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Title: Altered View

Author: David Mycock

Beta: Hawklan

Disclaimer: I do not own Buffy the Vampire Slayer or any other character from the show, they belong to Joss Whedon and I also do not own Highlander or any of the characters from the show or films, they belong to whoever created them and Panzer/Davis.

Pairing: Xander/Tara

Summary: Xander tries to save Tara from being shot, only for both of them to die and to awaken into a whole new life together. It includes a new destiny, one which holds nothing but blood, honor and sacrifice.

****

(Summer's Residence)

Xander decided to leave Buffy to her misery, as he was not able to help her get over what she was feeling. In point of fact he seemed to be making her feel worse. It was a damn mistake to bring her back and an even worse one to leave the damn coffin in the ground like they had. That wasn't the biggest problem of course, sadly due to their own stupidity they had allowed Spike to take advantage of the recently resurrected blond slayer and begin to degrade her into someone she wasn't.

If Joyce could see what had become of her daughter at the moment, she would have been disgusted, but also ashamed, and rightly so, of her friends who had caused the situation in the first place. That old saying, ‘The road to hell was paved with good intentions,' had been so right.

They had not once thought about that they had been wrong in where Buffy had ended up and now they had no clue on how to reach her. Spike had done his work well and she was more angry and upset with them than she had been originally.

He just could not think of a way to reach her and nor could any of the others, not even Giles. He was stumped at what to do and that was a first. Then again he wasn't exactly happy with what they had done, without consulting him first. He couldn't help but agree that they should have contacted him, no matter that he was back in England at the time.

Dawn was suffering the most from their errors and that made him feel ten times worse. She didn't deserve to be on the receiving end of Buffy's anger.

‘How the hell could we forget something so simple?' he wondered, kicking a stone into a nearby fence.

They had believed that they had everything sorted, as they prepared to bring Buffy out of the hell dimension they were positive she was in, however they were wrong, not just about where she had been, but also what they were doing. He had allowed his own fear to be stoked by Willow's as had Tara and Anya. They were foolish, he thought, as he entered the house and made his way up to where he knew Willow and Tara would be.

As he climbed the stairs he wondered if they would ever be able to help Buffy reclaim her previous attitude or if she would be stuck in this depressed state, which was not a happy thought and one that made his already guilty mind feel worse. He reached the top of the stairs to find Tara and Willow talking, obviously still trying to work out their broken relationship, due to Willow's mistakes.

He did not understand how the red head could throw away such a decent thing, like what she had shared with Tara. Hell he was envious of the trust, love and devotion they showed one another, before they broke up.

His own relationship with Anya was destroyed now, thanks to the visions an old demon enemy of hers had shown him. They had been his worst nightmares come true and so on the eve of their wedding he broke up with her and was still paying the price today.

He deserved some of the anger and abuse she now heaped on him, but he believed she pushed it too far most of the time, half the time he did not even know why she remained in Sunnydale. Back to the point though, he thought Willow was mad to endanger her relationship with Tara over an addiction to magic. His relationship with Anya had been doomed from the start, but what Willow had with Tara was the real deal.

The fact Willow could not even see this, hurt and confused him even more. What on earth had his life long friend been thinking and how had she not seen the damage she was doing, to not only her relationship, but her life as well?

The two women paused in their conversation as he entered the bedroom and could tell from the look on his face that he hadn't any luck getting through to Buffy again.

Willow sighed, wondering if anything they did would get Buffy to forgive them for their mistakes. She hoped the blond would, in time, realize that they had done this with the best intentions and because they loved her.

This was mostly her fault, the red head thought. She had pushed this to its tragic conclusion over the objections Xander and Tara had originally put forward.

Her fear and horror at the idea of Buffy being condemned to a hell dimension had just been too much, after everything she had been through since becoming the slayer. She hadn't listened, especially when they suggested they should talk to Giles. No in the end she would have to try and see if she could get through to Buffy. She turned and noticed Xander was now at Tara's site, staring at the wall.

"Hey do you hear shouting?" Tara's voice broke through her depressing thoughts.

Xander walked over to the window and looked out and was shocked to see Warren Myers standing at the back of the yard, pointing a gun at Buffy, before he could do anything the dark haired geek began firing and he watched almost in slow motion as Buffy dropped to the ground grasping her stomach. Then he noticed Warren had seen him in the window and was raising the gun. He turned and moved as quickly as he could to push Tara out of the way, as she had come up behind him.

He felt a sharp pain in his back, before he found himself unable to stay standing and he fell to the ground. He barely noticed Tara fell beside him, as darkness began to descend on him. The last thing he saw was Willow's horrified stare.

Willow had watched in wide eyed horror, as Xander had turned and grabbed Tara with the intent of pushing her out of the way, only for him to fall to the ground with a bloody wound in his chest. A similar wound had appeared a second later in Tara's chest. She stood there frozen for a full minute before she rushed to the phone and called for an ambulance, before kneeling between her friend and her lover, lost for the first time in her life in what to do. She was completely unaware of the fact that outside in the garden Buffy was suffering from a similar wound. However she had the slayer essence helping to keep her alive.
2. Chapter 2
Chapter 2

(Sunnydale Art Shop)

Connor McLeod stood looking at some of the more unique pieces of the store, which was closing down due to the death of its owner one Joyce Summers. He had been notified of the sales by a friend in the antique business. A lot of the stuff was old and not just art, but antiques as well and that had interested him enough to pay a visit to the small town.

He was an immortal and had been for almost 466 years. He had seen and done some incredible things in his life, but sometimes he truly wished he had never become one. The life of an immortal was a bloody one and ended in death almost always.

The one problem he had was the faint buzz of not one, but two pre-immortals he had been feeling, as soon as he entered the town. He was one of the oldest immortals who was left in the world and so was able to sense pre-immortals when he met them, but strangely he could fell both of them just as he entered the town without being near them. He usually tried to avoid such people, so that he was not tempted to force the choice on them to become immortal, as his clan brother Duncan had done with Kate. That choice weighed down on Duncan, considering the outcome. It was not for them to decide who would be immortal and who would not. When the faint buzz suddenly cut out from both of them, he knew what had happened. He leaned against the wall and cursed.

Soon the buzz would return, but be very different. It would be the buzz of two newly turned immortals. He was obviously not sure of how they had died, but he knew they had. If he left without warning them of the new world they now found themselves in, he would be responsible if some head hunter caught them and so after talking to the director of the sales on what pieces he wanted to buy, he turned, left the shop and headed for the local hospital and morgue. It was more than likely, he thought that he would have to take the two newbie’s on as students and train them, so that they could survive their new existence.

He had not had a student for 50 years, but he still kept in touch with many of those he had trained, including Duncan. Taking on two students would be interesting and maybe it would help him take his mind of his growing resentment of being immortal.

