Coming back to Chicago he made a beeline to one particular restaurant in particular. It didnâ€™t matter if he was coming to stay or passing through like he was now he always made sure to stop by. After all it was one of his favorite places to eat, he always had a small weakness for Chinese food, and home to one of his biggest questions as well. Two years away and he was still slightly surprised to see who was behind the counter slash kitchen. Sitting at the counter he studied the old man diligently tending his dishes carefully. He first discovered this place back in the sixties and the old man looked like he had one foot in the grave then. Fifty years later and that other foot apparently hadnâ€™t dropped yet. Part of him was still convinced it was some kind of make-up job, a family member trying to keep the image alive or something. Other times he talked about things and events like he was still there. When he finally turned around and saw his customer he had a big ragged grin on his face, â€œAh you have returned , it has been far too long since my favorite customer has graced my establishment.â€ â€œIâ€™ve been away for a while taking care of some personal stuff,â€ he answered. â€œFamily related, you know how it is. You do have family around here?â€ â€œFamily yes, but they do not care about this business. So I keep it running and it keeps me young on the inside.â€ Fifty something years and that was the closest he has ever gotten to a straight answer from this man. â€œBut Family is very important as you know. I believe I have been serving your family for fifty odd years now so I feel like you are part of mine. And there is a very strong resemblance between all of you too, very good genes as they say today I believe.â€ â€œThatâ€™s one way of putting it,â€ he smirked. â€œWill it be your usual order?â€ He noticed he wasnâ€™t trying to star at the scar on his neck that he was using the hood of his sweatshirt to hide. â€œYou read my mind. Iâ€™ve been craving it for the past couple of years.â€ He relaxed a bit as he and the owner shared a bit a small talk, mostly the owner catching him up on what heâ€™d missed these past couple of years in the area around his restaurant. Which was apparently a lot. He was already halfway through his plate when the other man he had been expecting came in through the door. Breaking out into a grin that rivaled the owners he stood up to great the man, â€œFather.â€ The old priest took the offered hand readily, â€œOwen. Itâ€™s good to see you again. The way you were talking last time I thought youâ€™d be gone longer.â€ â€œYou know me Father, I canâ€™t seem to stay away from this city for long,â€ Owen said as they sat at the counter. He tried to ignore the fact he looked a bit older than the last time he saw him. The Father ordered a small coffee that was poured immediately. â€œSo are you back to stay Owen?â€ â€œNot this time,â€ he said. â€œIâ€™m moving to Indiana this time around. Picked me up a job teaching history at a high school. God I swear itâ€™s getting harder to get past these background checks now a days.â€ â€œItâ€™s the world we live in now Owen, we just have to learn to adapt. Kicking and screaming in some cases.â€ Another person came in carrying a newspaper and started reading it after he ordered. The Father caught him catching a glance at the headline about the â€œImmortal Thiefâ€ on the front page. â€œHe has been some rather big news lately. A crazy individual who does things to get away that would kill a person but ends up surviving and pulling another robbery soon after.â€ Getting a little closer he almost whispered, â€œDo you think heâ€™s one of you?â€ â€œIâ€™d like to think one of us wouldnâ€™t be that careless or blatant about it,â€ he said. â€œIâ€™m sure Susan or one of the other would have checked him out already and smartened him up if he was a new born. Or take care of him if he wasnâ€™t. Speaking of how is Susan? I kind of lost touch a couple of months ago while I was traveling across South America.â€ â€œSheâ€™s doing well,â€ the Father told him. â€œI see her every so often at the hospital when a family member calls me in for a dying relative. And how is Natalya? Iâ€™d figured she would be with you. From what I understood you two decided to make another go at it.â€ â€œWe are and sheâ€™s doing good. But sheâ€™s in Malaysia right about now,â€ he explained.â€ She took up a job at another art shop, this time as somebody who travels the world looking for interesting objects. Itâ€™s a pretty high end place according to her. Like sheâ€™d work anywhere else right? Sheâ€™s coming back in a couple of weeks, we had a place picked out and bought before she got the job.â€ â€œAnd how are things between you two?