Sequel to OF IMMORTALS AND OTHER DISASTERS
Rated R (you were warned, kiddies)
Author’s notes: This isn’t adult... quite. A lot of sexual tension, some foreplay.... it IS part of the plot. Just read it. This story is much darker and much more sensual. Since Buffy is a sensual show, and Methos is a sensual character, it was inevitable.
AN: This was written well over two years ago, so does not follow the cannon of the Buffyverse. I do think that it has stood up pretty well, though, and it remains one of my most popular pieces.
FEEDBACK! FEEDBACK! FEEDBACK!
Virtual hershey’s kisses towards my betas, RC and Joanna.
“The best argument I know for an immortal life is the existence of a man who deserves one.”
Buffy rolled over in her bed, watching Angel’s eyes darken with passion. He ran his lips over her left temple, then took her hands and sucked on each of her fingers. She moaned softly, feeling her heart beat speed up. Then she pulled him down to her and kissed him with all the pent up passion she’d been feeling. It had been so long since they had been together.
He ran his hands down her slender legs, unbuttoning her jeans. With a groan, he managed to get her jeans off. Then he tackled her shirt.
Buffy reached up and clenched his strong shoulders, and with a sigh, she started to move provocatively against him.....
Buffy Summers sat up in her bed suddenly, coming out of a sound sleep. Another dream of Angel, she thought. Will they ever go away?
The sun was beaming brightly into her room. No chance of an unexpected visit. Sometimes she wished that Angelus would just get it over and kill her. Her heart had died with Angel, and she felt little more than half alive. Angel had been her life, her only reward for being the Slayer, and he had been taken away from her.
With a sigh, she pushed all thoughts of Angel away. It was morning, and she’d have to get ready for school. She rolled out of bed with a Slayer’s grace, then started to pull clothes out of her closet. Today was definitely a day to dress to kill. Literally.
Fifteen minutes later she hopped down the stairs, trying to regain her old energy. Since Angel had been gone, she felt like she was only an actress playing a part. Except for the time Mr. Pierson (if that really was his name, which she doubted) had revealed his true age. Meeting a five-thousand year old man was more than enough to shake her out of her self pity. The fact that he hated Angelus even more than she did was a definite plus.
Joyce Summers raised her head from the newspaper, and smiled at her daughter. No matter how outrageously Buffy behaved, there was some fire within her child that made it all worthwhile. It had been missing lately, and seeing her daughter so invigorated was enough to raise her spirits.
“Morning, Mom,” Buffy chirped, pouring herself a small glass of orange juice, which she quickly downed. “I’m going to be a little late getting home, but don’t worry. Cordelia promised she’d give me a ride.” Buffy flew out the door towards the car. Joyce Summers sighed and rose to her feet, leaving her coffee unfinished. It was going to be one of THOSE days.
Buffy chattered for the entire ride, aimlessly wandering from subject to subject. Joyce listened with half an ear, trying to keep her attention on the road. When they pulled up in front of the school, Buffy bounced out of the car, waving a thoughtless good-bye. She immediately darted for her friends, Willow and Xander.
Meanwhile, in the library, a rather heated discussion was taking place. Mr. Rupert Giles, expert on all things of historical obscurity, was arguing with a man who had actually lived through it.
“Damn it, Adam, don’t try to sell me on that.... bogus....” Giles fumed, trying to find the right words to articulate his rage.
Adam Pierson, whose true name was Methos, merely smiled slightly. “Believe it or not, I don’t care.” He shrugged his shoulders. “That was the way things were, though nobody ever wants to believe it. I SAW Daniel go into the lion’s den, and he didn’t come out the same. His sanity was completely gone.”
Giles, though, wasn’t about to take that lying down. “Really? And I suppose you want me to believe that Hamlet was gay, and really in love with his stepfather?” he asked.
“Hamlet is a fictional character, as you very well know. But some of the most famous lovers in history were gay,” Methos said. “Or bisexual,” he added as an afterthought. His eyes lazily scanned Giles. “Bisexuality is underrated, after all,” he said.
Giles looked at Methos, trying to keep his cool. Adam enjoyed baiting him, and most of it was just in play. But after five thousand years, a man’s sense of humor got really twisted. Giles wondered how much of Adam’s flirting was just a joke.
He was just about to nail the immortal when the library door opened, and the Slayerettes entered. Buffy almost flew towards Adam. “Say, Mr. Pierson?” she asked, batting her big blue eyes.
Adam’s face grew guarded. He knew better than to trust a teenager, especially the Slayer. Buffy’s innocent expression didn’t get anywhere with him. “Yes, Ms Summers?” he said formerly. “Make it quick. I have a class to teach in five minutes.”
Xander started to laugh at the idea of Mr. Pierson actually teaching, but Willow’s flying elbow cut him off. “Oof!” he exclaimed, as she caught him squarely in the stomach. Giles glared, but Willow had returned to her usual angelic self.
“Well, you never told us why you hated Angel,” Buffy said quietly. Her eyes bore into Methos’, trying to ignore how beautiful the golden-green eyes were. She was the Slayer, after all, and this was serious business.
