The Immortal

by Mark Friedman

I walked slowly through the misty rain. The fight I'd had after dinner with my stepdad had caused me to leave the house in frustration. Pulling my coat tighter around me, I wished that he didn't have such a problem with me being gay. "Homosexuality was a choice," he'd said - like someone would wake up one day and think, "Oh, gee, by golly, I think I'll be physically attracted to people of my own gender."

I found myself headed towards the river. It wasn't too far away, and the bridge over it would offer some shelter from the weather. Arriving, I noticed that there were no vehicles crossing; sure, it wasn't a major road, but who'd want to be out in weather like this anyway? It wasn't like there was a lot to do around these parts, not in the middle of nowhere.

But the one thing I did notice was a rowboat underneath the bridge. It had a rope stuck under a medium sized rock, which secured it and kept it from floating away in the somewhat modest current the slow-moving river had. I wondered why it was there, and glanced around to see who had left it there.

I spotted a figure under the bridge on one of the support towers under the bridge; the supports were designed in such a way that they had these indentations that made a ledge where people could sit. He apparently had noticed me as well, as he held up a hand in greeting. Moving closer, somewhat hesitantly, I noticed that it was a guy named Tim. He was a drifter who'd come into town a couple of months back, and was working at the local gas station. He looked to be about 17, but he was one of those types of people whose physical appearance made it hard to guess an exact age just by looking at him. I thought he was rather handsome, though I'd never dream of saying that to his face.

"Hey," I said, moving over.

"What's up?" he replied.

I resisted the urge to glance up or say something like "The clouds!" as I went over and sat down next to him. "Not much," I replied.

"Why the long face?" he asked.

"Oh, it's my stepdad," I said. "Let's just say that we don't exactly see eye to eye."

He sort of "Mmmm'ed" in response. "Anything in particular? Or is this one of those things that's more of a general clash?"

I thought about how I'd respond. While I had accepted the fact that I was gay, I didn't make a habit of announcing it; straight people didn't go around telling other people of their orientation, so why should I?

"It's because I'," I said.

"Ah. So he says that it's a choice, it's just a phase, and you can change any time you want. Am I right?"

"Yeah," I said, pulling my legs up. "Something like that."

I mulled over the way Tim talked. I know it's probably a strange thing to fix on under circumstances like the one we were in, but I'd noticed it before. His accent kinda sounded like someone for whom English wasn't their native tongue, but who'd been speaking it long enough to almost loose the accent. But I couldn't quite place the accent. Tim was clearly of European descent, but when you considered just how many major languages (not even counting local dialects) are spoken in Europe, that doesn't say much.

Tim also had a somewhat long coat - you know, those long black trench coats that the Goths wear - laying at his feet on the ground. It looked like it was covering up something, but didn't look too long because I didn't want to make it look like I was staring or anything. I also had to admit that I rarely saw him without it in the cooler months. I realized that he was a drifter, and as such probably didn't have much in the way of personal belongings, including clothing, but it wasn't like he was broke - Old Man Smithers had been more than generous in Tim's pay - and there was a thrift store in town run by a local church where he could get at least a little variety in his clothing. I could only figure that the coat must have had some sort of sentimental value. (I could understand the feeling; I'd had a coat that I'd gotten from my grandpa when I was 6 that my mother had taken years to get me weaned off of, even long after I'd outgrown the thing.)

"So, what brings you here?" I asked, changing the subject.

Oh, was just trying to get a little boating in when I got caught in the rain," he said. "Serves me right for not checking the weather forecast, huh?"

We sat there quietly for a while. "I rather like the rain, actually," he suddenly said.

I gave a short laugh, and he said, "No, really. I find it rather soothing, actually. Kind of reminds me of home."

"And where is home, if I may be so bold as to ask," I said.

"Very far away from here, Rick," he said. "I doubt you've ever heard of it."

I shrugged. "Try me. You might be surprised."

He started to respond, then stopped, looking all around, almost frantically, for a few moments before settling on one direction. I followed his gaze, and through the rain saw someone slowly approaching. Whoever it was looked like they were carrying a long stick.

