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Times Past

DISCLAIMER: Although I don't really like to do this, since I have to, all members of the Buffyverse, (Buffy, Angel, Giles, Xander, Willow, Jenny Calendar, Faith, Spike, Drusilla, and Kendra) belong to Joss Whedon, Warner Bros., and Mutant Enemy. All people pertaining to the world of Highlander, (Duncan MacLeod, Joe Dawson, Tessa, and Methos) belong to Davis and Panzer Productions and Rysher. The poem/song at the end, "Oh, Bonny Portmore", also belongs to the owners of Highlander. (If you watched the last episode of Highlander, you would have heard this being sung while a montage of Duncan's life flew by.) Anya belongs to no one, since she is/was a real person.

Anything else, including my own personal interpretations, and thereafter screwups of, certain events, whether historical or otherwise, are my property, and as such, permission must be asked of to utilize such interpretations in other peoples' stories. (By the way, you can always reach me in my kingdom in the Labyrinth if you want to. Hoggle has gotten very good at taking messages for me, as well.) Now then, after you've read the background info., which is rather important, on with the story. (Note: If Angels' last name sounds/looks familiar, it's because it's the same one as Chief Miles O'Brien on DS9. {I'm a BIG Trekkie fan, and I had to think of something!})

SPOILERS: If its aired, you're for-warned.

Authors Notes: Although this story would be classified as during BtVS's second season, there are many differences between the events on the show and the events in this story. Therefore, I have determined that although this would take place during the second season, it is done in a different timeline. (I'm a big believer in alternate timelines.) As such, here is my personal interpretation of the events that are pertinent, or semi-pertinent to the story.

In connection with Highlander, I can only find two matters of importance. One is the fact that, because of certain events that take place during the course the story, Duncan isn't, and hasn't ever, dated or met Amanda. Also, Richie has had that accident that's talked about in the fifth season. Also, there's one other important note. When I have "Immortal" with a capital "I" anywhere in the text, I'm meaning the type of people like Duncan and Methos. When I say "immortal" with a lower case "I", I'm meaning someone who has the ability to live longer than the conventional human.

Now, in dealing with BtVS, even though by this time, Angel should be evil, have killed Jenny Calendar and Kendra, etc., etc., he is still good. One of the main reasons why is that, because a friend of Buffy's acquaintance was so concerned for her welfare, she became a Christian. (Sorry for the lame excuse, but I had to think of something!) Because of that, she has realized the wrong in sleeping with Angel, so she began to look for other possibilities, since they both found out about the curse. (Incidentally, everyone important knows that Jenny's a gypsy.) Since she knew Jenny still practiced her healing arts, Buffy asked if she could find a spell to make Angel human again. (Jenny's still working on it.)

Along those lines, after a recent personal surprise attack by Spike and Drusilla that left her in the hospital for a while, Jenny realized that she really cared about Giles, and he of her, since he visited her every day until she got well. After she got better, Giles proposed, and she accepted. They're still engaged at the time of the story. Also, Kendra has since died in a car crash, so Faith has moved to Sunnydale, CA, and helps Buffy when she has to leave town, while her new Watcher, Marisa, takes care of Giles's duties when he has to leave town, like for a Watcher's Convention. Also, before I forget, Buffy's mother does know what her daughter does.

Another happy ending is that of Willow and Xander. (In this timeline, no matter how weird it may seem, Oz and Cordy are dating each other.) Willow finally got up the gumption to tell Xander how she felt, and found out something. Apparently, the only reason Xander had been going after Buffy was to make Willow jealous, since he had realized that he liked her, too, but like her, was too afraid to say anything. Anyway, they've been dating for a while by the time of this story. Speaking of which, this is the end of my babbling, so go enjoy the story.


July 17, 1918

"Wake up, wake up, girl. There's been shooting in town, and you need to get downstairs, where it will be safer."

