by Mark Safransky
This story is currently in the process of being written.
DISCLAIMER: All X-Files characters are the property of Chris Carter, Ten Thirteen Productions and Fox Broadcasting. All Buffy the Vampire Slayer characters are the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, Inc., Kuzui Enterprises, Sandollar Television, 20th Century Fox Television and the Warner Brothers Television Network. All Highlander characters are the property of Rysher Entertainment and Gaumont Television. No infringement of those rights is intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is an alternate universe story set after the events of Buffy season one and my previous fanfic. Harry Lee is an original character introduced in The Slayer Files.
This is a Buffy the Vampire Slayer/The X-Files/Highlander Crossover.
WHAM! Buffy landed hard on her back and then twisted herself into a standing position as the vampire she was fighting lunged forward. She pulled a stake out and had it smacked from her hand and grunted as she was again thrown to the ground. "I really hate it when you guys don't know when to quit." she quipped.
The vampire growled and grabbed for her arm. The Slayer did a spin kick and her opponent flew into the wall of a mausoleum. Buffy then pulled out another stake and plunged it into the chest of the vampire, who exploded into a cloud of dust.
Buffy sneezed and rubbed her nose with the back of her hand as she picked up her backpack full of wooden stakes. Looking around, she didn't see anymore of the undead waiting for her attention, so she decided to call it a night. As she was walking out through the gates, a tall figure stepped out of the shadows and followed her.
Mel's Soda Shop
"Hey Buffy! Over here." Willow called out upon seeing her best friend enter. Buffy looked for and found the redhead in a booth towards the back of the shop with her other best friend Xander. She headed in their direction and slid into the booth just as the waitress came to take their order.
"What'll y'all have today?"
"Cheeseburger and fries with a diet coke," Buffy immediately ordered.
"I'll have the same," Willow said while Xander merely stuck three fingers into the air.
As the waitress hurried away to fill their order, Willow glanced over at her best friend and asked, "So, how did it go last night?"
"Well," Buffy replied, "I got another one in the cemetery last night."
"So, we're still the undead's favorite party town, huh?" Xander asked.
"Oh yeah. But I think there's something more behind these attacks. I mean, every night I get ambushed by only one vamp. It's as if they were testing me. I just don't get it," she said with an annoyed shake of her head.
"Did Giles have anything to say?" Willow inquired curiously.
"He's researching." Buffy suddenly giggled.
"What?" her friends asked in unison.
"I think Ms. Calendar has been helping him."
"Oh, that's so..." Willow began.
"Sickening." Xander interrupted.
Willow made a face at him and said, "No, I mean, I think it's cute."
"Cute?" Buffy and Xander looked at each other and laughed while Willow blushed prettily.
"It's okay, Willow, really. It's just that, I mean, it's
Giles!" Buffy tried to explain why she felt it was strange that the
cool computer teacher might have a crush on the librarian who was also her Watcher.
She grew melancholy as she started to wonder if her Watcher and the Technopagen might actually care for each other. He kept hours that were even worse than hers at times when he was deep into his research, which would make it hard for him to become involved in a relationship. * Yeah, like you can talk. You just happen to be in love with a vampire. *
Willow and Xander noticed the faraway look on Buffy's face and both recognized the look that meant she was thinking of Angel, the vampire with a soul who was in love with Buffy and helped them out fighting the various evils that inundated Sunnydale.
"So, did you see that box of books that Agent Lee brought over to the
library yesterday?" Willow asked in an effort to keep
the Slayer from getting depressed.
"Yeah, and I couldn't read anything in them." Xander quipped.
"They were in Mandarin." Willow said.
Buffy looked at Willow in puzzlement for a second before she asked, "But I thought he was Chinese?"
"Mandarin is Chinese, well, a dialect of it anyway." Willow explained.
"So what was big with this set of books?" Buffy wondered.
Willow grinned before replying. "Well, Giles said that most of
them dealt with demons that are little known outside China
and that he hasn't even seen references to some of them. He also asked me to help Ms. Calendar to scan them into the
computer so we would have access to them. Apparently, Agent Lee has to return them to his family after we get done."
"Neat, so we add all his family's Demon Hunting books to our
collection. It's awfully nice of his grandfather to help us out
like this," Buffy said.
"In return we are sending him the CD's with all the books that Ms.
Calendar and I have scanned out of Giles collection.
In fact, the last e-mail Agent Lee got from his grandfather thanked us for the copy of the Pergammum Codex we sent
him." Willow replied.
"Ugh, I hate that book." Buffy stated with distaste.
"Hey Buff, isn't that the one that said the Master would..." Xander started asking.
"Oh yeah, that's the one," she said as the waitress arrived with
their orders. The three teenagers immediately began
to enjoy their repast.
J. Edgar Hoover Building
Dana Scully looked about the basement office without seeing her partner and called out, "Mulder?"
