Lost and Found

One Immortal's story

Author: Kyle Bernard <csktech[at]yahoo.com>

Copyrighted: Nov 24, 2002

Disclaimer: All characters belong to their rightful owners... none of which are me. If they knew what they were doing I wouldn't have to write this stuff.

Summary: Sequel to Fortunate Son. The further adventures of Andy and Terry!

Warning: Crossovers ahead. (Yes Plural.)

Rating: R

Author's Notes: <...> indicates thoughts. //...// Indicates telepathy
Huge thanks to Tenhawk for his help with this and all of my stories. If he didn't let me play in his verse, my life would be less joyful. And as Always to Robert Stevenson, The editor for whom I can never give enough credit to.

Stony Man Farm

Col. John Phoenix, AKA, Mack Bolan, the leader of Stony Man Farm and the originator of Able Team and Phoenix Force, sat at the desk, his head bowed down and held in his hands. "How bad is it Hal?" his voice, soaked in grief and regret broke and then he went silent. Mack already knew about April Rose's death, now he stood on the breaking point. How much more was gone?

Hal Brognola hated to add to the big guy's problems, He'd known Mack for years and past experience had taught him that lying to Mack Bolan was a bad idea. "Its bad Mack. Hal drew in a deep breath, "Its very bad."

Mack raised his head from his hands and locked his icy blue eyes on Hal. "It can't be any worse then April." Hal watched as the somber mood that was plastered on Mack's face and body disappeared replaced with something much worse, Vengeance. "Give it to me straight, How many did we lose."

Walking over to Mack, Hal rested his hand on the big guy's shoulder. "Most of the security team is gone. So far, We've counted twenty-two confirmed dead. "April..." tears flooded the federal officer's eyes, "makes twenty-three, and three missing."

"Who?" the word came out totally emotionless, Who is unaccounted for?"

"It's Andy and the Rosses." Hal fell silent and for the first time that day so did the rest of Stony Man Farm.

The few minutes of silence was shattered by a huge explosion that rocked Mack and Hal back on their heels. "That was Andy's lab. It started burning about three hours ago."

"Why wasn't someone sent to check on him. Mack said coldly.

"Someone was, David and Suzanne Ross. We suspect they were caught in the fire as well.

Mack was overwhelmed with the loss of people that he'd recruited and who had trusted him. Whoever was responsible was going to pay and pay in the same currency that they had just stolen... life.

Three hours earlier

Sporadic fire still echoed throughout the compound as David and Suzanne Ross worked their way towards the weapons lab. Moving quickly, as only a team who'd worked together of years could, they entered the lab only to find the floor littered with shell casings from the automatic weapons that the intruders had carried. The news wasn't all bad, mixed in with the rifle casings were expended 12 gauge aluminum shotgun hulls were among the three bodies, the first two were dressed in camouflage and had gaping holes in their chests, Andy hadn't gone without a fight.

David kicked the modified shotgun away and moved the wheelchair away. He flipped over the leg less body and swore. "God Damn it. Suz, cover the door, I'll make sure that there isn't anyone else here." The pretty blonde stifled her emotions for now and shifted her body so her field of fire would cover as much of the lab as possible, yet still allow her to provide back up for her husband if he needed it. <Which> she admitted to herself, happened all too often. Then again, after 300 years I guess he's entitled. >

A few minutes after David left a blinding pain shot through her head. < You've got to be kidding. > "David," she shouted, "get out here we have big time troubles"

The sound of a sword being drawn from a sheath drowned out her footsteps as she carefully approached the bodies. Still reeling from the lightening fast attack, she was in no mode to introduce either of the uniformed intruders into the brotherhood of immortals. "Might be the only quickening that I ever enjoy taking."

"What's up Suz?" With the exception of the blonde hair that topped Suzanne's head, the two looked enough alike to be brother and sister rather then husband and wife. The ribbing and practical jokes that the rest of the security team played on then because of this resemblance was a sore spot that they suffered gladly. They had worked hard for this job.

The blinding pain hit David before Suzanne could answer his question. "Fuck, he exclaimed, <It'd better be Andy or I'm taking ahead today. > Even the pairs thought processes worked the same. Thankfully it was Andy's body the blue electrical arcs were working across, repairing the damage inflicted by a burst of automatic weapons fire.

Andy's body let out a gasp of air and his terror filled eyes opened once again. "Give me your Med Kit Suz. "Andy, you've been shot and I'm going to give you something for the pain. David ripped his med kit from the pouch on his harness and injected the morphine directly into the vein in Andy's neck. He then did the same with the hypodermic that Suzanne gave him.

"Are you sure we want to do this," she asked.

"If it was one of those jokers... Not a chance in hell, but this is Andy. I don't know how well he will adapt. I've never heard of a crippled immortal before, but he is a tough son of a bitch. If anyone can do it, it will be him."

"You too damn noble for you own good David Ross." She kissed him on the forehead, "One of the reasons I married you. You know we will have to burn this place down to cover our tracks."

David hefted Andy's body over his shoulder. " A couple of thermite grenades and this place will go up like Chicago did. That should gives us enough time to get out of the state and change identities again."

Getting out of the compound was easier then either of them would suspect. The aftermath of the battle had left the security force in disarray. The hardest part was loading Andy's body into the trunk of the Taurus.

"I told you we needed a bigger car. It's not like we couldn't afford it.

David shook his head, this was like the 500th time they had 'discussed' this and it was always the same. "Oh no... Not again, I told you and you agreed, We both wanted that job and the only way to pass the security procedure was to live within the means that we showed to the world. Didn't I say that?"

"I was just saying..."

"Ok. Next time we get a better car. Dave glanced in the rearview mirror. It's a moot point now anyway. These I.D.'s are shot to hell."

Andy was stuck in the nightmare. It started with shots from outside his lab. He'd grabbed the Atchisson that he'd just finished and slapped a magazine in it. Selecting full auto he waited of the trouble he'd known would come.

The first thing through the door had been a grenade, one that Andy was all too familiar with. The baseball sized death pill exploded, tossing Andy from his chair and spilling him onto the floor. He twisted himself so he had a shot at the door. Five camouflaged men entered the lab thinking that the grenade had done the job, Andy's creation soon taught them the errors of their ways. The first man died a deer slug through the heart, only to be followed by a load of buckshot.

The second man wasn't as lucky. Andy aimed the Atchisson high, knowing that the flechettes would have a tendency to go low at such short range. Andy made a mistake, the sharpened spikes caught the intruder in the face and he was dead before the body hit the ground.

Before he would move out of the way, the third intruder stitched him with 5.56-mm rounds on full auto. That's when the dreams began. One second he was back in Viet Nam, holding on for dear life as his blood flooded the jungle floor. Then it was the kindly doctor telling him about chasing nurses. That image faded and then it was the first day in Terrance Points, the day he and Terry were reunited and Terry told him he was the best man.

It was the sound of a woman screaming that took Andy away from that pleasant memory and drew him into an even better one. A Sunday afternoon, the smells of barbecue filling the air. The excitement... and terror of Karen giving birth. That reflection caused Andy to smile, once or twice in his life, birth and not death stood center stage.

Five hours later

To call the cabin rustic would be a kindness. Set into the Blue Ridge Mountains, it was simply a retreat for the two people for whom the forest was second nature. They weren't so jaded that a flush toilet was a necessity of life and carrying water from a well was a task that they'd done since childhood. What they craved was a place where they could be themselves and the little hidden home was that place.

David slammed the door closed and reached into the back seat. " You stash the car in the mine and I'll make Andy comfortable." Tossing the large man over his shoulder he turned toward the cabin.

"David, Did we fill the water tank last time we were here? Suzanne yelled after her husband.

Dave turned back to the car. "Yep, remember I lost the bet, tank should be full, but we may need firewood before the night is over."

The first thing that Andy became cognizant of was the crackling of a fire popping in his ears. Then the radiant heat of the flames warmed his face, flickering back and forth like a flag in a gentle breeze. He cautiously opened his eyes, expecting to find his lab burning all around him. Instead, a darkened room lit by only the fireplace and candles filled his vision.

Confused Andy reached for the wheelchair that was never more then a few feet away, it was when he couldn't find it, that the memory of the fight at Stony Man Farm came back to him. Looking down, he remembered the bullets as they entered his body and the piercing burning feeling they'd made as the tore his chest apart. "Fuck," He said out loud, "I should be dead."

He stumbled to his stump and looked around. The interior was spartan, but well kept. The old style feather bed he was on seemed to dominate the room. There was what looked to be a homemade dresser over by the door but that was it. Footsteps interrupted Andy's inspection. He lay back down and feigned unconsciousness. He waited until he was sure that the target was close enough, he peeked once to confirm that fact, then he grabbed the stranger by the neck.

"If you don't tell me where I am," he growled, "I'll break you fucking neck."

"That won't do you much good sweetie. Beside if you do, who will explain what's going on."

Andy knew that voice. Suzanne and David Ross were in the rare minority of the security force that didn't pity or wasn't pissed at Andy for always out shooting every one of them. "Suzanne," he questioned. What the hell happened?"

"Well if you let me go, Ill try to explain. The Farm was attacked six hours ago you were hurt. <Damn> she thought, <now I know how David felt when he tried to tell me all of this. > "David and I rescued you and brought you to our cabin."

Andy shook his head in confusion. "Why here and where is Mack?"

"I'm afraid it's not that simple. The Farm security was betrayed. I'm sure that Mack in looking into that right now, but there is another problem, one that you probably wont believe. Why here will take a little longer to explain."

"Quit fucking around. I need to get back to the farm, they are going to need me."

"Andy, They think your dead."

"Now why the hell would they think that?" Suspicions began to rise in Andy's mind.

Because, said a voice from the doorway. "You were dead. You died in a hail of bullets defending your lab Andy, David paused, "and your country"

"What the fuck is going on here." Andy shouted at the top of his lungs.

"My name is not David Ross. I was born Simon Rossington here in these hills in 1802. I died in 1829 during a dual in Washington, and like you Andrzej Konzaki, I am an immortal. Knowing that it would hurt, David too his knife and sliced his forearm down to the bond. Then he showed the disbelieving Andy how the arm healed itself. "You have a lot to learn Andy and I'm afraid that your handicap dooms you."