The guard roughly shoved the 17-year-old out of bed. She dressed hurriedly, knowing the guards would be angry if she didn't.

"Move! Downstairs, now!"

Once downstairs, the girl saw her parents and her four siblings standing around until someone got chairs for her mother and little brother. She noticed that the servants that were still with the family were downstairs, as well.

Then, one of the guards read from a paper that said that, by order of Vladimir Lenin, they were to be executed for the sake of Mother Russia. Her father only had time to cry out in surprise before he was silenced forever by a shot to the head.

After she saw her beloved father shot in cold blood, the girl did what she had been taught to. Even though she was quaking in fear, she crouched down, and stayed down, even as she heard the screams as her mother and sisters were shot until they didn't cry out anymore. During all of this, a stray bullet ricocheted, and hit her in the chest. She fell down, unconscious.

She came to a few minutes later, and surveyed her surroundings. Her entire family, as well as the loyal servants, had been killed. She saw that the guards had left the room, and decided to use the opportunity given to her by fate. She quickly scrambled onto all fours, then crawled out the window, and escaped.

Part 1

Wednesday, June 7, 1997

"Well, it's finally the end of the school year. I'm all ready to head for the beach. How 'bout you, Buffy?"

"Xander, we can't go to the beach just yet. We've first got to get to the library and find out just what Giles wanted to tell us about, remember?"

"No. Do you have any idea what it could be about?"

"Nope. Willow might know something, though. She's been holed up in the library almost all day," replied Buffy.

"I should have known that the wonders of history always take precedence over having fun when school's out," Xander quipped with his usual dry humor.

The two walked into the library and saw Willow at the computer, and Giles nowhere to be found. But, the aforementioned Watcher/Researcher/Slayer trainer soon walked out of his office and noticed the two new arrivals.

"Ah, Buffy. Thank you for coming promptly. There's something I wanted to ask you about."

"Rupert, here's the maps and statistics that you wanted," called Jenny from the balcony, as she walked down the stairs, and handed the materials to her fiancÚ.

"What did you want, Giles?" Buffy was finally able to ask.

"Well, I recently received a message from a friend of mine in Moscow, and she was complaining about a sudden rash of unexplainable murders. Care to take a guess as to why I volunteered that we be ready to leave in about two weeks?"

"Because of all the gorgeous Russian girls?" hazarded Xander, which got him his foot stepped on, and an angry look from his girlfriend.

He shrugged. "Hey, I was just kidding! I know what Giles meant. We're going because the great Watcher is sure that the murders are the work of one of your neighborhood vampires, right?"

"Correct, Xander. I have managed to get tickets for the 26th to London and on the 28th to Moscow, thereby leaving you all a little leeway to do some sightseeing. But, by the 26th, you all need to have valid passports and enough money."

"What will our excuse be to our parents?" asked Willow, knowing that, although Buffy could tell her mom what they were really going to do, she and Xander couldn't.

"Well, you are all going on a previously arranged trip to Russia to, to..."

"To study the Romanovs!" cried Ms. Calendar.

"Thank you for the save, Jenny. Now, remember, you have just two weeks to get this all done. Is there anything else I forgot to mention?"

"Yeah. Who'll take care of the vamps while we're gone?"

"Faith will be taking care of your part, while Angel and Marisa will take care of my part. We will all be gone about two weeks. Moscow will feel like spring does here at this time of year, so pack accordingly. Anything else?"

"Yes, Rupert. Do you think that you can spare enough time to have a cup of tea with me so that we can discuss some things privately?"

The three teenagers watched as the usually unflappable Watcher began to stammer and blush. They tried to hold back their grins, but were entirely unsuccessful. Finally, Willow decided to step in and help Giles.

"Giles, since I'm done with what you wanted me to do, I'm going to take my boyfriend, and my best friend and leave to plan my travel wardrobe. We'll see ya later." With that, she grabbed her two friends, and dragged them out of the library.

