Title: Minutes to Memories
Disclaimer: I own nothing. The character's of Buffy, Angel, or any other show that happens to be unfortunate enough to be used here belong to other people.
Spoilers: Crossover X-MEN the movie/ Highlander the series/ BtVS
Summary: Logan gets a call from somebody out of his past that informs him the mother of his daughter just died.
Pairings: We'll have to wait and see what develops won't we?
Feedback: Is always appreciated. Just try to keep it constructive.
Email: Kain6639yahoo com
Archive: If you like it that much, sure. Just be sure to let me know where it's going, and give me the credit, good or bad, for my work.
Chapter One: The Stranger
The venerable mansion was relatively quiet. The stone, brick, and wood building, with ivy climbing its exterior walls was a majestic structure to behold. It had been built more then four hundred years ago, and renovated dozens of times throughout the long years.
At various times it has housed British Officers, during the French and Indian War and The American Revolution. Its labyrinth of hidden passageways had been added years before The Civil War when it had been one of the final legs in the Underground Railroad. Several American Presidents have spent time resting inside the massive, cathedral like building; most recently Jimmy Carter years before he ever thought of running for presidential office. A handful of Foreign Dignitaries: Prime Ministers, Ambassadors, and other persons of notable repute have all taken their ease under its stout roof.
It was built upon an enormous tract of land, most of which was still untapped, virgin woodlands. Or if the dense forest had ever been forested it had taken place so long ago that only the barest trace, if any still remained. Its grounds: tennis and basketball courts, a baseball field, and a large field that doubled, not just for soccer and football, but was used to play rugby and lacrosse as well were always kept in meticulous conditions.
It was the tail end of winter, a season that still had the northeast clutched in its icy grip; the last snows were freshly fallen just a few short days ago. The fields and courts though had already been cleared of any snow, and the outdoor pool was kept at a tropical seventy-seven degrees.
For Logan relative was the operative word. The vast network of sprawling corridors and immense rooms would seem silent as any tomb to a normal human. Not even the softest sound disturbed the tranquility of the old building.
To Logan however the palatial structure was a cornucopia of distinct and varying sounds. Kitty, the school's resident super genius, was on the phone with some of her friends from Chicago. Her throaty laughter bounced off the walls of the room she shared with half a dozen other girls.
At the end of the hall Ororo was teaching a small class, physics he thought by the terms they were banding about. They meant little to him, but then again he didn't have to worry about passing the class.
Two of the students, Jubilation Lee and James Madrox, seemed to hold with his opinion of the subject and were currently holding a whispered conversation in the back of the room. He should let Ororo know, but he really had no desire to get a couple of otherwise good kids into trouble. If they wanted to fail the exam coming up in the next few days it was their choice. Besides, the way he figured it, if they didn't know the material by now they never would.
He had only been back a week from his most recent excursion to dig up his past, to uncover the secrets that have been locked away from him. It had been a bust. The base was nothing more then a burnt out husk. Whatever secrets it held had gone up in the inferno that had consumed everything that had been inside.
Xavier was still trying to convince him to take on some teaching duties, but he was resisting. His temper didn't make him a very stable person to have around and he wanted to make sure he could handle being crammed in a house full of kids before he tried teaching them anything. He didn't know what he could teach them. The only thing he knew how to do was kill.
Life inside the mansion was hectic. The adjustment that came from living amongst the havoc created by so many teenagers was trying. While most of the kids still walked wide of him, like they were edging their way around a sleeping python, unsure if it had eaten recently but trying to avoid the problem by not waking it up. Of course they did it with the reckless abandon of teenagers completely unaware of the danger.
Other students looked at him with a mixture of envy and wonder; he was part of the X-Men: part of that elite group of teachers and students that went on missions, adverted global disasters, brought international incidents to grinding halts, kept the world safe for mutants and humans alike. He could hear them talk; about him, about the other X-Men. How cool they were, how cool it would be to be one of them.
At times he simply wanted to grab them by the shoulders, to shake them, to rage that it wasn't cool, that it wasn't a game. That it was real; that people died; people they cared about. Their lives snuffed out before they ever had a chance to live. That they left a hole in you, a dark pit of misery that swallowed you whole, devoured you from the inside, eating away at everything; tinting it, tainting it forever.
