The Space Between
Summary: Post Highlander 4: Endgame melodrama. woowoo. Yup, that about sums it up.
Disclaimer: Rysher, Panzer/Davis, etc. etc., own Highlander. I own very little. All original content (c) 2001 by Hafital.
Special thanks go to Killashandra for beta-ing, for her friendship, for everything.
Dedication: This story is dedicated to Killashandra. I owe her that much and more.
Methos stood under the fluorescent lights, feeling their oppressive starkness. JFK was nearly empty with only a dozen or so stragglers waiting, like him. He closed his eyes, listening to the far off whir of a floor buffer and the white noise from the lights fizzling above him.
He started the car and pulled away from the cemetery, hearing the crunch of the wheels over the cold Connecticut ground. Joe looked into the rear view mirror.
"We probably shouldn't just leave him."
"Yes, well, he's a big boy, Joe. And it's holy ground; he'll be fine."
As he said the words, he felt the shiver of Immortal presence cascade down his spine. With little effort, he kept his eyes on the road ahead, sparing only a glance at Joe who was occupied with the view out his window. Methos gripped the steering wheel, denying the urge to turn the car around. This was MacLeod's business. He didn't need or want Methos' interference. He breathed deeply, in and out, returning his heartbeat to normal.
He opened his eyes and looked at his watch -- 11:47 p.m. -- and sighed. He walked over to a spot with a good view of the arrival gate and leaned against a wall. Nearby, at the pay phones, a young African American woman wearing a cleaning smock began to speak loudly into the receiver. Methos thought she was too young to be working this late.
Distracted by the young woman, who began speaking rather harshly to someone named Tyrell, Methos missed the arrival of flight 106 from Edinburgh. The sounds of people greeting pulled his attention back. He stood up straighter, looking through the sudden stream of people exiting from customs for the familiar figure of the Highlander.
Casually, as he pulled into Joe's hotel back in New York, Methos turned and spoke. "Did you leave a watcher back there?"
"Yeah. A couple, actually." Joe opened the door and started to haul himself out, then stopped and turned. "You're going back, aren't you?"
"No," answered Methos, truthfully.
Joe narrowed his eyes at him. "So, what are you going to do?"
"Nothing, Joe." Another truthful answer.
Joe scowled and then got out of the car. He leaned in through the open door. "You don't really expect me to believe that, do you?"
"You can believe whatever you wish."
There was a steady stream of passengers: families, young couples, students, one or two airport wheelchairs. Methos kept himself apart, watching from his position by the wall. He smiled idly at a mother who held a dead-to-the-world child. The kid was liquid in her arms, limbs lolling about willy nilly.
The stream turned to a trickle and still no Highlander. Methos' stomach felt sour, and he thought he shouldn't have had that last cup of coffee.
He hadn't wanted to know what Connor would choose, preferring to accept the obvious and believe Connor was dead and buried in that Connecticut cemetery. Yet, after watching the lightning arc across the night sky from his hotel room, when his phone rang and it was Joe telling him, he wasn't surprised, and for a moment, that made him very sad. There was never anything he could do.
And so he waited some more, watching the sky with his phone in hand.
He actually began to despair, thinking he must have gotten the time or the date wrong and that somehow he'd missed MacLeod when he spotted him, one of the last to exit the plane.
MacLeod was a dark figure, striding slowly, following the line of people heading towards the electric doors that lead to the night outside, one shoulder weighed down with an overnight bag and his sword. As the flood of presence washed over him, Methos moved from the wall and walked to meet his friend.
"He's going to Scotland, to bury Connor."
Methos nodded, acknowledging the words. Then, realizing he was nodding to a phone, he spoke. "Yes, that makes sense."
"What are you going to do?"
Methos thought of lying, but Joe would just figure it out eventually. "I'm staying here, for awhile."
There was silence on the other end for several moments, then, "Yeah, I figured he'd come back to New York first, too. Too many loose ends need cleaning up."
Methos smiled. He always forgot how smart Joe was
MacLeod slowed to a stop some distance away. They stood like two lone gunmen in a prairie of pale cement and colored plastic, wary and cautious, dressed in long dark coats. The space between them was tangible.
Looking at Methos with a mixture of anger, annoyance, and exhaustion, MacLeod spoke roughly. "What are you doing here? Shouldn't you be back in London?"
Methos shrugged. "And miss New York City during the holidays?"
The light comeback failed to bring anything but a glower from MacLeod who started down towards the doors leading to the taxi stand.
Methos spared a look at the ceiling in silent entreaty, then followed.
The bite of the crisp fall air welcomed Methos as he stepped outside, walking over to MacLeod who stood at the end of the predictably long queue of passengers waiting for a taxi. The Highlander didn't say a word as Methos took his place next to him in line.
Methos was very much aware of the silent man at his side, but avoided looking at him. He spotted the young women from earlier standing by the curb, looking at her watch in annoyance. She must be waiting for Tyrell to pick her up, he thought. Observing the rising wrath on her pretty face Methos prayed Tyrell didn't take much longer, or someone was going to get hurt.
"You two together? Where you headed?"
It was the taxi stand attendant; they had reached the head of the queue. Methos looked at MacLeod, who met his eyes and then looked away, the lines of his exhaustion extremely evident under the yellow lighting of the waiting area.
"Did I happen to mention about all this coming to a bad end?"
"No, Methos, I don't believe you did."
Understanding, Methos spoke, addressing the impatient attendant. "Yes, we're together. 147 Mercer Street, please. On the corner of Mercer and Prince."
The attendant pointed to a taxi and together Methos and MacLeod walked over. MacLeod handed the driver his bag but kept his sword. They slid in and shut the door, waiting for the driver to return. There was sudden silence inside the cab, away from the dull roar of the nearby highway.
Methos shifted, making himself comfortable. MacLeod sat in stiff silence as far on the other side of the car as possible, looking out the window, eyes unfocused and distant.
The front door closed. "Where are you going?" The driver had a very nice accent. Pakistani, Methos thought.
Methos repeated the address and then wondered briefly why the attendant asked the same question if he wasn't going to give the driver that information, then dismissed it as just one of those New York things.
They pulled away from the curb and started on their way in silence, except for the driver reporting their destination to his dispatcher.
They wound their way through Brooklyn and then over a bridge, hitting a small bit of traffic upon entering Manhattan. Thinking he wasn't going to get anything but silence from his companion, Methos was startled by the sound of MacLeod's voice.
"You were here the whole time?"
Methos looked over at the Highlander who continued staring out the window, not looking at him. "Yes."
More silence. The taxi turned left, then right, then stopped at a light. Methos watched a gaggle of teens cross the street, laughing and talking.
"Last I spoke to him was just before you left for Scotland. He was here the whole time too. Nosy bugger's probably still around somewhere."
A weak smile lifted the ends of MacLeod's mouth. He did turn and look at Methos then, but didn't hold it, preferring the window.
"I thought you'd both left." The words were spoken softly and in a way that eluded Methos' understanding.