Methos’ eyes drained of the humor he had shown before Buffy interrupted his conversation with Giles. He looked blankly at the wall.
After a minute, Willow got the courage to speak up. “Um, Mr. Pierson?” she asked hesitantly.
Methos shook his head, coming back to the present. “Sorry. I was remembering. A hazard of Immortality, I guess,” he said softly.
“Well?” Buffy demanded. “What did he do? Did he kill someone close to you?” she asked more gently, seeing the sadness reflected in Mr. Pierson’s face.
“No,” Methos replied. “I wish he had. What he did was worse.”
*Flashback: Paris, France, 1805*
Methos knelt by the grave, waiting. In his hands he held a flower. The crisp autumn air blew across his cheeks, but he ignored it. He had other business.
Soon after sundown, he heard the sound he had been waiting for. The sound of someone crawling upwards through the heavy earth. He glanced at the gravestone, and sighed. Charlotte.... he thought, looking forward to seeing her again, no matter how changed she may have become. He loved her.
Charlotte’s hand punched through the ground, and he grasped it eagerly, pulling her to the surface. Her beautiful face was distorted by the demon that now inhabited her human body. She looked at him and pounced.
Methos felt her sharp fangs sink into his throat. He could have easily stopped her, but chose not to. She needs it, he reminded himself. The pain was so intense it was almost a pleasure. She was Immortal now, his forever, as long as she had what she needed. And he was going to do everything in his power to provide it.
The pain gradually began to fade, and his vision started to blur. A warm feeling ran through his body, and he tried to groan, but didn’t have enough energy. It was familiar, after all. He was dying.
Methos gave into his urge to shut his eyes, knowing that it would be a while before he opened them again. Soon he was carried away on a warm wave towards death....
Methos opened his eyes and looked at the stars. About an hour, maybe, he thought. He raised his head and looked at Charlotte.
She was sitting on her own tombstone, looking extremely happy. Her face had returned to its prior proportions, and she was smiling. She looked at him almost lovingly. “Ben,” she said warmly. Her eyes drifted heavenwards. “Isn’t it a beautiful night?”
Methos rose to his feet, still a little unsteady. She’s back! his mind thought exuberantly. The stories were wrong! She’s still HER! his thoughts screamed.
“Indeed it is,” he replied. “Indeed it is.”
Buffy Summers sat through Mr. Pierson’s history class. Since she now knew he had actually lived through it, she paid more attention. His subtle sarcasm made her wonder how much of what he was teaching was true, and how much was popular imagination.
Willow glanced at Mr. Pierson, then flipped a paper to Buffy’s desk. Darn it, she thought, unwilling to swear even in her mind. He noticed.Methos had indeed noticed, and if he had been in his usual mood, would have read it aloud to the class. But Buffy’s questions had recalled memories he rather keep suppressed. It was the Immortals’ curse, having an almost photographic memory that could be triggered by casual conversation. Sometimes he wished that he could forget everything, become one of “The Lost Ones”. Then he’d looked at what his life was like now, and be content. He had Joe, Richie, Amanda and MacLeod- hell, he even had Giles, if he’d admit it. Not that Giles was much aside from a minor diversion. The Englishman’s pompous nature was more than enough to amuse Methos for a little while.
Methos continued his lecture, dropping into the Constitutional Convention. He glanced quickly at Xander and noticed that the boy’s eyes were glazed. He decided to shake himself at of his brooding mood... at Xander’s expense.
Xander looked up at him, his instincts telling him to get the hell out of there. The way Mr. Pierson sauntered towards the desk was enough for his self-protective mechanisms to kick in. “Um, yes?” he said, trying to figure a way out of the situation.
Mr. Pierson smiled, and Xander didn’t like it. It wasn’t a pleasant look. “Well, Mr. Harris,” he began, his smooth voice sounding pleasant. Too pleasant, Xander thought.
“Yes, Mr. Pierson?” he said, trying to joke his this way out of it, even though he knew it would be a futile effort.
“I have a question for you,” Mr. Pierson said, leaning over Xander’s desk to look him straight in the eye. Their noses were less than six inches apart.
Xander swallowed, his throat feeling tight. “Shoot,” he said quietly.
By this time the whole class was watching. Even though Mr. Pierson had only been teaching less than a week, he already had the reputation for drilling a poor, unsuspecting student. They were certainly ready to watch one of their own get it, as long as it wasn’t them.
Buffy raised an eyebrow and looked at Willow. Willow tried to keep from laughing by burying her face in her hands. No cigar. Her chuckles filled the looming silence.
Mr. Pierson shot a glare at her, but he already had chosen his quarry. Maybe later, he promised himself. “I was wondering what you could tell me about John Adams?”
Xander’s mouth failed like a fish’s. He would have glanced at Willow for the answer (normal Xander operating procedure), but Mr. Pierson was too close for that to work. “Um, he was a President?” he guessed, trying to recall what little history he knew.
Mr. Pierson nodded pleasantly. “Indeed. Now tell me what President was he?”
“Um, first?” Xander guessed. They were talking about the Constitutional Convention, and it only made sense....
“Really? And what was his wife’s name?”
“Barbara?” he whimpered. Barbara was a common girl’s name for the 1700’s, wasn’t it?
