Title: Once a Slayer, Now an Immortal

Disclaimer: I do not own either Buffy: the Vampire Slayer or Highlander. I am merely borrowing them.

A/N: This story will take place after season seven of Buffy: the Vampire Slayer and after "Revelation 6:8" in season five of Highlander. Richie will not be appearing in this story; he is probably off traveling. Wesley will be on loan from a slightly AU season five of Angel for a few chapters here and there.

* Survival *

"Hello, Buffy." Buffy whirled around to face Travers. He just chuckled to see her so on edge. He asked, "Shall we step off of Holy Ground? We can't very well fight on it."

Still silent, Buffy nodded her assent and moved to the cemetery's exit.

"All right, let's begin," said Travers. Buffy just shrugged and got into her fighting stance. "Why so silent? I was told that the Incredible Buffy Summers always had a witty quip. No quips tonight?"

"Not tonight," agreed Buffy. She wasn't feeling her usual self. As hard as she had tried to remain cheery throughout the day, she couldn't pretend any longer. She was afraid. Very afraid. Deathly afraid. This was different from the routine nightly battles with vampires. This was more like the battles with Angelus, Glory, and even the First. This was personal. This wasn't just the Slayer fighting the forces of darkness; this was Buffy fighting her own foe. She knew that she could win this fight. She was the Slayer after all. But she was afraid that she would win and that it wouldn't change anything. Buffy naively hoped that when she beheaded Travers, everything would stop. The pain. The heartache. The guilt. She hoped it would end but she knew it wouldn't. A part of her understood exactly what Adam had said. The pain would never go away and she just needed to learn to live with it. She didn't want to kill Travers and have everything still hurt. She had thought killing Angelus … Angel … would help, that if she didn't see him anymore the pain would ebb, but it didn't. It got worse. She didn't want this pain to get worse. She didn't know if she could handle it.

They began to fight. Travers took point and lunged at Buffy. This time she did get out of the way in time. She parried each of his blows and fended him off admirably. Each time he came at her, she responded, protecting herself. She had yet to go on the offensive but she knew that she had all the time in the world and was waiting for the right moment.

"You're doing well," said Travers, clearly impressed and surprised. "To be honest, I thought this would end quickly. I thought you'd be dead without the Slayer's abilities."

"Why are you so shocked?" asked Buffy. "I passed the Cruciamentum."

"That was a bit different," replied Travers. "That wasn't against me." He charged again and this time Buffy side-stepped him and brought her glaive down at a glancing angle onto his back. His skin tore and blood quickly soaked his shirt. It barely slowed him down though and Buffy knew that he would heal soon and be good as new.

"Much better than last time," remarked Travers. "What is your secret, girl?"

Instead of answering him, Buffy pulled on the leather thong around her neck, revealing the crystal. Travers eyes widened as he realized what she had. Angrily, he yelled, "That is not fair. It is not fair for you to use the Slayer's powers in an Immortal fight."

"Life isn't fair," shrugged Buffy.

Apoplectic with rage, Travers yelled, "This is not fair! I challenged Buffy Summers, not the Slayer!"

Striking him across the face, Buffy responded, "I finally get what Kendra told me so many years ago. By challenging me, you did challenge the Slayer because that's who I am. I am the Slayer. As long as I live, I will be the Slayer. Nothing can change that." Pushing him away from her, she continued, "I am done denying who I am, fighting my fate—I was only fighting myself all that time."

Taking advantage of Buffy's epiphany moment, Travers sliced Buffy across her right arm, forcing her to switch her glaive to her left. Although her arm would heal quickly, she knew that in the time it took to heal, she was at a real disadvantage. "You're better than I thought you would be," remarked Buffy, as she felt her quickening's lightning zigzag across her wound.

Laughing, Travers replied, "My dear, I have trained many potentials—many Slayers."

"Yeah," bit off Buffy, "so that they could fight for you and you would never have to get your hands dirty." She couldn't even look at Travers without feeling bile rise in her throat in disgust.

"Isn't that what you did?" asked Travers. "You took little girls and put them in the middle of a war. You got so many girls killed, and for what? There is another Hellmouth in Cleveland. You didn't change anything."

"Shut up," growled Buffy lowly.

"Ooh, shut up," taunted Travers. "You couldn't think of anything better?" Then his voice grew serious and cold, "I know why. Because you know I'm right. You sent those girls into Hell and they died. You killed them."

"No," said Buffy quietly, shaken.

Travers took the opportunity to charge Buffy again and this time he was successful. He stabbed his sword through her midriff and Buffy was reminded of the fight in the Hellmouth. "Pardon?" sneered Travers. "I didn't hear you."

"No," said Buffy a bit stronger this time. "No," she said more forcefully, standing up. "No," she yelled lunging at Travers and driving him back. "That is not what happened."

"Yes, it is," hissed Travers. "You can tell yourself that it isn't, but it is. Nothing you say can change that."

"You're wrong," said Buffy on the offensive, in their physical fight as well as their verbal fight. "I didn't send those girls into Hell."