Just then they arrived at the hotel and MacLeod was out before Methos could blink. Methos paid the driver before exiting the taxi. MacLeod waited for him on the sidewalk looking questioningly at the nondescript building they faced.
"This is where you're staying?"
"It is a hotel, Mac. Come on."
"This is a hotel?" MacLeod fell in step behind Methos.
Methos gave him a lopsided smile. "Yes. It's not a commonly known one, but I assure you it is a hotel and an expensive one as well. Don't worry, you'll like it."
A doorman opened the door for them and both men entered. Methos watched MacLeod take in the details of the lobby. Rich leather couches. A wall of books and magazines. Low lighting and warm colors. The place was actually rather more pretentious then Methos cared for, but it served his needs and they never asked questions. This was New York, after all.
It took some finagling to upgrade Methos' room from a single room to a two bedroom suite, but as they said, money talks, and it was soon done with all of his possessions arranged to be moved to the new suite. MacLeod had remained silent throughout the entire transaction, staring off to the side, not even lowering his bag while he waited.
Methos was beginning to get worried, not liking MacLeod's sudden passivity, but he didn't say anything. It was a wonder the man was functioning at all really, when he thought of it. They got into an elevator.
"That's something I'll have to get used to." MacLeod's voice was still rough, as if he'd done a lot of yelling recently.
Methos looked over at him. "What do you mean?"
"You with money."
Glad to see MacLeod talking, Methos smiled. "I look good rich, don't I?"
MacLeod snorted. "If you say so."
"Well, that was what the lady at the store told me, anyway, and they never lie."
Methos was rewarded with a small laugh, and MacLeod shook his head. He was ready to continue the joke but the words died as he watched MacLeod close his eyes and lean back against the wall of the elevator, as if seeking or needing support. A bell announced their arrival and the doors opened.
MacLeod followed Methos out of the elevator and down the hallway. He wasn't sure why he was here in this hotel with this man but he was too tired to think or to care. When suddenly faced with an option, he had realized it was easy to follow, to defer to Methos; and for a little while, he wouldn't be alone.
Methos opened the door to the suite and they both walked in. The rooms were smallish but elegant with warm, low lighting and distinctive furnishings, more upscale then his last hotel had been. MacLeod moved slowly inwards, looking around but not really focusing on anything. He could hear Methos systematically moving from room to room, opening doors and closets.
The view caught his eye and he moved towards the wall of windows across the room. The lights of uptown Manhattan winked at him, twinkling in multi-colored splendor. The Empire State building was blue today, he thought. They weren't that high up, but it was high enough.
"Do you plan to sleep with that as well?"
MacLeod looked over at Methos who he found to be standing next to him. "What?"
MacLeod realized he was still carrying his overnight bag and sword hitched over his shoulder, the weight of it gone unnoticed for quite some time. With a slightly amused smile, Methos reached for the bag and MacLeod let him take it.
"I'll put it in your room."
"Wait." MacLeod took a sealed letter from a side pocket and then murmured his thanks to Methos, turning back to the view, letter in hand. He didn't notice Methos look at him before moving off with the bag.
The old man was only gone a moment and returned to stand across from the Highlander at the other end of the windowpane. MacLeod looked over at Methos. "Nice view."
They stood in silence for a few moments. MacLeod looked down at the letter he held, seeing his name written across the front. "This was on Connor when ... I found it on him, after." He handed the other man the letter. "Open it."
MacLeod was pretty certain he knew what was in the letter, knowing Connor as he did, but even so he had waited till now to open it and still couldn't do it. He looked down at his shoes, waiting for Methos to tell him what he already knew. He heard the sound of paper ripping.
"It's just a few documents. The names and addresses of his attorneys, his warehouses, his properties, all of the banks he used. That sort of thing."
MacLeod nodded, holding back the urge to ask if there was anything else, knowing there wasn't. "I thought as much." He reached for the papers in Methos' hand, able to read them now. "Thanks."
MacLeod smiled briefly at him, grateful. Then he turned thoughtful, looking over at the other man. "Why are you here, Methos?"
Methos' eyes glinted softly, reflecting the lights from the city. He shrugged, looked off to the side, and then back at MacLeod. "I thought you might need a friend."
MacLeod accepted the answer. A friend. Yes, of course. He nodded again, easing past the sudden aching in his chest. The room swayed.
MacLeod focused on Methos' darkened hazel eyes. Methos' hands were on his arms.
"Come on. It's time for bed."
MacLeod didn't argue and let himself be led to his room.
Something woke Methos. Listening for sounds, he opened his eyes and let them adjust to the darkness. The clock on the bedside table told him it was 4 a.m. Quietly he got out of bed and slowly opened his door.
The common room was cast in shadows of dark gray and black, highlighted by the lights of the city streaming in from the window. Methos spied a darkened figure sitting in one of the armchairs, turned to face the window.
He sighed and walked over to the mini bar finding two glasses and whiskey. He poured and then walked over to MacLeod, speaking as he handed the other man a glass. "If you're going to sit in the dark in the middle of the night, alcohol is needed. Here."
MacLeod looked wryly at him, but took the glass.
"I did, for a bit."
Methos pushed the matching armchair over next to MacLeod's. He turned it to face the window and sat, wishing he'd brought a blanket. His skin bloomed with goosebumps and he shivered in his boxers.
"Go back to bed, Methos."
"But I always get up at this time. And the sun's about to rise in, oh, another hour or two."
"Have it your way, then. "
"I will, thank you."
"MacLeod." Methos matched the Highlander's tone. They stared at each other. "Let it be, Mac."
MacLeod blinked at him and then nodded. He turned back to the window. Both men sat in silence, watching the lights and the traffic and the slow movement of the dark clouds against an even darker starless night, each nursing their scotch at their own pace.
Long moments passed, filled with nothing but the distant sounds of New York in the morning and the closer thrum of the wind hitting the window. The space between them filled with their soft breathing and the occasional sound of liquid being swallowed or the creak of a chair.
"Did I ever tell you about Kate?"
Methos looked over at MacLeod. The Highlander was staring out the window with unseeing eyes, his profile outlined in ghostly white.
"No." Methos breathed the word, afraid to speak too loudly in the thick silence.
"No, she's not someone I talk about, is she?" MacLeod seemed to be talking more to himself than to Methos. He took a shuddered breath before continuing. "I met her while traveling in Ireland with Connor; she was full of independence and fire and I loved her madly." MacLeod looked at him then, eyes bright and dark. "I married her, Methos. I married her but I was never married."
He hadn't realized Mac had ever traveled down that path. Or perhaps not. Married but never married. Methos saw the effort it took for MacLeod to talk of this, reading the shame steeped in sadness spilling from that too-rough voice. "How so?"
MacLeod's eyes found his. "I killed her on our wedding night, to trigger her Immortality. She hated me for it, and the marriage ended before it began. Kell killed her, used her to get to me and to Connor, and now no matter how much I wish, I'll never be forgiven." The words were spoken calmly, with no inflection and no emotion and yet they were steeped in pain and regret.
