Xander's Secret

Author: DhampyrX2 <princemoon_2000[at]yahoo.com>

Rating: PG

Genre: Highlander Xover

Disclaimer: O don't own any of these characters except Jonathan Mason, ans his Immortality still belongs to the Highlander people. I make no money from this. Please don't sue me. I'm Poor.

OOC: I found this in old stuff and thought I'd post it. It was the first BtVS fic I ever wrote. I had an old sequel in the works called Secrets Revealed set around the Mayors time that I'll revamp later, but Buffy won't discover Xander's secrets until a later point...maybe season Seven. Heh heh. Die Caleb, Die...ehrm. Sorry. Anyway, on with the fic.

Chapter 1

"I HATE this!" Xander thought to himself as he walked down the alley to his appointed meeting. "A year and a half of hiding myself from my friends, and for WHAT?!? To ditch Bronzing with Cordy to go off to what may well be my death. I say again, well think anyway, I HATE this."

He'll never forget the night it happened. Buffy was in a supreme psycho mood from getting killed by the master, and had rushed off leaving everyone behind in the library. Giles was reading about the ritual to raise the Master muttering something about translations while Xander had picked up a vicious looking sword from the weapon locker. As he twirled the sword his mind kept switching from thinking about that dance with Buffy at the Bronze, and how she used him as a prop to get to Dead Boy, and how natural the blade seemed to feel in his hands. It was as if he had always been meant to have one. He'd soon learn how right he was. Xander finally gave up on his musings and listened to Giles as the Watcher started to triumphantly state how he had translated the ritual better than the book he used to translate it for Buffy had.

"Great timing G-man" he thought to himself as he puzzled at why the old Brit had suddenly gone completely white in the face.

"You were right, Willow, it is a trap." Giles said in a somber whisper, "It's just not for Buffy." Giles then looked pointedly at the half-dozen vampires on the second tier of the library that had silently entered moments before.

Xander spun around and leveled the sword at the demons in a traditionally graceless, Xander-like way.

Everyone stared at each other for a moment in a surreal kind of limbo that exists only before a battle begins. Suddenly that trance is lifted and all six vampires attack at once. Willow went down immediately, unconscious or dead, Xander wasn't sure which, but he and Giles were putting up a decent fight. Xander was surprised at the older man's skill in combat, even though common sense would have told him that Giles had to know how to fight, if he was supposed to train Buffy in combat arts. Another surprising thing was that Xander was holding his own with the sword he had. He was no slayer, mind you, but it was like an unconscious instinct to fight back took over inside him. That was an instinct he would hone with training later on, and would use to save his life on more than one occasion. He seemed to fight as if it were natural, and rather than panicking, a dead calm seemed to settle within him as he fought two vamps at once.

He did little damage, but he did keep them at bay for a couple of minutes. Finally, one lunged at him head first in frustration, a fatal error. Xander spun around in the most graceful and natural movement his sixteen year old body had ever made and decapitated the vampire in one slice. Unfortunately he was so stunned that he just stared as the other five rushed him, the others having taken out Giles just before Xander had destroyed their compatriot. Two vampires he could keep at bay for a while, five was an impossibility. It was only matter of seconds before he was beat senseless and fell to the floor. He was just conscious enough to hear bits of their conversation over the ringing in his ears.

Vampire 1, "Don't kill him yet, you fool!"

Vampire 2, "He killed Justin!"

Vampire 1, "I don't care, we need them to restore the Master!"

Vampire 3, "We don't need this one."

Vampire 1, "You sure?"

Vampire 3, "Yes, he was not near him when the slayer killed him. He was with Angelus fighting us."

Vampire 2, "Good."

The next thing Xander heard, he was certain would be the last thing he ever heard, the sickening 'CRACK' as his neck was snapped by the swift kick the vampire landed at the base of his skull. He was never sure how long he was "dead." All he knew is that he woke up to a splitting headache as Buffy arrived too late to stop the demons. He chewed her out, and even threatened her a little, mostly out of fear for Willow and the others, but it all worked out in the end. Buffy beat up the bad vamps, and worked out her issues on the Master's skeleton, and all was well. At least for everyone but Xander. He couldn't for the life of him figure out how he had survived, much less how he didn't have a scratch on him the next day. A week later, he would get his answer, and his life would change forever.