*. *. *. *. *. *. *. *. *. *. *

Buffy was walking home later that night, and after such a long day's work, longed for her bed. However, she sensed a familiar presence behind her that had been there for a while. Without turning around, she said, "Hello, Angel. You can come out now. I do believe that three blocks of following me is enough, don't ya think?"

Her boyfriend appeared at her side, and pulled her towards him.

"Usual night?"

"Yeah. Spike and Drusilla are getting soft. Their minions are getting dumber and dumber. Take the idiot behind us."

With that, she spun around, and, before the vamp behind them could react, she rammed a stake through his chest. Then, she turned around, and hugged her boyfriend, apparently unfazed.

She smiled. "Now then, what were we talking about?" Angel tried to suppress a grin, but failed miserably. "We were talking about what Giles told me as soon as I woke up this evening."

"Oh. So Giles already told you all about what we're doing for our summer vacation?"

"Yes, and I think that I might be able to come with you. At least up to London."

"Whoa, whoa, whoa. Slow down a minute there, Angel. If you go with us, who will help Faith and Marisa?"

"A friend of mine, Marcus, who is a vampire like me, will be taking care of things while I'm gone."

"Now then, other than not wanting to leave me unprotected in London, what's there for you?"

"There's a Scot who may be living in London who was an old friend of my family's."

"Angel, why would a person from 200 year ago or so be still around, if he isn't a type of vampire like you?"

"Don't worry. I'll explain it all to you later. Right now, though, I must say good night, sweet princess." As he said this, he leaned down, and kissed her.

Buffy smiled, and kissed him back. "Farewell, my prince." With that, she opened her door, and went inside.

Angel stood below her bedroom window for a moment, and then left, never noticing the stranger that climbed up to Buffy's window, placed a note on the windowsill, and then, seemed to vanish into thin air.

*. *. *. *. *. *. *. *. *. *. *

Buffy walked into the library the next day for training exercises, and saw that everyone was there, except for Xander. At her questioning look, Willow nodded towards the back. "He's back there looking for guidebooks on Russia and Moscow."

At the mention of their upcoming trip, Buffy pulled a piece of paper out of her pocket, and handed it to Giles for him to read. Jenny and Willow looked over his shoulder.

"I found this on my windowsill when I woke up this morning. What do you think of it?"


You must come help us. M.R. depends on your expertise. A friend will meet you in Moscow when you arrive. Please. This is not a hoax. The threat to M.R. is immediate and severe. M.R. hasn't been in such turmoil in nearly 70 years.


"Well," said Giles, after everyone there had had a chance to look at it, "I can't determine much about it, except tat this Anya somehow knows about our trip to Moscow. I can't figure out who M.R. is, though."

Jenny took the paper from her fiancÚ, and held it up to the light.

"Just as I suspected!" she exclaimed. She motioned for Giles to come look at something she had noticed. She pointed to the paper. The two teenagers crowded nearer, so that they could see, too. "Look in the middle of the paper. Do you see the watermark in the paper? It looks familiar."

Giles looked at it more closely. "I know what that is. That's the old crest for the Romanov family!" he cried. "That means that M.R. isn't someone, it's something! More precisely, it stands for Mother Russia, which is a term used amongst the younger generation of Russians after the collapse of the Soviet Union seven years ago.

Buffy jumped in. "Which means that the reason that Anya knows about our trip is that she's probably connected to someone in the Russian consulate. Right, Giles?"

"Correct, Buffy. This means that Anya expressly wants Buffy to come help."

Xander chose that moment to enter the conversation. "Buffy needs to come help with what?" he asked, as he gave Willow the books he'd found. After everyone had filled him in on the events that transpired in his absence, he said, "Well, I find this all very exciting, but I'm going to take myself, and my girlfriend, if she wants to come, to the local ice cream place to look at these guidebooks. See ya later."

Giles turned to Buffy and Jenny. "We might as well get started on your practice, Buffy. We have a lot to do in two weeks."

