Disclaimer: BtVS and Angel belong to Joss Whedon and
Highlander belongs to Panzer/Davis. I'm just playing in their
Sunnydale, Summer of 2002
Pierson, how soon can you start?"
"Something is very
wrong here, " Methos thought worriedly, leaning back in his
chair as he caught the desperate glint in her eyes; "I wonder if
I'll figure out what before it stabs me in the back? " "Um, I
shall have to get back to you on that," he said uncertainly, "As
I've said before, I've still some research to finish at the
"Yes, yes," the professor said dismissively,
waving his excuses away with her hand. "However, I'm sure as soon as
you explain to your superiors how desperately we need to fill our
lecturing position in Ancient Linguistics..."
that," Methos interrupted worriedly. "I was under the impression
Professor Bulmer lectured here and I was being offered a fellowship,
has Professor Bulmer left the university?"
Ah, yes," the
interviewer said cagily, "An unfortunate accident…hmmm…great loss
of…to the University."
"Are you trying to tell me he's
dead?" asked Methos incredulously, "But I only exchanged an e -mail
with him last week; what happened to him?
incident, I believe," the professor murmured, "I'm afraid I don't
know the details."
"And I'm afraid that you're lying to
me, Madam". Methos thought wryly, his eyes narrowing
suspiciously. "What in Hades is going on in this place? Damn it,
I knew this job offer was too good to be true…"
actually, he didn't, he admitted to himself silently as he smiled
blandly at the interviewer. He knew his last paper, on Sumerian
glyphs, had caused quite a stir in his small academic circle - as he
had intended it to - and when he had been offered the fellowship at
Sunnydale University, he had congratulated himself on a plan well
executed. Being a fan of the Late Professor Bulmer's work, he had
jumped at the opportunity to work with him…and the thought of living
under the Californian sun didn't hurt either.
So why did
sunny California feel a lot less inviting all of a sudden? "Give me
a few days to think it over," he prevaricated, softening his words
with another smile as her face fell. "I'll let you know by the end
of the week."
"You promise?" she asked, her voice suddenly
Why did he feel like the bold man who had
stolen a child's biscuit? "Um, promise," he muttered. "And hope to
"Very well," the Professor replied,
regaining some of her composure as she got to her feet. "I look
forward to hearing from you. I'm positive you would fit right in.
Our ancient Studies department is one of the more…dynamic…of our
"I'm sure it is," he muttered, mentally cursing
himself for not doing a more in-depth check on the University. If
Professor Bulmer hadn't died, he mightn't have picked up on the
strange undercurrents until it was too late.
forward to hearing from you, Dr Pierson," The professor murmured as
he rose from his seat.
"Ah, yes," Methos muttered, summoning
a polite smile. "Well…it's been nice meeting you, Professor Logan."
"And you, Dr Pierson."
Methos gathered his coat and
gave the interviewer a polite nod as he left the room. Shutting the
door behind him, he gave a sigh of relief and shook his head
ruefully. Discreetly, he let his eyes wander over the students as he
stalked down the hallway; on the surface everything was as it was
supposed to be; students arguing and laughing in the hallways. Now
that he was actually paying attention, though, he noticed it. The
laughter was a little too forced; the nonchalance a little too
studied. He had seen this before - in London during the Blitz; a
population living under the spectre of death but striving to ignore
it; striving to 'get on with their lives'.
noticed how the students watched him from the corner of their eyes
as he strolled down the hall, and he found himself wondering how
high they'd jump if he made a sudden move…he had a funny feeling it
would be pretty high. What the hell was going on here? Slowly, he
walked out onto the grounds, sat on one of the benches and settled
down to observe his surroundings. Sunnydale niggled at his sense of
curiosity; unfortunately, it also niggled at his sense of
The grounds were awash with students
leaving their classes; the college day was nearing a close.
Frowning, he noticed how few were lingering to talk. Usually a
university's grounds would be swarming with students planning their
evening, but these students seemed very eager to get out of the
open. Lost in thought, Methos let his eyes rest on the sun. There
was still few hours left in the day, maybe he should give the town
the once over.
