be a while.” She said. “Want to wait?” she asked.
Tara shook her head. “No. That’s ok. I don’t want to impose if it’s really that crowded.”
“Suit yourself. Who should I say was looking for her?” the girl asked.
Tara suddenly found herself at a loss. Should she leave her name? What would the reaction be, especially if she wasn’t there to answer questions. She was a member of the scoobies for a couple of years. They tended to think worst case scenario when things happened. “Just…a friend.” She said.
The redhead shrugged. “Ok. Well, I have to go. Chores and all.” She said, tossing her head back towards the inside of the house.
Tara nodded. “I understand. Tell her I’ll be back tonight.” She said, smiling.
The girl was about to speak when a voice cut through the door. A voice Tara remembered all to well. A voice that sounded like it had done a lot of growing in the last year. “Who’s there Vi?” the voice asked, as the door was opened further.
Dawn Summers looked out and stopped dead in her tracks, her smile fading from her face to be replaced first with shock and then with a rage Tara had never seen displayed by the teen.
“Dawnie. You l-look good.” Tara said, her stutter coming to the surface for a second.
Dawn stepped behind the door and grabbed something, coming back a few seconds later with a crossbow leveled at the blonde in front of her. “How dare you use her like this.” She hissed, her hand shaking with rage. “How dare you! Change to someone else. Now!” she screamed.
Tara looked at Dawn and tried to reason with the teen. “Dawnie. I know you’re confused, but please…listen.” She said, taking a step forward, trying to shield the trembling girl she had brought from the airport.
Dawn narrowed her gaze. “I understand what you are. Buffy and I had a nice long talk. I know you can take on the forms of people who have died, so all I know is you had better pick a new one. Be Abraham Lincoln, be Gandhi, be Elvis freakin’ Presley for all I care! Just leave her alone.” She said, her voice cracking as tears formed in her eyes.
Tara stepped forward, holding out a hand. “Dawnie. Please.” She said softly, trying to reach the teen.
Dawn pulled the trigger on the crossbow, sending the bolt straight into Tara’s stomach. “GILES!” Dawn screamed, fumbling for another bolt.
Tara grabbed the projectile now lodged up to the flights in her stomach, blood seeping between her fingers. “Oh damn…this really hurts.” She hissed, dropping to one knee.
A car came screeching to a halt in front of the house and Kennedy and Rona jumped from it, running up and grabbing the girl Tara was shielding, pulling her away from Tara.
“What the hell? This is our girl.” Kennedy said to Rona as they pushed her towards the house. “Dawn. What’s going on!” Kennedy asked, snatching the crossbow from Dawn’s trembling hands and turning back to Tara. “Who’s she?”
Dawn stepped back and shook her head. “The First.” The scared teen said. She pointed at Tara, who was now sinking lower to the ground as blood pooled around her knees. “Because she’s dead.”
Kennedy frowned as she looked at the blonde kneeling in front of the house. “Dawn. That can’t be The First. The First is incorporeal.” She said.
Dawn looked back at Tara and shook her head. The wicca had fallen forward and now lay unmoving on the sidewalk. “Oh god…Oh god what did I do.”