The rest of the night was spent explaining to Andy the unwritten rules of immortality. Andy listened and tried to accept what David and Suzanne told him but it was so out of this world that he was having a hard time. Things came to a head a few days later, over a bath of all things.

Suzanne and David spent the morning heating water for a bath, not an easy task with only a wood burning stove as the only heat source, but they'd agreed that something had to be done to break Andy out of his apathy. And hour later David had lifted Andy into the tub and left him to do his business.

Twenty minutes later and feeling much better, Andy called out for help to get out of the deep tub. He was more surprised then shocked when it was Suzanne that came instead of David. It was only then that Andy realized that he'd forgotten a towel. Feeling vulnerable, "Where's Dave? I thought he would be here."

Suz moved forward with the grace of a cat, which only increased Andy's predicament. "He went into town to find you a wheelchair."

"Can you get me a towel please."

A cats grin, one that matched Suzanne's grace grew onto her face exposing her sexy lips to Andy's gaze. "I could," she admitted, "but where would the fun be in that."

That statement left Andy shocked. "Damn it Suz, what about David?"

Suzanne bent over the bath, getting water all over the front of her nightgown. "My husband knows me all too well and he knows what I've planned to do" she whispered into Andy's ear.

Her intentions did seem clear but Andy had to be sure, so he asked, "And what have you planned?"

"I plan on screwing you till one of us dies from exhaustion. And since we are both immortals, That should take a long long time."

With as much conviction that he could muster, "No. It's not right."

"What's not right about it. I like you," she glanced down into the murky water, "and it too obvious that you like me, so what the harm?"

"Your married, that not what is right." Andy's mind was now a mixture of desire and confusion. Suzanne's comment about him liking her was obvious as she claimed, but he prided himself on thinking with the big head, not the little one.

Standing next to Andy, near the crude trough that the Rosses used as a tub, wearing a now wet thin cotton nightgown, Suz explained. "Think about it Andy. What are the taboos about having sex outside of marriage? The first is the male's right to produce an heir that he knows is his. That's the first consideration for fidelity in marriage. Well that not a problem with us. We can't have children. The second and more recently, sexually transmitted disease, again, not a problem. David and I both lived through the worst cases possible, Diphtheria, typhus, measles, mumps, David survived the Bataan death march and the Japanese imprisonment in the Philippines during the war and never got so much as a sniffle."

Andy sat in the tub naked and embarrassed, trying his best to hide the reaction to Suz's closeness and nearly nude body and found himself trying to find a reason for his continued resistance. "Still..."

"Still nothing. Time to shit or get off the pot. You have two choices here. One, make love to me or, Two sit in that dammed tub until you die." Suzanne crossed her arms across her chest and waited. She simply smiled when Andy nodded, giving in to the inevitable, and he admitted his own desires.

Terrance Point Mt

"Damn it Karen, why can't you see reason?"

"What reason. That I'm trapped in this one horse town, Maybe you're just jealous that I need to do something other then be a wife to you and a mother to Lynn."

"What run a business? We already have a business and its more successful then any that you could come up with."

"Terry, that's not the point." Karen fell back into a chair, exhausted from fighting. "I've been trapped here all my life, never going anywhere or doing anything that I can call my own. You got to go to Viet Nam." Karen stopped, realizing the absurdity of what she had just said. "I'm sorry honey, that didn't come out right.

"I guess not", growled Terry.

"Honey, it not that I don't love you and Lynn, it just that I need something for me. I don't care where we move, it doesn't matter to me, Los Angeles, Seattle, Phoenix, Hell I'd even take Albuquerque, as long as it away from here."

Terry had known with all his heart that, that was coming. And Just as Karen felt the need to get away from Terrance Points, his need to stay was just as intense. In resignation he said, "I can't leave here any more then you can stay."

"Why," she shouted. "What is so fucking important to you about this town?"

"It's my home." There was finality in his voice that just couldn't be denied. "It's the place I always dreamed of coming back too."

Andy never, ever thought that a wheelchair would bring him freedom, but that's what the new one did. He was free to get out of the cabin for a while. He could find a place to think and just get away from all the bullshit that had happened to him over the last month. It was bad enough that he still felt guilty about sleeping with Suzanne, but knowing that David knew was eating at his soul.

The crunch of footsteps on the fallen leaves tugged Andy from his thoughts. He spun the wheelchair around only to find David standing there with a drawn sword.

"Finally had enough of it huh?" he said fatalistically.

"Had enough of what."

"Should I know what you are talking about?" David looked around and then dropped the sword to the ground embarrassed. "You thought I was here to take your head?"

"That's what I would do if someone living in my house as a guest was fucking my wife."

David looked stunned by Andy's admission, then he broke out in uncontrolled laughter. "Is that what's been bothering you?" he said through bouts of laughter. When the laughter finally stopped David explained. "Look Andy, Suz is free to sleep with anyone she wants to and she has given me the same freedom. Relationships between immortals aren't the same. I've been married to Suz for nearly a hundred years. I know where she will park her boots at night, so what happened between the two of you is a non-issue with me."

"It doesn't bother you." The confused look on Andy's face begged for an explanation.

"You're confusing sex for love, two different things. Suz likes you Andy, or she would never have asked me to leave the house that day, but she doesn't love you. Let me put it this way: You live in a town with one restaurant, you've eaten there a thousand times and had every item on the menu. A new restaurant opens up just down the street. Now wouldn't you want to try it, even if just of a change of taste?"

"I suppose..."

"That's all these little flings are to Suzanne and I are, a different taste. You've no reason to feel guilty. You have other things you need to worry about."

David's warning perked Andy right up. "Such as?"

"You know that sharp pain the flashes through your head ever time you see Suz or I?"

Andy nodded his head, adding. "I just ignore it. I've dealt with worse pain."

The taller immortal squatted down, his eyes meeting Andy's; "You can't afford to ignore it. That's the warning that another immortal in nearby. In your case, that's a signal to get the fuck out of Dodge. I don't like to say it, and you wont like hearing it any better, but your chances of survival are pretty slim. That wheelchair may someday cost you your life. Whoever saved you in Viet Nam didn't do you any favors."

"Shut the fuck up."

"You can't afford to lose any, and I mean ANY advantage. Run when you can, fight when you can't avoid it. There are immortals that will kill you just for fun. The quickening is just an added bonus to those assholes."

Reality slapped Andy across the face. "So how do I survive?"

"First a weapon." He reached down and retrieved the short sword that he'd dropped to the ground earlier. "I took this off and ex- legionnaire about seventy years ago. The gladius is the perfect weapon for someone in a wheelchair. Its short so it wont exhaust its wielder, and it has good mass so a single sweep will cut a head off."

Andy inspected the priceless weapon. "It still short. I won't even be able to reach the neck, let along cut of the head."

"Have Faith my friend." David smiled, "That's where this comes in." Dave reached into his waistband and handed Andy the Smith and Wesson model 29. "You blow their kneecaps off first, then its ginsu time."

Terrance Point Mt

Things had just gotten worse. The fights became and every night event and Terry was afraid that Lynn would suffer, so he quit fighting. Instead he contacted his lawyer and started separation proceedings. The only thing Andy insisted on was custody of his daughter, that cost him 15 million dollars and he felt it was worth every penny.

It was almost anticlimactic; Karen had simply gotten in her car and driven away, leaving Montana and her family behind without a single thought.

Terry had just gotten Lynn down when there was a knock on the door.

Thirty miles outside of town, just as she passed a newer motor home, Karen began to feel the regret and loss. <No, it wasn't going to be easy to let Terry and Lynn go.> She'd been in love with Terry for as long as she could remember and it was only her desperation, and his inflexibility, that had driven her to this point. She still painfully hoped that he would come to his senses and join her in California. Unable to see the road because of the tears she wasn't able to see the yellow lines on the road that was leading her to her future. She wiped the tears from her face with her sleeve.

In the next few months, She would discover that this moment would define the rest of her life. This one second, where her pride and his stubbornness would separate them for the next twenty years. She would find herself telling her son that he was just like his father. Karen was three weeks pregnant.

Terrance Point Mt

Terry opened the door, there, obscured by the screen door' stood an Army Officer. "Can I help you sir," he asked, unknowing that his life was about to fall apart even further.

"Mr. Powell? I have a letter here for you. Would it be ok if I came in?"

"Sure, try and be quiet, my little girl is asleep." At least that was what Terry was hoping. His little tornado had the weirdest habit of turning up at just the wrong time. "Excuse me," Terry glanced at the tabards on the soldiers shoulders, "Colonel, but why are you here?"

Mack Bolan drew in a deep breath. "My name is Col. John Phoenix. I regretfully inform you that Andrzej Konzaki was killed in the line of duty. Sgt. Konzaki was serving under my command and you were listed as his next of kin." Mack set his briefcase down and opened the latches. "Andy left a letter for you with my XO and asked that it be delivered incase of his death." Mack hesitated, " I thought He would want you to have this." Mack handed Terry the folded flag that has covered the empty coffin that they had buried next to April Rose.

The colonel's words and the flag that was reserved for soldiers killed in the line of duty physically hit Terry like a wrecking ball. He fell back into a chair stunned. < It can't... It just can't be.>

Mack hated to intrude, but there were things that he needed to say. "I'm sorry son. Andy was a good soldier and a good friend."

Tears in his eyes and fighting back the choking sobs that would later take control of him, Terry asked listlessly, "How... Why... "

"I'm sorry, but that information is classified. If it helps, the men that killed Andy are already dead." Mack emphasized the last word with a loud bark.

"You're sorry... YOU"RE SORRY... my best friend is dead, and all you can say is You're Sorry. Where the fuck were you colonel, and what the fuck was Andy doing in a combat zone. Anyone with a lick of fucking sense would know that a man in a fucking wheelchair shouldn't be place in harms way. This is all your fucking fault. I served in the army... Your responsibility was to insure the safety of your men. Where the fuck were you when Andy died."

Rage, anger, depression, and the need to kill something, battled within Terry's heart. He was reaching for the gun hidden under the cushions when his daughter saved Mack Bolan's life. "Daddy... what's wrong, in it Mommy."

