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There And Back Again The Horsemen's Tale

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This story is No. 1 in the series "The Horsemen". You may wish to read the series introduction first.

Summary: Cordelia makes a different wish in season three and lands Willow and Xander in a new world, with a few changes. last two chapters added

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Highlander > Willow-CenteredangrymonkeyFR18820,614337785,69421 Sep 0525 Oct 05Yes
CoA Winner

Finding Humanity

thank you for editing Rognik

Disclaimer: I don’t own any of these characters.

Raiting:FR18

Sorry took so long for update, I had to do some revisions.










Willow bounced around from city to city for the next twelve years, often starving to death or dying from exposure since her insanity prevented her from being self-sufficient. She was often run out of cities for her bazaar behavior and terrifying mood swings. Even if a village would take her in, after a few weeks the residence would soon start to manifest some of her latent personalities and begin killing each other in confusion and fear. Most of the time she had no idea what was going on.

Somehow she found her way to what is present day India. There she ran into a fifty-year old immortal monk called Yomet. The monk didn’t know what he was yet; he had never met another of his kind before. He was intrigued by the buzz he felt from her, and took her in out of pity. After shaving her hair (it had become dreadlocked) and having her bathed he brought her to the monastery as a pupil. He had to disguise her as a boy so his brothers would let her stay.

The monks’ stringent mental discipline kept them from succumbing to Willow’s projected madness and they were able to help her to slowly regain some semblance of sanity herself. In return Willow taught the young immortal Yomet what he was and how to survive. Though he refused to learn to fight there were plenty of other things that would help insure a long life. She also dealt with any headhunters who would try and risk fighting on holy ground.



Xander’s Journal
3000?

Hello Giles,

I realize it has been a long time since I have written. To be honest, I’m not completely sure who you are anymore. I want to think father... or not, maybe Willow’s father? I don’t think brother. Other than the Horseman, this term brings to mind a boy named Jesse and a lot of guilt. It’s one of my only mortal memories left. Hell, I don’t even remember why Willow and I write to you anymore. I guess it gives us a link to a family.

I felt that I should tell you that I am going to try and find Willow. I have been tempted to look over the centuries, but I knew that neither of us were ready. In case you’re interested, we still share quickenings. Every now and then, I get a rush of new memories. It’s strange that distance doesn’t seem to matter.

You probably want to know what I’ve been up to for the last few centuries. Well, after I left Willow, I traveled into the African continent. I lived with animals mostly; I wasn’t very good at playing with others. Strangely enough, it took years for the burns around my neck that I got from Willow to fade. I guess it was a reminder of what I was looking for. It is funny that it was with a pack of hyenas that I was able to regain some semblance of my humanity. After running with them for a few years, I realized something. I’m not a hyena! I know this sounds obvious, but after over a hundred years living with various animals, I no longer thought of myself as human. After this revelation, I started to feel out of place in the pack. I was curious about what humanity had to offer me, so I left to rejoin civilization.

From this point on, it became slightly easier to deal with people. I’m still tempted to kill rather than talk things through, but I’ve learnt to control these urges most of the time. During this period, I was also learning to deal with the thousands of quickenings I had floating around in my head. Basically, I fought each person’s left over personality as they tried to surface. All I had to do was make sure to break any independent will they might have left. This took a very long time. Most of them remember me or Willow killing them, and often took weeks to break. (Author’s note: Think of it like Duncan fighting the dark quikining without the magic puddle.)

After dealing with these memories, which took about seventy years, I decided to head back to Europe. It was there that I found someone who got me in touch with some deeply buried parental instincts.

She was a small pre-immortal child of maybe seven years. Normally, I would have killed her before she could become a threat. However, as soon as I saw her face, I couldn’t. If I didn’t know it was impossible, I would have sworn she was Willow’s daughter. She had the same hair and eyes. At this, I smiled - a real smile, the first time in a long time - and introduced myself as Mathew (my current alias). She looked at me as if judging if I could be trusted, then smiled and said, “Rebecca.”

