Variation in D Minor
by Killashandra


This...erm...story...belongs loosely in the OMD series. However, it's not at all the sort of thing I had in mind for this point in the series. I'm sort of considering it a variation on a theme, and although it does follow the first four stories, it's more like an A/U. I strongly suspect there will eventually be one or more different stories set in this part of the timeline that will be the "real" version of what happened. Thanks to Kamil, Carmel, Melina and the duncansluts for encouraging (and sharing) this totally self-indulgent fantasy, and to Suze, Bone, Olympia and Ellen for egging me on. In other words, I was having a low confidence week.

This brief expedition into costume slutdom contains homoerotic content and is rated NC-17, so if such things offend you or you're under 18, please don't read it!

Warning: contains blatant Duncanworship and rates very high on the melodrama, angst and implausibility scales, even for me. Not betaed--which is very likely self-evident.


It was a temporary numbness Methos sought, but the sheer weight of things he was trying to forget demanded a lot of numbing. It wasn't easy for an Immortal, either. The system didn't want to cooperate. Kept bouncing back, in spite of one's best efforts. He raised his glass in a sardonic mock-salute at his image in the mirror behind the bar, and downed half its contents. Nope, not easy at all. Required a lot of effort. Determination. Real stick-to-it-iveness, in fact. Boy scout qualities, all. No wonder he was struggling.

He liked this club, though. The drinks, though outrageously priced, were generous and gratifyingly strong, and served with satisfactory promptness by a very pretty young man in an almost nonexistent t-shirt. The music was loud but not unbearably so: just right for drowning out thought. Best of all, there was a maze of private cubicles downstairs where one could take the edge off with a willing body in the dark, and six rooms upstairs if he happened to get lucky enough to find what he'd come here looking for in the first place.

The irony was not lost on him. How Kronos would have laughed to see him now. The depths that he'd fallen to, seeking a pale imitation of what he had sought once in earnest so long ago.

It still didn't seem real. Kronos, alive and in the flesh? Impossible. Kronos dead forever, all of the Horsemen dead--equally impossible. The only thing that had seemed real in the middle of that ordeal had been MacLeod, his pain and confusion acting as Methos' only anchors in the bleak nightmare landscape that had consumed them both.

Thinking of MacLeod still felt like probing clumsily at a wound that had never really healed; it hurt like hell, but he couldn't seem to stop obsessively touching the sore place, replaying every accusation, every betrayed, wounded look, as if that could be some kind of atonement. He'd thought himself past the worst of it. Thought he was doing all right on his own. Amanda pounding on his door in the middle of the night had been a real wake-up call, in more ways than one.

He drained his glass and signaled the bartender for another, resolutely ignoring the fact that three consecutive nights of physical and chemical escapism had proved insufficient to the task of making him feel any better. The tight ache had been clenched around his heart for so long he had almost ceased to remember what it felt like to be without it. Four months since his dear long-lost brother had greeted him with a blade through the heart, four days since he'd proven incontrovertibly that he'd been wrong when he'd thought himself healed of the deeper wounds that had followed. If he had been, it wouldn't have hurt so much, to see Mac again. To talk to him. To feel his anger and betrayal and mistrust, and to know that time hadn't healed anything at all between them.

Maybe Byron had been right all those years ago. Maybe some griefs called for a stronger brand of chemical amnesia. It certainly would be easy enough to come by, in this place.

A wave of painful nostalgia for those days came over him. He turned, taking in the scene in his immediate vicinity, the strong young bodies radiating love and lust and a frenetic kind of joy at being alive. How like his old friend these young men were, ageless and lovely and hungry for pleasure at any price. It had been very freeing, when he'd been with Byron. No responsibility save to beauty, and savoring existence to the fullest.

It wasn't an answer, he knew, but for the first time in decades, he found himself thinking seriously about trying to see Byron again. The band would be in Paris in a few weeks--why not? A little of that quicksilver wit and urbane self-indulgence would do him a world of good.

"Danse?" a low voice asked near his ear. Methos turned and studied the young man beside him. Not tall. Not overly pretty, but with a clean-lined, attractive face. Fair. Blue eyes, clear and unshadowed by questions save the obvious one. Not what he was looking for tonight, but there was no harm in amusing himself in the meantime.

He inclined his head, flashing a sidelong smile as he finished his drink in one long swallow and left the glass on the bar.


The lights and gyrating forms around them were painting patterns of blue and gold on his partner's lovely fair skin. Methos followed the patterns up the warm throat with his mouth, tasting them, feeling the young man shiver in response.

"Dessous?" he murmured in the boy's ear. Downstairs? The young man nodded. He turned and started off the dance floor, Methos a step behind.

So focused was he on the most basic of human urges, on the young man's compact form in front of him, Methos almost didn't register the sensation at first. Then...

...then the buzz rose in him, swelling over him and lighting up his nerves like a brush fire, stopping him where he stood. He forgot to breathe for a moment, unable to do anything but close his eyes and feel it.

Duncan. His aura unmistakable, ever since that devastating, endless moment of connection in Bordeaux. And the feel of him now, deep and sweet as a cool spring and underlined with a minor chord like grief, or regret--Methos turned, heart in his throat, and saw him standing near the door.