If anything, Mr. Pierson’s expression grew even more pleasant. “And how many times did she appear on television?” he asked.
Xander was spared from answering by Willow’s sudden outburst of laughter. She just couldn’t take anymore. He glared reprovingly at her, wondering why she was laughing at him. She was his best friend, after all.
Mr. Pierson glared at Willow, decidedly annoyed at having his sport interrupted. Then his ancient brain kicked in, and he smiled at her. Willow started to blush.
“I think it’s time we got to the BOTTOM of this,” he said. For the rest of the class he made some sly reference to the note he had caught Willow passing to Buffy, enjoying the crimson flush that spread all over Willow’s oddly-garbed body.
When the bell rang, Willow was the first one to exit. Buffy hung back, her eyes sparking with inner fire. There was no way she was going to let Mr. Pierson get away with tormenting poor Willow.
“Just because you’re having a bad day doesn’t mean you can torment Willow,” she said.
Methos by this time was, of course, reading one of his foreign books. He raised a nicely shaped eyebrow, his eyes still on the page. “I’m the teacher, I can do whatever I like,” he said lightly.
Buffy groaned. “Now you sound like a two-year-old, not the world’s oldest man.”
Methos laughed. “That’s better than what MacLeod and Joe tell me,” he replied.
Buffy didn’t recognize the names, but let it go. She recognized an attempt at distraction herself, being Sunnydale’s own distraction Queen. “Now just tell me what you’re problem is!” she demanded.
Methos felt the urge to open up. Unusual, especially for him. But this was the Slayer, and she, better than anyone, could understand how lonely he was.
“Angelus didn’t just kill my fiancée, Buffy. What he did was far, far worse. He turned her into a vampire....” he began, fading once more into the past.
*Flashback: England, 1805*
Methos opened his eyes once again, returning from death. He opened his eyes and looked into Charlotte’s eyes. Her lips were still stained bright red from his blood (something he didn’t even want to THINK about). She grabbed his hand and hoisted him to his feet with the strength her new nature had given her.
“Are you feeling okay?” she asked in a concerned voice.
Methos nodded, still feeling slightly woozy. In the three months since her change, Charlotte had killed him three times with her blood hunger. Still, she wasn’t killing anyone who wouldn’t return, so Methos shrugged it off.
She noticed his eyes lingering on her month, and laughed nervously. She took out a dainty white handkerchief and wiped her mouth off with it, staining the pristine material. “So what are we doing tonight?” she asked eagerly.
Methos looked at her, feeling almost wistful. Since.... that night.... she hadn’t been herself. She still loved him, but she was different. More eager to see EVERYTHING, wanting to be amused constantly. There were no more quiet walks, no more conversations by the fire. The little things he loved most were being stripped away from her. What he didn’t realize was that it was her humanity she was losing.
Angelus sat up in bed, throwing the covers off. He was dreaming again, dreaming of HER. He hated her more than anything, but his body refused to forget the night they had spent together. The things she had done for him, to him, and with him in his dreams made his body tingle at the thought.
In his twisted mind, it was all HER fault. She had been the thing that made him feel most human, and now that his soul was gone, she was what he loathed most.
Drusilla, Spike’s wacked out mistress, wandered into the room, wearing a tight black dress. The stitching on it was red. Angelus felt the anticipation he had become used to. Drusilla was his finest creation, and he was going to better himself when he was done with Buffy. The thought of having Buffy’s body at his control with her mind even more out of there than Dru’s was enough to make his blood-lust rise. He controlled the impulse.
Drusilla wandered over to him, clapping her hands happily. “Angel! My Angel!” she crowed gleefully.
He reached out and kissed the back of her hand. “What is it, Dru?” he asked, recognizing the crazed light in her eye. She was seeing things that weren’t here... yet.
She pulled him close to her, and started to dance. Angel played along, laughing as she spun him in circles.
“It’s wonderfully!” she whispered. “Someone’s coming to a party!” she said.
Angelus dipped her backwards, then led her into a more sedate waltz. “Who is it, Dru?” he demanded.
She squiggled out of his arms. “I don’t know if I should tell you...” she pouted gently.
Angel kissed her shoulder blade. “You’ve always told me everything before, babe,” he teased. Just play a long a little longer, he thought.
Dru smiled up at him. “It’s an old friend! We must be ready! I’ll get the tea, and Ms. Edith will make the crumpets!” she laughed. Then she sobered, doing her signature “Druism”. “But we must play nice, or she won’t listen to you. She’s still mad about the last party you had together.”
Angel’s sharp mind caught the she. “Is it a friend?” he asked.
“Not one of yours,” she teased lightly.
“Who’s, then?” he asked.
“One of the Ancient One’s,” Drusilla replied. With that she turned around and fled the room, her laughter echoing hollowly in her wake.
*Flashback: England, 1805*
Methos came back late one night, having just answered a house call. He quickened his steps, trying to get home before Charlotte became too confused. He entered the house, only to be met be a horrible sight.
The door was unlocked, and was attached only to the top hinge. He pushed it open to reveal red. Red furniture, red walls, red ceilings. Blood everywhere. He closed his eyes, dreading the next sight.
