|The Cookie Story
"Are you sure you want me to pack the dishes?" Methos asked from the kitchen. Even though the closing date wasn't for two more weeks Duncan had decided to begin packing up the loft.
"You might as well. I hardly ever eat here anymore. It's little more than a big closet these days," Duncan answered, dropping another book into a box.
"Do you want them labeled storage or charity?"
"Label the china charity, but I'd like to take the goblets to your place if that's okay."
"It's fine." Methos began wrapping dishes in newspaper, humming along with the radio. It was only after he'd listened to two songs unaccompanied by the sound of books being packed that he looked in Duncan's direction. The other man was sitting on the floor reading. "Find something good?"
"Ah, lots of homoeroticism in those."
"I hadn't really noticed before."
"Any sonnet in particular?"
Duncan began to read:
When to the sessions of sweet silent thought
"All losses are restored and sorrows end," Methos said quietly, joining in. Duncan looked up, and Methos smiled. "It's one of my favorites."
"Did I ever tell you that I was part of a traveling drama troupe once?" Duncan asked.
"When was this?"
"Seventeenth Century. I was with Walter Graham. We traveled around the English countryside performing Shakespeare for audiences of ten, sometimes twenty people."
"Who'd you play?"
"I had the lead in The Taming of the Shrew."
The lead. It took Methos a moment to make the connection. "You were Kate?"
Duncan grinned. "I didn't much care for the part. I thought she needed to be nicer."
"If Kate were nicer there'd be no play."
"That's what Walter said."
Joe took a drink from his newly refilled wine glass. They'd already polished off one bottle and MacLeod had opened a second even though dinner was mostly over. The wine was good, and expensive. "You guys are really rolling out the red carpet."
"Duncan had bottles of the stuff at the loft. I only let him bring it here on the condition that we drink it," Methos said.
"With or without an occasion?" Joe observed.
"Exactly." Methos raised his own glass in salute.
"We have an occasion." Duncan looked at Methos for a long moment before turning to Joe. "We invited you over because there's something we wanted to tell you." Another quick glance at the old man. "Methos and I are involved."
"Involved?" Joe repeated. "In what?"
"With each other," Duncan answered.
Joe looked to Methos. Duncan couldn't be saying what it sounded like he was saying.
"We're lovers," Methos said simply.
Lovers. Methos and MacLeod. He had to admit they'd almost convinced him. Mac had actually sounded sincere. The old man must have given him acting lessons. Joe began to chuckle. The lengths Methos would go for a joke.
Abruptly, Joe realized he was the only one laughing and stopped. "You are joking." He looked at Mac.
"No." Mac said quietly.
Joe glanced at Methos. The old man's eyes were hard and his lips were slightly pursed. "How long?"
'First night we met," Methos answered, his voice low and devoid of emotion. Joe recognized that voice. "We went back to the barge and fucked each other senseless. Couldn't believe you never caught on. It's a real testament to your skills as a Watcher."
Joe flinched at the scorn Methos put into the last word.
"Methos," Duncan admonished.
"Sorry, Joe, I was joking." Methos' tone was anything but apologetic.
"No problem," he replied, hastily gathering his thoughts. "How long has it been?"
"Since I returned to Seacouver," Duncan answered.
Methos was sitting back in his chair, one arm thrown over the back, the other hand holding his wine glass. The tension was still in his face. Evidently, Joe had touched a nerve. Unfortunately, he hadn't a clue how to make amends, or if they were even needed.
Mac was also watching Methos, his expression a mixture of puzzlement and concern. Joe watched as their eyes locked. After a moment Methos' expression softened somewhat.
MacLeod stood and began clearing away the dishes. Methos watched him as he gathered the plates, and then rose to pick up the serving dishes. They disappeared into the kitchen, and Joe carried his wine into the living room.
Duncan leaned against the counter. "You want to tell me what that was all about?"
Methos considered asking 'what what was all about,' but thought better of it after a glance at Duncan's face. "One of our closest friends finds the idea of our being lovers funny." The last word was sneered, not spoken.
"It is, when you think about it."
"Is it?" There was an edge to his voice that would have quickly convinced anyone else to drop the subject. Unfortunately, Methos' best intimidation tactics had never worked well on Mac.
