Disclaimers: Mine? No Money? No. Really.
Rated R. Yes, there's sex, of a sort, and yes, people get a little angsty.
Notes: My first ROG story! This is set a little bit at Rev 6:8, when the angst level is still high. Thanks go out to Jill, who wanted me to let Mac clean Methos up. Slowly. Carefully. Next time, I promise!
The small flame crackled into existence, licking and caressing the open books pages as easily as an old lover. Slowly, more slowly than he would have thought or wished, the fire ate away the memories, turning the delicate white pages into ashes. What was lost in this book? If he cared, he would have noticed it was a cheap, mass produced journal, black with "Record" embossed on the front in cheap fool's gold lettering. Probably something from the 50s, probably something English. He vaguely remembered that being an exquisitely boring decade, but it was an academic, clinical memory, uncolored by smells and tastes, unspoiled by personal associations, by friends, by lovers.
Lovers. Lovers. He had once had lovers, hadn't he? It was difficult to struggle through the fogthere had been a Rebekah, maybe? Byron, yes. Many many others, but they had no names. Most of them barely had faces; he knew a smile here and then, or recognized the way a tear glided over a particular cheekbone, but really nothing else. Except with Kronos, of course. Kronos, his Guardian, his Tormentor, his Angel, his Brother. And now Kronos was gone forever, consumed in a rush of lightening and pain by a Highland warrior whom Methos had once called friend.
He reached into the fireplace and gently patted the flames out with the palm of his hand. Damn! Had fire always burned like that? Surely not. He stared at his hand in fascination, watching the blisters heal, so entranced that he ignored the knock at the door and the burning itch in his brain. The door opened anyway.
"Methos ? What the hell?" MacLeod stalked into the room, taking in the pile of journals strewn about the floor, the drawn curtains, the combined smells of smoke and a long unwashed body. This wasn't right. The normally tidy Methos was a disaster, his hair oily and mussed, his eyes as flat, like those of a dead fish. No, there was definitely something desperately wrong.
Methos turned finally, his movement more of a relief than Mac cared to admit. "Get out."
Mac tried to swallow the unbidden anger rising in his throat. Get out? The old man had some nerve, he had to admit. It wasn't Mac's dark past that had risen from the grave, scattering the shards of friendship and more over Bordeaux. It hadn't been Mac who had conveniently left out the small fact that he had raped and killed thousands. Did Methos think he couldn't have handled it? Maybe he could have and maybe he couldn't, but Methos had not even given him the chance to try. And now, now, after Duncan had finally rid the world of Kronos, when Methos had neither the courage or the will to do so, he was treated to "Get Out." Perfect.
MacLeod stayed exactly where he was.
"Get out," Methos repeated, expressionless. "Get out. Get out. Getoutgetoutgetoutgetout!" His voice rose higher and higher, ending in a raven's screech wings battering against a window pane... "GET OUT!"
MacLeod still stayed exactly where he was. For one half of one second.
Then he was across the room, both hands on Methos's shoulders, shaking him so hard both their teeth were rattling. Shaking, while Methos continued to wail, all words lost in some greater statement of emotion, and when that failed, slapping him soundly, first the left cheek and then the right. Finally the wailing stopped, Methos coming to rest, boneless against Mac's sweatered chest.
Mac? Mac was here? Slowly recognition seeped through the thick blanket enveloping Methos's senses. He knew Mac. He had even loved him, and when the time was right, the two had joined. Joined for a short timeone night, maybe two? He wasn't sure. But he had ruined that, hadn't he? He had sent the nascent relationship straight to hell, throwing his soul into the bargain, just for the ride. He could feel Mac's fingers at the back of his neck, kneading firmly in time with Methos's pulse.
"Ok." Mac's voice was sharp, but Methos could still feel his fingers. "What's this about? The fire? Your journals?"
Methos lifted his head, but did not pull away. He almost giggled. "Its his funeral pyre, MacLeod. His fucking funeral pyre."
"Methos's. He's dead, MacLeod. Well, almost dead." The oldest man nodded towards the pile of smoldering pages in the fireplace. "I'm doing what nobody else could ever do. I'm killing him."
Duncan nodded slowly. "I see that." All around me, he added silently. This time it was panic which surged through him, not anger. What if Methos really was gone for good, his very essence burned away in the double quickening as surely as his journals had been consumed by the fire? He felt suffocated, overwhelmed. Reaching down, he carefully took Methos's face between his hands. Unbidden, one thumb traced the thin outline of Methos's bottom lip, carefully, slowly, don't frighten him don't make him run, either from Paris or into the depths of his five thousand year old mind--
The kiss was soft, lips only, then the tongue running lightly over the backs of Methos's teeth. Mac. Mac was kissing him again. Methos pushed harder, opening his mouth wider, inhaling deeply through his nose, but Mac pulled back. Carefully, deliberately, the Scot lifted his sweater over his head, breaking eye contact with Methos only when necessary. He then removed the older man's grimy t shirt, and pulling them both down so that they lay together, facing each other as the last flame flickered and died in the hearth.
MacLeod knew too well the pleasure the body before him could bring. The memory of their single night together was etched in his mind as with acid, strangely innocent in light of their association now. Passionate and playful by turn, there had been none of this underlying sense of desperation, of hopelessness that now plagued MacLeod's soul and Methos's' mind.
Methos felt so warm, lying so still. That gentle heat emanating from within him...or was it from outside of him? Supporting, caressing, gradually suppressing all conscious thoughts, softly focusing his awareness on the light touch gliding up his thigh. Mac? He looked down and immediately a finger under his chin drew his eyes upwards.
A stray thought flickered through his mind-this can't be happening-but it was easily gentled into submission. Nothing mattered now. Nothing except this. More firmly now, the touch reached the curve in his hip, lingering there, stroking, teasing. He moaned, wanted to twist, but his body would not respond. It lay completely still, held immobile by the intensity of MacLeod's gaze.
Then Mac lowered his head to Methos's groin and paused. The touch split into two, a pair of hands, one on each hip. Unmoving, they lingered there, waiting for-- Surrender? Acquiescence? Remembrance.
MacLeod barely heard the whisper, but it was enough. The instability that had pervaded the room eased just a fraction.
Methos raised his hips slightly, almost imperceptibly, and a third sensation joined the first two. The ever present warmth coalesced below, narrowing into a tunnel of moisture and sensation. Descents and ascents took on a rhythm, echoing that of his own heart, then surpassing it. And when the final moment came, his fingers splayed, grasping first at the carpet, and then taking the Scot's head between his hands.
"Mac." His voice was stronger now, more sure, even under the patina of exhaustion and sweat.
MacLeod looked up and smiled, most of the anxiety gone from his face. It wasn't over. Perhaps it never would be. But for now, for tonight, it was once again enough.