Methos wasn't all that shocked at the revelation. And it explained MacLeod's carefully hidden aversion to marriage and his attitude towards pre-Immortals. The older man grimaced inwardly at the image of his friend, young and misguided, and so easily governed by his passions. "You saw him kill her?"
The Highlander's brows furrowed together and the shadows sharpened. "No."
"Then he told you he killed her?"
The Highlander hesitated only a moment before answering. "No."
Methos couldn't help but roll his eyes. "Mac, he didn't kill Connor." He was sorry for the flicker of pain his words brought, but MacLeod needed to hear them, if only to shake him out of this despair he seemed so intent to wallow in. MacLeod was too fond of his pain, Methos thought. "Kell wasn't entirely predictable, and he certainly liked to play cat and mouse enough. As you well know, you should never be one hundred percent certain anyone is dead until you see their body. Even then you might be wrong."
There was a long stretch of quiet. Methos could practically feel the thoughts churning within MacLeod's stubborn head.
"Just a thought, anyway." He tried to keep his voice light.
"It's a good thought."
"Well, I try. What else is a five thousand year old man good for?"
"Oh I dunno. Seems to me they come in handy just when you need someone to meddle in your business." Was MacLeod actually teasing him? All was not lost. The heaviness of the moment turned, lightening in tangent with the sky, becoming less black and more blue.
Methos smiled. "It's good to know I'm appreciated."
Their words were spoken lightly, with a smile and a nod of the head and the softening of facial expressions from ones of pain and loss to acceptance and just the slightest bit of humor. It was an almost comfortable moment of friendship shared in the quiet of a pre-dawn morning. A rarity for them. And that aspect of rarity did not go unnoticed, by either man, as the smiles stilled and fell and the moment passed from comfortable to palpable, with the quiet thunder of unspoken thoughts.
Methos felt his heart pound against his chest in response to some unvoiced fear. The need for words was like a chokehold around his throat and he wanted anything to break the weight of their mutual eye-lock.
Blessedly, MacLeod spoke.
"Any more scotch?"
Methos blinked and breathed and then looked at the small bottles he'd brought from the bar. "Yes, enough for a swallow each."
He took MacLeod's glass and his own and poured the remainder of the liquid.
Morning greeted him, brightly. Methos rubbed his eyes and orientated himself, only taking a few seconds to realize he was alone and still sitting in the armchair facing the window. A blanket was tucked around him.
Fully awake, he stood up. He didn't sense MacLeod anywhere nearby. With a sinking feeling he moved around the suite. He wasn't surprised. Not at all. But he was disappointed, which sort of surprised him.
Then he saw the note, just before realizing MacLeod's things were still in his room. He picked up the small white piece of hotel stationery and read:
Of course, Methos thought, he went by himself. He was both relieved and irritated. Stubborn Scot.
The time read 8:30 in the morning. MacLeod couldn't have had an appointment, which meant he'd get in to see them no earlier than 9:30 or 10:00. And Methos recalled their names and addresses.
He threaded his hand through his short hair and moved off towards the bathroom. Methos could do stubborn, too.
MacLeod managed to shake his head both yes and no when he sensed another Immortal upon exiting the offices of Williams Curtis & Wood. He spotted Methos waiting for him in the spacious lobby of the building, standing nonchalantly by the front revolving doors. "I knew you'd be here."
"Good morning." Methos had the nerve to look cheerful and offered him a warm cup of coffee from the bodega located across the street. MacLeod sighed and took the coffee.
"Morning." He took a sip, concentrating on the feel of the hot liquid sliding down his throat and murmured his thanks. He breathed in the scent of good coffee.
Methos was looking at him, quietly, knowingly. MacLeod's eyes skidded away.
"How did it go?"
"About what you'd expect." He took another sip. Then he spoke, his voice sounding hushed to his own ears. "They were expecting me. Had the Will papers all ready. Everything."
Methos nodded. "Were you surprised at that?"
"No, not really." They exited the building and MacLeod was welcomed by the noise of traffic and pedestrians wrestling themselves through the streets of midtown Manhattan. There was something soothing in the typical indifference of New York City; it would go on regardless of who lived or who died.
He looked over at Methos, who was patiently waiting by his side, sipping his coffee and watching sidewalk vendors hock their wares -- ten dollar watches and a twofer on I heart NY shirts for five bucks. "How do you feel about visiting Queens?"
Methos looked at him. MacLeod forced himself not to look away, meeting Methos' direct gaze under the full light of day.
"What's in Queens?"
"Warehouses. Two of them, actually. I'd like to check them out."
A few bearable moments slipped past, each looking at the other, before Methos smiled at him. "All right. Queens it is."
Luck was with them and a taxi opened up just a few paces away. Both men tossed their coffees before entering the cab. MacLeod gave the driver the address; the cab pulled away from the curb and they were on their way.
The insular silence within the taxi blanketed the space between the two men. It seemed they were destined to sit in silence, at least for now, anyway. Methos didn't mind. Silence had its place and right now MacLeod seemed to need it.
"How did you meet Connor?"
Methos smiled and looked over at MacLeod. "Oh, how does one of us usually meet another? Over swords, of course. Bastard nearly took my head."
"Why didn't he?"
"Oh, come now, Mac. You know I don't kiss and tell." That earned him a huff and they shared a smile before MacLeod looked away, hand reaching up to pinch the bridge of his nose. Methos watched him until MacLeod noticed and met his eyes.
"We met here, actually, in New York. Just before the Draft Riots, in a greasy bar down on Maiden Lane. He was a little drunk and I was very angry, angry enough not to duck out the back and avoid him. We fought and he won and he didn't take my head. Never told me why, but invited me to stay and drink with him, which I did. The next day the riots started. I was only passing through New York, but I managed to come at a bad time, not surprisingly."
"That was you?"
"Told you, did he?"
"Not all of it, but enough to be glad I wasn't any where near New York. Although where I was wasn't much better."
Methos nodded, recalling what Mac had told him about Andersonville. "I'd been through a few riots before but honestly, I think that one was the worst."
His words brought back the memory of the sweaty wet heat of New York in July. Of running and running and then running some more. Of hiding in darkened rooms, looking out onto the streets, only to see someone beaten to death and then hanged for good measure. Of hateful faces and worried faces, fearful faces and those all too numerous bloody faces. The visage of an angry mob. The visions cleared and this time it was MacLeod who was watching him.
"You saved his life."
"He saved mine as well. It was a give and take kind of thing.
MacLeod shook his head. "That's not how he told it."
"Well...whatever. I couldn't believe he turned around and went back out to fight for the North after that."
"That shouldn't have surprised you."
"Forgive me. It was my first introduction into the irrational behavior of the MacLeods."
MacLeod chuckled. "What did you do afterwards?"
"Got on a boat and headed for anyplace that wasn't the United States, of course. What any sensible person would do."