 

(Willy’s Bar)

Warren was drunk and was still feeling the high of knowing he had brought down not just Buffy Summers, the supposed mighty slayer, but had also managed to actually kill two of her side kicks. Xander Harris and Tara Maclay were dead and he had done it. Now no one would question his right to the title of villain.

He laughed to himself as he thought of how the other members of the slayer’s group would be handling the situation, he shook his head and then after paying he turned and left. He was now someone to be feared in his mind and with Buffy in the hospital he now had the opportunity to do what he wanted and what he wanted was money and power.

 

(Morgue)

Xander gasped as he came awake in a very unfamiliar place. It only took seconds for him to realize a few things. One he was naked with only a single sheet covering him, two Tara was laid out beside him on another table and looked the same as him and the last thing was he now realized where he was.

He began checking himself and after a quick heart rending minute came to the conclusion he was not a vampire, then memories began to trickle back into his mind and he remembered what had happened. He closed his eyes in pain, as he realized he had failed to protect not just Buffy, but Tara as well. He did not see Buffy laid out next to them, so he had hope that she was only injured. He almost jumped out of his skin as Tara shot up instantly, holding onto the sheet so he didn’t catch an eye full. He noted how she seemed to react the same way, as he had before. She turned and noticed him beside her.

“Xander?” she questioned. “What’s going on? Where are we?” she almost demanded.

“I think we died Tara, this is the morgue,” he answered, looking around and trying to keep his emotions in check, whilst his mind went a mile a minute trying to come up with a reason why they were somehow still alive and for a minute he frowned as he felt a buzz in his head, but shook it off.

“If we died, then how are we alive now?” Tara inquired, feeling dread and horror fill her at her friend’s answer. “I know for a fact we’re not vampires,” she added, also feeling a buzz in her head, but like Xander she ignored it.

“I can help,” a new voice spoke up, causing them both to jump to their feet and look around, to find a man of middle height standing in front of them.

He did not seem afraid to see two supposed corpses come back to life. In fact in Xander’s opinion he seemed to be expecting it. The sharp blue eyes of the man unnerved him a lot. However the understanding smile he sent them calmed him down, something told him he was not a threat.

“Who are you?” Tara asked breaking his train of thought and making him focus once more.

“My name is Connor McLeod of the clan McLeod,” Connor answered, followed by a small laugh. “As to what has happened to you, I’m afraid there is no simple answer to that, although your mention of vampires at least says you’ll listen to what I have to say,” he added. “First things first we need to get out of here, before anyone else comes down and finds you two not as dead, as people believe you should be, put these on,” he told them before throwing some clothes at them.

Xander and Tara exchanged unsure glances, not exactly reassured by his words before shrugging and after turning to face away from each other changed into the clothes Connor had given them, relived that they at least fit. Once they were done, they faced the man once more who indicated they should follow him. Leaving the hospital was not easy, but in time they made it outside and to the man’s car.

Once on the road they took stock of the fact that they had been killed, that their friends believed them to be dead and worse one of their friends was injured. Xander wondered why they were following this man, when they should be looking for Willow and the others. A glance at Tara showed she was thinking a similar thought.

“I know what you are thinking, both of you and no matter how much you want too, you can’t go back,” Connor’s voice interrupted both their troubled thoughts. “I’m afraid the life you’ve known so far is over. You are legally dead and not just to the town, but to your friends and family as well,” he explained. “It sucks I know, I’ve been through it more than once. It’s not a pleasant thing to have to tell someone they have to leave everything they known, everyone they knew behind,” he continued. “Sadly it is necessary if you intend to survive,” he finished, his whole demeanour showing how serious he was.

“What are you talking about?” Xander cut in, angry at what Connor was implying. “What happened to us and why are we still alive?” he asked.

“You’ve both become immortals,” Connor answered. “Immortals have lived as part of humanity since the dawn of time. They are always there and yet like with vampires and demons most people never know they are there,” he informed them with a tight smile. “No one of us knows why we become immortal, all we do know is some of us have the potential to become immortals and of those who do die a violent death then become immortal,” he explained. “The good news is, you can’t die from anything expect having your heads cut off and so can live as long as you can survive,” he stated.

“And what is the bad news?” Tara inquired, shivering at what she was been told.

“The life of an immortal is bloody, as there are those of us who purposely hunt others to take their heads and their quickening,” he replied.

“What is a quickening?” Xander asked, really not liking what he was being told.

“Each immortal is sentenced to playing what is called the game. In the end there can be only one immortal,” Connor explained, knowing neither of the two were going to like this. “We don’t know why we fight this game, but nearly every immortal in time fights another, true friendships between immortals are rare as are relationships, but they do happen,” he added. “When a head is taken there is a discharge of energy which enters the winner and it grants them the memories and strength of that immortal and sadly it is this which makes most of our kind head hunters,” he stated, with a dark look. “Be thankful I was in the area and felt the buzz of our kind, otherwise you most likely would have continued until a head hunter found and killed you both,” he told them.

“My god, I feel sick,” Xander said as he realized what kind of life he was going to be condemned to and Tara also.

“There is another downside,” Connor said, knowing it was best to get it all out into the open. “Immortals can never have children. I’m afraid it just isn’t possible,” he said sadly, remembering the pain of learning that fact from Ramirez, his teacher and friend.

“This has got to be a joke,” Xander muttered, as he fell back against the seat and closed his eyes.

“I’m afraid not, this is deadly serious,” Connor shot back, staring at the young man through the mirror for a minute. “Your lives are changed, you will need to learn how to use a sword and I will teach you, as well as other things you will need to know about being an immortal,” he told them. “I have some friends who will help as well, as I said whilst most of our kind are head hunters, there are those who either try and avoid the game or just live life and stay away from other immortals or form groups of friendly immortals,” he explained. “Of course the last one is very rare,” he laughed bitterly.

“What about our friends?” Tara finally spoke up again.

“I’m sorry, I really am, but they can never know what has happened to you and you can never see them again,” Connor responded. “To do so would be to risk a head hunter using them as bait to draw you out and it happens a lot,” he warned them. “Many immortals have friendships and even relationships with mortals and most often a head hunter uses them to draw them into a trap or just out right kill them to anger the other immortal,” he spat. “Our lives are not meant to come to light of the mortal world,” he stated, before going quiet, as he pulled the car into his motel’s parking lot.

“We can’t leave yet Connor we have to deal with someone first,” Xander finally spoke, his voice all but dead as he came to realize what he had been told meant. “We were killed by an insane geek who has lost his marbles. He also injured another of our friends who has an important job to do here,” he explained at Connor’s look. “You let us deal with him and we’ll come with you,” before pausing, as he felt a sudden dark pressure on his soul.