Scully turned to the shelves containing various boxes filled with objects
pertaining to the X-Files and some office supplies. She
then saw the stacked boxes that had been removed from the upper shelves and then her partner stretched out on the top of the last shelf.
"What are you doing up there, Mulder?" she asked with a grin.
"I'm looking for a box with some reports that might be connected to the case Skinner just assigned to us," he replied.
"What case?" she asked.
"A multiple homicide in California, beheadings, possible serial
killer. But I remembered something about beheading cases that
are in the X-Files, so I started looking. Unfortunately, the box containing the files and reports seems to be missing." Mulder
said in a disgruntled tone.
"Well, where's the case file so I can catch up?"
Mulder glanced down at his diminutive partner and said, "It's sitting on my desk next to the phone."
Scully picked up the report and settled in at her desk and started going through it.
Sunnydale Memorial Cemetery
The Slayer stalked through the cemetery on patrol for minions of the undead
when she felt something behind her and turned
with a stake raised in her right hand ready to strike at the person behind her.
"Buffy," a tall, handsome vampire said.
"Angel," she replied with a hint of nervousness in her voice. "Where have you been? I haven't seen you for weeks?"
"I had to go to LA to meet with an old...acquaintance," he finally replied.
"Um, how old?"
"Very. He had some information for me and needed some help with a
situation which was threatening a friend of his." Angel
said with a look of distaste.
"I'm guessing it was not a fun-filled vacation." Buffy said.
"No, and I missed seeing you, talking to you," he said as he stared into her eyes, hearing her heart rate speed up.
"Oh Angel," she cried as she hugged him. Then she threw him aside as another vampire came at them from behind a tree. The vampire met the heel of Buffy's boot and his head snapped back painfully.
"Bitch. You'll pay for that," the vampire growled.
"Ooh, is that supposed to scare me?" the Slayer said derisively.
"The Anointed One has ordered that you be brought across, but it will give me pleasure to be the one to do it," the vampire answered before lunging for her. She gave him a quick kick to the stomach, backing him up, while following through with rabbit punches to his chest. As the vampire stumbled back, she whipped a stake out of her jacket and thrust it into his chest. A moment later dust filled the air.
Angel got up off the ground and looking askance at his girlfriend as he groaned, "How about a little warning next time."
"Oops," Buffy grinned as she brushed the dust off their jackets,
"I just reacted when I felt him. Hey! I guess Giles would be
happy, I actually felt him before I saw him. Um, Angel, why would the Anointed One want me turned into a vampire?"
"Is that what he wants? Hmm." Angel commented as he ruminated on that fact.
"Angel. You know I hate it when you begin the Cryptic Guy stuff. Just tell me what you're thinking," Buffy groused.
"I think we need to tell Giles about this." Angel said as he pulled her along with him, heading towards the school.
"Come on, Rupert," Jenny Calendar whispered as she ruffled his hair.
"Jenny, what if Buffy should need something after her patrol?" the Watcher replied in that oh-so-uptight British accent that caused her insides to melt.
"It's not like we wouldn't hear her coming." the Technopagen replied.
"True, but..." he began as he started weakening but was interrupted by the library doors slamming open.
"Giles, where are you?" Buffy called out while Angel drifted towards the stacks. Upon catching sight of her Watcher and his companion in the doorway of his office she exclaimed, "Oh, there you are. We ran into a vampire tonight that said the Anointed One has ordered me turned."
"What!" The two adults exclaimed in unison. Giles began to frown and started to pace. "He didn't explain why, did he?"
"Nope. Explanations are your department, I just slay them."
"I best consult my books." He turned towards the woman still standing in the doorway to his office and said, "Jenny, would you like to help?"
The Technopagen smiled at the boyish tone of inquiry in his voice and walked to the table and his side, her smile growing as she teased, "Of course. Just what do you want me to do?"
Buffy and Angel grinned at the pair and headed up into the stacks to do a little research of their own.
Buffy groaned and started twisting her head about to relieve the kinks in her neck from pouring over the archaic tomes. Angel grinned at her, moved behind her and began to message the sore muscles. The Slayer purred and started to turn the page of the tome in front of her as the vampire's hands began to release the tension and started to ignite her passions.
Angel's hands stopped and asked with concern in his voice, "What? Did I hurt you?"
She grinned and replied, "Anything but. Just got a paper cut." She raised her hand for him to see when they both noticed the small, blue sparks arcing over the wound. The skin pulled together and the cut vanished leaving only a couple of drops of blood on her hand. They both turned towards the office and shouted, "Giles!"
Giles and Jenny rushed out of his office at the twin shouts of Buffy and Angel.
"What? Have you found something?" he asked in anticipation.
"No, it's...well..." Buffy faltered.
The Slayer and her vampiric boyfriend exchanged glances before he said, "Buffy had a paper cut, and then there was this...this electric arcing about the wound and then we watched it heal in seconds."
The Watcher and the Technopagen looked at each other and then back to the others before Giles sighed and said, "Are you sure that it healed in seconds?"
