It's Probably Me 2:
Methos
by JiM

 


Disclaimer:  Rysher, P/D and Gaumont all own these characters, I do not. Sting owns the lyrics to "It's Probably Me". All are used without permission but with great respect  and no intention of copyright violation. This work is intended only for the enjoyment of HL fans and is not-for-profit -- like so much of my life.

Rating: NC-17 -- M/M relationship and much stickiness.

Author’s Note:  This is the sequel to a genfic piece called "It's Probably Me", which can be found on HLFIC or at: www.geocities.com/Paris/Metro/4859/JiM.html (thanks Mona!) Please do not archive this without permission from the author.

Thanks: Thanks go to Juanita the Awesome Beta Reader Chick, Anne, Rae and Tiffany, who all gave encouragement and excellent ideas, most of which I ignored through pure pigheadedness. Any grammatical mistakes or clumsy language or characterization is all my fault -- they are pure and blameless as driven snow. :-)

Feedback: All constructive criticism will be welcomed at JiMPage363@AOL.Com.


The slender, dark-haired man shifted from foot to foot in the narrow airplane aisle; a line of sleep-drunk business-class zombies blocked his way. He hated taking the red-eye flight, but Joe had been very pointed on the phone.

“Adam, get over here as soon as possible. We have a little problem.”

“What has MacLeod gotten himself into this time?”  He ignored the tightening in his gut, kept his long pale fingers dancing through the card file he’d brought to his desk.

“Not MacLeod, Adam. You. You caused this mess, you get to clean it up.” The Watcher’s voice was heavy with implication. “Maybe you can talk some sense into MacLeod.”

“What the hell are you talking about?” The one or two scholars using the library that afternoon shot glances of irritation at the researcher’s unmodulated tone. Pierson lowered his voice and turned toward the wall.

“Just get here.”

Then, nothing but the mocking whine of a disconnected transatlantic line.


If the night turned cold and the stars looked down,
And you hug yourself on the cold, cold ground,
You wake the morning in a stranger's coat,
No one would you see.
You ask yourself, who'd watch for me?
My only friend, who could it be?
It's hard to say it,
I hate to say it,
But it's probably me.

Shivering in the dawning drizzle, hand on the door of a taxi, Adam debated with himself as to where to go first. Joe’s house? The Watcher would probably have only gotten to sleep a couple of hours ago, after closing down the bar. An evil grin stole across Adam’s face before he regretfully dismissed the notion.  He was still annoyed at Joe’s gruff summons, but not enough to wake the Watcher up and actually deal with his temper. Besides, there were few things the Immortal held sacred, but sleep was at the top of the list. Especially when he himself was short on it, as he was now.

He sighed and got into the taxi. Who was he kidding? There was really only one place he wanted to go. He gave the driver the address of the dojo and settled back to watch the streets of the rain-soaked city awaken.

MacLeod wasn’t home; Adam could tell that even as the lift whined its way upwards. There was no buzzing sense of Immortal presence when he slid the grate upwards, but there was the aroma of coffee. Good coffee. He dropped his bag beside the lift and slung his wet overcoat onto a kitchen stool, ignoring the muffled clatter his sword made when it hit the counter. Bless MacLeod, he had left the coffee maker on. A moment later, Adam had his cold hands wrapped around a mug of hot coffee and he was drawing the curling vapors deeply into his lungs. Ah. The loft was filled with mouse-grey light, making all of its furnishings appear fuzzy and welcoming. Pierson felt some nameless tension slowly uncoiling within him, leaving him limp with exhaustion. He dropped onto the leather couch and stretched his long legs out, kicking off his damp boots. Here, in the very midst of the Highlander’s life, he felt absurdly safe.

The Immortal took a deep gulp of coffee, welcoming the burning sensation down his throat. He should go and get his sword and put it somewhere close to hand, he reminded himself.

The scent of the leather he lay upon was twined with the fragrance that he always associated with MacLeod -- a dark, smoky essence that had sunk deep into the older man’s consciousness. Adam closed his eyes to savor their return to his nostrils and was instantly asleep.

When MacLeod returned from his morning run, he came to the back door. The sensation of another Immortal hit him as he turned the key and he swore, knowing that his sword was in its sheath, inside. He opened the door as quietly as possible and slid inside. When no blade whistled through the air to greet him, he closed the door, calling softly, “Amanda? Cassandra?” No answer. A few steps into the loft and he saw the flight bag, then noticed the wet overcoat. Ah, Methos. He spotted the long figure, clean limbs elegantly sprawled across his couch. MacLeod crossed the room, intending to shake him awake and demand to know why his loft was always the chosen Bed and Breakfast for visiting Immortals.  

The pure, sculpted lines of Methos’ features stopped him. The man was so deeply asleep that his chest barely stirred with breath and he had not even sensed MacLeod. Nothing flickered behind the closed eyelids; his slumber might have been the dreamless sleep of death.

A desperate tenderness rose in MacLeod. He quietly unfolded a blanket and spread it gently over his guest. Unguarded in sleep, Methos’ face was that of a much older man; Duncan wondered how it was that Adam Pierson’s bed-partners never noticed that the genial, youthful grad student facade dissolved when the lights went out. The Highlander’s fingers brushed the older Immortal’s shoulder. “Sweet dreams, old man,” he whispered. Then he turned and left to shower downstairs in the dojo.

When Methos awoke, it was early afternoon. He sat up and rubbed his face, then stretched like a cat shrugging its fur into place. There was a note from MacLeod under his now-cold cup of coffee. //Meet me at Joe’s when you wake up. M. // Oh good -- an excuse to have his own personal Breakfast of Champions -- beer and bread -- and MacLeod’s company. The day was finally looking up.

