Chapter One ~ An Old Man's Musings
An Old Man's Musings
"So, do you have a plan?" Buffy asked me, her eyes pleading with me to
somehow pull a miracle out of my hat and rescue her from the Council.
A part of me wanted to scream at her - that she should have a plan - that
was part of the requirements of surviving as an Immortal. But every
protest I wanted to make stopped once I looked into her eyes and saw
the hope and her belief in me.
It has been so long since someone has looked at me like she was. And
as soon I thought that, I wanted to kick myself for letting her have this
much power over me. Not even my last wife could invoke the devotion
that Buffy Summers did.
It was moments like those that I have to really question my sanity.
What in the hell was I thinking taking this young woman - child under
my wing? She was impetuous, headstrong, determined, emotional,
exasperating, irritating, and much too modern for my comfort. I swear,
there were times when I thought I was going to explode when I heard
her utter some atrocious twentieth - century - ism, such as, 'duh' or even
better, 'pathetic much?'
That last one especially grated on my nerves.
Gods, she has been driving me crazy since the first time we met. And
yet, I can't help but feel drawn to her...her indomitable spirit that seems
to brighten everything that she touches.
Bloody hell, she even has vampires panting after her.
Spike isn't the first one to express an interest in her.
She just doesn't know about the others.
For all we know, it wasn't the Immortal Watchers that let it be known
that there was an Immortal Slayer wandering the Earth. It could've very
well been the very same creatures that she has fought all these years.
I've heard them talk - now more than ever.
The first time I realized that she had become almost a legend among the
vampires was about eight years ago - not too soon after I had found out
about her identity myself. She had been on my mind a lot since the
night I had held her in my arms as she haltingly told me her story. Her
watery hazel eyes haunted me nearly every time I closed my eyes.
In response, I had taken to wandering the streets at night, hoping to
catch a glimpse of her as she stood in the shadows fighting the
darkness. I had found myself floundering under the realization that she
had managed to not only slip under those defenses that I had spent over
a milieu building, but also how important she had become to me
personally. In such a short time - mere weeks - she had become as
important to me as MacLeod had been prior to our meeting the first
And I had spent years prior to meeting the Scot reading his chronicles
as well as talking in length with Darius about the Highlander whom
both of us believed would be the One...
It also did help matters much that I had desired her as well - just as I
It had been the first time since Alexa's death that I found myself
attracted to another woman. And just like with Alexa, I had fallen hard
for Buffy Summers even though she herself had shied away from any
emotional entanglements that included intimacy. The helplessness of
the situation, coupled with the fact that she could very well win the
Game, brought me to Alexa's grave that night that I had finally ran into a
handful of the very creatures Buffy had had spent most of her life
I had just kneeled in front her headstone; ready to pour out my heart to
my dead wife, when a half - dozen vampires had decided that I just may
be what they needed for an appetizer that evening.
I, of course, responded in kind - pulling out my sword and beheading
the closest vampire before they even had a chance to pounce on me.
Almost immediately, one of them barked out an order to back off and
faced me, his face sliding into its human mask right before he spoke.
"You're one of them - an Immortal" he stated, his head tipped to the side
"Who the hell cares what he is - he's human, got a heartbeat - I say
dinner!" Another growled hungrily.
The first vampire whipped around, fist out and slammed his hand into
the other vampire's chest - yanking out his heart.
The creature disappeared into a cloud of dust. "Like I said," the first
vampire said as he tossed the heart to the side and had faced me -
ignoring the fearful glances of his comrades. "You're Immortal - like the
The remaining vampires, which had been standing around the speaker,
had growled appreciatively.
"I've heard she's a tasty morsel," one of them had called out. "Her blood
is like ambrosia..."
Flummoxed, I arched an eyebrow in question, but had chosen not to
answer - knowing that anything I would have said would have just made
matters worse. Besides, at that time - I had been more than just a bit
curious as to what these beings had to say about the woman who had
been plaguing my thoughts for all those weeks.
They hadn't disappointed me. Suddenly, all but the first one, the one I
had penned as a leader, began adding in their own two - bits of the
legend of Buffy Summers.
