by Ashlyn Donnchaid

AUTHOR'S NOTE: This was written in response to a list challenge. We had to write a story where Joe was kidnapped, but angst was not allowed.

The blonde woman looked around furtively before approaching the dark-haired man sitting on the park bench. She sat, but did not look at him.

"Is everything ready?"

He held his newspaper up as he answered. "Yes. All set for this afternoon. You sure this is the only way?"

"I'm sure." She sounded determined. "What about his friend?"

"Don't worry about him. I've got a diversion planned for him, too."

The dark-haired man stood and walked away. After a few minutes, the woman also left, walking the opposite direction.

He sighed as he pulled the Explorer into the parking lot. What could have been so important that Harry couldn't handle it by himself? He'd wanted the afternoon off to catch up on a few things, but no such luck. He got out of the car and locked it, then turned as he heard the voice behind him.

"Mr. Dawson?"

"Yeah?" He turned toward the speaker, but never got far enough to see who it was. Out of the corner of his eye, he had seen the second person behind him, obscured just as quickly by the cloth that was pulled over his head. Shit. Not again. He was sure he'd been following enough rules lately, but maybe someone else had a different interpretation. At least these two were gentler than the last time, he thought. He was guided into their car and sat in quiet resignation as they drove away.

"Yeah. Thanks. Let me know if you hear anything." MacLeod hung up the phone and paced the kitchen of the loft. This was not good. He glared across the room to where Methos was still sprawled on the bed, barely covered by the sheets and blankets.

"C'mon, Mac. Come back to bed," Methos enticed.

"It's three in the afternoon, Methos."

"Your point?"

"Don't you ever get tired of that?" he asked, watching as Methos got up and strolled over to him and stood, buck naked and inviting, right in front of him.

"Haven't yet. Want to see if you can tire me out?" Methos reached for the belt of MacLeod's robe, only to have his hands slapped away.

"No! Right now I want to find Joe."

"I don't know." Methos frowned. "I'm not sure this is his style." He brightened as he looked at MacLeod. "You think he's into threesomes?"

"No!" MacLeod bellowed. He glared again at Methos. "Put some clothes on. I can't think when you're like that."

Methos let his voice drop to a low, seductive tone. "Thinking is highly overrated."

"Methos..." MacLeod growled warningly.

Methos sighed deeply as he went and pulled on his jeans. He sulked as they drove to the bar, and was less than helpful while MacLeod talked to Harry, only showing any interest when beer was placed in front of him.

"He left a note, Mr. MacLeod," Harry was saying. "Told me he'd be away for a few days and to run the place for him."

"See," Methos said, in his most helpful tone. "Everything's OK. He left a note."

"And," Harry continued, "he called last night. Said it might be a while longer." Harry looked very unhappy at being questioned. "He sounded fine to me..."

"And he called. Problem solved." Methos sat back with a satisfied look on his face, beer in his hand. If he couldn't be lounging in bed, this was a good second choice.

"No," MacLeod countered, "problem not solved. It's been three days. He never goes off for that long with no warning. Not and leave his car in the parking lot."

"Maybe he took a cab to the airport," Methos suggested.

"No. He wasn't on any flights. I've checked."

Methos tried to school his expression into something as serious as MacLeod's concern seemed to warrant. "You really are worried, aren't you? Mac, he's a big boy. He can take off without telling you if he wants to." MacLeod's expression shifted between pleading, pouting and that adorable little lost puppy look that Methos couldn't resist. He sighed again. "OK. Let's go to his house and see if we can find any Clues."

Using his not inconsiderable house breaking skills, along with the spare key that was kept in the potted geranium, Methos got them into Joe's house and they started looking for the elusive Clue. All they found were several addresses hand written on a pad by the telephone. MacLeod decided that was the Clue they must have been looking for, and they started tracking each one down.

The first one was a liquor wholesale outlet. Joe had been in the previous week arranging for some deliveries. The second was a vacant lot with a large sign that said Will Build To Suit. The third was a house on the outskirts of town, set back on the lot behind large shrubs, approachable only by a long driveway.

"Aha!" MacLeod exclaimed, startling Methos from his nap in the front seat of the car.

"Aha what?"

"This must be it. Hidden. Out of the way. This must be where they're keeping him."

Thoroughly confused, Methos asked, "Who's keeping who?"

"The kidnappers. Keeping Joe."

"I see," said Methos, not seeing it at all, "so when did we decide that Joe had been kidnapped?"

"It's the only answer. Why else would he be gone so long and not let me know?"

"Vacation?" At MacLeod's continued glare, Methos got out of the car. "Fine. Why don't we go reconnoiter or whatever it is you do in these situations."

As they approached the house, neither man saw anything out of the ordinary. Methos went up to the front door and rang the bell.

"What are you doing? You can't just ring the bell at a kidnapper's house!"

"MacLeod, we don't know that this is anything of the sort. I'd like to avoid being arrested as a peeping Tom, if you don't mind."

The door opened, and they were greeted by an attractive blond woman, barely clad in a short silk dressing gown. "Can I help you gentlemen?"

"We're looking for a friend of ours," MacLeod began, "and we were hoping..." He trailed off as he heard a voice from the back of the house.

"Who is it, hon? Is it the Chinese we ordered?" The baritone was unmistakable.

"Joe?" MacLeod pushed past the woman into the house, following the voice to its source. "Joe, is that you?" Methos followed him a little reluctantly.

As MacLeod rushed into the back room of the house, his eyes widened as he took in the scene before him. "'re..." Words failed him.

"Naked, MacLeod. It's called naked."

"Yes, but..." His eyes swept the room, taking in the large four poster bed, the padded cuffs at the head board, the peacock feathers, empty champagne bottles, and the long silk scarves. He did manage the grace to blush.

"I tried to tell you not to worry," Methos mumbled behind him.

The blond woman moved closer to the bed and Joe snaked one arm around her waist and pulled her in for a kiss. "I don't think you've met my friend here. Mac, this is my good friend Delila. Delila, this is Duncan MacLeod. He was just leaving." Joe gave MacLeod a firm look. "Weren't you, Mac?"

"Joe...I..." MacLeod sputtered.

"Mac, you're not the only one with friends that know how to have a little good clean adult fun."

MacLeod turned and left the room, having embarrassed himself enough for one day.

"Sorry, kids," Methos apologized as he also turned and left.

He caught up with MacLeod on the front porch. "I told you not to worry. But would you listen to me? Noooooooo..."

"You've known all along? Why didn't you just tell me?"

"Because," he said, running his hand suggestively down MacLeod's back to his buttocks, "it was much more fun keeping you distracted." He gave the nicely rounded butt a swat and headed for the car. "Now let's go home and not ruin anyone else's games today, OK?"

MacLeod shook his head in defeat and followed. Seemed he was always the last to know everything these days.

The End
October 1997