Chapter 2: Immortal Origins

Challenge: for the livejournal 2018 August Fic-a-Day Challenge

Timeline: post-series BtVS; vague for Highlander

Disclaimer: BtVS/AtS characters belong to Joss Whedon/Mutant Enemy. Highlander characters belong to Davis-Panzer Productions. I claim no rights to any copyrighted material. Please do not copy or take this story without my permission.

The Immortal's home in Rome

Buffy considered the fact that The Immortal had a history that went back centuries upon centuries, yet Oz was in Sunnydale just a few years ago, and one thing seemed obvious to her. "So, you're the new Dread Pirate Roberts, huh?" she guessed.

He gave an infinitesimal smile and nodded. "Almost immediately after I left Sunnydale the second time. Apparently while the Initiative had me in their custody, there was a small death issue with me. I didn't realize it until this guy attacked me with a sword and screamed something about being 'The One!'. I avoided his attacks as best I could until another guy came along and told me that I had to either take my attacker's head or expect to lose my own."

"He managed to cut me a couple times, so I figured that it would be justified. I got close enough and took the sword from him by knocking him out. Guess sparring with you in high school had some perks, after all," he said with another grin.

"I was going to walk away since he wasn't a threat anymore, but then he woke up and shot me…luckily he missed any vital organs. That decided it for me, for real this time, and I cut off his head. Then there was this hellmouthy lightning storm and I suddenly knew a bunch of stuff I didn't before. The other guy explained it was a quickening…basically the dead guy's memories and stuff," he went on before they could ask the obvious question.

"The other guy introduced himself – he brought you here – and explained that I was an Immortal, somebody who couldn't die unless I was beheaded, and that most other Immortals would try to fight me to win something called The Game. Boils down to being the last one standing. Any questions so far?" he asked.

Dawn raised her hand and asked semi-seriously, "When did you become talking guy? I thought you only used a couple hundred words a day and you've already reached that limit."

"I had to change when I became The Immortal," Oz explained.

"Since you've already used your allotment of words for the day, why don't we go out to dinner and just hang for the rest of the night. You can explain The Immortal thing tomorrow," Buffy interjected, feeling the stress bleeding off. Knowing it was Oz made her feel so much better. If she thought the others knew it was him, she'd almost thank them for sending her here.

Oz nodded his head slightly in Buffy's direction and half-whispered, "As you wish."

Since Ritchie was recovering from his trip to London and back, plus the agitation of picking up a woman almost against her will, Oz got another one of his people to serve as their chauffer that night. He wasn't allowed to drive on his own much anymore due to his new position.

It was just as well, they were having too much fun looking at the sites and planning walking tours to worry about traffic. He took them to this hole in the wall place that served authentic Italian pizza, which was a major culture shock to Buffy and Dawn, but they still enjoyed it.

Through it all, Oz just let the girls babble on about whatever they wanted, even if some of the stuff they were telling him he already knew about from his network of informants around the world. He knew they needed to get it out of their systems. After all, that's part of why he asked Buffy to come here.

The next morning…

As much as she wanted to hear Oz's story, Dawn decided to go to a one-day event in town with Ritchie as her guide/bodyguard. Oz assured Buffy that she'd be safe since there were more bodyguards hidden around them all the time.

"Pretty cool gig, Oz. How did you manage it?" Buffy asked over breakfast.

"Almost literally fell in my lap," he replied with a chuckle. I was in Paris with Ritchie and his mentor, Duncan, when I felt drawn to this cathedral. I walked inside and went into the confessional booth."

"I didn't know you were Catholic," Buffy interrupted.

He shook his head, "I'm not. I just needed to tell someone about the man I killed. Turns out the priest was another Immortal, and he offered me forgiveness and understanding when I said I hated The Game and thought it was idiotic. I slammed my hand against the bench and that caused a book to fall from a hole in the top of the confessional."

"Turns out this was another coincidence, because it was a book about Immortals and the origins of the Game," Oz said, then counted the seconds until Buffy spoke up again.

He got to 2 before she glared and reminded him, "I don't believe in coincidences."

"I don't either," he assured her. "It was meant for me to find the book. It's like the Green Lantern ring finding the new guy; it chooses who will be The Immortal next. There were parts of the book that I couldn't read because the language was too old, but fortunately, Duncan knew a guy."

"Gee, what are the odds?" Buffy snarked.

"Turns out that part was a summoning spell for D'Hoffryn," Oz said, watching Buffy's eyebrow raise in surprise, then her eyes misted over in remembrance of Anya…then Spike and all the others. "Summoning him changed everything for the Immortals."

"Why?" she asked.

"Because I found out it was all a curse from a vengeance demon…and I had the chance to end it," he told her.

A/N: For those people who wanted some more Immortal Oz.