The words of his child brought Terry back. Killing the messenger would only make things worse. "No honey, everything's ok... Mommy is ok. Come here honey." Terry held his daughter close, letting her love for him help to heal the open wound that was the loss of his brother. He turned back to the Army officer, "Get the fuck out of my house." He walked away carrying Lynn back to bed.

Mack stood there in shock at the vehemence of Terry's words. He picked up the flag and the letter that had fallen to the floor during the verbal attack. He placed the flag on the fireplace mantle and the letter on top of the flag, where it could be found easily. He wrote a quick note on a scrap of paper and laid that with the rest. Then Col. John Phoenix turned and left. There was nothing more that he could do here.

New Orleans

The day after Andy and David had their little talk, the three of them moved to New Orleans. When Andy questioned the move, David sat down with him and explained some of the intricacies of changing identities. "Look Andy," he started, "The basis of any identity is a birth certificate and the best place to wrangle one of those is a big city that has been around a long time. The first thing we do is visit a cemetery and find someone in the right age range. After that it's a matter of visiting the local registrar and a little cumshaw, and we're set."

"That I get, but why New Orleans?"

"Because they have such a transient population, Its not unusual for strangers to move in and out with in month, that works to our advantage. Second there's not a public official that doesn't feel like they are underpaid and under appreciated there, so that's a second advantage. And third, Suzanne like Bourbon Street."

"Wouldn't it be easier to just buy them on the black market?"

"Easier, yes, but much less secure. My way, only you will know about the change. It looks like Suz and I, are in the clear, so our I.d.'s should hold up for a while longer. Besides that, there are people in New Orleans that owe me."

The three of them packed themselves into the new Mercedes Benz that David had bought, much to Suzanne's delight, and hit the road.

The attack had come, while Suzanne and David were out to dinner. Andy had begged off to give the couple some time to themselves. The three of them had been together almost 24 hours a day, seven days a week, since the attack and he was sure they were as tired of him as he was of them, so Andy stayed in the rented mansion while they went out.

He was working on the edge of the Gladius where the sound of breaking glass broke his concentration.. He checked the .44 and hid it between his knees. Before could turn around the sharp pain of a nearby immortal and a loud voice from the doorway announced. "I am Abdul Rakshalle, of the Sikhs army, prepare to die"

"Yea right... whatever." Andy reached between his legs and whipped the .44 up and fired two round in the space of two and a half seconds, blowing the Punjab warrior's legs apart. "Sucks to be you," he said as he rolled over to the immortal.

This was what Andy had been dreading. It was easy to hear David talk about it, but cutting a man's head off was a little out of Andy's experience. "Why the fuck didn't you just leave me alone, it would have worked out nicely that way." With a single sweep of his heavily muscled are he sent the old sword in a vicious arc that cut into the darker man's neck. With a sickening crunch, the sword separated the spinal cord and the turbaned head rolled away, its eyes opened in shock at defeat.

Even the horrors of war that Andy had seen in Viet Nam didn't match the queasy feeling that the headless body, lying in a pool of blood could match. He turned away, and was surprised when a wind cut through the mansion. A blue arc shot out sweeping the room, destroying the furniture and them moving on, as if it were looking for something.

The worst pain that Andy had ever felt struck him like a fright train. His heart felt like in was in a vise and it was being crushed. At the same time there was such an adrenaline rush that he felt like he could live forever on a single breath.

Then a bolt of lightening struck him in the chest knocking him back against the wall. Andy yelled and screamed in pain and pleasure. In a final release greater then any he'd felt before, it was over. Leaving Andy lying on the ground, his wheelchair beside him.

Terrance Points Mt

Terry found the flag and the letter on the mantle. He'd finally gotten Lynn back to sleep now he could try and deal with the news that he'd received. Ripping the letter open, he read silently, while hearing the words of the friend that he'd called a brother.

"Dear Terry,
If your reading this letter then the unthinkable has happened and I can no longer be with you in person, but I will always be there in spirit. There are words that I could have never said in life that become critical in death. These words are. I love you my brother."

Terry's control left his eyes watering.

"You and Karen and Lynn are the only family that I had and I don't think I could have lived without the three of you. Take care of them Terry, they are the reason that we exists on this world. There is no great power, no reward in the afterlife, only the people we love and the friends we make to remember us."
"Don't grieve for me. I should have died in that stinking jungle, you gave me years of life that were borrowed time and filled that time with love that made life worth living. Everything I have is yours. Be well my friend and take care of my family."
"Your Friend, and Brother Andy"

The tears and the sobs that terry had been fighting since the colonel had walked in the door took control, leaving Terry there on the floor, crying like a baby.

New Orleans, LA

David and Suzanne came out of the restaurant full, and in a very good mood. Theyd eaten all of the things that they loved about Cajun cooking, even the owner, Emeril, came over to their table to give them his trademark, "How ya doing," just before they were ready for dessert. Overall it had been a splendid night and they both had enjoyed the break.

It was David that suggested that they walk back to the mansion. Ten blocks from the restaurant a street person approached them. "You," he babbled to David, "you look like a betting man. "Ill bet you twenty dollars that I can tells you where you gots your shoes."

David had to smile; this was one of the oldest scams on Bourbon Street. "No bet pal." There was something about this bum that was setting the hairs on the back of his neck to attention.

"Wass the matter, you too good to bets wif old Willie?" the old bum stared David right in the eye as he said that and then David knew what was bothering him about the old guy. He was too clean for a bum and the rotting body odor was missing.

"Suz, heads up," he shouted, nearly too late, as three others rushed the immortal pair.

Willie, the bum charged David with a wicked looking Bowie knife. Dodging the initial attack, David grabbed the bums wrist, with a quick heal strike to the elbow he broke the attackers arm. Concerned, he turned to help his wife. He neednt have bothered. Suz had her Katana out and there were three bodies lying on the ground bleeding on the old cobblestone pavement.

Kicking the knife away from Willie, who was now on the ground holding his arm and moaning as if hed just been castrated. "Looks like we just experienced the crime wave the papers were talking about. Think we should give NOPD a call?"

Suz thought about it a second. "That would involve showing out federal credentials"?

"But this stinks to high heaven. That guy," he pointed to Willie, "is no bum. These guys were waiting for us and they knew enough about us to know we would probably walk home."

"Right." Suzanne stepped on the shattered elbow, causing Willie to scream in pain. "I have a deal," she said to him coldly. "You tell us who sent you and we let you live." She lifted the sharp pointed heel up just a little.

"Fuck off bitch I aint telling you any. Awwwwwwrrrrrrr." The bum yelled as the point of her heel dug against the broken bones in his arm.

"Remember the golden rule; the woman with the gun."

"Sword dear," David interjected.

"Sword, makes the rules." She continued. "You have one chance here. Now once more who set us up"? She ground her heel down a little harder.

Willie was a fool, but not a damn fool. He could feel the coldness that this black widow bitch broadcast like a dog in heat. "It was this raghead. He paid us five hundred bucks to keep you away from the fancy mansion. Said we could keep anything we found on you."

"Fuck," Suzanne swore as she kicked the bum in the head. "Hes after Andy."

Andy was lying on the floor, sweating and laying in a pool of his own vomit. It wasnt the dead body, or even that hed cut a mans head off, that he could have handled. No it was the memories of places hed never been, battles that hed never fought in and women that hed never raped that repulsed him so badly that hed lost his dinner. Andy was in the throws of the quickening.

Groaning at the pain that the Punjab Indian immortal had caused, Andy fought the memories back. Knowing that he would never do the things that he was witnessing was the only defense that he had against the atrocities he was watching. Minute by minute, then hour by hour Andy labored against the quickening, absorbing the best and casting off the worst. When the worst had passed, Andy slipped into the blessed relief of unconsciousness.

The darkened house worried Suzanne as the pair drove up in the cab theyd hailed. She jumped out, leaving David to pay the fare. Unlocking the door, she drew her Katana and warily entered the house. Her head swiveled back and forth listening for the slightest indication that anyone was in the house. "Andy," she softly called out but there was no answer to her cry.

Stepping lightly she carefully searched the room. "Suz," the whisper came from behind her.

"Over here."

David cat walked towards his wife, careful to avoid the center of the room where the old wooden floor was most likely to creak. "What ever happened, I think we missed it." He said to the visibly worried woman. "Someone broke our security. I dont know how and I have some very pointed questions to ask if the motherfucker is still alive."

Suzanne was shocked. David could swear with the best of them, but there were words he never used, and that was number two on the list. If he was so worried about what happened that his language had deteriorated that far then the shit had truly hit the fan.

They found the body, pools of blood under each knee, or what remained of the knees when the 230-grain hollow point was done with them. The stump of the head, the grisly white of the spine showing, had soaked the old wooden floors. Relieved that it wasnt Andys body that theyd found they abandoned caution and rushed into the room, finding the unconscious immortal by the wall near his over turned wheelchair.

"Well looks like Andy isnt a virgin anymore."

"I dont think he was ever a virgin," Suz said with a gallows sense of humor.

David looked at his wife and her odd sense of humor, "Ill take care of the body, you see how Andy is doing. The first quickening is a bear. And honey," he said. Thanks for covering my ass back there."

"All a part of the vows love." She gave him a quick kiss and they both set about their assigned tasks.

Terrance Point, MT

"Daddy." The small girl looked at her daddy lying on the floor in front of the never touch place. Mommy had made that clear with a spanking Lynn would never forget. She bent down and shook her daddy. "Daddy, Im hungry."

Her daddy opened his eyes and smiled at his daughter. "Daddy alright? She struggled with the last wordy.

"Daddy is fine," she heard and her little heart felt good. Daddy, Mommy, and Uncle Andy always made Lynn feel better. Even when she got in trouble, especially when she got in trouble. Lynn knew right from wrong and when she forgot, she was given a painful lesson, but the lesson was always followed up with hugs and kisses.

Her Daddy sat up and her blue eyes met his bloodshot ones, but all Lynn could see was the love that he had for her. It was always there. "Im hungry, Daddy."

"Me too, sweetheart." Lynn loved it when Daddy called her that, it made her feel special. "Go get in your chair and Ill be there in a minute."

"Kay, Daddy." She said as she toddled off, her little jumper swishing back and forth.

