|Matter & Antimatter
Duncan stayed in him, on top of him, for an unmeasured span of minutes. Methos wished that it could be forever. The weight of him, the salt-sweat smell, the feel of his nakedness--all of them together were a kind of peace he had not known in a very long time, if ever. Duncan's breath against his shoulder was sweet, his hair damp with sweat and smelling of rain and smoke, cannabis and tobacco from the concert. Methos gently stroked the dark waves back from his temple and waited for his breathing to steady.
Inevitably, bodies cooled, heartbeats slowed, and the other man shifted off of him, rolling onto the duvet beside him. Methos found himself concentrating on the throbbing deep within him, the bruised pleasure that would fade too quickly. Not yet. For now he could still feel where Duncan had been.
The voice, when it came, was a rough-soft purr, sated and holding a smile. "We could have done this a long time ago, you know. Might have saved us a lot of trouble."
"Right. Can't imagine why we didn't think of it." His own voice was hoarse, almost a stranger's.
Mac chuckled. "Speak for yourself."
Methos looked over at him sharply. Mac was looking up at the ceiling, only a few hand spans away.
And suddenly Methos couldn't help it. He started to laugh, and went on laughing until his eyes watered and he was gasping for breath. "You bastard."
"Me?" The voice was a perfect portrait of wounded innocence. If only his mouth hadn't quirked at the corners. "What did I do?"
Methos threw an arm over his eyes, feeling the heat there that still threatened to spill out in earnest. "Oh nothing, Mr. Poster Child for Rampant Heterosexuality. I can't imagine why I should have thought you'd say no."
He felt the bed shift, and knew Mac had rolled over to look at him. A warm hand spread against his belly, heedless of wet stickiness. "So when did you first think of asking?"
Methos moved the arm far enough to look at him, and for a long moment he couldn't speak. How long had he dreamed of seeing just that look of contentment easing the strong lines of his face? When had he first imagined the sleepy glow of satisfaction in those dark eyes, the flushed bee-stung lips, the shadow of stubble along his jaw?
At last he smiled slightly, tracing Duncan's mouth with his fingertips. "When did I become warm for your form, you mean? Before you were ever born, I think. Maybe before I was. How old is the universe? I think it might have been then."
MacLeod was smiling too, but he caught Methos' hand in his and drew it down against his chest. "Seriously."
"Seriously?" Suddenly he felt exposed, raw, and he couldn't raise his eyes from looking at where their fingers were joined.
This is real. Don't doubt it. Believe it.
Methos drew a careful breath. "I was half gone that first day--don't laugh. I'd wanted to meet you for so long. And you knew who I was. I can't tell you what that felt like, to have you know me like that after so long hiding. The way you said my name. You terrified me."
"Why?" Mac asked huskily. "What were you afraid of?"
"I wanted you to live more than I wanted myself to live." Mac started to say something, but Methos hurried on. "And then you wouldn't take my head, and that terrified me even more, because then I knew I might start to trust you, and I knew... I knew that you would trust me too and it would all fall apart eventually, when you knew what I was."
"No. When I knew what you'd done." Duncan squeezed his fingers, and finally Methos had to look at him. "That isn't what you are, Methos. That isn't even close to all the things that you are. You are... you astonish me."
"And you me, Highlander," Methos said, when he was able to find his voice. "You are a constant source of amazement." His throat burned, an image teasing the edges of memory. Sudden daring made him go on, the need to hold to these sweet, painful truths persisting, irresistible. "Do you know when it was I first knew?"
Duncan shook his head, eyes bright.
"It was at the spring. You trusted me so much. You faced your darkness and won and when I saw you... I knew you had come back to me, and then I knew how close it had been, how cold and dark my life would have been if you hadn't."
Duncan was looking at him as if waiting for the dropping of the other shoe -- as if expecting him to come to his senses and deny ever saying such things. For a moment, Methos felt a suffocating pressure closing around his insides, and was sorely tempted. But the dark eyes were shining with an odd tangle of emotions -- tenderness and bittersweet memory, joy and a kind of bewilderment -- and Methos found he could breathe after all.
At last the Highlander closed his other hand around their joined ones, searching for words. "Methos... I want to tell you the feelings... I want to tell you how deep you are in my heart. But how can I ever make you understand? You are so much better at words than I am."