When those dark moods did take he held on the best he could. Strangling those dark foreboding thoughts in his bare hands if that was what it took to gain control of himself. Sometimes though that wasn't enough and no matter how hard he fought he felt his control slipping. Moments like that he would extricate himself from whatever he might be doing, politely if he could, but more often then not it was with a sour grunt as he brushed past people. Several hours of intense training would normally burn off the edge, and allow him to slip back within civilized society unnoticed.
Logan, Xavier's mental voice chimed inside his head.
"Yeah," Logan replied aloud.
He could almost hear a chuckle inside his skull as Xavier responded, You have a phone call. Line two.
"Thanks," he replied as he went in search of a telephone. Fortunately there seemed to be one around every corner so it didn't take him long. "Yeah," he grunted sourly into the handset.
"Don't talk Logan," a garbled voice said, "I don't have much time so just listen…"
"Who are you?"
They ignored Logan's demand. "…You won't remember me, but we used to work together a long time ago. Joyce Summers died earlier this evening. You don't remember her either but she was important to you back before the procedure…"
"Who the hell are you? What kind of game are you playing at?" Logan snarled into the handset.
"Just repaying an old debt. Joyce Summers. Sixteen-thirty Revello Drive, Sunnydale California. The mother of your daughter." With that the voice was gone.
The phone shattered in Logan's hand as a low growl erupted from his chest.
--- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---
Xavier's motorized wheelchair turned into the room that had been assigned to Logan upon his return to the mansion. As rooms Xavier's went it wasn't much, which meant it was the equivalent of a four star suite in most hotels. A lite sandalwood paneling covered the walls. The hard wood floor was polished to a dull gleam. All of the furnishings were exquisitely hand crafted antiques, some of which could probably be dated back to Colonial America.
Even after a week Logan still felt out of place among all the finery, it didn't posses any of his soul, any of his grit. Standing in the center of the room he felt like an imposter who had stepped into somebody else's life.
Charles looked at the duffle bag stuffed to the gills with clothes. It was easy to determine his intentions even without being a telepath. Still certain questions needed to be asked. "You're going aren't you?" Charles inquired as diplomatically as possible.
Logan grunted at the question. "Don't really have a choice now do I? Somebody out of my past calls up tells me I got a daughter. That her mother just died…" He stopped feeling his anger build again. The last thing he wanted to do was take his temper out on one of the few people that has ever helped him without expecting anything in return. "Wouldn't be much of a man if I didn't?"
"I never say you shouldn't go," Xavier clarified his statement. "I just wanted to make certain that you aware that this could be nothing more then an elaborate ruse." He tried to keep himself from sounding even more insufferably pompous then he normally does.
"Doesn't matter," Logan informed the crippled idealist as he zipped the duffle close with a murderous jerk.
Charles nodded at Logan's statement. He hadn't really expected anything different out of his feisty friend. Logan would always be the one to leap into action regardless of the situation. "I rather thought it wouldn't. I assume you thought of someone to watch your back?"
Logan glanced at Xavier with annoyance. As he expected, Logan hadn't thought of anyone to watch his back. Xavier new the man would knowingly walk headlong into a trap and never once doubt his ability to walk back out. After a moment he asked, "Who'd you wanna saddle me with?" He didn't want somebody hanging around that was just going to hold him back.
"Kurt," he answered simply.
Logan brows furrowed as he said, "The elf." That was one person he hadn't expected. The only other least likely person he could imagine Xavier suggesting would have been Summers. Logan didn't have any problems with Kurt, so long as he didn't try and convert him, which he hasn't tried yet.
Charles shrugged as he said, "He volunteered."
--- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---
Amanda watched pensively as Duncan stuffed clothes into a leather overnight bag. His dark slacks made a soft whisk sound as he moved about his Seacouver loft gathering clothes, his hard soled boots made a barely audible thwack as he tread over the polished hard wood floor. His black duster and a desert brown turtle neck were draped over the back of a beautifully crafted wooden rocking chair.
Like normal when Duncan was shirtless in her presence Amanda spent a great deal of time enraptured by his amazing torso. She knew of Greek statues that would envy his exquisitely sculpted body. It was a constant work in progress. Each time they meant his landscape had altered subtly, Duncan was always in motion, constantly training so there were always little variations, new peaks and valleys she could spend hours mesmerizing, dreaming up ways to trip him into her bed because the reality was far better then any fantasy she could contrive.
Most days, so long as he wasn't involved with someone, Duncan would allow himself to be tripped. That however wasn't the case today. Today Duncan Macleod was in, as far as she was concerned, a far too serious mood.
