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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-CenteredangrymonkeyFR18820,614337785,97621 Sep 0525 Oct 05Yes
CoA Winner

Highlander

Thanks Rognik for editing
I own nothing
Note: my dates in the highlander seasons are most likely wrong





The ruins of Rebecca’s abbey, 1996

Amanda had come to visit her teacher’s grave, she made sure to say hello every time she was in the region. The last thing she expected was to feel a couple of quickenings coming from where her mentor was buried. Slipping her sword from her fashionable Armani coat, she called out, “Who’s there?”

The only response she heard was muffled sobs. She decided to approach cautiously with her sword out. Next to grave were two huddled figures, a redheaded teen cradling a boy who didn’t seem to be much older. Seeing that the boy (probably much older than he appeared) was in obvious pain, Amanda lowered her sword slightly. ~I wonder how he knew Rebecca,~ she thought. ~I don’t think he was one of her students.~

The girl whispered something in the boy’s ear, then set him on the ground. She stood up and turned to Amanda, drawing her own sword. She spoke in a commanding, almost imperial tone, “Who are you and why are you here?”

Before Amanda knew what was happening, she blurted out, “My name is Amanda. I’m Rebecca’s last student. I came to talk to her.” She closed her mouth sharply before she could say any more. She hadn’t meant to tell these people all that, but for a split second she couldn’t control her mouth.

The girl’s face softened and she put away her sword. “Sorry. Mark just found out she died two hours ago and I didn’t want him to have to deal with a challenge on top of it.” Seeing that the girl didn’t pose a threat anymore, Amanda put her sword away as well and held out her hand. The redhead took it and said, “Beth.”

Amanda sat down with Mark and Beth next to her teacher’s grave. The only sound for a while was Mark’s crying. After about ten minutes, he seemed to pull himself together enough to look at Amanda. “Who?”

Amanda had to force herself to keep from backing away. The look in his eyes was a mixture of weary pain that she had only seen in Methos when he was thinking of Alexa, and a burning rage that was too feral to be human. Instead of running she said, “It doesn’t matter. He was killed two days after by a good friend of ours.”

The anger dissipated slowly, leaving only the pain. He pulled Beth to him and said, “Good.”

After a few minutes, Amanda couldn’t hold back her curiosity anymore. “Do you mind if I ask how you knew her?”

Mark seemed to consider this for a few minutes. He replied softly, “She was my daughter.”

Amanda was shocked. According to Jo, the only immortals left that predated Christianity now that Rebecca was dead were Methos, Cassandra, a Hindu monk, an African holy man, and some curator at a museum in Paris. (Silas’ isolated home in the middle of a forest for the past 2000 years had kept him off the Watcher’s radar.) Amanda herself was in the top one hundred. And yet, looking at this “young” man, she couldn’t help believing that he was telling the truth. She made a mental note to tease Jo about the Watcher’s lack of information later.

They decided to go out for drinks after this. Mark had Amanda laughing until she had a stitch in her side as he told her about some of Rebecca’s youthful indiscretions. She had never imagined her teacher had a wilder side; Rebecca had always been so regal and wise. Mark’s stories were so full of detail and emotion, she almost felt like she was there.

“...So this forty-five year old man had been trying to seduce Rebecca for the past four weeks. I kept telling her she should just poison him and dump him in an alley, but she said she had her own plans. One night she began to flirt with him, feeding him drink after drink. After a while, they went up to his chambers, and the next morning he woke up next to ugliest prostitute the local brothel had on staff. He never bothered Rebecca again.”

They all broke into howls of laughter. Mark sobered slightly and said to Amanda, “You know, Rebecca was very proud of you. She always spoke highly of you in our letters.”

“Thanks,” Amanda responded, wiping a tear from her eye.