"I met a guy who lived on the Hellmouth when she was there - she
defeated the Master - "
" - And Lothos - "
" - And Acathla - "
" - And prevented an Ascension - "
" - She was Angelus' consort and not even Spike, the Slayer's Slayer,
could kill her - "
" - She killed Luke, the Master's vessel - "
" - Darla, childe of the Master, died by her childe's hand. The Slayer
ordered him to do it - "
" - Not even Drusilla, childe of Angelus, could defeat her with her
magical abilities - "
" - She had friends and family - "
" - A witch - "
" - A werewolf - "
" - I heard Anyanka, demon of Scorned Women, gave up her powers to
fight with the Slayer - "
" - I heard she seduced Spike, childe of Angelus, and forced him to
change sides - "
" - She has hair as light as the sun - "
" - The Watchers hate her - "
" - They wanted her dead - "
" - She's beautiful - "
" - I'd fuck her - "
As I heard them list accomplishment after accomplishment, the
implications of her life before her Immortality, had finally sunk in.
Before she had even fought a challenge, she had become something
more than she really was...bigger than life...respected by her enemies,
feared by those who supposedly had been on her side.
No wonder she had hated the Council. Between what she had told me
and what I had learned that night from those vampires, her freedom had
been precarious at the least.
"So, do you know her?" The leader asked me.
"I'm not sure I want to," I had replied carefully. "If she is Immortal and
did all those things even before she died her First Death - "
"You could kiss your life good - bye," one of the minions had commented
"Well, if you do meet her - before she kills you - tell her to watch for
Michael, childe of Henrick," the leader said right before he had turned
around and walked away.
I can remember standing there - stunned - at Alexa's grave as I watched
the group of vampires disappear into the night - while my mind kept
turning over what they had told me.
For years I had believed that Duncan MacLeod, or even maybe his
kinsman, Connor, would be the perfect candidate to win the prize. Both
of them were clansmen - fighters who protected what they perceived as
their 'family' or clan. Before Ariham, Mac had a large group of people,
mortal and Immortal, which he had included in his circle of protection.
With Connor, it was much more nebulous. He didn't have the emotional
connections that his younger kinsman did, but Connor seemed to
possess a much more defined sense of duty in regards to the world in
general than the average Immortal. If a headhunter crossed Connor's
path, he was much more likely to even hunt that Immortal in order to
protect the world then anyone else.
Both of these traits were necessary for 'The Good' to win the prize.
And Buffy, as the Slayer - she innately possessed both of these traits.
As a designated warrior of the Light, she believed that fighting evil was
what she had been born to do. Whether it be demons or evil Immortals,
she considered it her duty to fight them - in order to protect the
innocent - be it mortal, Immortal or demon.
Although I'm not sure why, I never told her what I had learned that
night. Maybe it was because I had been still trying to get her to walk
away from the slaying part of her life. I had been so afraid, even before I
had learned of the lore surrounding her and her life, that her slaying
would somehow take her out of the Game, that I discouraged her at
Looking back, I know that was my biggest mistake. Instead of accepting
who she was, I wanted to force her to accept who she had become, not
even realizing that by doing that, I had sabotaged almost any chance of
having an intimate relationship with her.
Now, eight years later, I still wanted her.
And to find that she had spent the night in the arms of a vampire - the
same creature that those vampires talked of - hurt me more than I ever
thought was possible. At least by her. After all these years of accepting
that we would never be more than friends, to see her with him,
reminded me all over again, how badly I had screwed up with her in the
I could tell, just by their body language, they have yet to consummate
their relationship. But regardless, he still hovered over her - as if he
were a possessive lover in charge of protecting her. I know vampires are
territorial creatures. They make claims and expect all creatures to abide
by those claims. Even their bites possess enough magic in them that
Immortal healing doesn't always take care of the scars. All I have to do is
look at her neck and see the raised marks on her neck to know that that
And the vampire who gave her that reminder isn't even the one who's
standing there, with us now. Spike was his childe...
Shaking my head at my wandering thoughts, I smiled down at her as I
slipped an arm companionably around her shoulders. "I thought you'd
Miranda, Joe's waitress, was the one who picked up Spike and Buffy,
and took them to a safehouse that Joe and I bought years before just for
occasions such as this.
After that fiasco years before with the Hunters, neither of us totally
trusted the organization that both of us had devoted a substantial part of
lives to: Joe, since he was injured in Vietnam more than thirty years
ago, and me, since I was a spry Immortal just shy of my 1500th birthday,
when I got the wild idea while still traipsing around the countryside with
three other Immortals, that wouldn't it be great if we could somehow use
mortals to hunt our own kind? Granted, my purpose originally was far
from noble, but it has been ages since I've abused the Watchers to the
extent that I did back then. Besides, it long ago grew away from me into
an entity all into itself. How else could I have missed the merger of the
two Watcher organizations, if I'd still been in the loop?
