Author: Paladin Steelbreaker

Title: Love Hurts

Copyright: July 2004

Rating:       PG

Spoilers:     A little from the Highlinder TV-show. 

Keywords:     Duncan MacLoud has given up.

Summary:      Immortality is a cruel thing. Especially when the love of ones life is all too mortal. 

Legalese: All characters except those noted below with their respective rights, properties and copyrights are the property of their respective creators, authors, owners, producers and agencies. These characters are used without permission. No copyright infringement is intended or meant, and no money will be made from this story. This story may be copied in its entirety, and may be distributed as long as all copyright information remains.

Author's Notes: Another little tidbit that fell into my head. 

Dedications: I would like to dedicate this one to James Fox, who with his "Buffy/Highlander Crossover Index, introduced med to the world of Buffy/Highlander crossovers. The best crossover genre there is.

Now onto the show.

Love Hurts.

It was all over. There was no use living anymore. She was gone. Tess was dead. The decision made, he picked up his trench coat sans the sword, and walked out. As he walked, for the first time in his 406 years of living, Duncan MacLoud used his immortal sense to actively seek out an Immortal. As he came into the seedier parts of the city, he finally felt the buzz, and rounding a corner, he stood before the other Immortal. He wasn't very powerful. Duncan would estimate that the guy was about 50 years, and hadn't been a very active part of The Game. Well, as long as the guy carried a sword, it was good enough. Duncan stopped about 10 steps from the guy, went down on his knees and bowed his neck.

It had been a slow night. Not a single vampire in sight. Suddenly she drew back into the shadows, as a man came out of a house. Damn, an Immortal. She was not in the mood to fight an Immortal tonight. The petite blonde woman concentrated for a moment, and her quickening was camouflaged. She moved to walk away, but something caught her attention. Pain practically radiated off him, and she noticed that he was unarmed. A pang of worry went through her, for this stranger, so when he started walking, she followed him. And when she saw him kneeling before that other Immortal, she didn't hesitate.

Duncan kneeled and heard the other Immortal draw his sword. "Tess, I am coming," he mumbled. But then he gasped as an immensely powerful quickening hit his senses. He raised his head as a petite blonde walked out of the shadows. With a smooth movement she drew a Katana and a Wakisashi from behind her back. "Leave now, pup and you live to se another day," she said to the other Immortal, twirling her swords expertly. The guy nodded, and ran for his life. Then the woman turned to Duncan.

As Buffy stepped out of the shadows, she studied the armed Immortal. He was older than her, but she knew he didn't stand a chance. Almost no other Immortal did. "Leave now pup, and you live to see another day", she said as she drew her swords. As the guy ran for his life, she turned towards the man on the ground, he was now crying in great sobs. She bent down and embraced him in a soothing hug, as he cried with frightening intensity. When he finally stopped crying, she helped him back on his feet, and took him to a night open café she knew of. As they sat in a secluded boot, nursing a cup of coffee, she looked closely at him. Again she sensed these waves of depression coming off him. "So, why did you try to get killed?"

Duncan looked at his saviour. Her eyes were strange. So blue and innocent looking, and yet, he saw infinite depths of pain and experience in them. He wondered how old she really was. Her clothes at first sight, was those of a careless teenage fashion addict. But his trained eyes noticed that they were made for maximum freedom of movement. Her movements were a strange mixture of youthfulness and those of an experienced warrior. Maybe she weren't as old as he first had thought. Anyway, he found himself telling her everything that had happened.

Afterwards she grabbed his hands. "I won't tell you that the pain goes away eventually. It never does, and you should be glad it doesn't. Cause if you stop missing your lost loved ones, then they truly are gone. As long as you carry them in your heart, then their memory live on with you.  It is a blessing in disguise I think. Think how many you can keep from fading into nothingness throughout your Immortal life."

He nodded. "I didn't think of that. But it sort of feels wrong that I am alive and not her." She nodded. "I know. They call it survivor's guilt. But don't throw your life away because of that. Okay, I haven't been Immortal anywhere near as long as you, but one thing I have learned.

As long as you live, you will experience glints of happiness. And if you put them together, it is worth it. You will die soon enough. Do not seek death. Try instead to see the good things life offers. You will feel happiness again, even if it doesn't feel like that now. Eventually the pain will lessen, and you will start to remember the good times you two had.

And in the end, you will fall in love again. You will not forget your love of Tess. Your heart will instead expand and give room for another love, just as strong, only different. You must know this. After all, you surely have fallen in love before Tess. You might fight it, but it will happen again sooner or later. And it is all right. It is as it should be."

"How do you know?"

"My mentor told me. Actually he beat it into my stubborn scull. He made me realise that I was ruining my chance at happiness by clinging onto the loss of my first love."  He was right. I found love again. I couldn't imagine my life without Eric now.

"Who could beat you? Your quickening is almost as powerful as Methos's. Who is your mentor?"

She smiled mischievously. ""He is the most grumpy, bad-tempered Highlander you can think of. Still he has a heart of gold, which he tries his best to hide. Have you heard about Connor MacLoud  Of The Clan MacLoud?"

It was silent for a moment as she noticed he looked totally flabbergasted. Then he chuckled. "I should think so, he is a distant cousin of mine. Allow me to present myself. I am Duncan MacLoud Of The Clan MacLoud."

"Small world huh?"

She smiled and suddenly his heart did a funny jump. For the first time he noticed how beautiful she was.

She reached out her hand and shook his. "I am Elisabeth Anne Summers, but please call me Buffy.  Now what do you say we stop moping around, and get something to eat. I am starving."

"It sounds like a good idea. When I think about it, I feel a bit hungry myself. But let me pay for the food. After all, I owe you my life."

And thus started a friendship Duncan came to treasure for the rest of his immortal life. And sure enough, thanks to Buffy he found love again where he least had expected it. Who would have thought that Go-By-The-Book Boy Scout Duncan MacLoud would fall in love with a loudmouthed, provocative, rehabilitated murderer from Boston.

The End.