When your belly's empty and the hunger's so real,
And you're too proud to beg and too dumb to steal,
You search the city for your only friend,
No one would you see.
You ask yourself, who could it be?
A solitary voice to speak out and set you free.
I hate to say it,
I hate to say it,
But it's probably me
.

Joe’s was nearly empty that afternoon. MacLeod sat at the bar, sipping his beer and listening to Joe and Morgan argue. He found it restful, in a way, to watch someone else have problems for a while.

Joe was currently at the point in the argument when the reasonable man begins to feel his temper slipping and looks for a distraction to keep himself from shouting and throwing glassware.  He focused on MacLeod just in time to see the Scot’s head snap up. The Watcher recognized that stance -- another Immortal. He hoped it was Methos.

MacLeod didn’t know what he was hoping for any more. Ever since Joe had told him to expect Methos in the next day or two, he had been on edge. Seeing the man this morning, in unguarded sleep, had raised a welter of emotions that Duncan was certain he wasn’t ready to deal with. Thoughts, desires that he’d never known he had, were shuffling their way to the fore, demanding attention...

When the older Immortal walked through the door, MacLeod felt both relief and a curious tightening in his gut. It left him unable to do more than nod at the the youngish-looking man who slid onto a barstool next to him. Dawson also nodded to Adam, his eyes warm and welcoming, then picked up a glass and held it to the tap.

“Have I ever lied to you, Joe?” Morgan demanded, continuing the argument, from a seat on MacLeod’s other side.

Joe pursed his lips, considering. “You’ve beaten me up, hacked my computer files, picked my pockets and molested me in dark places. But no, you’ve never lied to me. That I could prove.”

Methos raised an inquiring eyebrow.

“They had a busy week,” MacLeod explained.

Morgan made a ‘humph’ noise and drained the beer in her glass.

“What’s the problem?” Methos asked, after taking the first blessed swallow of the draft Joe set in front of him. “There isn’t one,” Morgan said flatly.

“There’s nearly two million dollars in an account registered to my name.” Joe managed to sound mortally offended by the fact.

“So you’re a millionaire. Very nice. And the problem here is ... what?” Methos asked.

Morgan turned to him with a big smile, recognizing a fellow opportunist. “Exactly my point. Morgan Trainor,” she introduced herself.

“Adam Pierson,” he gave her his most charming smile and was disconcerted when she only winked and said, “I believe these gentlemen have been waiting for you, Mr. Pierson.” Uh oh. She slid off her stool and grabbed her jacket.

“This isn’t over, Morgan,” Joe growled.

“I know, Joe. Let’s fight about it tonight.” She looked directly into Joe’s eyes and something wordless and very graphic passed between them. Methos’ interest was piqued when Joe caught his breath, then let it out in a slow silent whistle as he watched her leave the bar, leather jacket slung over one shoulder.

Joe looked helplessly at MacLeod who merely grinned and kept his nose buried in his glass.

“And Morgan is…?” Methos prompted.

“Joe’s current home handicraft project,” MacLeod offered in a bland tone.

“Mac,” Joe growled.

“They met while she was handcuffed to my desk-chair.”

“MacLeod!” the Watcher snarled.

“That was after she stabbed Richie.”

Methos nodded sagely and sipped his beer, trying hard not to smile.

“She’s really very nice, once you get to know her,” Joe finally said, in a wounded tone.

The two Immortals burst out laughing, dragging a wry grin from the Watcher.

“Did you eat yet?” Dawson asked Methos. When the Immortal shook his head, Joe raised one finger, then left for the kitchen.

“How are you?” MacLeod asked softly, surprised at how much the answer mattered to him. Methos shrugged. “As usual, I guess. I’ve been translating one of the older Methos Chronicles, written by a Watcher named Niceaus.” A faint savor of outrage crept into the Immortal’s tone. “You wouldn’t believe the lies that man wrote! I distinctly remember that period and I certainly didn’t have half as much fun as he seemed to think.” He drained his glass and reached over the bar to refill it.

“What have you been up to?” he asked MacLeod with studied casualness, just as Joe returned.

Handing him a plate of toast spread with butter and honey, the Watcher said, “I think we’d better step into my office before Mac answers that.”


“Don made another copy?! You’re joking!”

“I wish we were, Methos. Here,” Joe tossed the iridescent disk into the old man’s lap. “By a majority vote, it is now officially ‘Your Problem’.”

“I see,” Methos said acidly. “And when did this become a democratic issue?”

“Right about the time MacLeod and I realized that we had just spent a week and a half in hell chasing down your damned database. Again.”

“Don’t I get a vote?”

“No,” the other men said in determined chorus.

Methos sighed and picked up the disk. It looked innocuous enough, gleaming golden rainbows skittering across its surface, as he remembered how excited Don had been about the project. An interactive Watcher database -- all the information one could ever need at one’s fingertips. No more time-consuming trips to the Archives, ‘more like Chronicle Dumps’ Don had snorted. ‘Bring the Watchers into the 21st century’, he’d cajoled. ‘Think of how future generations would bless their names’, he’d coaxed.

Methos had seen the danger of such a thing immediately. At least the Archives were restricted access; only Watcher personnel with permission could obtain records and Chronicles. What Don was proposing represented a technological Pandora’s Box; anyone who could punch a keyboard could access the painstaking labor of centuries in mere seconds. And it was so damned portable -- what was there to prevent an unscrupulous Watcher from doing just as Christine Salzer had done --  tucking one disk in a pocket or purse, suddenly able to expose the Watchers and Immortals to the scrutiny and paranoia of the world?

“Something I’ve wanted to ask from the beginning, Methos.” Joe called his attention back. “Why did you create the thing in the first place? It was against every rule in the book. And it ran contrary to Methos’ First Law, as near as I can tell.”