"Of course. That got you on a boat, did it?"
Now he was being cheeky. "Yes, as a matter of fact, it did."
MacLeod was smiling at him and Methos found it disconcerting even as he was thankful for it. The car slowed down to a near stop. "Oh, look; we're here." Before MacLeod could say another word Methos exited the taxi.
Methos stood outside and admired the dismally bare and ghostly neighborhood of Queen's Long Island City while MacLeod produced keys from somewhere and opened the door to the first warehouse. There was a high-pitched beeping coming from somewhere that turned out to be an alarm. MacLeod entered a code and the beeping stopped.
They entered and Methos followed MacLeod. Little light entered through the dirt-covered windows but it was enough to find the electrical box. MacLeod flipped the lever with a clank and then hit the light switches. Electricity cascaded down the large warehouse, turning on lights in a chain reaction, fizzing as they came to life. Dust hung in the air, caught in the arms of illumination.
"It could be bigger," Methos muttered, peering through the dust to the far off back wall.
"The other one's supposed to be much smaller. So they told me."
"You've never been here before?"
MacLeod shook his head no, turning away as he started to inspect the goods held in the forgotten warehouse. "He kept most of the valuable stuff at his store on Hudson Street. Anything worth seeing, anyway. At least according to him. Who knows what's really here. I forget most of what's in my warehouses."
"These are your warehouses now, too."
"Yes, I guess they are. What am I going to do with all this?" MacLeod made a gesture with his hands, indicating the rows and rows of furniture and antiques.
"You could just leave it." Methos picked up an intricate looking lamp. Lalique, Methos thought. Certainly valuable. So much for that theory. He turned it upside down, to see if he could find a signature somewhere, and the elaborate shade fell off with a dull sound. He hurriedly picked it up, replaced it, and then set the lamp right side up back on its perch. Then he smiled at MacLeod who gave a "be careful with that" look and then returned to examining some odd-looking box thing. A large armoire caught Methos' attention and he moved off towards it. "It's worked for this long."
They fell silent after that, each exploring here and there. Methos found himself waylaid by a small treasure trove of old maps remarkably well-preserved in airtight containers. Looking, he recalled when the world had seemed so much smaller and at the same time, immense, bigger than it did now. Here there be monsters.
After a while Methos got hungry and went hunting for MacLeod. He heard a sneeze and used the sound as a beacon, finding the younger man deeply immersed in a sea of books and papers and filing cabinets and other odds and ends. Dust billowed all around, much like storm clouds.
MacLeod looked up. "Ready?"
"And hungry." Methos picked up a worn and much read copy of Leaves of Grass, then put it back. Don't start with the books, he told himself. They'd never get out of there.
MacLeod stood up and dusted himself off. He returned the book he had been examining back from where he'd gotten it. "Can you wait a little more? I'd like to see the other warehouse. It's not far."
Methos exaggerated a long suffering sigh. "If you must."
"I must. You're welcome to leave."
"I was kidding, Mac."
"I know. So was I." MacLeod tweaked Methos' nose. Their eyes met in the underwater-like light and even the dust motes seemed to pause in their eternal flight for the span of one heartbeat. Then Methos sneezed.
"Come on." MacLeod led the way out and Methos followed.
They decided to take the subway back to Manhattan. Or rather, Methos decided and MacLeod agreed.
"It's rush hour. Driving back will take forever." Methos stated as they walked towards the nearest subway stop, which thankfully wasn't that far away.
MacLeod looked at his watch and wondered where the day had gone. He nodded absently at his companion. "I thought you were hungry."
"I am. That's why we're taking the faster route towards civilization. Unless you know of a restaurant in this neighborhood?"
MacLeod looked up the street, then down the street, seeing only warehouses, garages, and empty lots. "I see your point."
The station was nearly deserted despite rush hour. They paid their fares and waited for the next train. There was a faint drip, drip, drip that could be heard over the distant rumble of New York. The air in the station was stale and smelled of garbage. MacLeod watched Methos amble around the platform area, reading the various posters and graffiti adorning the walls of the station. Methos was dressing less casually these days, he noticed, seeing the expensive shoes and the nice slacks underneath the long black coat.
MacLeod thought to wonder, again, what brought the old man back to him over and over again. And then, as the distant rumble approached and the stale air started to whip around them and he moved to stand next to Methos who looked at him with his hazel eyes, MacLeod decided it didn't matter. Methos was here. So was he. That was the simple truth and friends should never have to explain why they chose one another's company. The train descended upon them with a roar and a whirlwind.
They rode the train in silence, sitting side by side, the space between them contrasting with the emptiness of the train.
As they entered Manhattan, each stop produced more people, and soon the train car was full of commuters. MacLeod rose to offer his seat to a pregnant woman and moved to stand in front of Methos, arms raised, holding onto a pole for balance.
It was an interesting view, Methos thought, having nothing to look at but MacLeod's middle. Looking up, he thought of something teasing to say, but upon seeing MacLeod's face he changed his mind. He rose to stand next to MacLeod.
"What is it?"
MacLeod turned and looked at him, but remained silent. Following the Highlander's gaze, Methos saw that he was looking at an advertisement for a fashion exhibit. It made little sense to him, but he thought he knew what had spooked MacLeod.
The subway was making another stop. Methos looked up and saw that they were at 34th Street. Close enough, he thought.
"Come on, Mac. Let's walk the rest of the way." Methos took his arm and they exited.
They ascended into the early evening crowds of Herald Square, teeming with shoppers and vendors, teens and children, cars and pedestrians. Methos wove a path away from the crowds and towards downtown, MacLeod in tow, and they soon turned onto a quieter street.
"I know a place that's not too far, if you don't mind a little walk, " MacLeod said, quietly. His expression was closed and distant, but otherwise he seemed fine. "Japanese sound okay?"
MacLeod nodded and they ambled, not speaking, heading into Chelsea. It was the perfect fall temperature, cool but not cold. There was no wind and the sun was setting over the Hudson River, disappearing behind New Jersey. West-facing windows glowed a yellowish orange.
They turned onto 22nd Street and walked towards the water. There, on the corner of 22nd and 11th Avenue, was a small and cozy looking sushi bar. MacLeod walked up to the host and spoke to him in Japanese. They had a little exchange and then the small Japanese man lead them up some stairs in the back and they were seated by a window on the second level that had a view of the river and Jersey in the background.
"This is nice," Methos said as he sat, looking around. They weren't the only ones there, but the place was far from full, the hour still being relatively early for dinner.
"Connor found this place. Claimed it was the best sushi in the city."
Methos watched MacLeod peruse the menu for a moment before turning to his own. He was suddenly starving and thought he'd just order the entire menu. A waitress brought warm cloths for them to clean their hands.
Both men looked up and found a young woman looking inquiringly at MacLeod. Methos saw recognition light up MacLeod's face.
"Yes, " She said, somewhat excited. "Wow. What are you doing here?"
