Summary: Xander (BtVS) and Methos (HL) meet each other.
.o0o. First Impressions .o0o.
The words weren’t spoken out loud, of course. The Oldest Immortal was too busy trying to keep his head.
Blade clashed against blade as Methos parried and deflected saber, then rapier.
What on earth happened to respecting tradition and following the Rules? He fumed silently as he fought against two much younger Immortals; one a newbie and from his fighting style an ex-black ops agent, the other a few centuries older. Duels were supposed to be one-on-one!
Of course he said nothing but fought on. He wasn’t Duncan McLeod to bewail the fall of traditions and honor… He was Methos, a human chameleon, a survivor. He just hoped this wasn’t a catchy trend among the Immortals. Guns and mortal snipers were bad enough but this was plain cheating!
On the other side of the city Alexander Lavelle Harris whistled cheerfully as he took out two vamps in quick succession and deftly reloaded his modified crossbow from a relatively safe distance. Was it possible to design a crossbow that would hold more than two quarrels? After Sunnydale Xander had become more cautious when going toe-to-toe against an unknown opponent. He shuddered at the thought of some Master smartening up enough to sire a martial arts expert, a soldier, or a SWAT officer. That was too scary to even consider.
He watched his three young charges take out the remaining vampires as he considered the unlikely scenario. He smiled a bitter smile. Yes it was unlikely. But then again so were vampires and demons to ninety-nine point nine percent of the human population.
He made a mental note to talk to Giles. It would be a good idea to simulate the scenario as an exercise for the Slayers. See about getting a few military retirees to train the Slayers. Just in case, of course.
“All done X-man!” One of the teens, a darkly complexioned girl called out cheerfully.
“I can see that with my one eye Thandi,” Xander called out jokingly. “Great work girls. Anyone up for a frozen yogurt? I think you’ve burned enough calories….” He trailed off teasingly.
“Xan-Der!” The three teens wailed in chorus but they were smiling. Give up a frozen yogurt smoothie with berries and chocolate sprinkles? No way!
The sound of harsh breathing interrupted the still night air. The stumble and recovery of a solid form against a brick wall before it crashed into a garbage can. The sounds of inebriated prey for un-human creatures.
The vampires smiled as their sharp senses tracked the single heartbeat. There was a strange scent in the air. Burnt air… Ozone. All three ignored the primal warning of fire in favor of the single drunken human. Easy prey.
Or so they thought.
The slim, wiry-built man closed his eyes and carefully rested his head against the rough brick wall. His head hurt. Everything hurt. It hurt worse than the double Quickening he and McLeod experienced. This was a true Double Quickening: two Quickenings from two different Immortals into one Immortal. It was a struggle to control a body that was still riding from the Quickening induced high. Every single nerve felt singed and aflame as muscles spasmed and knotted from the excessive electrical activity.
“Well, well, well. Lookie here.”
“Looks like we’ve got our next meal boys.”
“Can I go first boss? Can I?”
Methos froze. He was in no shape to take on anyone, even a mortal mugger. Drawing on every ounce of feral darkness within his soul he turned to his new opponents. They would learn the true meaning of Death.
He opened his eyes, squinting against the too bright streetlights. What he saw made Death smile.
Three men dressed in dirty jeans and flannel shirts with distorted, ridged faces, yellow, feral eyes, and a mouth full of sharp fang-like teeth.
“It must be my lucky day. Three vampires and not a mortal in sight.” Death murmured in a soothing croon.
The stupidest one wandered within sword reach and paid the price.
His stolen corpse burst into dust seconds after the decapitating cut.
“He’s got a sword!”
“What freak carries a freaking sword?!?”
“Why don’t you come a little closer and I’ll tell you?” Methos dared feeling slightly giddy. This wasn’t so bad. Maybe vampires made in recent years weren’t as strong as those made a few millennia ago. Did that make sense?