Terrys eyes filled with tears again, this time with love instead of grief. That few seconds was all he got, for then he remembered the letter and the message that it contained. Terry fought a battle within himself, the loss of his best friend versus his love for his daughter, in the end; it was life and love that won out.

Terry picked up the fallen letter and found the scrap of paper that hed missed last night. Dear Mr. Powell, You were right. I should have been there. Every man under my command that I lost was a damn good friend. I know that this wont make you feel better; but when Andy died, I was watching the love of my life dying as well: Thats where I was.

The note was signed at the bottom, Mack Bolan.

New Orleans, LA

The next morning Andy woke up, not in his own bed, but a strange one. There was a familiar warmth lying next to him. He glanced over and sure enough Suzanne was lying next to him. He reached for the wheelchair so he could head for the bathroom. "Dont go." The words were whispered softly. "David isnt back yet and I dont want to be alone."

"If I dont, then there will be a bigger mess. Ill be right back."

Suzanne sat up, the covers falling away from her nude form. "Oh Ok, but come back, we have some things to talk about."

When Andy returned, looking much relived, he rolled his chair over to the side of the bed and looked to Suzanne. "Did we, uhh?"

"Nope, no Uhhh last night. You were too sick and I was too worried. Look Andy," she said seriously, "David and Is life style may not suit you, but it works for us. Im sorry if I caused you to be embarrassed."

"Its not that I dont like you," Andy admitted, "or that I didnt enjoy what did happen. But I truly thought that David was the one being hurt."

"Darling, you dont know my husband," Suzanne sighed. "Lets agree to disagree. Tell me about last night, what happened?"

Andy began to tell the take, an hour later David came in just as he was finishing. "Well that takes care of that," he announced. "Thats one body that will never be found. I also dumped the sword."

"Damn it." Andy looked at David. "Did you save the turban?"

No. Head, body, and the weapons all went into the bayou."

"Shit. He had some very interesting thing hidden in that turban." When David looked at his with a questioning look in his eyes Andy continued, "The Chakra is a throwing weapon that would be suitable for me. Just another tool to help me survive the crazy life I now lead. Im sure I can find some, or make them if I have too. I seem to have memories that arent mine. Its a little disturbing."

Suzanne laughed. "You think that bad, try-remembering being a man, when your body is telling you youre a woman. That will confuse anyone."

Andy thought about what Suzanne said, and remembering the intensity of the memories last night he blushed. "You mean?"

"Yep. Im the only woman that knows what its like to pee standing up."

That wasnt what Andy thought she was going to say he broke up laughing.

David watched as his wife bested Andy in the game of oneupmanship. "Well I hate to break this up, but we have a lot to do today. Last night tells me that someone knows we are in New Orleans, and that is gonna change the way we do things." David left that statement hanging up in the air as he walked out of the room.

The three immortals were soon ready to head out for the day. David refused to tell them what the plan was, but the first stop was at a custom tailors shop.

"Ah, Rene my old friend, he said, I hope you arent too busy today. Im afraid that I have a rush order.

The small man dressed in an old rumpled suit, festooned with measuring tapes and pins looked at David. "Never too busy for you."

"Well this will be a little different. I need a complete suit for my friend in the wheelchair with in an hour, and 3 other suits, they can take a few days. Andy let me leave you in the capable hand of the best tailor this side of the Atlantic"

Andy measured the small man, not liking the scowl that he was getting in return. Andy however did not know that Rene was scowling at the job that David had handed to him, not the man the clothes were going to fit. Reluctantly he said, "How ya doing." He surprised himself by saying it in French, rather than in English.

In a rattled off staccato in the same language, Rene answered, "That it would be a pleasure to serve such a gentleman."

"Andy, I didnt know you spoke French."

"I guess I didnt till last night. There just might be some advantage to all of this.

Suzanne smiled, "Well there should be; considering what we go through."

Andy and Suzannes comments left Rene confused. He looked to David, "It will take two hours, I am sorry my friend, but I could not sew faster if it were the pope himself. And Mister Andy will have to stay for the fitting. I have never done this kind of work before."

"Andy I leave you in the capable hand of Rene LeSmith. A better tailor you will not find. Come on Suzanne, Youre next."

Shopping for Suzanne was both easier and more difficult. Simpler in the fact that she was a perfect size four and fitting for her consisted of changing. It was made harder because, she absolutely refused to buy a pair of shoes without trying on every single pair in the store. Immortal, or not, she was a woman and she was infected with the same obsession with shoes that the rest of the women of the world enjoyed.

One hour and forty seven minutes later, the pair returned to Rene LeSmiths shop to find Andy sitting there, chatting away with Rene in French. He was dressed in a finely cut suit, a dark gray in color and a white shirt that positively gleamed. The outfit was completed with a tie and tie tack that looked like a miniature silver star.

Andy waved to David and Suzanne, when he turned to face them, they also noticed that he was freshly shaved and his unruly hair had been trimmed back to a sharp military trim. Andy waived to them and continued his conversation with Rene.

David walked up to the pair. "Rene, you never fail to satisfy, youve made even a bull in the china shop look presentable."

"Thank you David, it has been a pleasure. I will have the rest ready the day after tomorrow. Shall I bill you, or subtract it from what I owe you?"

"Hmm," David wondered out loud. This was an old game between the two of them. If He said bill him, then the price would be reasonable, but he would have to pay in cash. If he told Rene to subtract the cost from his debt, then David would find that hed just paid 3000.00 dollars apiece for the suits. He decided. "Go ahead and subtract it Rene, youve done a marvelous job."

David, Suzanne, and Andy took their leave of the small tailor and headed out. Once out the door Andy couldnt help but comment, "I dont think Ive ever met a nicer Frenchmen."

David snickered. "Hes about as French as hot dogs. His family has owned that shop since before the civil war. The accent is just to fool the yokels and charge them more money." Looking at Andy, David noticed that something was different, but he couldnt place it. "What else did he do Andy?"

The wheelchair bound immortal refused to say anything; he just sat there and grinned. It was Suzanne that figured it out, "Look at the legs honey, Andy now has legs. David looked down, and there were two legs, complete with shoes.

Andy had grown used to not having legs over the years, in fact, he rarely even thought about it, except when others made an issue of it; that hed never grown used to. Rene had solved that problem with some additions to the pants hed made for Andy. "Rene made the pants full length and then filled then with cotton batting. He even figured a way to attach the shoes to the bottom of the pant legs with out the seams showing."

"Im gonna have to give him a bonus. Thats very clever and will go along with what we need to do today."

David started walking away, but his wife stopped him. "Ok whats the big mystery?"

"Well its not that big a deal. Events have escalated to the point where we are going to need more liquid assets then we have available." He looked at his wife, "You know I have money spread all around the country. New Orleans was my base of operations just before we met. My teacher always said, It is easier to collect a little money and let it set in the bank drawing interest rather then working for it. Well, its time to make a little withdrawal."

"Wait a second." Andy was more then a little perplexed. "You said, you havent been here since before you and Suzanne were married. How in the hell can you get money out of an account thats over a hundred years old?"

"Thats where the fun comes in: Welcome to the world of blind trusts."

The rest of the morning passed quickly. David made several stops, instructing Suzanne and Andy to stay in the car. The first stop was a bank that from the look of it had been there since the turn of the century. David was in and out in 15 minutes; he slipped a key into his pocket as he exited the door.

One of the stops took longer then anticipated. David had already obtained Andy a birth certificate in the name of Andrew Conners. From there it became a matter of time. The worn down shop in the slums looked abandoned, but rolling though the door Andy found one of the most sophisticated forgery set-ups in the world. His picture was taken with the same equipment that the department of motor vehicles used and then entered in to the legal database by a secure connection to the states mainframe. He got a new social security card printed on government printed stock. The icing on the cake was the passport, complete with stamps from countries that hed never visited before. "Damn."

"Thats nothing" said David, "they can even get into the FAAs database and issue you a pilots license with any rating you want. This wasnt the way I wanted to do this, but When in Rome."

"How much is this costing?" Andy asked the question out of guilt. Hed always pulled his own weight before and the increasing debt to the Rosses was becoming more then he could bear.

David grinned, "Not a damn thing. I told you I had friends here." With that said David headed out to the car.

The next stop was the law firm of Morris, Morris, and Hathaway. David parked the Mercedes and helped Andy out of the front seat. "Ok guys, all I want you to do is look important; dont say a word unless I ask you a question."

The trio headed into the ornate lobby where David, acting like he owned the place marched up to the receptionist and demanded to see Mr. Hathaway.

The receptionist, Miss Brighton by the brass nameplate on her desk, Held her finger up like a police officer in a crosswalk scolding a child trying to go against traffic, in a deep New England accent, "Do you have an appointment. Mr. Hathaway doesnt see anyone without an appointment." The look on her face dared David to try and cross that line.

"Look Miss," Davids tone of voice made the word miss sound like an obscenity, "I hope youve been saving you wages. Because if you dont pick up that telephone within the next thirty seconds, and tell Mr. Hathaway that the grandson of Saul Wellstien is here, I can assure you that you will be looking for a job."

The conviction, with which Dave spoke, caused shiver of fear in the normally unflappable Miss Brighton. Uncharacteristically she picked up the phone and paged her boss. Much to her surprise, he told her to send him right in.

Andy followed the married immortals into the office. The place reeked of power and money. Andy scanned the room and even to his untrained eye the desk screamed antique. Behind the desk was a man who if it was possible, seemed even older then the desk.

David didnt let the huge office intimidate him he walked over to the desk like he had been there thousands of times. "Mr. Hathaway, Im David Ross. My Grandfather told me to come see you if I needed money, that you were the conservator of a trust that would be available when I needed it. "

The old man rose, his legs shaking with small tremors, and weakly shook Davids hand. Nathan Hathaway may have been old, but his voice retained the power and the depth of the litigator that he once been. "Damn if you aint the splitting image of Saul" he said as he sat back down. "Saul was on of the brightest men Ive known in my life. He bought up a lot of buildings right after he got into town. Said he made money in the gold rush of 49 and needed to make some investments for his family back east. Now I was dubious at first; the way he set it up didnt make any sense to me, but he must have been part fortuneteller. He made the trust buy up several small banks. First one in New Orleans that consolidated them in to a chain, left strict instructions that each bank must maintain 80 percent liquidity and that was the only reason they survived the crash of 29. To this day, its still the largest privately held bank in the state."

