Disclaimer: I own none of the characters, I'm just borrowing them. This is just for fun.
AN: This story is a follow up to my story "A Walk In The Park" It is a one shot and is complete. Post Season 7 for Buffy and some time after the final season for Highlander as well.
A Walk In The City.
Traffic was at a stand still but Duncan had expected it. That’s why he’d hired the car for the evening. Horns blared and head lights glared but he didn’t mind. He just reclined in the back seat and let the driver worry about everything. Duncan Macleod loved Paris, but he hated driving it on a Saturday night.
It had been an interesting evening to say the least. He had attended an antique auction featuring a number of historical swords and other weaponry, an art show in the same gallery featuring military themed works from over the past 5 centuries all following a very good dinner. Too bad Amanda couldn’t make it; she had to take an emergency vacation back to the States. Duncan smiled, only Amanda had to take emergency vacations. Even so, it was good to do the bachelor thing again. Not that he and Amanda had an official thing going on, they just fell into it whenever they crossed paths and neither had anyone else around.
Something got Duncan’s attention. It wasn’t much more then a slight shiver and brief knot in his stomach but he recognized the weak or distant Quickening. He sat forward so he could look out the car’s tinted windows. Who was it? Somebody he recognized? A newbie? A hunter? Someone else? As the car crept along the street, his experienced eye caught sight of somebody. A young woman who looked to be in her early to mid twenties was walking quickly but cautiously down the sidewalk, her long coat hugged tightly about her. Though the sidewalk was crowded, she wove expertly through the throng keeping close to the buildings and the shadows. Something about the profile of her face and straight blond hair seemed familiar. He was about to let it pass when he noticed a dark stain on the back of the woman’s dark brown trench coat. Only an experienced eye would have noticed it for what it was; blood.
Duncan leaned forward. “Stop here, I’m getting out.” He reached for the door. “Find a place to park or keep circling. I’ll call you when I’m ready.”
The car lurched to a halt causing a cacophony of horns to sing out behind him but he didn’t care. The door swung open and the immortal stepped to the street and quickly to the sidewalk. Duncan immediately started following the young woman and the faint buzz from the Quickening. He didn’t want to get too close. If she was new, then the buzz she would feel from him would be even more confusing and if she wasn’t well he might find himself led into a situation that might cause the expensive clothes he was wearing to be damaged. The tailors in this town loved him.
The woman disappeared. Duncan stopped and scanned, where had she gone? People pushed by on the sidewalk and the endless line of cars with their constant screeching of tires and blaring of horns crawled by in the street. There she was, just reaching the other side of the street after weaving expertly through the traffic.
Following her, Duncan was not nearly as elegant in his crossing as cars screeched to a stop and more horns blared. He watched her, still clutching her jacket, turn into an alley and disappeared. Without making it too obvious he was following somebody it took Duncan a couple of minutes to thread his way through the crowed and into the alley. He arrived just in time to see the woman exit at the far end and turn right.
After jogging down the alley, Duncan came to a street that wasn’t as crowded as the first. Most of the people were overflow from bars and nightclubs he’d left behind. The woman was gone. She was lost in the crowd and traffic. The Highlander stood in the mouth of the alley, hands jammed in the pockets of his overcoat wondering what to do next. If she was new, she could be in danger. But the most important thing was; where did he know her from?
The door to the large apartment swung open then slammed shut.
“Willow!!” Buffy stormed in.
“Hey, Buff. What’s up?” Willow hadn’t looked up from her computer.
“Look at me.”
Willow looked at her friend standing there her new long brown suede jacket with a large dark stain in the middle. “What happen, spill a cappuccino?”
Buffy opened the jacket revealing her new white top and beige leather pants covered in blood. “No, I bled on it.”
“Buffy, are you okay!?” Willow jumped to her feet and rushed over. “What happened?”
“Oh, I’ll be just fine.” Buffy frowned. “But I think my clothes are terminal.” She took off her jacket and put two fingers through a blood soaked hole in the back. “I liked this jacket too.”