Sensing his distraction the vampires pounced for the kill. The more intelligent one hung a little back and allowed his younger compatriot to take the brunt of the fight and pay the price. He waited for the moment of distraction and leaped on the seemingly younger man’s back and bit down hard.
The blood. There was so much power in it. This was not an ordinary human. This one had Power. Does Slayer blood taste like this? Unable to resist the temptation to indulge the vampire drank and drank the bright red fluid laced with sparks of blue.
Methos hated dying like this, being drained by a demon-tainted creature, being used as food by a damned thing that belonged in the Nether Planes. But at least the vampire would pay the price. No demon could steal Quickening laced blood without paying the price. That thought made him smile as the vampire drained him dry and dropped his dying corpse to the rain slicked ground.
The vampire felt full as he had never had before. He felt powerful, brilliant, strong…. He twirled around in giddy circles like a child dancing in the rain. He did not sense the blood bleeding out of his pores sparking blue. He did not feel the lightening laced blood set his clothes on fire. He did not know he was disintegrating; being torn apart by the force of life-energy that empowered that stolen blood.
A smile curled the dying Immortal’s lips as he watched the vampire turn into a statue laced with blue lightening that tore it to shreds. He died before the coruscating form burst into dust that swirled and danced into the night on a Quickening laced wind.
Xander slipped out of the public washroom clad in green hospital scrubs carrying a black duffel bag holding weapons and clothes. His free hand rubbed the silver framed amber strung from a black cord around his neck. A quick three-sixty assured Xander there were no witnesses. Softly he whispered the Latin phrase that activated the spell anchored in the pendant.
It was part of the set that any new Slayer, Watcher or ally was given by the Neo-Council. This particular talisman was enchanted by Willow to perform a particular function – to avoid unnecessary questions. A few weeks in Cleveland and the Slayers had found out the Sunnydale Syndrome didn’t quite work on the East Coast. This forced Willow to come up with a look-by-me for non-mages to avoid questions from the officialdom. Of course it didn’t mask them from technology, like cameras and camcorders but it allowed them to slip by humans. Any bored security guard would assume an appropriately dressed person, who was not confronted by other employees, and didn’t trip any alarms was okay.
To prevent the Slayers from abusing the privilege the talisman was good for only three uses before it had to be recharged by Willow. When it was used the incident had to be logged into an on-line database set up by Willow, which she checked before recharging any talisman.
Xander grinned as he remembered the stern lecture from Giles and Willow when they presented and explained the use of each tool in the Scooby kit to each newbie.
His conditioned body took the stairs down to the basement that housed the hospital morgue. Stairwells had fewer cameras than the elevators. His smile faded as he remembered why he was here.
.o0o. Flashback .o0o.
“It is crazy Mark. This body’s been almost completely drained. The EMTs are pumping plasma into him but it isn’t working.”
Cool and competent. “Stabbing?”
“That’s the weird part. There is only one visible ragged neck wound bleeding sluggishly. No signs of blood on the ground.”
Matter-of-factly. “Check the blood type. Probably some mob doctor after a rare blood type for a client.”
“Then why didn’t they take the organs as well?”
Impatiently. “I don’t know. Maybe they were in a hurry.”
“Maybe. We’re taking John Doe to the Saint Patricks. The coroners can pick him up in the morning.”
.o0o. End Flashback .o0o.
Listening in on the police scanners had become a part of their routines. It allowed them to get a leg up on any demony activity. The still bleeding neck wound raised a red flag. Vampires drained their victims dry. Anyone turned still bled minimally from the small amonunts of blood left by the sirer to fuel the newly arisen vamp.
He smiled politely at lab techs he passed by even though they didn’t ‘see’ him. Quickly he scanned the waiting reports to find out where John Doe was stored. A tiny sliver of wood into the heart and Bam! A newly rising vamp is dusted in the coffin before he even gets out of the grave.