"Way sure." Buffy said positively.
"I wonder if this is related to your resurrection," Giles muttered.
"Well, I do seem to sense the vampires now before I even see them. I guess it could have speeded up my healing abilities." Buffy mused.
"Wait, you're sensing the vampires now?" Giles asked.
"Well, you always said that as the Slayer I should be able to," Buffy pointed out.
"Well, yes, but I still find it disturbing that these abilities have suddenly become available only after..." he faltered.
Jenny patted him on the shoulder as she said; "You don't have anything in your books about Slayers showing such fast healing?"
Giles took his glasses off and began polishing them while staring at a point over Angel's shoulder as he mused, "Accelerated healing, yes, but not instant healing. That is unheard of." He then looked over at his Slayer and said, "Buffy, would you mind a small experiment?"
"Oh sure, what do you want me to do, cut myself?" she replied.
Giles ducked his head slightly as he responded. "Actually, yes."
Angel stood in alarm. "I really don't think..."
"Angel, we must see if this instant healing is repeatable. If so, we must learn more about it." Giles explained. "There is no mention of such an ability in the Watcher Journals that I can recall. Besides, if this ability is real, then Buffy may have a distinct advantage that will make it all the harder for the forces arrayed against her to do her harm."
Buffy laid a hand on her boyfriends arm and softly said, "Angel, I know it seems strange but I really want to see if it happens again."
The vampire calmed at her touch and nodded. She then pulled a small knife from her boot, which caused the others to smile and her Watcher to shake his head in amusement, and slowly made a small incision in her left palm. As they watched the blood slowly drip from the cut, small bolts of blue lightning arced across the wound. The blood stopped flowing, the skin pulled together and in seconds the palm of her hand was unblemished but for the blood which remained behind.
"Good Lord, that's incredible!" Giles exclaimed.
"Incredible! I'd say amazing, even miraculous." Jenny said.
"Did it hurt?" Angel asked with concern etched over his features.
"Well," Buffy replied, "it hurt when I cut my hand. Then it tingled and, well, now it's fine." She turned to her Watcher and in a little voice asked, "Giles, what's happened to me?"
"That's what we're going to find out."
American Airlines flight #1013
Bound for Los Angeles, California
Mulder shifted his legs about again in an attempt to get more comfortable in the coach seat as his partner glanced over in wry amusement at his antics.
"Mulder, stop squirming, you're worse than a four year old."
"Aw, come on Scully, these seats were designed by Torquemada. Only children and..." he faltered as his partner glared at him. "Ok, short people," he completed with a grin.
"It's not my fault that you're not the proper height, Mulder." Scully said with a slight grin in return. "Besides, after all these years you'd think you would've learned how to sit in these seats."
Mulder glanced back at his diminutive partner and replied, "Nope. I'm beginning to think the Consortium designed them with EBE's in mind."
Scully snorted in amusement and pulled a picture out of the case file open on her lap. "Mulder, did you see these?"
Looking down at the autopsy photos, he gulped and nodded. Then he responded with, "I take it you're looking at the strange cauterization about the neck where the head was removed?"
"Of course," she replied. "There are signs of it on both the torso and the head. Almost like the stroke that decapitated them was from a red-hot blade."
"Hmm, I suppose that's possible." Mulder said.
"But not likely," Scully finished for him.
"No, I really can't say that makes any sense. However," he began as he looked back up at her with a mischievous sparkle in his eye, "it might have been a lightsaber."
"A lightsaber?!? Mulder, you've seen Star Wars just once too often." his partner replied with a laugh.
"Probably. So, if we can get this case solved quickly, what say we hop up to Sunnydale for a day and visit with Giles and his charges?" Mulder said with anticipation.
"Oh sure, you just want to look at more of those books that answer at least half of the X-Files." Scully shook her head and continued, "However, I would like to visit with Giles and the kids. Also, I did bring some goodies to do a few tests on Angel if he'll agree to it."
Chuckling, Mulder grinned and said, "Well, you have to agree that an exam by you on Angel is in your field."
Her jaw dropped and she gave a short bark of laughter as she closed the case file and shook her head in amusement.
Mulder reached over and took the case file from her as he started to mutter under his breath. Scully could see he was beginning to cogitate on whatever outlandish theories he would spring on her once they landed.
Sunnydale High School
The Slayer was beginning to enjoy inflicting little cuts on her arms and watching them heal before she noticed Angel beginning to sniff the air and look her way. "All right, I'll stop. But you have to admit it's really wicked." She commented with a grin.
"It may be wicked, but the blood scent is starting to make me hungry."
Buffy apologized and picked up another heavy tome when they heard Giles heading back from the Stacks with more books to look through and whined, "Giles, I think it's time for all us to take a break. Angel and I had better get going. Sunrise is in a couple of hours and if Mom finds my bed empty again, she'll ground me for a month."