"Just visiting." MacLeod stood and gave the petite woman an awkward hug. "Ah, Maya, this is my friend Michael Addison. Michael, Maya. She was one of my students in Seacouver."
"Nice to meet you." She smiled at him and held her hand out for Methos to take, which he did.
"Nice to meet you, too."
Maya was of some indefinable ethnic mixture that gave her creamy skin and hair that cascaded down her back in an artful array of dreadlocks. Her lip was pierced and so was her right eyebrow. She smelled of rose water and had an accent that was hard to place. Methos thought she was pretty, in an alternative sort of way, and wondered what it was like to have one's lip pierced. She clicked lightly when she talked.
"When did you move to New York? " MacLeod asked.
"I've been here for two years, can you believe it? I feel like it was just yesterday. But I love it here. It's so very, intense, you know?" She made a gesture with her hands. "I need that intensity, I think, or I'm not sure I'd still be an artist."
"So you're still painting?"
She nodded enthusiastically. "Oh, yeah. Couldn't stop for the world. Hey, listen, if you're going to be in the city for a few days, I've got several pieces on display at Webster Hall." She took out a shiny printed postcard and a pen from her bag. Leaning over their table she started to write something on the back. "You can even go tonight, if you like." She looked up at them and smiled. "Although, it's not really your scene. The Balcony Lounge is usually quieter and that's where my stuff is."
Methos realized she was referring to a dance club. She handed MacLeod the postcard. "That'll get you in. That's my number on the bottom there, and my address. I'd love it if you could go, but no pressure, or anything."
"Ah..." MacLeod looked flustered for a minute as he inspected the postcard.
"I'm sure we can fit it in somehow. Or at least try." Methos took the card from MacLeod's hands. He hadn't been to a dance club in quite some time, and MacLeod could use the distraction.
"That would be so fabulous." Maya looked over at a group of people that could be seen standing outside, smoking and talking. "Well, I'll leave you to your food. It was so good seeing you again, Mr. MacLeod." She looked at Methos. "He was one of the best teachers I ever had."
Methos lifted his eyebrows and smiled, first at Maya and then at MacLeod, who looked away, color just the slightest bit high. "Oh, I'm sure he was." MacLeod glared at him and Methos laughed. "A pleasure to meet you, Maya. I'll try to get Mr. MacLeod to go see your art."
Maya had an earthy laugh that she couldn't contain as she shook Methos' hand. "Well, bye. Hope to see you later." She waved to them as she left to meet up with her friends.
MacLeod opened his mouth to argue, holding it open for a few seconds before dropping his head onto his hands. "A dance club, Methos?" he said, somewhat muffled, his voice trapped behind his hands.
"No one said you had to dance, Mac. We'll see the art, notice what the kids are wearing these days, or rather what they're not wearing, have an expensive drink or two and then go. She's your student. You have to go."
MacLeod looked crookedly at him, head tilted, eyes kind of scrunched as he pursed his lips. "All right. We'll go. But I'm not much in the mood for crowds. We see the art and that's it."
Methos nodded. "Yes, Mr. MacLeod."
"Sorry, sorry." He held his hands up in defense. Methos wasn't sorry but decided it was best to drop the topic for a while. Just then their waiter appeared and thoughts of food took over as they placed their orders.
MacLeod looked quizzically at Methos. The older Immortal had already changed his shirt twice, settling on a light weight dark sweater that matched his dark slacks - more or less exactly what he had been wearing earlier. Now Methos was looking at himself in one of the mirrors, passing his fingers through his hair, which didn't change in any way.
Eventually, Methos noticed MacLeod watching him. "What?"
"You're looking at me funny."
"I've never seen you pay this much attention to your appearance before. You do this often?"
"Pay attention to my appearance? All the time. Like you don't."
MacLeod chuckled and stood up from the couch he'd been sitting on. "No, go to dance clubs."
Methos looked thoughtful a moment then shook his head. "No. Not often." He put on his coat and checked for his sword.
"Really?" MacLeod grabbed his sword and coat, following Methos out the door. "I never would have guessed."
"What's that supposed to mean?" They entered the waiting elevator. Methos pushed the button for the lobby.
"Oh, I think you meant something."
MacLeod felt the small smile he was hiding start to show. Methos glared at him but seemed more preoccupied fidgeting with his clothes. It was terribly endearing, seeing Methos suddenly so unsure of himself. MacLeod reached over and helped straighten the already straight shirt and coat. He felt Methos' eyes on him and looked up, smiling reassuringly. "You'll do." He patted Methos' shoulders, wondering how the man could insist on going one minute and then get nervous about it the next.
Murmuring his thanks, Methos' eyes shied away. The elevator doors opened and they walked out into the lobby and out to the street.
MacLeod looked up at the night sky and was happy to see a few stars shining in the pitch-black night, not cowed by the lights of the immense city, not hiding behind a blanket of clouds. The heavens are clear tonight, he thought. Methos was silent at his side.
"Shall we walk?" he asked his friend. Methos nodded and they started moving uptown, walking slowly, admiring the stillness of night. The club wasn't far and they were in no hurry. Soon, they turned a corner onto 11th Street and found a large cluster of people in front of a building with a small, inconspicuous marquis that read "Webster Hall". There was evidence of an attempt to form a line, but it seemed order had been abandoned for the much more accessible anarchy. MacLeod and Methos slowed their approach, looking at each other with trepidation.
"Still want to go?" MacLeod looked over the decidedly young crowd. No one seemed older then twenty-five. The earth-rocking bass of the music within could be felt under their feet.
Methos looked levelly at him. "I didn't get dressed up for nothing." Then he older man cracked a grin, placed his hand in the small of MacLeod's back, and gently ushered him towards what seemed to be the end of the line.
"There's no way I'm waiting in that line." MacLeod struggled against Methos.
"Mac, come on. Live a little would you." Methos tugged him one way and MacLeod tugged himself another.
"No, Methos. If you want to wait in that line, be my guest. But I'm not. I'm going to use Maya's pass and get in through the VIP entrance." MacLeod smirked and then twisted out of Methos' grip, walking towards the sign that had VIP written on it and an arrow pointing to a much smaller, more orderly, line of people.
He saw Methos' mouth drop open and that brought a small smile to his lips. MacLeod didn't turn around as he felt the older man come up behind him, closing the space between them.
"Very good, Highlander." Methos whispered the words into his ear, breath warm against the sensitive skin at the back of his neck, hands on his arms just above the elbow. MacLeod looked back at Methos. A slow smile crept across the older man's face, eyes bright and crinkled at the edges. MacLeod blinked, and it was just the two of them, alone in the middle of a street. His heart beat against his chest, once. He blinked again and the world returned. Smiling at Methos, he waggled his eyebrows in jest, and then, together, they entered the club.
The music was deafening as soon as they walked in. They entered onto the second floor, paid the entrance fee--
"Thirty dollars! You're paying, Methos."
"All right. All right." Methos opened his wallet.