He was walking Willow home, still uneasy about her safety after the vampire attack the week before. After he dropped her at her doorstep he began to head to his house when a strange headache overtook him on the sidewalk. It felt like a weird buzz that was both in and around him all at once. Once it had passed, he became aware of a young man standing about fifteen feet in front of him. The stranger was about six two, with short brown hair and brown eyes. He looked like he was in his late teens to early twenties, but his eyes seemed older somehow. Those eyes struck Xander as odd, that and the fact that the guy was wearing a black trenchcoat on a warm September afternoon. Xander was about to go on his way when the stranger began to speak.

"It's about time you Awakened," he said, "I was about to give up and let someone else train you."

Xander now thought, 'great a psychopath, just what I need', as he said, "Excuse me, I've got to be going."

"Why? Is Buffy waiting for you to help her slay vampires in the graveyard, or are you, her and Willow going to the Bronze tonight?"

"How did you...I mean, what are you talking about?"

"Save it kid, I've been shadowing you for a while now. I know all about you and your friends, but I'm more interested in that buzz you felt in your head just now."

"Who are you?"

"Someone who went through what you've been going through a while back who's willing to help you deal with it if you want me to."

"And just what is that?" Xander asked half-sarcastic, and half-intrigued.

"Dying. Or more importantly, why you woke up after you died." the stranger replied calmly, then added as Xander began to sputter denials, "I told you to save the act, kid. I checked on you right after those vamps killed you last week. They broke your neck and you know it. I'm just glad you came to before Buffy found you. You're not ready to move on yet."

"Move on to what? Look I'm only going to ask you this once more...WHO THE HELL ARE YOU?!?"

"My name is Jonathan Mason, and I'm an Immortal, and so are you."

"What? Look man I don't know what your problem is, but I'm not immortal."

"Yes, you are. That buzz you felt is how we sense when another of our kind is near. Now come on, there is much we have to talk about, and standing in the street is not the most comfortable place to do it in. My car is this way. We can talk at my apartment."

"Why should I go anywhere with you? You're telling me these crazy stories, and for all I know your a demon trying to get me to betray my friends."

"You should go because, deep down, you know I'm telling the truth, and you need my help to stay alive."

Xander never understood why he got in that car, but in retrospect everything Jonathan told him was true, and trusting him saved Xander's life. Jon spent the next few hours telling him about the Game, the Rules, and the need for a sword. He explained how Xander could die temporarily, but the only permanent way to be killed was to lose his head. He told him about holy ground being his only refuge, and about a rule that would bother Xander far more than most other Immortals.

"What do you mean I can't tell my friends?"

"Xander, you know full well, that if you tell them, they'll get involved in the Game. It would only put them in danger."

"C'mon, Giles gave us the same speech about Buffy being the slayer, and we do fine."

"First off, there are a lot more ways to stop vampire than there are an Immortal, and secondly you died at the hands OF a vampire. I wouldn't call that fine if I were you. If you hadn't been one of us, you would be dead. Period. Not to mention you and your friends live with enough danger as it is. You don't need to add to their problems."

"Alright, fair enough. I get that reasoning. I just have one question."

"Go ahead."

"Why did you wait around here to train me? I mean if there can be only one, why help me?"

"First off I train others to pass on what my teacher taught me. It's a tradition as old as the Game itself. Second, I chose to put a little extra effort into waiting for you because I was Awakened by a vampire attack as well. I know what it's like to fight them and I can train you to fight both Immortals, and the undead, effectively."

"Oh. So, uh, how long you been doin' this gig. I mean...well,"

"How old am I?"

"Yeah. I mean, no offense, but you look around my age."