The Watcher looked up from the top book with slightly glazed eyes and responded, "Hmm? Oh, Buffy. Yes, of course, you and Angel go and we'll continue this later."
"Okay, see ya!" Buffy said as she and Angel quickly exited from the room.
"Jenny," Giles spoke up as he entered his office, "Buffy and Angel had to go. Here are the Watcher Journal's for the 19th century, however I don't believe we'll find anything there. I am mostly conversant with their contents."
Jenny Calendar looked up from the tome she had been reading and replied, "Well, Rupert, the computer isn't finished with the search I began. When Willow arrives, tell her to come find me and I'll let her know the parameters of the search."
"Um, fine. As long as I don't have to use that dread machine."
"Rupert, one of these days I swear I'm going to lash you to that chair and teach you how to surf the web." Jenny teased him as she leaned against him and slowly caressed his cheek.
Los Angeles, California
The hot, summer air rolled over the two FBI agents as they exited the airport to get their rental car. After signing the many forms and depositing their luggage into the trunk, the agents climbed in, turned the air conditioning up to full and headed downtown.
"So Mulder, it will be interesting to see SAC Rogers reaction to seeing us again. I think he was as pissed about the abrupt manner the Ross case was handled as we were."
"Yeah, he definitely seems to be one of the good guys. Makes you wonder how he made SAC of Los Angeles, doesn't it?" he wondered aloud.
Scully pursed her lips as she replied, "Actually, it's a wonder he's still there. You think he would have eventually been promoted to Assistant Director by now. I mean, Los Angeles is large enough to rate one."
"True. In fact, didn't Rogers replace the A.D. who was in charge out here about two years ago when he died?" Mulder asked.
"Mulder, you'd know that better than I. Weren't you the one who read his personnel file before we came out here the last time?" Scully shot back.
Mulder grinned and said, "Well, yes, and you're probably right that he's not being promoted because he's a good man and doing a good job without any interference from the Consortium. But enough about that, I still find it interesting that he was the one who sent this case to us through Skinner. It almost makes me believe that he feels our talents are useful."
"I think part of the reason is that we worked well with Harry and that he might have said some nice things about us." Scully pondered.
"Great, maybe we can request Harry as our liaison with the locals again."
"Sounds good to me. Besides, he'll probably know more about what's going on than anyone else in the local office."
Sunnydale High School Library
Buffy entered the library with Willow and Xander following behind as she bellowed out, "Giles! I'm back. Are you still here?"
The door to the office opened and Ms. Calendar poked her head out and shushed the teens. "Rupert is napping on the cot. We still haven't found anything out yet Buffy."
Willow and Xander exchanged glances before the redhead spoke, "Anything about what? Has something happened?"
"Well..." Buffy fidgeted as she began to explain. "We were here in the library last night after a vampire told me that the Anointed One has ordered me turned into a vamp."
"What!!" her friends exclaimed.
"Yeah, we're still wondering about that one." Buffy grimaced. "Anyway, while looking through some of Giles' big oldies I got a paper cut."
"What's so big about it, unless it was a big honking paper cut." Xander joked.
"Actually, it was just a regular paper cut except that it healed in seconds."
"Buffy, are you sure about that?" Willow asked. "I mean, you normally would need about a half hour to heal a cut."
Xander and Jenny looked at her questioningly as Buffy started fidgeting again.
"We, that is, Buffy and I figured that out after I noticed just how fast cuts and bruises healed. I started keeping track of just how fast she healed in comparison to me."
"Yeah, Wills, it was that quick." Buffy said as she reached for the boot knife. "Check this out." Buffy then quickly ran the knife across her arm.
"Buffy!" Willow and Xander cried out in alarm. Both then watched as the blood stopped flowing, some even seeming to return to her body as small arcs of electricity blazed about the cut. Then the skin pulled together and the wound vanished.
"Whoa!" Xander exclaimed. "That is majorly cool. How fast was that?"
"Six seconds." Willow replied. "That was incredible. You've never healed that fast before. And what is it with the lightning bolts about the wound?"
"We still haven't figured that out," Jenny replied. "I've still got some searches going on the Web. Want to see how that's going?"
Willow smiled and said, "Sure. Xander, want to go get some donuts for us?"
"Okay, jelly and glazed coming up."
"Thanks guys." Buffy said.
"For what?" Willow asked as Xander headed to the donut shop and Jenny went back into the office to check on Giles.
"For not freaking out about the healing thing." Buffy explained.
"Hey, the Scooby Gang sticks together, no matter what." Willow said as she hugged her best friend.
FBI Field Office
SAC Rogers' Office
Los Angeles, CA
Mulder and Scully were escorted into the SAC's office and seated before the desk as Special Agent Rogers finished a phone call before turning toward them. "Well, Agents Mulder and Scully, welcome back to California. How was your flight?"
"The seats were as uncomfortable as always, sir." Mulder replied as Scully held a hand over her mouth to hide the grin this response brought to her.