“What happened?” Willow asked again a little less excitedly. “Did some nasty vampire stab you again?” Willow leaned down to inspect the wound as Buffy pealed her shirt off. A small round hole on the right side just below her bra line was starting to heal over.
“I wasn’t stabbed.”
“I haven’t seen anything this bad in awhile.” Willow looked at Buffy’s back. A much larger hole continued to ooze dark blood. “Oh, you’re still bleeding.” Willow immediately ran to a cabinet and started pulling out first aid supplies.
“Yea, it’s been a few years since I was shot.” Buffy tried to chirp her response but it still sounded sarcastic.
Willow turned around pale. “You were shot?”
“Yep, the longest living slayer shot by a mugger.”
“Well good thing the mugger guy, it was a guy right? They usually are.” Willow looked down at the wound. “I mean it’s a good thing he was a bad shot, you could have been killed.”
“Willow.” Buffy put a hand on her friend’s arm as she wiped at the blood. “The last time I was shot this bad you used some really dark magic to heal me.” Buffy looked in her friend’s eyes. Willow looked back at the wound and continued cleaning.
“No it’s just superficial like when you were scratched during the battle in the hell mouth.”
“I wasn’t scratched, I was skewered.” Buffy gently pushed Willow away then sat on the coffee table so she could look her kneeling friend in the eyes. “Willow, what is going on?”
Willow closed her eyes and sighed. “I’m not sure.”
“Will, you have an idea or you wouldn’t be going all wiggy.” Buffy smiled. “Besides you’re probably about the worst liar I know.”
“Oh, no, Andrew is a much worse liar then I am.” Willow defended as she leaned around to continue cleaning the wound on Buffy’s back. “And Clem, he’s a really lousy liar too. Oh, oh, remember when Andrew lost that stack of reports and tried to tell us an alien death ray had vaporized them?”
“No changing the subject.” Buffy said. “Yes, Andrew’s a bad liar but at least he’s creative about it. Now tell me what you’re being all avoidy about.”
“Well you remember back when we, well I brought you back.” Willow stood up and walked away a few steps.
“Of course.” The thought of the experience still gave Buffy chills but she’d learned to live with it and forgiven her family a long time ago.
“It was an extremely powerful spell, when people are exposed to that kind of magic it makes them more, I guess, susceptible, is as good a word as any, to other magic.”
“Are you telling that I heal like this because you brought me back?”
“Yes and no.” Willow hugged herself tightly and sat down on the sofa in front of her best friend. “I’ve been thinking and reading about this since you were ah, skewered, but I wasn’t sure and really didn’t want to test it.” Willow leaned down and taped a large square of gauze to the wound on Buffy’s back.
“Have you ever heard the word ‘quikening’?”
“Of course.” Buffy held out her hand palm down and smiled as she said “It’s part of your finger nail.”
Willow frowned trying to figure out where Buffy’s train of thought had taken her this time. “Oh, the quick.” Buffy was not a dumb woman, but sometimes her frame of reference was quite unique. “Right word, wrong usage, sort of. The quickening is what some people call our life force. Some say it’s the energy created by being alive and some say it’s the energy that gives us life. When a baby moves in the womb for the first time they say it has its quickening.”
“So what does this have to do with me being all super healie all of a sudden?” Buffy pulled a small blanket off the couch and wrapped it around her bare shoulders.
“It’s also said that it’s the energy that allows the body to heal. My guess is that part of the slayer package is a little extra quickening to help you heal faster than normal people.” Willow looked at Buffy to make sure she was following.
“Okay, quickening, life, healing, with you so far.” Buffy confirmed.
“When you were shot before,” Willow started off carefully to avoid the pain that came with these memories. “It wasn’t magic that healed you. Magic can’t do that. At least that kind of raw power can’t. What I did was super charge your quickening, forcing you to heal at an extremely accelerated pace.”
“So, what? You gave me super healing powers. And you were going to tell me when?”
“I didn’t think I did.” Willow said. “It should have been temporary; it takes a lot of energy to accelerate healing like that. It never even occurred to me until well after we left Sunnydale and I actually had time to ponder everything that happened that day.” Willow moved from sitting on the edge of the couch to leaning back comfortably. “I started researching everything; all the spells I used, all the…things I’ve seen, everything.”
