It's Not Exactly Stealing
Disclaimer: I own absolutely nothing. All the characters and settings belong to various production companies. Any claims I might make to the plot would be laughable.
Summary: Duncan, Methos, Joe, & Legolas help Buffy, Dawn, & Anya avert another apocalypse. The rest of the Scooby Gang only make cameos. There's some flirting and stuff in here, but no true love. It's not a romance and no explicit sex.
A/N: This is a sequel to another story I wrote, ROG on Vacation which is a LOTR/Highlander crossover with no Buffy. You can find that story at FF.net:
However, the first story isn't really a requirement for reading the second. All you need to know about ROG is that Methos spent some time in Middle-earth and accidentally brings Legolas with him when he returns home.
There's considerable monkeying with the timelines of Highlander and Buffy. Say Duncan had his encounter with Ahriman about the same time as Buffy fought Glory. Basically, I just didn't want to have to deal with what the Highlander crew have been up to the past few years and I'm ignoring Endgame. Also pretend that the end of Buffy season 6 took place October or there abouts, rather than in the spring. Otherwise, I'm sticking to canon up to the time of the story, but somewhat AU afterwards.
Legolas was stalking about the clearing as a lion in captivity might pace a new cage. On the surface, the elf seemed to take his unexpected trip to another world in stride. Upon awaking he asked only, "This is your world?" and after receiving confirmation of that fact from Methos, said nothing further. There was no complaint or panic, no brow wrinkled in consternation and dismay, not even inquiry as to how he could return home. Legolas simply stood and started examining the forest around him. However, all was not right with the elf. There was an indefinite air of agitation surrounding him. He paced up and down the clearing, stopping every so often as if listening for something, and with each pause his agitation grew.
Meanwhile, the Immortal was busily examining the markings on the stones. Methos now knew enough of Elvish to decipher the writings, but it still wasn’t as easy as reading a morning newspaper. Reading the instructions necessary for sending Legolas home was going to take a little while.
"Good news. It’s as I thought." Methos said when he finished reading the stones. "It works just the same on this end as it did on the other. Only the times are reversed."
"That is good news indeed. I can return home come summer?" Legolas said, some of the tension leaving his pose.
"Looks like." Methos confirmed. "The six months shouldn’t be too much of a burden, even if you have taken an immediate dislike to my home world."
"I wouldn’t say dislike." Legolas said slightly sheepish, suddenly realizing how his agitation might be construed as offensive. "This world is just so very strange."
"Strange how? You’ve only seen this little patch of woods." Methos asked, puzzled by Legolas’s statement.
"The woods, they are unlike any I have seen before. The trees, they are... sleeping. But, it is not a normal winter’s sleep. It is deep and dreamless and I doubt that they shall ever wake." Legolas said with an almost imperceptible shutter.
"Now that you mention it... they do look somehow... less alive than the greenery of Middle-earth." Methos said meditatively. Then shrugging aside such concerns in favor of the more pragmatic, he continued, "Sleeping trees aside, I’d like a hot bath and all the comforts of civilization. I suggest we start hiking or we’ll be sleeping on cold ground rather than in warm beds tonight."
Legolas nodded in agreement and followed Methos as he set off on the trail which lead down the mountain. "Since I will be here for the coming months, perhaps you should tell me what to expect."
"Well, for starters you can’t tell people you’re an elf, no one would believe you. You probably want to cover your ears too. If people see them they’ll think they’re fake and assume you’re some sort of nutcase who went in for plastic surgery."
"I don’t understand. What is plastic surgery?"
"Plastic surgery is when someone has pieces of their flesh cut off, pulled tighter, added to another part of their body, or otherwise rearranged in order to change his appearance. Inserting foreign objects under the skin is also popular."
"Why would anyone do such things?" Legolas asked aghast.
"For the sake of beauty. What’s a few months of swelling, bruising, and stitches compared to a lifetime of good looks?" Methos asked, finding the elf’s reaction highly amusing.
"But, that is insane!" Legolas protested.
"In all probability you’re right, which is why you probably want to cover your ears. If you don’t, half the people will assume you’re mentally unstable and the other half will want to inspect them up close and ask for the name of your surgeon."
"I see." Legolas said, unbraiding his hair. "What else should I do to avoid attracting attention?"
Methos examined his friend, taking in the leather, the tunic, and the weapons. But, those weren’t the major problem. ‘I didn’t really notice it in the larger than life surroundings of Middle-earth, but elves just aren’t humans. He’s beautiful rather than handsome, without looking prissy or delicate, something no human can carry off. He moves like some sort of cat, only dancers come close. Heck, he kind of glows. Women, and men, will be throwing themselves at him left and right. I’ll have no peace till I pack him off home.’ Methos thought with some consternation. Finally he said, "I don’t think that will be possible. A change of wardrobe might help a little, but women are going to be coming out of the woodwork."