Part 2

Wednesday, June 26, 1997; 830 p.m.

La Guardia Airport, New York City

"Is everyone here?" asked Giles.

Jenny took a head count. "Yes, I've counted a total of six heads, which is the number we should have for this leg of the trip. I hope everyone has their carry-on stuff, because the plane boards in five minutes, so stay near the gate."

Angel was looking out the window at the stars. He turned around as Buffy came up.

"Hey, you okay, Buffy?"

"Yeah, I'm fine. I just wish I knew what that note meant, besides the obvious, of course. I mean, why did Anya send me that note in the first place? What was the point? I mean-"

"Well, I'm going to talk to Duncan as soon as we get to London. That is, if I can find him."

Buffy handed him her note. "Why don't you let him look at it? I mean, maybe he can find something out that we missed. It can't hurt, can it?"

"No, I don't suppose it can," said Angel, as he put the note into his jacket pocket. "By the way, do you know where in London you'll all be staying?"

Buffy nodded. "Yeah. We're staying at the Castle and Crown. Giles says it's really good."

"Yeah, I've stayed there a couple of times, so I know where it is. The reason I asked is so that I can get you the information about where I'll be staying. That way, you can give me the information about where you'll be in Moscow."

"Which means we will be able to communicate important information back and forth, right?"

"Of course," Angel replied. After that, they had to scramble for their bags when their plane was called.

*. *. *. *. *. *. *. *. *. *. *

"Man, am I beat," said Xander, as he collapsed onto his hotel bed the next morning. "But, at least I have this room to myself. What about you, Willow?"

"I'll be rooming with Buffy while we're here."

"I think the main reason I'm so exhausted is because we didn't get here until 1 o'clock am, our time."

Buffy popped her head in the door just then, and heard the tail end of the conversation. "You know just as well as I do that the reason we got here so early in the morning is because Angel was coming with us. He said he's looking for an old family friend who's supposed to have rooms in London."

Xander just couldn't resist. "Well, shouldn't he be looking in graveyards, then? I'm sure that besides corpses, the only family friends he'll find are dust mites by now."

"Xander!" cried Willow, as she flung a pillow at him.

Buffy set the record straight, after giving Xander an ugly glare. "No, his friend's some kind of immortal being, but he isn't a vampire. Anyway, the reason I came up here is that Giles and Jenny said for me to tell you that when you're ready, they want us to meet them downstairs to show us what a proper English breakfast is like."

Xander quipped, in a false British accent, "Oh, I would just die if I didn't have a proper English breakfast!" This had the two girls in fits of hysterics, but they left to go downstairs after they had quieted down.

Meanwhile . . . . .

Duncan MacLeod was walking up the stairs to his flat, when he had a tingling in the back of his mind. It was different than the feeling he got around other Immortals. *If it's Immortals, then, it can only mean- Vampires!* With that thought, he brought out his katana. "Okay, vampire. Show yourself!" With that exclamation, a semi-familiar figure stepped out of the shadows near Duncan.

"Angelus!" he spat out. "Why are you here?"

Angel reacted quite graciously in the face of such scorn. "I must say, Mac, that, for someone over 400 you sure don't look your age."

"Enough with the complements, vampire. Why are you wasting your time? Last time we met, I remember you trying to kill me with your army saber. If I recall, I had to flee to the family chapel to keep you from eating me, just to be safe. What's so different this time?"

"This time around, MacLeod, I'm not the bad guy anymore. Gypsies took care of that fact. I was cursed with a soul, and have carried its burden for a little more than a century. Oh, I don't go by Angelus anymore. It's Angel now, which my girlfriend thinks is rather appropriate, since I'm a guardian angel of sorts to her."

"Fine, I guess that you can come in then." He spun around. "But, the only reason I haven't killed you yet is because you didn't kill me. But other than the information that you just gave me, what brings you to London?" As he said this, he had opened the door, and poured himself a drink. Knowing that Angel didn't drink; he didn't bother to ask him.