"Rick, you'd better go. Now." Tim got up and kicked open the coat at his feet. Quickly bending down, he scooped up something that I realized moments later was a sword. Drawing it from its sheath, he dropped the sheath and moved away from the support tower. That was when I'd realized that what the other person was carrying wasn't a stick at all - it was another sword!

"Oh...crap..." I muttered.

"Rick, go," Tim hissed at me through clenched teeth.

I got down and started moving slowly backwards, trying not to take my eyes off of the two. I turned around and hurried over to where several large boulders were nearby, glancing over my shoulder a couple of times. Hunkering down, oblivious to the rain, I watched the unbelievable scene unfold.

The other person was certainly a lot older than Tim was. I pegged the guy at least 45, but the funny thing was that the guy also looked like one of those for whom it was hard to get an exact age. They both said something to each other, though I couldn't make out the words because of the distance. Then the guy swung his sword!

Tim snapped his own sword up in time, and blocked the blow. What followed looked like something I'd expect to see in some movie about the knights of the Middle Ages. Both began a complex dual that would put some modern day sword experts I'd heard about to shame. Where had Tim learned all of those moves?!

Unfortunately, for all the ability that Tim had, it seemed that his opponent knew more, and both realized it. Tim barely managed to get out of the way of one blow, which went mostly through the rope securing Tim's boat. While the river's (River? More like a creek, actually.) current wasn't that great, it was enough that I could see that what was left of the part of the rope left from the cut was straining under the pressure.

Several more blows were traded, and Tim was suddenly knocked backwards from a glancing blow from the flat part of his opponent's blade. Tim stumbled back, and somehow landed in the boat. The guy started forward, but suddenly tripped on something and went sprawling. I didn't hesitate. I charged in. The guy was getting up just as I got there, so I kicked him in the face. He went sprawling again, and I didn't wait for him to get up. I grabbed Tim's coat and sword sheath, then grabbing the rope and gave it a good tug. It snapped, and I dashed the short distance to the boat. Shoving it off, I jumped in and grabbed one of the oars, which had been taken out of their rings, and began paddling like my life depended on it (which, all things considered, it probably did).

Tim moaned and looked around, dazed. "Welcome back to the living," I said.

He frantically patted his torso. "I didn't get stabbed, did I?" he asked, actually sounding panicked.

"No, fortunately," I said.

He looked relieved, and pulled himself all the way in the boat and sitting up. "What happened?"

We're getting away from your friend back there," I said, gesturing with a jerk of my head towards the bridge. He looked over, and we both saw the guy standing there, sword in hand, watching us leave.

"He knocked you silly with his sword," I said in way of explanation. "You fell into the boat, and I managed to snap the rope where he'd cut it and launch the boat."

"Thanks," he muttered. "Rick, I thought I told you to leave. You weren't supposed to see any of that."

"So? You're not supposed to go around fighting people with swords. That went out with the Middle Ages."

"Oh, has it been that long?" Tim said somewhat sarcastically.

I'd stopped paddling by that point. The river was calm enough around these parts, with no obstacles in the middle where we were. "Tim, what's going on?" I asked.

He looked away, a furious expression on his face, and didn't answer.

"Tim, after sticking my neck out for you back there, I think I deserve to know. What's going on?" More silence from him. "Tim, I may be only 15, but I can tell something's wacky around here. You, not talking about where you're from, with a weird accent and the strange way you act around some things that most of us take for granted. Your 'friend' back there, who appears out of nowhere - though you seem to have been aware of his presence long before any normal person could have - and who gets into a sword fight with you. I mean, most adults don't even have those decorative swords that aren't sharpened. Where'd you get the real thing?"

Tim was still quiet. I took a deep breath to start again, but he held his hand up to cut me off. "Tim, are you serious? Do you really want to know the truth about what you saw tonight? Because if you do, I'll tell you, but I can guarantee you that you won't ever see the world in quite the same way again."

"A little late for that," I muttered.