After Miranda, Buffy and Spike left (Spike with a blanket covering his
body as he ran to the car) I waited another ten minutes and then left
myself. Once in my car, lost my own Watcher who had been tailing me
since I left my apartment earlier that morning and drove to the airport to
pick up Spike's things that he had stashed in a locker the night before.
After that, I met them at the safe house.
In the meantime, Joe arranged transport for us, using two brand -
spanking new identities that both Buffy and I had acquired together for
a rainy day - newlyweds, Susanne and Peter Blake, seeking to charter a
private jet to take us to the States via Bermuda and Vancouver.
Our only problem was Spike.
That is until he dug through his duffel bag that I had picked up and
tossed a passport to Joe. "That should work, mate," he told the Watcher,
sporting a lazy grin.
"You have a passport?" Buffy asked, her voice sounding both amused
and shocked at the same time as she held out her hand to Joe. "Let me
"Why?" I asked, wondering why it was such a big deal for the vampire to
have a passport. Didn't they have to get around just like us?
"Picture," she said as if that made any sense whatsoever to me.
"It's a pretty good one too, pet. Willow took it with her digital camera."
Buffy snapped her fingers as she nodded her head in understanding.
"Of course, why didn't I think about that?" She asked herself as she
opened the booklet and stared at the picture with her mouth hanging
open. "You're right, it is a pretty good one. Way to go, Wills," she
whispered, her voice trembling.
For ten years, she has been mourning her former life. And if we go back
to Sunnydale, all those barely healed wounds will open right up.
"Now, none of that love," Spike said as he wrapped his arm around her
shoulders affectionately. He looked over at Joe, who was leaning back in
his chair, sighing softly. "So, will this do?"
Joe held out his hand and Buffy leaned over and gave it to him. After he
studied the picture and the dates, he nodded yes. "But one question,
just out of curiosity. Why would a vampire need a passport?"
"Why wouldn't he, Joe? He has to get around just like the rest of us," I
said after I had asked for the booklet so I could see what the big deal was
I watched the vampire chuckle before taking a sip of his beer. "I'm what
you call a troubleshooter. Whistler, the demon who gives me my jobs,
sends me to hot spots - mostly in North and South America, and I put
them out. Sometimes I end up helping the second Slayer - wherever
she's at. Other times, it's the Hellmouth or LA. But, you'd be surprised
how much traveling I end up doing. It's a wonder why I even bother
with renting an apartment. I'm never fucking."
"Have you ever been to Europe?" Buffy asked.
He shook his head no. "They've got their own little network here already
in place. And to be honest, I think they counted on you to keep the
population of vampires down over here."
"That little shit," Buffy whispered, shaking her head. This Whistler guy
sounded interesting to me. I could feel the tendrils of curiosity fill me.
A demon that worked for the powers of good. What an oxymoron, and
yet it sounded as if he was as manipulative as I could be. *Oh well,* I
thought to myself. *Maybe if I'm lucky, I'll get to meet him during this
mess.* Suddenly I realized I she was looking at me and shook my head
to clear my thoughts. "So, how are we - the newlyweds - going to
explain Mr. Jonathan Myers presence?" she asked me.
"I already thought about that," Joe said. "He can be an old friend that's
I shrugged in agreement as I watched the light in her eyes slowly return.
It'd been gone since Spike's phone call and for a while I wondered if I'd
ever see it again. Or at least until this little crisis had ended. "A little
weak, but it'll work," I said softly.
"Well, all we have to do is avoid the Watchers. You guys are using ID's
that they have no idea about, right? And, whether they know Spike's
ID, is questionable and even they do, they won't necessarily put two and
"What about last night?" Buffy asked. "Was anyone watching me last
night when Spike came in? Were there any off - duty Watchers hanging
about at the bar?"
Joe shook his head. "First of all, I'm high up enough in the organization
that I have my own division. A lot of the people underneath me have
been with me since before the trial - and stuck by me through that
whole mess. The others that have come to me since then, I made sure
they held the same beliefs as I do. So, all the Watchers at the bar last
night are ones that I trust and have trusted for over ten years. And
Methos' primary Watcher is my daughter, Amy. It was just shame that
she was off today or we could've avoided a lot of this mess."