"Mr. Hathaway. My father and grandfather told me these stories." There was a hint of amusement in Davids voice.

"Look you young pup, you may be the beneficiary, but until Im convinced that you are who you say you are, you dont get a thin dime." The old man deflated a bit. "Sorry son; Im getting old, a little cranky and set in my ways. I liked your grandfather a lot. He helped me set up this firm and the only repayment he asked was that I take care of this trust. Made good money for it, too. Over the years there have been thousands of inquires about buying the assets of the trust. Even the city tried in 62. Boy were they surprised to find that if the trust was challenged all the assets would be converted to a second trust that would feed and house stray dogs and cats. Governor nearly had a heart attack when he learned that half of Bourbon Street would be owned by the ASPCA." The old man started to cackle.

Suzanne and Andy turned and stared at David who was trying valiantly to control his own hidden laughter. When he saw them staring he just nodded his head. "Guess grandpa was smarter then the dirty politicians."

"Boy, your grandfather was smarter the 99.9 percent of the population back then." The olds mans eyes turned a frosty cold. "That brings us to discovering just who you are. Do you have it?"

Curiosity got the better of Suzanne. Looking at her husband, never suspecting that he had this kind of money, sure they had always lived well and they had met in the first class section of the Titanic, but she never knew that he was that rich. "Have what, David?"

It was Nathan that answered. "The conditions of the trust state: that any one anyone can come forward with two certain things can claim any or all of the assets of the trust. The first is a letter written in Saul Wellstiens hand." As he spoke David reached into his pocket and drew out a time-faded envelope. "The second," the lawyer continued, "Is half a coin, the coin must match the date, AND," Nathan accented the and, "it must be cut in a way that matches a coin in my possession."

David flipped the 1892 twenty dollar gold piece, which had been cut in half like a jigsaw puzzle piece, onto the desk.

Nathan turned his back to his visitors and blocked their view as he opened a safe. With the telltale thunk for heavy bolts being thrown back, the old man withdrew a small coin box that contained half of a 20 dollar coin that had been cut in half by a very talented toymaker. He matched the two halves, when they were joined; none of the three could see where they have ever been separated.

Nathan tossed the coin on top of the letter, "What can I do for you today Mr. Ross?"

David turned towards Andy and Suzanne, "Howd you two like to be vice presidents of a bank?"

David, Suzanne, and Andy spent the next few hours signing papers that would transfer control of Northridge bank to their complete control. David was named as the owner of record of 51.9 percent of the stock and Suzanne and Andy split the rest. When the vast reams of paper were duly notarized David stood up and announced that it was time to select a board of directors.

"Sorry Son, can't be done. Not here at least. You need to notify the current board and call a special election. Thems the rules in the state of Louisiana." The old man paused for a second looking longingly at the cigar humidor on his desk. He reached for the box and took out a Cuban that he'd been saving. "I can tell you right now JT Snow wont go without a fight." Nathan clipped the cigar and lit it.

David shook his head, "Wait a second, JT Snow. That wouldnt be James Taylor Snow would it?"

"You know the man?"

"I hope not. Is he about my height, dark black hair? Movie star good looks and a heart blacker then a coal mine."

"Boy, I've never heard him described better with out using profanity. You gonna take on JT Snow you best have a lot of help. That boy is just plain mean."

Three days later

 David walked into the small machine shop that Andy had rented, only to find the crippled immortal immersed in his work. Andy was watching closely as the mill machine stripped titanium away from the solid eight by eight block that he'd started with that morning. He was so intent on his work that not even the presence of another immortal could distract him.

David cleared his throat, "Andy Andy" he yelled over the sounds of the noisy machine shop. Andy slowly and carefully lifted the mill bit up and hit the stop button. It was only after the bit and quit moving that he looked up at David.

 "Damn it Andy! You can't afford to lose yourself in your work like that."

"Like what." Andy grinned up at David and then he showed the older immortal the .44 magnum that was pointed at his crotch. You were saying?"

David visibly gulped and then laughed, "Ok I take it back, but try and be more careful next time. Suzanne would like anything to happen to those. Its time, are you ready?"

Andy removed the newly milled chakrum from the mill and attached it to the hub of his wheelchair where it now looked like another gizmo that held the spokes together. "Let's head for home and I'll change."

The three immortals sat in the van outside of the bank and waited for the courier to return. David turned his head toward the back where Suzanne was putting the final touches on Andy's new suit. She pulled the tie tight to his collar and then added the tie tack that looked like a smaller version of the Silver Star. "Well, she smiled, dont you just look spiffy"

Yea! But I feel like a hundred-dollar whore in church. Why are we doing this again?"

"Think of it as camouflage." David hadn't told Andy just why he wanted to confront JT Snow this way, now he was having second thoughts. "Ok, we have to wait for the courier anyway". He cleared his throat; "JT Snow used to be assigned to Suzanne and I as a watcher."

Wait a second, what the fuck is a watcher."

"The watchers are a group of normals that watch over the immortal community and record their activities." Suzanne glared at her husband. "I wanted to tell you about them right away, but David thought it would be better if we waited, I'm sorry Andy I should have insisted that we tell you."

"Fuck!" Andy pounded the arm of his chair. "God damnit Dave, I didnt like being left in the dark in the Army and I sure as hell dont appreciate it now."

David hesitated for a second. He never thought that Andy would be this angry about not being told. "Andy" he began calmly, "There were reasons why I didnt tell you." His eye's shifted to his wife, almost as if asking permission to say something. The pair had been a couple for so long that the narrowing of her eyelids and the slight flip of her head told him everything he needed to know. " Suzanne and I have suspected that some of the watchers have been working with their immortals to advance the game. Nothing that we could prove, but there were too many new immortals dying in the first year.

Andy was interested in knowing, even though he'd been kept in the dark. "How can you know that?"

"That's where our problem with JT Snow started. Suzanne broke into JT's office and hacked the watchers database, but she got caught. David felt uncomfortable about telling this story. His first reaction was to try and kill the bastard. "Luckily for JT, Suzanne made living a better punishment."

Suzanne reached over the seat, "It's Ok honey, I'll tell the rest. She turned toward Andy; "It all started in New York."

New York, 1982

David and Suzanne had been aware of the Watchers for a long time. Over the years they have even met a few of the ones that had been assigned to them. Currently, A man named JT Snow was their watcher, but the immortal pair had their doubts about him. Suzanne convinced David that she should be the one to check him out. He had a reputation as a ladies man and she was better with computers then Dave was.

Breaking into the bank building was easier than she thought it would be. A simple disguise as a part of the cleaning crew and then a fast change in the ladies room on the twelfth floor and she was in business.

The blonde headed immortal, dressed in all black, sat at the computer station in the penthouse of JT Snow, wondering how the son of a bitch could afford a hook up to the CCNY mainframe. <I guess the watchers pay better than David and I thought, oh well>; she thought, <that will make it easier.>; She pulled a 5 1/4 inch floppy from the bag that was hooked to her belt and inserted it into the drive. The drive light came on and Suzanne typed the run command.

The disc in the drive whirred away, loading the custom password-cracking program, that Suzanne bought from a friend a MIT. As the program did its thing Suzanne looked around, There was always a chance that JT might have been dumb enough to write the password down, if she could find that, it would save her a lot of time. She was so intent on finding the way in she never noticed the small light on the video camera above the door.

John Thomas Snow left the elevator quickly. He wanted to get home and rest for the meeting with the representatives of the Bank of Hong Kong in the morning. As he passed the guard station, the guard got his attention with quick raps on the armored glass that surrounded the guard booth. "Mr. Snow, we have an intrusion alarm from your office. Would you like me to call the police?" Anyone else and the guard would have let them walk right on by, but Mr. Snow liked to handle things personally.

"Buzz me in."

JT dropped his briefcase by the door. He checked the alarm print out. "Any other sign of intrusion?"

"No sir, just a motion alarm from your office. I can hook up the video feed."

"Do it." The guard punched the button that would recall that camera feed. "Now that's a surprise!" Said JT. He turned to the guard, "I want the video tape from that camera and then you're going for a walk."

"Sir I can leave the booth."

"You can if I say you can, Lieutenant."

"Sir I'm just a sergeant."

"Not any more. Get the tape and tomorrow you'll be promoted."

When the guard left, JT continued to watch Suzanne as she worked. "This should prove to be a fun evening." He sneered at the monitor; "It's about dam time I got into your pants."

Suzanne had given up her search for the password and let the cracker do its thing. Less them a minute later the screen flashed, Access allowed. "Yes! She exclaimed gleefully as she began downloading files to the floppy.

"I don't think that will do you any good now. Suzanne's head snapped towards the door. Standing there with a gum in his hand was JT Snow.

Suzanne tried to bluff her way out. "You know that gun won't do you any good. I think it's time for me to leave."

KT advanced on Suzanne, "That's not what I had in mind and this gun, well lets say it will get me what I want, Strip."


"Are you going deaf in your old age, I said strip. This is going to happen one way or another, now I can shoot you, tie you up and then have my fun or you can avoid the pain of being shot, Your call."

Suzanne slowly removed her clothes. It wasnt the first time she'd been raped and she would rather be conscious and have the possibility of escaping. When he clothes were a pile on the floor she stood in front of the desk waiting.

"Now bend over, legs spread and your arms behind your back."

Tears were leaking down Andy's face. He was divided between wanting to take Suz into his arms and rolling into the bank and Killing the bastard. "I'm sorry Suz"

"Thanks Andy," She squeezed his hand. "But as David said, I made living a much worse thing then dying was for JT. The bastard wasnt content to rape me; he wanted me to clean him off afterwards. So when he entered my mouth, I bit the head of his dick off."

Andy sat there stunned.

"I even wrapped a rubber band around it so he wouldnt bleed to death. Then I called the ambulance for him." The evil smile on Suzanne's face was enough to scare the devil. Before the story could be finished, the bicycle courier they'd been waiting for knocked on the door of the van. Suzanne grabbed the envelope; "I'll take that."

The trio of immortals barged past the secretary, ignoring her cries of, "You can't go in there."