"Yes, I guess it is." He settled down. "Oh, I don't suppose you got my coat and sheath?" I handed them to him. "Ah, thank you. Now, where to start..."

"How about the beginning?" I said. "That's usually a good place."

"Ah, the beginning," he said. "Well, first off, let me ask you if you're familiar with a movie series and a couple of T.V. shows collectively known as 'Highlander'."

I nodded in agreement. There wasn't always a lot to do besides watch

T.V., and had seen the T.V. shows whenever reruns were on and the movies whenever one of the channels was digging back into their vaults.

"Well, what would you say if I told you that it was true?"

"What, that there are immortals running around whacking other immortals' heads off?" I said, laughing. "I'd say you were a few fries short of a Happy Meal."

"Rick, remember you did ask," he said, annoyed.

"O.K., sorry," I said. "But I hope you'll understand that it's a bit hard to believe."

"At one time I might have agreed with you," he said. "But of course, before I learned the hard way, there weren't televisions or movies."

"What, you're trying to say that you're an immortal?"

He didn't answer. He picked up his sword and drew the blade across the palm of his hand. Blood welled up from the cut.

"Oh crap, man! Why'd you do that?!" I said, looking around for something that could serve as a bandage.

He stuck his hand into the river and moved it around for a few moments before drawing it out and showing me his palm. I stared at it for a few moments, unable to believe what I saw. Grabbing his hand, I looked in vain for any sign of the cut I'd seen only moments before. But his hand showed no trace of the wound.

"It's true," I said quietly.

"Yes, it is," he said, taking his hand out of my grasp. "Rick, how old would you say I am?"

"About 17," I said, somewhat meekly. I realized that if he was frozen at the age in which he'd first "died," he could be any age at all.

He smiled. "I was born 257 years ago, in what's now Poland. I'd turned 17 three days before receiving an injury which should have been fatal."

"How'd it happen?"

"You're not going to believe this, but I'd had an argument with my stepfather, and had left the house in frustration. I had sat down on the edge of a cliff, but in my frustration misjudged where I'd sat, and the part where I was sitting gave out. I plunged more than 50 feet onto some very hard rocks."

"Ouch," I said. "At least it's nice to know I'm not the only one who gets into an argument with his stepfather. May I ask what it was about?"

"I'm gay," he said off-hand.

"You'" I said, my voice squeaking as if I'd just started puberty. I would never have guessed. Tim just didn't carry himself in a way that would even remotely suggest that he wasn't straight.

"Yep," he said. "Surprised?"

I nodded. "So that's how you knew what my stepfather told me about my being gay," I said. "So, is everything true? About immortals, I mean."

"Some of it is," he said. "The concept for the 'Highlander' series was actually created by immortals - no, we didn't make the movies and shows themselves, though we did have a lot of influence on the mortals who did. It was an effort to get people used to the idea of immortals running around decapitating each other. That way, if anyone accidentally saw an actual immortal duel, they'd be more inclined to brush it off as a couple of weirdos acting out their favorite series."

I glanced around while Tim paused. We'd floated downriver for a while, and had gotten out of town (without being seen somehow) and were now getting into the forest south of town.

"How much of what was portrayed true?" he continued. "Yes, agewise we're frozen at the point and time of our first 'death'. We really don't fight on holy ground; gotta have someplace that can serve as a safe haven, after all. To the best of my knowledge there's no 'Gathering' that will ever occur, and I really don't know what the last remaining immortal will get, assuming there will ever be a last immortal, of course. For all I know, new immortals could come along on until the end of time itself. Yes, the only way to kill one of us it to cut our head off, and yes, there is a quickening for the nearest immortal, where they get our 'power'. Immortals come in both genders, in all ages, and nationalities, and ethnic groups, and religions. And yes, we really can sense when another immortal's nearby. That's how I knew the guy I was fighting was coming before you did."

"Who was that guy you were fighting?" I asked. "You know him?