I adopted her from the old woman who was looking after her in the village. She let me have Rebecca for a couple of pieces of gold. If Rebecca hadn’t been there, I would have killed the women for selling the girl to a man like me. Then again, I probably would have killed her if she hadn’t let me have the girl... Hey, I’m complicated, OK?

For the next eighteen years, we traveled together. I taught her how to read, write, a bit of mathematics, how to use a sword, anything I thought she might need to survive. She called me father, and I considered her my daughter.

~~~~~~~
Northern Europe approximately 500BC

“You keep leaving yourself open to attack after parrying my first strike,” Xander chided. He and Rebecca were well into their third hour of sword work and the eighteen year old was nearly dead on her feet.

“I’m sorry father,” Rebecca gasped.

She was rewarded with a cut to her shoulder. Xander then said angrily, “Don’t EVER be sorry, in life as in fighting this is one thing you must live by. Adapt and change with the times but NEVER be sorry for your actions!” They continued to fight for five more minutes before Xander decided she had had enough. “Good, that is enough for today, let me treat that cut.”

As he wrapped her wound she showed absolutely no sign of pain, he was proud of this. Over the past eleven years she had acquired an impressive collection of scares but she never complained. None of them were deep, and over the past year they had been coming less and less often. ~Guess it means I’m improving.~ She thought to herself. She had only had to use her skills once before on a man who had come to their camp looking for her father. To her surprise she had been able to quickly disarm the larger man and run him through with her sword. When her father had come home and saw the man lying there with Rebecca’s sword in his chest he had quickly pulled it out and decapitated the man. After the lightning had dissipated he gave Rebecca a gold armband which he had been saving as a gift for a special occasion. He then hugged her and told her he was proud of her. Rebecca didn’t feel guilty about killing the man, death and murder were a part of life when her father was around.

Rebecca had seen her father face immortals before, he had never even tried to hide who and what he was. She wasn’t stupid she had realized at the age of twelve why her father was teaching her how to fight with a sword. This was the main reason she worked so hard on her combat skills.

~~~~~~


In her 25th year, I told her what she was and killed her for the first time. She wasn’t surprised by the revelation, I guess teaching a child to decapitate people set off some warning bells in her mind. I made sure the death was quick; I severed the aorta with a sword through her chest. She hid her fear well. To be honest I believe I was more scared than she was even thought I knew she would come back. When she revived I asked how she felt, she cleared her head of the buzz and groaned, “Alive.”

After this her training began in earnest. She already had a good technical base so I focused on the physical side. I would make her spar until she died from exhaustion. I kept her awake for weeks at a time until her mind realized that her body no longer required sleep. I taught her how to keep fighting even after she had been mortally wounded. Occasionally she would burst into tears or rage at me blindly, but this was expected. If she didn’t try to kill me after some of these sessions I would wonder about her sanity. I have never had a student to compare her to but I don’t believe I could find a better one. By the time I had finished with her no immortal could hold a candle to my daughter.

We traveled together for 183 years. I kept my true age from her; she thought I was only a couple hundred years older than her. I don’t think I will ever become Kronos or War again. I couldn’t let Rebecca see me like that. Oh, she’s seen my darker side, but I don’t let it run rampant like before.

I will make one thing clear: I Am Not Ashamed Of My Past!!! I truly love my Brothers, wherever they are. I have just realized there are better thing to do with your time than pillaging. Ruthlessly killing loses its appeal after a few millennia. I also believe the less people who know about my past the fewer the number of enemies I will have. Nowadays I find I enjoy sitting in the back of a tavern, watching mortals going about their lives, desperately trying to find meaning.

When Rebecca said she wanted to go out on her own, I was reluctant to let her. She told me, “If you don’t give me your blessing, I’ll simply put a knife in your ribs while you sleep, father.” She left the next day, and I have never been so proud of my little girl.