"During the time I spent in Minas Tirith, I grew somewhat accustomed to the awe filled stares. The men of Middle-earth all know of the existence of the elves, but few have met us in person. I am no stranger to such reactions." Legolas said in resignation.
"But, in Middle-earth men are aware of the division between elves and men. Elves are magical and special, above the common person’s touch. Here, you’re just a regular person who happens to look a lot better than the average. There are going to be a lot more stares of lust than stares of awe, and plenty of women who’ll do a lot more than stare."
"Surely, once they realize that I am a traveler only here for a short while and not interested in marriage, they shall look to other prospects for a husband." Legolas protested.
"Who said anything about marriage? That’s another thing about this world you should be aware of. Just in the past few decades we’ve had a little thing called the sexual revolution. Scientists developed a safe and reliable way to prevent conception. Since then, sex outside of marriage has become common and not secret."
"There are going to be large numbers of women following me around, wanting me to lie with them?" Legolas said slowly, wondering what sort of madhouse he had fallen into.
"That’s right. They’re going to be throwing themselves at you in droves." Methos said gleefully.
"Is there anything else you think I should know?" Legolas asked, dreading the further indignities that might be lying in wait for him.
"Well, we’ll probably spend the next six months in the States. I’ll stay Adam Pierson a little while longer; creating a new identity isn’t something I want to attempt doing while entertaining a guest. A basic understanding of the English language would be helpful."
"Elves have a natural affinity for language." Legolas said, happy to change the subject to something which wasn’t apt to cause him intense discomfort.
"That’s good. I suppose there’s no time like the present..." Methos replied then he started the English lesson, pointing out various items along the side of the trail and giving the English words for them.
The two kept walking and as the sun began to set they spotted the lights of civilization through a break in the trees. "It looks like we won’t have to do any camping after all." Methos said, relieved. Legolas and Methos had accomplished quite a bit during the long hike. His Elven affinity for language had served Legolas well. He was still far from fluent, but he had managed to learn the basics every tourist needs to get by, greetings, asking directions, that type of thing.
* * * * * *
Joe and Duncan had been in Switzerland for the past several days and still hadn’t found anything. Duncan was able to access some of Methos’s files with the password he’d been given, but they contained no clues. All Duncan was able to find were some research notes on runic translations that mentioned a trip to a nearby library, and he followed that lead to a dead end. They also questioned all the hotel employees, car rental agents, bartenders, etceteras who had some contact with Methos during his stay in Switzerland. They made no headway in the search what so ever. The only bright side was the fact that another room came free when a couple cut short their trip after the man broke his ankle in a skiing accident.
"I don’t think we’re going to find him," Duncan told Joe over dinner.
"You’re giving up?" Joe asked skeptically. "When’s the last time you let anything go?"
"I’m not giving up. I’m being realistic. There’s nothing more we can do. We’ve asked all the questions and have searched every where we could think of searching. I don’t think we’re going to find him till he wants to be found." Duncan said with resignation.
"Too bad the old man isn’t here to hear that. He’d faint from the shock. Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod actually doing the pragmatic thing rather than carrying loyalty to extremes." Joe said shaking his head in disbelief.
"I’m sure he’d be very proud." Duncan said dryly. "You don’t seem too concerned about Methos’s welfare anymore. Why is that?"
"The more we look at this the more convinced I am that nothing happened to him. No one noticed any other strangers in the area other than Grey and since summertime is off-season they would have noticed. Grey’s dead, so that pretty much rules out Immortal trouble. The only other way I can see him disappearing so completely is if he wanted to." Joe reasoned.
"But why? Why wouldn’t he take his things with him or let me know he wasn’t coming to Paris? He must have known we would worry." Duncan asked.
"Who knows how his mind works? I’m sure he had his reasons." Joe said philosophically.
"They had better be some pretty good reasons." Duncan muttered darkly, growing irritated at the oldest Immortal’s probable lack of consideration. Then he suddenly sat up straight, alertly looking around the restaurant.
"Yes..." then spotting a man just entering the restaurant, he added, "Methos."
Joe turned in his seat to see for himself and said, "That’s him alright."
* * * * * *
Legolas and Methos were walking past the restaurant on the way to the village’s only inn when Methos abruptly stopped. This was the second abrupt stop since they reached the village. The first one was when Methos spotted a newspaper dated only six months after his departure rather than a year and a half. Apparently the gates operated outside of normal time.