In his current state, the man's buzz alone was enough to slay him. But the sight of him made slow heat flush Methos' skin, made his mouth go dry. Gods have mercy--what was he wearing? And what was he doing here? Pulse racing, Methos felt a spark of panic, but even that felt distant, muted by the sharp arrow of need that stabbed through him as he met the dark eyes regarding him through the sea of bodies and swirling lights. He felt naked, laid bare before that searching gaze, and he wanted nothing more than to go to him and feel those arms go around him, feel that warm, beautiful body against his.

Not good. Oh, not good. Very bad, in fact. The worst.

MacLeod was moving, then, coming towards him, and Methos felt his heart miss a beat, his sex hardening in helpless response. The light hadn't deceived him. MacLeod really was clad in a black leather jacket, skin-hugging leather pants and a black mesh thing that delineated the muscles of his chest and abdomen in lascivious detail, shimmering liquidly as he moved. His hair flowed loose over his shoulders. A silver belt-buckle gleamed at his waist, drawing attention unerringly to the muscular hips, the deliciously taut shadows and sheen of the leather between his thighs.

Methos swallowed hard. God help him.

Mind spinning in neutral, the throb of the music pulsing light through his veins, he found himself incapable of moving or looking away as the man came toward him. On anyone else, those clothes might have been good for a laugh; it really wasn't that kind of club. But on him...on him they were incendiary. Small consolation that Methos wasn't alone in his reaction; he was peripherally aware of the looks that followed MacLeod's progress across the room, the faintly stunned expressions of raw lust that he knew must be mirrored on his own face. For one terrible moment he felt the purely primitive instinct to go to his knees--then he wrenched his gaze up, made himself lift his chin and meet the other man's eyes. He couldn't, he realized very soberly, afford this. Not tonight, not when his defenses were already shot to hell.

MacLeod stopped in front of him, searching his gaze, the expressive face as aggravatingly resolute as ever. "Adam," he said, not quite a question, conscious of the audience they'd gathered in their immediate vicinity. The tension between them was so thick it probably crackled visibly in the air. They had to stand very close to hear one another.

"There is no more Adam," Methos said bluntly, fighting to keep perception narrowed to the essentials. "Adam is a memory." He meant it to wound, and saw it hit the mark with gratifying impact. Unfortunately pain, like everything else, looked good on MacLeod. The heat of the man's body had Methos fairly trembling already, undermining his fiercest resolve.

"Well, then, whatever your name is, I could use a drink. Join me?" MacLeod didn't wait for an answer. He strode off toward the bar, and it was only then that Methos remembered his young companion, long since vanished into the crowd. He knew what he should do. Turn around right now, find the boy--or any willing body--and make himself scarce.

The only problem with that was, he couldn't seem to keep his eyes from following MacLeod, his breath coming short at the picture that prowling, long-strided gait made in the leather and boots. Methos might be Immortal--but he was only human, after all. There was temptation, and then there was Temptation. Besides, he rationalized, things between them could hardly get any worse than they'd been. He had precious little to lose.

After a long, masochistic moment of self-torture, he tore his gaze away from MacLeod's rear view, gave in to the inevitable, and followed.

Methos took the scotch MacLeod had ordered for him without comment, trying not to let his eyes linger too obviously on the other man's body, failing miserably. The music wasn't helping; bass pounded in his bones, seductive and compelling, a rhythm as old as time.

MacLeod had leaned up against the bar beside him, far too close for comfort. Methos' eyes were drawn beyond his will to the other man's profile, so painfully familiar, brooding and pensive as Mac nursed his own drink; Methos was finding it impossible not to be overwhelmed by the intimacy of standing here with him in this place, drinking with him, tracing the pure lines of his body with his gaze and remembering the taste of them all, the feel of them under his hands.

He averted his gaze, turning to lean on the bar, closing both hands around the steadying coolness of the glass. What had he done to deserve this purgatory? Scratch that. He knew all too well the sins he was guilty of, and they were legion. What he really wanted to know was, what the bloody hell was MacLeod doing here?

"So," he said with forced casualness, "how'd you know where to find me?"

MacLeod gave a languid shrug and took a sip of his whisky. "I didn't know it was supposed to be a secret."

Methos shot him a glare of annoyance. "Dawson, I suppose. Or maybe it was our dear, meddling Amanda. What happened, the two of you decided I needed rescuing, is that it? Poor Methos--he's really gone to hell in a hand basket. You know, I bet he's off right now having a good time. Better go rescue him before he does something really dreadful."

One eyebrow rose. "Is that what you're doing? Having a good time? Because it doesn't look much like it to me."

"Oh, really."

"Yeah, really." Dark eyes turned to regard him seriously. "But you did come in here for something," Mac said at last.

God, those eyes. Methos made himself look at the glass in his hands. "Yes, and I'm drinking it."

"I don't think so," Duncan said, almost gently.

Methos found himself in agony, hearing the knowing tone, feeling Duncan beside him, the sex of him a breathtaking force that seemed to wrap itself around Methos' insides and hold him captive. Duncan couldn't know--but somehow, he did know. Somehow he'd read Methos like a book.

Methos wanted to sink into the floor. Instead he forced himself to take a swallow of the pungent liquor, though it nearly choked him.