Soundlessly he walked through the house to the bedroom. He stepped in, horrified. Charlotte was there, lying nude across the bed. Angelus, the blasted vampire, stood unclothed before Methos, brazen in his nudity. His face was handsome, but Charlotte’s was distorted by her true nature. Her eyes were glowing a hideous yellow, and Methos wanted out of there.
He turned to leave when Charlotte sat up in the bed. Her long hair was covering her breasts. “Ben, love, come join us,” she invited. Her voice was amazingly contented.
Methos looked at Angelus, hatred building deep in his heart. “Damn you, demon!” he yelled angrily. “What have you done to her?!”
Angelus walked over to the bed, and slid in next to Charlotte. “Quite a lot, actually. First we had a snack downstairs....on the servants.... sorry we didn’t clean up. Then we came up here and....”
Methos walked out of the room before Angelus could finish his sentence. He never looked back. His Charlotte was gone.
Buffy looked at Mr. Pierson with sad eyes as he finished his tale. “So you never saw her again?” she asked.
Mr. Pierson shook his head. “I tried to block her out. I’ve lost so many to death, but loosing one to a demon like that.... I couldn’t deal with it.”
Buffy smiled sadly. “I know exactly how you feel.”
Mr. Pierson tilted his head, and looked her straight in the eye. “I’ve answered your questions. Now you answer mine. What the hell were you doing with Angelus as your boyfriend?”
Buffy stood, shoving the chair away. “I’ve, uh, gotta get to my next class.” She started to head for the door.
“We’ll finish this later,” Mr. Pierson called to her. “You’re not getting out of this one so easily.”
Buffy sighed, knowing that five thousand years of nosiness would get to her eventually. Better to concede gracefully.
“I’ll see you after school, then, in the library,” she answered, turning into the hall. While her body left, her mind continued to play with Mr. Pierson’s story. Yet another thing Angelus has to pay for, she thought. He’s destroyed so many lives....
Xander looked at Cordelia, trying to catch his breath. “I really hate you,” he whispered tenderly.
“I hate you, too,” she replied, then caught his face between his hands and started to kiss him. Xander absent-mindedly reached up and turned the light out. Once again, they were here, in their love-nest. The fact that it was a utility closet didn’t matter.
Five minutes after the final bell rung, Xander pushed the door opened, straightening his hair. Cordelia’s claw-like fingers had once again damage his hair.
He stepped out, almost running straight into Willow and Oz. Oz was Willow’s werewolf of a boyfriend, but aside from that, he was a pretty nice guy. Cordelia walked out of the closet as well, only to be met by snickering. If there was one thing Cordelia hated, it was being laughed at. She huffed, then spun on her ankle, ready to leave this crew behind her. Far behind her.
Willow finally stopped chuckling. She looked at Xander, who was holding Cordelia back with his left hand. Cordy glared at him, but kept her mouth shut for a change. “Xander, we’re meeting in the Library,” Willow said. “Seems Giles encountered something else. New prophecy.”
Xander was unable to restrain his groan. Prophecies meant BIG trouble usually.
“C’mon, guys,” Willow said, grabbing Oz’s hand and pulling him along in her wake. Oz followed her without complaint, a bemused expression on his face.
Xander glanced suggestively at Cordelia, who just sniffed. “Just because we can’t keep our hands off each other doesn’t mean I have to let you paw me constantly,” she said, following Willow.
When the Slayerettes arrived, they stopped dead in their tracks. Buffy was sitting across from Mr. Pierson, her eyes filled with real tears. Willow was the first to move, cautiously stepping forward to touch Buffy’s shoulder. “Buffy?” she asked in her gentle voice.
Xander glared at Mr. Pierson, ready to attack the older man. Cordelia, showing more good sense then usual, stopped him with a hand on his arm., “Let Willow help,” she said quietly.
Buffy brushed the tears out of her eyes, laughing. “Adam wanted to know about Angel and me,” she said quietly.
“Oh, Buffy,” Willow said, giving her a comforting hug.
“I needed to know,” Mr. Pierson said without apology.
Giles entered, carrying one of his ever-present books. “What’s in the book, Giles?” Xander asked, trying to change the subject. He hated seeing Buffy this upset.
“It’s a tome, actually,” Adam interrupted. Giles shot him a “be quiet” look, which he ignored easily. “They’re quiet different.”
“A book’s a book,” Xander replied, stubborn. Stupid idea, a small part of his brain replied.
Adam smiled slowly, his dimples making him look almost innocent. Buffy looked at him, forgetting her sadness. Xander was going to be on the receiving end of the Immortal’s lousy mood. “Oh? And is a school a school?” Adam asked.
Xander nodded. “It is indeed.”
Adam motioned for Xander to sit, which the teenager did. “You seem to be pretty smart,” he said.
Now Xander started to sweat. No matter what he said, he was riding for a fall. So he just sort of shrugged, looking at his fellow Slayerettes helplessly. No help from that side.
“I’ve got a few things I’ve been wondering about. Since you’re so intelligent, you should be able to answer a few questions that have been puzzling me for a while-” Adam began.
