Bitchslaps to the Insane

Xander struggled against the handcuffs holding him, stopping occasionally to glare at the back of the head in front of him. "If you think Oz is going to let this go, you are *so* off." The man laughed and sped up, but his voice told Xander who had him. It hadn't been that long since he had been drugged in the store, Oz was probably gathering together everything he'd need to come get him. He'd find him soon.

"Oz won't be coming for *you*, I'm sure. You're mine now, whore."

Xander laughed mirthlessly. "Well, you've managed to lose even more brains, congratulations. Wrong on both counts, McCleod."

"We'll see, but I know what you are."

"Gee, did the voices in your head tell you that lie?" Xander taunted snidely, still struggling with the cold metal around his wrists.

"No, Methos did." McCleod pulled onto the interstate with a squeal of tires and a symphony of honks for changing lanes so fast.


Xander bounced on the bed, trying to get his balance after the hard shove he had received.

"Strip," McCleod grunted, pulling off his belt.

"Nope, don't think so," Xander said. He pulled his feet up and crossed them, getting comfortable. "You might as well let me go now, before Oz calls Methos and Jace."

McCleod snorted. "I can beat both of them, even the one I don't know."

Xander shrugged. "Maybe, but I'll still be rescued. And if they don't kill you, I will." He laughed. "Yeah, that might be preferable. That way your insanity won't be passed on." He watched his captor laugh for a few minutes, then shrugged. "Release me and we'll see," he offered.

"No. I don't want to kill you by accident." He pulled keys out of his pocket and reached behind Xander to unlock him. "Let's get these rearranged so you can do your job."

Xander bit the thick neck as hard as he could, tugging against McCleod's pull away, bringing a nice chunk of flesh away in his mouth. He spit it at his captor. "Let me go or you're going to be sorry," he warned coldly.

"Fine," McCleod spat, walking out of the room. He slammed the door and locked it from the outside. "We'll see how you feel in a few hours."

Xander listened to the padlock being locked, taking in his surroundings. It wasn't like he was new to this problem; he had a lot of experience with being kidnapped, though usually he was rescued by now, so he had a fair idea of what he needed to be doing right now to get free. He got comfortable and pulled up everything his fighting teacher had ever told him, hoping to find something to help him now.


Within a few hours, Xander was tired of this game. McCleod had shown up three other times to taunt him and to try and get what he wanted, but he hadn't won because Xander could be a stubborn ass when he wanted to be. And he really wanted to be right now. He now knew he was going to have to fight to get out, the only problem was getting free. He rolled his shoulders, trying to get the feeling into them again, but it wasn't working very well. He stopped moving as he heard the padlock being jiggled, then shifted to make it look like he was still comfortable, calm, and prepared to wait this game out. "Oh, good, you're back," he said in a bored tone as the immortal walked into the room. He had learned early on that his ability to act was one of his best non-physical weapons. When he had done his stint as a courtesan across the gateway, it had stood him well.

"You wanna eat, you've got to admit what you are," McCleod said coldly, staring down at his captive, a tray in one hand.

"I freely admit to being Oz's lover and a favorite student of Methos and Oz. Other than that, you're wrong." He got to his knees and used his new-found flexibility to get his handcuffs in front of him - some things worked just like they did in the movies. "Unlock these," he said, staring into the bottomless brown eyes. "Now please," he ordered softly.

McCleod shook his head and backed away from the bed, his whole face showing his contempt and fear of contamination. "No, you stay that way," he said in a thicker than usual accent. He backed out the door and it was relocked.

Xander shrugged and got up to search for something to get the cuffs off. He tried the other door in the room, smiling as he found the bathroom. He used it while he had the opportunity.


Oz answered his phone with a growled, "Joe, this had better be you." He handed the phone to Richie. "He wants to talk to someone *calm*." He started to pace, listening to one side of the conversation.

"Hey, Joe. Yeah, I can do that. Where? Oh, yeah, I remember that place. Yeah, it should be me. It started with me, I've got to make him reaccept reality." He hung up and handed the phone back to Oz. "I'll have him back by tomorrow." He was stopped by the sound of two swords being drawn. He didn't even look back at them. "It needs to be me, Oz. McCleod needs it to be me. I'll bring Xander back." He walked out the door, heading for the sports car since he still had the keys to it.


Xander sighed as he finally got one wrist free. He worked with the soap and water to get the other off, listening to the footsteps coming closer. The second cuff dropped into the sink as the door opened. Xander turned, killing the water behind his back as McCleod walked into the room. "Hope you don't mind, but I had a big lunch."

McCleod growled as he grabbed him, pushing him back onto the bed. "Are you ready to admit you're a whore yet?"

