The Tell-Tale Heart
by elynross


February 13th

One . . . two . . . . . . three . . . four . . .

Methos put down the bottle of Tabasco sauce when he realized that he was counting the number of times the letter "t" appeared on the label. He was so bored. Drumming his fingers on the table, he scowled at the silent man across from him. He probably wouldn't even notice if I left, he thought petulantly. There was quite a crowd tonight, so Joe wasn't available for a round of Methos' favorite game of "tease the Watcher." This left Methos to amuse himself, and he was finding himself no better company than Mac seemed to find him. Boredom and restlessness--a bad combination, at least for him. More often than he cared to remember, the pair had seduced him into impetuous behavior, things he regretted in hindsight. It wasn't as if he didn't know what he was doing as he acted; he just reached a point where he didn't care.

Usually he was saved from this rare, chaotic combination because he was so easily entertained. Even after five thousand years, he seldom had trouble finding things with which to amuse himself. Things, or people, he amended. It was a shame that his current companion was being so tedious.

Duncan MacLeod sat there, brooding into his Scotch, ignoring Methos completely as he had for most of the evening. Methos didn't even know why Mac was moping this time. No inconvenient Immortals seeking his head, no dilemma from which to rescue hapless mortals; just the two of them having a peaceful drink together at Joe's.

Of course, Methos thought cynically, maybe that's the problem: no melodrama, no excitement, no need for heroics. Just me. Maybe Mac had gotten too used to the rough-and-tumble life to be content with anything less. Things had been abnormally quiet since Methos had dropped into town. He'd been delighted, hoping that this would give them a little more quality time together, time to get to know each other better without a constant stream of crises to interrupt--and just maybe the opportunity to get to know each other a lot better.

This trip, he'd planned to either get Mac into bed or force him to say that he wasn't interested. No more teasing around the attraction, the pull that kept

drawing Methos back, over and over. Mac couldn't help but be aware of it; Methos didn't think he'd been exactly shy about letting Mac know what he wanted, though he'd stopped short of actually pouncing. And he'd been pretty sure that Mac wanted it, too. Until this trip.

And it had all started out so promisingly.

January 16th

By the time he made it to the loft, Methos felt like a drenched cat. It was winter, for God's sake-it was supposed to snow if it had to precipitate. What possessed Mac to live in a climate like this? There was cold, very, very wet rain running down his nose, the back of his neck, into his ears-and his feet felt like he was walking on wet sponges. What am I doing here, anyway? Oh, right, I'm here to seduce Mac. What on earth had he been thinking? Surely it would have kept until, oh, July, when the weather was halfway decent. Except it wouldn't keep at all, not with the way Mac had started haunting his thoughts. He stood outside the loft for a few minutes, wondering when he'd developed a death wish. Look, I just want to burn the man out of my system, get things back to normal. That shouldn't be too hard.

His reception, when he'd finally worked up the nerve to climb to the loft, was not what he had hoped. He hadn't exactly expected the Highlander to jump him and tumble him into bed, but the sarcasm was a bit uncalled for, given his piteous state. He stood on the doorstep, glaring at the man who was laughing at his expense. "Are you going to let me in, or not? Some of us are drowning."

"Methos, you only had to walk to the taxi and to the dojo! You're not that wet!" Mac grinned at him, standing back to wave him in.

"Easy for you to say; you're warm and dry! It's pouring out there!" Methos dropped his gear on the floor and started stripping off his wet coat. "I'll be lucky if my sword doesn't rust." He could hear the whine in his voice, but now that he was here, he knew he'd made a huge mistake. Just the sight of the man caused a surge of heat through his system and brought a tightness to his throat he didn't want to consider too deeply.

"Well, that shouldn't be a problem if you keep it well-oiled." Caught halfway between suspicion and hope, Methos looked at him, but while the tone seemed suggestive, Mac's face was completely innocent. As usual, Methos couldn't tell whether Mac knew what he was doing or if his naturally seductive nature led him to these unconscious double-entendres. Or maybe I'm just delusional with cold.

Mac picked up the coat that Methos had shrugged off onto the hardwood floor and hung it up on the coat rack, shaking his head at the ongoing, exaggerated complaints. "I know, I know, and Paris is such a tropical paradise this time of year." His sarcasm met with a withering look. "Well, get out of those wet things, there's plenty of hot water." He looked at the miserable figure with its arms wrapped around itself. "You know, if you'd told me you were coming I would have picked you up at the airport," he said more gently.

"Didn't know for sure myself till I heard my voice asking for the ticket. Guess I missed you." Methos kept his tone nonchalant. "Besides, I still would have gotten drenched. Got any beer?" He looked hopeful as he pushed his wet hair off his forehead and moved towards the bath.

"Don't you think hot tea would be better if you're that cold?" Mac teased.

Methos scoffed. "Don't let the British fool you. Beer is the universal panacea, not a bunch of dried leaves in boiling water." He paused inside the bathroom door, stripping off his sweater and the shirt underneath, his words muffled by the wet cloth.

"Didn't your mother ever teach you not to talk with your mouth full?" Mac moved closer to the open door.

Methos' clothes fought back, but he was winning as he peeled off the wet denim and stood there in his boxers. He looked at Mac dismissively. "Very funny. You know, if you were any kind of host you'd offer to draw my bath."

"Oh, and I suppose you want me to scrub your back, as well." Mac mocked.

Oh, yes, I think I'd like that. Methos kept his immediate response to himself but looked at the other man thoughtfully. "It would be the hospitable thing to do. And I'm sure we'd both fit...." His tone changed toward the end of his sentence, leaving little doubt as to his meaning.

Mac smiled slightly, but deflected the invitation. "Oh, but who would get you your beer?" And then he turned and headed for the fridge.

For you, I could wait for my beer. Methos sighed, watching the other man move across the loft. Mac's weight shifting from side to side as he walked did unspeakably delicious things to Methos' insides. Do you suppose he thinks I'm kidding? Methos considered the possibility, but dismissed it as he shut the door and leaned against it. This was such a bad idea. Only here ten minutes and his body was reacting like a dog after a bitch in heat. So close and yet so far. There he is, just a few steps away and even more enticing than I remembered.

He reached a hand down to rest on his semi-aroused cock, biting his lip when his flesh stirred slightly in response. You are so easy. Almost without volition, his hand started to stroke and squeeze, his mind occupied with the man on the other side of the door. The friction of the cloth against his rapidly hardening sex was delectable, the heat coiling in his belly almost enough to warm his chilled flesh.

"You okay in there? Find everything okay?"

At the sound of Mac's voice, Methos' hand tightened, and he was almost unable to prevent the groan that rose to his lips. Oh, I'm finding everything just fine, Mac. It's just where I left it-and not in much better condition. "No, no, I'm fine, just resting a minute."

"Hard work, that flying."

Such a comedian. Methos reluctantly removed his hand and set about doing things that would make appropriate shower noises. Carefully skimming off his boxers, he stepped under the hard spray as soon as it was warm. Oh, that feels so good. For several minutes he just stood under the fall of water, feeling the warmth seeping into his bones, enjoying the familiar ache of his flesh. He savored the knowledge that the man who made him feel this way was standing not fifty feet away.

Soon, the vicarious stimulation of his mind was not enough. Picking up the shampoo, he lathered his hands and moved so that the spray of water hit his buttocks and legs, leaving his upper torso clear. Closing his eyes, he began slowly and sensuously indulging himself in an orgy of autoeroticism, stimulated by visions of Mac sharing the shower with him. Not a new fantasy, but Mac's physical proximity, the scent of his shampoo and soap, lent it new power. He'd been safer in Paris.

He could feel the hot sting of water on his backside turning to warm rivulets running down and around his legs, the contrasting stimuli adding to his already aroused state. Raising his hands, he lathered his hair, sliding his fingertips firmly against his skull, massaging and stroking, imagining Mac's hands in place of his own. Thumbs slid against and around his ears, fingertips drifting down his neck, continuing the press and rub of skin. After long minutes he tilted his head back, letting the hot water wash away the soap and cascade down his back. His hand drifted over his face, teasing along his lips, his tongue slipping out to catch one finger and pull it in. Sucking, he imagined those full, beautiful lips sliding around his fingers, a hot tongue slipping between them, and his cock swelled in response.