As they parted that night, Amanda gave them her phone number and told them to contact her next time they were in the States.



~~~~~
3 years later, outside Joe’s bar, Seacover



“Xander, are you sure it’s a good idea to meet Amanda at a bar? There’s a pretty good chance they won’t let us in. You have to be twenty-one to get into bars in this state.” (author’s note: I am only guessing at American booze laws).

“Relax, Wills. If anyone asks, we’ll say we’re here for the Blues. Besides, it wasn’t my idea to make Cordelia and Rupert Giles seventeen years old.” Xander’s sense of fashion had come full circle. He now dressed almost the same way he had when he actually was seventeen. He preferred to wear baggy, multicolored shirts and jeans. The reason for this was simple; he could conceal many weapons on him without a trench coat. This included his short sword which was strapped to his back, handle at the small of his back. As long as he moved carefully, no one ever noticed his hidden arsenal. Willow had taken to wearing simple tank tops covered with a large plaid shirt and jeans. This was covered with the mandatory immortal trench coat. It was good for weapon concealment and really comfortable to boot. So what if the occasional jackass yelled some homophobic slurs? If they ever got really rude, she could magically convince them to go pick up some guy in a bar. That is, if Xander hadn’t already beaten them to unconsciousness.

Willow stuck out her tongue, “I didn’t want to change identities again for as long as possible. About that, I can understand you calling yourself Rupert, but why did you pick Cordelia for me?”

Xander raised an eyebrow, “Would you have preferred something like Buffy?”

Willow just looked at Xander like he was crazy, “What mother in their right mind would call their child Buff?” Sighing and shaking her head, she entered the bar.

They were about to go find a seat when a man with a pronounced limp walked up to them. “You two kids don’t have any I.D., do you?”

Before Xander could answer, Willow said quickly, “We know we’re not old enough but a friend said there was really good blues music here and we were hoping we could just sit and listen.” She only applied the tinniest bit of Voice.

The man shook his head and smiled at the flustered girl. “I guess I can let you in, but only because not enough kids are into the Blues these days.”

He was rewarded with a brilliant smile. The boy, who he assumed was her boyfriend, put an arm around her shoulders and steered her to a couch against a wall near the stage. Joe thought he saw them checking out the entrances and exits casually. In a way, it reminded him of Mac or Methos, only not as jumpy. He wondered if they might be immortal, but quickly dismissed the thought from his mind. The Watchers would have alerted him if there were any new immortals in town. They were probably just restless teens.

Thirty minute later, as he finished his set, he reevaluated his theory on the two kids. They were looking at him with expressions of deep respect. It looked so foreign on such apparently young faces. ~Whoever they are, they’ve seen enough in their lives to really appreciate the blues,~ Jo thought to himself as he got off his stool.

As if to confirm his theory, they both turned to the door as Mac, Amanda, and Methos walked in.

Amanda waved cheerfully, but Methos seemed frozen on the spot, like a deer in headlights. The two “young” people looked to be in a similar state.

The girl started to giggle. The boy quickly got the joke. Methos obviously knew what they were laughing at and looked extremely put out. Duncan, who didn’t really like being out of the loop, asked the obvious question, “What’s so funny?”

The redhead wiped a tear of mirth from her eye. “We should have known we’d find him in a bar.” She then dissolved into giggles again. At this Joe, Amanda, and Mac laughed.

After they had stopped laughing, Methos was looking jumpy again. Willow decided they needed to talk to him alone before he got the wrong idea. “I don’t mean to be rude, Amanda, but would you mind if we talk to your friend alone for a minute?” She pointed to Methos as she spoke.

Duncan interjected, “I don’t think so.” He was always concerned when someone came to town who recognized the old man; Cassandra or Byron, for example.

Before Xander could tell him where to shove his sword, Willow diffused the situation. “Fine.” She immediately switched to Yatak, which they had taught the other horsemen in order to communicate on the battlefield, “We didn’t come here for you, Brother. Please believe we have no more desire to restart the horsemen than you do.”