So here I am, setting out to find Willow. I’m looking forward to seeing her again. If you are my father, wish me luck. If you’re Willow’s father, I hope for your blessing.

~~~~~~

Xander closed the journal and put it back in his pack. He shrugged it over his shoulder, and looked out to the horizon. He had a vague idea were his wife was due to the memories he got from their shared quickenings. Sooner or later, he would see Willow again. He just didn’t know how she would react once they found each other. Giving the pack one final shrug, he set off on his trek to find her.

~~~~~~~

Willow’s Journal
3119

I’ve finally finished dealing with my multiple personalities. It’s a good thing, too. I’m getting sick of living in a Hindu monastery. Four centuries here is more than enough for one lifetime, no matter how much I enjoy Yomet’s company.

Now when I meditate, it is as if I am standing in a long corridor, filled with thousands of doors. Each one contains one immortal presence. The rooms behind the doors are furnished as they choose; they can visit others if they want and I can visit them. If I want, we can talk, or spar, or fight, depending on my mood. Most importantly, if they misbehave, I can lock the doors and keep them secure inside. A lot of these people aren’t so bad when you get to know them and they aren’t trying to kill you.

I have done something similar to the facets of my own personality. This has stabilized me greatly, and helped me deal with the horrors I committed as a horseman. I can now choose which personality the world sees. If I am not fighting, I tend to prefer a shy bubbling persona that would characterize the child I appear to be. It is almost funny, the looks on headhunters’ faces when I change from scared child to scary black-eyed, black-veined Pestilence. There are other transition personalities that I use in most situations. I don’t like letting her out too often.

Even though Pestilence is the best fighter of my personalities, it is dangerous to let her fight any battle near civilization. She uses any method to win, including flashy magic like fire and lightning. Even if this is effective, it attracts too much attention. When headhunters hear about a magic using immortal, they swarm like ants on honey trying to get the power for themselves. I really don’t need that headache.

~~~~~~

Sunnydale

The Scoobies all stared shocked at the crumpled watcher. Buffy finally cleared her throat, “Giles, we, uh, couldn’t find them... Angel and Oz can’t seem to keep their scent.”

Giles looked at them and said with a shaky voice, “Buffy, I want you to go get Cordelia. We need to find a way of reversing what she has done.”

They all looked at Giles in surprise. Buffy replied after a brief pause, “Look Giles, I don’t know what you read in those journals, but Willow and Xander are our friends. We need to go and find them.” As she finished, she reached out to pick up the book Giles had put down earlier.

“NO!” Giles almost screamed. Buffy froze and he continued in a calmer tone, “There’s nothing of Willow and Xander in there. Just leave it. I will drive Angel and Oz to the library. There may be a spell we can use there.”

Meanwhile, the couple in question were in said library trying to figure out how some teenager knew a name that neither had told another soul for close to 4500 years.

~~~~~~

West Coast of the southern U.S.
305 B.C.

She looked out over the desert that had once been a lush forest valley and sighed. Sometimes, she felt every minute of her 3000 years.

“It’s funny this place has changed so much, but I could still find it with my eyes closed,” spoke a voice from behind her.

Without turning, she smiled, “Missed you, Xand.”

“You’ll get sick of me soon enough, Wills,” he replied, slinging an arm over her shoulder. “So what have you been up to for the past few centuries?”

Willow shrugged, not answering. The familiar action more comforting than any embrace could have been. Both of them knew they would have a long way to go before they could consider being a couple again. For the moment however they were both happy to rely on their friendship. This was how they were both most comfortable, therefore it was only natural that it would take precedence over any other type of relationship.











-------

I know some people aren’t going to like that I make Xander and Willow almost sane again but I always figured that it was unlikely Kronos and Caspien could survive for so long when they were both more or less completely nuts. No matter how good a figther you are if you piss off enought people they will find a way to kill you.
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