Biting his cheek to keep silent, he slowly stroked his hands down his chest, thumbs fondling the hard nubs of his nipples. Cupping and pinching with one hand, the other slid back to his neck. He pictured Mac behind him, mouth nuzzling his throat, hand caressing where Methos' own hand moved across his belly, and his hips pressed back in response to the vividness of the image.

Suddenly, things were moving too slowly. He stepped back so that the water sprayed over his back and shoulders, the stimulation heightening his sensations. Lathering his hands again, the image of Mac firmly in his mind, he took his cock in his hand and started jerking it roughly, spreading his legs to brace himself more firmly. He could almost hear the whisperings of his fevered imagination, feel Mac's breath in his ear, the tangle of Mac's hair across his shoulders, Mac's hands cupping his balls and stroking his cock...Mac, pressed tightly against him... Oh, God...

He tasted blood in his mouth as he bit down to prevent his moans from drifting to the other room. Increasing his rhythm, he leaned forward, bracing himself with one hand as he imagined Mac's cock pressing for entry, his hardness sliding deep inside Methos' heat, his incredible mouth making sounds of desire and need. With a cry, Methos came, thrusting uncontrollably, fire streaking through him as his hand continued to stroke the pleasure from his body.

He leaned heavily against the wall, needing the additional support for his shaky legs, his hand mindlessly continuing to fondle his softening flesh as he stood in the cooling spray, until his skin became too exquisitely sensitive. He heard movement in the other room, and for a minute he thought Mac was right outside the door.

Methos' shuddering breaths turned to laughter at the thought, another image supplanting the erotic pictures in his mind-Mac, bursting in to find Methos in a lukewarm shower, fondling himself in an obvious post-orgasmic haze. Might cut through some of the small talk, he mused fuzzily. Shaking his head to clear it, he rapidly washed and turned off the water. His body still tingled, and the additional stimulation of the plush towels was a heavenly torture.

When he emerged with a towel wrapped around his hips, Mac was sitting on the couch with a beer in one hand and a book in the other. He looked up quizzically as Methos crossed to his bags, and Methos could feel Mac's eyes on him as he dug for his clothes.

"So, should I make up the couch?" Mac asked.

"Umm, no, actually. I thought I might stick around for awhile this trip, rent a room, that sort of thing." Methos tried to make his tone casual, as if such a remark were nothing out of the ordinary, but the pause in conversation went on longer than expected. He pulled out his dry clothes, letting the towel drop as he pulled on a pair of faded jeans. He wasn't sure whether he imagined the small sound from behind him or not. Then he heard Mac stand and head towards the kitchen.

"Beer?" Mac asked as he opened the refrigerator door. "I know, silly question. So, to what do I owe the honor of an extended visit? Or are you here to see Joe?"

"Both, I suppose. And I don't know, really. Paris was getting kind of dull, thought maybe it might be a little more exciting in the bailiwick of Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod." He finished dressing, looking over to where Mac was leaning against the counter and watching him broodingly.

When Mac realized that Methos was watching him in turn, he walked over to deliver the beer he'd been holding. "Sorry to disappoint you, but unless you brought trouble with you, I don't have much on offer."

Methos accepted the beer and took a couple of big swallows before answering, aware that Mac's eyes were still on him. "Oh, I thought maybe I'd let you get me into trouble." He looked at Mac speculatively. He was both pleased and disappointed when Mac's only response was genuine laughter.

Methos snorted in disgust at the turn in his thoughts, feeling his body react like teenage boy who'd just caught a glimpse of a girl's underwear. That's how it had gone for four bloody weeks. Every time things had started to heat up, Mac had banked the fire before it could get out of control. Hell, before it could even start burning.

Neither man had said anything directly, but that would have been so gauche. No fun at all. Well, okay, it might have been fun, but this drawn out-well, can't exactly call it a seduction, it's been more like an insinuation-had been entertaining, not to mention stimulating. Emphasis on the had been. They'd come so close. He'd flirted, in words and deed, and Mac had responded-to a point. Then they'd just kept dancing around that point, carefully keeping the distance between them intact. Neither acceptance nor outright rejection.

And he knew that Mac was attracted. The accident in the dojo this afternoon had confirmed that to Methos' satisfaction. One foot that failed to sit firmly, one flailing hand grabbing for a falling opponent, and their friendly spar had turned comic. They'd tumbled to the floor, Mac's weight landing with sufficient force to knock most of the breath from Methos' body. Mac had shifted away quickly, but not before Methos had hard evidence that he wasn't the only one working up a sweat.

It was the closest physical contact they'd had since Methos' arrival. He would have been more than willing to take advantage of it, but Mac had been up and off so quickly, muttering about a shower, that the opportunity was lost. Mac had only paused long enough to confirm their plans for the evening, though Methos wasn't sure why he'd bothered.

So, here he sat at Joe's with his unaccountably tedious companion. Bored.

"He was Immortal, you know." Methos looked to see if he'd managed to get Mac's attention.

Mac looked up from his glass of Scotch in complete confusion. "Who was?"

"Valentine." Methos thought this would clear things up, but Mac's confused look didn't change. "Of the day? St. Valentine's Day? Claudius the Second had him beheaded in the third century. I think. You know, that's the hardest part of this whole immortality thing. No wonder I can never remember what day it is. They keep changing them." He fiddled with his beer, watching the various moony couples who had picked Joe's for performing their preliminary mating rituals before the main event the next day.

Mac looked even more confused. "What the hell are you babbling about?"

Methos looked offended. "I wasn't babbling. I'm bored. Entertain me."

"Yes, master. Your wish is my command, master." The sarcasm was so thick that with butter it would have made a fairly satisfying meal.

Methos overlooked it. He'd had a lot of practice lately. "I like the sound of that."

"You would," Mac snorted, ignoring the flirtatious tone. "Probably been awhile since you heard it."

"Yeah," Methos said reminiscently. "It has. Ah, for the good old days." The sideways glance he threw at Mac was mischievous. He opened his mouth to elaborate, but his eyes were drawn to the figure walking in the door. "Oh my, my, my..."

"What?" Mac looked up, but all he saw was a young man just inside the doorway, taking in the sights. "You know him?"

"Not yet. But the night is still young." Methos was aware that the sensual tone grabbed Mac's full attention. He'd been feeling more than a little taken for granted lately. So okay, he'd been hanging around for several weeks, making himself available for whatever Mac was in the mood to do. He just wished Mac's moods had been a little more...physical.

At this point the game had started to pall, and he felt stuck in permanent sexual overdrive. Methos honestly couldn't figure out whether Mac was just being bloody-minded and playing hard to get, or if he couldn't figure out how to tell Methos that he really wasn't interested. After all, just because his body responded to proximity, it didn't necessarily follow that Mac himself was interested in pursuing it. Maybe it had just been the rush of the fight. Maybe Mac was afraid of hurting his feelings. Or maybe all that beauty had gone to his head over the years. Too used to being pursued. If he expected to be wooed, he was out of luck. Methos had finally run out of patience. Well, maybe it was time to try a different approach.

The young man looked over the crowd, eyes lingering here and there. Mac came in for a brief though appreciative perusal, as did Methos himself. No surprise there, Mac was drop-dead gorgeous, and Methos had to concede, generally pretty good about it. It wasn't like he flaunted it or took advantage of it. Much. Of course, if he tried that hang-dog, woebegone, eye-batting routine to get Methos to do something one more time.... Eye-batting, for God's sake! Most women wouldn't even resort to eye-batting nowadays. Except Amanda. On her, it looked good. Hell, admit it. On him it looked good.