Angel sat down on the sofa, and took out the note that Buffy had let him borrow. "The main reason I'm here is to get your opinion about a note that was left at my girlfriend's house about two weeks ago." He handed the note to the Immortal.

Before Duncan could say anything, Methos walked into the room. When he noticed the two men in the room, he looked questioningly at Duncan.

"Mac, what's going on? I heard you come in, and came in here to ask if you wanted a drink. I see you already have one. What would your friend like?"

"I don't drink," answered Angel. "And I doubt that Mac has any AB handy."

Even with that information, Methos didn't bat an eye. "You must be Angelus. Duncan's told me about you. If he can trust you, so can I, I guess."

"Angel, please. By the way, I was just about to ask Mac if he knew anything about this note."

Duncan handed it to Methos to read. As the other Immortal was reading it, Duncan asked Angel something that had been nagging him for a while.

"Who's your girlfriend, anyway, Angel. The last I remember, I saw you and Darla, I believe, leaving your house, and me stuck in your family chapel."

"Like I said earlier, I've changed." He proceeded to tell the two Immortals what had happened, including the gypsy curse, his subsequent wanderings, his meeting Buffy, and the death of his lover by his own hands.

After all the explanations, Duncan hazarded a guess about some information that Angel had been reluctant to elaborate on. "So, you're saying that this Buffy is your girlfriend? From the hazy description of the predicament that you found her in when you first met her, that she seemed determined to try to stop on her own, makes me figure that she can only be a Slayer. Am I correct?" At Angel's astonished look, he knew he was correct.

"Wait. Wasn't your daughter Cassandra a Slayer, too?" asked Methos.

"Yes, she was. You see, Angel, I know what a Slayer does. Cassandra came to my wife and me soon after her eighteenth birthday, and told us everything. About two months later, I came back from a business trip to find my wife and daughter slaughtered. At least I know it wasn't you, since you must have had a soul by that time. Anyhow, you don't need to worry about her secret being revealed. It's safe with us. Now then, about that letter."

Part 3

Thursday, June 27, 1997; 9 p.m.

Buffy, Willow, and Xander were all heading back to the hotel that night, after a wonderful dinner at a local pub that Giles had known about, when Buffy "sensed" someone behind them. After indicating to Willow and Xander what she planned on doing, she spoke. "Well, I don't know about you, but I need to stop for a moment. You guys go on ahead, and I'll catch up in a few minutes." After watching her friends go around the corner, she spun around, stake in hand.

"All right, creep. Show yourself. I haven't got all night, you know."

A man with clubbed back black hair stepped out of the shadows. "So, you're the beautiful Slayer girlfriend I've heard so much about today." Mac looked at her more closely. "I can understand what he sees in you."

Buffy was taken aback for a second, but quickly regained her composure. "Okay, who are you, and what do you want?"

Realizing she had gone on the defensive, Duncan put up his hands in surrender. "Relax. I'm a friend of Angel's. He sent me to give you my analysis of the letter you received. My name's Duncan MacLeod."

"All right, I believe you. Why I don't know, but..."

Duncan noticed a familiar restaurant close by. "Why don't we go get something to eat while we go over this? Is that okay?"

"Yeah, I guess so," said Buffy as she put her stake away and followed him into the restaurant. Immediately after they walked into the restaurant, Buffy was surprised when, after the waiter saw who was with her, seated them immediately. She turned to MacLeod. "You come here a lot?"

Mac evaded the question somewhat. "My family has been patronizing this restaurant for about 300 years. By the way, you can call me Duncan."

Buffy had a skeptical look on her face. "Why do I get the feeling you aren't telling me the whole story about this?"