Xander looked up at him. "You know, if your accent gets much thicker, no one's going to be able to understand you."

"Connor can!"

"Connor's dead, McCleod!" Xander shouted, getting up to get into his face. "My other lover got the guy who got him." He looked into the eyes and shook his head. "Hello, this is reality calling and we would like you to join it." Xander stumbled as he was shoved. "Nope, not gonna happen. I'm challenging you."

McCleod laughed. "Whores can't fight, that's why you have Oz."

Xander crossed his arms and shook his head. "I have Oz to have someone around. I have me to fight. Let's go." He waved a hand at the door. "Whenever you're ready," he said when the immortal didn't move.

McCleod kept laughing. "I only fight my own kind."

Xander held up his healing wrist, letting him see the blue flames racing across his flesh. "I *am* your kind," he said coldly. "I've challenged you. Fight or run?"

McCleod stared at the fire then shook his head. "No, you're not. This is another trick." He left the room but he forgot to put on the padlock this time.

Xander waited until he heard the quick steps heading off then got down to look at the knob. McCleod had made one fatal mistake, he hadn't searched Xander for anything. Not even for his little keychain knife. It would do as a screwdriver if it had to, it had before.


Oz looked at Methos and the wall he represented, then down at his sword. "Xander's mine," he repeated for the sixth time. "I should be the one retrieving him."

"If you do that, then you'll have to kill McCleod," Ray said, rolling his eyes at the repetition they were going through.

"Let Richie handle it," Methos added. "This is about him, not Xander. Xander's safe, but you're not. McCleod's insane." Methos grabbed him by the arms. "We don't know how willing he is to break the rules."

"Which means you sent Richie into an ambush," Oz reminded him. He took a breath to look like he was calming down. "Let me go help Richie," he suggested semi-reasonably through clenched teeth. "He won't kill McCleod."

"Nah, he'll torture him instead," Ray put in. "The whole reverse of the mental breakdown process." He looked over his shoulder. "Don't worry, he'll be hurtin' soon enough."

"But he won't *die*!" Oz complained. "He deserves to die!"

"Next time," Methos said calmly, soothing his student. "When he's sane and so are you, then you can challenge him. Not now."

Oz got free. "But he has Xander now!"

"Yes, which is why you can't challenge him yet. Once you have Xander back, *then* you challenge him. Not now, not when your mind is on Xander." Methos pulled him back into his arms, forcing the sword from his hand. "Xander is fine," he said softly. "Once you have him back, I'll help you set up the challenge. I'll even keep Xander safe for you. Now is not the time. You know better than to fight for emotional reasons, Oz, it never ends right."

Oz wrapped his arms around the older immortals's waist. "All right, I'll wait. For two days. If Richie doesn't call, he's mine."

Methos nodded. "Fine. I'll follow if that's what's going to happen. One of us will get him." Oz relaxed in his arms, knowing that it was the truth. "Now, let's sit down and think up horrid names for McCleod."

Oz snorted but followed him over to cuddle between him and Ray on the couch.


Xander grabbed the sword off the desk as he snuck into the main room. He barely ducked as McCleod swung backwards at him, but he brought his sword up into the ready position as the immortal turned.

"Still thinking you can fight?" McCleod sneered.

"No, I know I can fight, it's just a different style than yours." He blocked a lunge and swung around to knock the immortal in the back. "Got taught by a King's arms teacher." He dodged the next thrust, stepping back to get into a better position. He thrust as McCleod followed him, nicking him on the inside of his sword arm. "See, not so bad." McCleod growled something unintelligible as he sent a flurry of moves at the young man, all of which were blocked. Xander panted as he stepped away from the last one and took an idle swing at the unprotected side. "I told you if your accent got any thicker no one would be able to understand you. Want to repeat that?"

Duncan's eyes narrowed as he watched his opponent, trying to find a weak spot in his defense. The boy was fast, he would give him that, and flexible because he had just danced out of the way of a lunge. He danced? McCleod reran the move in his mind. The boy was using a dancing fighting style! He might have some luck yet.

Xander knew that he was being watched, he even decided to show off. He knew he had the advantage. McCleod wasn't thinking straight. He'd left too many openings for him, most of which he wasn't going to use. He was looking for a killing blow now. He danced under a thrust and took his shot, a two-handed swing at McCleod's underprotected stomach. His eyes narrowed as his opponent went to one knee, pushing him over with a foot. He mock-thrust down to draw the sword away from where he wanted it to go, then lunged down and stuck the immortal in the chest. "Damn, lung shot," he muttered, watching the immortal die. "Oh, well, he'll still be dead if I leave it there."