Determinedly turning his mind away from Mac's wiles, Methos enjoyed the sight in front of him, returning the appreciative gaze that had settled on him after appraising Mac. Methos quirked his mouth, catching the approaching man's eye and letting him see Methos' own interest as Methos let his eyes drift back down, lingering here and there. Long legs, broad shoulders, muscled, but not too bulky overall. Dark good looks with cheekbones to die for. A Mediterranean background, probably. The mouth wasn't bad, either. Not in Mac's league, but well-shaped and sensual. The whole package was nicely set off by jeans, white T-shirt, and black leather jacket, with a silver belt buckle that tantalizingly shifted from side to side as he walked.

Methos stood as the man neared the table, bringing his gaze slowly back up to lock eyes. He wasn't in the mood to waste much time figuring out if the guy was cruising or not. From the smile on his face, he was definitely open to suggestion. Not shy, this one. Good. He'd had enough of playing games for a night or two.

The young man stuck out his hand. "Jeremy Chase."

"Adam Pierson." It wasn't really a handshake, more of a subtle fondling, thumb stroking over the back of Chase's hand, fingers caressing first the wrist, then the palm as he pulled his hand back. Methos smiled slightly as the man's eyes narrowed before he smiled back. A most promising smile.

"Can I buy you a drink?" asked Jeremy.

"That depends. Are you my Valentine's present?" The line was ridiculous, and Methos knew it. However, he also knew what effect a certain tone and intent could have, regardless of the words spoken. He smiled to himself as Mac shifted uncomfortably while Jeremy looked as if he could use something to lean on. Both men ignored Mac's bristling.

"Yes. Definitely." Jeremy said raggedly. "Can you excuse me for a moment? I was supposed to meet some friends later. I think I'll cancel."

"If you're sure." Methos' tone implied that he himself had little doubt as to the response.

"Any reason not to be?" Jeremy's voice was still breathless.

"Can't think of a single one. What do you drink?"

"Scotch. Straight." The young mortal reluctantly looked away, searching for the pay phone.

"Corner in the back." Methos turned the other man with a seemingly casual touch on the shoulder, moving to stand close behind him and point over his shoulder. As his other hand slid down the curve of the back, Chase's jaw tightened slightly, and Methos could almost see a faint quiver as his hand drifted lightly over one buttock.

"Thanks. I'll be right back," Jeremy said roughly.

Methos watched as the other man walked to the back. He could hear Mac behind him, shifting restlessly in his chair. He'd been aware of Mac's increasing discomfort during the exchange with Jeremy. They hadn't broken eye contact the whole time, and Methos had almost been able to feel the waves of barely controlled anger coming off Mac. He'd almost thought that Mac was going to challenge the young mortal. Now, that would have been interesting...and revealing. Maybe he's not as uninterested as he pretends to be.

"What the hell was that all about?" Mac's voice from behind him sounded jealous and angry.

Jealous, Mac? Or just protecting my honor? Methos turned and looked at him. "I didn't think we were that subtle, Mac. You must be out of practice."


"Yes?" Methos challenged. "But what?" He saw the look of stubborn confusion increase, the gorgeous lips pouting, the tiny lines between Mac's brows seeming permanently engraved. Put up or shut up time, Mac. No more games. It's your choice.

"I...nothing." Mac's face showed nothing but angry petulance.

Ah, well. Pride was such an inconvenience. Fortunately, life had provided a consolation prize. It wasn't hard to see that Mac was in a temper, holding on to the thin edge of his anger, but right this minute, Methos couldn't care less. How much had he had to drink this evening, anyway? Hadn't seemed like that much, but here he was, throwing his determined plan to the winds. He wasn't willing to make it easy for Mac anymore. No more dancing to his tune. If Mac wanted him, he was going to have to say so.

"You don't even know anything about him." Mac's tone was part belligerence, all peevishness.

Methos looked at him incredulously. "I'm just going to fuck him, Mac. I'm not planning on marrying him." Methos didn't think he'd ever seen Mac turn that particular shade of pink. "Why are you so concerned? It's not like he's after my head." He couldn't resist. "Well, okay, maybe he is, but he's not going to cut it off...I hope." He smirked as Mac stumbled out of his chair and left like a storm cloud about to rain on somebody's parade. He moved to the bar to get Jeremy's drink.

"What kind of game are you playing, Adam?" They'd been sitting close enough to the bar for Joe to take it all in.

"Why do you ask, Joseph? Worried our hidebound Highland friend is going to die of a conniption?" His voice was unconcerned.

Joe looked surprised at the remark. "This isn't like you." He poured a glass of Scotch.

"Really? Maybe it's just like me, Joe. How would you know?"

Joe looked at him as he handed him the drink. "I didn't deserve that."

Methos looked faintly apologetic. "No, you didn't, but I don't owe either of you any explanations. Jeremy is a pleasant...diversion. I'm nothing more for him. Mac will have to get over it."

"And if he doesn't?" Joe raised his eyebrow in that irritating way he had.

"Then maybe he'll get a clue." If Methos felt a twinge of regret for his decision, he didn't let it show in his voice.

"Make yourself at home." Methos dropped his coat on a chair and headed for the liquor cabinet. The efficiency wasn't much to look at, just a single large room with a bathroom and a kitchen, but it rented by the month, and it was cheap. He had a few of his things around, mostly art pieces, and had picked up some inexpensive furniture to flesh it out. All in all, it suited him. Comfortable, but innocuous.

"This isn't what I would have expected," Jeremy said as he took the drink, his fingers lingering on Methos'.

"No? Why not?"

"Too characterless. Except for the books and the art, it's all quite...bland."

"Maybe I'm bland." Methos sipped his own drink, his tongue darting out to catch a drop of liquor that tried to escape.

"Oh, I don't think so." Jeremy put down his drink and watched the capture while shrugging out of his coat.

Methos smiled slightly as the T-shirt followed the coat, exposing a well-developed chest. His eyes followed the narrowing line of hair down to the point it disappeared into the waistband of Jeremy's blue jeans. "In a hurry?"

"What's the point of being coy now?" Jeremy leaned on the back of the couch to remove his boots, gauging Methos' reaction.

"None at all." Methos' tone was smoky. He leaned back to enjoy the show, arms and legs crossed, idly swirling his drink.

Socks, jeans, and briefs smoothly yet swiftly followed the shirt. Jeremy stood there, completely unselfconscious, letting the other man look his fill. He's no Duncan MacLeod, but...Methos didn't finish the thought. Jeremy moved closer when Methos put down his drink, reaching out to unfasten Methos' pants. "Just a moment." Methos stopped him long enough to reach in a drawer, pulling out a package of condoms and a small tube. "Better safe than sorry, wouldn't you say?" Another inconvenience of modern life-at least, of mortal life-but so much easier than trying to explain why it really wasn't a problem.

Jeremy opened the box, removing one of the small wrappers and opening it carefully. Methos braced his hands on the hutch and looked down at the man who moved to kneel between his legs. Jeremy slid Methos' jeans just down his hips, along with his boxers, and took Methos' penis and testicles in his hands. "Oh, that's nice." Using hands, then lips and tongue, Jeremy rolled the condom slowly down Methos' erection, checking to make sure it was secure before cupping his hand back around Methos' scrotum and fondling gently. His lips and tongue kept up their movements on his cock, and Methos' head fell back as the simple pleasure washed through him. He felt like much of the sexual tension that had built up over the last several weeks was being sucked out of him by that hot, tight mouth, kneaded out of him by that caressing hand. Oh, life wasn't perfect, but right this minute, it was good. He threaded one hand through Jeremy's curls, enjoying the purely sexual feeling.

When he felt himself getting close, his balls tightening, he held Jeremy's head still in both hands so that he could thrust into his mouth, moving harder and deeper. He groaned as Jeremy opened his throat wider, taking him in deeply, nuzzling into the curls at the base of his cock and sucking hard. He came powerfully, tightening his grip. The pressure behind his eyes was unbearable for a moment, and then there was blissful release. He stood there for a few moments, feeling the tension leave his body, until he felt Jeremy pull away. Breathing deeply, he opened his eyes to look down at the man below him.

Jeremy was sitting back, leaning on one hand and looking up at him, fondling himself lazily, an eyebrow quirked slightly and a smug smile in the corner of his mouth.