Duncan, damn him, was frowning at him, concerned. "You think maybe you've had enough of that?"

The laugh bubbled up before Methos could stop it. It caught in his throat and tasted like ash, escaping him in a soft, breathless sound that felt too close to something more vulnerable than laughter. A wave of dizziness swept him. "I have not had nearly enough," he said distinctly. That disapproving, disappointed look was far too familiar, and still hurt far more than it should have. "And I'm pretty sure no one asked your opinion on the matter."

Duncan shook his head, troubled. "What if you ran into one of us in the shape you're in? This isn't like you, Methos."

And that hurt more. Hearing the worry beneath the gentle chastisement. Feeling his response to it, hungry and instinctive, like a plant to sunlight. "How would you know?" he snapped, a last-ditch defense against the longing that sang inside of him now. "For all you know it could be just like me. You don't know the first thing about me, remember?"

But Duncan refused to rise to the bait, taking the blow on the chin as if he felt he'd deserved that one. "Right," he said pointedly. "And you know everything there is to know about me. I'm an open book to you, isn't that right? Sorry, I forgot for a minute."

Startled, Methos met his eyes, feeling a chill of understanding. "Is that what this is about?" Involuntarily, his gaze swept the other man's body, the unlikely, enflaming manner of dress.

Duncan only looked at him, face set in stubborn lines, accusation in his gaze.

That so-familiar look sparked Methos' temper like match to tinder. "What, you want me to say that you're right, that I don't know a thing about what makes you tick? That you surprised the hell out of me, coming in here dressed like that? Fine. I admit it. What the hell difference does it make, MacLeod? It doesn't change anything." And before he could guard against it, something hot and tight rose in his throat, making his eyes burn unexpectedly. "Nothing I say now can change anything. Don't you get it?"

"Yeah," Duncan said evenly, not dropping Methos' gaze for a moment. "I get it."

Insanity, to play this game with him. Something in Methos gave way, and he closed his eyes, averting his face. "Then what do you want from me?"

There was a pause. "What do I want?" Duncan's voice turned husky, layered with intimate, dark promise, and goose flesh rose on Methos' nape. "What do I want." That tone--surely Methos must be imagining it. But he wasn't. Duncan was going on, his breath soft against the side of Methos' neck, his voice a rough purr, annihilating inches away. "Same thing you want, Methos. Same thing you came in here for. I should have thought that was obvious."

Bright heat flared behind Methos' breastbone. Just as he thought he might lose it, haul off and slug the arrogant bastard for making a joke of it, he felt the steady, warm pressure of Duncan's broad hand against the small of his back.

"What's the matter, old man? Don't trust me? Or don't think I'm capable of giving you what you need?"

Methos shivered hard, nothing he could have controlled, and between one breath and the next he was lost in a memory, vivid and visceral: Duncan's broad, callused hands at his wrists, immobilizing him that first night so long ago, warm rough pressure that had turned him to a naked, aching embodiment of want. That touch against his back, light but firm, brought him to the same shivering, achingly hard state. It was a promise his body knew intimately, needed so badly that for a long, agonizing moment, he couldn't breathe, or speak.

But he knew he didn't need to. His answer was written all over him, unmistakable; written in his face, averted and hot with shame, in his body, so obviously aroused Duncan could probably smell it on him, in the mortifying tremors he couldn't control and that Duncan must surely be able to feel. His thoughts spun, unable to find purchase; denial was what he needed but denial wouldn't come. There was only this mute, helpless surrender to the weight of that proprietary touch against the hollow at his spine.

At last he managed to settle on something that was relevant. "What about you and Amanda...I thought--"

"You assumed, you mean."

Methos' eyes flew open and he turned on the other man. "Well, what was I supposed to assume?" His voice had risen sharply, and several heads turned in their immediate vicinity.

Duncan gave him a cautioning look, and leaned closer still, never taking that hand from his back. "You weren't supposed to assume anything," he grated quietly, as intense as if he were shouting. "You were supposed to talk to me!"

Disbelieving, Methos shook his head. "I thought that's what I was doing. The other day, you--"

"I'm not talking about the other day," Duncan said harshly, the words breaking like glass in his throat. "I'm talking about that day. Last fall. When you decided to lie to me because you knew how I'd react if you told me the truth." His teeth flashed, something that might have been a snarl, or a grimace of pain.

It set off Methos' own long-buried rage and pain like match to tinder. "And was I wrong?" he countered fiercely, heat pressing behind his eyes. "Can you honestly tell me I was?"

"Well, we'll never know, will we?" Duncan whispered harshly, so close they might have been about to kiss.

Despair welled in Methos. Why couldn't he just let it go? What good was it doing to drag both of them through this again? "Let it go, Duncan," he said at last, drawing away from the unbearable nearness of him. "Just let it go. We can't change any of it. Just...just let me go. Please." His voice broke, throat closing on the last word.

"I can't," Duncan said roughly. "I tried."

And there was naked need in his voice, a sound that made Methos look at him, against his will. The need was there in his face, too, unmistakable, in his eyes, bright now with grief and hunger.

"I don't care any more, Methos," he ground out at last. "Tonight, I don't care about any of it. Just come home with me. Please."