"I know what you mean, I think the people who designed those seats were all extras from the "Wizard of Oz." Rogers grinned as he agreed. "So, have you read the files on the 'Decapitator'?"
Mulder and Scully quickly met each other's eyes before Scully asked, "The 'Decapitator'?"
"Yeah, the local press has dubbed our killer or killers. It's just going to make this case higher profile and an even bigger pain in the ass to solve without having every tabloid paper and TV show out here dogging our tracks." Rogers explained. "However, while I have a Violent Crimes unit officially working the case and debriefing the press, I wanted to get both of you out here to help out. Under the radar, so to speak. I'm going to team you up with Harry again. He can relay everything you learn to me without your presence becoming too visible to the press. However, I do realize they may learn of your being here and working the case so try to stay invisible, okay?"
Mulder nodded and replied, "Sounds like a good idea. I suppose we could dress a little differently to try to look less like Feds and more like tourists. I think we can work mainly out of our motel and Harry can act as a courier on our findings and keep us informed as to what the official team has learned as well. Sound right, Scully?"
"Well, I will need to have access to the bodies to confirm the autopsy findings. We can pass me off as a consulting M.E. for that." Scully replied.
"All right, I'll have credentials issued to Dr. Dana Scully as a consulting pathologist. We'll just forget to mention that you're also a Federal Agent." Rogers grinned. "Mulder, when do you want Harry to take you around the murder sites?"
"Well sir, if Scully can get into the morgue tomorrow, Harry can take me on the tour while she works there. Then, in the evening, the three of us can meet back at the motel and throw the results around and he can then relay our findings and theories to you. You pass on any instructions to him to relay back to us the following morning." Mulder said.
"Sounds like a workable plan of action to me. Thanks for coming out here Agent Mulder, Agent Scully. I do appreciate it. I'm hoping that you'll be able to crack this case before the killer or killers move on."
"Yes sir." Both Agents responded. "We'll do our best." Mulder added.
"Thank you. Harry is waiting for you downstairs. I'll be looking forward to seeing what the three of you come up with tomorrow."
"Good day, sir." Scully said as they left to find their friend and new partner.
Sunnydale High School Library
The main study table was covered in tomes that the group, sitting around it, were flipping through. Giles, Xander and Buffy were looking for more information on why the Anointed One wanted Buffy turned while Willow and Jenny were coordinating a search with some tomes concerning the powers of the Slayer alongside a search over the Internet into the healing powers that Buffy was manifesting.
Willow suddenly straightened up as she hacked into a site that mentioned instant and accelerated healing. She scanned through a bulletin board that seemed to be postings from a group of people tracking another group of people around the world. "Hey everyone check this out," she called out. "This site deals with a group called the Society of Watchers. They appear to track a bunch of people they call Immortals. These Immortals apparently seem to heal real fast like Buffy does." She continued scanning the posts as the rest of the gang gathered about behind her. "Gee, these people seek each other out and..."
"What?" asked Giles and Buffy in unison.
"They, well, they duel to the death with swords."
"Indeed?" Giles queried. "What about the quick healing?"
"Well, it says that they heal wounds and such very quickly, unless their head is removed. That seems to kill them."
"Willow, get as much of that information copied as you can. We need to go through it and learn as much as possible." Giles instructed her. "Buffy, it appears that we will need to accelerate your training to include the use of swords as soon as possible. If anyone in this group decides that you are one of these people, they may seek you out to engage in combat."
"Swords? Cool, so I get to be a swashbuckler like Errol Flynn?" Buffy asked.
"Well, we'll concentrate on defense at first to make sure you can survive an attack. Plus teach you to disarm them so you can subdue them to allow us to question them."
"Good idea, Rupert." Jenny stated. "But do you think that any of them might seek Buffy out if only we know about her new healing abilities? Plus, are we sure this is all real? I mean, people dueling each other with swords in this day and age?"
Willow quickly answered before Giles could respond, "Actually, Ms. Calendar, from what I can see here there must be several thousand of these 'Immortals' around the world. In fact, a number of them are in Los Angeles right now, according to some of these tracking reports."
"Really?" Buffy asked.
"Oh!" she exclaimed, "there appears to be a real bad one headhunting there right now. I think he's the guy the papers are calling the 'Decapitator' right now." Willow read some more before continuing, "Yup, somebody named George Evens is tracking him. His name is...Aurelius Flavius. Get this, he is a Roman gladiator who died his First Death in 76 B.C. and has hunted other Immortals since then."
"My word!" Giles exclaimed. "What do you mean by First Death, Willow?"
"According to this, an Immortal ages like a normal human until they die. This 'First Death' activates their Immortality."
"Fascinating." Giles mused while Buffy suddenly got a horrified expression on her face and started crying.
"Buffy?" Willow asked before realizing what that meant to her best friend. "Oh my Gosh, you think that the Master really did kill you that night?"
Everyone froze and stared at the Slayer in sympathy. She finally couldn't take the stares anymore and jumped up, running out of the library as if the hounds of hell were chasing her.