“Oh my god,” Tara gasped, as she felt the wave of darkness pass over her. “It’s Willow, she’s drawing in a lot of magic and most of it is corrupted,” she said in pain. “Our deaths must have pushed her back over the edge,” she said sadly.

“What are you talking about?” Connor inquired, not really following the conversation.

“Willow is a friend of ours who is a witch, who sadly has been fighting an addiction to magic and had been slowly trying to wean herself off it. Now with our deaths she has snapped, we can feel it most likely due to our closeness to her,” Xander explained. “She is now dangerous. I’ll deal with Warren, Tara you’ll have to get through to Willow,” he said, as he went to exit the car.

“I just told you, she can’t see you,” Connor reminded them, as he finally understood what they were saying.

In his long life he had known many people and that included witches, warlocks and other kinds of people, so he knew they were not talking about some girl who just believed in magic. Plus considering they had been talking about vampires before, he guessed they knew more about the real world than most people.

“I’ll pretend to be a ghost,” Tara said quickly. “She’ll believe that, considering our pasts in dealing with the Hellmouth,” she added. “We have to do this Connor or Willow could do something very bad,” she said, with a gaze filled with worry.

“Ok go,” Connor finally relented. “Deal with what you need to and then meet me back here, prepared to leave this place behind for good,” he told them, trying to ignore the look this statement brought him.

Once they were gone he sighed and leaned back in his seat, as he replayed the conversation in his head. The word Hellmouth leaped out at him and he wondered just what it was these two had been doing before they were killed. Their reaction to the truths of being immortal had been the normal ones, he had become to expect and yet they had believed him a lot quicker than most did, most likely due to facing vampires.

He backed the car out of the car park and headed back to the art shop to conclude his business there and make arrangements to have the pieces he wanted shipped to his own shop in New York, then he would come back and await Xander and Tara’s return, as he finally remembered what they were called.
3. Chapter 3
Chapter 3

(Magic Box)

Willow frowned as Anya dropped to the ground unconscious after being hit in the face, something she had always wanted to do, but never dared too. She had demanded to know where the really dangerous spell books were, but Anya had been very uncooperative, when she had told the blond what had happened to Xander and Tara her response had been that the cheating rat had deserved it.

This more than anything had just enraged her even more, for Anya to so causally say Xander deserved to be dead was just too much and so she had hit her dead in the face and watched in satisfaction as her eyes rolled into her head and she fell to the floor. She turned and began to search the shop.

****

(Willy's bar an hour later)

Warren had come back to the bar for another round of drinks after a successful robbery of a shop. Without the slayer and her gang of helpers he had managed to pull of the gig without any interruption. Even without the help of Andrew and Jonathan, who had gone to ground after their last failure. He had been strong enough to do the job, he grinned as he took a large gulp of his beer.

"There you are, you piece of shit," a voice he recognized said from the side and he turned in shock to find Xander Harris standing in the doorway.

"You're dead," he spat, looking for a way out, but seeing none. "I killed you and that bitch you're friends with," he added.

"Yes you did and that should have been enough to tell you to get out of town, but like the moron you are you stayed around to gloat," Xander agreed. "This is the Hellmouth Warren and if there is one thing you learn here, it is that anything is possible, including coming back from the dead," he told the geek.

"Hey whatever this is, take it outside kids," Willy interrupted, not wanting to see his bar trashed and he really did not like the look in the kid's eyes.

"Stow it Willy, this piece of trash is dead meat for killing Tara and me," Xander returned, knowing he couldn't actually say they were not truly dead. "I was brought back to have revenge and I will have it," he snapped, before darting forward and grabbing the geek by his shirt and lifting him off the ground.

The various demons and vampires around the bar just watched in interest, knowing that two of the slayer's crew were dead was interesting news, but news that held a two edged sword. It was good news as it meant two enemies less, but bad news in the fact that they knew the slayer and the remaining members were going to be on the warpath.

Xander noticed what looked like a normal woman sitting just to the side of him, calmly drinking a whiskey, this meant she was not a vampire and he wondered what kind of demon she was.

"What are you?" he asked, as he walked over to her table still holding the struggling Warren.

"I'm a soul eater, hunter," the woman responded, "And whilst that sounds rather nasty we as a race are neutral in the war. We don't go looking for trouble," she added. "We mostly feed off criminals and evil people, granted sometimes one us will start feeding off anyone, but we deal with those that do quite harshly."

"I don't suppose I can entice you to a free meal?" Xander inquired, wanting Warren to suffer and feeling no guilt in making his death as painful as possible and considering what she had said, Warren fit the bill in what she fed from.

The woman stood after finishing her drink and turned to look him over, before turning to Warren and seemed to look deep inside him. A minute later a smile came to her face.

"I have your word that if I do this you will not come after me?" she finally asked.

"You do and as I said, I am only here to have revenge on the one who killed Tara and me, once this is done I am gone," Xander agreed and he placed the geek back on the floor, but kept a hold of him. "Plus from what you said, you don't attack innocent people, so I've got no problem with you," he added.

Warren himself had gone deathly pale, as the discussion between the two continued, he lost control of his bladder as he realised what Xander was arranging and tried one last attempt to escape, only to be backhanded across the face, this broke his nose and left it bloody and painful.

"Don't be rude Warren, you're spoiling the lady's meal," Xander chastised him with a feral grin, as he handed the geek over.

He and every other entity in the bar watched as the woman grabbed the geek and pulled him close, before opening her mouth. Once that was done, Warren began to jerk and shake as if he was having a seizure. A ghostly fog seemed to exit the geek's mouth and enter the woman's, first slowly and then picking up speed as it went on. Warren's shakes became worse as he gurgled and moaned, before he went limp a few minutes later. All fight having left him.

His skin turned grey and his eye balls turned completely white, even the blood from his broken nose turned a darker shade as the fog exited his mouth at a blinding speed, finally it was over and what dropped to the ground did not resemble the young man he had been five minutes before.

"Not bad, his soul was truly corrupt," the woman stated, looking quite satisfied. "Thanks for the meal, hunter," she added before turning and leaving the bar, ignoring the fearful looks Willy sent after her.

Xander looked down at the corpse of Warren before turning to leave as well, suddenly he paused and looked at Willy.

"Make sure people hear what happened here Willy, make them understand the price of bringing us down," Xander told him coldly. "The body is all yours," he added, before finally leaving.

Willy sighed in relief once the kid was gone, before walking over to the corpse and shivering, he indicated two of the demons who quickly came over and grabbed the corpse and took it outside. Damn that kid had a hard edge, even if he was dead and gone now. His spirit seemed to have been really pissed, to have come back to deal with the geek he thought.