“You mean all the spells you used on me?” Buffy asked.
“And all the symptoms you’ve seen from me?”
“I thought maybe all the combination of spells and magic changed you some how, made you even harder to kill. I didn’t tell you because I couldn’t be sure, and how would we test?” Willow pulled her knees up and hugged them close to her chest. “Plus I didn’t want you to become reckless thinking you were. What if I was wrong? How could I live with myself if I told you something I only suspected and I was wrong?”
Buffy moved over and sat next to Willow. Putting her arm around her she said “Don’t worry; I forgave you for everything a long time ago. It’s amazing, the worst things you’ve ever done were all done out of love.”
“You’re getting blood on the couch.” Willow said in a soft voice.
“That’s why the Council pays for a cleaning service.” Buffy replied as she continued to hug her best friend.
“Look on the bright side of this.” Willow said suddenly perky.
“We’ll have to go shopping tomorrow to buy replacement clothes.”
“Nothing like shopping to cure the screwed with by magic again blues.” Buffy laughed.
Duncan Macleod stood in the morning sun leaning back against an expensive apartment building. The neighborhood looked a lot different during the day. He’d come back in the daylight to see if he could find a trail of blood. The woman had been bleeding quite a bit and it wasn’t unthinkable that she may have left a trail.
He’d followed the blood through another alley and to the steps of a private apartment complex. He was half way down the block watching the front door waiting for something. Perhaps the buzz of another immortal or even seeing the woman again and making sure she was okay. Even better would be to figure out where he’d seen her before. He’d remember if he’d met her before, he never forgot a beautiful woman particularly and immortal or pre-immortal one.
The door opened and two young women came out, one with bright red hair followed by a slightly shorter one with blond hair. Neither was an immortal, he was sure he’d be able to sense a full fledged immortal at this distance. As they approached he could hear snippets of their conversation.
“…so I went back to the store loaded down with all my bags.” The blond was saying.
“Oh, my goddess.” The red head said with a laugh. “You did a Julia Roberts! I have always so wanted to do that! Did you do the line?”
“I asked her if she worked on commission. ‘Wee.’ It sounded like she was chewing bones. I did a little twirl to display all my bags and said ‘Hmph, too bad for you.’”
“Way to go Buff!”
The two women laughed and did a high five as they passed Duncan. Neither was an immortal and he was pretty certain they weren’t either pre-immortals either. He was also certain this was the blond he felt and followed last night. There was something else, he recognized her voice as well but still couldn’t place it.
“You’re not going to be here when we get back are you?” The voice of the blond said quietly from in front of him.
Duncan looked up from his thoughts. The blond was standing there looking up at him while the red head waited a few meters down the street.
“Excuse me ma’am?”
“If you’re looking for your hotel I’m sure I could point you in the right direction.” She said very sweetly.
Duncan suddenly remembered where he recognized the woman from. “That’s okay; I have my own place here.”
The woman bounced on the soles of her feet. “Cool, maybe I’ll see you around.” She spun around and headed back to her friend. “Let’s get going Wills we have a lot of therapy to attend to.”
“Who’s that?” Willow asked quietly when they were out of ear shot. “He’s pretty hot.”
Buffy glared at her friend.
“Hey, gay, not blind.”
“I met him out on patrol a few years ago in high school.” Buffy said. “Do you remember I told you about those guys fighting some game with swords?” Buffy remembered her brief briefing from Giles on the Game. Immortals, heal real fast, kill them by taking their head, there can be only one. She’d figured out everything but the Game and only one part on her own any way.
“Yea, that was weird?”
“He’s one of them.” Buffy considered for awhile. “I wonder if their ability to heal really fast has to do with like a super duper quickening or something.”
“Could be.” Willow agreed. She’d have to call Giles about it, see what he had.
As the two women continued down the street, Duncan just stared at them. She was that girl from the cemetery. All grown up and still threatening him. He watched the two climb into a cab. “Buenos Aires is nice this time of year.” Duncan Macleod of the Clan Macleod thought as he stepped away from the building and headed down the street in the opposite direction.