"Just keep looking at me like that. Just say my name like that. And stay alive. I won't ask for more than that."
Duncan shook his head emphatically. "But I want you to ask. I want to make you happy. I want you to tell me what you want, what you need. Don't run away from me any more. Believe in me. Will you do that?"
Methos could only nod. "You know, I think this may be a record for us. At least an hour and no arguing, no shouting..."
"You know, I think you may be right." At Methos' look, the Scot broke into a slow grin. "Well, it had to happen some time."
"What, that I'd be right or that you'd admit it?"
Duncan's arms went around him, dragging him into a rough, entangled embrace. "Ah, Methos. You're almost always right. I just like to keep you on your toes."
"God help me."
MacLeod buried his face in Methos, breathing him in. He groaned. "We're not fit for a stable."
"Shower," Mac agreed.
They slept like that, sweaty and tousled, wrapped up in each other on top of the bedclothes.
Methos woke to late morning light filtering through raindrops that traced lazy tracks on the window panes. The vibrant current of Presence followed him from dream into waking.
"Just me," a familiar voice said, and he turned his head to see Mac sitting close by, a book open on his lap, a mug of something that steamed in his hand. His hair was damp and clung to his neck in wavy tendrils. He was wearing an old white henley and drawstring trousers he'd scrounged from somewhere, the stretched fabric skimming his body but fitting him, barely. He smiled, and his eyes spoke a caress. "Good morning."
The world's oldest living Immortal, lying naked face down on the bed, felt his body belie its five thousand years and come instantly, painfully erect.
He drew in a breath, closed his eyes, let it out. When he had done that three times, he felt marginally better. He opened his eyes again and looked at the cup in MacLeod's hands. "Is that coffee?"
Mac relinquished his cup to the extended hand, their fingers touching briefly. Methos propped himself up on one elbow and took a sip; it was nirvana.
After two more sips, he handed it back. "How long was I asleep?"
"Not long. Hope you don't mind I borrowed a few things, including your shower."
"I'm sorry about your shirt," Methos said, lips curving.
"S'alright. I took it out on your chair." Mac's gaze went to the high-backed Martinique, which by the looks of things had suffered a mortal blow in the evening's excitement.
"I think I'll survive the loss. Ugliest thing you ever saw, isn't it?"
"You said it, not me."
"Everyone's a critic." Methos sat up, supremely aware of his disheveled appearance and the memory of Duncan fucking him slowly.
The thought raised gooseflesh--and that wasn't all it raised. A wave of pure sensation started between his thighs and flooded his whole body, thinking of it. He drew a deep breath to steady himself.
"Is there hot water?" he asked, not the question in his thoughts. His face was too warm.
Mac gave him an unreadable look from beneath lowered lashes, before returning his attention to his book. "Should be."
Methos rose, taking two steps before stopping.
This sudden awkwardness was excruciating. He turned back for a moment, had to clear his throat. "Mac?"
The smile MacLeod gave him was pure sunlight, full of promises that did dangerous things to his insides. "I'm not going anywhere."
Methos knew he probably looked ridiculous, rumpled, hair sticking up, half-aroused and smiling like an idiot--but he absolutely could not help the grin that spread across his face.
He emerged from the bathroom to find MacLeod at the kitchen sink, washing blood out of his coat. The spectacle appealed to his admittedly skewed sense of humour.
"Mm. We're lucky no one called the police. Your neighbors must be sound sleepers--or exceedingly good at minding their own business."
"Terrific. Hope I never have any real trouble."
Mac flashed him a sidelong grin, wiping his hands on a towel. "What are boy scouts for?"
Methos rolled his eyes. "Thank you, now I feel so much better." In fact he felt absurdly self-conscious, and occupied his hands with finding another cup in the cabinet, pouring fresh coffee for himself and adding a healthy spoonful of sugar.
Even this was an intimacy, standing in his tiny kitchen in his dark silk robe and bare feet, watching Duncan out of the corner of his eye. He noted with a kind of chagrined helplessness that the thick hair was almost dry now, curling in soft waves about the strong neck. He thought of what it would smell like--his own shampoo, sandalwood and sage--and unconsciously moved half a step closer.
Mac shut off the water and turned, leaning his hips against the sink. He crossed his arms casually, regarding Methos with an intensity that accelerated Methos' pulse by slow increments. "No sword, I see," he commented with a dangerous smile. "Does this mean we're safe to be in the same room together?"