They burst into the office with David leading the way and Suzanne close behind him. Andy rolled in behind them just in time to here Suzanne say, "Hello again Stumpy."

"What's the matter, cat got your tongue JT." As Suzanne spoke she gracefully walked over to the desk, "What you didn't think we would figure out who sent the headhunter after Andy?"

The startled banker couldnt form a coherent thought. In fact the crotch of his pants darkened as he pissed them. "You! Drawing a breath, "Get out of here before I have you arrested for trespassing."

David stepped forward, blocking his wife from advancing on the banker. "He leaned on the desk, "Now that's a trick I'd like to see, being arrested for trespassing in a building that we own."

JT stood there, unsure if what Dave said was true or not. He decided to fake it. "You're bluffing he claimed. The bank is owned by a trust which"

"Has been taken over by the rightful heirs. You think I'm bluffing, I'll dial the number for you, but if I were you, I'd remember that I came out on the short side last time.

When David said the short side Suzanne snickered at the now blushing banker. Adding insult to injury, "He really didnt have anything to spare in the first place she chipped in."

David glared at his wife. Turning back to JT, "I'm now the majority stockholder in this bank. Those two own the rest and as of now I'm calling this meeting to order. Do I hear any motions from the floor?"

"I move that we cut off Stumpy's balls." Surprisingly enough it was from Andy that the suggestion came from, not Suzanne.

"I move that JT Snow be ELIMATED as the president of Northridge bank."

Suzanne's emphasis on the word eliminated caused JT to turn white as a sheet. He only had one last card to play. "You all seem to forget the video tape that I have."

"Video tape, what video tape"

David ignored that comment "I have a motion on the floor. Is there a second?"

Andy rolled his chair behind the desk next to JT. "I'd second that if I were you." Then he drew the Gurka knife that had been concealed in the fake legs he was wearing, "I really would."

"Second," he whispered his voice full of hate.

"I have a second, is there any discussion? Seeing none I call the question. All for the motion signify by saying aye." A chorus of aye's filled the room. "All opposed say nay." The knife scratched across JT's neck. "The motion passed."

David reached across the desk and pulled JT over it by the throat. "Listen up mother fucker, You have two hours to get out of New Orleans after that I'm coming after you." David threw the man across the room. "If I see you again I'm going to let Andy do what ever he thinks is right. Now get out."

Later that night

Andy stood behind the tree that masked the doorway of JT Snow's house. He didnt like wearing the artificial legs, they hurt too much, but in this case the pleasure would be worth it. He'd been standing there for an hour when the taxi pulled up and sure enough, there was JT Snow. "I knew the bastard wasnt bright enough to poor piss out of a boot."

Andy waited until the cab had disappeared into the night, then just as JT reached the door; He threw the chakrum, hitting the bastard on the head knocking him out cold. <Need to practice a bit.>; Andy thought as he recovered the weapon.

JT woke up, staked to the ground, by the smell of it, somewhere in the Bayou. With the blindfold, on he couldnt see a damn thing but he knew the odor of the Bayou Every part of his body was itching like hell but he couldnt move anything.

"Welcome back sunshine. You really should have listened to Dave, not that it would have helped, but you would have lived longer."

The dispassionate tone of voice that his captor was using scared him more then if he was being yelled at and threatened.

"You'll be happy to know that I've given you a choice on how to die. The first is simple, Move about violently enough and the coral snakes will bite you, quick and relatively painless or if you stay real still they will slither away. You're lucky we aren't in Viet Nam, they have much better snakes for this kind of thing. The other option is stay real still, that leaves you for the crocodiles."

JT screamed against the gag.

"One more thing." Andy drew the Gurka knife again and with a quick flick of the wrist, the rest of JT's manhood was gone. "You won't be needing that any more."

FYI to the readers: For the last few days My image of Andy has changed, when I think about him I see the Gary Sinese's face, so if that helps, thats who I think Andy is, Now on with the story.

December 1992

Homeward bound, I wish I was homeward bound.
Home, where my thoughts escape, at home,
Where my music's playin' Home,
Where my love lies waitin' silently for me.

Every day's an endless dream of cigarettes and magazines 
And each town looks the same to me, the movies and the factories 
And every stranger's face I see reminds me that I long to be

Andy desperately spun the radio dial looking for something else to listen too. Even the song on the radio knew where Andy should be, even if he didnt know, it did. Andy turned the radio off, but the words of the Simon and Garfunkel song rang through his head. <Goddamn it,>; He thought. Andy never felt the tears softly raining down his cheeks.

He pulled the new van off onto the shoulder of the road and sat there, lost in memories of friends both old and new.

New Orleans, three day earlier

Unable to sleep, Andy lay in the darkness thinking about where he should be and why he wasnt there. Three years in New Orleans was enough.

"You're leaving aren't you." The voice came from Suzanne, whose head was lying on Andy's chest, her blonde hair spilling over his shoulder. The deafening silence from Andy answered he question all too clearly. Suzanne lifted her head and their eyes met. "David and I both knew this was coming. Let's face it, you dont belong in a bank, it's too closed in for you. You're like a colt, You should be out in the wild running free, or lost in the process of designing guns. Youre a simple creature Andy and what you need isn't here."

There wasnt anything that Andy could say, Suzanne was right he didnt belong.

The next morning the house was strangely quiet when Andy woke up. Suzanne had left somewhere in the night leaving him alone.

"Wake up! Slacker" David Ross burst into the bedroom. "Time for an early Christmas present for Andy. The older immortal stared down at Andy. "Youve been a very bad boy this year so Santa left you a bunch of presents."

The infectious good humor that seemed to define David Ross trapped Andy in a better mood than the night before." Damn it David, could you at least let me brush my teeth before you pull me out of bed and into your twisted world?"

"Dave's smile left his face for just a second, "She told me Andy. I wanted to wait till Christmas, but I think we both know you wont be here, So, Christmas came early. Gets your ass out of bed and Get dressed. Suzanne is making breakfast."

That got Andy's attention. "Suzanne can cook?"

David did a fair imitation of Santa clause with the belly laugh at Andy's question. "Suzanne can do almost anything that she wants to do. Dont worry I promise you it wont kill you. Get a move on or I'll eat it all myself."

Fifteen minutes later Andy rolled into the kitchen only to find it deserted save for the mountain of dirty dishes. <Damn I was too slow>;

Suzanne's voice floated in from the next room, "In here."

With a flip of both hands Andy spun the wheelchair around and headed towards the doorway to the formal dining room. "Holy shit," he cursed when he saw the table. The least impressive thing was the 300-year-old china that set upon an equally aged dinning table that could have doubled as a small aircraft carrier. As impressive as the furnishings were, it was the food that just blew Andy away. As a child he'd dreamed about such feasts. In Viet Nam, He learned to treat food as fuel, not something to be enjoyed but here was the meal of his life. Steak and eggs, Belgium waffles, Fresh fruit in all varieties, bagels and lox, toast, doughnuts and coffee, but in the middle of the table was the topper, A Christmas Ham that would have fed an Army. Stunned, "Did someone take my head while I was sleeping last night, cuz I've died and this has to be heaven."

Suzanne smiled warmly at he friend and part time lover, "Merry Christmas Andy" and it was.

An hour later Andy was still eating as the Rosses watched in amusement. It was impressive the way that Andy had tried at least one of everything. With a rude burp Andy pushed away from the table. "Oh my God I'm full," he said in the sluggish voice of those that had over eaten. "Thank you both. That was the finest meal I've ever had."

David laughed at Andy. It was obvious that he was in pain from over eating. "I dont know where you put it all. Hell it was worth the price just to watch you eat."

Suzanne playfully slapped her husband on the arm. "Be nice or I'll tell him about what you ate when we were rescued from the Titanic." That shut David right up. "Time for presents. David you go first."

David went over to the Christmas tree and got a long box from under it. He presents it to Andy. "Next time you decide to hunt someone down using you legs I think this might help."

Andy tore away the wrapping that was covered with red nosed reindeer, wondering what the hell it could be, maybe a gun; the package was about the right size. When he flipped the top off there was a cane with an ivory handle in the shape of a lion's head on it. He smiled, "This should come in handy"

"More so than you think my friend." David took the cane from Andy and then holding the handle he twisted the shaft a quarter turn and then pulled out the concealed blade. Playfully he tapped Andy on each shoulder with the blade, "I dub thee Sir Andy. David then handed Andy a much smaller package, one that he'd kept in his pocket.

"What's that, mini armor?"

"Even better than that."

Under all the wrapping Andy found three envelopes, tearing into the first he found a Visa card issued on the Northridge bank. The second one contained a Master Card, also issued on Northridge, the third one was longer than the other two, when he opened it there was a letter of credit for 6 million dollars. The gifts left Andy speechless.

David turned to his wife, "I think we managed to surprise him." He turned back to the still silent Andy. "Each of the credit cards has a balance of 500,000 dollars and the bills come to me. If they run out don't worry about it. It's covered." David leaned down and whispered so his wife wouldnt hear, "Thats for taking care of JT the way you did."

Suzanne didnt give Andy time to say anything. She grabbed the handles of the wheelchair and off they went. As Suz pushed, she also talked, "Now money is nice, but it lacks the personal touch." When they came to the doorway she told Andy to close his eyes. She pushed Andy out side and Andy could feel the morning breeze on his cheeks.

"Ok lover," she whispered into his ear, "You can open your eyes now."

For the second time in the last half-hour, Andy was left speechless. In front of him was a new van painted jet black. He briskly rolled around the van checking it out. It had already been fitted with a chair lift and much to his pleasure he noticed that it was the four-wheel drive version of the GMC van.

The black van sat of the side of the freeway, clouds of vapors from the tail pipe heating up the cold December morning. Without warning the wheels spun on the grave on the side of the road and the van spun 180 degrees and headed back the way it came.

<The song is right, I belong at home and its damn well time I get there.>;

The temperature hovered in the low 20's but that didnt stop Andy from sitting there in his wheelchair watching the children in the schoolyard build a snowman. The schoolyard was a vast open space covered in at least a foot of snow but that didnt seem to deter the gaggle of ten-year-olds from having a good time during recess.

The snow crunched against the rubber wheels of the chair as Andy tried to work his way around the chain link fence. When he found an open gate he found that he couldnt go any further, what if she didnt remember him or worse, what if she didnt care anymore.