There was no part of Methos that thought of refusing.

This was the punishment he'd sought, he realized with perfect clarity, letting Duncan guide him from the club with that maddening, incendiary touch at his back. The understanding unfolded within him like the relaxing of a fist. He'd known all the time that what he was likely to find in a place like this would be only a pale approximation of what he needed; instead he'd been given the real thing.

Only Duncan was real, as it seemed now it had always been. Only the two of them, in this private hell of Methos' own making. He understood, though. It made perfect sense. This was his punishment for the lies he'd told. Not the ones about Kronos, or Cassandra. Not the ones hurled in his fear and rage and pain that bleak morning by the car. The ones he'd told with his body in all those moments of communion in the dark, when he'd made them both believe that he was someone Duncan could trust.

The night was warm, but he shivered at the touch of the breeze off the river as it brushed his skin. Everything felt like too much. Most of all, the unbearable closeness he felt with Duncan, the rawness of it. He didn't want to understand this beautiful cruelty. Didn't want to ache with sympathy for his tormentor. After such a long winter of careful numbness, this intensity of feeling was excruciating.

He got in the car without a word. Still feeling the imprint of that touch at his back, he watched Duncan get in, watched him close the door and put the key in the ignition. Watched his thighs and his sex lovingly outlined, flexing against the rich leather, the shimmer of the mesh shirt barely concealing the firm, compact muscles of his chest and belly, the soft black hair Methos knew traced those same curves. He felt the pulse of craving like hunger pangs.

And gods have mercy, as if the sight of him in that devastating, impossible get up wasn't bad enough, in the close quarters of the car, Methos found himself breathing the man's various scents, each distinct and inescapable. The spice of his soap or shampoo or some other damn thing, the sharp bite of the whisky on his lips, the butter-rich scent of the leather overtoned with the warm scents of his body.

The desire to just climb inside him for a while and breathe him like oxygen was overpowering.

Methos shuddered faintly, feeling the last of his control deserting him. Whatever Duncan thought he was trying to prove, Methos found he didn't care. Duncan was right. All he wanted was to go home with him and forget everything, just press their skins as close together as friction and physics would allow.

Duncan started the car. Then, feeling the heat of Methos' gaze, his hand fell and he looked over, returning the favor of Methos' stare with agonizingly slow deliberation, his hot gaze roaming Methos' body, lingering on the hard outline of his arousal.

"Why don't you undo those jeans for me?" he suggested easily, eyes heavy-lidded, lips reddened slightly with the heat of his perusal.

Methos flushed, as it came home to him that they were really going to do this. "You trying to get us arrested?" It came out breathless--and not at all in the derisive tone he meant it to.

"No one will see." Duncan met his eyes unflinching, utterly unselfconscious. Expectant. "I want to watch you." The way he was looking at Methos was almost hypnotic in its intensity.

Methos didn't move. It was a subtle new variation on hell, but not totally unexpected. He didn't want to do this. Didn't think he could bear that kind of vulnerability, being naked to the other man's gaze and unable to touch him. But the thought of it--the matter-of-fact expectation in that bright, hot look--had him throbbing hard against his jeans. They hadn't touched one another since that night on the roof so long ago. Duncan had wanted to watch him then, too. Had breathed his name as encouragement, something like reverence in his voice.

But he couldn't think about that. Could afford it now less than ever.

Duncan was waiting, and it hit Methos why he was waiting, why he hadn't pulled away from the curb. It was up to Methos now. He could get out of the car if he wanted to, and Duncan would drive away and that would be the end of it.

Almost a minute passed, the only sound the soft raggedness of Methos' own breath, his own heart thundering in his ears.

"This isn't going to solve anything," he warned.

Something dangerously like satisfaction gleamed in the other man's eyes. "Maybe not." But he made no other move, just watched Methos with that expectant, challenging gaze. Another minute stretched out between them. Methos knew he should just open the door, get out of the car, go back inside and find someone, anyone, to make him forget this strange, surreal meeting had ever happened.

"Drive," he said at last, voice hoarse with the effort it took to say it.

When Methos had managed to get the buttons of his jeans unfastened, when he was bared to the view of the man beside him and his heart was pounding, his cock naked and hot in his hand, he was excruciatingly aware of why he had been so reluctant to do this, why Duncan had wanted him to. It was too much like that first night in the loft. The smell of the leather, that low, intimate voice in the dark.  He stole a glance at Duncan's silhouette beside him, so controlled and unbearably remote; Methos' hand tightened involuntarily on his sex, a jolt of heat lancing through him.

He didn't want to do this. Didn't want the pale comfort of his own touch when Duncan was so close, only an arm's length away. He wanted Duncan's hands on him. Wanted to be spread open and fucked within an inch of his life. Wanted the heat and the pain of the Highlander's beautiful cock buried inside him. But Duncan wanted to watch him, and--oh, Christ, now that he'd started he didn't know if he could make himself stop.

"That's it," Duncan murmured, eyes on the street ahead. "Nice and slow." He soothed his own rampant erection, one hand on the wheel, and spread his thighs a little, giving himself more room in the already-snug pants.