Xander added in the same language, “Yeah. I’m not a blood-thirsty psychopath anymore, and Casvienne dealt with her issues.”

Methos looked at his brothers. True, they did seem more stable then they used to be. Besides, it was best to play this out rather than make a scene here now. ~If they have changed, I might enjoy the some adult conversation. If not.... well, Kronos was like a dog with a bone. Now that he has my scent, he will hunt me till the end of one of our lives... Maybe Macloud is ready for a challenge. Oh shit! Casvienne looks like she read my mind. Knowing her, she might have...~

His internal ramblings were cut off when Willow got up from the couch, pulling Xander with her. “If you don’t want us here, we can leave.” She looked more like a little girl who was just told her best friend was moving away rather than a millennia old immortal.

At this, Amanda interrupted. “Oh no, you don’t, Adam! These two are my friends. So whatever it is between you three, suck it up and deal with it.”

“Well, when you put it that way...” Methos answered with his typical sarcastic drawl. Willow ran at him and hugged him tightly.

When she released him, Xander grasped his forearm and said, “It has been too long.”

After this, the atmosphere relaxed considerably. This was partly due to the tentative peace between the Brothers, and partly due to Xander now being considered old enough to drink. It was with morbid fascination that the three youngsters watched the three ancients consume large volumes of liquor without seeming to suffer the affects.

Amanda and Macloud left at around eleven. Amanda insisted on taking Willow shopping the next day. Macloud, however, had plans of his own to make. He had caught the name “Rupert” had used when talking to Methos in the strange language. As soon as he got home, he had a call to make.

After the younger immortals had left, Joe figured the two newcomers wanted to have some time to catch up in private with their old friend. As he cleaned the bar, he thought about “Cordelia” and “Rupert”. He noticed that the two had avoided mentioning exactly where they had met Methos. They had said that Rupert was an early student of Rebecca’s as if this answered the question. This alone didn’t sit quite right with the Watcher. He had read up on Rebecca’s students during the Methuselah stone incident (both when Methos and Luther had been attempting to get it) and had found no mention of the immortal Rupert. He had however heard of two immortals that traveled together in other chronicles. Their distinguishing features where that they both looked like teens and the woman had red hair. The Watchers had no idea who the two were. They had never had Watchers of their own, and they had only ever been spotted after challenges with other immortals. They never gave their names and were always gone from the region before the Watcher present could file a report on them. The reports of these two went back at least two thousand years, and they were dubbed a high priority if ever spotted. The reason for the Watchers’ interest was that despite their ghostlike nature, these two had taken out some very dangerous immortals over the years, including the Kurgan’s teacher. In the Watchers’ opinion, anyone who could do this was definitely important to the Game. Joe had always doubted the sightings were all of the same people; the descriptions had all been so vague. ~Oh well, I might be able to shed some light on the mystery. I’ll try talking to them tomorrow.~ Joe was once again glad he had broken convention and made friends with the immortals. You could learn some very interesting things.

Meanwhile, Methos was discussing this very subject with his Brothers in Summarian. “I don’t know how you two manage it. I’ve seen you all over the chronicles starting fights with all kinds of high profile immortals but no one has a clue who you are or where you’re going to turn up next. I, on the other hand, lie low and try not to cause trouble; but everyone still knows about Methos, the world’s oldest immortal. What did I do to deserve that?” Willow looked at him with a slightly amused, slightly sad expression. Methos looked down into his beer, “Oh, right.”

Xander slapped Methos on the back, “Face it, Brother. You like the fame!”

Methos just shrugged at this. He noticed that both his Brothers were essentially the same people he had met so long ago. The only difference was that they no longer seemed empty like they used to, that and they weren’t insane psychopaths. He was fascinated how one minute they could be giggling like a couple of children and the next look older than dirt. ~I’m surprised either of them trust me enough to let me see their emotions so clearly,~ he mused to himself.



