What Do You Want From Me?
by JiM

Disclaimer: Rysher, P/D and Gaumont all own these characters, I do not. David Gilmour and Pink Floyd own the lyrics of "What Do You Want From Me" and they are used without permission but with much respect. This work is intended only for the enjoyment of HL fans and is not-for-profit -- like so much of my life.

Rating: This work is Adult, non-graphic, say PG with caffeine -- a homosexual relationship is implied. If this disturbs you, or under 18, please do not read it.

Author's Note: This is the follow-up to "Sorrow". So many people wrote to say "You can't leave them like that!" So I went and found another Pink Floyd song that seemed to fit. What is it with me and lyrics? <g>

Thanks: Thanks go to Juanita the Awesome Beta Reader who pulled herself out of a sickbed and propped herself on the phone to make suggestions and criticisms.

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


As you look around this room tonight
Settle in your seat and dim the lights
Do you want my blood, do you want my tears
What do you want
What do you want from me

The bar was smoky and dim, not crowded this late in the evening. Music throbbed and pulsed, making liquor tremble in its glasses. The pale man slouched at a small table, long legs stretched in the aisle, one arm over the back of his chair. He was the picture of indolent grace, movements casual and unstudied, save for the dark eyes that swept the room. The eyes, alone, were waiting.

He did not wait long. Although not a muscle stirred, he became very alert, a panther waiting in the brush, a jungle animal scenting... danger? Prey?

His object was the well-muscled man who stood in the doorway, scanning the bar. Their gazes locked and the waiting man nodded slightly, once. The other simply stared, then, after a moment, he, too nodded.

MacLeod crossed the room, moving unhurriedly. He paused at the bar and was waited upon immediately. Collecting a bottle of scotch and two glasses, he continued his journey until he stood looking down at Methos. The older man indicated the seat across from him with a curiously uninviting gesture.

As MacLeod sank into it, Methos knew it had been a mistake to agree to this.

A curiously detached part of his mind noted the cast of MacLeod's mouth, the sullen lines graven beside it now, the checked restlessness of his hands. Too much would be said this night, as if there were anything left to say or do to one another. He rose abruptly.

"Stay." The single word rapped out across the table, but the hand on his wrist was almost gentle.

Methos subsided, sliding back into his chair in defeat. He had been bested before he had ever come into this room tonight. Why was this man capable of making him tear his own heart out, again and again.

"What do you want from me, MacLeod?"

"To understand."

Ah -- the one thing he couldn't give. 'Ask anything, MacLeod, take anything from me that you want, but I can't do this.'

Do you think that I know something you don't know
If I don't promise you the answers would you go
Should I stand out in the rain
Do you want me to make a daisy chain for you
I'm not the one you need
What do you want from me

MacLeod watched impassively as a thousand protests rose up in Methos and choked him into silence. For each of those unvoiced cries, MacLeod had only one demand -- "Why?"

"Why didn't you tell me?"

Methos looked at him tiredly. "About what?"

"About it all. About Kronos. The Horsemen, who you were, what you did."

"Because I knew you wouldn't be able to accept it. You may not realize this, MacLeod, but you're one judgmental bastard. And I didn't want to lose you."

"You wouldn't have," MacLeod said softly. "I know I'm a 'judgmental bastard' -- Joe loses no opportunity to remind me. But I would have...I do accept who you were."

MacLeod couldn't forgive the crimes of the past -- but then, no one could. He knew that Methos was no longer the killing artist, architect of a reign of blood and terror that had filled centuries. He could not forgive, but he could - he did -- accept. Stephen Keane had reminded him that he, too, had a past when the craving for blood had soaked into him so deeply that it couldn't be slaked.

And Methos had stood between him and danger. Again. Where was the sense in this, where was the pattern? Once he had known who this man was, had known and loved what he knew. Now...

The music throbbed on as the two men sat, unable to look at one another, the pain too thick between them.

You can have anything you want
You can drift, you can dream, even walk on water
Anything you want

The betrayal wasn't the fact that MacLeod hadn't known his lover's past -- there was so much of it, he reflected, a microsecond grin flashed across his face, remembering how he used to tease Methos about it. No -- and it wasn't that he had lied about Cassandra. Lying was second-nature to Methos, protective coloration, as much a part of him as the spots on a leopard. MacLeod knew better than to expect too much honesty from the older Immortal, particularly not when it was inconvenient. Or so painful.

MacLeod had been manipulated -- everything he had done had been carefully orchestrated by the man before him. If he had only known what it was that Methos faced, who he faced, MacLeod would have stood beside him, fought beside his sword-brother and they would have triumphed together. Instead, Methos had turned him into a puppet, had used his very flaws with such precision that it still left him breathless to think of it.

"I would have stood by you. I would have fought for you and never faltered until we'd won." The words were low and rough and Methos closed his eyes against it.

That was the real pain. MacLeod might have forgiven being used, his strength and loyalty and skill and cunning serving as an elegant weapon in the Old Man's hand. But he could not forgive, would never forget, the moment when he realized that Methos was using his weaknesses, his failings, those parts of himself that he despised most. His tendency to judge everyone by his own admittedly unscalable standards; his inflexibility, his need to control the world and the actions of the people around him.