"Well, that was a nice start." There was something quite erotic about standing there fully clothed with this naked man in front of him. He hadn't even gotten his shoes off yet. "Shall we adjourn to the bed? I have a distaste for carpet burns." He carefully stripped off the condom and dropped it into the trash can.

Jeremy held up one hand, and Methos pulled him up, moving his other hand to wrap it around Jeremy's swollen cock, stroking it firmly, enjoying the way it filled his palm. He wrapped an arm around the other man, bending his head to bite sharply at the juncture of his throat and shoulder. He nibbled up to Jeremy's ear lobe and started fucking his ear with his tongue. "There are so many things I want to do to you." Jeremy shivered, arching his neck to give better access.

Methos led him to the bed, stopping long enough to pick up the condoms and lube, and to strip off his own clothes, before pushing Jeremy down. Jeremy leaned up on his elbows, watching as Methos crawled over him. "You recover quickly," he said, seeing that Methos was already beginning to harden again.

"It's a gift." Methos rolled the other man onto his stomach then pulled him up to his knees, nestling in behind him and returning to the torture of Jeremy's ears and neck. His hands stroked roughly over Jeremy's chest, seeking and finding the hard nubs of his nipples, pinching and fondling them. One hand slid firmly over the hard abdomen, fingers curling into the wiry hair at the base of Jeremy's cock, parting to slide around the hard rise of flesh and caress the sac beneath. Continuing his fondling, he reached his other hand for the lubricant, twisting off the cap and setting the tube to the side. Jeremy reached for the condoms, pulling away and turning long enough to replace the one that Methos had removed, his caressing motions causing Methos to catch his breath.

Jeremy resumed his previous position, pressing back to rub against Methos' chest, sliding his buttocks against Methos' erection, raising himself up and down slightly on his knees. His hands moved back to grasp and squeeze Methos' thighs. He leaned forward, pressing his hips back even harder and moving so that Methos' cock slid the length of the crevice between his buttocks. Methos slid his hands back around Jeremy's waist and grasped the rigid cock to begin stroking again. His other hand caressed Jeremy's chest and abdomen, his mouth moving over the broad back and shoulders in front of him, trying to sate his driving hunger.

Sliding one hand back around, he retrieved the tube and squeezed a generous amount into his hand. Pulling back slightly, he slid his hand between them, caressing a fingertip against the puckered opening. Jeremy bucked slightly, then pressed backward again, moving urgently. "Do it." A second finger joined the first and pressed inward roughly. Jeremy gasped slightly in surprise, then moaned and twisted against the intrusion, thrusting back and forth.

Methos worked his fingers briefly, wringing gasps and moans from Jeremy, watching the other man almost objectively. Withdrawing his hand, he positioned himself, and in one strong motion, slid deeply into the body beneath him, timing his manipulation of the other man's cock so that Jeremy was caught between the two sensations. Panting slightly, he held himself still until Jeremy started moving against him, begging for more. Wrapping his free arm around the other man's shoulders, he began thrusting hard and deep, with strong, smooth motions. He slid his other hand down Jeremy's cock to the base as he ended his inward thrust, pulling firmly from base to tip as he pulled almost completely out.

When Jeremy's frantic motions indicated that he was about to come, Methos' thrusts and strokes became shorter and faster. Jeremy bucked into his hand, the double stimulation bringing him to a hard climax. When he finished, Methos shifted his hands to Jeremy's hips, pulling them tightly against him as he strove for his own release. Focused on his goal, the tight control he'd been keeping over his thoughts slipped, and for an instant he envisioned Mac in Jeremy's place.

His climax overwhelmed him, bringing with it a flood of emotions he'd been keeping at bay. All the frustration and anger at Mac's stringing him along, the fear that he might not be interested, and finally, the overwhelming need and hunger he felt for the man-and the heart-wrenching love that he'd tried to ignore. Shuddering at the emotional overload, he dropped his head onto Jeremy's shoulder until he felt the other man shift below him. Looking up dazedly, he carefully tucked away the feelings roiling through him. Just as carefully, he pulled from the other man, holding onto the base of his cock at the edge of the condom, rolling it off and dropping it into the trash can next to the bed. No point in regrets now. What was done was done. Maybe it was time to head back to Paris.

Jeremy collapsed on the bed, rolling onto his back to look up at the other man who was kneeling back with his hands on his thighs. "Happy Valentine's Day."

Methos smiled tightly and dropped down on his side, idly stroking one hand over his chest. "You want to stay? I think I could scrounge up a decent breakfast."

"Mmmmm. I could do that. So, do you think it will work?" He glanced over at Methos, whose eyes narrowed.

"Will what work?" Methos asked carefully.

"Your friend. Will this catch his attention?" His look was purely curious, and his hand moved to stroke Methos' hip.

"Maybe. Does it matter? Do you think that's what this is about?" Methos kept his voice even, unwilling to risk revealing that much of himself to this beautiful stranger.

"Doesn't matter to me. And no, I don't think that's all this is about. I think it's mostly about some damn hot sex, but I think it's part of it. Either trying to provoke him or trying to get back at him. Hey, it's cool. It's not like I was going to profess eternal love for you or anything."

Methos rolled onto his back. "Yeah, it matters. But he's not here right now, and it was his choice."

"That's true." Jeremy yawned. "So, if we pull back the covers, I can get out of this wet spot."

Neither man slept much; every time the feelings threatened, Methos reached for the other man and lost himself in the physical pleasure he provided. After all, might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb.

When Jeremy left the next morning with an open dinner invitation, Methos felt sated and lethargic-at least superficially. The interlude had reminded him that purely physical pleasure required neither deep emotional attachment nor an intimate knowledge of the other person. It had also reminded him that indulging ultimately left him with the same feeling as the proverbial Chinese feast. It was good while it lasted, but it didn't take long before he was hungry again. And it was a hunger that demanded specific appeasement.

Methos didn't fool himself that the release he'd enjoyed would solve his problem as far as Mac was concerned. Just the thought of the other Immortal stirred senses that Jeremy hadn't even touched. Hell, in the sober light of day Methos acknowledged that he'd probably made things a hell of a lot more complicated. He was pretty sure he'd shaken Mac's complacency, but he wasn't certain how Mac would react now, and that made him a little nervous-and angry. His resentment at his own weakness had resulted in the invitation for Jeremy to stop back by later. Obviously his impulsiveness had yet to wear off-not that Mac was likely to care.

He resented this power Mac had over him, to make him feel things he didn't want to feel, things like guilt, anger, concern-okay, more than concern. No point denying it anymore. And it didn't matter whether Mac knew he had this power or whether he exerted it unconsciously. In some ways, that was the most maddening part of the whole thing. It was like the eye-batting; Mac did it because it worked, but the reason it worked drove Methos crazy. Mac was just himself, and Methos found himself rolling over for him at the drop of a hat. So to speak.

The image this provoked let him know just how ineffectual Jeremy's ministrations had been in the long term. Hell, the medium-to-short term. One vision of Mac at his feet, as Jeremy had been, and Methos might as well have been celibate since the turn of the century for all the good his earlier physical indulgence did him. God! What was it about the man that pushed Methos' buttons so perfectly? It was his smile. That's what did it. That intimate, amused smile on that incredible, luscious mouth...

In truth, there was little that was purely physical about his complicated feelings for the man. Well, there was a lot that was purely physical, actually. Mac stirred a hunger in him that he hadn't felt in a long time. But even that hunger was more than a simple desire for Mac's body. He knew he wanted so much more than that. He'd hoped that Mac felt the same way, but last night, Methos had decided that he'd be damned if he was just going to sit back and deny himself when an opportunity like Jeremy dropped in his lap because Mac couldn't get off his ass and react. Damn! He knew better than to act on impulse.

He'd come to Seacouver this time with a specific agenda, but he'd lied to himself about its importance. Sometime last night he'd realized how essential it was to him. Not just having Mac physically, but having him emotionally, as well. If all he could have with Mac was a more intense version of what he'd had last night, he'd learn to do without-no matter how much it hurt to starve. He didn't think he could have only a part of the man and be content. What good was one meal to a starving man?