Setting a brisk pace, he set out for the city
centre. Considering the town's size, Sunnydale museum boasted quite
an impressive collection of Bronze Age and medieval artefacts. If he
hurried, he might have enough time to have a look before the museum
Draping his coat over his arm, he basked in the warm
sun and smiled contentedly. This was the life; no rain, no cold…pity
about the whole mysterious-dead-body thing. Rooting around in his
pocket, he pulled out a small, folded map. Two more blocks, then
turn left. Walk straight past the hospital, and then take the first
right. Satisfied, he pocketed the map and kept going. If he hurried,
he would have a good hour to check out the exhibits. He remembered
an email the good professor had sent him about a number of old
Native American artefacts they had uncovered here a few years ago.
They should be interesting to see.
The distant wail of an
ambulance caught his attention and Methos raised an eyebrow as the
vehicle sped up the street and passed him in a blur, the wheels
lifting off the ground as it careened around the corner. He had seen
an ambulance break the speed limit before, but he hadn't seen one
act as if it was in a car chase - he half expected to see another
one on its heels. Looking over his shoulder, he laughed as he saw
another ambulance pull onto the street, albeit at a more sedate
pace. His good humour faded, however, as the unmistakable presence
of another immortal washed over him. Damn it, where did he come
from? He had checked the watcher files thoroughly before he'd left
Paris and no immortal was supposed to live here, it was one of the
things he found attractive about the town. Come to think of it, the
files had stated no immortal had ever lived here; which, now he
thought about it, was rather odd…
Automatically, his hand
reached for the familiar shape hidden in the folds of his coat. No
doubt about it, this town definitely had him on edge. The poor
bastard was on his way to a morgue, for crying out loud. The only
challenge he'll be facing in the near future is how to sneak out of
the coroner's office before they realised his heart had started
Shrugging, he walked on, hesitating a moment
as he passed the hospital. Shaking his head, he snorted and
redoubled his step. No doubt about it, that bloody Boy Scout was
having a bad influence on him. For a moment he had actually
considered going to the immortal's aid. He really needed to get out
of Paris before it was too late. Next thing you know, he'll be
taking on a student…
His good mood ruined, Methos muttered
under his breath as he turned the corner. That was it; he'd have a
quick look at the museum's collection and then take the next plane
out of here. There was a midnight flight to L.A., if he remembered
correctly. Looking up, he ground to a halt and stared at the cordon
tape blocking his way; beyond it, stood the Museum. It seemed
academia was a hotbed of crime in Sunnydale.
policeman lounging on the steps with a cup of coffee, Methos hunched
his shoulders and casually sidled up to his side. "Good day,
officer," he said amiably, noting the distrustful expression on his
face. "I don't suppose you could tell me what happened?"
"Robbery," the policeman said shortly, straightening up as
he glared at Methos.
"You're kidding me," Methos replied,
his eyes in a picture of surprise. "What was stolen?"
do you want to know?" the officer demanded hostilely.
a step back, Methos raised his hands in a gesture of submission.
"Just professional interest," he demurred, "My speciality is ancient
languages, you see, and I heard the museum had an impressive
collection of manuscripts. I was in town being interviewed for a
teaching position at U.S.C. so I thought I'd have a look…"
"Yeah, well, it was the armoury section that was robbed,"
the policeman said with a shrug. "So you needn't worry."
"Oh…I see…I don't suppose the museum will be open to the
public before closing time?" Methos asked, uncomfortably aware of
the antique sword in his coat - time to leave.
chance," the officer muttered. "This is the second robbery they've
had in the last few months. They're not going to open for the rest
of the week."
"Hmm...well, I won't keep you any longer,
officer," Methos said, smiling genially as he backed away. "Thank
Without looking back, he quickly retraced his steps,
not pausing until he turned the corner. He couldn't put his finger
on it, but something about this town was not right. Maybe it was
just his paranoia getting the better of him. Checking his watch, he
realised he still had a few hours to kill. He could get something to
eat before making his way back to the motel. Seeing a small coffee
shop, he stepped inside and ordered.
Staring sightlessly out
the window, his mind went over the events of the day. Now that he
thought about it, things were rather odd from the start. Take the
strange array of weapons the motel owner had on the wall behind the
desk. Many people, who never used a weapon in their life, display
swords on their wall…but an axe and a crossbow as well? He pictured
the weapons in his mind and immediately realised what he had missed;
they looked… used.