It was a sad thing when a hospital needed space for storing more than fifty bodies. But then again Cleveland was a lot bigger than Sunnydale.
A quick check of the rotation schedule determined the only tech on night duty was doing paperwork and was scheduled to assist an autopsy report in an hour.
Xander decided to be out of here before then.
Less than a minute later he stood before a wall of steel doors, each with an etched number plate. Number thirty-two.
Deciding it was better to be safe than sorry Xander pulled out his trusty salt and holy-water loaded mini water gun in his left hand and slipped two stakes into the pockets at the thighs. A beautifully carved mahogany cross-cum-dagger went into the other pocket. Xander made one for each Slayer who made the one-year mark; which was most of them these days. He had already started on five for Slayers who would be completing Year One next month.
Cargo pants and hospital scrubs had really nifty little pockets for Slaying tools. He wondered if Buffy and Faith would scream too much if he suggested a Slaying uniform. Must be an urge from the Soldier memories. He pushed back his idle thoughts and opened number thirty-two.
In a much practiced motion he pulled the tray/bed out, the zipper of the polyethylene body bag down, and stepped back. On more than one occasion a seemingly dead body turned out to be a vampire or zombie that nearly killed him. Deciding it was better to be safe than sorry Xander squirted the water-pistol onto the face of the corpse.
Not to his surprise the body sputtered and sat up coughing before rubbing the water from its/his face and eyes.
To his surprise the corpse wasn’t smoking – no traces of the acid-like burns vampires got from touching crosses or holy water.
“What are you?” Xander asked bluntly. Not a vampire but most definitely not human. John Doe had been dead for several hours according to the police reports.
Methos wheezed as he tried to adjust to the situation. A mortal who did not run screaming when a ‘corpse’ sits up. Hazel eyes took in the well-muscled form clad in green scrubs and white sneakers topped by an ordinary clean cut face marred by the black eye patch. A morgue attendant perhaps. But no ID card. So what was He doing here?
“What are you? Some sort of demon?” Xander repeated the question. “You aren’t a vamp, unless you’re immune to holy water baths.”
Methos stared shocked. An Immortal as old as himself could not deny the reality of vampires and demons as the shorter lived mortals did. He never expected to meet one who was so obviously aware of the Others. What would such a mortal think of Immortals? Would they be seen as demons? Following instincts that kept him alive for five millennia he answered honestly.
“Immortal. We are foundlings raised as humans until our first deaths. After that we never age and cannot be killed except by decapitation.”
Xander considered the answer. “Cool.” He pulled out the spare set of sweats in his duffel bag and tossed them over. He always carried extra clothing in case of an emergency involving lots of demon blood, guts and gore. “Get dressed. We have to get out of here.” He quickly scanned through the hard copy files looking for John Doe. They went into his duffel. Willow could do her magic and take care of the rest.
Dazed at this unexpected turn of events, Methos obeyed the young mortal, slipping into the oversized sweatpants and hooded jacket. Gathering his recovering equilibrium he smiled at the mortal and spoke.
“Do this often?”
“What? Steal corpses that aren’t corpses from morgues? Oh yeah, definitely on my list of nightly activities.” Xander joked. “Kind of low on my list of priorities though.”
“Really? What has a higher rating?” Methos inquired politely.
“Breaking into secured facilities.” Xander answered just as promptly. “Army bases, vamp lairs, frat houses, black ops headquarters.”
Methos was fascinated by this off-hand response from this atypical mortal.
“My name is Xander Harris. Do you want to see what I do?”
Methos stared into the single, old, knowing eye set in the laughing, young face. This mortal ‘knew’ and he did not deny, he did not hide… He fought.
“Yes.” The answer slipped past lips that rarely spoke the whole truth. Except this time he spoke it, meant it. “Oh yes.”
.o0o. The End .o0o.
AN: There. Thinking of writing an SGC ficlet that follows ‘First Impressions’. Maybe...
In the meantime…
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