He sighed. Whatever excuses he made to himself, his night of self-gratification would just be one more at the top of the list of regrets if he found that indulging his appetites had destroyed his chance with Mac. Still, things are as they are. He'd deal with the repercussions when they arrived.

He puttered around the apartment, showering and cleaning up, changing the bed, washing the breakfast dishes. In the early afternoon he settled down on his couch with an old text and a pad of paper to work on a difficult translation. The actual language wasn't a problem, but the grammar was atrocious. Determinedly distracted, he lost track of the time.

Several hours later, he was deeply engrossed when he felt the tingle of an approaching Immortal at the base of his skull. Glancing around, he checked that his sword was in easy reach of the door. It was probably Mac, but better safe than sorry. Even if it is Mac, I may need it, he thought somewhat hysterically. When the knock on the door came, he moved to open it, his nose still buried in his text, steadying his suddenly unsteady heart.

Mac leaned on the doorjamb. "Are you trying to lose your head?'

Methos looked up, his breath catching in his throat at the picture presented to him. Mac was dressed all in black: black mesh shirt, black denim jeans, black leather jacket, his hair falling around his shoulders. He hadn't shaved, and seeing him slouching against the door frame, one hand in his pocket, it was all Methos could do not to drag him in and pounce on him. He clutched his book to his chest and looked at the only bit of color in the picture-a single, red, long-stemmed rose. He raised an eyebrow. "For me? You shouldn't have."

"I didn't." Mac bopped him on the head with the flower. "Some kids were selling them downstairs, I figured what the hell." He peered over Methos' shoulder. "Are you alone?" He looked slightly embarrassed.



The satisfied tone irked Methos. Somewhere in the depths of the afternoon he'd made up his mind to try once more, to make the first move, daring Mac to reject him yet again, but the smugness in Mac's voice put his back up. "Jeremy's coming for dinner." Suddenly, in spite of his earlier soul-searching, he wasn't ready to let Mac off too easily.  Earlier thoughts of ruining his opportunity had given way to a vague petulance that Mac had let him do it and further resentment at the power the man had over him.

"Can you get hold of him?" Mac raised an interrogative eyebrow.

"No, but he's supposed to call later, let me know when he'll be here."

"Then you can cancel it." The peremptory tone brooked no dispute.

"Why should I?" Better give me a good reason, Mac. You're at least half the reason we're in this mess. Methos caught his breath as Mac lightly brushed the rose along the side of his face and down his throat, his eyes following the flower's trail.

"Because you're going to be busy." Methos' eyes widened, first at the aggressive tone, then because Mac pushed off from the door frame, forcing Methos back into the room with his body. Taking hold of the book, he pulled it away and dropped it on the floor along with the rose.

"Hey, be careful, that's very old!" Methos started to bend to rescue his book, suddenly breathless.

Mac's voice was rough. "So are you. You want me to be careful?"

Methos looked up at him just as Mac grabbed his shoulders and pushed him up against the wall. He didn't even have time to object as Mac's mouth descended, driving any thought of resistance out of his mind. Well, he thought muzzily, I was right about one thing. One kiss from Mac, and I'm every bit as hungry as I was before whatsiswhositz came along. His body reacted as if the interlude with the young mortal hadn't left him satiated just hours earlier, every inch of his skin clamoring for Mac's touch, for the feel of that perfect mouth.

Mac had Methos' shoulders pinned with his forearms, his hands sliding up to hold and angle Methos' head for better access. The initial brutality of the assault gentled slightly as Mac's lips opened Methos' mouth, and his tongue insinuated itself along Methos' teeth.

Methos tasted every inch of his mouth being explored, felt the rough brush of a bristled cheek along his own. He slid his hands feverishly along the body pressing him tightly to the wall, kneading it with his fingers. He couldn't move enough to slide the jacket off Mac's shoulders, but he caught the fabric of Mac's shirt in his hands, pulling it out of his jeans so he could touch skin.

Methos shifted his legs apart, groaning as he felt one hard thigh press even more tightly against his aching groin. Held up by Mac's hands cradling his head, he tightened his thighs around Mac's leg and started moving rhythmically, his own thigh stroking along the hardness he could feel against his hip.

Mac shuddered against him, his teeth biting along Methos' lips and over to his ear. Methos turned his head to the side as Mac explored his ear as thoroughly as he had Methos' mouth. The feel of that slick, teasing tongue sliding in deeply after tasting around the edge was almost enough to bring Methos to sudden climax. His hands and thighs clamped tightly on Mac's body as he arched his neck, holding himself back.

All of the teasing and flirtation of the last few weeks acted as tinder to the fire of Mac's mouth, and Methos was caught up in the conflagration. Where Jeremy's body had gratified his lust, the taste and feel of the man holding him were satisfying his soul. He felt desired in a way that was deeply intimate, overwhelmed by his own capitulation to the passion burning through him.

He couldn't hold back a sharp sound of protest as Mac pulled back, but his complaint turned to pleasure as Mac caught Methos' earlobe in his teeth and bit sharply. Then Mac leaned back, his hands catching the neck of Methos' shirt, his hips pressing his hips Methos into the wall as he ripped the fabric to the waist, the few buttons at the top scattering on the floor.

"Hey!" Methos tried to sound indignant. "That was one of my favorite shirts!"

Mac leaned in to catch Methos' ear in his teeth again, thrusting his tongue and swirling it briefly. "So?" he said softly. His hands stroked over Methos' now bare chest, pinching his nipples with a slight twist before bending to capture one nub in his mouth, teasing it with a flickering tongue and constraining teeth.

Methos moaned, missing the press of Mac's hips against his own even as the new stimulation threatened to melt what little brain he had left. "Well, when you put it that way...." He managed to slide Mac's jacket down his shoulders to the point that the other man shrugged it off the rest of the way to remove the constriction. Methos' hands tugged at Mac's shirt, trying to pull it over his head, but he refused to move away from Methos' body. Unable to shift the other man from his new toy, and not really that insistent, Methos plunged one hand into the pocket of his own jeans and removed his pocket knife. One tiny nick and...

Mac's head came up at the sound of ripping cloth. "Hey!" He stepped back, looking down to see his shirt sliding off. When he looked up, his grin was feral.

Methos shivered and smiled innocently as he watched Mac stripping off the remains of his T-shirt. He shrugged out of his own tattered shirt, anticipating the feel of Mac's body against his without the interference of clothing. His hands went to the fastenings of his jeans, preparatory to stripping them off, just as the phone rang.

"Aren't you going to get that?" Mac asked, hooking his thumbs in his jeans and looking Methos over.

"Hadn't planned to." Methos stepped closer, sliding his palms over Mac's bared chest, his eyes wandering over the golden expanse.

Mac caught his wrists as the phone rang a second time. "The sooner you clear your schedule, the sooner we can continue." The statement was more imperious than a simple suggestion.

"Oooooh, I do love a masterful man," Methos teased. His earlier unsteadiness had given way to an almost giddy relief, and he bent to nibble along Mac's fingers where they held his wrist, ignoring both the suggestion and the ringing phone.

Mac tightened his grip. "Maybe I want to hear you tell him you're not interested," he said in a rough tone, rubbing his thumbs against Methos' wrists. "I don't want him interrupting us later."

Methos sighed impatiently and moved to pick up the phone as Mac released him. "Hello?" He gasped slightly as Mac moved up and pressed tightly behind him, hands skimming over Methos' chest and abdomen before starting to open the buttons on his jeans. "Mac!" he said in a strangled hiss, covering the phone with his hand.

"Hmmmm?" Mac paid no attention as his hand slid in, a groan escaping his lips as his hand closed over nothing but hard, bare flesh. His hand enveloped the straining cock, fingers sliding to cup the sac beneath and squeeze as his lips made a direct assault on the spot where Methos' shoulder curved into his neck. Methos tried half-heartedly to pull away, but a second arm around his waist held him fast, so he settled for cupping his hand around the phone.