Methos smiled absently at the waitress as
she put his meal on the table and continued cataloguing all he had
seen since he's arrived at Sunnydale. Glancing at the door, his eyes
narrowed as he noticed a new customer stroll in. There was nothing
odd about him, per se; what was odd was the waitress's reaction.
Silently, he watched as the waitress slowly turned and studied the
customer's reflection in the large mirror behind the counter,
frowning as she pretended to rearrange her fringe.
remembered the clerk had done the exact same thing at the motel last
Deep in his bones, Methos knew he should know what
this meant; it was all so familiar. Why he couldn't pin it down?
Polishing off his sandwich, he decided to walk back to the motel and
collect his bags. He'd wait for his flight at the airport.
The first thing he noticed as he stepped out onto the street
was the sunset; the second thing he noticed was the deserted street.
Once again, Methos was reminded of the war years in London; if he
didn't know better, he'd swear there was a curfew. "The sooner
I'm out of this town, the better," he thought irritably as he
threw on his coat.
He had barely stepped outside when he
heard the sound of footsteps behind him, "I don't believe this,"
he thought, incredulously. Oh…wait a minute…yes I do. "
Rolling his eyes, he slowed his step. Sure enough, the footsteps
slowed down too. His would-be-mugger wasn't exactly subtle. Methos
thought swiftly; which would be more effective; sword or gun?
He decided on his sword. Nothing like a sharp, shiny object
to make a mugger nervous; his hand curled around its handle as he
swiftly turned the next corner. Spinning on his feet, he unsheathed
the blade and waited for his attacker. He didn't have to wait long.
Raising an eyebrow, Methos relaxed as a middle-aged man
followed him around the corner. He looked like an accountant. Seeing
the man's startled expression, Methos smiled embarrassedly as he hid
the sword in the folds of his coat. "Sorry about that," he muttered
apologetically, "I thought…."
With a snarl, the man pounced,
slamming him into the wall. "Bloody hell!" Methos gasped as his
breath left his lungs. Ignoring him, his attacker grabbed him by the
hair. Methos reacted instinctively.
He kneed him in the
Howling in pain, the mugger doubled over and let
loose a torrent of expletives. "Language, Language," Methos said,
tutting under his breath.
With a low growl, his attacker
jumped to his feet and lunged. With a cry of disbelief, Methos
jumped back, barely avoiding a kick to the head. What the hell?
Snaking his hand into his coat, he drew out his sword. Slowly, the
circled each other, Methos nervously keeping his blade between them
as he reached for his dagger; something was extremely off about this
guy. He was unarmed but didn't seem the least bit worried about the
great big sword waving in his face, not to mention the fact he
wasn't even breathing hard…wait a minute…he wasn't breathing at all.
Unease crawled down his spine as an old memory surfaced. No,
it couldn't be…he hadn't seen one of those in over three millennia;
they were extinct…weren't they? With a sinking heart, Methos
realised he had come to gunfight with only a knife…or should he say
"Well…look on the bright side…at least now
you know why the locals are so nervous."
went over all the things he knew about vampires - primarily, how to
kill them. Stake…sunlight…holy water…decapitation! Well,
well, well, maybe things weren't so bad after all. This, he knew how
Methos attacked, feinting with his dagger as brought
his sword down on the vampire's neck. For a split second, his
mugger's feature's morphed; showing his true face before it
dissolved into dust. Sheathing his sword and dagger, Methos stepped
back and caught his breath. He was getting too old for this shit.
The hairs on the back off his neck stood up and, with a
groan, Methos realised he still wasn't alone. He spun around just in
time to see the vampire's grin as he punched him the stomach.
Winded, Methos doubled over and resigned himself to a painful death
as the creature jerked his head back with a snap. With a roar of
triumph, the vampire sunk his teeth into his jugular and the world
faded to grey...