“Which is...?” Methos’ cool voice was not inviting, but Joe continued blithely on.

“Self-preservation Through Anonymity.”

“I thought it was ‘Don’t Get Caught’,” MacLeod offered. Methos shot a look down his long nose at the Highlander, who chose to ignore it.

“Either way; why’d you make it in the first place?” The Watcher returned to the point.

“Because Don wanted it so much. He hated computers, but he could see the way the world was going.” The quiet sadness in the older Immortal’s tone startled his friends. After a moment, Methos continued. “He was dying; he knew it. He just wanted to leave something behind, something that would make a permanent mark in the organization he’d given his life to.” He sighed and ran his hands through his spiky hair. “I figured that I could spin the project out until he died, then trash it before anyone else was the wiser. I was wrong.”

“Well, I never thought I’d hear those words out of your mouth.” MacLeod was teasing the older man, and none too kindly. He was making up for the unsettling waves of emotion Methos had precipitated earlier.

“Shut up, MacLeod.” Methos’ voice was tired again.

“What are you going to do with it, Adam?” Joe asked quietly.

*Adam*, his Watcher name. Methos knew what Joe was telling him. Remember that you’re a Watcher; that’s Watcher business in your hand. Once, it had been clearer to him, but after his own unwitting participation in the Immortal Jakob Galati’s murder at the hands of the Watchers, it no longer seemed so simple.

“What do you want me to do with it, Joe?” Although he really didn’t need to ask.

“Bring it back to HQ. Let them decide what to do with it.”

“MacLeod?”

“Burn it,” was the Highlander’s equally certain response.

Great. His friends were diametrically opposed -- -again, Methos thought. “You brought me over from Paris for this?” He took refuge in peevishness.

“Oh yes, my friend. This time, you’re going to take responsibility for what you’ve done. Clean up this Watcher mess, Adam, so I don’t have to, ever again.” MacLeod’s eyes were dark and flat as iron; no more teasing, no more warmth in them. He stalked out of the room.

Methos was left staring after him. “What brought that on?”

Dawson sighed. “Let me fill you in on the last couple of weeks around here...”

You're not the easiest person I ever got to know,
And it's hard for us both to let our feelings show...

MacLeod couldn’t have said exactly why he was suddenly so angry at Methos. It was a cold, subterranean fury that had suddenly welled up in him; he felt powerless against it. And he hated feeling powerless.

Everything about the older Immortal was a direct challenge to all the Highlander believed. Methos was a man who boasted that he followed no code but his own, that he had been ‘born well before the days of Chivalry’. Yet he had saved MacLeod again and again; offering him his own head and Quickening, risking his own head to drag MacLeod to the healing Spring. Methos had ridden the crest of a thousand years of terror but had killed his own brother after one wordless look from the Highlander. He was a man who wove plots so intricate that MacLeod still hadn’t worked out all of the implications of Methos’ simplest actions. But he had helped Don Salzer create that destructive database solely because the frail old man had wanted it so badly. Where was the true pattern to this maddeningly complex man? What was there for MacLeod to hold to, for him to say “Yes -- this man is my friend,”? Instead, all he found were more secrets, more layers, more sorrows. MacLeod was afraid of drowning in Methos’ murky depths. He was more afraid of how much he wanted to.

A glass of beer thunked onto the table in front of him and startled Methos from his reverie. Morgan pulled a rag from her back pocket and swiped at the beer which was now foaming over the top of the glass and pooling on the table. “This is why the exciting career of a barmaid is closed to me forever -- Joe says I have no respect for good beer.”

“I’d say he’s probably right,” Methos sniffed. “He’s a good judge of character.”

“Yeah, but he lets us hang around anyway.”

She dropped into a chair next to him, carefully placing a bottle of Zima on the table in front of her. Methos shuddered, remembering his one and only taste of the innocuously clear stuff.

“Does he know you drink that?”

“It’s one of many things about me that disappoint him,” she smiled serenely and took a long swig.

“Does he know you put the $2 million in his account?”

“Of course he does; he’s not stupid,” Methos was amused at her offended tone. “But he can’t prove it. He’s a very just man -- no convictions without solid evidence.”

Methos nodded sadly. “I’ve always liked that about him.”

“Unlike your friend, MacLeod.” Methos’s gaze flicked up to meet hers. There was no humor in her eyes now, only a gentle interest, colored with sympathy.

“I take it you’ve been doing some background research before joining the Watchers.”

“Joe’s files are interesting and he sleeps very heavily. Comparing his official reports with his private journals is even more enlightening.” She took a reflective sip, watching him over the rim of the bottle.

“Indeed?” Methos said softly, menace uncoiling from beneath the innocuous words.

“He would never give you away, Methos.”

“I know. But you are another story entirely.”

“More a footnote, I assure you.” Her voice was cool and amused. “I have no interest in exposing you to anyone, Watcher or Immortal, I promise you.”

“And why should I believe you? You’ve already proven that your acquaintance with the truth is somewhat... ephemeral.”

“Because to expose you would hurt Joe. And MacLeod. I owe them both too much to want to do that.”

“To be the one to find the legendary Methos would let you pick whatever assignment you wanted in the Watchers,” he suggested, testing.

She grinned, a touch of smugness creeping into her expression. “I think I can already do that. I’m the one who’s about to crack the “bullet-proof” security system on their databases. I expect to be very busy building them a new security system. Methos can stay lost, for all the effect it will have on my career in the Watchers.”

Methos sipped from his glass, then drew aimless patterns with a finger in the spilled beer. He had briefly considered killing her, but it had been a passing thought only. He would never hurt Joe that way, not after the trust and friendship the mortal had given him freely, again and again.