"Is she going to follow us?" Spike asked.
Joe shook his head. "No, she's going to do a few of her own dodge and
run tactics and make her way to Sunnydale. She knows the score. I
talked to her today. Although she tends to watch more than get
involved - "
"If push comes to shove, she'll jump in," I added, interrupting Joe as I
watched Buffy's face scrunch up in concentration.
"And besides, Buffy, she really likes you. And when she found out
about the Crucitorium and the other things that the Slayer Watchers
have done, there's no way in hell she'll let them find out where you are."
"Good, 'cause I like her too," Buffy said sadly. "What about my Watcher?
That wasn't him that broke into my apartment today. Where is he and
who was that Methos knocked out?"
"Harold Leopard is the guy that broke into your apartment. He's mostly
a fill - in Watcher. If someone needs a day off or is sick, he'll take their
spot. He's a bit of fanatic from what I've heard. Thinks that everything
begins and ends with the Watchers. Probably wouldn't know a creative
thought if it bit him in the ass." Joe looked up from his clasped hands
to Methos. "Those were Amy's words, not mine."
"Well, he got the shit scared out of him this morning. I had pinned
against the wall in the dark, with my demon face on - eyes glowing and
fangs showing," Spike said. "Damn, it felt good," he added with a smirk.
"Cheap thrills, Spike."
"I know, pet. Gotta get 'em where I can."
"Leopard was filling in for your Watcher, Samuel Finch. Finch was taken
off your case this morning, Buffy. Apparently he was pretty vocal about
his feelings when he read the decree. Poor fool should've just kept his
mouth shut and stopped by the bar." Joe sighed, rubbing his face in
exhaustion. "Anyway, I have to talk to him. I might be able to convince
him to take a vacation and help out with your problem. It's iffy, though.
He's one of those firm believers of the non - interference rule. That's why
he was so angry about the decree. He said just by issuing something
like this, the whole head council should've been taken to task."
Joe sighed. "And lastly, Finch had no clue as to who Spike was last
night. I read his report this morning and the only thing he said about
Spike was he was an unknown blond male that you seemed to know.
So, as long as I can keep Harold under wraps, I think we'll be okay."
It wasn't until the following morning that Joe had finally found me
alone. Although I'm usually not a morning person - let's be honest -
none of us are - the morning of our trip, I found myself wide awake at
the god - awful time of 7am, sipping coffee.
For a half an hour, I sat at the kitchen table, mentally going over the
plan - making sure we hadn't forgotten something - silently wondering if
MacLeod would be okay with me gone - when I heard the familiar sound
of a cane hitting the hardwood floor.
Getting up, I walked over to the coffee machine and poured my friend a
cup of hot coffee and returned back to the table to wait for Joe.
I should've known that Joe wouldn't let me go without sticking in his two
words of wisdom into the mix. It just wasn't in his make - up. After over
20 years of friendship, if there was one thing I was sure of when it came
to him was Joe Dawson was like a dog with bone when it came to
worrying about his friends. Whether they were in emotional turmoil or
physical danger - he stood resolutely by them, regardless of the
He had done just that for MacLeod since they had become friends.
And he had done so with me - even through those rough years that my
past kept coming up and haunting us...
It was one of the many qualities that had endeared him to me. There had
been times in the last twelve years, while watching Duncan sink into
this depression that seemed unrelenting in its strength, that Joe
Dawson was the only thing that kept me from slipping into bowels of
obscurity that I had done with such ease in the thousands of years I
have walked this earth.
It was Joe that kept me resolute as I watched over the Highlander all the
while inwardly praying that the younger Immortal would break free of
the ghostly chains that Ariham had bound him with all those years ago
when Duncan MacLeod stood as the Champion against the demon...
And it was Joe that listened to me as I reluctantly voiced my feelings for
both the Highlander and Immortal Slayer that I kept me, the oldest
Immortal alive, tethered to a life I had so many times wished would just
Sighing softly, I looked up once I heard Joe enter the room and leaned
back in my seat. "I've poured some coffee for you," I told him, watching
as he slowly dropped into the chair I had pulled out earlier for him.
After he leaned his cane against the table, he picked up the mug and
sipped the hot liquid, his eyes closing as he swallowed. Smiling, I held
out my mug and wished him a good morning.