"Adam? Are you all right?" It was Jeremy, his voice raised above a background of loud music and laughter. Mac could obviously still hear and wasn't entirely happy to have his guess confirmed, as Methos could tell when the fingers tangled in his groin squeezed a bit too tight for comfort, if not for pleasure. Mac's jealous reaction was kind of a turn-on, he had to admit, especially when it made him step up his attentions. Methos could feel the smile against his shoulder as he struggled to find breath to answer, a struggle momentarily thwarted as he felt teeth nibbling along his throat.

"Um, yeah, Jeremy, I'm...fine." He tried to pull his head just far enough away to prevent Mac from an assault on the ear that he'd not yet tasted, to no avail. Biting his lip, he twisted carefully in Mac's arms and glared at him. "This will only take a moment, you animal!" he hissed. "No, no, Jeremy, I'm fine, I'm just..." He gasped as Mac gave him a devilish look and slid to his knees, pulling Methos' jeans down as he went. He was unable to stop a strangled groan as he felt the heat of Mac's mouth against his aching flesh, sliding teasingly along the length. For a moment he froze at this picture of a fantasy realized. Then he moved one hand to push the other man's head away but somehow found his fingers tangling in the long strands instead. Closing his eyes, he tried to focus on Jeremy's voice.

"So, it worked?" Even in a near shout, the amusement in his tone was obvious. Methos hoped that Mac was too far away to hear, but he felt that lush mouth stop its teasing attentions. He closed his eyes in despair so he didn't have to see Mac's face; bad enough that he felt the other man freeze and move away. He resisted the urge to clench his fist in Mac's hair and let go instead, feeling the curls slip through his fingers.

"Bye, Jeremy." Methos' tone was even and cool. Stupid, stupid. What was I thinking? I wasn't. Not at all.

"Oh, shit, man. I'm sorry." The apology was sincere, if too late.

"Don't sweat it." He opened his eyes to see Mac picking up his coat and shrugging into it. Dropping the phone in its cradle, Methos reached to tug up his sagging jeans. Feeling rather vulnerable, and more than a little ridiculous, he tucked his swollen cock back into his jeans and fastened them. He moved to catch Mac by the shoulder as the other man zipped up his coat, concealing his shirtless state. Mac swung around, and Methos ducked, not sure what to expect. When no blow was forthcoming, he turned to face Mac, and they stood glaring at each other stormily. Mac opened his mouth as if to speak, then abruptly turned for the door.

"It wasn't like that, Mac. Don't do this!"

Mac stopped. "Don't do what?" He turned to look at Methos. "I don't like being manipulated, Methos. I thought I'd accepted it, but I guess I haven't. Was it all a trick?"

"Thought you'd accepted what?" Methos felt his own temper rise.

"I thought I could come over here and act like nothing had happened. Forget about last night and see where we stood. And you looked so good when you answered the door, it was easier than I'd thought it would be." His voice trailed off wistfully, and he looked off over Methos' shoulder. "I spent all night thinking of you with him, wondering what would have happened if I'd stopped you. Whether I could have." Mac somehow looked both embarrassed and belligerent, shoving his hands in his pockets, pulling them tighter across his obviously swollen groin. He shuddered slightly as Methos unconsciously curled his tongue around the corner of his mouth, his gaze on the taut fabric. "Don't look at me like that."

"Like what?" Methos said seductively. "Like I want you?" He looked in Mac's eyes. "But I do, Mac. Very much. I have for a long time." He moved closer, stopping when Mac backed up a step and took his hands out of his pockets to cross them uncomfortably across his chest, still avoiding Methos' eyes.

"Like you wanted Chase? It's not gonna be that easy, Methos, not now." The jealousy and pain in his tone was obvious. "You didn't answer me, Methos. Was it a trick? A set-up?" His anger was evident in his tight stance and flashing eyes, and the self-mocking curl of those generous lips. Then he turned and looked full into Methos' eyes. "You want to know the funny thing? I'm not sure if I'm hoping you actually fucked him, since it will make me less the fool, or hoping you didn't, whatever kind of fool that makes me, because it tears me apart to think of you with him." He looked away again. "With anyone." He paused to regain control. "What happened last night? I thought we understood each other."

Once again, Methos gave into impulse without thought, his own fears and needs heightened by Mac's words. "Do you really want to know what happened last night?" he insinuated. He knew the remark was a mistake as soon as it left his lips, even without seeing Mac turn back towards the door. What the hell am I doing? he thought. Same thing you did last night, idiot, and it wasn't taking over the world. Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face. "Wait! I'm sorry, Mac, that was..." He broke off, seeing the wounded, angry look on Mac's face as he turned back. "It wasn't a set-up, Mac. I'd never laid eyes on him before last night. I swear."

Mac took a deep breath and turned away to face the door again for a few minutes. Methos just stood there, waiting to hear what Mac would say. He was trembling with the emotions surging through him, but was afraid to speak for fear of saying exactly the wrong thing. The moment was too fragile for his customary defensiveness.

"What the hell do you want from me, Methos? We've been dancing around each other for weeks, and I don't know whether I'm leading or following. I let you take the lead, and the next thing I know, you're dancing with somebody else!" Mac stood half-turned away, hands on hips, obviously torn between leaving and hearing what Methos had to say.

"You let me take the lead!? I've been waiting for you to make up your mind what you wanted! I even gave you a chance last night, but you were too stubborn to speak up!" Methos bit his lip as his own anger threatened to flare up.

Mac turned around to stare at Methos. "Why should I have to fight for you, if we both want the same thing?" Mac's confusion and stubborn pride vied for supremacy. "If it wasn't a set-up, why were you willing to go off with him in the first place?"

"Maybe because I was tired of being taken for granted." Methos smiled grimly at Mac's look of surprise. "You didn't have to fight for me, Mac. I was yours for the asking! All you needed to do was let me know you wanted me. I thought I'd made my desires pretty obvious this trip. Granted, I didn't strip down and throw myself in your bed, but I wanted to make sure this was what you wanted, too." Methos paused before continuing, seeing confusion cloud Mac's face yet again. "You've been holding me off ever since I got into town. I'd just about decided you weren't interested. When Jeremy came along, I...I guess I wanted to teach you a lesson."

Mac swallowed heavily. "Was it good? And don't lie to me, even if it's what you think I want to hear." He looked like the words were being involuntarily torn from him.

Methos took a deep breath and looked directly at him. "I enjoyed it. But it wasn't you. It was empty, because it wasn't you." He let that sink in. "Do you want me, Mac? I mean, I'm not your usual tumble."

Mac looked surprised. "Is that all you think you'd be? A tumble? Hell, if all I wanted was your body, I don't think we'd be having this much trouble." When Mac continued, his voice was diffident. "You said once you weren't interested in a commitment with another Immortal."

Methos found it hard to swallow. "I believe we were talking about marriage at the time. Are you asking me to marry you, Mac?" His tone was amused, but strained, his vulnerability still evident.

"Maybe. Something like. I like having you around." He walked over to where Methos was standing and caught him by the shoulders, looking into his eyes. "I want you, Methos. All of you. I want to know that you're not going to take a notion to disappear on me again, that I can depend on you to be there when I need you. Like you have been. I want to know that you want to be with me more than you want to hide yourself away. That you want to much as I need you to."

Methos felt breathless looking into Mac's eyes. "You don't want much, do you?"

"Just everything." Mac smiled, and Methos felt weak. "Be my Valentine, Methos?"

Methos' answer was to catch Mac's head in hands and claim that beautiful smile for his own, trying to convey how he felt without the inconvenient intrusion of words that never seemed to come out right. He felt some of the tension ease out of his body as Mac's hands settled on his hips to draw Methos tightly against him.

Methos caught at the tab of the coat zipper, pulling it down to bare Mac's chest, wanting to finally feel that heated skin against his own. His arms slid around inside the jacket to pull Mac close. He leaned back to look into Mac's eyes, to see if there were any doubts left.

"I'm sorry, Mac. I just lost patience...and I got a little scared." He hadn't meant to admit that, but the troubled look on Mac's face had drawn it out of him.

"Why scared?" Methos' reluctance obviously intrigued Mac.

Methos found himself looking anywhere but at Mac's face. "Oh, I don't know. Something about the thought of being in love with another Immortal scares the shit out of me for some reason. Can't see why." His tone was forcibly casual.