And, he confessed to himself, he was beginning to like the woman. She was a bit unsophisticated, but he appreciated her head-on approach. Morgan’s unencumbered vitality might be exactly what Joe needed; there was no way the Watcher would be allowed to hide himself from the world, retreating into his work or his music, while this one was around.

“You understand, of course, that if I am ever exposed, you won’t draw breath for more than three days afterward,” he said conversationally.

“I figured. It wouldn’t be a normal week around you guys if someone wasn’t threatening to kill me,” she sighed.

“Why let on that you know who I am at all?”

“Because I want to help. And I didn’t think you’d take me seriously if you thought I bought the ‘Adam Pierson, Harmless Grad Student’ act.”

“True. But how can you help?”

“I can offer some totally unasked-for advice.”

“Which is?”

“Destroy the disk,” she said flatly.

“I can’t just throw away Don’s dream like that!” He surprised himself with the vehemence that rose in him.

“Yes, you can, Methos. Don is dead -- it can’t hurt him anymore.”

“Don died protecting me.” The Immortal’s voice was suddenly rough.

“How many people have died for Don’s dream? How many more people have to die for that disk, Methos?”

He dropped his head in his hands, rubbed his eyes and didn’t answer. ‘Still tired’, he noted. ‘I must be getting old.’ Then running his hands through his short hair and picking his head up, he said, “I’m sorry about your father.”

She nodded, eyes dark with emotion. “But that won’t bring him back. Nor Don.” She shifted back in her seat and, picking up her bottle, drained the last of the sweet malt liquor. He sensed that she had made her point, said all she wanted to on the subject and was content to let it drop. They sat in companionable silence for a time.

Then he saw her eyes narrow and a feral light kindle behind them. Morgan’s glance had slid past Methos’ head, to rest on Joe, standing behind the bar. The Watcher was serving a drink to a woman. An attractive blonde woman, perhaps in her early forties. A woman who was laughing at the bartender’s joke and touching his hand in invitation as he cupped a match to her cigarette.

Methos turned to look also and sized the situation up in a moment. “It’s part of his stock in trade to flirt a little with the customers, Morgan. It doesn’t mean anything.”

“I know that, “ she said with a sharp flash of teeth. “But there’s no harm in reminding him of that.” She got up and Methos watched as she crossed the room with unhurried determination. Morgan made her way behind the bar, took Joe’s attention away from the blonde with a touch on the arm, then drew him into the shadows by the kitchen door.

Methos admired her approach. She didn’t glue herself to Joe, but pulled him gently toward her with a hand on his cheek. Their kiss was tender at first, sweet, but gradually turned darker and more passionate. Joe’s hand crept into her hair, holding her head exactly where he wanted it. His other hand glided to the small of her back and pulled her tightly against his body.

After a time, during which Methos watched the blonde move to the other end of the bar, the two stepped apart. He saw Joe touch his fist to Morgan’s chin, and smile.

It was that smile that nearly undid Methos. He recognized that expression; that half-hungry, terribly open, dazed look on the Watcher’s face sent a twist through his gut. That was the look of a man in love. The expression which Methos instinctively guarded against on his own face whenever he looked at the Highlander. Oh Gods.

Some would say I should let you go your way, You'll only make me cry.

‘It is definitely time to leave. Adam Pierson has an appointment back in Paris. Or Prague. Or anywhere that Duncan MacLeod is not.’ Methos’ instinct for self-preservation had kicked into high gear. He called the airline and made a reservation for himself on the last flight out that evening. ‘Red-eye, again,’ he sighed. ‘The Gods have it in for you, Old Man.’

Then he realized that he had left his bag at MacLeod’s.

His decision about the disk had already been made, even as MacLeod had stalked out of Joe’s office earlier that day, even before Morgan had added her two cents. He had known all along that he wasn’t debating, merely postponing, the final solution. Why not let MacLeod witness the last act in the comic- tragedy? He could give him that much, at least, in parting.

If there's one guy, just one guy,
Who'd lay down his life for you and die,
It's hard to say it,
I hate to say it,
But it's probably me.

MacLeod had been calming himself with aged brandy and Donne, and doing a good job of it, when the buzzing sensation of the oldest Immortal’s presence hit him.  The elevator rose and Methos’ figure came into view. Wordlessly, the dripping man slid the grate up and stepped into the loft.

MacLeod could only watch him as he slung his sopping overcoat over a stool, carefully laying his sword on the counter. Taking something from the coat’s pocket, Methos paced toward the Highlander. He met MacLeod’s questioning stare with a cool glance of his own.

“You told me to ‘clean up my own mess for once,’ MacLeod. I thought I’d give you the pleasure of watching.” He held the database CD in his long, elegant fingers. His eyes locked on MacLeod’s, Methos snapped the disk in half. The sound was startlingly loud in the silent room. Methos put the two halves together and snapped those in half. Then he let the glittering fragments clatter onto the coffee table before the speechless Scot.

One corner of the older Immortal’s mouth quirked, without humor. “Joe will probably never forgive me. But I’ve dealt with it -- once and for all. Goodbye.” He turned and went back and picked up his coat, wrinkling his nose in distaste at the sodden fabric.

“Methos. Wait. I’m sorry.” MacLeod’s voice was nearly drowned out by a crack of thunder. He felt suddenly desperate, as if they stood on opposite sides of a rapidly widening gulf.

“Fine.” Methos shrugged into his coat, not looking at the Scot.

“Please,” Duncan pleaded, groping for the words to try to mend this latest breach. “It’s just that I was so frustrated...”

“’Frustrated?’ You have no idea what frustration is, Highlander,” Methos’ voice sliced through the room. He picked up his bag and his sword and turned to go before he said anything more.