"Ah, that's one of the things that's misportrayed in the series. There, it seems like we've either know the other immortal for decades, or we're reminded of some specific incident in our past. That isn't always the case. Like tonight, for example. I'm not being reminded of anything that happened in my past, and I honestly haven't got the foggiest clue as to who that guy was, or how he knew where I was. For all I know, he was just out in the rain minding his own business like we were when we sensed each other. Probably figured there was no one else around, and he'd get the opportunity to take a head tonight."

We sat there in silence for a while. "'re gay," I said.

He nodded, grinning sheepishly at me.

"Ever do it with..."

"Another guy?"

This time it was my turn to nod, my face suddenly getting warm.

"Yes, a few times. Just like in the shows, we can make out, though we can't have kids." He paused, then looked around. "We'd better find a place to land," he said. "While I like the rain, I don't like sitting around in wet clothing."

We looked around for a while, before he pointed off to some location.

"There," he said. "Thought this neck of the woods looked familiar. There's an old cabin back there that's not been occupied for a while. I stayed there a few days when I first got here, back before Old Man Smithers let me stay above his garage."

We got the boat to shore, and tied it up to an old tree trunk; fortunately there was still enough rope left to do that. We hiked a short ways until we arrived at a small, run-down, but still intact looking, cabin.

"Let's see," Tim said, glancing at the doornob. "This should still be unlocked." He tried it, and the door swung open.

We went inside, and he shut the door. It consisted of a single room. The room was dusty, but not as much as I'd expected. Tim must have cleaned it up while he was staying there. A single bed was off to one side, and there was a table and two chairs, all of which had seen better days, in the middle of the room. Some firewood was off to one side, next to the fireplace.

Tim quickly moved over to the fireplace, and soon had a fire going. "I managed to get the place stocked with a small amount of supplies," he said in response to my quizzical look. "Never know when a place like could come in handy."

He began taking his clothes off, and glanced over at me. "Now, are you going to stand there dripping all over the place, or are you going to come over here and get those wet clothes off so they can dry?"

"Oh, sorry," I said, moving over and stripping as well. I couldn't help but glancing at Tim out of the corner of my eye. He was well build. Some body hair, mostly around his crotch. And speaking of his crotch, he was certainly well endowed down there.

Leaving our wet clothes spread out by the fire, Tim moved over to the cupboard, where he grabbed a few things out of it. "Sorry I don't have a gourmet meal to offer you," he said. "I don't know about you, but I'm starved. Fighting always makes me hungry."

"That's all right," I said, feeling self-conscious standing there naked. This wasn't the first time I'd been naked in front of another guy - I'd showered after gym class at school, and had dropped my pants in front of my doctor with every physical - but somehow this wasn't that same, almost detached feeling; this seemed much more...intimate, somehow.

He produced a couple of cans of ravioli, the local store variety, not any of the major national names, a can opener, and a couple of forks. We chomped down the ravioli cold, not bothering to take the time to heat it.

"So now what?" I asked when we were through.

He shrugged. "We wait for the rain to stop, I guess," he said.

"That could be a while," I said. "I understand it's supposed to go through the night."

"Well, we could stay here," he said. "Unless you've got a hot date tonight, of course. It is Friday, after all."

"No, no hot date," I said, blushing again.

"So, no one special in your life, eh?" he said. "That's all right," he said when I'd indicated that there wasn't. "I don't either."

We sat there for a while, saying nothing. For some reason I wanted so badly to have him, but I didn't dare make the first move. Yeah, he was gay too, and certainly wasn't opposed to getting physical with a guy, but why would he think of me in that capacity? I was nobody special.

"It's getting late," he said, stretching and showing off the muscles in his chest; my heart skipped a beat. "So, who gets the bed?"

I shrugged and looked away, not answering.

"Why don't we both take it?" he said. When my head jerked back to look at him, eyes wide, he said, "It's big enough to hold both of us."

"Why not?" I said, trying to hold my voice steady.

He got up, and I rose slowly, trying not to think of what might happen, lest my body show a certain outward manifestation of my excitement. He got under the covers first, and scooted over. I got in after him. Nothing happened at first, and just when I thought I'd misunderstood what he was thinking, I felt his hand on my leg, just above my knee.