â€ â€œWeâ€™re trying very hard not to fall into the big traps we did last time,â€ he said wincing as those memories popped back up into his head. â€œItâ€™s a little easier now since we donâ€™t have to worry about her father, as bad as that sounds. Especially since Iâ€™m the reason why heâ€™s not around anymore.â€ Looking back at the other customer the Father carefully said, â€œIâ€™m sure things will work out in the end they always do if youâ€™re patient.â€ Owen hated that the Father felt he had to tell a lie there, but at least he was protecting his secret. â€œAlthough Susan did tell me you were passing on teaching new students.â€ â€œHow are things at the church?â€, Owen said trying to change the subject. â€œDid you make any changed to the interior?â€ â€œOwenâ€¦,â€ he started to say. Owen paid his bill and for the Fatherâ€™s coffee before he could say anything else. The Father followed him out the door but kept silent as they walked down the street. Fifties years of knowing this man made it hard for him to avoid the question he asked earlier. â€œIâ€™m not ready to take on another student yet.â€ â€œI realize losing Keith hit you hard, we all felt his loss. And we both know he wouldnâ€™t want you to act like this.â€ â€œI know Father, Iâ€™m just a little gun shy at the moment.â€ Owen started to smirk, â€œOf course Iâ€™m starting a job were Iâ€™m dealing with trying to get a bunch of teenagers to learn a history most of them probably donâ€™t care about to begin with.â€ â€œWith all the traveling youâ€™ve done you might be better off teaching them World Geography.â€ â€œI thought about that but I was more curious to find out what the history books say I forgot,â€ he joked. The Father laughed a bit. They walked down the street as the Father caught him up on things. Apparently this Immortal Thief was getting to be a big deal. A little too big. Maybe he should touch base with Susan and get her take while he was still in town. If this idiot was an immortal then he was going to attract attention of others trying to silence him, one way or another. If they hadnâ€™t already. He tried not to think about what kind of nasty son of a bitch would show up in that case. That was the last thing he needed to run into at the moment. He paused as a sensation in the back of his head that quickly punched him in the stomach known in their circles as the buzz hit him head on. He carefully survived his surroundings looking for the source. The Father look at him for a moment before he remembered he knew that look on the immortalâ€™s face, â€œIs it somebody you know?â€™ â€œDoesnâ€™t necessarily make it a good thing if I did,â€ he told him. He kept looking until he saw a well dressed man, apparently in his late fifties with a cane come toward them. He sized Owen up before saying, â€œI am Gerald Heartfelt.â€ â€œOwen McAllister,â€ he said as he searched the other man for any sign of a weapon and not seeing anything right away. That usually made him nervous. â€œI came to this fair city looking for this so-called Immortal Thief,â€ he announced. â€œTo properly quiet the noise he had been making in case he hasnâ€™t had a proper teacher. If you are not him then I could always use the practice.â€ â€œLook I donâ€™t want a fight,â€ Owen said. â€œIâ€™m just passing through visiting an old friend. Iâ€™m starting a new job in a few days. Wouldnâ€™t look good if Iâ€™m reported dead before then.â€ â€œAnd I am not giving you a choice in the matter,â€ Heartfelt told him. He went to smack Owen in the head with the end of his cane but the guy was no Naoto and he caught it easily before came in contact and just stared at him. A look that made the Father cringe a little. â€œYou do have a fire in your belly. Good I thought I was looking at a woman for a second. Now either accept my challenge or do I have to take to roughing up your pet human here?â€ â€œAlright asshole letâ€™s go,â€ Owen told him. Naturally the Father tried to stop him, â€œOwen you donâ€™t have to do this. Donâ€™t worry about me.â€ â€œNot in my world Father.â€ Owen followed him down an alley until they found a deserted section big enough for them to use and was out of sight. Reaching into his hooded sweatshirt he pulled his long sword out of itâ€™s hidden scabbard. Heartfelt simply gripped his cane and pulled revealing a thin metal blade hidden in the shaft. â€œIn your cane,â€ Owen said not actually believing he just saw that, â€œreally?â€ â€œHow else is a proper gentleman supposed to walk around with a blade in this day and age?â€ â€œPoint one out and Iâ€™ll ask.