“Methos -- what do you mean?”

For one insane moment, the oldest Immortal was tempted to tell him exactly what he meant. But, no. ‘Someday, perhaps, MacLeod. When you’ve grown out of your judgmental phase. Perhaps.’ He yanked the grate up without a word.

Suddenly the big Scot was there, one strong arm blocking Methos’ way. “Please.” The brown eyes were troubled and they sought the old man’s shuttered gaze. “Tell me what you meant,” MacLeod urged softly. A fragile, irrational hope had begun to unfurl in MacLeod.

Pushed too far, made brittle by tenderness, Methos’ iron resolve snapped. He dropped his bag, leaned his sword against the wall and took Duncan’s face between his hands. “This,” he breathed, “is what I meant.”

He touched his lips to MacLeod’s, gently at first. When he encountered no resistance, he pressed harder, fingers slipping behind the younger man’s neck, pulling him closer. His tongue stole between MacLeod’s full lips, skimmed along his teeth, stroked the silk of his tongue, trying to tease a response from him. Nothing. There was nothing -- no warmth, no movement, no reaction.

With a sigh that was nearly a growl, Methos released MacLeod and was meanly pleased when the younger man stumbled back a step, dark eyes wide with shock, the back of one hand pressed to his mouth.

Things had become startlingly clear for the Highlander; the world had shattered and the pieces reassembled in an unexpected new pattern. Now he saw it for what it was. This was why he was so angry with Methos. His anger was not anger; now he could give it its name. This was what he had feared all along, this feeling of sinking into a warm, dark sea. Understanding brought relief, and behind it, came desire and hunger.

‘Can’t pretend it didn’t happen, MacLeod. You asked for it, you got it,’ the small, frustrated part of Methos’ heart snickered. He turned away, breathing unsteadily, finger stabbing at the elevator’s controls.

“Methos.” MacLeod’s hand on his shoulder spun him around and thrust him back against the wall of the elevator; the Scot punched the ‘Stop’ button. He stepped in close, looming over the shorter man, so close that he could feel Methos’ panting breath on his throat. MacLeod had the other man pinned under his hands; tension vibrated through the wiry shoulders, beneath the soaked cloth of his coat. “Where do you think you’re going?” he asked softly, a suggestion of steel in his voice.

“Let me go, MacLeod,” Methos’ voice was low and even. But he had had to turn his head to the side to avoid the hot, dark eyes that had already seduced him into doing something he could never deny, never explain away.

“Let you go -- where? You’re just going to slink off and hide again, aren’t you?” MacLeod accused.

“It’s worked well for me in the past, MacLeod.” He tried to shrug out of MacLeod’s grip. ‘Let me go, Duncan. Don’t torture me like this,’ he pleaded silently.

“Not this time, Methos.”

Then, with excruciating slowness, Duncan MacLeod bent his head and kissed him. Oh Gods. MacLeod’s mouth was a furnace, his tongue a flame that flicked out to set him alight. A muffled sound that was almost a whimper broke from the older man. His hands came up to cup the Highlander’s face, skimming his evening beard, shivering at the hot scrape across his palms. Methos’ hands glided down MacLeod’s neck, then on to his back, shaping the long, strong muscles. He pulled the younger man tightly against him, rejoicing in the hard heat of him, that dark, smoky scent wreathing around him.

MacLeod’s mouth pulled away; Methos wanted to protest, but before the words could form, the Scot was nuzzling his neck. He was nipping, tasting, lapping at him; Methos’ knees buckled when the rough edge of MacLeod’s jaw grazed his exposed throat. He clutched at the broad shoulders to keep from falling.

MacLeod slid his hands under Methos’ elbows, holding him upright. He took a small step back and examined the results of his gamble. He hadn’t been sure that the older Immortal had wanted him in the same way. Now, there was little doubt in his mind and his body sang with desire returned.

Methos slumped against the wall of the elevator, hanging loosely in the Highlander’s grasp. He was flushed, his eyes bright; he ran his tongue once over dry lips and had to take a deep breath when he met MacLeod’s hot gaze.

“Still want me to let go, Methos?” MacLeod asked, his smile melting into a wicked grin. The older man shook his head dazedly, a motion MacLeod mimicked, his grin widening.

“No. Oh no,” Methos whispered, then the hunger rose again and he pulled MacLeod’s body back hard against him.

It was too soon for laughter, or even for joy. Now there was only the acute solemnity of need. Their kisses became fierce, almost violent -- and neither man could have stopped them, had he even wanted to try. Biting, licking, breath harsh and warm against one another’s faces, they wrestled with one another and their long-frustrated yearning.

MacLeod tangled his hands in Methos’ short, wet hair. Methos’ cold hands found their way inside the Scot’s shirt, teasing the warm skin of his chest.

“Methos...”

“Hmm?” Methos was kissing and nipping his way down Duncan’s long golden throat and wasn’t in the mood for distractions.

“Bed,” MacLeod gasped.  

Methos immediately let him go; the Scot stumbled back a step. Then he followed his ancient lover across the rain-lit loft, sidestepping the wet clothes Methos had let fall in his wake. Overcoat. Boots. Sweater. Shirt. Belt. Tee shirt. MacLeod’s breath suddenly burned in his chest.

The oldest Immortal stood beside his bed, bare-chested. The storm-washed gloom made his skin appear paler than it was. Methos suddenly seemed to be ghost-like, mythic and unreal. MacLeod felt an irrational fear that the other man might dissolve at his touch. He stopped, scant inches away, transfixed by the shadowy depths in the other man’s eyes.