"Rick, have you ever been with a guy?" he quietly asked.

"No, I haven't," I responded in a shaky voice.

"Would you like to change that?"

"Yes," I said, barely above a whisper.

I wasn't sure he'd heard me and was about to repeat it when his hand started moving slowly across my leg towards my crotch. Unable to control myself any longer, I let my cock raise to full attention. His hand reached my crotch, and laughed gently when he found my readiness.

He began gently stroking my cock and balls. I shuddered with pleasure, enjoying the sensation. After a moment, he stopped, took my hand and guided it to his own crotch. I reached out and hesitantly touched his hard shaft and balls. I was envious, as they were larger than my own.

Tim proceeded to roll onto me, and our crotches pressed up against each other as he kissed me. It was like electricity coursed through my body! I returned the kiss passionately as I began moving my hips back and forth. "Mmmmm," he said.

He suddenly moved down, and just when I was trying to figure out what he was doing, I felt a warm, wet sensation around my cock. He was sucking it! It was the most amazing feeling I'd ever experienced. His tongue worked its way up and down my erection.

After several minutes, he pulled up and laid down. "My turn," he said. I understood what he meant, and while I hadn't wanted him to stop, I realized that it wasn't just about me. So I moved down under the covers to where his erection was, and hesitantly put it into my mouth and began slowly sucking. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I wondered if I was doing it right; his moans of pleasure assured me I was.

Several minutes after I'd started, he had me pull up and lay down. I did so, wondering what was next. Neither one of us had come yet, so I doubted we were through. I didn't have to wait long to find out, as he got onto me, spreading my legs apart. I felt a pressure at my butthole, and suddenly realized what he had in mind.

"Ready?" he asked.

I took a deep breath, and nodded. He slowly began pushing into me. I gasped out, and he stopped. "Keep going," I moaned, for the gasp hadn't entirely been in pain. While it hurt a little, I wanted this, more badly than anything I'd wanted in a long time.

"You sure?" he asked. My response was grabbing his butt and trying to push him in further. He continued in, stopping for a few moments after he'd gone all the way in to let me adjust.

After he felt I was ready, he began sliding in and out of me, slowly at first, but quickly picking up speed. The only sounds in the room, besides the crackling of the fire, were our heavy breathing and moaning. We laid there, coupling, gazing into each other's eyes as Tim rode me. I pulled him down, kissing him. I enjoyed the feeling of being with him, his strong chest pressing up against mine, his large cock filling me up and moving in and out of me, his balls flopping against my butt with each inward thrust.

It seemed like we were the only two people in the world as we made love. I'd masturbated regularly while thinking of what it would be like to make out with a guy, but I was quickly learning that fantasy didn't even come close to competing with the real thing. I felt a marvelous sensation coming from my groin, and before I knew it my semen was squirting out all over us. His cock slid in and out of me for a couple more minutes before he came into me. I'd certainly fantasized about anal intercourse before, but had never realized that you could feel a guy come into you. After he finished, he rose up onto his elbows and gazed into my eyes before leaning down and kissing me.

"You're fabulous, Rick," he said.

I shrugged. "I know," I said, grinning at him.

We slept in each other's arms, with his cock still inside me.

The next morning I awoke slowly, trying to remember where I was. Feeling my dry semen all over me, I wondered for a moment if I'd just had a really intense wet dream before I heard Tim clattering around near the fireplace, and smelled something good. Yawning and stretching, I propped myself up on my elbows and looked around.

"About time you got up," Tim said.

I climbed out of bed and went over to see what he was doing. He'd already dressed, though the clothes looked a little messed up. He grabbed me and kissed me before turning back to what he was doing.

"Pancakes?" I said. He gestured to the table, and I saw a package of store-bought mix, one of the "Just add water" variety, on the table, next to a bottle of syrup.

"There's some water and a washcloth over there," Tim said, gesturing over to the other side of the fireplace. "You'll probably want to get cleaned up before you get dressed."

