Michael didn't really know why he traded the continent for the isles. Maybe it had something to do with the incidents at that abbey. From what he could recall, the abbot was clearly overreacting. One or two murders, a little sodomy... Not really a reason to get the Inquisition involved. The first guy they sent for, William of Baskerville, did a good job uncovering Jorge of Burgos' plot but then everything escalated. As soon as Michael heard the name Bernard Gui he packed his belongings and ran. But everywhere he went, the warm embrace of the church, as they called it, followed. Finally he settled near the Loch Shiel, in a forrest the Picts claimed to be holy ground. He built himself a cozy hut, next to a small lake and didn't really interfere with the life of other people. Company was something, an immortal should avoid, safe for some nights, but even his judgement could be clouded by a pretty face. And the face of the Scot walking through the forrest that afternoon was exceptionally pretty.
A few days earlier.
“There is a witch living in the forrest,” Angus, chieftain of the McAvoy's barked. “She seduces our boys! We need to kill her, before more of them fall under her spell.”
“Kill a witch? She will curse us!” One of the elders screamed. “We have no other options.” Angus' second in command, Connor agreed.
“There is only one man who could do it.” “You don't mean...” “Yes, Brenna, it has to be James.” “He will never agree to such a thing! We banished him from our lands.”
“He wants to redeem himself. We tell him, that is his only chance to come back to us.” “You want this... Thing to be a part of our clan again?” The counsil was enraged.
“Of course not. He is of the devil and needs to perish too.” “He is our brother.” Fergus said and got up. “Banishing him was despicable enough but now trick him? I will not be a part of this!”
For five years, Fergus McAvoy lived with the betrayal of his brother but now he had the chance to safe him, even if he had to make a pact with a demon.
“Teutone! Where are you? I need to talk to you!” Fergus yelled. “Stop screaming and I am not a Teutone. What is it, Scotsman?” Michael stepped out of the shadows and stared at him.
“I came to warn you.” The pale foreigner raised an eyebrow. “Let me guess, your brothers want to kill me again. A story as old as time.”
“They will sent someone to come after you...” “Just one? That is dissapointing.” He replied, clearly bemused.
“He is one of your kind.” “My kind?” “He died on the battlefield and came back to life.”
“Well, that is valuable information.” “I need you to spare his life.”
“And why should I do that?” “Because he is my brother and I've wronged him. I need to repay my debt.”
“You Scots and your honour.” Michael rolled his eyes. “My kind fights to the death, Fergus. But I honestly don't think he will attack me here. This is holy ground, and our rules prohibit fighting here.”
“That is if your opponent knows the rules. He doesn't know what he is.” “Brilliant, just brilliant.” Michael muttered.
“Maybe you can teach him. He is...” The Scot was clearly uneasy with the conversation. “Very beautiful. For a man.”
“You'd rather have me take your brother to bed than kill him? Your debt must be quite big.” He sighed. “Alright, Fergus. I will try to talk to him but if I cannot reason with him, I will defend myself, holy ground or not.”
“Thank you.” “Thank me after I met him.”
When the chieftain came to James, he was ecstatic to say the least. A chance to make amends for his cursed existence. He could come home to his family again and all he had to do was to kill an evil witch. Maybe it was the wench that made him into this creature. So he entered the forrest and immediately felt a presence. She was here, probably waiting for him already.
“I'm not scared of you, witch! Show yourself!” Michael had to suppress a giggle. After all this years, the men of the village still insisted on calling him a witch or a succubus. He could understand that, it was more acceptable to be seduced by a sorceress than a man.
“Witch!” The beautiful idiot yelled again and marched further into the forrest. When he was just a few feet away from his hut, Michael opened the door. “Can I help you, young man?” James looked startled.
“I...” He straightened himself. “I'm searching for the witch. I was send here to challenge her.”
“You are here to fight a woman?” “A demon. She bewitched the men in my village.”
“Well, no women in this forrest, sorry. You should go now.” “I cannot leave until I found her!” James eyes lingered a little to long on Michael's face. That was interesting, the foreigner thought and smiled.
“Do you want to search my hut then...?” “James McAvoy of the clan McAvoy.” “I am Michael of Heidelberg, nice to meet you.” He walked in without hesitation. Really, really? You just march into a strangers home without checking exits or making sure that no one is in there? You are truly an idiot. Michael shook his head and followed him inside.
James looked around the hut, admiring all the books and objects in it. He stopped in front of a large book, decorated with strange signs.
“What is this? A magic book?” “Oh no, that is my, let's call it diary. I like to journal my life. Can you read, James?” “No. I wanted to learn it, but fight took up most of my day.”
“I see...” The young Scot was still flipping through the pages, when Michael realised that he was staring at his kilt. He quickly scolded himself for this. Not that he saw anything wrong with desiring his own sex but objectifying James reminded him too much of that perverted monk Berengar. He had his standards and one of them was to never extort or give sexual favours for knowledge. The faith of Adelmus still lingered in his mind.