Mac stared at him silently until Methos' gaze met his own. "Is your usual response to falling in love going off and screwing someone you don't know?" The words themselves were harsh, but the tone was indulgent.

"Ummm, no. I don't think so. I'd have to sit and think about it for awhile, though." He chewed on his upper lip for a moment. "Pretty stupid reaction, hmm?"

"Very. You're just lucky I'm so understanding." His eyes dared Methos to say a word and let him get away with a small smile. "So, are you saying you love me?"

The smile faded. "Depends. Got anything to trade?" The uncertainty in Methos' voice was faint, but discernible.

In answer, Mac's mouth descended excruciatingly slowly, so slowly Methos thought his heart would stop. Mac lightly caressed Methos' lips with his own, and just that tantalizing movement was enough to bring the banked fire to full burn. "Lots of things. What do you want first?" Mac stepped back and shrugged out of the jacket before stripping out of the rest of his clothes.

"You. All of you."

"Glutton." Mac's hands went once more to the fastenings of Methos' jeans, slowly tugging each button loose while keeping his eyes locked with Methos'. Opening the last one, he slowly dropped to his knees, resuming his earlier, interrupted position, holding Methos' gaze the whole time.

Briefly, Methos was reminded of his earlier vision of Mac at his feet, and again his heart threatened to stop beating. The reality was so much better than he could have imagined. Mac was as unselfconscious in his beauty as Jeremy had been, but the emotion Methos saw in Mac's eyes was much more exciting than Jeremy's physical desire had been.

Mac's gaze finally dropped as he tugged the jeans down the long, lean legs, cupping his hands around each of Methos' calves in turn as Methos stepped out of them. Then Methos' hands moved to tangle in Mac's hair, and he closed his eyes as he once more felt that hot mouth on his aching flesh.

All hesitation and teasing ended as Mac made his own hunger known. Methos' trembling became full-fledged shudders as he felt the heat and moistness of that hunger, fire sizzling through him. His hands stroked through the thick curls, meaningless words and incoherent sounds issuing from his lips.

Mac cupped his hands around Methos' buttocks, kneading and stroking the flesh, his fingers dipping along the deep crevice to tease and stretch. His own moans and sucking noises added to the erotic symphony of Methos' vocal needs.

Methos tightened his fingers in Mac's hair, trying to step back as he came too close, too fast. He laughed breathlessly as a noise close to a growl emerged from the dark head buried between his thighs. "Wait! Mac, please...ah, God!" He surrendered to his ravenous lover as an errant finger found and penetrated him deeply, causing him to thrust forward into that glorious, welcoming mouth. The flames searing through him merged into an incinerating fire. He could almost see the fire behind his closed eyelids, and only Mac's strength kept him from collapsing completely as he thrust helplessly and came, pouring himself into his lover.

Mac rose swiftly, holding Methos to him and devouring his mouth avidly. Methos could taste himself on Mac's lips and tongue and moaned helplessly, seizing Mac's head in his hands and matching him strength for strength. When breathing became a necessity, the men leaned together, drenched and trembling, giving each other support.

Methos rested his forehead against Mac's shoulder, unable to resist the occasional taste of his skin. "You know," he panted, "I have a perfectly good bed, right over there."

Wordlessly, Mac pulled Methos over and stretched out beside him on the bed. Tucking his legs tightly against the other man's, Mac looked deeply into Methos' eyes as he brushed back the sweat-drenched hair. He started sliding his hard, aroused flesh against Methos' abdomen, reminding them both that they had some unfinished business.

Methos willingly agreed, reaching down to stroke and caress, causing Mac to close his eyes and breathe deeply. When he opened them again to watch his lover, Methos savored the passion and emotion he saw in Mac's gaze.

Mac looked suspiciously at the dreamy smile on Methos' face. "What?"

"It's so nice without that vile plastic keeping you from feeling this wonderful flesh on flesh...." He gathered his own hardening cock in his hand as well, stroking the two together, pleasure coming as a hiss between his teeth.

Mac looked confused, then dawning comprehension brought some of his earlier anger back.

"Temper, temper, Mac." Methos hooked his free arm and a leg around Mac to pull him in tight, leaning in to press his mouth to the other man's ear, keeping up a gentle stimulation on their engorged flesh. Whispering softly, he said, "In the last six weeks I've jacked off more than I can remember for...a very long time. Being with Jeremy was a lot like that-like being by myself. Oh, it felt good, but it was lonely."

He paused to nibble and lick on Mac's ear, teasing the rim with the tip of his tongue, pulling back for a brief but thorough kiss before continuing in a low, intimate voice. "There I was, deep inside him, feeling him tight and hot around me, so close to coming I could taste it...and suddenly all I could think of was you. All the feelings of the last few weeks came pouring through me. The need, the longing, the frustration, the anger...the love. I thought I was going to pass out, I felt so much." Mac was strongly affected by what he was saying, his breathing shortening, his hips thrusting. Methos kissed Mac's ear again, catching the lobe in his teeth.

"And then, it felt like nothing, because it wasn't you. You weren't there, and it made the whole thing meaningless." He pulled back and looked deeply into Mac's eyes, seeing both pain and arousal there. "I love you, Mac." He moved to kiss him gently, but Mac pushed it, making the kiss hungrier and more desperate.

After many breathless moments, they pulled apart, and this time, Mac was the one to catch Methos' eyes as he stilled the hand on their flesh. "I want to feel you inside me, Methos. I want to know what you feel when it is me." He laid back on the bed, keeping his eyes locked with Methos' as he spread his legs and pulled the other man between them.

Methos felt himself racked by faint shudders as their bodies shifted and adjusted, eyes never leaving each other's gazes. When he tried to dip his head to lap at the sweat on Mac's body, Mac held his head and wouldn't let him look away. Too much intimacy, too close, too much, his mind screamed at him, but he couldn't have looked away if his life had depended on it. He felt their hearts beating together, pounding until he couldn't hear anything but their breath and their hearts. His nose was full of the scent of his lover, intoxicating and arousing, his mouth saturated with the taste of Mac's tongue, the flavor of his body. As Mac's hand guided him, he felt surrounded by him, and almost before he realized it, their bodies fused into one.

His eyes flickered slightly with the overwhelming sensation of his hard cock surrounded by Mac's tight, hot flesh, but Mac's eyes wouldn't allow them to close. He moaned as Mac caught that luscious, full lower lip in his own teeth, holding back his own reaction to the glorious, painful penetration. Mac's legs shifted around him, hips thrusting lightly. Methos caught his breath and began to move, unable to do anything else. "Let me hear you, Duncan." The spoken word seemed to break part of the spell, and Mac's eyes rolled back in his head as his lip was released to let the beautiful, sensual sounds of his passion come pouring out.

Freed from the terrifying intimacy of that locked gaze, Methos turned to the equally deep intimacy of the scents and flavors of his lover's flesh as he moved deeply and strongly within him. As his passion grew, the power of his movements increased, and his teeth and tongue nipped and sucked at the salty flesh of Mac's throat and shoulders. He could feel Mac's hands stroking over him, hear the incredibly arousing sounds and vocal encouragement of his voice. He was caught in a sensual maelstrom that swept him up entire, so that he couldn't tell where his flesh ended and Mac's began, nor which sounds were coming from which throat. His hand closed around the hard flesh trapped between them, stroking in an increasing rhythm to match the internal strokes of his own cock inside this beautiful, hard body. He could almost believe that he could feel those strokes against the back of his hand as he moved it up and down, almost feel the penetration of Mac's body as if it were his own, his passion unleashed as he felt the body beneath him lose control.

Just when it seemed as if it could not go on, he felt Mac tightening around him. That simple indication was enough to trigger the beginning of his own completion, his body stilling momentarily, a brief quiescence followed by the unbelievable sensation of Mac's finger penetrating him again, caressing him inside and sending him up in flames. He felt the hot warmth against his hand and stomach as Mac came, a few short, hard thrusts before he himself did, arching his back to press as tightly and deeply into his lover as he could, fireworks flaring behind his eyes.