Methos' breath caught, the throb of heat pulsing hard through his belly. Who had he been trying to kid? Tonight, he'd do anything short of beg for it and take whatever Duncan would give him, and there was no use pretending there'd ever been any real doubt.

He closed his eyes; he was close already, all it would take would be a few steady strokes, a little hard friction and he would go off like a bottle rocket all over the leather seats. For an instant he was desperate enough to consider it. Only the dark promise in that deep voice held him back--the unspoken assurance that if he was very, very good, he might yet have what he really wanted. What he needed most. And so he kept his touch light, eased himself back from the edge and gave his tormentor what he wanted, feeling the occasional heat of that proprietary gaze as it brushed over him, as Duncan drove them deeper into the night, a winding progress towards home.

"It wasn't Dawson," Duncan said after a while, his voice close and intimate in the darkness. "Or Amanda."

Methos opened his eyes, swallowed hard. Duncan's eyes were still on the street ahead, but he was flushed, the heat of his body radiating across the little space between them. Methos had to force himself to slow the motion of his hand on his cock; gods, if Duncan was going to talk to him while he did this--

"What d'you mean?" he asked hoarsely, his own voice ragged.

"I mean that's not how I knew where to find you."


"No." Was that faint flush embarrassment? "I was following you, Methos. Last night, and the night before."

That confession was enough to make Methos pause. "Why?" he asked at last, feeling...he wasn't sure what he felt about the idea of Duncan following him.

"I don't know why I did it," Duncan admitted. "Except...I needed to see you. But I didn't know what to say. Where to start--don't stop, Methos."

"Mac, I can't--"

"No, don't stop. I want to watch you."

Methos shuddered. His cock was a live thing in his hand now, the barest occasional brush of fingertips from tip to base enough to keep him on the keen edge of ecstasy. And Jesus, Duncan wanted to play true confessions, when he was already so turned on he couldn't think? Methos would never have guessed the man had that kind of twistedly subtle cruelty in him. "Sadist," he breathed, not really kidding. "You are going to let me touch you, aren't you?"

Dark eyes flickered towards him, raked his body, then went back to the road. "Oh, yes."

Oh, yes. Methos willed himself to stop, to draw deep breaths. "Just planning on torturing me for a while first, is that it?"

"Something like that."

Something exactly like that. Well, two could play at that game. Methos deliberately gathered a drop of slick fluid from the head of his cock and drew a delicate, wet circle around the tip; the other man wet his lips in response, watching Methos in his peripheral vision. Feeling Duncan's arousal like sunlight against his skin, Methos did it again--and closed his eyes as the heat rose in a wave, threatening to crest without any further stimulation. "Got to admit," he said to distract himself, "I give you extra points for style. If you wanted my attention, you got it."

"I just wanted you," Duncan said, straightforward and unashamed now. "And I didn't want to see you go home with another one of those boys."


"Don't stop, Methos," Duncan murmured, not looking at him, the controlled hunger in the Highlander's voice singing in his blood.

"I won't. Christ." He bit his lip, holding on to the pain. "Why now?"

For an excruciating eternity of seconds, he waited for Duncan's voice to release him.

"I thought if I saw you again it would be better," the answer came at last, harsh and shadowed with all the hurts between them. "But it wasn't. And I was tired of missing you and feeling like there was nothing I could do about it."

Oh, Duncan. Methos' felt his heart kick, the feeling sending a jolt straight to his cock. He closed his eyes, breathing hard and trying like hell not to come. It shouldn't have mattered so much, to hear Duncan say he'd missed him. But it did. It mattered. Something painful and sweet bloomed in him, and a breathless laugh escaped him. "We always did do better in the dark, didn't we?"

"Maybe we did," Duncan said softly. And the warm pressure of his palm closed gently against Methos' nape, making Methos breathe in sharply, all the hair on his body rising at the unexpected contact. "I'm sorry for that, Methos. Maybe I should have tried harder to change that. Maybe then we wouldn't be where we are now." His voice was thick, barely more than a whisper in the darkness.

Methos swallowed, unable to help himself arching into his touch. "Maybe," he murmured, all he could manage.

For a long, measureless time, Duncan kept his hand there, and Methos just held still under the weight of that grip, lost in a haze of hot, dark pleasure, the waves of need becoming almost soothing in their rhythmic pulse through his body, until they crossed some threshold, reached a higher plateau that made him groan softly, unable to help himself.

"We're home," Duncan said, a deep, steadying note in his voice. He withdrew his hand.

Methos drew a ragged breath and opened his eyes. It was the truth; there was the quay. He squeezed himself hard, then forced himself to tuck himself back in his jeans and lay his palms flat against his thighs. He felt himself trembling faintly, and wondered how he'd make it inside.

Duncan pulled up beside the barge and stopped the car. Then turned at last to look at him, eyes dark and hot in the shadows. They were dilated almost black, the beating of his heart a visible pulse at his strong throat--and Methos realized with a clenching, hot feeling in his stomach that he was not the only one Duncan had been torturing during that endless drive through the darkened streets. Involuntarily his eyes went to the bulge between the other man's thighs, seeing the unmistakable hardness pressing hotly against the leather. His breath came short, mouth watering with the desire he'd been fighting ever since he'd first seen Duncan in the club: the longing to bury his face in the man's lap and feel those strong hands cradling his head as he worshipped Duncan there with his tongue. He dragged his eyes back to Duncan's with effort, breathing hard, finding no words in him at all.