***

(Magic Box)

Willow looked up from the book, she was currently busy with sapping the power from and froze as she saw what could only be a ghost standing before her. Tara stood in front of her, as if nothing had happened earlier in the day. She was confused for a moment, wondering what was going on and even if she was seeing things.

"Willow," Tara said sadly, as she looked over the changes in her lover which included a dark hair tone and noticeable veins in her face, an indication of her warped power.

"Go away, I don't have time for ghosts," Willow snapped, turning back to the book and began to once again sap its power.

"Willow, you have to stop what you're doing, this is not you," Tara told her. "You can't do this, if you do, you are spitting on everything we have fought for and died fighting against," she stated. "Is that what you want? To just ignore the fact, that we died stopping people from doing this exact thing?" she asked.

"I will make Warren and the rest of his pathetic crew pay for taking you both from me," Willow snarled, looking up as her eyes flashed black.

"No, Warren is already dead," Tara snapped back, knowing she had to do whatever it took to get through to Willow. "Xander and I were brought back to balance things out. He is dealing with Warren, whilst I help you focus more on helping Buffy to deal with what has happened, once that is done we go back," she said gently. "We are where we are supposed to be, but your journey is not over and it is important that you forget about revenge and focus on helping Buffy and the others," she said seriously.

Willow almost felt her heart contract, when Tara had said they were back, but that small feeling of hope was crushed when she added they would return, once their tasks were done. She felt tears begin to leak from her eyes.

"Stay," she demanded.

"We can't Willow. Our time is done," Tara responded, feeling her heart break, knowing once she had talked Willow down she would have to leave for good. "But we will always look out for you. We love you and that will never change," she added.

At these words Willow broke down and began to cry. Her eyes went back to their normal colour as did her hair and the veins faded. Tara's gentle words had pierced the anger and hate she had been feeling and it was now fading away, as was her warped power.

"In time Willow, the pain will lessen, but we will always be with you in a way," Tara said, wishing she could touch Willow one last time, but instead she whispered a small spell to put the red head to sleep before leaving the stop.

****

She ran into Xander a block away and as soon as she did, her resolve to stay strong finally broke and she began to cry. She felt Xander pull her to him and she went willingly. Her heart was shattered as everything Connor had said came back, as well as the pain of knowing she would never see Willow or any of their friends again. Xander also let loose, knowing their lives were going to be vastly different from now on.
4. Chapter 4
Chapter 4

(Motel)

Connor looked up as Xander and Tara finally returned and he noticed they both looked as if they had been crying, not that he could blame either of them if they had. The life he had just introduced them too was not one you wished for and these two were only about 20 years of age which was pretty young to be facing the kind of life an immortal lived he thought. He was sorry to be the bearer of the news, but better him than one of the head hunters of their kind.

“You guys ready?” he asked, as he pushed himself of his car that he had been leaning on.

“Yeah, we ready to leave,” Xander said, as he continued to hold onto Tara before he guided her into the back of the car and quickly went in the other side.

Connor nodded and then put on his shades, before getting into the driving seat and after starting the car he headed for the motor way, as he drove he noted how the two comforted each other in the back seat and he supposed that they at least had each other. He had never heard of any immortal having a friend also become immortal at the same time as them, he guessed their friendship would now last a very long time and he was happy for them, to at least have that.

+++

As time passed Willow, Buffy, Giles and Anya managed to get over the pain and loss of Xander and Tara. The news of what their spirits had done had finally broken through the depression Buffy had been in since being resurrected. The knowledge they had come back to first help Willow and then avenge their deaths had seemed to give Buffy a new out look on her life and she began to change her life for the better. She broke up with Spike and made sure he stayed away from her and Dawn.

They would continue to fight the darkness and protect the Hellmouth, but they would never forget their two lost friends. In their eyes Xander and Tara were always with them. New friendships were made and old ones renewed, but for Buffy, Dawn and Giles none of them made as much of an impact as the friendships of Xander and Tara had.

 

(New York, a year later)

Xander watched as Tara moved through the training exercise Connor was teaching them with interest. It had been a long year for the two and whilst they had come to accept the new life style of being immortal they still missed their friends. Each had been forced to take a head already, they had been attacked half a year ago by two slightly older immortals and had managed to come out on top, thanks to the training Connor and his friends, Duncan, Adam Pierson and Amanda had already put them through.

From what they knew from the memories they had absorbed from their quickenings the two had only been immortal for three years and had quickly gotten hooked on taking heads. They liked the rush of taking a quickening. They usually ganged up on older immortals, ignoring the rules of one on one combat. What they were not prepared for was the team work he and Tara shared. They were very used to working together and with the training from Connor and his friends they were easily able to first match their attackers and then over come them. They had hesitated only a few seconds in taking their heads, knowing they had no other option or they would come for them again, even if that hurt shy Tara a lot.

Since then they had been very careful not to be out for too long, as they knew that if they would encounter an older immortal head hunter they would not last long. The strength of their friendship had deepened and grown stronger and helped them deal with the changes in their life. He had to admit he had developed feelings beyond friendship for Tara, but he had kept silent on that fact. He did not think Tara would appreciate it. He doubted she was over Willow even now. In the early months he had held her many times, as she broke down in pain at the loss of the red head.

This more than anything showed he had been right in thinking that the relationship the two had shared was the real deal. He had managed to move on and forget about Anya pretty quickly, but then again his relationship with her had been dead long before he became an immortal.

As Tara finished up the exercise he got up so he could take his turn, before pausing as all three of them felt the buzz of more than one immortal entering Connor’s building. A few moments later they relaxed as Adam led Amanda and Duncan into Connor’s apartment.

Xander got on very well with Adam having a very similar sense of humor no matter that the man was the oldest living immortal, also known as Methos, around or had at one time been the man known in the bible as the forth horseman of the apocalypse, Death. Man that was a day as he found about who Adam really was.

He had a slightly more strained friendship with Duncan due their different views on how to survive the game, whilst Amanda treated him almost like a kid brother. Tara had developed a sister like friendship with Amanda and was very shy and unsure around Methos and also was for some reason very nervous around Duncan, although no one could tell why.

“Hey,” Xander said, before taking to the mat and began moving through the exercise.

“I see, Connor is still putting you through your paces,” Methos replied with a smirk and an approving nod. “Any trouble?” he inquired, as he took a seat.

“No,” Tara replied, still very uneasy around the elder immortal, due to his history and reputation. “We’ve been very careful not to be out for too long, until our skills with our swords are up to scratch,” she explained as the others sat as well.

“Good idea” Amanda said with a nod. “Best not to truly test yourselves until you are really ready,” she added. “Some new immortals never learn that lesson and rush out to face any challenge and pay the price,” she said before shaking her head and clearing it of the memories that had brought forward.