Duncan smiled gently. "Come on, Methos. You're usually the first person to see the humor in any situation."
"Not situations involving my sex life."
"Your sex life or your emotions?"
Methos ignored the question. "How is our being lovers funny?"
"For starters, you're a guy."
"How perceptive. Aside from the hilarity inherent in penises, how is my possession of one funny?"
"Women, Methos. For four hundred years I've loved women. Women of all shapes and sizes and temperaments, blondes, brunettes."
"Granted. Your narrowness in choosing sex partners is mildly amusing," Methos cut in.
Duncan ignored the barb. "For Joe, someone who knows all about my," he paused for a heartbeat, "narrowness, the idea of me with a male lover must seem absurd." He smiled sweetly. "And that I'd choose to stop being narrow with you of all people." Duncan placed a hand on each of Methos' hips. "After all, you're old, you're skinny, and you have a funny nose."
"It's always the nose."
Duncan tugged him closer and dropped a kiss on the bridge of it. "And a few other things," he said, the huskiness in his voice clearly exaggerated. He moved his mouth to the side of Methos' neck.
Methos allowed Duncan to nuzzle him for a moment and then stepped back out of reach. "I am not going back out there with a hard-on."
"Course not," Duncan agreed, grinning victoriously. "Wouldn't want to reveal too much."
Duncan's grin broadened.
"Don't you dare say it, double entendre boy."
"I think that'd qualify as a single entendre."
"Just don't say it."
"Wouldn't dream of it."
Andrea put down her coke and picked up half of her sandwich. "Are you sure you're ready to have custody of a twelve year old for three days?"
"I'm looking forward to it." Methos studied his own overstuffed sandwich, trying to find a place to bite into it that wouldn't cause the lettuce and tomato to come tumbling out. Not for the first time, he considered finding another place to have lunch.
"I should warn you; she's asking a lot of questions these days."
"Haven't you told her about the birds and the bees yet?"
"We did. Now she wants to know about the bees and the bees, or maybe it's the birds and the birds."
"She's curious about homosexuality?"
Andrea nodded. "I don't know what triggered it."
"What have you told her?"
"Not much. She asked Dan about what two men do together and he just kind of stammered. She said to never mind she'd ask you. After all, you know everything."
Methos' expression turned wry. "Not quite everything. What do you want me to tell her?"
"I don't know. Trying to evade Christine's questions usually only leads to more pointed questions."
"I thought you probably had. Tell her whatever you think is best, although I'd like to avoid detailed descriptions of actual acts."
"So would I."
Andrea smiled, tucking a stray piece of lettuce back into her sandwich. "How are things with the mysterious flower sender?"
"So when do I get to meet her?"
"What makes you think you don't know her already?"
"Friends confide in each other, you know."
Methos grinned. "When is your flight?"
"Thursday afternoon. That reminds me, can you pick Christine up at school?"
"I have a department meeting that day, but Duncan can do it."
"You're sure? I can have her go home with Allison, and you can pick her up there."
"Duncan'll be happy to do it; he's got a lot of time on his hands these days."
"Maybe you should warn him about the questions."
Methos grinned wolfishly. "Absolutely not."
"You can be evil, you know that?"
"Part of my charm."
Methos stuck his head into the dining room. Christine was still seated at the table, but he doubted the novel she was reading was for school. "Homework all done?"
"Yes," Christine answered. "Where's Duncan?"
"Upstairs reading," Methos walked past the table toward the entrance to the kitchen. "Want some cookies?"
"Is there any other kind?" Methos said as he disappeared into the kitchen. He returned with a cookie jar and sat it on the table between them.
"The Pillsbury Dough boy?"
"What's wrong with the Pillsbury Dough Boy? I think it's an appropriate choice for a cookie jar."
Christine rolled her eyes. "Whatever."
Methos pulled out a cookie. "How's school these days?"
"Fine." Christine pulled the cookie jar to her and peered inside, undoubtedly trying to find the cookie with the most chocolate chips. "We're reading Oliver Twist."
"You would like it," Christine said, brandishing the chosen cookie. "It has a happy ending."
