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The Call Of The Gathering

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This story is No. 2 in the series "The Horsemen". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: sequel to There and Back Again The Horsemen’s Tale. Xander and Willow are adapting to life as scoobies, but must eventually leave when they feel the call of the Gathering

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Highlander > Xander-CenteredangrymonkeyFR181346,27827119117,27810 Dec 052 Jan 06Yes

The Call Of The Gathering

I own nothing!!

To be safe this is rated FR18 for violence.

Read the prequel, or this story won’t make any sense.

Sorry it took so long to come out with the sequel. I kept trying to work it in with the Doppelgangland episode, but after three rather disturbing attempts that involved an iguana, a hand grenade, and a drunk Welshman I decided to start from scratch… Anyway, hope you enjoy this one.

IMPORTANT: If anyone is willing to volunteer as a proof reader I would be eternally grateful. My grammar skills are basically limited to what the spell check tells me to do.

Note: Anya never died, and there was no Vamp Willow episode.

The call of the gathering.

Life was good for Xander Harris. He had a well paying job, and he was helping to protect the world. The fact that his job involved finding and training beautiful, athletic teenage girls didn’t hurt either. Not that he would make a move on any of them. After all he was not a certain brooding, cradle robbing vampire who shall remain nameless; besides the past two years had been too hectic to have a relationship.

Things had been strange between him and Anya after the collapse of the Hellmouth. After the usual post victory sex, he and Anya had gone their separate ways. Anya had decided to join the effort to help rebuild the council. A large factor in her decision was that she had nowhere else to go. Giles had therefore put her in charge of getting access to the old council’s funds. Xander on the other hand had decided to travel through Africa, where he would follow Willow’s telepathic directions to locate the new Slayers. After two years the Scoobies had managed to locate them all, either sending them to the New Slayer Watcher Council (NSWC) to be trained, or setting them up with a field Watcher at their homes. Fortunately many of the tribes Xander encountered in Africa still believed in the ancient myths, and were willing to let their daughters be trained.

Once or twice a month another potential would reach puberty thus activating their Slayerness. Willow would still cast a locator spell every couple of weeks to find these new girls, but it was a simple matter to send a team at that time. There was no longer any reason for Xander to stay in the field. Frankly he didn’t know what to do with all his time off; maybe he could get back together with Anya?

This brings us up to the present. Xander and his ex-fiancé the ex-ex-ex-demon Anya were driving to the council’s new headquarters, which was located in the English countryside. She had picked him up at the airport when his flight from Cairo had landed. Tonight was going to be a celebration of the rebuilding of the council, and more importantly the first time the entire Scooby gang would all be together in nearly two years. Yes life was good for Xander Harris.

Obviously this was the perfect moment for Murphy’s Law to reassert itself. Anya was driving along the highway looking for the right exit when she ran over some debris in the road. She quickly lost control of the vehicle. The car crossed the median and spun into oncoming traffic. A jeep soon collided with the passenger side door, crushing Xander and killing him in seconds. When the wreck came to a stop Anya turned to see if Xander was ok, only to find his head lolling to the side. Before her mind could make sense of what she was seeing she lost consciousness.

Giles got the call from a nearby hospital. All the person on the other end of the line said was that there had been an accident and that Anya Jenkins was recovering from a bad concussion while Mr. Harris didn’t make it. Giles just hung up the phone in a state of shock. He walked into the common room where the rest of the Scoobies were gathered exchanging various war stories from the past two years.

Buffy turned when she saw her old Watcher enter the room. She interrupted Spike’s retelling of the last battle of Wolfram and Heart to say, “Was that Xander? Did he say why he and Anya were late?”

Giles just looked stunned and spoke mechanically, “It seems there was an accident, Anya’s in the hospital recovering from a head wound. It appears that Xander didn’t make it.” The room was silent for what seemed like hours.

Willow was the first to react; she jumped to her feet from where she was sitting next to Kennedy and said with utter conviction, “You’re wrong.”

She then reached out with her considerable power and attempted to contact her childhood friend. In the back of his mind, Giles knew he should be keeping magic and Willow as far away from each other as possible at the moment, but couldn’t bring himself to do anything. Not being able to find him directly, Willow looked for Anya. The ex-demon was easily located and the witch then projected her consciousness into the hospital. Willow’s consciousness flowed through walls of the hospital in search of Xander, but she couldn’t find him. Finally she went to the morgue, mostly to prove Giles wrong. After all if he wasn’t in the morgue then he couldn’t be dead, right? Her last hope was shattered when she saw his body lying on a cold metal slab. The orderlies were only now cutting away his clothes.

He was still wearing his eye patch.

Willow pulled out as fast as she could and returned to her body. Around her everyone was having different reactions. Buffy, Dawn, Andrew and Giles were crying, Spike and Faith were making good headway into a bottle of JD that had managed to appear from somewhere, and Kennedy was doing her best to comfort Willow. Willow was oblivious to all this. She simply sat down on the sofa behind her and didn’t move. There was no scream of anguish. There was no apocalyptic rage. There was no point. And so Willow just sat there, her face blank, her heart rate normal, and her mind completely clear.

Over the next few days the funeral was arranged, the Scoobies grieved and waited to pay there last respects. Everyone noticed Willow’s state, but could do nothing about it. She would only move if she was lead somewhere, she would eat and drink only if someone would feed her by hand. A coven member had attempted to enter her mind, but was unable to breach the witch’s unconscious defences.

On the night of the funeral every Slayer at the new academy showed up. Most had never met Xander, and only knew him by the stories told to them by those who had survived Sunnydale, or had been recruited by the young man with the immature yet comforting sense of humour. Every Scooby with the exception of Willow spoke. They shared anecdotes both funny and sad from their pasts. Spike even came up and said, “Bloke was alright, would ‘ave made a damn fine vampire.” Many people snuck a small gift into the casket for Xander. Some were letters, and some were small weapons.

The casket was lowered and the grave was filled in. Several witches performed spells around it to prevent the body from being disturbed by some demon wanting a trophy of the one who saw. Gradually the mourners left the grave. Kenedy and Dawn guided Willow back to her room. With any luck they would find a way to help her tomorrow.

Normally this would be the end of the story; and if it weren’t for a certain wish made by Cordelia while the Scoobies were in high school it would have been. When Anyanka had decided to turn Willow and Xander into immortals, she really hadn’t known what kind of powers she was messing with. The Game had a purpose. What it was is unknown even to its creator, but it is important none the less. The results of this Game are not subject to the whims of a single wish demon.

While Anyanka easily had enough power to give a couple of mortals another preimmortal’s quickening; Willow and Xander were no longer preimmortals when the wish was ended. The two had in fact been taking heads in the Highlander’s world for millennia. They had each accumulated literally thousands of quickenings. On top of this the two had altered millennia of history in the other realm. They had earned their place in the Game. This left whatever rules and powers that controlled the universes at an impasse. On the one hand the wish had been undone, and Willow and Xander were no longer immortal. On the other hand there was nowhere for the quickenings of the two 5400 year olds to go. The result was the following.

Xander woke up.
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