Giles, uncharacteristically violent, abused one of the books sitting on his desk, throwing it so that it hit Methos in the back of the head. Normally he would have winced at such treatment of books, but this time he felt it well worth the time. It’s The Catcher in the Rye, anyway. American literature, he consoled himself.
Adam yelped when the book hit him. “Damn you, you arrogant grammarian!” he snapped at the librarian.
“We don’t have time for this!” Willow said. “Giles, you said that there was a prophecy, and we all know that means trouble! So we all should just sit down and get to work! We don’t want anyone to die THIS time.” She noticed all their eyes on her, and took off towards the computer. “I’ll get the Internet ready.”
Giles frowned. “Shouldn’t you wait until you hear what the prophecy is?” he asked to Willow’s back.
Willow mumbled something incomprehensible.
“What is this prophecy?” Xander asked.
“It’s one of the more obscure prophecies,” Giles began.
Cordelia took out a nail file and started to work on a chip. The persistent grating filled the silence. “Hey, I’m listening!” she protested when Buffy glared at her.
“Um, well, anyway,” Giles continued, “The Latin has a very strange translation. It’s called “The Prophecy of Forever” or something close to that effect.”
Giles started to read:
There will come a day when the Guardians
Are demoralized, falling from their own strength
The Guarded will cross paths, and nothing shall be the same
The youngest and oldest shall meet
Each torn by their own weaknesses
And eternity becomes truly eternal
The blood shall mingle, and death shall be conquered
The Slayer falls, rising to a new destiny
One kiss for love, one kiss for hatred
and the final seals her fate
The room had gone silent. The Slayer falls could only mean one thing- Buffy’s death. The Slayerettes all stared at the pasty-faced girl. She started to laugh. “Two prophecies of my death!” she said, becoming slightly hysterical. “So if I survive this one, what then? Three times the charm?”
“Now, Buffy-” Giles began, but Adam interrupted him.
“It’s not that,” he whispered quietly. “The Slayer will rise to a new destiny....” he paraphrased. Adam got to his feet and left the library.
The Slayerettes watched him go. “He knows something....” Buffy whispered.
Methos hurried to his rented condo as fast as he could, trying to remember everything he possibly could. Five thousand years of reading was a lot, and he wanted, more than anything to be able to remember what the prophecy truly said.
He opened the door, tossing his jacket aside. He pulled his sword out and set it within reach of his computer chair. He sank down into it, and logged onto the net.
The title of the book (he’d only been teasing Xander about the difference between a book and a tome- a tome was a book, but there was no way Xander would ever figure that out) was, roughly translated, Destiny Unbound. It was a very accurate book of prophecies, and Methos trusted the writer. Cassandra had been a prophet for over a millennia when she had written it. The “Guardians” probably referred to the Watchers, and they had certainly been having trouble from their own ranks lately. If the “Guardians” were the Watchers, then the “Guarded” would himself and Buffy. “The youngest and oldest shall meet...” he whispered. The oldest immortal and the Slayer, who was, by definition, almost painfully young.
And eternity becomes truly eternal, he thought, mulling over the possibilities. The verse seemed to hint at Buffy’s possible Immortality, but it could just mean that both of them would die. So many possibilities.
The door to his apartment swung open, and Methos cursed out loud. In his haste, he’d forgotten to lock it.
“There you are!” Buffy declared angrily, stalking into the apartment. She glanced around, and was surprised at how much it resembled Angel’s All sorts of ancient things and whacked out art.
Methos tried to calm her by given her a placid smile, but Buffy was too wound for that to work. She reached out and grabbed him by the collar, jerking him out of his seat. “Out with it, now!” she demanded, highly irritated.
“Don’t you think you should calm down just a little bit?” Methos asked.
“I’ve just been told that I was going to die.... again. You should understand that it tends to make a girl a little jumpy,” Buffy said, keeping a firm grip on him. “Unlike you, I don’t have the luxury of Immortality.”
Methos knew better than to hint at her possibly Immortality. Could make her cocky, or make her VERY afraid. He decided to take the safe route.
“Whatever it is, the prophecy refers to now.” He explained about the problems with the Watchers, and the fact that he was the oldest immortal. Buffy listened quietly, and he could practically see the wheels in her mind turning. “Our own weaknesses? That’s the next line. Damn prophecies. They only half make any sense at all. My weakness is Angel. What’s yours?”
“Having someone chop my head off. But that would kill anyone.” He turned his thoughts inwards. What is it? he wondered. Cassandra, MacLeod, my age, my lack of chivalry -wait a second, that’s a strength- what the hell could it be?
Angelus waited. After two hundred years, a vampire could become very patient. He knew that tormenting a person took time to do it properly, so he’d learned patience.
The sun had set, and he stood right by the sign that said “Leaving Sunnydale”. He was waiting for someone.
After half an hour, he saw it. A nice car pulled up to him. He opened the passenger door and slid right in. “Hey, babe,” he said. “Long time no see.”
Charlotte smiled, her face just as beautiful as he remembered it. “That might be a good thing,” she purred. Her eyes flashed angrily.
“C’mon, you’re not still mad about that?” Angelus asked.