--had their hands stamped, and then cautiously began to move through the throngs of boys and girls. There were several floors, tiered so one could look down onto the main dance floor. MacLeod looked down into the gyrating masses dancing with feverish intensity on the main floor. Then he looked up and saw the floors above them, seeing the kids leaning over the edges, some dancing, some making out, some looking down, like him. Colored lights spun around accenting the ethereal blueness that painted the faces and bodies of everyone within the club. It was early yet, as clubs go, only 11:30 or so, but this club was well on its way to being packed.
MacLeod could feel the driving beat of the loud music in his chest. It wasn't his favorite type of music, to say the least, but there was something almost magical, he thought, about a sea of flailing bodies all dancing, moving as one, drugged by music, or by other things. He wondered how the hell he'd ended up here, of all places.
He felt Methos' hand on his arm--
"The stairs are over there. Let's go down and find your student." MacLeod smelled aftershave and soap as Methos leaned in, his lips right next to MacLeod's ear, speaking as loudly as he could without yelling.
--and MacLeod turned to face his friend, nodding as Methos pointed to the stairs. They moved and Methos' hand dropped away.
They wound their way to the ground floor, seeking the promised quieter floors, but not finding them. The walls of the club were indeed decked with art, and even some sculpture in the quieter corners away from possible injury, but he hadn't found any of Maya's work, or Maya. MacLeod doubted they'd be able to find her in this chaos.
He followed Methos, who seemed to know where to go. The sea of dancers surged and swayed and they were soon enveloped and surrounded. He moved through them, in Methos' wake, feeling disconnected from the whirlwind of sight and sound; they jostled up against him and yet he remained untouched. It was amazing to feel alone in such a sea of humanity.
Methos lead him to the bar. He might have known, MacLeod thought, as Methos attempted to get some service from the disinterested bartender.
He looked around as he waited, trusting Methos to handle the beverage situation. There was an assortment of lounging chairs and couches all along the perimeter of the dance floor; all of them were filled with the youth of the day, hanging out, drinking, smoking, talking and laughing, draped all over each other. Inhibitions didn't seem to be the norm here, he thought with some amusement, watching a young man's hands travel under his girlfriend's shirt as they necked, nestled in one of the lounging chairs.
Off to the side of the bar, MacLeod spotted another set of stairs. That must be it, he thought, as Methos came up beside him, handing him--
"Here. Don't ask how much it cost. Believe me, you don't want to know." Again, MacLeod felt Methos' breath on his neck. He took the cold bottle of beer. Methos' fingertips, wet with condensation, touched his own.
He leaned in, feeling Methos' body heat against the skin of his cheek as he said, "Thanks," and smiled, taking a long pull from the bottle.
--a beer. MacLeod was amused by the expression on Methos' face. He looked like he'd just done battle. Methos hated having to work for his alcohol.
MacLeod was about to point out the obscure set of stairs to Methos when the lights changed and darkened and the music downshifted from frenetic to an almost drugged slowness, reminding MacLeod of the slow moving thickness of morphine or opium, low and seductive. There were lyrics for this one.
"Why does my heart..."
The crowds on the dance floor thinned. The lights darkened even more and couples paired off, slow dancing. It was a rest period of sorts, MacLeod thought, watching most of the sweaty masses recoup on the sidelines.
"...feel so bad?"
He looked over at Methos and found that the older Immortal had been watching him. They stood there, in darkness with slow, shadowed movement all around, colored lights still accenting, and suddenly MacLeod felt his perceptions shift, like tectonic plates within him, and suddenly it was all different. Only it wasn't.
"Why does a soul..."
He watched Methos smile, drink his beer, meet his eyes again, and then blush. It brought a smile to MacLeod's lips and he held his hand out for Methos to take. Trapped in the gaze of darkened hazel eyes, MacLeod held his breath as Methos took MacLeod's offered hand. They stood there, hands clasped, reaching across the space between.
"...feel so bad?"
With Methos' hand in his, MacLeod took their beer bottles and set them down on the bar. Then he moved, taking Methos' other hand as well, out onto the dance floor, over to the side a little bit, still--
"What are you smiling at?"
"I've never seen you blush before."
Methos' blush deepened. "That, MacLeod, is the lighting. And don't you forget it."
--smiling as he pulled Methos against him.
It was awkward at first, both men unsure, hesitant, and they still wore their coats which made it even odder. But soon MacLeod felt the tender way Methos' head rested against his own and he forgot to be awkward.
They swayed gently, not really dancing, just learning the feel of their bodies against each other, their weight shifting from one foot to the other. MacLeod moved his hands from Methos' waist further up and around, feeling the firmness of Methos' back under the soft fabric of his sweater. And they swayed.
"Why does my heart..."
Methos' hands were on his waist and he was pulled closer, into the warmth of Methos, and he felt soft lips on the skin of his neck, not kissing, just brushing, breathing. MacLeod inhaled Methos' scent of aftershave and soap, now laced with beer and just the faintest hint of sweat. And they swayed. His hands traced the indentation of spine and then he reached under the sweater, seeking skin.
"...feel so bad?"
At the touch of skin on skin, Methos froze and then relaxed. He pulled away, enough for MacLeod to look into his face and see softly glinting eyes. MacLeod caressed the warm smooth skin, up and down with his fingers, and felt Methos become hard against him. In response, he hardened as well and his heart skipped and tripped.
Both men stepped back. Both men looked at the other. Both men's chests swelled and deflated as they attempted to suck in more air, wondering at the sudden lack of it. Then--
"Hey, Mr. MacLeod, you made it."
--Maya appeared and the moment was lost.
Suddenly, MacLeod was very tired. The swirling lights and lack of air seemed to close in on him and all he wanted to do was leave. They were following Maya who was leading them somewhere, he didn't know where. He just wished they'd reach it already, feeling as if he would never be able hear again, see again, think again. Why didn't the lights stop moving? The seeds of panic started growing in the pit of his stomach.
He felt a hand rest at the small of his back. It was familiar and it centered him. Concerned hazel eyes peered at him and he shook his head. "I'm okay."
Methos nodded but didn't look convinced. He kept his hand on MacLeod, touching him. They went up some stairs and then down some stairs and then it was quieter and less crowded and they found themselves in a secluded lounge area that, apparently, also served as an art gallery of sorts. It overlooked the dance floor but was sealed off by a row of windows where one could sit and watch, drink and chat, and smoke. Or do other things, MacLeod thought, noticing the same lack of inhibitions as before. For the first time he realized just how much substance use was going on.
They moved from piece to piece. If Maya thought it was odd that Methos never went farther then arm's length from MacLeod, she didn't say or let on, but just gave them a tour of the place, focusing on her work.
Naturally bold and sure of herself, Maya had a very easygoing personality. She took great pride in her work, which reflected her mixed heritage, and MacLeod found he was glad they'd come, despite his reluctance. He was pleased to see a student of his doing so well.