"Willow," Giles said softly, "keep copying that information. We need as much information as we can get to help Buffy get through this."
FBI Field Office
Los Angeles, CA
Special Agent Harry Lee was leaning against the wall by the elevators awaiting the arrival of Mulder and Scully from SAC Rogers' office. The ding of the elevator announced a car from an upper floor when Harry heard the voices of the X-Files Agents coming from within as the doors opened.
"Mulder, we do have the rest of the day to settle in, maybe we can give Giles a call and check on the kids."
"Sounds good to me, Scully. Heck, we actually could drive up to Sunnydale and say hi in person."
Scully rolled her eyes and commented with a smile, "Sure, and wade through a few more of his tomes on demons and such while you're at it."
"You know me too well Scully." Mulder replied and upon catching sight of Harry, he grinned and said, "Harry, nice to see you again. How's everything been out here in sunny California?"
"Well, aside from the usual criminals and occasional supernatural menace, not too bad." Harry quipped. "It's really great to see the both of you again. I was instructed to sneak you outta here. SAC Rogers doesn't want your presence to be common knowledge."
"Yeah, he gave us the game plan. Let's find a reasonably nice motel and get our schedules set up."
The agents walked out into the bright midday sun glad to be working together again. Harry was extremely impressed with the capabilities of the two X-Files agents when they had worked together a few weeks previously in Sunnydale and looked forward to learning more from them on this case. He had a healthy respect for the agents that belied their reputation within the Bureau. He also was glad that they were as ethical as they were when they had learned about his family history and about the interesting people who protected the Hellmouth.
In turn, the X-Files agents were impressed with Harry's level-headedness and straightforward outlook. He was a good man and turning into an exceptional FBI agent. They felt that in a couple of years he would probably be SAC Rogers' best agent. He was able to work well with others and was able to make some keen observations and deductions that would serve him well in his career. They also genuinely liked him and enjoyed working with him.
"I hope we aren't staying in one of your usual fleabags Mulder," Scully remarked as they headed for their rented Taurus.
"Actually Agent Scully, I've got you booked into the Holiday Inn down the street. It should keep you close enough to the action if need be and will also be in keeping with the image of an FBI consultant." Harry explained. "It also makes it easier for me to sneak out to meet with you both if necessary without alerting the press. They've really gotten to be a nuisance with this 'Decapitator' nonsense."
Mulder quirked his lip as he suddenly wondered aloud, "How exactly did the press get so much information about the case?"
"Well, we think that a couple of the locals passed it to them when they were pulled from the case and it was handed over to us." Harry replied scornfully.
"Ouch." Scully winced in response. "I bet SAC Rogers was ready to nail LAPD to the wall for that."
"Oh yeah," Harry sighed. "He was steamed. I thought for sure that anyone in a ten-block radius could hear him chewing their Chief out over that. He really didn't want so much getting out; it just makes our jobs that much tougher since we figure the scumbag doing it has to know how far we are. I think that's one of the reasons the boss decided to call you in. He knows you've worked cases like this before and he respects how well you did the last job he called you in on."
"Hopefully, we'll justify the efforts he's gone to getting us out here." Scully sympathized.
Joe's Blues Bar
Joe Dawson softly strummed his guitar and hummed a favorite song while relaxing in his bar. Feeling pretty good as he breathed in the smell of beer and tobacco that permeated the club. He was thus startled when the door banged open and a thin aristocratic-looking man stepped in and made his way over to him.
"Damn it Adam, can't you tell the place is closed and I'm trying to relax?"
Adam Pierson aka Methos shook his head in annoyance and said, "We have a problem. I just got a call from Terence Williams; he said that he's detected someone hacking the Watcher's Database. He's not sure how, but he thinks whoever it is has been downloading the Watcher's reports being posted."
"What?!? How the hell could anyone do that?" Joe growled in response.
"I don't know, but he's trying to find out. I told him I would report it to you and we'd try to see what we could do from here."
The two men immediately headed for the back office. Joe eased himself down in front of his computer and quickly booted it up. "Has he at least figured out where our hacker is?"
"No, he's still trying to erect a firewall to block the hack." Adam replied as he sat next to his friend and pulled out a case containing a CD-ROM with the Watcher Society's computer codes and encryption programs.
Once the computer was up and the disk inserted, Joe began running a check on the server that held most of the Watcher's recent reports. He soon found that someone had downloaded the past weeks reports as well as copying a large portion of the Society's general information on Immortals.
"Sheesh, whoever this is, they are incredible." Joe muttered under his breath. "They've made off with at least 60% of the information we had stored on the server."
"You've got even bigger problems Joe." Adam said as he pointed to a statistic showing on screen. "They also seemed to have cracked all the encryptions that were set up on the server as well. They have complete access to the database. I'd suggest you shut down the server and go to the backup. They haven't gotten anything on that yet."
"Right," Joe replied as he entered the code sequence to shut down the server.