"Oh?" asked Travers while deflecting one of Buffy's blows. "Then what did you do?"

"I led them into Hell. I am nothing like you." Buffy viciously slammed her elbow into Travers' chin, knocking him off balance for a second, giving her the chance to kick him in the chest, sending him sprawling to the ground. She could have taken his head then and there but she wanted to finish their "conversation." She needed for this to truly end. Killing him prematurely would leave it feeling unfinished and she couldn't abide that. "If I were like you," she continued, holding her glaive at his throat, "I would have sent them into the Hellmouth by themselves. But I went with them. I fought alongside them. Have you ever fought alongside a Slayer?"

"There was no need to," replied Travers, eyeing her weapon warily.

"How many deaths could you have prevented if you had just helped?" asked Buffy, with a pleading tone to her voice.

"That isn't the Watcher's job," roared Travers, bringing his blade up and pushing Buffy's away. Getting to his feet, he said, "That wasn't our job. That wasn't my job."

"Why not?" questioned Buffy. "What did you have to lose? The Slayers have their lives to lose. You're Immortal. You didn't. Why didn't you ever step in?" Travers lunged and Buffy pushed him away like he was nothing. "I'll tell you why. Because you are a coward. You're a coward who is more comfortable letting little girls fight your battles than fighting yourself. I may have let little girls fight my battles, but they did it with me. They were never alone."

Travers grasped for something to dishearten Buffy and give himself the advantage. He could tell that Buffy was no longer discouraged and that she was regaining her strength. Once that happened, he knew he wouldn't have a chance at winning. He could not let his life end this way. Not at the hands of the most troublesome Slayer the Council had ever attempted to train. He could not let that bitch win. Trying to stop her, he said, "That doesn't change the fact that you got them killed."

"No, it doesn't," agreed Buffy. "Nothing ever will. But a friend recently told me that it is the guilt I carry that will keep me from ever becoming a monster like you. I'll live with the pain. You won't live at all. Let's finish this."

With that, Buffy lunged at Travers. He countered and their weapons met in the air with such force that they each felt the vibrations down to their shoulders. The sounds of metal clanging together filled the air, making it impossible to continue the conversation had either wanted to, which neither did. Buffy was floored by Travers' skill. When she was a teenager she had always assumed that Giles was the exception to the rule and that most Watchers did not have combat training beyond learning to point out the flaws of others. She realized then that they all knew how to fight, even Wesley when he first became her Watcher. They just considered themselves above fighting. As Travers had said: it wasn't their job. It was hers.

Travers clearly had practice fighting against foes who were immensely stronger than him. From the years of training Slayers, Travers knew how to compensate for his inferior strength and how to use her own strength against her. Even Buffy had to admit that the fight was much fairer than she had thought it would be.

Not letting herself get disheartened again by this realization, Buffy kept striking, hoping to tire Travers out and get him to lower his guard. The moment she saw a hole in his defense, she took advantage of it and buried her glaive in his abdomen. He gasped as blood came bubbling out of his mouth and pouring from the wound. He tried to strike Buffy with the edge of his sword but she easily batted his arm away. Unable to grasp his sword any longer, he dropped it and clutched his abdomen, feeling the blood ooze through his fingers, thick and sticky.

Falling to his knees, Travers knew that he was dead. He looked up at Buffy with fear. He tried to beg her to spare his life but his lips couldn't form the words. The only sound that came out of his mouth was that of blood gargling in his lungs and pushing up his throat and through his teeth. He pleaded the only way he could—with his eyes. He lifted them up to Buffy's, swimming with emotion, praying that she would show him mercy. But the Council didn't train Slayers to show mercy. His eyes only met Buffy's cold and uncaring ones.

Buffy felt no sympathy for him. This man had gotten so many girls killed and he didn't even care. Why did he think his life was so much more important than theirs? Without wasting another word on this man, Buffy raised her glaive and swung, lopping his head off in one swift move.

Seconds after his head hit the ground. The lightning storm began. Buffy arched her back as Travers' quickening slammed into her. She felt her hair lift off her neck as a strong wind blew across her body. She could feel the temperature rising and the sting on her face as a streetlamp exploded, showering her with broken glass.

When the lightning storm ended, Buffy collapsed exhausted onto her knees. She knelt there in the dark for about ten minutes before taking a deep breath and standing up. Picking up Travers' body as though it weighed nothing, Buffy threw it into a nearby dumpster, tossing in the head after it. After covering it with some garbage, Buffy walked away. It was over and that felt good. The pain was still there but it didn't feel as raw and she was glad to be alive.

She began walking down the street toward Joe's bar when she sensed something nearby. Stopping, she closed her eyes and let her Slayer senses do the job for her. Just two seconds later, she opened her eyes knowing that there was a vampire back in the cemetery. There wasn't any debate in her mind. She immediately turned around and walked back into the cemetery, glaive in her right hand and sword in her left. She was now an Immortal, but still the Slayer.

* The End *

Tha-tha-that's all folks!

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