"What is it?" Legolas asked.
"Another Immortal." Methos answered, a knowing grin slowly spreading across his face.
"Here to fight you?"
"Possibly, but not likely. Unless I miss my guess, we just got lucky. It is probably a friend come looking for me. Come on," Methos said, opening the door of the restaurant.
Legolas and Methos entered the restaurant just as Duncan rose from his seat to greet Methos. Methos noticed the disgruntled expression on Duncan’s face and decided on what evasive action to take in order to avoid a lecture, as he lead Legolas over to Duncan and Joe’s table.
"Mac! I’ve missed you!" Methos said enthusiastically then hugged the younger Immortal, giving Joe a conspiratory wink over Duncan’s shoulder. Duncan’s eyes widened in shock at Methos’s greeting. The old man was never that demonstrative, and he’d only been gone for six months.
"It’s good to see you too." Duncan replied hesitantly, confused by Methos’s peculiar greeting. Then, noticing Methos’s ponytail, the older Immortal’s hair having grown out in the more than a year without a barber, and regaining his equilibrium, he added, "I like the hair." After all the comments he had received on his own shorn locks the year before, and Methos’s previous remarks about the impracticality of long hair, Duncan couldn’t let Methos’s long hair pass without comment.
"As fascinating as your new hairdo is, I’d like to know where you’ve been and who your friend is." Joe prompted, nodding toward Legolas who was standing slightly behind Methos, blending into the shadows and observing what was going on.
"Right," Methos said. "Duncan, Joe, this is Legolas Greenleaf. Legolas these are my friends Duncan MacLeod and Joe Dawson. You’ll get the full story of where I’ve been later," he promised, looking around the room in such a way as to indicate that the story was best reserved for more private surroundings.
"It’s good to meet you Legolas," Joe said warmly. "You’ll have to forgive me for not standing. These bum legs of mine have been giving me trouble in this cold weather."
Legolas gave Methos an inquiring look, his limited English vocabulary not covering the situation. In Westron, Methos explained, "An old war injury of his is acting up, and he’s asking you to excuse his not rising to greet you."
"Ah," Legolas replied in the same language, "tell him there is nothing to be excused."
Turning back to his increasingly curious friends, "Legolas doesn’t speak English." Methos explained.
Duncan, had no idea of what to make of Legolas’s strange clothing, a language unlike any he’d ever heard before, Methos’s long hair, or anything else about the peculiar situation. Dying with curiosity, he invited Methos and Legolas to dine with him and Joe.
"I thought you’d never ask." Methos said, accepting the invitation and taking a seat.
Methos waved the waiter over and ordered for Legolas and himself. After the order was taken, conversation resumed in awkward fits and starts. The fact that the topic of greatest interest to Joe and Duncan was off limits for the moment made things difficult enough. The fact that Legolas couldn’t understand English made the situation even more awkward.
After their food arrived and Methos had made a rather large dent in a very rare steak, the oldest Immortal decided to get down to business. "How much damage control will I need to do to get my I.D.’s straightened out?" Methos asked Joe between bites, knowing the Watcher would be aware of how much the authorities had found out about ‘Mike Adams’ in the six months he’d been missing.
Duncan and Joe, surprised at Methos bringing up such a subject in front of Legolas, a non-Immortal, exchanged a glance. Joe paused a moment, then figuring Methos knew what he was doing, shrugged and said, "Not even the... my organization connected ‘Mike Adams’ to you."
"That’s good. I’ll only have to create a passport for Legolas, since mine’s still good. Shouldn’t take long, once I lay my hands on an Internet capable computer. I suppose the cops took my laptop?"
"They did," Duncan said. "But, some ‘friends’ managed to liberate it and sent it on to Joe."
"Never let it be said that the Watcher’s council doesn’t have its uses. Legolas will have a plausible passport and the four of us will be on a private jet back to Seacouver by the end of the week." Methos said.
"Private jet? Seacouver?" Duncan asked, greatly confused.
"I assume you two are only here looking for me. Here I am, so now we can go." Methos explained as if speaking to a two year old.
"We thought you’d decided to leave Adam Pierson behind and stay away from Seacouver for awhile." Joe interjected, trying to head off the bickering which was about to begin between his two best friends.
"I was. I still am... going to leave Seacouver. But, since Legolas is going to be my guest for the next few months, I thought I’d put off building a new identity till after he leaves." Methos said, polishing off the last of the steak and trying to get the waiter’s attention so he could to order dessert.
"But what about the private jet? That certainly isn’t something ‘Adam Pierson’ can afford." Duncan asked.
"Do you want to fly commercial mere days before Christmas?" Methos returned.