“If you want me, MacLeod, all you have to do is reach out ... and touch me.” MacLeod’s hand reached out to cup the side of Methos’ face. Methos suddenly had to close his eyes; the look of wonder on the younger man’s face was too pure to be borne.

Duncan ran his fingers over the Methos’ face, exploring its planes and curves. His index finger stroked along the dark brows, then down the sharp angle of the nose. His broad thumb stroked across Methos’ lips, once, twice. Then he stopped, unable to go on. The older man’s eyes flickered open in consternation, to see MacLeod silent, uncertain.

Methos considered him for a moment, a sardonic, defensive curve to his lips. Then he seemed to understand MacLeod’s hesitation and his expression softened. “I’m just a guy, MacLeod.”

He reached out and began to unbutton the Highlander’s shirt. His motions were unhurried, his expression now serene. When it hung open and loose, Methos slid MacLeod’s shirt off his shoulders and away, fingers barely skimming the heated skin beneath.

Tremors rippled across MacLeod’s chest; Methos liked them so well that he began to glide his fingertips up and down the broad chest. Down from the throat, lightly across the nipples -- ah, that gasp was soul-satisfying -- on down the strong muscles of his abdomen. Now curving around Duncan’s waist -- Methos had to step even closer and MacLeod felt his body heat reach out to caress him like a living thing -- and then those fingers ran quickly, teasingly, up his back, to slide down his arms.

MacLeod caught his lover’s hands just as they slid past his wrists; he laced his strong fingers in Methos’, trapping them. Flexing his arms backwards, he pulled the older man against him. Methos‘ breath hissed out, across Duncan’s hot skin, as their groins met. Heat and hardness, denim rasping against soft flesh, it was dizzying. MacLeod released his lover’s hands and gathered him even closer, awash in the sensations of the man against him. Drowning. He was drowning. Duncan dropped his head to Methos’ shoulder, breathing heavily. Now that all doubt was past, he was able to savor the waves of craving that flowed between them.

His tongue crept out and he began to kiss the angle of Methos’ shoulder -- long, wet, open kisses that led up toward the curve of his ear. When he began teething the older man’s earlobe, Duncan was rewarded with a soft moan that teased through him like a caravan of silk. Methos tasted like rain in the marketplaces of Samarkhand; a million spices, animal heat and dust, all dissolving into the rare sweetness of the deluge.

Duncan’s hands caressed Methos’ torso, voyaging across all of his undiscovered plateaus and plains. The low peaks of his nipples were fascinating and Duncan explored them, circling them again and again with his fingertips, until Methos’ moan curled into a growl of longing.

An unexpected, subtle twist and MacLeod was falling, falling backward onto the bed, Methos’ solid weight on top of him. Methos sat up, straddling his younger lover, pinning him to the bed.  When MacLeod opened his mouth to protest, he was stopped by the sight of that same ambiguous half-smile, the first expression he had ever seen on Methos’ face.

“Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod.”

The first words he had spoken then, too.  How different they sounded now, with the youthful body hard against him, his erection an achingly gratifying distraction.

“What do you want, Duncan?” The dark eyes glittered at him, like rain on night-panes.

The words, when they came, were a whisper. Methos had become very still to hear them.

“You. I want you.”

“Then -- here I am.”

Methos took Duncan’s hands in his own, then carefully raised them and placed MacLeod’s wondering palms flat against his own chest. Then he dropped his own hands to rest, open on his thighs, giving himself up to Duncan’s inquiring touch.

MacLeod slowly moved his hands upwards, skimming over the smooth wall of muscle. His strong fingers brushed up the sides of Methos’ long throat, tracing the arteries pulsing beneath the marble-smooth skin. The older man held very still, not wanting to disturb MacLeod’s exploration by so much as a breath.

MacLeod began investigating Methos’ angular jaw, inquisitive fingers barely grazing the skin. Each individual whisker he found there seemed to pierce him; his world shrank to the pinpoints of texture beneath his fingertips. The skin moving, curving beneath his fingers, drew him out of his reverie; Methos was smiling at him. It was not mocking, nor defensive, nor all-knowing, nor cynical, nor ambiguous, nor grim; this expression was free of all the complex shadings that were second-nature to the oldest Immortal. Without thought, MacLeod reached up, pulling Methos’ mouth down to his, to claim that expression for his own.

His large hands were wandering over the slender body on top of him, now caressing silken skin, now molding wiry muscles, pressing softer flesh closer. They curved over Methos’ ass, sliding down onto his hard thighs. For some reason, those resilient muscles fascinated him, his fingers drawing lingering patterns. At least until Methos broke away from his mouth, slid down his thighs and began kissing a quicksilver path down his throat, onto his chest.

The first touch of Methos’ tongue on his nipple was so slight that he barely felt it. It was the sensation of cool air blown across damp skin that caught Mac’s attention, causing him to shiver slightly. The next touch of that mouth, a hot, wet swirling sensation, caused him to jerk beneath his lover. Methos grinned, and placed one hand on the bed on either side of MacLeod’s chest; he had the larger man effectively pinned beneath him now. Looking up to savor his victory, he caught MacLeod’s dark gaze; hot, bemused, silently protesting the loss of that incredible touch. Keeping his eyes on MacLeod’s, Methos bent his head and delicately lapped at the opposite nipple. The Highlander’s eyes half-closed and his breath sighed out of him. One hand slid up to cradle Methos’ head against him, to gently hold captive that erotic touch.

Then Methos bit him. MacLeod bucked and twisted, throwing the smaller man off him. With a roar, he pinned Methos to the bed with his body, trapping his wrists over his head.

“Now that I‘ve got your attention...” The older man grinned evilly, looking into MacLeod’s feverish eyes, his own ablaze. He could have howled for the joy of Duncan’s long muscular frame pressing down on him, its hard reality burning itself into his consciousness after months of cold dreaming.