â€ Heartfelt didnâ€™t take the bait as he took up position holding his sword like a fencing foil. Owen held up his sword in a classic guard as he studied the other manâ€™s movement. From his gaze he was doing the same to Owen. Like a fencer he came at Owen who quickly backed up deflecting the blade with his own. Metal clangs filled the air as they fought to a standstill. Then Owen changed up styles to force Heartfelt back a bit. Something Finlay drilled into him when he was his teacher. Then Heartfelt backed up suddenly and tried to kick him in the head as he over swung. Owen dodged that one and barely got his sword back up as he blocked a swing aimed at his neck. â€œGood reflexes,â€ he commended him. â€œSo me an immortal who hasnâ€™t.â€ â€œI would but they died by my hand.â€ Heartfelt went on the attack again swinging with precise strikes at his limbs that Owen had to hurry and block each time. He was trying to wear him down, make him make a mistake. So Owen charged forward breaking through his attack. With his sword he caught the other immortalâ€™s blade and forced it over his head. With everything he had he kicked him in the gut. Heartfelt stumbled back a few feet before finally falling to the ground. Owen lowered his sword and walked after him, unaware at how close the tip of his sword was to the ground. The other man quickly got to his feet, missing the dark look the momentarily crossed Owen face. â€œThis is better exercise than I thought it would be,â€ he proclaimed â€œI had my Wheaties this morning boyo,â€ he quipped, abit of his old brogue slipping through. Owen went on the attack making Heartfelt retreat a bit. Forcing him against the wall he changed style one more time and flung the other man bald out of his hand. As it plunged in a nearby wall Owen brought up his sword for a killing strike. â€œYou wouldnâ€™t harm an unarmed opponent would you?â€, Heartfelt ask question. â€œWould you?â€, Owen shot back â€œYes I would,â€ he admitted and prepared himself. Owen swung in the next second and watched as his head fell to the side and his body dropped to the ground like a broken marionette. Backing up the fallen manâ€™s neck started to glow and a lighting like energy flowed out and swirled around in the air. Then it came right at him as lightning striked all around him. Glass above him started to crack and break as the energy known as the Quickening poured into him relentlessly. His arms were forced out and he screamed at the top of his lungs as it felt like it was going to tear him apart from the inside out. After what seemed like a lifetime of agony it stopped and he dropped to his knees totally exhausted and vulnerable. A moment later his eyes came back into focus as he became himself one more time. Or so he thought at first. In the back of his mind there was a sensation he could only describe as a chuckle, one direct at him. It finally faded away as he stood up. Glancing up at the sky he looked disgusted with himself, â€œI thought I got rid of you.â€ Putting his long sword back into itâ€™s scabbard he found the Father were he left him. As always he seemed relieved that Owen was still in one piece. â€œI saw that lightning again and thought the worst.â€ â€œSorry to worry you Father,â€ he said while still working out some of the stiffness in his body after that Quickening. That one hurt a little more than usual. â€œOwen, does it make it any easier if you donâ€™t know the person?â€ That was the closest thing to a morbid question that he had ever heard the Father ask in fifty years. And it admittedly took him by surprise. â€œItâ€™s like being in the middle of a war zone Father, kill them before they kill you,â€ he said after trying to find a way to explain it. â€œAnd to be honest, it doesnâ€™t. Why are you asking now?â€ â€œIâ€™m not sure, something about the way you walked out, you seemed different somehow. Itâ€™s probably nothing.â€ â€œMore than likely, some quickening affects me different than others. Iâ€™ll be back to normal in a bit. I hate to head off, but I want to see Susan before I leave. I want to get home before dark and I canâ€™t really remember if I had the electricity turned on yet.â€ â€œI thought you Immortals remembered everything youâ€™ve done,â€ the father smirked. Owen couldnâ€™t help but grin, â€œYeah but the little stuff still slips through every so often. We still human after all.â€ â€œAlright my boy, I wonâ€ep you.â€ â€œIâ€™m still relatively close by so Iâ€™ll be dropping in to see you every so often. Oh and if you get a call from a Henry MacDonald thatâ€™s going to be me.â€ â€œIâ€™ll remember that, take care of yourself Owen.â€ The priest started to shake his hand put pulled him into a hug. â€œIt is good to see you again Owen.â€ â€œYou too father. Iâ€™ll see you around.â€ He walked back to his bike planning to head to the hospital. A new start, thatâ€™s what he needed. Hopefully this life he picked wonâ€™t be as eventful as his last one. Then again he was an Immortal, there was always somebody willing to challenge you around the corner. Hopefully those corners will be few and far between where he was heading, but he wasnâ€™t betting on it.