Charlotte snarled. “I had the perfect set-up! A protector and an all-you-can-eat buffet! An Immortal, at that! Their blood is like nothing you’ve ever tasted!” she declared. “Normal blood just doesn’t taste the same,” she pouted.
“Hey, I didn’t know he was Immortal,” Angelus protested.
She scowled. “Some vampire that makes you. You must have felt it- else why would you have attacked me, mon cher?”
Angelus shrugged. “I did that often in those days- before I realized that the personal element gave the kill a certain.... something,” Angelus replied.
“So he’s here?” Charlotte asked. “I’ve been looking for him for centuries, and then one of my friends... drops word that you’ve had a run-in” she declared.
“He is here, and just as much of a prig as ever. He’s keeping company with the Slayer,” Angelus informed her.
Her face altered into hunting mode. “‘Keeping company’” she asked. “As in... lovers?”
Angelus saw the perfect opportunity to make Buffy’s life even more difficult. “I think so.”
Charlotte smiled evilly, her sharp teeth glinting in the moonlight. “We’ll see about THAT,” she whispered. “We’ll see how long THAT lasts.”
Methos was still musing what his possible weaknesses could be. Buffy had started to tour his apartment. “You’re really five thousand years old?” she asked.
He sighed. “Give or take a few centuries. I really can’t remember.”
Buffy turned sad eyes towards him. “You can’t remember? Like, when’s your birthday, or who your parents are?”
Methos laughed. “No, I can’t remember my birthday. But the calendar would be different, anyway. Keeping track of time wasn’t so important back then,” he called to her. She was on the other side of his room, caressing a few of his journals reverently.
“How long have you written these?” she asked. “Giles mentioned that you had ALWAYS kept a journal. So that means you have five-thousand years worth of books here?”
Methos smiled, wisely switching his computer off. Then he walked over to her. “I’ve had a lot of luck with them, but some of them have been lost or misplaced. The Watchers managed to find a couple, and some of them are just too old to have lying around. As for how long I’ve been writing, I’d say over four thousand years.” He picked up the nearest book and started to flip through, chuckling every now and then. “Memory is such a fragile thing. Some people who I once loved are only remembered in my journals.” He closed his eyes, and so many faces flashed before him. “These books are what keep me sane,” Methos admitted to the Slayer.
Buffy smiled. “What’s it like?” she asked. “Living for so long?”
Methos shut his eyes, trying to find the words. No one had ever asked that question so bluntly. Then again, Buffy would be lucky if she lived to see her twentieth birthday. “Wonderful, and terrible at the same time. I’ve seen so much, more than any living creature on the face of the earth, yet I know so little. Everything is so fascinating.”
He walked over to the rented couch, and Buffy sat down beside him. He started to tell her stories, feeling a trust for her that was rare. Buffy listened to his voice, feeling safe for a change.
Outside the window, Charlotte lurked, her eyes fixed on the Slayer. Rivalry at its worst started to form.
Xander and Willow left immediately after school the next day (Willow had some kind of “family” obligation, and Xander actually had to study for a test), so Buffy was left alone with Giles in the library.
Buffy yawned and picked up the quarterstaff Giles had thrown to her. “So, like, I have to practice? Isn’t there a prophecy for us to wig at?”
Giles polished his glasses, reminding himself that Buffy was just a teenager, Slayer or not. “You must practice every day,” he told her for what must have been the thousandth time. Prophecy or not -especially when there’s a prophecy- you must be constantly improving.”
Buffy got a nasty looking grin on her face. “Okay,” she said sweetly. Too sweetly.
Giles spent the next fifteen minutes getting the crap kicked out of him. For the third time he missed a parry, and Buffy landed a nasty blow to his right shoulder. He groaned, wondering how much abuse a Watcher could take. He was just about to call it quits when Adam walked into the room.
“Now, Giles, can I help beat you up to?” he asked cheerfully. “Or do I have to take a number?”
Buffy smiled at the Immortal, turning her back on Giles. Giles attacked with his staff, determined to get some of his own back. REALLY bad idea. Without looking, Buffy grabbed his staff and pulled it forward. He stumbled, and she grabbed him by the shoulder, flipping him. Despite the ever-present protective padding, Giles felt the impact.
Adam started to laugh merrily, temporarily looking like the thirty year old man he appeared to be. Buffy smiled at him. Are you volunteering to be next?” she asked sweetly.
“You wouldn’t be able to handle me,” he suggested, the innuendo clear.
“I’ll bet,” she said. She advanced forward, each of her steps deliberate. “Defend yourself!” she commanded. Buffy lunged forward at him.
He wasn’t there. With a speed that bordered on preternatural, he sidestepped, putting an ankle out to trip her. She saw it and jumped, but landed awkwardly on her left foot.
Adam aimed a deliberate kick at her, and she ducked. Almost naturally, he lowered the kick in a fluid motion, hitting her in the stomach, hard. She grunted and curled up, and then stood up, grabbing the staff Giles had dropped when she had flipped him.
“I thought this was hand-to-hand!” Adam protested.
She smiled ferally, her teeth glinting. “All’s fair in war!” she declared. She swung the staff against him.
He tried to avoid the blow, but it hit him in the back as he turned away. He yelled angrily, then drew his sword.