“True enough Amanda,” Connor said from where he watched his student continue the exercise without being distracted by the others conversation, much to his relief. “Some never learn and I have to admit I was once just as foolish, luckily I lived to learn from my mistakes, but only because of Ramirez,” he added somberly.

“Well that is all you can do McLeod, live and learn,” Methos shot back. “Ramirez was a very wise man and was one of the oldest immortals at the time he met you. He knew exactly how to train a newly turned immortal,” he added. “Nakano improved on that training when you were his student and this is one of the reasons why you have been so successful, Highlander,” he explained. “You in turn, have taught quite a few immortals, including Duncan here in the exact way you were trained. Most of them are still alive which goes to show how good you are,” he continued with a smile.

It’s not just skills and life lessons I try and teach them, but also how to avoid becoming a head hunter,” Connor finally responded. “We have quite enough of them as it is and when the Gathering finally comes round again I hope by having as many immortals like us with morals, will ensure the human race is not condemned to live under an insane immortal who has won the prize,” he stated seriously.

Connor’s words echoed in both Xander and Tara’s mind, as they had been told about the Gathering. It had sent a shiver up their spines and chilled their souls. The last Gathering had been won by Connor, but had actually not been the one every immortal talked about, it had only included certain immortals from certain backgrounds and had ended when Connor killed the Kurgan. Connor had explained that when he learned that Duncan and other immortals still lived he had felt extremely angry, as he had thought it was all over, but sadly it was not to be and the game went on.

Clearly every so often a smaller Gathering was held to cut back on the number of immortals in the world. Clearly a balance was being maintained until the time of the final and ultimate Gathering they had all concluded. Connor was clearly not looking forward to the time of that eventual confrontation, as it promised to be very bloody and would ensure even the best of friends would end up killing each other.

“How are things with you three?” Connor’s voice broke through his thoughts and he again concentrated on the exercise he was doing.

“We are fine Connor,” Duncan replied. “Amanda was attacked a month ago, but she dealt with the slime and took his head,” he added, relieved his off and on lover had survived. “Methos of course also took two heads when some immortal bounty hunters came after him,” he informed his friend and mentor.

“They were after my head McLeod. What did you expect me to do?” Methos inquired. “I may be atoning for the sins of my past, but that doesn’t mean I will lay down and let some piece of low life take my head,” he growled out.

“Glad to hear it,” Xander said, as he finished the exercise and turned to face the three immortals. “You’re the only one of the group who can give me a run for my money in the comedy department,” he added with grin, which was quickly shared by Methos, whilst the others just shook their heads.

“So how is their training going, Connor?” Amanda inquired, leaning back in her chair with a relaxed posture.

“Very well,” Connor answered with a smile and his customary laugh. “After they took their first head, I think it helped them get over whatever blocks they had in learning to kill,” he explained. “Since then they’ve learned everything I’ve been teaching with very few problems,” he continued.

“Good,” Methos said with a smile, which turned slightly evil. “We’ve got a slight problem, they are going to help us with,” he added.

“Oh, what kind of problem?” Connor inquired, not liking the tone of the elder immortal’s voice.

“A group of head hunters have started attacking and in some cases killing other immortals, including a friend of ours,” Methos explained with a dark expression. “We’re going to stop them McLeod, but we need a few more people hence this is where you and your students come in,” he added.

“They’re not ready for this,” Connor objected, really not liking this turn of events, although he wondered which of their friends was killed by this group.

“Consider it combat training Connor,” Duncan put in. “We need the help and considering the total sum of years our group contains, we should be able to hold an edge on them, which should keep most of the heat of Xander and Tara,” he stated as calmly as he could, having known Connor would not like this idea.

Connor frowned, really not seeing any other option before he turned and faced his two students, who were watching him. “What do you two think?” he inquired.

Xander and Tara shared a long glance, in which they discussed the situation and then agreed on a course of action. This had been something he used to be able to do with Willow and since being killed and becoming immortal he had managed to build the same kind of bound with Tara.

“We’ll help,” Tara said, turning back to Connor, as they both picked up their swords. “I think we can do this and it will be a good training exercise to see how far we’ve really come,” she added.

Connor thought it over, before coming to the same conclusion and turned and grabbed his own sword, the ivory-handled Masamune katana. It had of course once belonged to Ramirez, but since his death it had been his and it had saved his life more times than he could count.

“Very well, we go,” Connor said, as he swung the blade once, before placing it in the holder within his trench coat, which he had already put on. “But you two watch each others back and stay close and do not get separated,” he ordered them both.

As they were leaving his building he really hoped, that they were not making a big mistake in bringing Xander and Tara with them. He had lost students before and it had hurt so very much, that he did not want to experience that kind of pain again if he could help it.
5. Chapter 5
Chapter 5

(Warehouse)

Connor led the way into the warehouse which their friend Joe Dawson, a watcher, had told them the group was held up in. He already had his sword drawn and a minute later he felt the buzz of multiple immortals, so he knew they had come to the right place. The others all drew their own swords and took up positions near him. Then they saws another group come into the open, each carrying their own swords

 

"Well what do we have here?" Sneered the leader, as he looked them over. "The great Connor McLeod, his clan brother Duncan and well look who it is, Methos, the supposed Death," the man mocked them. "I don't know the girl or the other two," he added. "So to what do we owe the pleasure?" He inquired with a very sarcastic voice.

 

"We're here to kill you," Methos spat, hating it when people mocked him especially his past and he was also a bit surprised that this immortal knew who he really was. "Your cowardly attacks are at an end," he spat.

 

"Oh really?" the leader of the group said before he started laughing. "You think we're scared of your reputations?" he asked. "You three are old news, we are the future," he said confidently.

 

Then as one, the group rushed forward and attacked, but they were met with the calm confidence of Connor and his friends. They easily blocked the swings of the group and quickly paired off and began to fight one on one. They were equal in numbers thankfully and so they did not have to worry about been ganged up on. Connor almost snorted at the over confidence of the leader of the group, who had of course attacked him.

 

Xander made sure to keep Tara in sight, as he blocked the swing by the man he was fighting, noting the Asian look he had, as well as the scar down the right side of his face. He pushed the sword away and countered with a swing of his own, but made sure not to over extend his thrust. Their blades clashed and they struggled to gain the upper hand.

 

Tara and her adversary exchanged blows with speed and she had to concentrate on watching how he moved his shoulder, which told her where he would send his sword. It was at this point that she wished she could use her magic, but she knew she couldn't. She ducked the strike he tried to use to cut her head off and brought her own blade up and into his chest, as he came back around from his overextended swing. She watched as her blade came out of his back and he began to cough up blood. The expression in his eyes showed defiance, as she pulled the sword out and he dropped to his knees trying to reach his own sword from where it had fallen.