MacLeod growled and began an all-out assault on Methos’ throat, nipping and biting, kissing and sucking, taking pleasure in the welts and marks he was leaving in his wake. His lover shivered and writhed, giving MacLeod an excuse to tighten his grip on his wrists. MacLeod sucked hard on one dusky nipple. Methos’ low groan seemed to pool at the base of his spine, rippling into his hard cock. Control. The knowledge that he was the one causing those half-smothered sounds coming from the ancient’s throat sang through him. He brushed his lips lightly across the sleek heated skin, then nipped at the other nipple. Methos gasped and arched against him, eyes now closed, throwing his head from side to side, abandoning himself. He didn’t mind being held captive; it meant that MacLeod wanted him to be there. And he wanted to be there, he needed this man to want him as much as he wanted and needed the Scot.

MacLeod had shifted his grip, taking hold of the Methos’ wrists in one large hand, freeing his other to skim lightly down a long arm, to linger on the muscles over the ribs. His curious fingers traced the grooves of each one, from sternum to spine. Their even ripples reminded him of the last time he had walked beside the sea -- there were ripples, just like these, in the wet sand at the waterline. He bent his head and ran his tongue down one rib, tasting the salt he knew would be there.

There was no sound now, from the man beneath him, only a long, slow exhalation, that spoke his desire more clearly than any shout or whisper. MacLeod’s calloused fingers barely brushed the fine, dark hair on the abdomen as they moved down, stopping at the waistband of the old man’s jeans. Those warm fingers teased along the edge of the denim, sometimes dipping underneath it. Duncan was fascinated, watching gooseflesh rise and ripple at his touch, flowing before his fingers like a herd of deer before a pack of wolves.

“Duncan. Please.” Methos whispered.

Looking up the impossible length of his lover’s body, straining against him, MacLeod asked wickedly, “Have I got your attention now?”

“Yes,” Methos said, heat and desperation hissing from between his teeth. “You’ve got my attention. Now do something with it!”

Duncan grinned, a wide, happy grin and abruptly released Methos’ wrists to slide down and unbutton the older man’s jeans. Unable to resist, he cupped his hand around the straining erection, caressing it through the denim. It was both familiar and alien and the mere touch of it made him dizzy. He slipped one thumb into the open fly and stroked it across the hot, responsive flesh inside. There was a warning growl from the man below him and his grin deepened. Long fingers skimmed over MacLeod’s hair, yanking away the silver hair-tie and dropping it on the floor. Then those fingers tangled in that dark hair and dragged Mac’s head back up until he was face to face with Methos.

The mild-mannered grad student was gone. So was the wise-cracking “I’m just a guy” persona. The man who gazed into the Scot’s eyes was almost a stranger -- fierce, hungering, uncontrollable. But MacLeod knew him, had seen glimpses before. Methos’ kiss was bruising, almost brutal, and MacLeod welcomed the wild freedom he tasted within it.

When they broke, gasping, Methos grinned wolfishly at him, challenging him... to what? Complain? Turn away? Gentle him? MacLeod shook his head slowly and bared his teeth, his dark eyes feral in the dwindling light. In that moment, permission was asked, parole given.

The ancient man pounced. In seconds, he had flipped the younger man over and stripped away MacLeod’s last remaining clothes. He now knelt above him, the image of a primeval godling. Methos’ hands were everywhere, hot and demanding, teasing and clawing a response from every place they touched. The room spun away and everything in MacLeod’s world narrowed down to awaiting Methos’ next touch. MacLeod had the sudden irrational urge to make a last request before his execution.

Too late.

The older man had seized his straining erection in his mouth; the sight and sensation of his aching cock disappearing between those arcing lips was nearly enough to push the Scot over the edge. He was being devoured, swallowed whole.  And those demonically clever hands continued to steal over his skin, lighting fires that would never go out. He groaned and twisted his hands into the sheets to keep from seizing his tormentor and...he didn’t know what.

Methos heard that hopeless sound and his grin curved fiercely around the hot, slick flesh in his mouth. Duncan MacLeod, the Warrior, was already weak and moaning beneath him and he had barely begun. The older man used his teeth to lightly graze the head, then swirled his tongue over it to momentarily soothe, then he sucked it deeply into his mouth, letting it scrape along his teeth, balancing his victim on the delicious edge between arousal and fear. He released MacLeod’s cock for a moment and looked up to study his captive.

The golden skin was flushed with arousal, dusky and begging to be caressed. There was a sheen of sweat over the straining muscles and Methos could see the deep trembling that had begun to escape MacLeod’s tight control. His breathing was harsh and gasping, uneven. The younger man’s eyes were wide and dark and fixed on his almost desperately. Methos’ savage smile trickled away as he looked into his lover’s eyes. He reached up and curved a hand against MacLeod’s wet cheek. Drawing it slowly down Duncan’s throat, he stroked lovingly down the broad chest, drawing them both back from the ragged edge of desire.

“I’m sorry,” Methos said with rueful humor, “I forgot this wasn’t a battle.”

“It’s OK,” Duncan said shakily, “I wanted it.” He reached tentatively for Methos, who caught his hand and pressed it back onto the bed.

“No. This time is for you. The other ... can wait.” Methos waited, smiling, until he could see the beginnings of MacLeod’s cocky grin blooming in his eyes again. Then he returned his attention to the beauty and power of the body laid out before him. But this time, the ancient man’s lovemaking wasn’t designed to capture and enslave MacLeod with his own body’s reactions; this time, Methos made a gift out of them. Every touch, every caress, bite or swirl of his tongue was for his lover.