For the next five minutes he and Buffy sparred, each unable to gain a clear advantage. Of course, Methos was handicapped by the fact that he really couldn’t hurt Buffy the way he could an Immortal. She wouldn’t heal fast enough.
Finally Methos disarmed her. She waved her hands in the air, trying to take some of the sting away. “Damn, you’re good,” she admitted. It wasn’t often someone beat her.
Methos smiled and returned his sword to... wherever. “Even though you may have natural talents, I have experience.”
By this time, Giles had recovered enough. “So, Adam, did you come here to torment me, beat my Slayer up, or for some real purpose?”
Adam looked grim. “I did some more research on the prophecy, called in a few favors. It seems that tonight will be the first night of importance. There will be three nights, not in a row, that have an affect towards the fulfillment.”
“Can’t they give a girl a little more warning? Say, like a month or two? I hear Bermuda’s suppose to be nice in a month,” Buffy said wistfully. She really hated this.
Adam looked at her. “Normally I’d agree with you. But Cassandra says that there are three possibilities. The prophecy we read was from DESTINY UNBOUND. There are two more- one that Cassandra had kept quiet about, and one that Angelus will have. We’re competing here.”
“Cassandra?” Giles asked. “The Immortal Prophetess?”
“The very same. I had MacLeod pull a few favors for me. Cassandra won’t even tell him what the third possibility is, but it’s something she doesn’t want to occur.”
*EARLIER THAT DAY*
MacLeod picked the phone up, answering. “MacLeod,” he said, wondering who could be calling this time of night. His companion stirred beside him, but he soothed her with a few caresses.
“MacLeod,” Methos said, his voice thick with weariness.
MacLeod instantly shook of all vestiges of sleep. He grabbed his portable and climbed out of bed, going upstairs onto the deck of the barge. “What is it, Methos?” he asked, concerned.
“I need you to talk to Cassandra for me,” he said softly.
MacLeod gripped the phone tightly. Cassandra was finally coming around to the fact that Methos was different. She’d agreed to leave him alone, but that was about it. “What?” MacLeod demanded. “So you can torment her some more?”
He could almost hear Methos shake his head. “This is serious. Did Joe tell you where he sent me?” Methos asked.
“Not exactly. He just said that you were on special assignment for him,” MacLeod admitted.
Methos laughed, sounding bitter. “You could say that. Right now I’m in Sunnydale.”
MacLeod almost dropped the phone. He’d had experience with a Hellmouth in the late seventeenth century, so he made a point on knowing where they were so he could avoid them. “You’re on a Hellmouth!?” he yelled.
“Blame Joe. Anyway, I’ve fallen in with the Slayer, so I need to know some things about a certain Prophecy. Call Cassandra for me and ask her about ‘The Prophecy of Forever’. It’s important, MacLeod. The Slayer’s life hangs in the balance,” Methos said quietly. Then the sound of the dial tone told MacLeod that Methos had hung up on him.
“Arrogant bastard. Didn’t even leave me his number,” MacLeod grumbled. He COULD always get it from Joe....
MacLeod called Cassandra immediately. Even though he wouldn’t admit it, he was worried. His own experience as a participant in a prophecy was enough to make him want to go help his friend. Then he remembered EXACTLY what had happened in 1694 in London.
Cassandra answered her phone on the first ring. “MacLeod,” she said.
Trying not to groan, he replied, “So you know what I called about?”
Cassandra’s voice was worried. “I know. Methos needs help, MacLeod, but you can’t go there. Things will deteriorate and the third possibility will be invoked.”
“You’re worried about Methos? Third possibility?”
“He’s doing more than you ever could know. Things are happening, and happening quickly. There’s three possible outcomes. Methos has the one the Slayer will try to accomplish- ‘The Prophecy of Forever’. The second will be held by Angelus, the Slayer’s enemy. His is ‘The Prophecy of Eternal Night’. We can only hope the Slayer triumphs.”
“What’s the third prophecy?” MacLeod asked, trying to ignore the feeling of revulsion that crept up his spine.
“You don’t even want to know,” Cassandra replied, sounding haunted. “If Angelus succeeds, bad things will happen. But if something goes wrong and the third prophecy is invoked....” She hung up.
MacLeod stared at the phone. Getting hung up on twice in the last half hour. A unique experience for the charismatic Highlander. He looked up at the night sky, trying to imprint it on his memory. Then he dialed Joe’s number so he could find out how to reach Methos.
“So there’s competing prophecies?” she asked Giles. “I thought a prophecy was a prophecy.”
Giles shook his head. “Sometimes a prophecy is merely a set of warnings. You don’t “foil” them, you just rearrange them.”
“And if you understood that, you’d be the only one,” Adam murmured. “In all my years, they’ve never made any sense to me until AFTER the fact. But if Cassandra is worried....”
“Who’s this Cassandra chick?” Buffy asked.
Methos felt a wicked desire to torment the Slayer a little. “She was my slave,” he said, leaving the room.
Giles watched him go, making a mental note to review the Methos Chronicles, even if it meant using a computer to do so. “Cassandra is a prophetess, the oldest one in existence. Ever hear of Troy?” he asked.