“I should go now.” James said suddenly. “Oh yes, the elusive witch. If you don't find her, you're welcome to visit me again.” “Thank you, Michael.”
A few hours later Michael was awoken by the feeling of another one of his kind.
“Michael, may I come in?” He even knocked, how adorable. “Of course. No luck finding the witch?” “No, I...” The Scotsman fell silent and stared at Michael.
“You are naked.” James blushed. “Excuse me, my friend.” There was no reason for Michael to be ashamed. Countless lovers assured him, that his body was beautiful to look at. But for the sake of modesty, he reached for his clothes.
“Can I offer you something to drink? I might have some bread.” “That would be wonderful, thank you.” His new friend was shivering, so Michael handed him the blanket he slept on, while he sliced the bread.
“You lived around here long?” “What?... Argh!” The blade of the knife dove into Michael's hand and left him with a deep cut. James jumped out of the chair and was beside him in seconds. The blood dripped onto the floor, staining it bright red. James pried Michael's hand open to look at the gash.
“James, please just leave it, I can handle it...” And with that, the wound closed. James stared at him in disbelieve and reached for his sword.
“Witchcraft!” The Scot screamed and pushed Michael to the ground. Great, wonderful, he thought while trying to wrestle James off of him.
“You are the witch! Prepare to die, evil demon!” That was a little harsh considering his hospitality, but Michael had other things to worry about. The bastard sword on his neck for example. He had two options, three but he didn't really think God would answer any of his prayers, one of them was to make a dash for his own sword and two...
The facial expression of his assailant changed from murderous to confused to lustful, as Michael's hand reached up and caressed him under his kilt. It was true, he never traded sexual favours for knowledge but for his life? That was a whole different thing.
“What,” James asked hoarsely. “What are you doing to me?” Was he serious? Or was Michael the first person to touch him like this? “You never did this to yourself?” He shook his head.
“That's a shame, why not?” “Because it is a sin...” he pressed out between clenched teeth, fighting for control. Ah, the old sin argument, he heard it from so many men. Not that it stopped any of them.
“Does it feel wrong?” “Yes.” “Do you want me to stop?” Instead of saying no, James tossed his sword aside and crushed his lips onto Michael's.
They somehow made it to Michael's bed, the younger man curled up behind him and his head on James' arm. Not that he got a lot of sleep that night. Being threatened with dead was not something that encouraged trust in a overnight companion, but at least he still had his head. Suddenly he felt James moving behind him, followed by the Scotsman's lips on his neck. It felt nice, but the movement he was far more interested in, was that of his bedfellows other arm. It snaked from its place around his waist to... No, he is not going to... A moan escaped Michael's throat as a firm hand took hold of his cock.
“Is this alright?” He whispered between kisses. “Hm...” Michael sincerely hoped that his answer was more than a whimper. James laughed softly and resumed stroking him. He fell asleep immediately after his orgasm.
When Michael awoke later that day, James was busy throwing pieces of meat into his cauldron. Even after 200 years in the Highlands, he still wasn't 100% sold on Scottish cuisine but whatever James was preparing smelled delicious.
“Good morning.” He smiled and waved. “Indeed it is.” Considering I still have my head.
“I hope you don't mind this.” “No, not at all.” This was getting too domestic for Michael's taste.
“This will take a little while. I think we should talk.” “Yes, I think so too.” They both sat at the table, eying each other.
“I am not a witch...” The former monk blurted out. “I don't care...” “No, you have to listen to this. I'm not a witch but I do possess some powers that other humans don't have. And so do you.” James blushed.
“I think I know what these powers are.” “No, not that but you are very talented at it, I must say.” It was really hard for Michael not to smile.
“I am, we are immortals. We cannot die unless someone takes our head. As you have seen yesterday, our wounds close without scaring and we are unable to have children.” “How do you know I'm like you?”
“I can feel it. Whenever one of our kind is near, we get a buzz. You felt my presence when you first arrived here, didn't you?” He nodded.
“Holy ground is the only place on earth we are save from each other. It doesn't have to be a church. Every place sacred to people will do. Like this forrest.” “Why do we fight each other?”
“To get the power of our opponent.” “So, if I took your head, I would receive your power?” Michael felt uneasy. It had been a while since he faced another immortal.
“No, no I have no desire to kill you after what you did for me last night. No one ever... It would be immoral.” “So the rumours are true. The Scots are a chivalrous folk.” “This Scot is.” James replied and grinned.
“Good to know.” “We can never have children?” “I'm afraid not.” “So there would be no reason to take a wife, right?”
“I could think of some reasons; Company and pleasure for example.” “I find your company quite pleasurable.” “You are very blunt, James McAvoy.”
“Only when you are around, Michael of Heidelberg. Maybe you are a witch after all.” “Well, I do practice a kind of magic.” James eyes lingered on the bed. Maybe this whole companionship concept was not as bad as Michael thought.