Sunnydale High School Library
Willow grunted at the screen of her computer as a few short beeps alerted her that the server she had accessed had been shutdown at the source.
"Giles, I was detected. They shut down the server but I think I got most of the data we were looking for. I'll start printing it out now while I make sure to cover my tracks."
"Thank you Willow. Please be sure they can't find out who accessed the information." Giles replied. He was still worried about the Slayer. When Buffy had run out earlier, she was definitely not in a good mood. Then again, learning that you might be Immortal would probably shock anyone. The rest of the Scooby gang had taken off to hopefully find and calm her down.
Giles looked over at the young girl steadfastly typing away at the computer and was thankful that he had her there to aide him in researching the information they needed. He really did hate that dread machine, no matter how much Jenny praised it. He sighed and continued to look through his books for further insight into Immortals and if they had ever interacted with a Slayer in the past.
Angel heard the banging on his door as well as heard the heartbeat of the mortal who had awakened him. He could tell it was his beloved Buffy and hurriedly threw on a shirt as he hastened to the door and invited her in.
"Buffy, what's wrong? Are you all right?" he asked as she quickly rushed in and threw her arms around him and started sobbing.
Angel gently escorted the crying Slayer over to a chair while murmuring soft words of comfort to her. He stroked her golden hair and kept his calming words flowing until her sobs subsided. "Buffy, what is it? What's upset you so? I hate to see you hurting like this."
Buffy slowly raised her wet and bloodshot eyes to him and whispered, "Willow found something. There is a group of people out there who heal like I seem to be able to now. They're called Immortals. They heal real fast and they hunt each other to cut their heads off."
Buffy started sobbing again as she nodded her head in affirmation. "Sh-she said that there's one in L.A. right now that's the guy in the papers. We think that the Master may have actually ki-killed me in his lair that night," she chokingly whispered.
"Oh, Buffy." Angel whispered as he kissed her forehead and gently hugged her to himself. "No matter what, you know I love you. It doesn't matter to me."
"I know Angel. But it's such a shock, I mean; we really thought that I was just close to death. Not that I really died. I really thought Xander revived me in time. Now it seems that I died and would have come back anyway."
"Well, I've never heard of any Immortals. Well, other than vampires, but if there are and you're one of them, then I really can't say its such a bad thing."
Buffy stiffened in his grasp and looked sharply up at him, "What do you mean it's not a bad thing? That I'm supposed to live forever and hunt people to cut off their heads?"
"Well, the decapitation part aside, would the living forever part really bother you that much Buffy?" Angel asked. "It would mean that we'd be together for all that time. Plus, if you think about it, the Anointed One would have a hard time turning you if you would simply revive from being drained."
"I didn't think about that." Buffy replied. "The being together part sounds great, plus not having to worry about being turned. It's the whole headhunting part that gets me."
Angel gently lifted her face with his hands on her cheeks and kissed her before saying soothingly, "We'll get through it together. Side-by-side as always."
"Oh Angel." Buffy sighed as she buried her face against his chest. "You always know the right thing to say."
"I love you." He said simply as he stroked her hair. "That's all I need to know. So, ready to get back to the gang and start working on understanding what we need to do now?"
"Yeah, I kinda ran out when I realized that the Master really did kill me that night. I guess the gang will be worried." Buffy said. "Oh, we should probably call Harry and pass on what we learned about the guy in L.A. that's doing all the headhunting. We found out he's some Roman gladiator who's been alive since way back."
"Sounds like a plan to me." Angel responded with another hug before sitting up and buttoning his shirt. "I'll take the sewers and meet you there."
"Okay," Buffy shyly replied. "Thanks for calming me down and setting me straight there." She slowly headed to the door before turning back and stating in a no nonsense tone, "Just for the record, I love you too."
With that, the Slayer bounded out the door on the way back to the library while Angel simply stood there looking after her with a rush of warmth knowing he was the recipient of her love. Something he could barely fathom but nonetheless knew he would always cherish.
Joe's Blues Bar
"Well, the backup server is online and the codes have been changed." Joe told his companion as he finished his work. "I'll send out a global mailing to the Society and let everyone know. How's it going with tracking the hacker?"
"Terrence has tried spiking the hacker but was unsuccessful. He has managed to track the hack to California, probably in the southern part of the state. We think it originated somewhere in the area of Los Angeles." Adam replied as he continued to weave through the systems of the phone company. "Oh, here's something, the hack originated from the computers of US West itself. Whoever hacked us is pretty darned good. It'll take awhile to finesse the system to find out where the hacker entered their system from and try to track back to the source."
"So long as we learn who did it and why they did. I have a bad feeling about this Adam." Joe sighed as he stood and headed back to the bar.
"Joe, how many times have you seen Star Wars?" Adam asked.
Joe stopped in his tracks at the non-sequitor and looking back said, "Oh, probably a couple of dozen times. Why?"