Methos gave a choked laugh. "When have we ever been?"
"Well, I'll be good if you will."
"If not, I'll try and be better."
Dark eyes narrowed, accusing. "You've been waiting to spring that on me."
"Well, you're slipping, if you expected me to let an opening like that go." Methos sipped his coffee, trying an innocent look over the rim. He watched MacLeod trying to keep the outraged expression, but it wasn't working. The flick of that amused gaze down to his mouth and back was so brief, for a moment Methos was certain he'd imagined it.
Then, just as suddenly, he was sure he hadn't.
Methos put down the cup.
It required only the smallest shift, closing the space between them. With perfect naturalness he let gravity draw him forward. Duncan moved by silent accord, spreading his feet slightly, palm skimming Methos' shoulder, and Methos breathed a sigh against his mouth as they drew close, his hand going instinctively to the sweet join of flank and hip.
The kiss was warm, sweet and coffee-flavored, licked with enough passion to make the blood heat, the nerves tingle. Too soon, Duncan started to draw away. Methos startled him, hands sinking into soft waves, holding him still, prolonging the kiss and answering Duncan's tongue with his own. Duncan made a sound, soft and questioning, little more than a vibration against his mouth.
They parted. Methos drew back, only far enough to look a question into his eyes.
Duncan's pupils were dilated, the pulse visible at his throat, a dark flush rising from the open neck of his borrowed white shirt. He was bracing himself with one hand against the edge of the sink behind him.
"Do you feel that?" Duncan murmured, never breaking his gaze. "When you touch me?"
Methos moistened his lips, tasting Duncan on them. "I should hope so."
"You know what I'm talking about." Duncan ran a fingertip along the line of Methos' nape, tracing the nerves there and watching Methos' reaction. Licking current followed the touch and stabbed gently into more secret places. Methos couldn't prevent the catch in his breath. "You do feel it. Do you know what it is?"
Methos lowered his eyes. The memory of the terrible, ecstatic merging that had fused them together for an eternity of seconds in Bordeaux still felt too real and too big to comprehend. He could no more get his thoughts around it now than he had then. "I know when it started, if that's what you mean."
"So do I." Duncan waited, but Methos said nothing. "Are we gonna talk about it?"
Methos thought about that. Then he looked up, a faint smile touching his lips. "No, I don't think so."
After a moment, an answering smile found Duncan's mouth. "I can live with that."
"Can you?" Methos moved in, straddling one taut thigh, and pressing close, pleasure soaring from the friction and heat against his bare skin under his robe.
Duncan drew a sharp breath, soft and fervent. "Oh yes. I think so. I can definitely--" His words broke off in a soft gasp as Methos rubbed against him gently, stimulating him further.
"I think you can definitely, too. What do you say we test that theory?"
"Mmm," Duncan agreed. "Here? Or the bed?"
"Oh, I'm all for variety." Methos slid his hands under the white cotton, hungry for contact. Duncan's skin was warm, dewed with faint perspiration, responsive to his touch.
Duncan growled softly against his ear, tracing the inner curve with his lips. "Bed. Now."
"So demanding. You really should learn some self-restraint..." Duncan's tongue teased his ear, raising gooseflesh "...but maybe later."
"Later?" Duncan's thigh pressed intimately between his.
Methos groaned. "Much later."
He felt his robe part under warm hands that traced his nakedness from shoulders to hipbones, shivers chasing the caress. "Maybe you're right," Duncan said thoughtfully, gazing down at Methos, who was hard and flushed under the perusal.
"No, no, I take it back." Methos caught his hand and tried to bring it down to his aching flesh. "Self-restraint is overrated."
Duncan grinned mischievously, eyes flicking up. "I meant, maybe you're right about the bed." And with that he pushed Methos backward, up against the kitchen island, and went smoothly to his knees.
Methos had little time for breath before the hands slid deeper under his robe, gripping him from behind and holding him still for the first velvet touch of Duncan's lips on his naked sex. In another moment Duncan's tongue was there, tasting him with firm, purposeful touches, and he made an incoherent sound, his knees refusing to support him. He had to put a hand on the counter, liquid heat spiraling through him. He closed his eyes to just feel, then had to open them again to see. "You're going to be the death of me, you know that."