 

"There can be only one," she stated, before she swung the blade and took his head clean off at the same time as Amanda killed her own adversary.

 

Xander nodded, as he watched Tara manage to win her fight before grunting in pain as his lack of attention cost him and he suffered a wound in his side. He ignored it as much as possible and quickly struck back, forcing his target back before putting more speed into his attacks, which began to unbalance him and left him wide open for Xander's sudden trust straight into the heart. As the man fell to the ground Xander didn't hesitate to remove his head, he felt no remorse knowing the man would kill him and Tara given the chance.

 

He looked around and noted Methos was basically playing with the man he was fighting and taking huge chunks out of him before finally taking the man's sword hand with a wild swipe, and then following it up by removing his head in a spray of blood. Duncan had already taken the head from the man he had been fighting and was watching Connor and the leader of the gang continued their fight.

 

Connor himself continued to focus on making sure he did not slip up. He made sure his defence was solid as he exchanged blows with the gang leader. He ducked a rather nasty strike, before he jumped to the left and rolled back to the right and then brought his sword straight up into the leader's chest. He smiled tightly at the man, who glared back at him.

 

"There can be only one," he said, before he quickly removed his sword and took the leader's head in a clean swipe.

 

They waited as blue sparks began to crackle around the headless bodies, knowing with so many quickenings going off it was going to destroy the warehouse. The bolts of energy began to smash into them, causing them extreme pain. The storm began to get wild and struck the walls and the ceiling of the warehouse which began to creak and groan under the stress, before it began to come down.

 

Xander and others were all on their knee's taking deep breaths, as they tried to recover their senses. A rather large groan quickly alerted him to the danger and after shouting to the others he grabbed Tara and helped her outside. A few minutes later they all watched, as the warehouse collapsed in on itself and entombing the headless bodies.

 

"They were stupid in believing their team tactics would work on an equal numbered group," Amanda said with a shake of her head. "Plus they truly thought they were a match for us, even knowing our reputations," she added.

 

"Some people will always believe they can face all comers," Connor stated. "What you have to learn is that there is always somebody who can match you. Winning is about more than skill, there is an element of luck to it as well," he added thoughtfully.

 

"True enough McLeod," Methos agreed. "Now let's go and get a drink," he added a second later, followed by a chuckle.

 

"You both did well," Connor said to Xander and Tara, as they followed Methos back to their respective cars. "Your skills are coming along nicely and it won't be long before you'll be ready to go at it alone," he said truthfully. "I have to admit I'm a little surprised at your fast pace, but considering your former lives I guess I shouldn't be too shocked," he admitted.

 

"You are a great teacher Connor," Xander responded. "You are patient and very understanding," he added. "And damn funny when you want to be," he added with a smile, as they got into the car and began to follow Methos to the local bar.

 

"I've just had a lot of practice at teaching," Connor replied. "Still the fact that you are close to finishing your training brings me to another fact you will have to consider," he continued. "Where you will live and what names you will use." he reminded them.

 

"We'll start thinking about new names, but we already talked about going to L.A.," Tara replied. "Whilst we can't be seen by our friends, we can at least watch from the shadows and help them without been noticed," she concluded.

 

"Somehow I am not surprised you said that," Connor said with a laugh, as he pulled into the car park of the bar. "Just remember, if you die a public death you will have to leave and go somewhere else," he reminded them.

 

"We understand and hopefully we can avoid that possibility for as long as we can," Xander shot back. "We will watch their backs as well as each other's and if you need us, all you will have to do is call," he assured his teacher.

 

+++

 

(L.A, Xander and Tara's Apartment two years later)

 

Xander sat in the dark as he thought over the long three years he had lived, since becoming an immortal. Connor had warned them of the down sides of being immortal and sadly he had been right. So far he had taken seventeen heads, whilst Tara had taken fifteen. Each quickening had changed them and yet at heart they remained who they had been before they had been killed.

 

His feelings for Tara had become far more than they ever had been. He loved his friend more than life itself and yet he was still fearful of making this fact known. Neither of them had embarked on any new relationships so far, but he knew it was only a matter of time and if he did not take a chance he may loose Tara for good. He sighed and rubbed his eyes, wishing for a solution to his problem.

 

They had kept an eye on their friends both in L.A and Sunnydale and helped to deal with a few problems from behind the scenes, without being seen. It was hard for them to see the changes in their friends and for Tara even harder to see Willow with a new lover. Their friends had moved on, as they had wished, but they had noted they were more fiercely protective of each other, obviously they were fearful of losing anyone else.

 

+++

 

Tara was lying on her bed in her own room, wondering at the changes in her life. Since becoming immortal a lot had changed for her and strangely the biggest was not having to constantly fight for survival or taking her enemy's head and quickening. She had adapted to that part of their lives easily enough, after she took her first head as had Xander. No, the most surprising changes were to her outlook on life and the way she perceived a lot of things.

 

She had, before being killed, believed she was a lesbian due to the abuse she suffered at the hands of her family. They had mistreated her greatly and what her brother had tried to do to her was even worse. It was due to these facts she had run away from home and fled to Sunnydale, where she had met first Willow and then her friends. They became her friends and in time her new family. They supported her, even when her real family came to claim her and had proven what they had told her about being a demon was a lie. From then on she became more confident and stronger and yet some of the scars did not leave. Her preference for women being the most obvious, but that had started to change after she took her third head and soon she began to look at Xander with new eyes.

 

This was surprising to her and at first she did not know how to handle the new feelings and thoughts she had about her best friend, even today she sometimes found herself wondering what the right thing to do was. She suspected Xander had feelings for her, considering how often she caught him staring at her, when he thought she wasn't looking.

 

Amanda had commented on it quite a few times as well. She visited them often and loved to tease her about what she was going to do. She cursed her conflicted nature and hoped that soon she would come to a choice on what to do. The strain that was beginning to show in their relationship would fade. Finally feeling tired, she curled up in her bed and began to fall asleep and slowly began to dream. A small smile lighting her features as her dream turned pleasant.

 

+++

 

(Demon Bar, next night)

 

Xander stood in the shadows and watched as Angel and Cordelia talked to the green demon who owned the bar, he was called Lorne. Staying out of the range of Angel's senses was not difficult, once you knew how, but he still had to be careful. Watching his old girlfriend and even dead boy was hard, but to ensure they did not encounter anything they could not truly handle it was worth the pain. He frowned as he felt a buzz of an immortal close by and wondered if it was Tara, but then remembered she had gone to Sunnydale to check on the gang.