"You want me, don't you, sionnach?" Duncan said softly, the Gaelic touching his inflections like the brush of velvet against silk. But if it was meant to tease, Duncan's eyes were kind, his expression unbearably gentle. He didn't wait for Methos to answer, only nodded, smiling a little, painfully. "Yes, you do. It's been too long, hasn't it?" He reached out then, tracing the line of Methos' cheek and jaw, a touch that made Methos' pulse leap. "For me, too." His thumb stroked the hollow just above Methos' jugular, and Methos couldn't help the shudder that ran through him. Anything, he wanted to say. Anything you want. Only please, make it soon. He bit it back with effort, fought to calm the racing of his heart.

"Come on," Duncan said, and let him go. He got out of the car and strode towards the gangplank; it was several minutes before Methos could follow.

Duncan was standing by the bar and pouring himself a drink as Methos came in. He looked up, eyes hot, watching Methos take two steps inside; Methos stopped just inside the door. He drew a deep breath and tried to regain some semblance of control, but that look seemed to reach inside him and make reasonable thought impossible.

"Come here," Duncan said quietly. He took a long draught from the glass, watching Methos over the rim.

Something started to crumble in Methos. Now it would begin in earnest. Now Duncan would begin to exact the price Methos had known he would have to pay, the retribution he both rebelled against and hungered for with equal passion. Hunger won out; haltingly, as if the steps he took each cost their own immeasurable price, he went.

"You going to pour me one of those?" he asked, when he was only an arm's length away. He didn't really want a drink, but it would be something to hold on to, something to help anchor him against the need that was sweeping through him in waves, the longing to just go to Duncan and give over any remaining semblance of restraint, just curl up against him and take whatever punishment the man would give.

But Duncan was shaking his head, something like regret touching his face. "No," he said quietly, putting the tumbler down.

And reached out. Wrapped his hand, cool from the glass, around Methos' neck, fingers sliding into his hair. Instinctively, Methos shuddered away, but Duncan pulled him close, pulled him in against one muscular thigh. Methos felt the exquisite sensation of the buttery leather as it snugged up hard between his legs, Duncan's thumb caressing his jaw--and his knees gave. He couldn't help it. Before he knew it the pressure of that hand on his throat meant business, and Duncan was pushing him down, fingers laced in his hair, pulling his head back, pulling his face between Duncan's thighs.

"This is what you really want, isn't it?" A dark note sang beneath the words, fierce with lust and demand, taking Methos apart as his subconscious remembered just where he'd heard that note before and responded with fervent, unhesitating assent. Duncan had his face pressed up against blunt, incinerating heat, that rigid demand insistent against his nose and cheek--his scent was as incredible as Methos had imagined-- "This," Duncan said again, deliberately rubbing Methos' face back and forth against himself. "Fucking your mouth, fucking you until you can't remember your own name or anything else except this right up inside you, so deep you feel it all the way through you, your legs spread for me, that's what you want, isn't it?"

And Methos knew he'd been wrong if he'd thought he wouldn't beg. He would. Whatever it took, whatever he had to do to have Duncan inside of him, any way Duncan would give it to him. He clung to the man's hips and bit back the name that was aching inside him, some last shred of self refusing to let him say it, because to say it would be to lay himself open to the bone. "Yes," he whispered instead, praying it would be enough.

"Yes," Duncan echoed, so gently. "Yes. I know." And for a long, blessed moment, he caressed the side of Methos' face and let him stay like that, eyes closed, head resting against Duncan's thighs.

Then he bent down, seized Methos by the hair, and Methos had time only to gasp a breath and feel a spinning flash of vertigo as his head was dragged back firmly, his face turned up--

--and Duncan was kissing him deeply, savagely, taking his mouth with that singular, passionate concentration of his. Methos felt himself turning boneless against him, grasping at his body, so hot under the leather and silk mesh, breathing a silent prayer of thankfulness to any god, whatever the reason for this unexpected mercy, Methos didn't care, just as long as he didn't stop. That soft tongue in his mouth, caressing his own so intimately, the whisky sweetness, the heat of him--it felt like a benediction, one he hadn't expected to feel ever again.

It went on for long, dizzying moments, then ended too soon as Duncan pulled away, breathless and flushed. "Come here," he said hoarsely, and dragged Methos to his feet, pinning him, unresisting, against the bar. Before he knew he meant to do it Methos had yielded to him utterly, giving up the war before it ever started, not caring about anything else but feeling that mouth on his again. Physical surrender, even pain, might have been what he'd been looking for tonight, but now he ached, needed something else, something more.

"Not like that," he said in a rush, knowing even as the words escaped him that he would take it on any terms. But his heart had been numb and cold for so long, and he had to ask. "Not--as punishment."

Duncan broke away, flushed, breathless, his eyes bright and hot, questioning, then darkening with painful understanding. "No," he whispered, and pulled Methos into his arms, gathering him close for a moment, just holding him.

