The Queen of Slayers

Summary: The spell to activate the Potentials changes Buffy. She is now Immortal and is also the Queen of the Slayer line. This puts her in the company of a band of Immortal heroes and their Watcher.

Pairings: none to start with, but eventually there will be Buffy/Methos. I can't think of any minor pairings right now.

Warning: I don't know; maybe language and innuendo somewhere along the way. This is not a Scooby-friendly fic, but it is nowhere near the level of bashing that my fic 'Charmed Places' was. It takes a long time for her to say anything to any of them. So they don't get mentioned much until later.

Timeline: BtVS – Immediately post-'Chosen'.Highlander – After Richie becomes Immortal, AU otherwise.

Disclaimer: BtVS characters belong to Joss Whedon / Mutant Enemy. Highlander characters belong to Davis-Panzer Productions. I claim no rights to any copyrighted material. Please do not copy or take this story without my permission.

A/N: This is mostly in response to Challenge #1599 by Claddagh. But I'm also attempting to use it as sort of my own interpretation of a response to #4372 by ChaosCarlos and #2324 by raynee. They'd take up too much room to list the details here so if you want them, you'll have to get them yourself. Nuh (stick tongue out).

A/N2: Thanks to my betas for their help... Claddagh, DawnDreamer, AshDawnSoulmates, ktweaver, and Chrislover.

Chapter 1: The Crowning of a Queen

Sunnydale High School

She ran from the Hellmouth and Spike as fast as she could manage with her mortal injury. Buffy was afraid she'd never make it to the others in time. Finally she got to the front door just in time to watch them pull out. They were leaving without her!

Before she could fully grasp the thought, she was unexpectedly standing just outside the city limits, watching the bus race towards her. She spun in a circle, looking for the reason she was here. Her answer was in the form of a certain balance demon – Whistler.

"Whistler…" she began to threaten him before realizing that she was as good as dead until he came. "Normally I'd come up with a good way to terrorize you, but since you just saved my ass, I'll settle for thanking you and asking what you're doing here. Then I'll decide if I need to practice my hat-making skills."

"Hey Slayer," he began with a enigmatic smile, "or more appropriately, Slayer Queen. We can talk as soon as they stop. By the way, they can't see us – we're blocked by the Powers from their sight."

Buffy turned and watched in horror as the town began to fall away into a giant hole. It kept getting closer and closer to the fleeing bus – almost swallowing it – before it stopped its cave-in just before the city limits sign. She started to run to the bus when Whistler grabbed her arm and pulled her back.

"Not now, we have to talk first," he admonished.

She hesitated for a second before nodding her agreement. It must be something really big for him to save her like that. She saw the people exiting the bus abruptly stop – as if frozen in time. She arched an eyebrow at the demon.

"After our talk, you can watch them. It may interest you to see their reactions firsthand." He had heard what was said as the bus left the school. "But first, the witch's spell did more than activate the Potentials."

"Like what?" she asked warily. That tone he was using never sounded good.

"For one, it started a new line…this one being male. I know what you're thinking: Why now? Simply put, there's more going on than the threats you normally deal with. There is going to be an upsurge in human evil to counter the defeat of the First. I'll tell you about that in more detail later. But know that it will be your responsibility to find him and train him," he explained, waiting for the explosion.

When it didn't come right away, he continued, "The main effect that concerns you though, is you are now the Queen of the Slayers."

That caught her attention this time. "Yeahhhh, you said that before. What does that mean?"

"The witch had to use you as the focus of the spell. Even though the Slayer line ran through Faith, she wasn't strong enough for it," he elaborated while stepping back slightly. "What this means for you is basically two things: the first one being that you control the Slayer line and who gets Called."

He saw the confusion on her face and went on, "For example, if someone abuses their power, you have the ability to take it from them and erase them from the memory of the supernatural world. That's not to say that they will be protected from further harm, just that they can't be targeted because they were once the Slayer. Or in the case of the male line, his identity as the Defender will remain hidden from the criminal world."