Scowling, he shook his head, an eyebrow shooting upwards as he
studied my pensive form.
"What the hell are you doing up this early?"
"I could ask you the same thing..."
"Couldn't sleep," he muttered.
Joe sighed loudly, staring at his hands holding the mug, obviously
worried. "Should I call Amanda and Connor?" he asked, not looking up,
as if he feared the mixed reaction he would get from even contemplating
breaking that non - interference oath of the Watchers.
I had already decided to that Connor needed to know - if only because
Buffy was his student - and planned on calling the older MacLeod once
we were in the air, but I hadn't given the Immortal thief and her lover a
"Why Amanda, Joe?"
Joe shook his head and finally lifted his eyes to meet mine. "I think you
may need more than two Immortals to deal with this. Granted, I don't
want to start a Watcher - Immortal war, but if we could call in those
people we trust, it could only help." He sighed again. "Have you ever
been to the Hellmouth, Adam?"
Smiling at his use of my old misnomer, I could only shake my head.
"It's dangerous. I know you've dealt with vampires before. Especially
since Buffy has entered our lives, but from what I've gathered the
Hellmouth is a whole 'nother ballgame, my friend."
Interest peaked, I leaned forward, wondering what Joe knew that I
hadn't. "What do you mean?"
"You know that Watcher's journal I sold to Buffy?" I nodded,
remembering the bit about Spike's former live, that I read. "Have you
"A bit - just yesterday. Spike had found it in her bookcase and he
wasn't too happy with it - "
Joe shook his head, chuckling softly. "Well, I can see why. It detailed
his turning - among other things," he said, stroking his beard. "I read
the whole thing and it was the other stuff that spooked me. Made me
realize that we had no clue as to what Buffy's life must've been like to
battle these beings nightly. I thought Caspian was bad - as far bloodlust
and evil went. Let me tell you, Caspian had nothing on Spike's sire."
I took a deep breath unable to hide the frown that covered my face and
shook my head in confusion. "Then why would more Immortals make a
difference? Wouldn't it make it worse?"
Joe shrugged and finished off his coffee. "I don't know. I was thinking
more in the lines of more is better this time. She's heading right into a
powder keg there. Eventually, the Watchers are going to catch up with
her. Even if all the Immortals manage to ditch their own Watchers -
they'll go to Sunnydale if they can't find her anywhere else. Then you
have the demons and vampires. From you've told me, she's become
almost a legend in their eyes. What's going to stop them from trying
everything within their power to kill her?"
"But that's what her friends are there for," Methos started.
"Yeah, but who's going to say they're gonna greet her with open arms?
Methos, she's been gone from their lives for a decade. In human turns,
that's a long time. The only reason I think Spike forgave her is because
he's immortal like her. Ten years is a drop in the bucket to you guys.
But to us, it's forever..."
I groaned softly as Joe's verbal picture took shape in my mind. He was
right; she was entering into an already unstable environment. Who's to
say her presence wouldn't just ignite it? "Maybe if Spike called ahead -
gave everyone some time to deal with her being alive..."
Joe arched his eyebrow, nodding slowly to himself. "It's a thought," he
said softly, then turning his eyes to mine. "What about you?"
"What about me?" I snapped, standing up with both of our coffee mugs
in my grip. As I walked over to the kitchen counter to refill them, I
inwardly hoped that he would drop it. I innately knew where he was
steering the conversation, and I was in no mood to deal with my feelings
at that moment.
Maybe never, if I was honest.
Of course, he ignored the scowl on my face once I returned to my seat,
sliding his drink across the table. "You can't sit on this, Old Man. Look
what happened with Mac - "
"I told him," I said, interrupting the mortal.
"Too late! You know that! By the time you admitted your feelings to
him, he didn't think he was worthy of them. I'm not saying that the
same thing will happen with Buffy, but I do think you owe to yourself to
tell her," Joe explained, dropping his eyes to stare into his coffee cup.
"What about the bloody vampire up there sharing her bed as we speak?"
"Do you think?"
I shrugged diffidently. "If they did, it was last night."
Joe just shook his head at me as he lifted the mug to his lips. After
sipping his coffee, his looked up from his drink - his bright blue eyes
staring unerringly into mine - and shrugged lightly. "It's your life, Old
Man," he told me, his voice belaying a casualness that wasn't present in
his eyes. "Just don't let it bite you in the ass like it did with Mac."