Methos started to shake, feeling the acceptance he'd asked for in that heartfelt embrace, knowing Duncan wasn't ready to say the words but feeling it nonetheless. Knowing for the first time that they were going to get past this. Not easy, never easy with him--but worth it. Worth his betrayal of Kronos, of Silas, all of it.

His need to have Duncan inside of him welled up, sharp, overwhelming. He pressed himself against Duncan's body, pleading wordlessly.

The other man groaned, hands shifting down Methos' back, clutching Methos' ass and pulling him in hard against Duncan's hips, rubbing their erections together; he went on doing it as he bent his head and kissed Methos, deep and hot and needful. By the time he'd finished, he was shuddering, hard, and Methos was clinging to him, hands under his coat, close to coming from the feel of him through the leather.

"Christ, Mac, please--"

"I want inside you, now," Duncan growled.

Heat throbbed hard through Methos' belly and thighs, making him gasp. Duncan's hands had found their way under his clothing, the palm of one rubbing roughly against a nipple that grew instantly hard in response, the other snaking under his jeans from behind, squeezing his ass, moving them towards the steps. "You trying to kill me?" Methos managed, unable to help himself from rubbing his aching sex against an answering hardness. Another second and he was going to be unable to stop.

"Now," Duncan insisted. Methos felt warm fingertips curve between the cheeks of his ass, making him shudder uncontrollably; he moaned softly, beyond speech now, his panting breaths beginning to come harsh with the aching hunger to have Duncan on top of him, buried deep within him, fucking him.

Duncan shrugged out of his coat, backing up the steps; Methos followed, went on kissing him as if Duncan's tongue were the only thing sustaining him. His hands kneaded blindly at the velvety-smooth curves of him, the muscles that flexed against his palms and the nipples that peaked, hard and hungry, under his curling fingers. His mouth watered and he broke free of the kissing to bend down blindly, to draw Duncan's hard nipple into his mouth through the cloth, sucking and tonguing the silk, feeling Duncan's heart rate leap in response. He barely noticed it when the other man's hands dragged his shirt off in one swift motion; he broke off tasting him only long enough for Duncan to pull the shirt over his head before he had that sweet flesh in his mouth again, sucking and biting.

"Enough!" Duncan grated, feral now. In another moment Methos' jeans were open, and Duncan was pulling them down forcefully; Methos shuddered, his cock throbbing fiercely at the rough friction of the fabric. Duncan pushed him down onto the bed, stripping him. Boots first, then the jeans; Duncan's hair was wild about his head, magnificent. Methos spread his legs, cock standing up hard in his lap. He wrapped his arms around Duncan's hips and pulled him close, tonguing him through the leather and moaning at the hot, hard feel of him. Duncan's knees buckled but he held himself up against Methos' shoulders, making a low sound of encouragement as he watched Methos worship him with his tongue.

Methos licked fervently between Duncan's thighs, tasting heat and musk that had him panting again, humming faintly in ecstatic appreciation. He made his hands busy at Duncan's belt, licking and biting at the man's sex through the leather.

Duncan was shaking now, hands clutching at Methos' shoulders. "Fuck, Methos--enough. Enough." He sank down to crouch between Methos' thighs and bent his head, licking behind the head of Methos' cock in retribution. The jab of hot pleasure was so sharp, so strong that Methos couldn't help the cry that broke from his throat. He sank his hands into Duncan's hair, but Duncan was already moving, pulling his own boots off and rising. He stripped off the mesh shirt and at the sight of him--his tawny, flushed skin and that familiar, fluid musculature--Methos couldn't keep his hands from reaching out to touch.

Then Duncan started to undo the pants, so tight and soft, cupping his cock and balls and hugging his hips, those beautiful strong thighs.

"Leave them on," Methos urged, and Duncan nodded and pulled a tiny tube of lube out of the pocket. Methos' heart threatened to pound itself into a coronary as he helped Duncan unlace the leather pants with hands that shook, watched that big, velvety, beautiful cock freed from its prison and eager in Duncan's hand. His own throbbed hungrily.

And Duncan had the cap off of that tiny tube of plastic, was slicking his fingers with the stuff. It would be hot from Duncan's body, Methos realized, and he shivered in anticipation as Duncan slicked the gel down over himself, making himself ready, making a pearl of fluid spring fresh from the tip of his cock and glisten there. Methos' cock jerked, made him feel the slippery wetness which already streaked his own sex. Another vibration throbbed between his thighs, harder than the last, the ache within him hot and more than ready to be filled. God, he was close--he was going to come the second Duncan entered him. Imagining how it was going to feel, goose bumps flushed over his skin.

Duncan tossed the tube aside, one knee sinking to the bed between Methos' legs, warm hands running down Methos' thighs and cupping the underside of his knees, pushing him back. "Now, Methos," Duncan crooned, bending over him, such tenderness in his face, his touch, the heat in Methos' body flamed bright and pure. "Now it's just you and me."

Then his mouth found Methos', opened him up and claimed him, and Methos felt the truth, the fervent, undeniable answer in his own body: it always was. It always was. Eyes clenched shut, body shuddering its desperate assent as their tongues caressed, he pulled Duncan down hard against him, covered himself in hot, exquisitely heavy MacLeod, his arms and legs wrapping themselves around the man of their own volition and beyond his control.