"What do you have against happy endings?"
"They're not very realistic."
"You're too young to be so cynical."
"We're doing Romeo and Juliet next quarter."
"You'll like it; everyone dies."
"Thanks a lot. Now I know how it ends."
Methos grinned. "How are your other classes?"
"My health teacher is a coward."
Methos raised an eyebrow. "Really?"
"Whenever I ask a really interesting question she just stammers." Christine reached for a second cookie.
"Maybe she doesn't know the answer."
"My mother told you I asked about sex, didn't she?"
"How'd you guess?"
"Please. You are so easy to read."
"Most people find me inscrutable."
"Sure they do." Christine studied her cookie; apparently unsure it had been the right choice. "But it's okay, I asked Duncan."
"What did he say?" Methos asked, as casually as he could manage.
"That the person is more important than the gender, and what really matters is being with someone you trust and care for."
"But he wouldn't tell me anything about actual, you know, deeds."
"Did you think he would?"
"I thought it was worth a try." Christine took a bite of her cookie. "He gets kinda purple when he blushes; it's cute."
Methos chuckled. "Yeah, it is."
She looked at him thoughtfully. "Do you only like men? Or do you like women too?"
"I like individuals, some men, some women."
"Is it really different, you know, with a guy?"
"The things you can do aren't really that different, but sex feels different with different people. It's the person that makes the difference though, not the organs."
"Is it different when you love the person?"
"Sometimes. That's really part of it being different with each person."
Christine was quiet for a moment as she again studied the contents of the cookie jar. Evidently satisfied, she took out a cookie. "Do you love Duncan?"
"Yeah, I do."
"Why? Because he's gorgeous?"
Methos shook his head. "No. Because of who he is and how I feel when we're together."
"How do you know it's love?"
Methos pulled the cookie jar to him and looked inside. "I don't know. I've never found an answer to that question. I just do."
"Do you think you'll always love him?"
"I hope so. Did you ask him this many questions?"
"Nah, I stopped when he started turning purple."
"You took it easy on him?"
"He was making these strangling noises."
Methos chuckled. Christine was studying her cookie again, and he braced himself for the next question, fully prepared to learn what had caused Mac to turn purple.
"Adam," Christine didn't look up. "Do you love me?"
Methos reached out and took her hand. "Yes, Christine, I do."
She looked up at him. "How come?"
"Because you're smart and funny and you have a unique way of looking at the world that I really like."
She smiled shyly. "I think I love you, too."
Methos returned the smile and squeezed her hand. "Would you like some milk?" he asked as he stood.
"Can we have milkshakes?"
"Chocolate?" He started toward the kitchen.
Christine followed him. "Is there any other kind?"
Duncan stopped in the doorway, looking into the living room at Methos and Christine.
"Not that one, that one," Christine said, using her chin to point at the string stretched between her hands.
Duncan smiled as Methos tried to follow her instructions, finally succeeding in transferring the string to his hands, where it formed a new pattern.
He couldn't reconcile this man with the other Methos, the one Cassandra hated, the one Methos insisted on telling him about, Death. He knew that man had existed, but part of him had never accepted it. Part of him refused to believe that the friend he trusted had been that man.
"I don't know who or what you are, Methos." He'd said those words to Methos a little more than a year ago, but they weren't true anymore, maybe they never had been. He knew who Methos was. He was a man who would play Cat's Cradle with a girl, who like him, was too clever by half.
Duncan knew he'd played far more deadly games in the past, but he also knew better than most the importance of letting go of the past. There was no longer a Kronos for this girl to be given to, because together he and Methos had destroyed the Horsemen, all of them except one. Death, Methos had destroyed all by himself, long before he met Duncan.
"Duncan, are you going to join us or just stand in the doorway?"
Smiling, Duncan stepped into the room.
"You are going to owe me for this," Duncan muttered as they entered the Seacouver Middle School gym.
Christine rushed ahead to greet Allison.
Methos grinned. "Shall I pay you back in kisses?"
"You can start with kisses."
"Ms. Hutchins," Duncan answered, leading them to a table near the entrance. Two women stood talking, one of them the person who had called out to Duncan.