But he was tired. So very tired. Why was he so tired? He felt like he hadn't slept in a week, and then he realized that he hadn't, not really, and then he remembered why. Connor. Every joint in his body was sore and felt like sand had found its way in, grating with every move. He raised his hand up to rub his eyes and massage the bridge of his nose, missing Methos look at him intently and then lean over to speak to Maya who nodded, looking from one man to the other.
Maya walked them to the exit, inviting them to stay, knowing they would go. "Thank you so much for coming, Mr. MacLeod."
"Duncan. I think you can call me Duncan. Or Mac, if you prefer. And you're welcome."
She smiled and chuckled. "I rather liked Mr. MacLeod, but I'll try Duncan. Thank you."
MacLeod gave her a card with an address. He'd like to know what she was up to. And then they left, waving goodbye.
"Goodbye, Maya. Best of luck."
They didn't speak during the walk back to the hotel.
After a few minutes outside in the cool night air that was almost thunderously quiet after the noise of the club, MacLeod felt some of the tension ease from his body. He breathed in air, not exactly fresh, but close enough. He found himself wishing it would rain as he looked up into the cloudless night sky. Methos walked at his side, hands in his pockets, eyes on the ground ahead.
The few stars that were out twinkled. The streetlights glowed softly. Cans rattled from somewhere off to his right. A car honked right around the corner from them and people were talking not too far away, but he couldn't see them. MacLeod wanted to hold Methos' hand again. It was such a silly want, he thought, such an uncommon desire for him, but he wanted to anyway.
He felt like he must have dozed during their walk, not remembering entering the hotel but somehow finding himself inside the elevator. Methos was so silent next to him. Why was he so silent? Methos was never this silent.
Bright eyes turned to him. "Yes."
And they were in the suite but MacLeod could not recall entering to save his life. "Methos," he repeated.
Bright eyes again, and hands this time, taking his coat. He caught one of the hands and held it like he'd wanted to. Nice strong hands.
He was led to his room. "To bed with you."
Bed. He could do that, but he wasn't ready to let go of Methos and held on to the old man's hand.
"I'm going to need that."
MacLeod looked into Methos' face smiling a funny little tender smile, and he smiled back but didn't let go, not right away. Instead he reached with his other hand and pulled the other man towards him into an embrace. Then he let go of the hand in his so he could circle both arms around Methos. He'd wanted to do that, too.
He felt arms encircle him in turn and a hand caressed the back of his head and neck.
"I'm sorry, Duncan."
MacLeod spoke into Methos' neck. "Sorry for what."
"For a lot of things, but right now, for taking you to that dance club. I should have known you weren't up for it."
"S'allright. It wasn't so bad."
MacLeod thought he could stay like this forever. Or at least for a very long time. He must have dozed again because he was undressed and Methos was rolling him into bed. A part of him was mortified at being tucked in like a child, but most of him was asleep already and didn't care. It felt nice.
He felt a cool touch pass through his hair and down his cheek. "Goodnight, Mac."
Again, something woke him. Methos lay in bed a moment, waking fully. It was 3:49 this time. Damn. It had been only a couple of hours. He sighed and got out of bed.
MacLeod was by the same window, standing, or rather leaning on one shoulder, body painted in midnight blue. Methos joined him, leaning on the other side, feeling the cold wall against his warm skin.
"You're going to have to sleep sometime, Mac. This can't go on."
Silence. Then, "I know."
"I don't know. Nothing. Everything."
Methos shook his head. "I didn't do anything, Mac."
MacLeod was looking at him, eyes reflecting light, head tilted to the side, and it made Methos looked away. Why, he wasn't sure, but he felt those eyes know him and that made him look away.
And there they were, two men in their underwear quietly contemplating the view and the space that separated them. Moments passed. Methos watched the winking lights of a plane make its way across the sky.
He turned to MacLeod and again he was caught in those eyes that knew him, only this time he couldn't look away. "Yes."
"Dance with me. Like we did earlier."
The words hung in the air between them. His heart beat against his chest once, twice, three times, and then almost without thinking he moved into MacLeod's arms.
It was not awkward this time, hands knowing where to go, skin sliding against skin. They danced to the music of moonlight and stars, to the song of skin, to the beat of their hearts.
Mac's hands lightly skimmed down his arms, moving to his waist and then up his back. It made him shiver. His own hands rested at just at the waistband of MacLeod's underwear, thumbs caressing the skin right above. Their chests touched and Methos felt his nipples harden from the sensation. He gripped harder at MacLeod's waist and he nuzzled into Mac's neck, breathing. And then he kissed. And then he licked.
MacLeod rumbled and Methos felt hands travel down to his ass and grip him, pulling him in, and their erections thrust against each other. MacLeod was kissing his neck, from one ear across the front, to the other ear. And then down across his collarbone to his shoulder.
Methos' hands left MacLeod's waist and moved upwards, resting on Mac's neck. They looked into each other's eyes and knew each other. Methos groaned and gripped Mac's neck and they kissed. Not lightly. Not at all lightly but with tongue, deep, and wet. With hunger. They lost themselves in each other's kiss.
MacLeod rumbled again, making little earnest noises as his hands pushed cotton boxers down and away and began to knead Methos with his hands. "Ah, God," gasped Methos.
Somehow they made it to a bed. Methos yanked MacLeod's briefs off and took him into his mouth. He breathed in, smelling Mac's musk and he felt a drop of moisture slide down his own cock. MacLeod's hands pulled him up and he let him slip from his mouth and they were kissing again. Mac was on top, devouring Methos with his mouth, with his tongue, touching him with his hands, with his cock.
Methos' legs were raised and parted and MacLeod slid up and down on top of him, thrusting against Methos; the older Immortal answered with thrusts of his own, seeking the heat pouring off of Mac in waves. Sounds of heavy breathing, of wet kisses and skin sliding against skin filled the air.
One hand grabbed Methos at his waist. The other caressed his face, and Methos opened his eyes as he felt Mac's cock nudge up against his anus. He looked up into MacLeod's brown eyes, knowing him. "Methos."
He saw a question in those eyes. A gentle kiss on his nose and then on his cheek. "Methos." MacLeod waited for Methos' answer.
He reached a shaky hand up to caress MacLeod's face and gently pushed Mac's torso up, slightly, enough so he could snake his hand through the space between them. He grabbed Mac's cock and milked it, watching Mac's eyes. The other man's brow furrowed and he grunted, thrusting into Methos' hands.
Methos spread the pre-come over the tip of Mac's penis and guided it to the opening of his body. His other hand found Mac's hip and gently pulled him in.
It was all the encouragement MacLeod needed. He pushed in, slowly, stretching Methos as he entered. He took it in stages, grunting each time he pushed in, rumbling into the crook of Methos' neck. Methos breathed through the burn.
MacLeod could go no further. Methos looked up and they locked eyes as he felt Mac withdraw and enter. Then withdraw again and enter. In and out. Faster. Faster still. Mac was breathing hard, nose nuzzling into Methos, kisses, wet and sweet.
MacLeod shifted his angle and Methos groaned. "Christ."