"None taken. I'm, 212 years old. I was twenty when I had my first "death." Now we need to start training you to survive. We'll meet every day, for two hours after school. Every day you miss adds three hours to your training in the morning on weekends. You might also want to start jogging in the morning, but stay near populated areas and holy ground if you do. No sense taking chances..."

Xander smiled as he remembers Jon running off his "schedule from hell" to prepare Xander for the game. He remembers the hours of training, both mentally and physically for life as an Immortal. He remembers Jon giving him his Toledo Salemanca, worth almost two million dollars, and his own black trenchcoat to conceal it. He remembers Jon talking for hours on end about his own teacher, Duncan MacLeod, and all that he learned from him.

He then frowned as he remembers hiding his true nature from the others. Acting like he couldn't fight so they would never suspect, leaving his sword behind far too many times to be safe. Acting way too immature to compensate for having to grow up way too fast. He remembers taking his first head, thus ending his training, but not his friendship, with Jon. He remembers fighting three other Immortals since his first, and killing them all. He remembers not telling Buffy about Angel's soul so she would finally do her job and kill the sadistic bastard, although his real reasons had nothing to do with her. He remembers hunting with the Slayerettes, to try to keep the population of vampires down. Then going out alone with his sword later on to clean up the ones that got away. Tracking and killing vampires was the only time he felt right about his life. The only time he wasn't living a lie.

He remembers Buffy coming home, and taking that peace away from him. Of course he knew he was being way too snotty toward her. But he couldn't help it. It was eating him up inside to hide form them all and she took the only outlet he had away. Well, almost the only outlet. There will always be times like this...off to face some nameless Immortal he met at the Bronze in combat to the death in an abandoned warehouse. He remembers sensing her, and watching as she sauntered up to him last night. He could tell from her eyes that she was all business. Although, their heated agreement on when and where to meet in hushed tones did look intimate, and drive Cordelia crazy to boot. Not that he would stray, or that he wanted to torment her, but the thought of him attracting other girls always made their make-out sessions a little more exciting. It felt like she was trying to snare him all over again.

"I just hope she never finds out about that fluke with Willow. I REALLY need to end that mess..." His thoughts are suddenly cut off as he senses his opponent. She is standing in the middle of the warehouse, sword drawn, waiting for him.

He takes a moment to scan the room for surprises, and interlopers. The last thing he needs is a vampire, or worse yet, Buffy or Faith, showing up right now. Satisfied, they introduce themselves and begin.

It was a good fight; Xander came far too close to losing for his head comfort on more than one occasion. But in the end, he survived, which meant that that his unfortunate partner in this deadly dance, did not. It was a fairly strong Quickening, as he absorbed all 600 years of her life. Her age surprised him. Very few women last longer than 200 years in the Game. As soon as the Quickening ends, he crawls to his coat, completely exhausted, and takes out his laptop computer. Using the knowledge he has just gained, he transfers all the hidden bank accounts his adversary had in reserve to his own accounts. A neat little trick Jon had taught him. It was okay, as long as he didn't kill them FOR the money, but it will just go to waste, or to the Watchers, if he doesn't get it. After he's done, he walks to his fallen adversary's body, and takes her sword, and purse, keeping the money and tossing her ID(after removing any extras under other names) in a trash can. Now her death will become another "robbery gone wrong" in the files of the world's most inept Police department, Sunnydale PD. He puts the swords in his coat, puts it on, then dusts himself off.

As he walks home, he thinks to himself, "Why can't I have normal secrets like everyone else. I can't be a slayer, or a good vampire, or a werewolf. OOHHHH NOOO! I have to be the freak that cuts people's heads off to try to claim a Prize that may or may not exist. I say again, I HATE THIS!" Then out loud, he says to himself, "It's still early, I guess I'll wash off the blood and call Cordy. I'll tell her my cold feels better and I want to go Bronzing after all. At least I can try to salvage some of the evening."

He buries his hands in his pockets picks up the pace. Ready to face another night of keeping his secret and living his life in the shadows.

The End