~~~



Amanda was asleep after they had finished their lovemaking. Duncan silently got out of bed and went to make his phone call. It took him a few minutes to find the number in his rolodex. He then found the phone and nervously dialed the number. The phone rang six times before someone picked up.

“He-Hello”
“Cassandra, it’s Duncan”
“Duncan...it’s three a.m. here”
“Sorry Cassandra, it’s really important. I need to know if two of the other horsemen look like a redhead teenager and brown haired boy the same age.”
*click*
“Cassandra?” There was no answer.

~~~~~


The next day, Duncan entered the dojo to see Richie getting his feet swept out from under him by “Rupert”. Xander then raised his weapon and without thinking, Duncan screamed, “No!”

Xander paused and looked at Duncan “Geez Macloud, it’s a just a boken (wooden sword). It’s not like it’s going to kill him or anything. But if you don’t want me training with your student, I won’t.” He was wearing an enraging smirk.

Duncan looked Xander in the eye. “Stay away from Richie, and don’t go near Amanda again.”

Xander’s expression hardened. He replied in Gaelic, “Or else what, Highlander? I know all about your famous honor. As long as I don’t hurt one of your friends, you won’t touch me.”

“What about Cassandra?” Macloud snapped.

Xander’s eyes widened for a fraction of a second, but he quickly recovered. “Who?” he asked, feigning innocence.

The two stared intently at each other for thirty seconds. Xander was starting to lose his patience with this child. He was just about ready to do something stupid like challenge Macloud when Xander starting to convulse. After a minute or so he stopped, then moved away from the wall he was using to support himself. “Why the fuck did you tell her we were here?”

Duncan took a few seconds to figure out who he was talking about, then demanded, “How do you know about that?”

“Because she just lost her head,” Xander spat back. Before the two men could attack each other, Xander disappeared into thin air.

Richie, who had no idea what was going on asked, “How’d he do that?”




30 minutes earlier, outside a local store


Amanda and Willow had just finished looking at some expensive Versace bags. Amanda had offered to steal one for Willow; she declined, saying that it would look strange for a teenager to be walking around with a seven hundred dollar bag.

They were about to head back to Mac’s when they felt another immortal. Methos came running down the street and yelled at Willow, “You and Rupert have to get out of here now. Joe told me Cassandra arrived in town two hours ago!”

Willow swore while Amanda, who was not as air-headed as she made out, had quickly put the pieces together. “Do you think there is a chance to reason with her?”

Methos just stared at her. “What do you think?”

While Methos and Amanda were talking, Willow was changing personas into that of everyone’s favorite emotionless sociopath. “I will not run from some child with a grudge.” She turned and spoke into thin air, “Meet me in the alley behind Joe’s bar in twenty minutes.”

“What exactly did you just do?” asked Amanda.

“I told Cassandra to meet me.” At Amanda’s incredulous expression, she continued, “We’d better hurry if we don’t want to be late.” Without another word, they got into Amanda’s car and drove to Joe’s.

All the way there, Methos tried to convince Willow to leave with Xander, but she ignored him. Finally, Willow promised that she wouldn’t just attack Cassandra. She would at least try and make peace with the witch. As soon as Willow got out of the car, she felt Cassandra’s buzz and saw her step out from behind a dumpster. Cassandra looked more than a little unstable as she closed the fifty feet between her and Willow. When she was ten feet away, Willow used Voice and screamed, “STOP!”

Cassandra paused, struggled with the command for a second, and then started forward again. Willow was able to get her sword out and block Cassandra’s initial attack just before it would have decapitated her. She pushed the enraged witch back with all her strength. Cassandra then tried Voice herself, “Your sword is getting heavy. You can barely stand...”

Methos and Amanda were yelling from the sidelines, trying to stop the fight. Willow looked at the other witch like she was crazy. “Do you honestly think Voice will work on me?” Cassandra looked surprised. Willow couldn’t believe that Cassandra hadn’t anticipated this; her opinion of the witch dropped slightly. Willow decided to fight without magic; Voice was unreliable in this case, and she didn’t like letting others see her more flashy tricks. Fortunately, years of dependence on Voice had made Cassandra’s sword work sloppy. Soon, the younger immortal had been stabbed in the stomach. As she fell forward, Willow lopped off her head.

After the quickening had dissipated, Methos walked over to Willow. He had a mixture of guilt, anger, and sadness on his face. There was, however, a clear sign of understanding as well. Throwing his coat over her shoulders, he said, “Have Amanda take you to Mac’s, get Kronos and leave. I’ll take care of the body.”

Willow was glad for the coat. She had quite a bit of Cassandra’s blood on her clothes. She also understood the message; a certain Scotsman was going to be pissed. Also, even though Methos understood and accepted her need for defense, he wasn’t too pleased with her either. It seems he had still carried a torch for Cassandra all these years. Before Willow could get into Amanda’s car, however, she vanished.

“Well, that’s a new trick,” Methos said, looking at the spot where she had stood seconds before.
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