I went over and found the water was warm. There was a bar of soap there as well, so I washed myself off. I found that my clothes had dried, so I got dressed just as breakfast was ready. We both dove in, enjoying the food.

After we were satisfied, I hesitated a few moments, then said, "Tim, I want to thank you. For last night."

Tim smiled. "I'm glad you enjoyed it, Rick," he said. "It's been a while for me, so I wasn't sure if I still had the touch."

"Oh, you had the touch, all right," I assured him.

He smiled, and said, "We'd better get the dishes cleaned up and head back to town. I'm sure people are beginning to wonder where we are by now."

"Aw, do we have to?" I said, trying to sound like a little kid. "I wanna stay here, and make love to you every night."

He laughed. "Yes, we have to," he said, coming over to me and taking me into his arms. "We can still meet up for some sex."

We cleaned the dishes up and put them away. Heading out, we started back towards town. "So what about the boat?" I asked.

"I'll come back for that later," he said. "I'll get Old Man Smithers' truck to bring it back; it'll be easier than trying to fight the current."

After walking for a while, Tim suddenly hissed and began glancing around. "Him again?" I asked.

"Possibly," Tim replied.

We spotted a figure moving through the trees; sure enough, it was the guy from last night. "I've missed you," he called out as he approached.

"Didn't you ever tell your friend that he's not supposed to get involved?"

Tim called back, "He knows now, and won't this time." To me he said,

"Rick, get back, and this time, stay out. This isn't your fight."

Tim drew his own sword, and dropped the sheath and coat. The two moved towards each other, and the fight was on! The swords clashed against each other, and they maneuvered around each other, trying to get the upper hand. Tim was hard put to keep up with his opponent, who seemed both stronger and better trained that Tim.

But in one of the most amazing moves I'd ever seen, Tim suddenly swung his sword in such a way that his opponent's went flying. Tim swung around, and the next thing to go flying was his opponent's head. A mist emanated from the guy's neck as the body collapsed, and moved over to

Tim. What looked like bolts of lightning coursed throughout the area, striking Tim, who jerked and convulsed. In moments, it was over, and Tim collapsed.

I ran over to him, taking him in my arms. "Wow," he said.

"You all right?" I asked.

"I'll live," he said.

When he'd recovered his strength, we continued on home.

My mom was glad to see me safe and sound. My stepdad sheepishly apologized for the way he'd acted the night before. Seems my mom had told him off after the fight and told him that if she had to choose between him and me, she'd choose me. After that, my stepdad and I began working things out.

True to his word, Tim and I made love several more times, though I never told anybody about the two of us being involved with each other.

But the day that I suspected would come finally arrived one day, several months later. Tim and I had just finished making love, and we laid in my bed, him holding me while I laid my head on his chest.

"Rick," he said, "I realize this is your birthday and all, but I've got to tell you something. It's time for me to move on."

"But why?" I asked, hurt.

"Because it's what us immortals do," he said gently. "It's one of the drawbacks of not getting any older physically. We can't stay in any one place for too long, or people start to get suspicious."

"But can't you stay for just a little while longer?" I pleaded. "You haven't been here that long. People haven't noticed yet."

"I'm afraid not," he said gently. "People were already suspicious after they found that guy's body in the woods near the cabin. If another immortal comes along, I don't know if it will be all that easy to keep suspicion off of me."

"I'll come with you, then!" I declared.

"No," he said forcefully. "My life is no way for you to live."

I started crying. "Will you at least come back to visit?" I asked.

"I don't know," he said. "We generally stay away from places we've been to for at least a generation, so nobody makes the connection."

"Will I ever see you again?"

"Again, I don't know," he said. "It's a big world, but perhaps some day many years from now you'll look across a crowded room and see a dashingly handsome fellow eyeing you and remembering of the great times he had with you in bed. Besides, I think Nicholas Smith has a thing for you. Go put a move or two on him, and see how he responds."

"I will," I said quietly.

We held each other for a time, before he got up to get ready to go.

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