"Well, no, of course not." Duncan answered suspiciously, knowing there had to be a catch.
"Great, then there’s not a problem. Wealthy antique dealer, Duncan MacLeod, can easily afford a private jet and might as well give his friends a lift while he’s at it." Methos said, giving Duncan his most charming smile.
Duncan sat silently for a moment, knowing that Methos had just won another round of their on going game of one-upmanship. Then a thought occurred to him and Duncan couldn’t quite restrain a wicked grin. "You sub-let your apartment, didn’t you?" Duncan asked, surreptitiously catching Joe’s eye to get Joe to play along.
"Yeah, I did." Methos said. "I suppose I’ll have to find a new place, since Legolas is staying with me. Your couch will just have to get by without me."
"Yes, it’s too bad I don’t have enough room for you and Legolas," Duncan said with false sincerity.
"What about the Victorian?" Joe asked, while Duncan made a show of trying to get Joe to keep quiet.
"Victorian?" Methos said curiously.
Joe looked back and forth between Methos and Duncan then said, "Sorry Duncan, it just sort of slipped. Duncan bought a big Victorian just before flying to Paris."
"If you don’t want guests, you just have to say so." Methos said in a mock injured tone. "Legolas and I can stay in a hotel until I can find some little place Adam Pierson can afford. It won’t be too terrible. I’ve heard that Motel 6’s aren’t all that bad."
"That won’t be necessary." Duncan said with a sigh of resignation. "There’s plenty of room in my new house."
"Only if you’re sure you want us to come." Methos said to tease Duncan that extra little bit.
"I’m positive. I insist," Duncan said, sounding irritated, but really quite pleased with the situation. Methos won on the private jet round, but Duncan was just about to win the next one.
* * * * * *
Meanwhile in Sunnydale at the Summer’s residence...
Dawn and Buffy were inspecting a pan of burnt Christmas cookies. "I’m sorry Dawn. I tried to follow Mom’s recipe but..." Buffy trailed off sadly.
"That’s okay. They’re not so bad." Dawn said cheerfully, picking one up and trying to take a bite. After unsuccessfully knawing on the charred cookie for a moment, "Okay, so their not edible... but they still look Christmassy. Actually, they’re kind of cool," she continued, banging the rock hard cookie on the edge of the counter. "We could drill little holes in them and use them as ornaments. Maybe paint them or add some glitter or something to make them pretty?"
"Nice to know they’ll be good for something," Buffy agreed with a chuckle, somewhat cheered by her sister’s enthusiasm. "We’ll get to work on that... after I patrol," she said glancing out the window, noting that the sun had set while she’d baked the tree ornaments.
"Can I come?" Dawn asked.
"Well, I don’t know..."
"It’s Christmas break; you can’t use homework or a school night as an excuse."
"You said yourself you wanted to show me the world not hide me from it."
"I know; I just don’t want you in any danger."
"This is the Hellmouth! When am I not in danger? Besides, with Willow and Xander in England with Giles you could use some help."
"Dawn, if I let you patrol with me I want you to stay back from the fight and to be very careful. Jumping into the action to help me is a good way for you to get yourself hurt." Buffy warned.
"Don’t worry. I’ll be careful. I don’t want to get myself hurt either. But, you have to admit, I kicked some major... uhmm... behind, helping you with those cave guys."
"I guess you’re right," Buffy conceded. "Go get your coat. If we run into trouble, stay back and let me handle it."
"Okay, I’m getting my coat. I’ll be back in just a minute. This is so cool." Dawn squealed as she skipped out of the kitchen to fetch her coat.
* * * * * *
A couple hours later, Buffy and a much less excited Dawn headed home. It was a slow night. Buffy staked two vampires, both just risen and easy to dust, and all else was quiet.
"I’m cold." Dawn complained.
"That’s what happens when you’re outside too long this time of year. That’s why they call it winter." Buffy said brightly, getting her revenge for all the times Dawn complained about Buffy going on patrol without her.
"Ha. Ha. Very funny. Is patrol usually this boring?" Dawn asked.
"Nine times out of ten. The rest of the time the world’s coming to an end."
"Right, boring equals good. Got it," Dawn said vehemently, really not liking her own brushes with apocalypse. Then after a pause, she added, "Why didn’t you tell me patrol was like this all the times I’ve bugged you to go along, instead of just going on about the danger?"
"Would you have believed me?" Buffy asked
"No, probably not."
Just as they reached their own street, they heard a woman screaming, "NO! You can’t have him!"
"It’s coming from that house over there." Buffy said running toward a house three doors down from their own, the door of which had been completely torn off its hinges.