Now MacLeod’s arousal was less desperate but no less profound. The demanding fierceness of Methos’ earlier embraces had a siren call to the wild edge that he had rarely touched. He wanted, as much as feared, to seek those unexplored depths in himself. Methos was no stranger to them, he knew. But the older man’s hands and mouth no longer demanded surrender, there was no submission in this flowing pleasure. In every touch, MacLeod felt the bond between them growing stronger, nourished in the silence of their lovemaking.

Methos’ now-gentle fingers had strayed down the crease of his leg, lightly cupping and caressing his balls, then the tender skin behind them. The Scot writhed at that hot touch and Methos gentled him with light kisses across his abdomen, momentarily losing himself in the silken fur slipping beneath his lips. Judging that MacLeod was ready now, Methos brought his hand up and touched two fingers to the younger man’s lips, asking permission -- not merely compliance but license. And MacLeod understood. He began sucking on Methos’ long fingers; teasing the pads, nibbling on the callouses left from centuries of scribework, curling his tongue along their elegant lengths. Methos felt something molten begin to flow up his spine and he quickly withdrew from that smiling mouth. Drawing the edge of his hand back down Duncan’s body, he retraced his previous path. MacLeod shifted to accommodate him as his fingers began running up and down the cleft of the younger man’s buttocks. Methos traced small, hot circles around the opening to Duncan’s body, slowly teasing his way past the tight ring of muscle.

MacLeod took a deep breath at the long-forgotten feeling of penetration, of intrusion into his deepest self. He closed his eyes for a moment, trying to get used to the unusual sensation. Methos had begun to move his fingers slowly, in and out. MacLeod felt that retreat as an odd sort of abandonment and began to welcome their reintrusion, the near-pain becoming an odd pleasure.

A thought struck him and he almost laughed. Was this not how it had been with Methos since the ancient had first come into his life? Intrusive, bringing unlooked-for sensations, then disappearing again, leaving MacLeod with an emptiness that could only be filled with his return.

Methos was thrusting his fingers deeper now, twisting them, loosening, searching. MacLeod suddenly jerked beneath him, gasping, eyes shocked wide with pleasure. The Scot grabbed his wrist tightly. “Methos...please.”

“All right, Duncan,” he said gently. He slid over and began rummaging through the bedside table. “I don’t suppose you have any lubricant...?” he asked without expectation.

MacLeod shook his head, brows knit. Methos pawed around the contents of the drawer some more, then sat up with a pleased noise. He held up a bottle of rich massage oil and considered it, lips pursed. Then he nodded to himself and poured some into his hand. The Highlander watched with curiously innocent eyes as he oiled the length of his cock with the almond-scented oil.

Methos smiled and moved slowly to rest in between his lover’s drawn up knees. “Are you ready?” he whispered. MacLeod could only nod. His hands came to rest on Methos’ shoulders, gently urging him closer.

Methos entered his lover’s body slowly, carefully, using every mantra for self-control that he had ever been taught. The velvet heat, the impossibly tight grip on his organ made it nearly impossible to think. But the deep brown gaze locked desperately on his kept him from giving into that heat and mindlessly thrusting. This was all about Duncan’s sensations, his experience, he reminded himself.

Duncan was panting beneath him, struggling against the pain, the blunt attack that he himself had invited.

“Breathe, Duncan.”

Methos felt his lover take one deep, gasping breath. The muscles locked around his cock eased slightly. Then MacLeod took another deep breath and Methos could see some of the desperate edge leave his eyes. He could feel when Duncan consciously relaxed those tensed muscles to allow him deeper inside. With exquisite care, he sank slowly into his lover’s depths. “I knew there was a purpose to all that discipline,” Methos grinned and kissed his chest lightly. At MacLeod’s shaky answering grin, Methos began to move very slowly within him. Better than any half-acknowledged fantasy, the feel of the hard body straining up to meet his on every thrust, the dark gaze locked on his, the large hands ranging over his shoulders and face. This was true power; not taken, but given freely, no hesitation.

MacLeod’s smoky scent spun around Methos; his sweat was sweet and slick against his skin. Helplessly, they were moving faster now, struggling together, clawing for the pleasure of merging into one another. The purring growls the Scot was making seemed timed to the shuddering breaths Methos drew, his ageless control fraying badly now. The younger man’s hands were now curled around Methos’ forearms, fingers digging into the muscles as the madness burned closer.

There was precious little gentleness now, the harshness of need driving them both without mercy. Methos’ teeth were bared and his jaw set -- there was nothing of the teasing, loving look that had been in his eyes earlier. Now there was nothing to distinguish between the sweet touch of pleasure and the agony of the desire. Suddenly, MacLeod gave a harsh shout, body twisting, dragging Methos over the edge with him into the mad swirl of pleasure.

If there's one guy, just one guy,
Who'd lay down his life for you and die,
It's hard to say it,
I hate to say it,
But it's probably me.

In the unmasked, unmoving hour between night and dawn, MacLeod lay awake, propped on an elbow, and watched Methos sleep beside him. As before, ‘Adam Pierson’ was gone with consciousness. The self-possession of five thousand years slumbered there now. The cold weight of millennia pressed upon the Highlander as Methos’ enthusiastic mass had not. He sank into a sea of time, floundering, without a sound.

The sleeping man suddenly inhaled deeply, waking abruptly. Without even opening his eyes, he seemed to sense his lover’s eyes upon him. He said, “I am who I am. Go to sleep, Duncan.” The faintly amused, sleep-slurred words, the warm hand behind his neck, the rise and fall of the chest now beneath his cheek, all these drew MacLeod back.

The rolling tide of years receded to a faint murmur, like a heartbeat, lulling him to sleep beside his lover.

 


The End