Of all the things in his life, the one that was valued above everything else was the family that he'd left behind when his country called him back to service no he regretted leaving. He'd missed almost all of Lynn's life and now there was an honest fear that she would no longer need her Uncle Andy.

Lynn Powell was scraping snow from off of the ground so that she could start the belly of the snowman when she had to move, the ground pad been scraped clean by the rest of the fifth graders. When she came around the front of the snowman she looked around and she saw a man in a wheel chair sitting by the gate watching her friends play. For a minute she was stunned, then she took off like a banshee with its tail on fire.

"UNCLE ANDY! UNCLE ANDY!" The small girl ran through the snow and ice not caring if she slipped, she just want to get to her uncle before he disappeared again. When Lynn reached the gate, she launched herself into Andy's arms like she's done a thousand times before.

The teacher watched in Horror as Lynn Powell ran off again. Ever since the year had started Lynn had been more of a challenge then the rest of the class combined. It wasnt that she didnt like Lynn, it was just that if she didnt keep her eye on her every second she would find something interesting to discover. That wasnt what they had taught the young teacher a college and she hadn't found a way to settle Lynn down yet. "Lynn" she yelled as she took off after the rambunctious girl.

You really can't expect a ten-year-old to understand Newton's third law, but both Andy and Lynn got a practical demonstration when she hit Andy's chest the wheelchair tumbled over spilling the pair to the ground. They were covered in dirt and snow, but neither of them cared.

The teacher stopped at the giggling pile of snow only to discover Lynn on top of a stranger. "Lynn get back to the school now!" The Teacher was even more surprised that when the pink snowsuit moved out of the way there was a man with no legs lying there laughing like a fool"

Lynn got up and stared at her teacher as if she were crazy, "But Miss Green this is Uncle Andy, He borned me."

"He what!" Miss Green was now in way over her head, even for Lynn that was too much to take.

Andy noticed the teacher for the first time, "I'm sorry Miss, I think what Lynn meant was that I delivered her."

"Are you a doctor" That she even asked showed just how confused Miss green was.

"No Ma'am, I was a medic in the army." Andy struggled to get the wheelchair back upright. When he did that, he pulled himself up and twisted his body so that he was sitting in the chair. He offered the teacher his hand, "My name is Andy Konzaki," He ruffled Lynn's hair, "I'm Lynn's uncle of sorts."

Miss Green ignored the offered hand and in a tone that was even colder then the outside temperature, "I dont care if you are the president you shouldnt be here and neither should Lynn. Time to get back to class Lynn." She grabbed the protesting girl by the hand and started pulling her back to the schoolhouse.

Andy watched and when they were a few yards away, "Excuse me Miss Green" he said.

"What is it now," she answered in the same cold tone of voice.

"I just wanted to know if you hate soldiers, cripples, or if you're just a bitch to everyone you meet?"

The teacher turned around like she'd just been slapped in the face. "Neither, what I do hate", she said with contempt filling her voice, "Are perverts hanging around near schoolyards hoping to tempt little girls away. Miss Green stalked away, dragging Lynn with her.

"HEY MUNCHKIN!" Andy yelled, "I missed you." <Now for the hard part, >

Andy drove around the town mindlessly. He knew where he needed to go, but he couldnt find the heart to go there. <How the hell do you come back from the dead? It's been four years since I've even talked to Terry. How the hell is he going to react?>;

"React my ass, How the hell am I going to explain coming back from the dead." Andy slammed his hand against the steering wheel, "There is no way he's gonna buy that I was out of the country on a secret mission. He'll see through me is seconds, nope that ain't the ticket."

Andy stared at the reflection of his eyes in the rearview mirror. <He will see through any story in seconds. The only thing I can do is tell the truth,>;

Andy snorted at that thought. "Right tell him the truth. Hey Terry, sorry for not calling buddy, but you see I died and came back to life and Oh yea! By the way I'm immortal. That will go over like a fart at a wedding." Andy stared at himself in the mirror again, then with a heavy sigh he knew, that no matter what, he had to take this chance.

Terry sat at the desk typing away at the computer. Since the NSA boy's had installed the secure entrance to the webpage, and the cleaver way to run both the overt and covert side of the surplus shop he'd become addicted to the Internet, Not that that was a bad thing. He'd been able to indulge his love of history through surfing the college web sites. He'd even added to some of them, usually on the history of the Viet Nam war from the perspective of a man that had lived and fought there.

Terry had just finished posting a reply to one of the newsgroups that he subscribed to when the sound of a delivery truck turning into the parking lot drew his attention. A quick glance at his watch told him that it was probably the Fed Ex guys. <Wait, Fed Ed was here before lunch. They know better then to make a third delivery today.>; "May be a new driver." Terry logged off the computer and headed for the back of the store.

Opening the back door the shop owner expecting the white and blue van that Fed Ex used was surprised to find a jet-black van sitting in front of the rolling door. "Hey buddy you can't park there that for deliveries only."

The driver of the van rolled the window and said, " I don't know about that. I used to park here all the time." Surprised turned to shock and a sudden pain shot through Terry's chest, the driver was Andy. Terry slid to the ground in pain.

For the first time since Viet Nam Andy cursed his disability. With legs he could have just opened the godammed door and helped his friend, but now he had to wait for the chair lift to lower him to the ground. He silently let loose a string of profanity that would have peeled paint at a hundred yards if he's spoken it out loud.

Finally free of the van he spun his chair around the nose of the van to find Terry sitting there on the wet concrete, his eyes glazed over in shock. Andy had seen that look before, more often then he cared to admit, but that was from men that had seen too much combat and simply disconnected from reality, not from a friend that he desperately wanted to reconnect with.

"Terry! TERRY!" Fear gripped Andy, but the training that Army had forced fed down his throat kicked in. His personal feeling were thrust into the background. Andy reached for Terry's throat, with two fingers he took a pulse. A sense of relief washed over him when that was normal and the respiration was normal as well. "Come on buddy snap out of it."

Terry's head turned toward Andy, "You can't be here you're dead, he said listlessly.

Andy reverted to humor to try and get through to Terry. " Well you know me, I always buck the trends."

The glassy look in Terry's eyes disappeared, replaced by something else, Anger. " You can't be here. You are dead. They fucking brought me the flag that covered your coffin."

"It's complicated." Now it was Andy that was overcome by fear. He never expected Terry to react this way.

"How complicated could it be? All you had to do was pick up the phone and call, that's it, 30 seconds and I would have known you were ok, but you let me believe that you died. Terry got to his feet. "Go away Andy. You died, leave it that way."

"Now wait a fucking minute. You can't just walk away from me like that, we've been through too much together." Andy blocked the doorway with his wheelchair almost daring Terry to try and move him. "At the very least you owe me a chance to explain, even if only for Lynn's sake."

Terry stared at Him. "So explain. You have 30 seconds"

"You know damned well it's going to take longer then that." Andy looked around. "You always said I owned half of all of this, well I'll make you a deal, give me thirty minutes, if you dont believe me or if you still feel this way, I'll walk away and never come back." Andy waved his hand toward the yellow building, "Then all of this becomes yours, Thirty minutes, please Terry."

Terry wanted to believe. He wanted to believe with all of his heart that there was some logical reason that his best friend in the world would have abandoned their friendship. "Deal. Meet me back at the house in five minutes" Terry walked back into the store never looking back.

The black van sat in the driveway, the engine running and the heater fighting back the cold. Andy sat there lost in thought and worried that his whole life could disappear in the next 30 minutes. It was only when he looked at his watch when he realized the date. December 22, Eighteen years, and he had come a full circle. Sitting in the same place, waiting for the same person, having the same thoughts, <What the hell is going to happen to me.>;

 Terry sat in the freezing cab of the Chevy Blazer trying to find the courage to head for home. There was no doubt in his mind that he was going to forgive Andy, That was the nature of friendship, but he still wanted to nurse the anger for a little longer, <Petty I suppose>; he thought, <But Damn it he could have at least called. I know he's going to tell me some tale of how he had to go undercover in some godforsaken place, but that still doesnt make it right.>;

Terry laughed at himself at that thought. <Who in their right mind would send a man in a wheelchair undercover? No there was more to this then that. Col. Phoenix, wait,>; He thought. <Mack Bolan wouldnt have come here personally just to build a cover, something happened and I'm damn well going to know what.>; He put the key in the ignition and started the truck, without waiting for the engine to warm up, he slammed the shifter into drive and peeled out of the parking lot.

Terry pulled up to the small house he called home. Andy's van was in the driveway so he parked the truck on the street. Andy was waiting by the door, half-frozen by the Montana winter. Terry didnt know how long he'd been out in the weather, but his cheeks were red with the cold. He walked over to his partner, "You could have gone inside you know." Terry opened the unlocked door and ushered Andy inside.

Andy looked up at Terry. "With the attitude your gave me at the store I didnt think I would be that welcome."

Anger flared in the shop owner again, "Damn it Andy they told me you were dead." Terry stomped over to the mantle and picked a framed letter off the top. He tossed the frame at Andy. "The even sent me your government insurance check." Terry deflated a bit, "I bought you a plot and headstone." Tears began to leak down Terry's face, "I thought you would want to be remembered with Lynn and I."

Andy sat there stunned. Terry had saved the final letter that he'd sent, that combined with the memorial that Terry had purchased, combined with the fact that Terry had cared enough to place a headstone as if Andy was a member of his family left Andy's eyes watering. "I'm sorry I'm so sorry for causing all of this." The raw emotion caused his voice to quiver.

The room stood silent both men lost in thought. Finally Terry broke the stalemate. "You want a beer," he asked cautiously, knowing that the pair had reached a threshold.

Andy wiped his eyes with the sleeve of his shirt, "Yea I think I would. He smiled at Terry knowing that everything was going to be all right. "Better get one for yourself too, you'll need it."

Andy heard the sound of the fridge slamming closed. The distinctive hiss of beer cans opening proceeded Terry when he came back to the living room. He handed Andy on of the Buds, "Ok now! He said in a tone that was friendly, yet still indicated that he wanted the truth. "Where have you been for the past four years?"