He took another step back, cringing faintly at the threat she was going to throw at him for this. "The second part is something you probably won't like. You are now Immortal. You won't age and can't be killed permanently. Any injury you receive will heal at a rapid rate. In the case of an explosion or the like, you will simply re-emerge somewhere else. You are the basis for the myth of the Phoenix."

The demon paused before giving her the good news, in a manner, "When you find a worthy successor to take over as Queen, only then will you be able to move on – either to go to heaven immediately or to age at a normal rate and then die a mortal death."

She nodded dumbly, obviously still in shock. But she was aware enough to pull up the hem of her shirt to look at the wound that should have killed her in the Hellmouth. All she saw was smooth skin gracing her stomach.

Whistler took advantage of her distraction. "Now there's a different kind of Immortal out there. They start out as orphans, age at a normal pace until their first death – which is a violent one. At that point, their Immortality kicks in. They have the same healing ability as you, but they can be killed…by beheading."

Buffy shuddered; it was bad enough when it was a vamp but at least they would turn to dust. Even the demons wouldn't be as bad because, hey! She's supposed to kill them. "Okay, ewww! How come I haven't heard of them before?" she asked, confused that this hadn't come up in all her time as a Slayer.

"Because the Powers have shielded their existence from the Watchers Council for the past thousand years." He took a calming breath before resuming, "Once upon a time, they helped the Slayer. But because of the Council's corruption and obsession with controlling the Slayer, they started targeting the Immortals' weakness and hunting them down. Eventually, the remaining Immortals stayed away."

Her eyes narrowed in rage. Those assholes were lucky they were dead! She just might be tempted to have Willow bring them back so she could kill them all over again. How many Slayers died too soon because those bastards didn't want to lose their weapon?

"The Immortals had their own problems to contend with anyway. The god that created them was a twisted bastard. Part of the burden of their lives is the folly of 'The Game'. In order to win 'The Prize', Immortals challenge each other in a fight to the death. When the victor takes the other's head, he or she receives the 'Quickening' of the loser. It consists of the memories, abilities and personality traits of the one who fell. This cycle continues until there is only one Immortal left."

"And what is this great prize that's worth killing for?" She shook her head in confusion. What could possibly be so important?

The demon shrugged his ignorance. "No one knows. But because of the effects of the Quickening, it's assumed that it is ultimate power and knowledge."

The petite blonde snorted in derision, "Sounds more like ultimate pain and loneliness. Seriously…killing the only people that can understand what you're going through and can stay by your side as others grow old and die? That's completely insane!" she exclaimed.

He agreed, "True. That is why more and more of them are abandoning the Game. Instead, now some of the older Immortals take a new one under their wing and teach them how to defend themselves and also how to live as an Immortal."

She thought about that for a minute before nodding. "Well, that makes more sense. So what do they have to do with me since I'm not really one of them?" She couldn't imagine why she needed to know this now. Apparently she had enough on her plate without having to deal with these people.

"The Powers would like you to go and be trained by two of the best," he urged. "Then afterward, you'll need to recruit them to make up your Watchers Council – although I highly urge you to rename it. Each generation will have many Potentials for every Defender Called, just like the Slayers."

She pushed aside the daunting task he laid before her and focused on what she knew. "How will the Slayer line work now? Will a new Potential gain her power at a certain age or will a new one be Called when one dies?" the new Slayer Queen questioned.

He let out a deep sigh before he answered, "You have to remember that there has to be balance. Because it was necessary, you and the witch were able to activate the current batch of Potentials between the ages of 14 and 17. But as they die, they won't be replaced until it is down to the final six. Then it will return to when one dies, another is Called."

Before she could ask, he added, "Same for the Defender line. As human life expectancy increases, the age of the Potentials will shift to 17 to 25 years old. The reason for six is so each populated continent will have their own Defender and Slayer to protect them. They can work together to stop apocalypses but normally will have their own territory to manage. Antarctica won't have one because, honestly, they don't need one."

"You never know, some of those penguins can be pretty brutal," she teased. But then something occurred to her. "You said that I had to track down one Defender. But you said that each continent would have its own."

"The others will come over time. When your new 'Council' is established and each Defender is adequately prepared, another will be activated on the next continent until they are all protected. Whether you maintain separate Councils for each line or blend them, there should be a headquarters on each continent for training and such," he lightly suggested.

