Disclaimer: Highlander is a copyright trademark of Gaumont Television. I have created this fanfic out of pure creativity and soul and no monetary profit will be gained from it. Enjoy!
Summary: Duncan mourns Darius.
"DARIUUUUUUUUUUUUSSSS! DARIUUUUUUUUUUUSSSSS!!" Duncan screamed in horror as he discovered the headless body of the Ancient Immortal Priest - one of his dearest and closest friends. When he had approached the church, he had not sensed Darius' presence and feared the worst - and the worst had happened. Darius was dead. A friend for over two hundred years. He had shown Duncan the way of the true warrior - not of swords and guns, but of the heart, in finding one's self, for Darius had once been like Duncan, fighting in battles, wars before he found his true purpose - to serve God. To fight not with weapons, but with his heart - to radiate his beliefs of peace and harmony. Darius did not feel proud of the way he had been before, but had forgiven himself for his mistakes and his sins and had taught others to forgive. Darius took his vows and became a Catholic Priest, and taught many, including Duncan. Darius was one of the Immortals - he could never die, unless his head was severed from his body.
Over the years, Duncan and Darius became very special friends and the trust and love between them could not be broken. Even when they were outside the safe sanctuary of the church, Darius trusted Duncan not to take his head for the power of the Quickening and Duncan the same. Duncan often came to Darius for advice and help, or a friendly shoulder to lean on and Darius had always been there for him. But no longer.
Beneath Duncan's shock and sadness, there was disbelief at losing his friend he'd known for over half his life. Darius had been one of the last surviving Ancient Immortals. He was over 1400 years of age - of course he didn't look that old. But to Duncan it seemed as if he had known Darius forever and that he would always be here. Darius was murdered in his sanctuary, and ancient Parisian Church in the heart of Paris, which had further shocked Duncan. Immortals were forbidden to fight or kill on holy ground. It was beyond him, who could have been so callous, so evil and soulless to desecrate holy ground. Not even the most corrupt or evil immortal could have done such a thing. Darius should have been safe. He should have been safe.
Duncan discovered that Darius had been murdered by a fanatical cult, a group of mortals convinced that all immortals were evil. They had observed immortals secretly for centuries and written five books about them. This cult was responsible for the deaths of many immortals, including Darius, a gentle kind man, but this cult knew not of reason, only hatred of what they did not understand. And they would have murdered another of Duncan's friends, had he not intervened. They had tried to kill him as well, and his mortal beloved, Tessa. Duncan wished he could help the cult understand that all immortals were not evil, but they were hell bent on believing all immortals were here to oppress and take over mankind and beyond understanding anything, but their own warped beliefs and therefore, hell bent killing all immortals. They didn't care. Duncan and Darius certainly weren't evil. There were evil, corrupt immortals, but not all were that way inclined. Immortals were not here to take over mankind, they were part of it. The Quickening and the Gathering were part of their nature. But this cult's violent pompous nature was blind to all that and were much akin to the Nazis of Would War II. Fortunately the cult was few. Duncan had killed before, but only when it had been necessary - to save his life and the lives of others. This fascist group would not stop until the head of every immortal was severed - until they had destroyed all the immortals and what evil the cult believed they stood for. Understanding was not a word they understood. Although an immortal had some differences to a mortal, they were alive and deserved every right to live, as any mortal. Duncan regretted having to kill the cult members, but it had to be done, to save the immortal kind and those that loved them. Otherwise this cult would grow stronger and continue to kill the innocent.
Duncan had found one of the cult's books in Darius' church - the cult members had the other four. Duncan hated to have to destroy ancient literature, but it had to be done. If the books were discovered, the cult could be born again. Duncan put a match to the books and watched until there was nothing left but ash to be scattered harmlessly by the passing wind.
It was Darius' wish to have his body cremated, should he ever die, and his ashes scattered in the rivers of Paris. It had never even crossed Duncan's mind that he would be the one to carry out his friend's wish. He'd always thought Darius would be here forever. Duncan stood on the edge of his barge, comforted by Tessa and his friend Ritchie. He opened the canister which held Darius' ashes and scattered them into the river. The wind gently carried them further downstream. Duncan held back tears. He did not want to believe his friend was truly gone. He believed in heaven and was sure Darius was watching him, but it was so lonely without him here, on Earth. They had always been there for each other, protecting each other and sharing so much.
So influenced by Darius had Duncan been, he swore if he ever had a son, he would be proud to name him after Darius. Duncan had gone to the ancient library and spent hours researching the origins of the name. The book said that the name was Persian and was thought that it meant "Ruler." The most notable Darius' being Darius I, II and III, rulers of Persia from 521-330 BC, long before father Darius' time, which was a very long time indeed. The name Darius wasn't very common in the 20th century, a shame, Duncan thought, because it was such a lovely name, but its rarity also made it special. Just before Duncan left the library he took a look at one more name book and saw it had the true meaning of Darius. - "A Good Man," and that Father Darius most definitely was.
* * *
Duncan dearly loved Tessa and although they had the occasional argument, they were meant for each other. He often wished she were immortal, so they would be together forever. He knew he would far outlive her, but he was even to be denied her. Not long after, Tessa was murdered by a mugger for the little money she had in her purse. Both Tessa and Ritchie were shot. Ritchie awoke, discovering he was an Immortal, but Tessa did not. Duncan's pain grew. He knew he may find another in his long life, as he had many more loved ones before his beloved Tessa, but her loss pained him more than he could say.
Duncan forced Ritchie to leave after the young one had killed and had the first taste of the Quickening. It pained Duncan to do that, but Ritchie had to go it alone.
* * *
Now Duncan as truly alone. He often wondered if he would have married Tessa, had she not been killed, had children with her. Would they be immortal? ... And Darius ... What would it have been like if he was still here? Duncan had often wondered if he and Darius were the last two immortals left - he knew Darius would never have taken his head and he knew if Darius had been the last immortal left besides himself, he would rather have his friendship than the power of the Gathering. But that was never to be. Perhaps the legend was true - the nearest immortal to a slain immortal receives the Quickening, no matter how the other immortal was killed. Perhaps there had been another immortal nearer to Darius than Duncan, and perhaps there was still a chance that Duncan would receive the power and wisdom of Darius.
Duncan often found himself thinking living forever wasn't such a great thing - being immortal didn't seem all it was cracked up to be. The death of a friend is hard for anyone to take, but immortals had to live with the pain longer. Much longer.
He often visited Darius' church and went into the back room, Darius' private place. He'd welcomed Duncan there many times. It felt so awkward and alone and cold without Darius there, smiling and talking to him. Telling him things, stories, bits of his wisdom, and Duncan missed Darius' weird and wonderful teas! But most of all he missed his friendship. The special friendship they shared. He sat at Darius' table, pretending the priest was there and talking to him and that Darius was taking back to him, and Duncan knew he was not going mad. It helped to ease the pain. It felt as if Darius was really there, not in flesh, but in spirit.
Who wants to live forever ...
Who wants to live forever ...
Perhaps Duncan would meet another who would become a special friend, in a different way from Darius, or a lover as special as Tessa. Perhaps he would become the special friend or lover of another? Who knew?
Forever was a long time.
Duncan was determined to do everything he could to further Darius' teachings, wisdom and love, passing on that which he had learned to future generations, to immortals and mortals alike. Truth, life, justice, freedom, love - the things he stood for.
He is Duncan MacLeod, The Highlander.
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