 

He cursed before leaving the bar and heading down the street, keeping a close eye on his surroundings so he was not blindsided. He stopped as he came to an alley and after taking a quick look around he turned and headed down it. He did not have to wait long for a man to follow him down, holding a broadsword.
6. Chapter 6
Chapter 6

"Who are you and what do you want?" Xander asked as he pulled his own sword, a Japanese Katana, and put himself into a guard position.

"My name is of no importance to you boy, what is important is, is that you killed a friend of mine three months ago and I am here for revenge," the man growled in response. "And just to let you know, once I have killed you, I will find your female friend and take great pleasure in taking her again and again against her will, breaking her until she is nothing more than a slave before I end her as well," the man spat, his eyes cold and burning with hatred.

 

Xander's own eyes turned cold and all of his emotions faded into the background. "That was your one and only mistake," he growled. "For that I will make your death painful," he added, before rushing forward.

 

Their blades clashed and they quickly began exchanging blows, Xander had one thing on his side in this fight and that was the memories of the immortal he had killed, who had been friends with the man now trying to kill him. The memories included knowledge on how the man fought and what tactics he liked to use and thus it gave him an edge.

 

He ducked the wide swing and brought his Katana up to try and catch the man in the side, only for him to bring the broadsword up in time to deflect it and push him away. Xander quickly backed away and swung his blade, he was waiting for the man to strike, which he did with a trust straight for his mid section, but he easily dodged it. As the man passed him, he brought his sword down in a quick swipe which cut into the man's back, causing him to cry out, but he quickly shrugged it off and faced him again.

 

They circled each other for a minute or two, before they struck at the same time. The blades deflected of one another and as they moved they both lashed out with their fists and whilst Xander missed, the man did not and nailed him in the face. He rolled with the punch and made sure to keep the man's sword in his view. He blocked another strike and pushed the man back before straining to push the swords down and to the left before lashing out with a cracking head butt which surprised the man trying to kill him and allowed him to follow it up with a kick to his mid section, which caused the man to bend over.

 

This gave him a chance and he took it, he tried to bring his sword down into the man's back, but cried out, as he felt the man's own blade ram into his stomach. The pain was immense, but he still had enough strength to knee the man in the face and bring his blade out and into a wide arc taking the man's head in a shower of blood. He dropped to the ground, having trouble breathing as the quickening hit, causing him even more pain, before it finally was to much and he fell to the floor dead.

 

+++

 

(Xander and Tara's Apartment, two days later)

 

Tara entered the apartment, feeling tired and alone, having watched Willow ask her new girlfriend to marry her. The site had been heartbreaking, bringing back all of the old pain from having to leave the red head behind, when she became immortal. It had also added to her confusion over what to do about her feelings for Xander. She walked into the living room and was surprised to find Xander sitting in the middle of the room and behind him the dining table was decked out with candle light and a bottle of wine and some glasses.

 

"I thought tonight we'd eat in," was all Xander said.

 

Tara took a close look at her friend and noted he was unusually quite and serious. She came to the conclusion that something had happened, whilst she had been gone. The way he was looking at her was open and honest and in that gaze she saw things that she had only suspected, she watched as he got up and headed for the kitchen, whilst she finally moved and sat down at the table.

She opened the wine and poured them both a glass and waited until Xander returned with two plates of food. She looked over at what he had cooked and was impressed and slightly flattered that he had gone out of his way to cook her a surprise dinner. She looked him in the eye and asked a silent question and after a deep sigh he finally answered after a few minutes of thinking.

 

"I was attacked two days ago by a friend of the last immortal I killed, three months ago," he explained. "He wasn't just after me, he was going to come after you once he had dealt with me and what he said he wanted to do to you, was just too much, he pushed me over the edge as well as made me finally admit something I have been trying to hide," he added, looking away momentarily.

 

Tara shivered as she imagined what this immortal most likely said, before concentrating on the fact that as Xander was here, he must have won the fight, and also on what he had just said. "What did you realize?" she inquired, feeling her heart speed up a little.

Staring her in the eyes he finally decided to go for broke. "I love you," he stated, as clearly as he could and hoped he had not just destroyed their friendship.

 

Tara heard the words, as well as the feelings behind them and was stunned into silence. She had never really thought he would come right out and tell her the truth. She kept contact with his eyes and tried to summon a response, but words failed her and so she stood, joined a second later by Xander and then she pulled him into a deep loving kiss.

 

Her emotions broke loose and she ravished his mouth, desperate to convey her own feelings, a small part of her could hardly believe this was happening, but it was and she wanted it, wanted him. She pushed him towards her bedroom forgetting all about the meal he had prepared.

 

Xander was surprised by Tara's aggressive come on, but enjoyed it all the same and allowed her to take the lead.

 

As they hit the end of her bed Xander felt himself being pushed and he allowed himself to fall onto her bed and looked up at Tara. She stared down at him for a minute before a small smile lit her face and she began to unbutton her blouse. Xander took a deep breath, as she opened up the blouse and revealed her black silk bra, which encased her rather impressive breasts. He had always thought Tara was beautiful, but right now she was a god damn goddess. He watched as she shrugged the now open blouse off, before slowly removing her skirt leaving her in her bra and knickers. She was stunning as she crawled onto the bed and over his body.

 

Tara was slightly nervous, having never had any sexual contact with a male before, but she felt a rush at the moment that was keeping her from doing anything embarrassing. She quickly moved forward and captured his lips in a scorching kiss as his hands came up to her waist. She felt a shiver run down her spine, but moaned as one of his hands dropped down to grasp her ass and gave it a small squeeze.

 

Breaking the kiss for a minute, she looked him in the eyes. "Be gentle with me please, it's my first time with a guy," she whispered.

 

"Always," he whispered back. "You are the most important thing in my life now and I will never harm you," he swore. "Not even for the prize," he vowed.

 

Tara felt almost like crying at how serious he looked, before she kissed him again and allowed him to remove her bra and began to moan as he alternated between sucking her breasts slowly and grasping them. She liked the fact he was going slowly with her, as it said much about his character and showed why she had fallen in love with him.

 

She finally broke them up and climbing to her knees she removed her panties and left herself naked and then watched as Xander quickly stripped out of his own clothes. This was the first time she had ever seen a man naked and she was quite impressed by what she saw. She allowed Xander to pull her to him and began to moan, as he kissed her around her neck and shoulder, when he took one of her nipples into her mouth again she really moaned, whilst he guided her hands to his dick. This was a real new sensation to her and she was very nervous, but with a little guidance from Xander she began to get the idea. A few minutes went by before Xander lay down and slowly guided Tara into position. Locking eyes she slowly lowered herself onto him and groaned at the pain she felt at first, before she pushed herself the rest of the way. She felt her hymen break and she cried at the pain.