Slowly, he came to himself, gasping as Mac removed the wandering finger. "Ohhhhhh." He looked down to see a self-satisfied yet slightly stunned look on Mac's face. He dropped his mouth down to capture the look, leisurely and thoroughly exploring while massaging his hands up and down Mac's stretched and taut thighs, relaxing them gently.

Mac lowered his legs slowly, and Methos shifted to separate them, both men moaning slightly at the sensation. Methos' hand rose to curl around Mac's throat, his eyes unfocused as he rested his head on Mac's shoulder, tangling his legs with the other man's, Mac's arms coming around him to hold him close.

They lay there silently for some time, each idly stroking and caressing the other, giving themselves time to settle. Finally, Mac tilted his head to look at Methos, who looked back questioningly.

"Well?" Mac's voice was gentle and teasing.

Methos didn't even pretend that he didn't understand. "There is no comparison, Mac. Being with you is so far from being alone...I don't even have words." He stroked his thumb over Mac's mouth. "Besides, it never would have gone anywhere. I'm too obsessed with your mouth." He punctuated the taunt by trapping Mac's lower lip in his teeth and tugging gently, then soothed it with a flick of his tongue, pulling back to let Mac see the deviltry in his eyes.

Mac snorted, but he seemed uninterested in pursuing either remark.

"We'll have to order out," Methos said as he shifted to the side so he could languidly slide his fingers through the hair on Mac's chest, twirling it into idle patterns.

"You were going to have Jeremy for dinner!" Mac was indignant, pulling his hands away to tuck them under his head, showing Methos that in spite of what had just passed between them, he remained uncertain.

Methos was torn between sighing at the offended tone and snickering at the unintended innuendo. He stroked his hand firmly against the muscled expanse and circled his thumb around the nub of one nipple. "And instead, I had you. And much more satisfying it was." He did snicker when he saw the blush rise on Mac's cheekbones. "And I don't want anyone else, Mac. You said it yourself, no more. No more teasing, no more games. Let's just forget about what an idiot I was last night, okay?" He looked into Mac's eyes and had a wicked thought. "Instead, let's talk about what an idiot you've been for the last four weeks, hmmm?"

"Me!" Mac was too content to be truly outraged, but he gave a good imitation.

"Yes, you, Mac. You're the one who's been keeping your distance. That's what pushed me into something with no expectations, no strings, nothing but pure self-indulgence."

Mac stroked his hands up and down Methos' back, looking uneasy. "Are you saying there are expectations and strings with us?"

Methos looked both uncomfortable and amused. "Mac, you've got me tied to you with so many strings that if you jump in the lake, you'll pull me in with you. No, don't deny it. I'm not saying you put them there, or that I put them there. They're just there. They'd be there even if you hadn't practically asked me to marry you. And I think they work both ways. We've been resisting them long enough, don't you think?" He rolled on top of the other man, sliding his body along Mac's as he did so. "What do you want from me, Mac? How serious are you?"

Mac arched up slightly at the feel of the other man's body, but kept his serious look, stilling Methos' movements with his hands. "I meant what I said earlier, Methos. I want all of you. I...I'm sorry if I've been playing with you. Every time we came close to actually saying anything, I...I pulled back, and I know it. I was enjoying the game, the teasing, seeing how far I could push it. But I don't think I realized how important it was until last night. I didn't realize that I could lose you." His hands drifted up to knead Methos' shoulders, his lower lip caught in his teeth again until Methos took it away from him, into his own.

Several moments later, Methos pulled back and looked at him again, catching the brown eyes with his own. "And how important is it, Mac?"

As if preparing himself, Mac slipped his hands away from Methos' body and slid them back under his head, thinking carefully before speaking. "I spent all night thinking about that. I can't go back, Methos. After being this close, I don't think I can go back to being good friends and nothing else. And I didn't want to rush things, for fear of ending up with nothing of you at all. You've worked your way under my skin so far that I don't really remember what it's like to be without you. And that scares me, just as much as it scares you. It scares me that you may wake up some morning, wonder what on earth you were thinking, and disappear again." Mac's voice, and his eyes, dropped. "And it terrifies me that you're so protective of yourself, and yet I can hurt you so easily and so thoughtlessly. I'm afraid you'll use that as an excuse to not let me in."

Methos went so still and quiet that Mac looked up to see his face. Methos knew that what he saw was...nothing. Absolute, careful blankness. Exactly what Mac was afraid of, he knew.

"Methos? What is it?" There was a hint of nervousness in Mac's voice.

When Methos spoke, it was obvious that he was choosing his words carefully. "I think that what you just said tells me that you're a lot more 'in' me than I realized. You seem to understand me pretty well." The blankness gave way to a subtle vulnerability. "Do you love me, Mac?"

Mac looked startled, as if only then realizing that he'd not spoken the words. His face showed the struggle it was to voice them, words that were too intense, too revealing. The hesitation was replaced by resolve and an awareness that he knew that this was important. "Yes. Very much, more than I can express."

Methos dipped his head to begin placing small kisses along Mac's shoulders and throat, speaking in between bites. "Well, how about we take it a bit at a time. I promise not to sneak away unexpectedly...and you promise not to keep me at arm's length. I won't go seducing unwary mortals when I get petulant, if you promise to try and trust me."

"Mmmmmm. Well, when you put it that way..." Mac's hands came out from under his head to cup Methos' ass and settle him more firmly against him. "Do you mind? About the strings, that is." He began moving his hips, rubbing his hardening cock against the other man.

"You insatiable satyr," Methos teased, before turning serious. "Do I mind? Yes..." Methos put a finger against Mac's lips as Mac started to speak, "...and no. Yes, because it makes life so much more complicated. No, because..." He moaned slightly as Mac's wandering fingers pulled Methos' thighs apart so that he was straddling Mac's hips. "Aaaah. Well, that's as good a reason as any."

"No, because the sex is great?" Mac slid his cock against Methos' ass.

"No, because of much more than that, Duncan. Being here with you, feeling you like this," he rubbed himself against Mac's arousal, "is so much more than just sex. As sickeningly sentimental as it sounds, a single kiss from you is more erotically satisfying than anything Jeremy and I did."

Mac shifted Methos up slightly, sliding a hand between them to guide his now rigid cock between Methos' buttocks. "Tell me more."

Methos' head dropped slightly as he felt Mac's fingers exploring. He arched backwards as he was impaled, his hands tightening on Mac's chest. When he caught his breath, he opened his eyes to look down at his lover, settling his hips more firmly and causing Mac to thrust upward. He focused on Mac's mouth, tracing the lips with a fingertip. His voice was pleasurably strained as he spoke. "You have the most incredible mouth...." He dropped forward to capture Mac's mouth with his own, pressing back into Mac's groin at the same time.

Mac groaned, wrapped one arm around Methos' neck and the other around his hips, and rolled. "You're changing the subject."

"We had a subject? Are you sure?" His voice breathless, Methos lifted his legs higher and pulled Mac's head back down.

Mac abandoned pursuit of the conversation as he abandoned himself to the pursuit of their mutual pleasure. Hooking his arms under Methos' knees, he began thrusting in long, smooth strokes, exploring Methos' mouth.

Methos encouraged him vocally, rapidly losing coherency, but gaining in volume. Methos' cock was trapped tightly between them, the friction of Mac's belly moving against it both pleasurable and painful, the sweat from their bodies easing the movement.

As he came, Mac sank his teeth into Methos' shoulder, shuddering with the force of his climax. Methos continued straining against him, and Mac slid a hand between them to grasp and stroke Methos until he felt the fluid pulsing against his abdomen. Leaving his hand in place, stroking the backs of his fingers against Methos' belly, he dropped his head to kiss the fading wound on the other man's skin.

"So." Methos was still breathless. "What was it we were talking about?"

Mac continued kissing along Methos' neck and shoulder. "You were being outrageously sappy."

"Ah, yes." He turned his head to catch Mac's mouth with his own, sliding his hands into the long hair falling around them. "Don't get used to it, I don't do it too often. Only on Valentine's Day."


The End