He sat down to wait. Oz would be there soon.


Richie walked into the store McCleod used to run with his love, Tessa, ignoring the memories coming back to haunt him now so he could deal with the weak life force he could feel in the main room. He slowly moved that way, not wanting to draw attention to himself. It wouldn't be the first time that Mac had brought someone to a fight while insane and he didn't want to be seen if that was the case.

"Unless you're an Oz, I'm going to get you too," Xander called out.

"Just me," Richie said as he walked into the room, sword at his side. "Oz is waiting on you. Methos wouldn't let him come because he was too upset." He looked at the body lying on the floor with the sword sticking out of a lung. "Who got him and freed you?"

"Me," Xander said as he hopped down and checked himself. "Let's go."

Richie frowned. "Let me make a call to have him picked up." He grabbed the phone from Xander's fingers, dialing a number he had memorized a few years ago. "Joe, love ya, guy. No, Xander got him. Nope, nice sword to the lung. Still sticking out of it actually."

"Shoot me, I'm used to staking instead of swords," Xander said as he examined his nails. "Want me to let him wake up?"

"Yeah," Richie said as he hung up. "Me and my teacher need to have a talk."

Xander walked over and grabbed the sword, pulling it out with a grunt. He stepped back as McCleod took a breath. "All yours, I'm going to stretch before I cramp."

"Um, don't. Just don't," Richie said, sounding a little panicked but mostly like he was begging.

"Fine, I'll go in the other room," Xander sighed as he walked away. He closed the door behind him.

Richie put his sword away and held out his arms. "C'mon, got to let you become sane again." He stepped closer, noticing McCleod was watching him. "C'mon, Mac, we've got to get this over with."

McCleod stood up and looked at his former student. "You're another trick," he accused. "Ahriman is back to his old tricks. Why won't you leave me alone?" he yelled, grabbing his head.

"Mac, you can *feel* me, he can't do that." Richie stepped closer, putting his arms down. "Try me, I'm real." He picked up one of Mac's hands and put it on his chest. "See, a heartbeat and everything."

McCleod pulled his hand back as if it were burning. "No, you're not real," he insisted again.

Richie punched him in the face, breaking his nose. "Yeah, I'm not real." He turned as a door opened behind him, smiling at the older man using the cane that walked in. "Hey, Joe. Xander's in the other room, stretching."

Joe nodded at the body curled up on the floor. "What about him? Any change?"

"He's still in denial." Richie shrugged. "Fix it however, I promised to get Xander back to Oz."

"You'd better do that before he shows up. Then come see us to fix Mac." He walked over to where the immortal was sitting and poked him with his cane. "Get up, let's go." Mac looked up at him. "Yes, you, get up so we can go. Richie was nice enough to spare your life so we should probably fix you this time. Before Oz or Methos takes your head for him."

Mac nodded and stood up, looking at Joe's face. "That was Richie? You saw him too? It was really him?"

Joe nodded. "Ahriman sent him to another plane when you thought you took his head." He stepped closer, breaking the personal distance barrier. "We got him back but you were already too far gone to see it was him." He held out a hand. "Come on. Let's go fix you. Richie will come see you in a few days, after he gets Xander back home."

Xander walked out, followed by Richie. "I'm going home," he said, smiling at Joe. "Xander," he said, shaking his hand.

"Joe, he said Connor was dead," McCleod said softly, almost childlike.

"He is," Joe agreed. "Rupert Giles got the guy who did it as soon as the quickening was over." McCleod's face fell. "I'll tell you about it later." He looked Xander over. "You going home?"

"Eventually," Xander said with a wink. He sauntered out, followed by his guard.

Joe shook his head. "Methos trained that boy too well." He grabbed McCleod's arm and led him out to his car. Someone else would come clean up the mess in the store.


Oz picked up the phone and dropped it after a second. He ran upstairs and came running back down after a few moments, carrying two bags. He ran out the door, not even stopping to close it after himself.

Methos looked at Ray and shrugged.

"I'd say Xander was safe," Ray noted, going back to his book. "Where do you think they're going?"

"Everywhere," Methos said, reaching for his lover. "We should probably leave soon too." He looked up and saw the dragon smirking at him. "How about now?"

Ray smiled and patted him on the face. "We haven't finished the inventory yet."

"Bugger the inventory," Methos whispered in Ray's ear. "I want to go to our home and ..." He finished off by telling Ray exactly what he was going to do to him as soon as they walked through the door.

Ray hummed and stood up, heading up to their room. "I think I need a demonstration of that," he called down. Methos ran after him, slamming the bedroom door.

The End.