He did it again and Methos bore his fingers into Mac's shoulders, hard, and his breath became quick harsh pants. Mac brushed against his prostate again and he came, in spurts, wave after wave.
MacLeod continued to thrust in and out, incoherent noises escaping from his lips, hands gripping Methos hips tightly. One thrust, two thrusts and he came and Methos caught him as the dam burst and MacLeod cried out. And then Methos held him when the shudders turned to quiet sobs.
"Oh God, Methos."
"Shh, it's all right. I've got you."
Mac slipped out and Methos gathered him in his arms, fitting the younger man against him, feeling the quiet shudders as MacLeod finally let his heart weep.
Methos' fingers gently rubbed at the base of Mac's neck, petting softly. The tears had stopped after awhile. Mac's damp face nestled into Methos' neck, his hands caressing the sensitive skin under Methos' arm.
MacLeod inhaled deeply and sighed. He rose up onto one shoulder and looked down at Methos. Methos felt fingers on his face, touching his own damp cheeks and saw the look of surprise shift through MacLeod's dark eyes.
MacLeod seemed to struggle a moment, thoughts flitting across his face. Then he smiled gently and leaned down, kissing the dampness away.
They kissed, tenderly while their hands explored over warm skin, taking the time they hadn't earlier. Methos' lips found MacLeod's nipples and he swirled his tongue around the nubs, first the left one then the right. Then back up, wanting to rub his chest against MacLeod's, wanting to feel the hair rasp against his skin. He captured Mac in a deep kiss and Mac responded, thrusting upwards with his tongue, with his head, with his cock.
They rolled in bed, first one on top kissing and licking down, feasting on the smooth skin of an inner thigh or on the hollow created by a hip bone, then the other, mapping the smooth skin of the lower back, finding two dimples and a freckle.
"Methos." His name, spoken into the hushed silence, made him stop and he turned to MacLeod. The younger man's hands stilled him and moved him onto his back. He watched as MacLeod nestled between his legs, looked up at him once, then opened his mouth and wrapped his lips around Methos' cock.
He hissed, watching his cock disappear into Mac's mouth, feeling a wet tongue push back the foreskin. He hissed again, making a strangled noise deep in his throat. Something unhinged in his chest as he watched MacLeod's lips suckle his cock and it made him tug MacLeod upwards. He came willingly enough taking one deep plunge before letting Methos' cock slip from his mouth.
They were kissing again, frantically now, rubbing against each other in need, almost unable to wait. MacLeod pulled away and moved onto all fours, leaning on his elbows and resting his head on his hands, lowering his torso while spreading his legs and thrusting his backside up.
Methos swallowed, closed his eyes, and counted to three. Then he moved into position behind MacLeod, leaned down to kiss the swell of one cheek. He licked a couple of his fingers before pushing one into Mac. He heard a muffled grunt and he slowed, taking his time, stretching, adding another finger.
He positioned his cock and held onto it with one hand as he leaned all his weight onto the other, kissing Mac at the small of his back before pushing in, slowly. Ever so slowly. He felt sweat bead on his forehead, slipping down the side of his face, and on his back, tickling down his spine. He pushed in.
A shudder passed through the body beneath him and he stilled. Then he moved and he was pushing in and then pulling out. He straightened and placed his hands on the fleshy part of Mac's ass, seeing his fingers indent onto the skin, watching his cock disappear into MacLeod.
"Duncan, I'm going to come."
MacLeod seemed to nod and one arm reached around, hand open, and Methos grasped it. He thrust in and out, moving quickly now, and heard a croak escape MacLeod as he felt the younger man come, and he gripped Mac's hand and came, riding out the spasms cascading through his body and the one underneath him.
They lay side by side, almost spooning but with a little space between. Mac's hand rested on Methos' waist. The soft whir of hotel's central air system was the only sound.
No response. Several moments passed.
"Promise me something." The words were whispered, barely audible. "Promise me it won't be me that takes your head."
Silence, and then Methos shifted, turning over and MacLeod let himself be enfolded in Methos' arms. Fingers caressed his back lightly. Methos kissed MacLeod's cheekbone, and again just above his eye. But he remained quiet.
And MacLeod sighed.
MacLeod stood next to the bed and watched Methos sleep. Long naked limbs were splayed about. There was a flash of cheek and creases on the pale skin of Methos' face, arms, and legs. The tiniest bit of drool escaped out of Methos' lips onto the pillow. He looked perfectly debauched and that made MacLeod smile. It was such an inviting picture and for a long, long moment MacLeod wanted nothing more then to climb back into bed and wrap himself around Methos, to take the comfort the old man offered so willingly.
One of Methos' hands hung over the side of the bed. MacLeod pulled a chair over and sat down, taking the offered hand and waited. It didn't take long.
Methos' breath deepened and he shifted, automatically stretching. MacLeod watched, holding the hand in his, not letting it go. Methos opened his eyes and turned to him. Their eyes held for a moment before Methos looked him up and down. MacLeod couldn't read those eyes but he knew what they saw. MacLeod was fully dressed. He even had his coat on.
"You're leaving." His voice was thick with sleep.
MacLeod breathed in, exhaled, and then nodded. Methos pursed his lips and nodded back. He cleared his throat and sat up, keeping his hand with MacLeod's. "Where?"
MacLeod shrugged. "I don't know. Here for a little bit, then... I'm not sure. London, eventually." He smiled, then closed his eyes. He rubbed Methos' fingers lightly with his own, feeling, knowing the calluses he found.
When he opened his eyes again Methos was looking at him. "I want you to understand why. I don't want you to think it's because of this," he indicated the two of them, "but, I just... I need to..."
"Duncan, it's all right. I understand."
And MacLeod realized that Methos did. If there was one person who could understand, better even than himself, it was Methos.
No words were spoken for minutes. MacLeod looked down at his hands holding the one of Methos'. He felt the soft skin of the wrist.
Methos squeezed his hand, stopping him, shaking his head, no. Don't; please.
MacLeod was startled and felt his eyes sting with moisture. He nodded shakily.
He brought Methos' hand up to his cheek and inhaled, breathing in the lingering smell of musk: theirs. MacLeod closed his eyes again, just for a moment. He wanted to just sit there. He felt Methos caress just under his eye and across his cheek.
Finally, he opened his eyes and leaned in, grabbed Methos by the neck and kissed him and kissed him again. Then he let him go and walked out the door of the bedroom.
Methos didn't watch MacLeod leave but he didn't close his eyes either. He looked out the window, seeing some seagulls swoop and dive in the colorless sky. He heard the door to the suite open and then click shut.
Notes: The song lyrics in the club scene belong to Moby, from his song Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad off of his Play album which I borrowed completely without permission. My apologies to Moby.
All New York locations are real except for the sushi bar.
There's a Dave Mathews Band song that shares the same title, The Space Between. This was completely unintentional on my part. Just a wacky coincidence. The song fits the theme of the story rather well so I didn't bother changing the title.