"Adam, this is Ms. Hutchins, Christine's English teacher. We met yesterday when I picked Christine up."
Methos extended a hand. "Adam Pierson. It's a pleasure to meet you."
The woman shook his hand and then drew it back to rest briefly on her companion's shoulder. "This is Sarah Lascala."
The other woman extended a hand to each man in turn. "Mr. Pierson. Mr. MacLeod."
"Please, call me Duncan."
"Thank you for helping chaperone," Ms. Hutchins said.
"You're welcome," Methos answered.
"Christine talks about the two of you all the time, especially you Mr. Pierson."
"Adam, please, not even my students call me Mr. Pierson."
"I'm a linguist. I work at the university."
"You work with Christine's mother."
"Where are Andrea and Dan? They're always very involved in this stuff."
"Academic conference," Duncan answered. "Andrea's giving a paper, and they decided to turn it into a weekend getaway."
"And you agreed to take Christine."
"A selfish act," Methos said. "She's fun to have around."
"Anything we need to know or do?" Duncan asked, looking out at the kids milling about, not making any effort to actually dance.
"It would help if you could keep an eye on the boys' bathroom, make sure there's no smoking going on," Ms. Lascala said.
"And we need to walk the grounds periodically, check on things."
"Sounds easy enough," Duncan said.
Ms. Lascala smiled. "You never know."
Christine was coming toward them, another girl close beside her. "Adam, Duncan, I want you to meet Allison."
"Allison, the owner of Mystery Date," Adam said, extending a hand. "It's a pleasure."
Allison shook his hand. She turned to Duncan, looking up as she shook his hand in turn.
Duncan smiled. "Nice to meet you. Christine's mentioned you several times."
Allison nodded slightly, eyes wide. "Uh, hi..."
Christine rolled her eyes, and, taking her friend's arm, pulled her away. "Come on, before you embarrass yourself."
Methos grinned at Duncan. "Nothing like that MacLeod charm. Does it work on puppies too?"
"I never tried it on puppies." Duncan turned back to the two teachers. "Is there anything else we need to know?"
"Keep an eye on the corners. The kids like to go there and neck."
"Aren't they still at the sending love notes stage?"
"They still do that occasionally, but some of them are definitely ready to move on," Ms. Lascala answered.
Ms. Hutchins nodded. "Last spring we caught four couples having a contest to see who could kiss the longest."
"Was anyone taking bets?" Methos asked.
Ms. Lascala chuckled. "As a matter of fact they were. It's probably about time for the first patrol."
"I'll take it," Ms. Hutchins said.
"I'll come with you," Duncan offered.
"I guess that leaves us with the bathrooms," Methos said to Ms. Lascala.
It was a clear night, but cold. Duncan slid his hands into his pockets, and wrapped his open coat closer, remembering how Methos so often did the same thing. He was picking up the old guy's mannerisms now.
"Christine thinks the world of your friend Adam." Ms. Hutchins broke into his reverie.
"How long have you two been together, if you don't mind my asking?"
"Is it that obvious?"
"Two attractive, single men, agreeing to supervise a Middle School dance on a Friday night, who arrive together."
"When you put it that way." Duncan paused for a moment. "We've been friends for a few years, but we've only been together for six weeks or so."
"So it wasn't love at first sight?"
Duncan flashed to Methos saying his name for the first time. 'Duncan MacLeod of the clan MacLeod' spoken in soft, intimate tones, and followed by a beer can thrown in his direction. Suddenly, it seemed that that one moment had set the pattern for all of their future interactions. "In a way it was. What about you?"
"You. The only thing I know about you is that you teach English and ask intimate questions of strangers."
"It wasn't that intimate."
"No, it wasn't," Duncan conceded with a smile.
"You probably could charm puppies."
An hour later Methos and Duncan took the next patrol.
"I'll take the shrubs. You take the bleachers."
Methos nodded and headed off toward the track field. He'd just finished checking under the bleachers to the left of the officials' booth when a sound caught his attention. He eased his way under the bleachers and looked out.
A man was outlined by the field lights, turned on during the dance to make it harder for the kids to sneak off. He turned around, giving Methos a clear view of his face. It was Kevin Dakin.
to be continued...