Buffy barked out in disbelief and shock, "Excuse me? I'm supposed to run two Councils? You guys do remember that I'm a college drop-out and former fast food worker, right?"

Whistler dismissed her fears, "Pfft, you're smart enough to handle it. But mostly you have the amazing ability to draw people to work with you. They will handle the details for you if you let them. For now, you are supposed to concentrate on yourself, then the Defender line. By that time, you will be able to assume responsibility for the training of the Slayer line. It's safe enough in the hands of the others for the time being," he added, almost as an afterthought.

She looked at him suspiciously and bit out, "Why wouldn't I just start working with them now?"

He shot her a look that clearly said 'You're kidding, right?' before inquiring, "Are you saying that you'd want to work with them right now? In the first place, they believe you died in the collapse. Which means that you can't tell them about Immortals or even your Immortality."

"I don't know-" she shook her head, keeping secrets rarely worked out for her. Especially when it came to a person's living status.

He took a chance and stepped forward to shake her. "Look at what they just did to you this last battle! Yes, you made some mistakes – which happens when you aren't omnipotent and omnipresent – and yes, you had a different battle plan than theirs, whatever that was," he tacked on scornfully. "Because of that, they booted you out and handed the reins to someone straight from prison! They didn't even acknowledge that you were right about anything. The closest they came was agreeing with your final solution."

His voice softened while he told her the rest, "And I hate to tell you, but it was only because they were desperate and didn't have any other options. They may not have wanted you as a leader, but they certainly didn't want to risk losing you as a fighter or even worse, you leaving with the Scythe."

She scratched her scalp with her fingertips, trying to come to some conclusion. All she could come up with was her family. "Whatever," she said dismissively, "Dawn's still my sister and I have to give her a second chance, even if she's the only one. But on the other hand, for all my past trouble with her, I think Faith deserves one too."

He pinched his nose at this girl's stubbornness to let go. "How about a compromise, Kid? We'll let you appear to them in a dream. If they show sufficient remorse for what happened, you can tell them a little about yourself. But you can't tell them about the Immortals or the Defender line until they have proven trustworthy. Is that enough?" he requested, hoping that the Powers would agree to it too.

She slowly nodded her approval, "Sure. I'm not ready to let go of the past with the rest of them just yet anyway. And I know that you're right. Even though they don't care for my leadership, they're always happy to use my Slayer-ness to their advantage. Pulling me out of heaven made that perfectly clear to me."

The funny little demon perked up for a moment. "Speaking of which…kind of, the witch's magick can no longer affect you. In addition, since she also bound herself to the Slayer line with the spell, she is also under your jurisdiction. So she won't be able to go all dark unless you allow her to." He warned, "She doesn't know that or that you can remove a Slayer's power. She might think she has some control over that. We'll find about that in time though."

"Umm, are the Powers afraid that I'll abuse this power?" she asked nervously. What was that old saying? 'Absolute power corrupts absolutely'? Or something like that?

"You haven't in the past. You may have tried to ignore your Calling a few times, but you never used it to your personal advantage," he assured her.

Buffy shook her head in disagreement, "Well, there was that one time when Faith and I broke into that store-"

Whistler cut her off quickly, "Doesn't count. It was the wrong thing to do – or at least the wrong attitude to have while doing it – but it didn't constitute an abuse of power. Faith working for the Mayor? Sure. Robbing ATMs to buy the latest shoes. Sure."

He looked at her encouragingly. "But you took a job working at a burger joint to pay for your living expenses. They believe you're a pretty safe bet. But if it makes you feel better, they won't let you go mad with power. They take it away before it happens," he offered.

"Actually, that does make me feel better. But it would make me feel even better if they would promise to warn me first, before I get out of hand so I have a chance to change," she counter-offered.

He gave her a smile as he turned to the bus again. "You got it, Kid. So…you ready to watch them now?"

She shrugged, "Okay," curious about what was going to happen and what the demon standing next to her knew about it.

A/N: Next…The survivors mourn, sort of.