The younger immortal was trying to fit several days' worth of clothing into a piece of luggage that was only meant to carry one. His face was a stoic Highlander mask that did a poor job of concealing his emotions as he packed his bag.
She found it disconcerting to see just how deeply connected he allowed himself to become with these mortals, at how much pain he suffered whenever one of them died, and they died all the time which was why she found it best not to become involved with them. "You barely knew the woman," she said firmly into the quietness that saturated the room.
Duncan exhaled slowly as he shoved a last pair of socks into the bag. "She was a friend of Tessa's," he answered simply. He didn't expect Amanda to understand. There were few mortals that the clever thief took into her heart. Like most of their kind she had learnt early on to keep herself detached from the mortals they dwelt among. A trait he had never developed.
"So send the family a card expressing your condolences. You don't have to fly a thousand miles to attend the funeral of a woman you met twice," she argued deftly.
He cocked his head over his shoulder giving the platinum blond beauty a look she knew all too well as he said, in a voice that also let her know in no uncertain terms that the argument is over, "I'm going Amanda and that's the last I'll hear on it."
Amanda huffed as Duncan crossed the room to the chair holding his shirt and coat. "Fine, but when we get to L.A. You're going to have to buy me a few outfits."
Duncan blinked, slightly confused by her statement before he said, "Me? What's wrong with you using your own money?"
"It's, tied up at the moment," she answered delicately.
--- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---
The sun shone brilliantly out of a clear, crystal blue sky. A dozen people in their best dress stood behind two young girls sitting passively, pensively in a pair of cushion, metal, folding chairs. It was easy for anyone to tell by the similarities in their features, that they were siblings.
For Logan it was even easier then that to know the two girls were related, even if he was standing a hundred yards away in the shade of a large oak tree. Only how they were related to each other wasn't how most people would expect. The younger girl's base scent was identical to her older sister's. The only time, before this, that Logan had ever smelt anything similar was when he had run across identical twins. Only here there was a good six years age difference between the two girls.
There were differences in their scents as well. The aroma of death hung like a cloak over the older girl. There was a strange fragrance to the younger sister, something he had never smelt before. If forced to put a name to it he would say green, like a fresh lime, only that was nowhere close to describing what he truly smelt. It was so much more then that, yet simpler as well.
It was indescribable.
One thing that he was positive of was that they were his.
Both of them.
He didn't know how but he knew that. He had come here expecting to find a trap even while he hoped to find a connection to a past that had been stolen from him.
He had found that.
Along with even more questions.
--- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---
Kurt sat in the window of the church's belfry watching with a heavy heart as the services proceeded. Both he and Logan thought the odds were better then even that this was nothing more then likely an elaborate trap set to ensnare the feisty, feral mutant; but so far the day's events have gone off without a hitch. He prayed that, for once, their luck stayed this good and they managed to last the day without getting into a major scrap.
While he watched the services from afar he offered his own pray for the deceased, the two daughters that she had been taken away from so suddenly. He also offered a prayer for his friend. That Logan was able to discover some of the answers he has been searching for.
Kurt offered the prayer even though he knew Logan would tell him not to bother.
--- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---
Buffy sat through the services hardly aware of what was going on around her. She had been distracted all day long. Like something there she could just see out of the corner of her eye. Only ever time she turned it was no longer there. It was like something softly tickling the base of her skull.
The feeling puts her in mind of how she had always been able to tell when Angel was nearby, or Faith, Spike, Dawn… Her mother. A few other people as well. She had searched for Spike when it had first started, but her platinum blonde stalker was nowhere to be found. Neither was Angel, and Faith was still in prison. Dawn, like the rest of her friends, had been at her side all day, and her mother…
She was never going to feel her mother's comforting presence again.
"My deepest sympathy's," Duncan said to the two girls who sat in front of the casket.
The sound of his strange accent snapped Buffy out of her thoughts. Looking up she stared into his sun darken face. Into a pair of extremely sad eyes that look regarded her somberly. Buffy nodded to the man she had never seen before, "Did you know…" She trailed off unable to complete the sentence.
Duncan gave his head a slight shake. "We only met a few times. She was a friend of my fiancé, Tessa."
Buffy quickly took in the beautiful, platinum blonde haired woman at Duncan's elbow. She couldn't imagine her mother being friends with somebody so glamorous. Before she can say anything though Amanda spoke up, "I'm not his fiancé," she informed Buffy with a polite smile. "Just an old friend who didn't think Duncan should be let out of sight for too long. He has a bad habit… He tends to get into all kinds of trouble when left to his own devices." Buffy blinked, she tried to return the woman's smile, but found it to be impossible.