Duncan looked up at him, smiling wickedly. "I thought we'd been through that." His lips were wet.
Methos slid one hand into dark hair and pushed his hips forward, rubbing himself on that mouth. He shuddered with the pleasure. "Please..."
Duncan met the advance with his tongue and slightly parted lips, never taking his eyes from Methos'. Then he pulled his mouth away and smiled again. "You'll have to be more specific."
Methos tightened his grip, a warning. "Please stop talking and suck me, Duncan." He laced it with an edge of steel, and saw it flare in dark eyes, a faint almost imperceptible tremor running through the kneeling man. And under his grip the stiff neck relaxed, and that lush mouth engulfed him in one sensuous motion.
The glimpse of willing surrender was as devastating as the wet sucking heat, and Methos' mind spun into a dark nexus of erotic urges. To have Duncan kneeling like this, head bowed under his touch, sucking him exquisitely... uncounted fantasies of uncounted nights, and still he hadn't come close to this. He couldn't think for feeling it.
"Oh..." he breathed, feeling the slow surge of ecstasy as it began to roll over him in shuddery, building waves. Duncan's hands squeezed, taking his weight as he swayed. The wet, warm, intimate, oh god, gentle sucking of that mouth drew him fast up a pinnacle of desperation and sweet, hot pleasure, and it wasn't enough, it wasn't nearly enough. Methos needed desperately to thrust into that tender mouth, to win his submission and take him for his own, but right now he needed even more to be close to him, to know again that oneness they had touched a few hours before. He let go of the counter and closed his hand on Duncan's shoulder, pulling. Finding the words was almost impossible, but he gasped them out at last, pleading. "Come here." The other man obeyed, releasing his engorged sex and rising into his arms.
Yes, yes, this was exactly what he wanted, Duncan's embrace, the press of their bodies, the heat of Duncan's face against his...
It still wasn't enough. Methos tugged at white cotton impatiently, needing to feel skin. Duncan obliged, stripping the shirt off, and Methos had pulled him close again before it hit the floor.
"You feel so good Methos. So good." Methos caught his breath as a warm hand cupped his arousal, rubbing gently. Duncan's fingers spread against his balls, caressing him there and underneath, the palm creating sweet friction against his cock. He fumbled with the drawstring of Duncan's pants, working it free and slipping his hands inside.
Heat. And softness. Wiry hair, satin-smooth hardness, the soft down of his thighs. The feel of him was incredible, hot, his sex leaping into Methos' hand, a drop of slickness against Methos' wrist. Duncan drew in a sharp breath, then let it out on a broken sigh. He pushed forward, stroking himself into Methos' hands.
Methos leaned his forehead against a broad shoulder, touched by that artless surrender and suddenly overwhelmed by the feeling he had been seeking, the oneness. "Yes," he gasped, biting his lip as Duncan stroked him. "Yes, touch me, make me come. I want to come with you, Duncan." He pushed himself into that sweet grip and felt Duncan shudder and push back, Methos' words fueling his urgency.
Another stroke and Methos felt himself break out in perspiration, pleasure shivering through his buttocks and belly and thighs, felt the moisture spring up along the fine skin of Duncan's groin. "Come on," he urged. "Don't hold back. Let it go, Duncan." He groaned, feeling his own body's response to the tiny surge of fluid against his hand. He had one hand in Duncan's pants, the other braced against his waist. They were holding each other up, bodies pressed close, so much heat in the grip and slide and stroke of what they were doing that it threatened to cause a meltdown. "Come with me," Methos urged, trying to hold back the crest that was close now, so close... "Soon--"
"Now," breathed Duncan.
Methos inhaled sharply, caught off guard by the sudden swell of orgasm, the rush of pleasure hitting him hard in the gut, unstoppable. A sweet, slick throb in his hand and Duncan was coming, surging hot over his wrist in strong pulses, crying out softly near his ear. The feel and the sound and scent of him swept through Methos, taking over his senses. His release unfurled, a delicious jabbing pleasure that rippled through every part of him at once. It went on; he held fiercely to Duncan and rode it out. A wave of tremors swept him, then subsided. It left him stunned, disoriented, utterly euphoric in the aftershock.
For a minute they just breathed together like that, Duncan boneless, slumped against him, as dazed as he.