"All right. I should have remembered that people like you are usually very perceptive, what with what you do for a living. But, you can relax. No one will find out from me what you do. I know what harm it can cause to people." His face clouded over for a moment, and then vanished. "But, you're partially right. It was only me and my associates, mainly Fitz and Methos."

Buffy's look turned to one of utter amazement. "How?!"

"I'm what's called an Immortal. We're a type of being that can't be killed by just any ordinary means. You have to cut our heads off. Other means of trying to kill us, other than incineration, possibly, won't work."

"So, a nice, clean stake through the heart just won't work on you guys?"

"No, I'm afraid not."

"However, if you're immortal, then, how old are you?"

"I'm a little over 400 years old. Also, if you're wondering how I know what and who you are is that I had a daughter 90 years ago who was also one, as well. Her name was Cassandra."

"So, Cassandra MacLeod was your daughter? I thought your name sounded familiar! Giles says that her Watcher wrote a lot about her and her family. What happened to her?"

"I came back from a business trip to find her and my wife murdered, obviously by vampires."

"Oh, I'm so sorry."

"Oh, there's nothing for you to be sorry about. It wasn't your fault. There was nothing I could do, except to bury them, which is exactly what I had done with Angel's family two centuries before, when I found them." He looked up at Buffy just then, a look of profound sadness on his face. "That's one of the big problems with being an Immortal. You seem to end up burying many of the people you love, and usually alone." Soon after he said this, their food arrived.

After they had eaten, Buffy asked him about what had happened. "I mean, how did you know Angel's, er, Angelus's family?"

"I had, at one time, been Angel's mentor. That is, before he volunteered for His Majesty's Army, and got his duty assignment. About the time he got his assignment, two years before this all happened, I was called back to Scotland with news of my father's death. I had just decided that, since I had to be in town for business, I could always visit and see how everyone was doing..."

*. *. *. *. *. *. *. *. *. *. *

Dublin, Ireland


"Well, if you aren't a sight for sore eyes, MacLeod. What has it been? One, two years already?"

"I really don't remember, but however long it's been, it's been too much. How are you, Darien?"

Darien O'Brien gave his good friend a hearty handshake. "What brings you to Dublin, anyway, Duncan?"

"I was in town for business, and I thought it would be good to see how everyone was doing? You remember that I left rather suddenly the last time I was here, and I'm sorry."

"Oh, that's okay. I understand. Your father had just died. It's understandable."

Duncan let it slide, not wishing to explain to his longtime friend about all the intricacies of Immortal genealogy. "So, how is everyone."

"Oh, well, Jennifer and Kathleen married good lads in your absence. That means I have just Miranda, young Bradley, and Angelus at home." Duncan noticed that at the mention of his former pupil, Darien grew pensive.

"What's wrong with Angelus, Darien?" he asked, getting to the point.

"Well, frankly, Mac, he has me worried. When you left, he had just been posted in the army."

"Right. But, since he came back, what could have possibly happened?"

Darien paused for a moment before continuing. "Well, when he came back a few months ago, he seemed more distant, and sinister somehow, I would say. He even says that he wants us to all meet some foreign countess of his acquaintance. However, from the way he talks about her, I think that they are more than friends. I don't mind a man his age sowing his oats, but there's something about this Darla, something that I can't put my finger on, that makes me feel uneasy. My wife seems to feel the same way. Would you mind coming tonight and helping us out?"

"I don't mind, but I would have to take care of some things first. Now, other than that, what has you so worried about Angelus? The last time I was here, he was also in the church choir. What about now?"

"Now? Now?! Now, not only will he not be in the choir, he won't go to church or chapel, which is very weird."

"It is. I'll be sure to get here as soon as I finish my business." After talking some more, the two friends departed.

*. *. *. *. *. *. *. *. *. *. *

"If I had known then, what I know now, I think I would have done something to stop him from allowing Angelus to bring Darla to their house for all the good it would have done me. But, I didn't know, and I didn't tell. Nonetheless, as soon as I finished my work in Dublin, as I had promised, I headed back to the O'Briens. As well as my destiny with Angelus and Darla."