"But you never gave me the chance."

The knowledge that his lover knew his faults, then had exploited them to their fullest, knowing exactly how far to push, which triggers to use. Here was the real truth -- the simple fact that anyone should have such power over him, to know him better than he knew himself, was too bitter a draught. And now, every time he looked at Methos, the terrible savor of his own limitations flooded his mouth.

You can own everything you see
Sell your soul for complete control
Is that really what you need

Methos spoke suddenly into the thick silence that swirled between them, despite the heavy bass music blaring around them. "I only promised to keep you alive, MacLeod. Nothing else."

The Scot's mobile mouth twisted. "I know. And you kept that promise."

"And broke every other one that meant anything," Methos stated, as if supplying MacLeod's unspoken thoughts.

MacLeod's voice had curdled in his throat; he could only nod curtly.

"I once told you that I would do anything necessary to keep you alive. I would make any choice, use any tool I needed, to keep you in the Game. This was no different."

"Even when the tool you used was me."

"Even then."

"Was it worth it?"

The question startled him.

"We're both still alive," he pointed out, a small smile quirking his mouth.

"But not ... together."

Methos' smile was burnt away. "It's hard to be "together" if one or both of you have lost your heads," he snapped. Hazel eyes blazed, refusing to be quenched by the deep brown gaze turned on them. //'Foolish boy!' Methos thought wildly. 'Can you not see what would have happened? If Kronos had known what you truly were to me, he would have bent all of his efforts toward killing you. You barely withstood Caspian and Silas together. You would have lost if all three had come hunting you together. And they would have.

'If we had stood together, as you think we should have, Kronos would have torn your heart out and fed it to me. The torture would have gone on for years. Years, Highlander. You might have been able to withstand what he would have done to you, but I could not.'//

"Live. Grow stronger. Fight another day." The words clipped across the table. MacLeod smiled slightly. "You said that to me the first day we met."

"But did you listen? Live. It doesn't matter what you think of yourself, as long as you live."

"It matters to me." The words were soft and full of pain.

"That's your vanity talking," Methos said coldly.

You can lose yourself this night
See inside, there is nothing to hide
Turn and face the light
What do you want from me

He had had enough. MacLeod had bullied him into this meeting, this angst-fest that held no possibility of anything except more pain for them both. Fine. Let him hear the truth, the last gift Methos could give him. He looked directly into the Highlander's sable glare. "I used you. Yes. I knew exactly what you would do, every step of the way. Yes. I was willing to sacrifice Cassandra, to trade on your sense of honor and your love for her. Yes. I used your best traits to save you. And I used your worst ones, as well. That's what hurts most, isn't it?"

What do you want from me

"How can I ever trust you again?

"How can you trust me not to use your weaknesses again? You can't," Methos answered shortly. His lips had thinned into a bitter line.

Eyes drawn to that mouth, MacLeod remembered a night when Methos' demonically clever lips had kept him balanced on the knife edge of pleasure and madness for hours before a single calculated kiss had thrown him into the maelstrom. Once, he had rejoiced that his lover had known him so well. He smiled bitterly at the irony now. Then Methos spoke again.

"You can only trust me with them the same way you have trusted me to sleep beside you with a blade under my hand. If I needed that blade for defense, I would use it. But I won't ever use that blade on you. That's all I can promise. If I needed to use you to save you, I would do it again. But never against yourself. That's all I can promise," he ended softly.

Methos sat back and watched MacLeod from between steepled fingers. The music pulsed and pounded against them as he waited. He watched his words grind torturously through the younger man. He saw anger, rejection, pain, shame, humor and a dozen other emotions that he could not name flicker across the unguarded face.

The last one caused his breath to catch. Grudging acceptance. Methos almost laughed aloud -- MacLeod didn't like it, but he had accepted it. Perhaps the youngster was beginning to grow up. Almost, the old man began to feel hope.

What do you want from me

When MacLeod uncapped the whisky and silently poured it into two glasses, Methos began to fear how much he wanted this. The Scot pushed one glass across the table toward him. When he reached for it, their fingers touched. They both froze, each watching the other, hands still touching.

"Do you think we could get through the next week without exposing any more of my ugly character flaws?" MacLeod asked.

"Or mine?"

Both men nodded, dark eyes locked with light. The slender fingers against his began to tremble slightly, although the voice that answered his was sardonic. "As long as we don't run out of beer."

MacLeod smiled slightly and nodded. Promise accepted.


 The End

The full lyrics of
"What Do You Want From Me?"
(Gilmour/Wright/Samson)

As you look around this room tonight
Settle in your seat and dim the lights
Do you want my blood, do you want my tears
What do you want
What do you want from me
Should I sing until I can't sing any more
Play these strings until my fingers are raw
You're so hard to please
What do you want from me

Do you think that I know something you don't know
What do you want from me
If I don't promise you the answers would you go
What do you want from me
Should I stand out in the rain
Do you want me to make a daisy chain for you
I'm not the one you need

What do you want from me

You can have anything you want
You can drift, you can dream, even walk on water
Anything you want

You can own everything you see
Sell your soul for complete control
Is that really what you need

You can lose yourself this night
See inside there is nothing to hide Turn and face the light

What do you want from me