Adam grinned and said, "Never talk about having a bad feeling about something, it always gets worse."
Joe snorted and shook his head as he left.
Rooms 822 & 824
Los Angeles, California
Mulder and Scully quickly dumped their bags onto their respective beds while catching Harry up on what they had been doing since last seeing him. Mulder was enjoying watching Harry's face slowly going pale as he described the last X-Files case he and Scully had worked when Harry's cell phone beeped at him.
"Agent Lee here." Harry said after flipping open his phone. "Buffy? What's…slowly, slowly, the 'Decapitator' is a what? Immortal? Buffy, is Mr. Giles there? Oh, well, when you get back to the library have him call me back. Yes, I'm on the case. I'm working with a couple of friends." Harry started grinning at the babble coming back to him through the phone. "Yes, they're here in L.A. and assigned to the case. Hang on a second." Harry looked up and tossed the phone over to Scully. "Buffy wants to say hi and pass on some info about the case. Apparently Willow hacked into some files that had info about it."
Mulder and Scully looked at each other in shock before Scully lifted the phone and spoke quickly to the Slayer while Mulder asked Harry, "So, what was that about Immortals?"
Scully tuned their conversation out as she spoke into the phone, "Buffy, this is Dana Scully. What has Willow learned about the case and how did she get this Information?"
"Well, we've been researching fast healing in humans and…" Buffy began.
"Wait, why the interest in fast healing?" Scully inquired in puzzlement.
"Angel and I had learned that the Anointed One has his henchmen out trying to turn me into a vampire and we went to tell Giles and began some research to learn why. Anyway, while we were I got a paper cut and it healed in seconds.
Plus there was this funky blue light show around the cut as it healed. Kinda like electricity. Giles needed to know if it would happen again, so I cut myself with a knife and it did. We started looking for anything to explain why my healing suddenly became so fast. The next morning Willow and I tested just how fast I heal now and cuts that would normally take a day or so heal in seconds. Then she found something on the Internet, a site that some people kept posting sightings and reports about a group of people with the same type of healing. They call these fast-healers Immortals and say that the healing thing doesn't kick in until they die the first time."
"What? Die? Buffy, are you sure about this?"
"Well, that's what Willow read to us. I kinda freaked after that. I mean, I thought that when I almost drowned a few months ago that Xander revived me with CPR. Now it seems I did die." Buffy's voice cracked as she related this to Scully. "I had to go talk to Angel and he helped calm me down. I'm back at the library now."
Scully heard a door slam and some concerned voices as Buffy yelled and nearly deafened her, "Hey guys, I'm okay now. I've got Agent Scully on the phone. Here Willow, tell her everything you learned about that Roman dude." A moment of silence and then Willow's voice emerged from the phone.
"Agent Scully? Hi, um, the guy doing all the killing down there is a former Roman gladiator named Aurelius Flavius who died back in 76 BC before becoming Immortal. He's hunting other Immortals in L.A. right now."
"Willow, what do you mean by Immortal? And why is he decapitating these people he's hunting?" Scully asked.
Willow glanced at Buffy, who was talking quietly with Giles and Jenny, and replied, "Well, apparently some people are born what is termed Pre-Immortal and when they die their First Death, they revive as an Immortal. That means that they stop aging, they heal from almost any wound and disease. The only way to permanently kill an Immortal is to decapitate them."
"Oh my," Scully gasped. "You mean he's hunting other Immortals to purposely cut off their heads?"
"Um, yes. From what I've found, when one Immortal beheads another their life force or Quickening goes to the victor. Apparently it's supposed to look like a small, contained lighting storm."
"Hmm, that would explain the strange cauterization of the neck. It appears to be an electrical burn." Scully mused as Mulder started waving at her to gain her attention. "One moment Willow, Mulder's got a question."
"Just wondering how she got the information and who would be compiling it."
"Good question." Scully replied with a grin as she passed the request to Willow.
"Oh, apparently there is a group of people called the Society of Watchers who follow Immortals around and chronicle their battles and lives. I kinda hacked into their secure server and downloaded their files and posting reports." Willow responded with a grin. "The Watcher following Flavius is named George Evens. He is staying at a Holiday Inn in downtown L.A., room 315."
"Willow, is it the Holiday Inn just down the street from the Federal Building?"
"Um, yeah. Oh, you're staying there too aren't you?" Willow realized.
"Yes, and thank you for getting this information to us. I take it that Buffy is probably an Immortal from what she said earlier?"
"I think so, but we want to try to either question an Immortal or one of the Watchers following them."
"Makes sense, how about Giles bringing all of you down here and you can help us with Mr. Evens?" Scully asked while thinking that Buffy would probably be safer here with FBI agents surrounding her for the moment.
"One moment," Willow said as she turned and relayed the request to Giles. She noticed that Angel had shown up while she had been conversing with Scully. Giles had agreed with Agent Scully and after relaying that the Scooby Gang was on its way, Willow hung up the phone and they headed out.
To be continued...