Andy hesitated for a second, <Night as well give him everything>; He thought. "New Orleans"

"NEW ORLEANS." Shouted Terry, "Doing what?" That hadn't been the answer he'd been expecting. "Doing what?"

"Running a bank of all things. Look buddy, I told you that this was going to be complicated. Can you let me tell the story my way, please?"

Terry looked at his friend then he took a huge swallow of his beer and sat down in his chair. "The floor is all yours."

"First off," Andy started, "Do you remember the legend of the lucky lieutenant from the 101st?"

"Can't say that I do. What's that got to do with anything?"

"Trust me you'll see. Story goes that a butter bar Lt. was assigned to one of the platoons in the 101. His first day he and the platoon did a combat assault near the Ashaw valley. The whole company was wiped out over the next three days and the story was hidden from the press. Three weeks later this newbie Lt. Comes walking back into the HQ Company reporting that his unit had been wiped out."

Terry started nodding his head at the story. It was a legend in the army that every new trooper learned.

"Well, Andy continued. "They give the poor schmuck a week in Saigon and assign him to another platoon and damned if the same thing didnt happen again. The whole platoon was KIA in a night ambush. Three days later, here he comes again, clothes torn but in perfect health, marching back into the HQ. The next night he is assigned another night patrol but the troopers weren't buying. They toss a M-67 into his hooch when the knew he was in it." Andy drained his beer and reached for another one. "Son of a bitch shows up a few hours later perfectly fine, the platoon goes out and they are also wiped out."

"Son of a bitch was lucky, but it would have been a fucking bitch to be a trooper under his command." Terry also drained his bud.

Andy snickered. "That's what the brass thought. They transfer him back to the states. Shortest tour of duty on record, less than 2 months in country and they ship his ass out." Andy spun the wheelchair around, "I'll be right back, I gotta drain the lizard."

Terry wondered if Andy had lost his mind. <What the fuck could that story have to do with why Andy had fallen off the face of the earth for four years?>;

Andy rolled back into the room tossing the second empty into the trash then reaching for another one. Terry couldnt take in any longer, "Look its a good story but why bring it up now?"

"Because I know how he did it."

"Huh! How who did what."

"How the Lt. survived all that action without a scratch. Hold on buddy, this is where it gets complicated. He survived because he was like me, an immortal."

Terry's eyes went wide in surprise, then he began laughing. He laughed so hard that he fell out of the chair. Even that didnt stop him, if anything it got worse. He was laughing so hard that beer began to come out of his nose. It took more than 15 minutes for him to regain some semblance of control. "I've heard some tall tales in my life, but that one takes the prize."

Andy thought, <guess David is right, it always comes down to the showing.>; "Are you done?" Andy saw Terry nod his head. "Then watch." He reached down between his legs and got the towel that he brought from the bathroom. Laying the towel on his lap, he retrieved one of the chakrum from their hiding place. "Watch, just watch" he said curtly."

Pain filled the immortal's face as he sliced his arm with the razor sharp weapon. He cut so deep that when he spread the wound open, they both could see the whiteness of the bone. Blood flowed freely as Andy held the wound open so that there would be no mistake that the wound was real "Now watch," He grunted.

Andy let the side of the gash close. Almost immediately the bleeding stopped, then the itching feeling that accompanied the accelerated healing began to devour Andy's arm.

Terry couldnt believe his own eyes. When Andy had cut himself, he'd begun to believe that his friend had lost his mind. Only a crazy man would have sliced his arm open like so much cheap beef in the grocery store. Then the oddest thing happened, a blue arc of electricity began weaving back and forth across the wound, slowly healing it. Within minutes the only proof that Andy had been injured was the blood soaked towel that still sat in his lap. "Holy shit! He cursed almost in a reverent tone of voice. "Spielberg would pay millions to film that for one of his movies." Terry fell silent.

Andy for his part sat there quietly. This was the crucial moment, if anyone deserved to know or could handle it better, then it had to be Terry. No one else mattered more than his self-adopted brother, save perhaps his niece when she got older. "Terry Terry!"

Terry shook his head, "What?"

"Why didnt you tell Lynn?"

"Huh," Terry's voice was still a monotone. "At first she was too young to understand. All she knew was that her Uncle Andy had gone away. Then as she grew older, she was always talking about when he Uncle Andy comes back. I just didnt have the heart to sit down and tell her that gone meant dead." Terry smiled for the first time since coming home that day, perhaps for the first time in years. "She was always convinced that you'd come home. Guess she was smarter than all of us."

"That's my girl"

Before Andy could get any further then that, Terry grabbed the bloody towel from his lap. "Wait a minute Wait a goddamned minute Why didnt your legs heal the day you stepped on that mine?"

There it was The question that Andy had been hoping to avoid, there it was, out in the open and now there was no avoiding it. "Terry," he began softly." The reason that Mack came to see you that day" Words failed him, there was no way, other then the truth, to explain. "The reason he came here was that I did die that day four years ago. In order for immortality to kick in, I had to die."

"Oh god Oh god" Terry's face went from a rosy pink to an ashen white when the realization of what could have been hit him. He fell back on the chair staring into space. "Oh god," he whispered over and over again. He just sat there like a stone not moving.

Andy didnt understand. He rolled his chair as close as possible and took his friend by the shoulders, "what's wrong Ter! Tell me what's wrong." He implored the stricken man.

" I should have let you die" Oh man Andy how can you ever forgive me I should have let you die I condemned you to that chair."

Andy had never even considered that, but even if he had, he wasnt so sure that he would have changed the way his life had worked out. " Buddy, that may be true, but you replaced the loss a thousand times over. What happened that day in Viet Nam defined my life. I have you and Lynn. Youre the only real family I've ever known, so if it needs to be said," he stopped for just a second, "I forgive you Damn I need another beer."

Terry couldnt help but laugh, "Me too Andy me too."


Lynn came running into his bedroom and jumped on the bed, causing the hung over immortal more pain then he thought he could bear. "C'mon Uncle Andy. We'll be late for school."

Covering his face with the crook of his arm Andy blocked the light that was stabbing into his eyeballs. "Oh god Munchkin! Cant you miss a day," he groaned, "or even a couple of days."

" I just can't Uncle Andy. Miss Green sez."

That got Andy's attention. "Give me five minutes." Andy reached over to the wheelchair that was right beside the bed and pulled him self onto it. He rolled into the bathroom and started the cold water. Gathering his courage he stuck his hands under the near freezing water and splashed it onto his face. He quickly scraped away the beard that had grown over the last few days and then rolled back into his room to dress. Searching through the closet he had a thought, <If I'm gonna do this I'm gonna do this right. "Hey Munchkin" He bellowed.

The little girl stuck he head into the room. "Yes Uncle Andy," she asked cheerfully.

"Do me a favor honey. Go out to the van and get the cane off the passenger's side seat please." The little girl tore off like a hurricane. Andy smiled and waited. Sure enough, Lynn came rushing back in. Andy Dangled the key chain, "Forget something sweetie?"

Lynn blushed, grabbed the key chain like it was a gold bar and then dashed off again.

Andy got the things he needed from the closet and laid them on the bed. Locking the chairs wheels, he flipped his body back onto the bed and reached for his legs and strapped them both on. Then he unzipped the garment bag and pulled on the dark gray suit that Rene has made for him. Lucky for Andy he had the pants on before Lynn could return with his cane, that avoided a lot of embarrassment on his part and a very rude education on Lynn's part. "Five more minutes honey," he yelled, as he made his way to Terry's room.

"Wake up you drunken bum. You have a store to run."

"Fuck that, I think I've died. Tell god that I'll need a note to show the customers. Terry was even worse off, if that was possible, than Andy was. He pried his eyelids open only to find that he was staring at a crotch where Andy's face should have been. He sat up in bed and openly stared at his friend. "You're wearing legs, what the special occasion?"

"One of Lynn's teachers needs an attitude adjustment. "I'm taking your truck, can't drive the van with these on."

"Oh Christ! Do me a favor will ya; leave her a little ass left when you're done with her. I don't want to go back in front of the city council to explain why they need a new 5th grade teacher."

"I didnt see much ass on her to start with so I guess I'll have to chew on something else, she had plenty of those to go around." Andy grinned down at his friend. The easy banter the two had shared had returned in full force after Andy's confession and three cases of beer.

Miss Green waited for her students in the school parking lot like she did everyday. She watched Terry Powell's Blazer pull into the lot. She glanced down at her watch. <Just in the nick of time, as always.>; She was surprised when a complete stranger got out of the cab. It was a further surprise that he was dressed better then anyone in town, Terrance Points Montana wasnt a hotspot in men's fashion..

The pair approached the teacher. "Good morning Lynn." The little girl looked up at Miss Green and glared at her without saying anything.

"You go ahead munchkin, I'd like to have a few words with your teacher." Andy turned toward the teacher, "I'd like to have a few words with you miss Green.

The young teacher was alarmed that this stranger knew who she was. "Excuse me, but do I know you?"

"If you don't then it's a damn shame." Andy watcher her reaction to that statement. "You really don't have a clue do you?"

"No I'm afraid not."

"Mores the pity." Andy decided there and then that saying anything to her would probably a waste of breath, but he'd come to have his say. Weather it did any good, well that was up to her. " I appreciate that you are concerned about the welfare of your students, what you said to me yesterday was the worst form of prejudice that I've ever seen. If you can't learn not to judge a book by it's cover, you have no business teaching children anything." Andy walked away heading back to the truck. He had one more stop to make.

"Wait a second," Miss Green shouted after him. When he turned around, "You're the man from yesterday?"

"Thats right," he answered, "Maybe there is a glimmer of hope for you after all."

Andy stood in the snow at the cemetery standing over the headstone that Terry had placed there. The inscription was as simple as it was elegant. Engraved on the ebony marble, his name and the dates of his birth and his passing flowed like water in the cursive script. Below that the stone mason has chiseled a replica of a Silver Star into the hard rock. It was the inscription below that which touched his heart,

Born in adversity,
Created in war,
Died in service to his country,
A better friend a man has never known.

What troubled Andy as he carefully walked down the hill on his artificial legs was that he knew that he couldnt stay. Terrance Points had become both an ending and a beginning for him. The dangers of being an immortal made having a family that close a risk that he couldn't accept. He had to leave. He smiled, but not just yet.

The End


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