“Like, as in the Odyssey?” Buffy asked. “I remember hearing something about it”
“Well, this is the same Cassandra. If she’s worried, then we all should be.”
“And tonight’s the night!” Buffy exclaimed. “This is so unfair! I have a major test in Math tomorrow!”
Methos watched the sun set, wondering if this would be the last time he would have a chance to do so. Three nights, three prophecies. And I don’t even know what two of them say, he thought. All I know is that they’re bad news!
He sat in the graveyard, waiting. Buffy wouldn’t be here for a while yet, which gave him plenty of time to think. He wasn’t that worried about the nasties that were crawling around, since he had his ever-present sword.
What was it about Buffy? he wondered. She’s the Slayer, certainly, but there’s more than that. She’s a pre-immie, maybe, or could it be the fact that’s she even more alone than I am? By all commands of my intelligence, I should be hightailing it out of here right now. But I can’t. And it’s Buffy.
He shook himself out of his thoughts when he heard a sound behind him. Buffy, accompanied by her friends. They all were dressed in dark clothing. Willow’s red hair stood out like a match in the darkness. He smiled. “So we’re ready?” he asked.
Xander was almost bouncing in his shoes. “Cool it, puppy-boy,” Cordelia told him.
He ignored her. “As ready as we’ll ever be. I wonder if we can get a discount on stakes tonight. You know, like a save the world bonus?”
Willow snapped her elbow into his stomach, succeeding in shutting him up. “So, is Angelus coming?” she asked Buffy. “He’s your weakness, right?”
Methos watched the teenagers argue for a while, sharing a suffering look with Giles. They were nervous, and their talking was a way of trying to cope. It didn’t mean he had to like it, though.
Buffy tensed suddenly, executing a ninety-degree turn. Methos noticed, and drew his sword. He remained seated, but the blade was now resting across his knees.
“Angelus,” Buffy said quietly.
Angelus stepped out of the shadows, his face handsome as ever. “Hey, babe,” he said. “So you’re finally here?” he asked.
“Wouldn’t miss it. So what are you trying to do? Summon a demon, kill innocent people, or cause a natural disaster?” Buffy asked.
Angelus laughed. “No, nothing that major. Actually, I came for him,” he said, pointing a finger at Methos.
Methos stayed relaxed, not wanting Angelus get any satisfaction from a reaction. “What? You want to play a game of chess or something? I’ll have to check my calendar.”
“Not that,” a voice said from behind Methos. He turned around and looked, his face white.
“Charlotte,” he whispered.
She stepped closer, and he saw his beloved for the first time in almost two hundred years. She was just as beautiful as ever, her silky hair long and thick. She was wearing black jeans with a silk top, but to Methos, she hadn’t changed at all.
She smiled gently and moved to stand within arm’s reach of him. “Bonjour, mon cher. Je t’aime.”
Uncharacteristically, the Slayerettes remained out of it, seeming to know that this was private. “No, you don’t,” Methos admitted painfully. “You’re not my Charlotte anymore.”
Charlotte’s face transformed within the split second it took for her to lunge at him. Methos was prepared. He kicked out, sending her tumbling over towards Buffy and crew.
The fight was on. Out of the darkness, ten vamps jumped for all the humans, and they Slayerettes had their hands full.
Two goons quickly fell to Giles’ bowmanship. Willow and Xander staked one each, and Oz and Cordelia (Oz and Cordelia?!) were standing back-to-back, warding them away with crosses. Buffy was engaged in combat with Angelus. Each blow was in earnest.
Charlotte rose to her feet with a simple twist. Her face was horrific to Methos. “That wasn’t nice!” she declared.
“Well, I’m not a nice person,” Methos said, advancing. He hit her with the flat of the blade, and she yelled angrily.
With an inward shudder, he stared at where she was at his feet, huddled in a ball. Her face had reverted to its human state, and he was staring into the face of his beloved. He put the blade at her throat, and she looked up at him. He raised the blade to chop her head off....
... and stopped it just before it connected. “Go,” he whispered.
Her eyes reflected her disbelief. “For the love I once bore you, go NOW,” he bellowed at the top of his lungs.
She stumbled away into the night. Angelus saw her leave. “Later, babe!” he called to Buffy, flying upwards.
Methos started to help Buffy finish off the rest of the vampires. He looked at her eyes. “I guess we know what my weakness is now,” he admitted.
The Slayerettes (plus one) sat in Giles library. “That didn’t seem that major to me,” Xander admitted. He picked up a cookie and started to chew on it.
Cordelia watched him, her expression thoughtful. “Well, Adam found out what his weakness was,” she said, uncharacteristically insightful. She noticed them staring art her. “Hey, I can think!” she protested.
“There’s more,” Willow said. “We know that Angelus wants Adam for something. Immortal blood, maybe?” she asked.
Adam shook his head. “There’s plenty of Immortals. He could get Immortal blood easily enough. It’s me he wants. Maybe it’s something I know- a location of a Holy Spring or something,” he said. He smiled wickedly as he thought of throwing Angelus into a Holy Spring.
Buffy sighed and leaned her head in her hands. “What we need is a copy of Angel’s prophecy. Maybe that will tell us what we need to know.”