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
painfully, Methos regained consciousness, his hand reaching to his
neck automatically. Rolling to his feet, he checked his watch and
cursed. He had been out for over an hour; it seemed exsanguinations
took a lot out of one. Grimacing at his own joke, he dusted off his
clothes as he scanned the alley. Luckily, nobody was around to
witness his miraculous return from the dead. Readjusting his coat,
he winced as he noticed the absence of his sword. A quick search
found his dagger and wallet missing too. Brilliant, just what he
needed to round off the day. Checking his leg-holster, he noted he
still had his gun. Not that it would do him much good, he wryly
The sound of police sirens caught Methos' attention
and he cautiously followed the sound. Stepping around the corner, he
stopped in his tracks. Everything else paled into insignificance as
he witnessed the impossible - a woman with some kind of skin
mutilation, dressed in black, floating in mid-air in front of the
police station. He watched in amazement as, with a wave of her hand,
she hurtled a car across the street. Wearily, Methos shook his head
in defeat. He'd had enough, time to leave. Silently, he staggered
down the street towards the motel. Mac and his problems didn't seem
so bad after all.
He had nearly reached the motel when he
felt the presence of the other immortal; oh goodie, looks like he
found a way out of the morgue. His eyes wary, he reached for his
holster and retrieved his glock. Without his sword, he wasn't in the
mood for a chat.
It was then he saw the girl stumble out of
a side street. "Who are you?" she gasped, clutching to the wall for
"Adam Pierson, at you service," Methos muttered,
pocketing the gun. He doubted she was hiding a sword under the
hospital gown she was wearing. "Don't take this the wrong way, but
couldn't you have found something a little more discreet to wear…or
at least a pair of shoes," he added, gesturing at her feet.
"I…I didn't know what to do," the girl gasped, clasping her
head. "One moment I was at home; the next, I was in the Morgue….oh!"
Her eyes wide, she stumbled back, raising her hand warning. "Stay
back! You're in danger!"
Methos' mouth twitched. "Oh I am,
am I?" he drawled, folding his arms.
"I'm not kidding!" the
girl insisted anxiously. "You have no idea…I'm not what you think I
Methos groaned in disbelief as understanding dawned.
"Oh no…no, no, no! This is not happening. I refuse to believe
this is happening. " Not believing his bad luck, Methos sighed.
Where was the Highlander when you needed him? "I hate to break it to
you, kid," he muttered sourly, "But you aren't what you think you
The girl moaned, not answering as she cradled
her head and, against his better judgement, Methos took a step
forward. "It'll pass in a moment," he said abruptly, putting a hand
on her shoulder. "Just take a deep breath."
"No! Stay away,
I might hurt you," she cried, shrugging away his hand.
"Trust me, Kid; not going to happen," Methos said, amusement
showing in his voice.
"You don't understand, I'm a killer,"
she sobbed, sinking to the ground.
For a moment, Methos felt
a pang of regret for what was about to happen, "No, you're not,
child…not yet. " Crouching down, he lifted the girls face by the
chin. "Let me guess," he murmured. "You put two and two together and
came up with five. Not surprising, really, I've already bumped into
some of Sunnydale's nightlife…you're not a vampire, you know."
"But I have to be," the girl said uncertainly. "I woke up in
a morgue, I was…." Her voice drifted off, unable to say the word.
"Dead," Methos confirmed. "Yes. I'm afraid so. But you're
not a vampire. Here, let me prove it to you," taking her unresisting
hand, he placed it over her heart. "Feel that?" he said softly.
"That's your heartbeat."
"I don't understand," she
whispered. "If I'm not a vampire, what am I?"
"Here we go
again, " Methos thought, a wave of sadness washing over him; he
had always hated this part. "You're an immortal," he said.
"An Immortal?" the girl repeated unsurely. "I've never heard
of them. Does that mean…I mean…am I a demon?"
smirked. "I don't think so. At least, that's what I keep telling
myself!" With a sigh, he sat down beside her. "We're human - sort
"I see," the girl said numbly. "Well…I suppose I should
go home," Dazedly, the girl scrambled to her feet and looked down at
her feet. "You're right…I should have taken some
Wincing, Methos jumped to his feet; the girl was
obviously still in shock. He gently laid a restraining hand on her
arm. "You can't go home, kid. You died, remember? People tend to get
a bit nervous when somebody rises from the dead; you can't just
stroll through the door."