"It’s Mrs. Maxwell." Dawn said wheezing a little and barely able to keep up.
Buffy reached the house, jumped over the porch railing, and entered the house through the open doorway. Inside she found Mrs. Maxwell struggling to keep a demon away from her small son. The demon was small, not much bigger than Buffy. It had three eyes and was covered in greenish, yellowish tentacles which glistened with some sort of oily substance. On the bright side, it wasn’t very fast. Mrs. Maxwell was even able to cut off the tentacles reaching for her son with a kitchen knife. Unfortunately, as soon as the tentacles fell to the ground they’d disappear and reappear, reattached to the demon as if they were never cut off.
Dawn stumbled in the house, soon after Buffy. As soon as she saw the monster she blurted out, "Eeew, gross!"
"That’s what I was about to say." Buffy said then launched herself at the demon. Buffy kicked and punched the monster too rapidly for it to even contemplate dodging. With each blow it was pushed step by step toward the door, but it never seemed to be hurt. It was only Buffy’s momentum driving the creature back. The demon wasn’t trying to avoid pain. This went on for another couple moments then the demon happened to look out of a window. It shrieked and disappeared.
"What was that?" Dawn asked.
"I don’t know."
"Whatever it was, you killed it. Didn’t you?" Dawn said nervously.
"I don’t think so." Buffy said.
"Do you think it’ll come back?" Dawn said, knowing the answer but not wanting to see the gross thing again.
"Don’t they always?" Buffy replied with a shrug. Just then, their conversation was interrupted by a loud thud. Mrs. Maxwell, overcome by the excitement, had fainted. "Dawn, go see if she’s okay. I’ll call 911."
"911? What about the demon?" Dawn asked as she knelt beside Mrs. Maxwell.
"It’s not here now, and she needs medical help. I doubt yet another gas leak slash animal and/or PCP attack will bother them too much." Buffy said rolling her eyes as she dialed 911.
* * * * * *
The next morning Buffy was getting ready for her shift at the DoubleMeat Palace and Dawn was eating cereal in her PJs in front of the TV. Buffy put the last glass from breakfast in the sink and walked into the front room. "I’ve got a double shift so I’m not going to be back till late," Buffy told Dawn. "Beep me if you need anything."
"You mean like there’s some demon action you need to know about," Dawn said.
"No, I meant like I need to pick up some more milk on the way home." Buffy said dryly.
"Speaking of demons, you could look at the stuff scanned into Willow’s laptop and see what you can find on the icky green guy we saw last night."
"Research..." Dawn whined. Buffy’d let Dawn help with that a few weeks ago. Dawn already knew how unthrilling musty books could be. "This is Christmas vacation and that’s almost like school work. Besides there’s an all day Christmas cartoon marathon on today."
"Research during the commercials." Buffy suggested. "We really need to find out about swamp thing. It was after little Joshua and I have no idea how to kill it. I don’t think the usual hack and slash is going to work."
"All right. I’ll do the research. I wouldn’t want swamp thing to hurt any little kids just so I could watch cartoons." Dawn agreed.
Dawn went through every record on the computer but couldn’t find any mention of a demon matching this one’s description. By the time Buffy got home, Dawn was getting a little anxious about the situation. Reading through the records had fired Dawn’s already overactive imagination. All the possible terrible things the monster might be up to kept running through Dawn’s mind.
When Buffy came in the kitchen she found Dawn sitting at the counter, staring at the last record in the files, lost in thought. "So, did you find the demon?" Buffy asked.
Dawn jumped in surprise, not having noticed Buffy’s entrance. "No, it’s not in here. Maybe we should call Giles." Dawn suggested.
Buffy thought about it a minute then said, "I really don’t want to bother him with this if I don’t have to. With Willow staying with him, even with Xander and that coven helping, he must have his hands full."
"And Willow will feel guilty about not being here to help us." Dawn added, nodding in agreement. "But, if it’s not in this stuff and we can’t call Giles how do we find out?"
"Anya might know, if only we knew where she was." Buffy said rubbing the kinks out of her neck.
"Oh, I forgot to tell you. Anya’s back!" Dawn said.
"She’s back? I passed by the apartment on my way home, all the lights were out."
"She moved, too many reminders or something. I don’t know where she’s living, but she’s reopening the Magic Box. I saw her there with some construction guys last week. She said I could come back to work a couple weeks after Christmas when the work’s suppose to be done."
"We’ll go by there tomorrow. I’ve got the morning off. Hopefully she’ll be there." Buffy said stifling a yawn.
"She seemed really impatient to get the store opened and making money again. She’ll probably be hard at work, bright and early." Dawn said.