*. *. *. *. *. *. *. *. *. *. *

MacLeod jumped down from his horse, tied him to the post, and knocked on the door. When he got no answer, he called out, "Darien, I'm here!" as he rapped with the tip of his cane on the door. When it opened slightly at the tap, he walked inside. None of the carnage that Duncan had ever seen before then could prepare him for the blood bath he saw when he walked into the dining room. Nothing, in all of his 150 years, could prepare him for it.

Darien, his wife, his son, daughter, and loyal servants all lay in pools of their own blood, slaughtered like animals. He looked among the victims, but couldn't find the heir of the house amongst the carnage. He heard some noises, and walked toward the sound. He found the heir of the household with a young woman of indefinite age, that Mac assumed was the countess, Darla, with his head in his hands, and he was shaking.

But, before Mac could try to comfort him for what he had seen as soon as he had come home, as he thought, Angelus drew back his head, and let out a hearty laugh. Duncan was so shocked; he was momentarily rendered speechless.

"Dear God, boy. How can you laugh at a time like this? Most of your family has just been slaughtered, and all you can do is laugh!?"

"Well, MacLeod, my family said it was either them or Darla. I chose Darla. Now then, Mac, God had nothing to do with this." He grabbed his army saber off of the mantle, while MacLeod drew out his katana. "However, if you wish, you can ask him yourself, since you will be meeting him presently." With that, their two swords met in a shower of sparks. A few of them fell on Darla's dress, igniting it. She screeched in alarm, which made Angelus turn around to help her beat them out.

Taking the chance he had been given, Duncan fled into the next room, which turned out to be the family chapel. After successfully extinguishing the flames on Darla's dress, Angelus turned and found his quarry unreachable. "Dammit, Duncan. Get out of there!"

Darla then walked up to Angelus, her face in the shadows. "Angelus, sweet," she said, as he turned to face her. "He will grow hungry, and want to eat, and then, we shall feed."

Angelus turned back to Mac, his face contorted into his vampiric visage. This took Duncan aback for an instant. Then, he said, "What the devil are you?"

"Much better, MacLeod. Satan has everything to do with this. But, then sun will be up in a few hours, and I have not the patience of my dear Darla to wait for you to come out of your sanctuary. Until we meet again, I bid you adieu."

*. *. *. *. *. *. *. *. *. *. *

"After I was sure that they had left, I buried the O'Briens and mourned them. But, as I had my duties of an Immortal to perform, after I buried them, I left. I know that it may sound awfully harsh to you, but I hand to be alert, not in mourning, unless, of course, I wanted to literally lose my head, which I am not inclined to do."

"So, did Angel know back then who you were?"

"No, I don't think so. He said that he heard about what I was when I visited the gypsies soon before he did, and they told him that as part of his punishment, I guess. Apparently, he tried to find me to apologize for what he had done, as well as tell me about your note."

"That reminds me. What did you find out about the note?"

"Well, your group was right when they identified the watermark as having to do with the Romanovs. But, it isn't for just any Romanov. This particular seal is one used only by the close family of Nicholas II, the last Czar of Russia. The Anya may be a clue, but, then again, it may not. For right now, don't pay attention to it. Just concentrate on the note itself.

"But other than narrowing down whom it could have come from, I can't tell you much else. Sorry. I just hope that you can figure out what this note has to do with the vampire attacks in Russia"

As he had been saying all of this, he had paid for the check, and had walked Buffy to the door of her hotel. "Oh, before I forget, here's the address and phone number of my place. Angel's staying with me, and he asked me to give this to you. And, you don't need to worry. I want you to be safe as much as Angel does, because he loves you." At this, Buffy blushed. Duncan kissed her on the cheek. "Have a good night, Buffy," he said, as he turned around, and walked away, fading into the mist.

Part 4

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