After a moment she returned her attention to the tall Scotsman. Duncan wiped the scowl from his face. He had known bringing Amanda to the funeral would be a mistake, and he had been right. Reaching into his coat pocket he retrieved the card he had prepared earlier, "If you need anything," he began handing her the card, "don't hesitate to call. If you can't reach me directly one of the others numbers will be able to get a message to me. Again you have my deepest sympathy's," he finished softly to Buffy. He took the blonde by the arm and in a harsh whisper said, "Come along Amanda."
Before moving Amanda gave Dawn a sympathetic look. Reaching out with her white leather clad hand she wiped the moisture from the young girl's cheek with her thumb. "I am sorry for your loss," she murmured with genuine emotion etching her face. Then the look was gone. Her blasé facade slipped back in place and she was striding off at Duncan's side.
--- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---
"Did you feel that?" Amanda whispered, low for Duncan's ears alone as the pair move out of earshot of everyone else while they made their way toward Duncan's rental.
"No," he answered. Sarcasm was heavy in his voice as he gave the older immortal a look that let her know he thought she ought to be shot for even asking the question.
Amanda returned his look evenly as she continued, "She hasn't even had her first death and her quickening dwarves even the oldest of us."
Duncan nodded at the statement. "You know what this means don't you?"
Sudden fear streaked through her face as she stared at him, "You can't be..."
"Think about it." Duncan cut her off. "If some other immortal like; Kalas, or Xavier… Chronos? Or who knows how many other just like them, if any were to find her. You know what would happen."
Amanda sighed heavily, as if somebody had just put a boulder on her shoulders and told her she couldn't put it down until she stole the crown jewels. In a disheartened voice she answered saying, "They would kill her. Let her wake up. Then take her head," she said explaining the sequence of events. "But does it have to be here?" She griped as she comes to a stop.
Duncan stopped with her, "You don't…" He began, but stopped abruptly as he caught sight of a man standing motionless in the shadows of a large oak. He had been so still Duncan had nearly missed him. If not for stopping when he had he would have walked right pass without seeing him. Even knowing he was there the Scotsman was having a hard time picking him out. His dark clothes blending into the shadows as if he was a part of them
From this distance Duncan easily recognized the man. Grabbing hold of Amanda's arm he gave her firm pull to start her moving again, "Come on. Now's not the time to be taking a rest."
"What is it?" She asked casting a quick glance around the graveyard.
"An old friend's here," he said. "One that doesn't have to abide by our rules," he added meaningfully.
The grand ball room, with its gold painted walls and crystalline chandeliers, was filled with the strains of Mozart's Forty-first symphony. Only the elite of the elite were in attendance and still the palatial room was stuffed with the cream of Hitler's Third Reich. Duncan was here on official business, orders from Britain's intelligence services, but even he was taking a moment to enjoy the beautiful sounds of Germany's most talented musicians as they paid homage to, in most peoples' opinion, the world's greatest composer.
"Duncan," Rommel, Germany's finest Field Marshal greeted the Scotsman. "What a surprise it is to see you here tonight. And escorting such an enchanting prize," he added openly admiring the raven haired beauty on Duncan's arm.
"Please allow me to introduce the two of you," Duncan replied formally. "Amanda Devorioux. Erwin Johannes Eugen Rommel…"
"It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance Madame Devorioux," Rommel said taking Amanda's satin gloved hand placing a gentlemanly kiss on the back of her knuckles.
"The pleasure is all mine," Amanda replied. Her voice dripped with false sweetness.
"…The best military mind Hitler has at his disposal," Duncan finished.
"You give me too much credit Duncan," the military genius said with dismissive grace.
"I'm surprised to see you here though," Duncan remarked idly. "I would have thought his Fuhrer would want you in Africa keeping an eye on whatever offensive the British forces were mounting?" He took a casual glance around the ball room, his gaze settling upon a man climbing the stairs upward just as he paused to look out the window.
The immortal was momentarily stunned by the man standing there. Aside from the clothing he was wearing he looked no different then he had fifty years earlier when Duncan had seen him just on the outskirts of the territory the Sioux hunted.
With the only thing covering his body being a layer of thick hair, and weapon visible the man had taken down a full grown elk with nothing more then his bare hands. While he had stayed hidden in the brush, the man had sniffed the air like a wild animal that had caught a strange scent. Several moments passed as he continued to scent the air before his eyes settled on the spot Duncan had himself secreted. He stared there for a long moment before turning away. He hefted the elk onto his shoulders like its weight was nothing to him. Then he had glided off into the woods disappearing almost instantly.