And--oh, Christ--he'd been right, he'd been right because Duncan was touching him at his hot and yielding center, pressing velvet-slick heat inside of him, entering him in one smooth, irresistible, unbearably erotic push that seemed to light a path of firing nerves so deep, so deep within him, intense and hot as a star. It went on and on, a wave of breath-stealing pleasure that rose over him like the sea. Then Duncan began to move and he fell gratefully into the rhythm that caught him, the unbearable mercy of the hard thrusting that brought a second wave, higher and deeper than the first, that picked him up and swept him along with it. Blind, he threw his head back with a sob of relief and felt that voracious mouth on his throat, the hungry assault making him keen faintly, writhing shamelessly with the pleasure of it.

Lost in the unbearable crescendo rising within him, Methos held on with all his strength, but he wasn't alone--Duncan's strength was steadfast, inescapable, one arm gripping Methos tight against him, the other hand clenching slick, hot and generous around Methos' rigid sex. The heat of him stabbed deep into Methos and stayed there for a long, exquisite span of seconds. And oh, god, it wasn't punishment, not anything was grace, and acceptance, anger, yes, but understanding too, and a deep, intimate gentleness that ravaged him to the core. I want him to live. The heartfelt truth, the pure note of certainty sung from Duncan's body to his, simple and undeniable.

Panting and groaning his thankfulness, he shuddered hard into the waiting grip of Duncan's merciful palm and felt the terrifying wave begin to crest. He fought it, not wanting it to ever end, feeling his breath seize again on a sob at how good it felt to finally, finally have him deep inside, so deep inside, right where he needed him, right where he was meant to be. "Duncan," he gasped, needing to say it now as badly as he'd needed to keep it inside before. Don't stop, he wanted to plead, couldn't form the words. Don't--

"I'm here," Duncan gasped, his voice high and breathless, utterly open, his face hot against Methos' neck as he let go and thrust, and thrust, and thrust again, so hard it felt like he would fuse them together with the sheer force of his need. He rocked them together, right into the hot, blazing darkness closing down around them, the beautiful, still heart of the flame.

"Please, Mac--oh god--" Lost, so lost in the place he had so longed to be.

"Methos--" Breathless answer to his plea. One last deep, exquisite penetration, blunt heat at his core.

Then Duncan was choking on Methos' name, on the powerful crest of release that seized him in a violent, clenching shudder, his whole body racked with it, his hips thrust up hard against Methos, sweat springing up at his throat, salty and delicious to Methos' searching lips as Duncan's orgasm took him, claimed him--and Methos was so focused on the gorgeous release of the man shaking in his arms that his own climax at last flooded him in a slow tidal surge of unstoppable force, his body curling up in surprised, excruciating ecstasy, breath rushing out of him in a silent cry.

It was a long time before he knew anything else.

"Duncan," he whispered voicelessly an eternity later, when they clung to each other in the breathless, shaking aftermath. It seemed to be the only word left to him. The other man's legs, still encased in leather, felt hot and intimate entwined with his.

"I know." The deep voice was hoarse, a rough murmur near his ear. Duncan's face was wet, overheated where his cheek pressed against Methos'. "It's okay. It's over now," he said, fingertips smoothing Methos' hair. The dampness might have been only sweat; Methos closed his eyes and didn't test that theory. For now it was enough just to hold to each other and try and put the pieces of the world back together.

After what felt like a long time, when he'd caught his breath, he swallowed and found more of the words that needed to be said. "It might might not be the last time I make a mistake like that. Trust is not exactly my strong suit."

"Methos." The hot, damp face nuzzled at his jaw. "I know. Just...try, okay? That's all I ask. All either of us can ask."

All. Gods help me, Methos thought, wanting to laugh. All, he says.

But he nodded, fingers finding the other man's hair and entwining themselves there, pressing their faces close. "I'll try," he promised, a pressure aching in his chest. He didn't make promises, knowing too well how empty they could turn out to be. But this man seemed to make him want to break all his own rules.

And then Duncan shifted against him. "Damn you," he cursed roughly, rubbing Methos' temple with his cheek, shifting his weight off of Methos and pulling him close. "I do love you. You know that, don't you?"

There was a long stillness, in which the rocking of the barge, its faint creaks and groans, and the soft lapping of the river were the only sounds. At last Methos found his voice. "I think I'm beginning to get the picture," he said huskily, heart pounding as if it might break free of his chest and take flight like a winged thing. Then a slow grin found him, took hold before he could do anything to stop it. He buried it against Duncan's warm throat. "But maybe you'd better show me a few more times."

"Just to be on the safe side?" Duncan's voice was a rumble in his chest, his arms squeezing a little tighter.

"Oh, I'm all for safety," Methos agreed, nuzzling sweat-damp skin. "But you knew that."

Duncan sighed, a much-put-upon sound that was belied by the responsive stirring of his sex against Methos' hip. "You know," he said tenderly, "that's the trouble with you, Methos."

Methos had begun to lick softly at the salt-musk hollow just below the other man's jaw, his eyes closing in concentration. "Mm," he murmured distractedly between licks. "And what's that?"

Duncan chuckled, hand finding the back of Methos' head and pressing his mouth closer still. "You're so bloody predictable."


 The End