A ghost of a smile appeared on the
girl's face. "You're not from around here, are you?" she murmured.
"No, I'm not," he admitted. "But I think I've already
figured out this town has some unusual quirks."
don't have to worry about me, I'll be fine," the girl insisted. "My
friends are bit more open minded about this kind of thing than you'd
think. I mean, as long as you were telling me the truth about not
being a demon…" Uncertainly, the girl studied his face as Methos
"You're not a demon," he confirmed, "But you're
not exactly human anymore either." Grimacing, he combed his hand
through his hair. No doubt about it, he was spending way much time
with that blasted Scot. "They are a few things you need to know; I
can't just let you wander off home without telling you the basics."
"I'm not going to like this, am I?" the girl asked
"Probably not," Methos sighed. "Listen; just
give me a few minutes of your time. Then, once I've filled you in,
you can make your decision."
"I don't know…"
studied her face and watched the battle raging within. It occurred
to him he could just walk away; he had done his best hadn't he? It
wasn't his fault she chose not to listen… "You could try harder.
" Methos grimaced as Duncan's disapproving face flashed across
his mind. Since when did his conscience speak in a Scottish accent?
"So tell me," he murmured. "What's your name?"
Oh…it's Tara…Tara MacLay."
"Oh great, that's all I need
in my life - another bloody Scot. " "Well, Tara," Methos said
dryly. "Before you toddle off home and resume your life, there are a
few things you should know - the first thing being you can't go
"Didn't you get the memo? You
Methos raised his hands in
exasperation. This was going to take a while. The sooner he pawned
this one off on the Highlander, the better…
The outskirts of Sunnydale, Summer of
Calmly, she blinked away the tears as
she stared at the yawning pit stretching out as far as the Horizon.
She had read the accounts in the newspaper and had had looked at the
blurred footage on the news. But none of it prepared her for the
stark reality; the pure, unrelenting devastation. Dear Goddess, what
"The newspapers said most of the population had
already evacuated before it happened...funny how they didn't dwell
Tara turned and gave Adam a wry smile. "Is that
your version of moral support?"
"Need a little practice, do
I?" Adam drawled, leaning against the car's bonnet.
it mildly," Tara said as she brushed the last few tears from her
face. "They wouldn't have left, you know, they would have stayed
'til the bitter end."
"They still might have made it."
"I need to know, Adam. I can't just walk away and....I just
"I knew it was a bad idea to come here," Adam said
grimly. "If I've told you once, I've told you a million times..."
"I know, I know…" Tara interrupted softly, turning to look
at the devastation once more. "But you don't understand, Adam;
living in Sunnydale was…it forged bonds, bonds which are hard to
break, and Willow…I shouldn't have left her. She needed me."
Behind her, Adam sighed. "Where do you want to start?" he
"You mean that?" said Tara, her voice filling with
hope as she spun around to look at his face.
Adam nodded. "But I warn you, you might not like what you find,
Tara," he said darkly, opening the car door. "There's a reason why
we break all ties after our first death…and it's not because of
"You'll see, it'll be okay," she said
excitedly, joining him the car.
"So?" Adam asked as he
started the engine.
"Where do we start?"
"Oh!" Frowning, Tara thought. "Angel," she eventually said.
"He lives in Los Angeles."
Adam nodded. "The Vampire with a
soul; bit of an oxymoron, if you ask me," he murmured. "What's he
doing in L.A., by the way? You never told me."
"He runs a
detective agency…helping the helpless and all that," Tara explained.
"Oh lovely," Methos grumbled under his breath. "Just what I
need - another boy scout."
"I heard that!" Tara teased,
grinning at him slyly.
"Pity your hearing isn't as good when
I try to give you advice," he retorted as he backed up the car. "It
would make my life so much simpler."
Ignoring the jibe, Tara
closed her eyes and leaned back in her seat. She had imagined this
moment a thousand times over the last year and had rehearsed it a
thousand more. But now the time had come and her mind was a blank.
How could she explain what she'd become…how could she explain the
MAINPAGE : NEXT>>>
FICTION : BUFFY/ANGEL
FICTION : CROSSOVER
FICTION : E-MAIL ME