 

Xander whispered comforting words to her, as she adjusted to the pain before she began to move again. At first she was very unsure, but she quickly got used to the movements which were very different to what she had been used too. The pleasure soon overrode the pain and she fell into the sensations she was experiencing, as Xander began to once again alternated, between sucking and groping her breasts. Her moans got louder, as the pleasure built and as Xander captured her mouth in a kiss she knew she was close to climaxing.

 

Finally he let her go and the pace increased again, but she knew she was in control, as Xander's grip on her was light and was caressing her back, her climax when it came rocked her to the core and she screamed in pleasure, which doubled as Xander climaxed as well a second a later and the sensation of him coming in her was surreal.

 

Finally they collapsed onto the bed, holding each other tightly. Tara had never felt anything like what she had just experienced and she knew Xander had done everything he could to ensure her first time was special and gentle. They were now one she thought with a smile, which refused to leave as she felt Xander comb his fingers through her hair.

 

"I meant what I said Tara. I will never hurt you, not even for the prize," his voice was soft, as he spoke, but she could hear the honesty in his tone.

 

"Me neither," she replied. "It means nothing to me and I will always be with you," she added, before sharing another kiss.

 

A few minutes later they both fell into a peaceful slumber, still joined together, their futures now joined by far more than friendship, now they were a couple.

 

+++

 

(Connor's apartment)

 

Connor sat with Methos and Amanda drinking a whiskey. Duncan was absent from the meeting due the fact he did not like Xander too much and Tara was just plain nervous around his clan brother, no matter how much she got to know him.

 

"So Connor what did you want to discuss about Xander and Tara?" Amanda inquired, as she finished off her own drink.

 

"I've been investigating the rather strange circumstances around their joint death and becoming immortals since I met them, as it has never happened before," Connor answered. "I finally found something with a little help from Joe and Cassandra," he added.

 

Methos grunted at the mention of the immortal Cassandra, but that was no surprise given their history. The fact that Joe Dawson had helped was not really a surprise, even though he was a watcher he did not let that get in the way of his friendships with their group. He had helped them many times over the years and they all considered him a good man and someone you could trust.

 

"What did you find?" Amanda inquired, very interested in what Connor might have found concerning her friends.

 

"A prophecy concerning two people killed and turned into immortals at the same time, both guardians of the mouth of hell," Connor explained, after a long silence.

"The Hellmouth," Method stated. "So it must be them," he added, to which Connor nodded in agreement

 

"The prophecy continues by stating that the two will change the game forever, aided by death on a horse, the noble thief and the Highlander," Connor continued, before being interrupted by Amanda.

 

"Does that mean you or Duncan?" she asked.

 

"It means me Amanda, I am sure of that," Connor responded, rubbing his eyes. "Duncan is mentioned as the dark haired clan brother who stands apart," he explained. "I'm guessing his problems with Xander keep him from being a part of the group," he said with a sigh.

 

"Where did this prophecy come from?" Methos inquired.

 

"It's Egyptian and is very old," Connor answered. "Old, as in Ramirez old," he hinted.

 

"You think he knew about the prophecy?" Methos asked, surprised by this.

 

"I do," Connor nodded in agreement. "I think he didn't just find me to train me to fight and kill the Kurgan, although that was important. I think he located and trained me because he knew, I would be needed to help Xander and Tara when they arrived," he said, speaking what he had come up with after leaning this. "I think had he not died, he would have helped us as well, sadly it was not to be," he said sadly, even now feeling the pain at the loss of his friend and mentor.

 

"If you are right McLeod, if Ramirez knew about this prophecy then that basically means, that there is a hell of a lot we still don't know about immortals, not even me," Methos interjected.

 

"Indeed," Connor agreed and then faded into silence, as did the others, before Amanda finally broke it

 

"What kind of changes is this prophecy talking about McLeod?" Amanda inquired, as she watched Methos finish his beer.

 

"There is no indication, but knowing them like I do, I think it will be something good," Connor answered. "They will never fight each other of that I am certain, they love each other and if they are not a couple yet, they will be soon," he informed them. "Think about how they came into the game, no immortal before them had a friend or lover they knew before becoming immortal also turn out to be one," he pointed out. "Nearly ever relationship any immortal has with another eventually falls apart, but their relationship is stable. Harming one another would just never enter their mind," he concluded.

 

"So if it came down to the two of them for the prize?" Amanda caught on to what Connor was saying, with Methos close behind.

 

"Then the game would stall. They will not harm another and I think these changes would be in effect, before the actual gathering starts," Connor finished with a smile. "Maybe I am just being a dreamer, but I think they will gather every immortal like us who just wants to live our lives together and forge us into an alliance, that will no longer fight one another," he finally stated his thoughts .

 

Methos and Amanda stared at him for a minute, before looking at each and then leaning back in their chairs to think over what Connor had told them and what he believed. The last part seemed a little far fetched, but knowing Xander and Tara, they could do it and then Methos frowned, as a thought came to him.

 

"There is a downside to this Connor," he spoke up. "If, and that is still a big if right now, they manage to do this, the head hunters might also group up to take us down," he stated.

 

"I know, I had already come to that conclusion as well," Connor agreed. "I think the Gathering will not be single combat, but mass combat between the light and dark immortals for the future of not just the human race, but our race as well," he said seriously.

 

"That is a rather big leap," Amanda said into the silence. "But it is one I can't really deny could be the truth," she added. "If you're right, then us meeting them was no accident and nor was it a coincidence that you happened to be in Sunnydale when they died and became immortal," she pointed out.

 

"Exactly," Connor said, pleased they were both following his thoughts so well. "If I am right, we may be able to stop the game in its tracks for a long while or permanently if no more new immortals become head hunters and that is if there are any new ones," he stated. "Since we've already met them I think it is clear the Gathering is on its way and we best prepare," he added.

 

"First things first McLeod, we better meet with Xander, Tara and Duncan and tell them what you've just told us," Methos interrupted seriously. "I think we can get Duncan to put his problems with Xander behind him and focus on this," he added.

 

"You're right Methos, we'll head to L.A. tomorrow and I'll let Duncan know to meet us there," Connor agreed, before standing up and heading for the phone.

 

+++

 

(Ether)

 

The beings watched as events took shape and nodded in seeing their long plans for the immortals begin to take shape. It had been a long road, especially for some of them and now the game was reaching its long conclusion. The fate of the world now rested on the two guardians and their allies. They needed to pull together all of their brethren that thought as they did and forge them into an army.

 

They needed to do this to meet the army of darkness that the head hunters would forge, when the forgotten horseman rose to power among them. The time of the final Gathering was approaching and the sides were almost set. Soon the ultimate battle would be fought and who would win was anyone's guess.

 

The End

 

(Author's Notes: This is the end of this story, however if someone wishes to do a sequel they are more than welcome, as long as they let me know so I can read it too.)
The End