At last Duncan's arms found their way around his waist, and Methos returned the embrace. "You're getting heavy," he murmured into the other's shoulder.
The sound Duncan made was indistinguishable as speech, yet managed to communicate both his utter contentment and his complete unconcern about whether Methos would continue to hold him up indefinitely.
So easy, Methos thought. Can it really be so easy?
It couldn't be, he knew. Wouldn't be. But suddenly the thought of an Immortal lifetime of being with him, knowing this with him, struck Methos in the solar plexus, and he needed to sit down. Or maybe lie down.
They made it to the bed, though it was a close thing.
The rain had stopped, and afternoon sunlight streamed in the windows, but Duncan slept on. Methos had been watching him for some time. His own thoughts were very far from sleep
For two years he'd refused to acknowledge the possibility that this would ever be anything other than an idle fantasy. Sanity had always won out, and self-preservation, and remembering all the compelling reasons why this could never be, must never be, why he was the worst kind of fool to ever let himself forget that. The risks were far too many. The danger to his survival had been self-evident, the other dangers more nebulous, but no less of a threat. The most dangerous of all--the possibility of going too deep, feeling too much, getting lost. Losing oneself was an Immortal's greatest fear, with good reason.
He'd foreseen that one long ago, long before they'd ever met, and he'd never lost sight of it. Admittedly, what had happened during the double quickening and since was a much more concrete demonstration of that particular risk than he'd counted on, but it was still a danger he'd anticipated.
What he hadn't counted on--the threat he'd never even looked for--was this profound, overwhelming joy he felt at having failed so completely to save himself.
"You look happy," a sleepy baritone said from the bed.
Methos thought idly that Duncan sleeping in the sun was a wondrous sight, but perhaps not quite as wondrous as Duncan waking with that look on his face, sleepy, sated, satisfied with himself and the world.
He pretended to look at his nonexistent watch. "I try to do happy once a week, for five minutes, just to keep in practice."
Duncan's eyebrows climbed for his hair. "Every week? That's a little extreme, isn't it? You might ruin your reputation for being an old grouch."
"You've been talking to Amanda."
"Yeah, well, I think she and I are going to be due for another talk soon."
Methos had made a very long lifetime's work of controlling his expression, and he put it to good use now, his tone so neutral he might have been asking after the weather. "That so?"
Duncan grinned, a lazy Cheshire cat grin that should have been illegal. He propped himself up on one elbow, displaying a few of his undeniable charms. "Why don't you put that book down, and come over here so we can discuss it?"
Methos answered with a sweep of eyelashes. "What, and lose my place?"
The book in question was the same volume MacLeod had been reading earlier--a leather-bound first edition of The Collected Works of George Gordon, Lord Byron - 1788-1824. Methos' gaze fell upon the page he'd marked with his finger, reading his old friend's words again with the same wonder, the same recognition. The passage was singularly appropriate, on many levels.
So the struck eagle, stretch'd upon the plain
Methos looked up. All joking had left Duncan's face, and in its place was shared sorrow, and the shadow of profound regret.
"You all right?"
He was much more than all right, and he let it show in his eyes, seeing that the reassurance was needed. "Yes. Just thinking about something he wrote, a long time ago. It's almost as if he knew."
MacLeod's expression was thoughtful. "Maybe he did."
"Yes, maybe." Methos laid the book aside and with it the sadness. Feeling the mood dissipate, he crossed his arms, surveying the disheveled and very naked man in his bed with a deliberately provocative look. "Are you really going to loll about in my bed for the rest of the day?"
The lines of MacLeod's face altered, a hint of his grin returning. He shrugged. "I thought maybe you'd keep me company."
"In the middle of the afternoon?"
"And this is relevant because...?" MacLeod slid the edge of the sheet back fractionally, exposing a strategic length of muscled thigh. "I'll make it worth your while..."
Methos did his best to look scandalized. "You're shameless, aren't you? Not to mention insatiable."
"And you're a tease," Duncan retorted.
"Oh yeah, and you love it."
"In your dreams." Methos' voice dripped sarcasm.
MacLeod's look turned dangerous, his eyes glittering. "In yours," he said huskily. And pulled the sheet back, revealing the very visible results of their teasing.
Methos was already on his feet, stalking him, blood singing from the way the dark eyes watched him move, the way his own body responded to that look.
He didn't bother trying to pull the shaft from his heart.