After nearly ten minutes Duncan had gone to the spot he had been, but he was unable to find even the slightest sign that the man had been there. When he asked the Sioux elders about him they simply called him "the ghost that hunted the forest". They told him that occasionally hunters would see, catch brief glimpses, of him, but could never find any sign or track when they investigated the area. When he asked how the long the man had been out there the chief had told him his father's father had told him as his father's father had told him and so it went.
A grandfather telling his grandson about the ghost that hunted the forest.
Duncan figured the man must have been living that way for more then a century. Possibly two, if not longer, with how well the Sioux remember things. He had looked for the man after that, but had been unable to find him. Not surprising considering the fact he could disappear while carrying a dead elk on his shoulders.
Now he was here, fifty years later, wearing as expensive of a tuxedo as anyone else in the room. Again he scents the air, his head swiveled, and his eyes locked on Duncan, then shifted to Amanda. A very wolfish grin quirked the corner of his lips.
A massive explosion just outside the Grand Hall rocked the building as huge gouts of flames sprout high into the air, lighting up the night sky. A second and then third explosion quickly followed the first and pandemonium ripped through those in attendance.
Voices shout orders to those in the room.
Previously unnoticed soldiers rush to cover all the buildings exits.
Duncan like everybody else had been drawn to the fiery explosions taking place around the building. Looking back at the stairs he just catches sight of him as he disappears around a corner at the top of the stairs.
"Get her someplace safe," Rommel ordered Duncan, before he disappeared in the throng of people. Somehow his voice boomed over the commotion as he began to take control of the situation.
"Come on," he ordered grabbing hold of Amanda's elbow.
"You can't seriously be thinking about doing the job now," she hissed into his ear. "It would be suicide."
"Someone's already going after the files," he told her. He was positive that was what the man the Sioux called, the ghost who hunted the forest, was after. "He's the one that set off…" Another explosion thundered in the night outside the grand ball room.
"He's using them as cover," Amanda said as they reached the top of the stairs. Turning down the same corridor they spotted three SS officers lying crumpled on the floor, their necks bent at unnatural angles. Not one of them had even drawn a weapon.
The door was shut, but Duncan quickly broke through, Amanda following close behind. The Ghost was just slipping out of the window, "He cracked the safe," Amanda muttered in stun disbelief. "How? He was in here less then ten seconds," she added in the same unbelieving tone of voice.
"Once we catch him you can ask him," Duncan muttered as he rushed to the window. Again Amanda was close behind him. He looked both ways, but the man was nowhere to be seen, just like in the woods. Looking down he spotted a shadow darting between vehicles. "He jumped."
Amanda looked over the edge, "That's a seventy foot drop. He'd have to be insane," she observed cynically as she looked up at Duncan.
"Or knew he was going to survive," he replied.
Amanda shook her head, "Now you're crazy if you think…" The sound of heavy footsteps cut her off a moment before the door banged open. "Merde!"
"Sie dort! Anschlag! Anschlag!"
"I really hate it when you ask me for a favor," she complained as she grabbed hold of Duncan's hand. Together the two of them lept off the Grand Ballroom's ledge.
"Are you sure it's even the same man?" Amanda questioned suspiciously as Duncan pulled into the parking lot of the bed and breakfast hotel they were staying at, a small establishment that called itself the OverView. Why anyone would give it such a name was beyond either of them since it had a view over nothing. Duncan gave her a cold look that she ignored, "I mean it was fifty years ago, and fifty before that. Mortals don't live that long without changing and since neither of us felt anything we know he's mortal."
"Unless his immortality has nothing to do us," Duncan replied when she paused to take a breath. After putting the rented Oldsmobile in park he turned the vehicle off. "I know what the Sioux told me, and I know what I've seen. It is the same man," he finished opening the driver side door. He got out of the car swung the door shut.
Amanda sighed as she followed his lead and got out of the passenger side of the vehicle, "Okay. What if your right?" She questioned coming around the car, "What if it is the same man? What is he doing in Sunnydale? What was he doing at the funeral?"
"I don't know," he admitted.
"But you intend to find out. Don't you?" She inquired as they climbed the wooden stairs that lead to the front door. "Why do I let you drag me into these things?"
Duncan smiled, glad that he was going to have Amanda watching his back. "Because of my boyish good looks?"