The Games We Play
a post-Revelation Dark Quickening story
by Rachael Sabotini

 

WARNING: Violence & Rape Alert

CYA: All standard disclaimers apply: I don't own these guys, though I do like to boss them around occasionally. I make no money; I mean no harm. This story carries an "NC-17" rating on my somewhat random scale.


Tremors wracked him, his hands, his muscles no longer his own. Each shudder, each sob, brought forth new memories and emotions. Although MacLeod had taken Kronos' Quickening three days ago, it had not finished with him yet. The fever had burned hotter as the days passed, until finally, Mac was forced to get some rest. Day turned to night, and night to day, while the Highlander tossed in a bed filled with someone else's dreams.

When he finally awoke, Duncan MacLeod smiled and stretched, enjoying the play of muscles under the skin. He sat up and grabbed the clothing next to the bed, scowling as the jeans and denim shirt no longer suited his taste. With no other options, he pulled them on, then looked around the hotel room. His coat with the katana in it lay across the chair next to the bed, but MacLeod ignored it. He picked up Kronos' old blade, hefting its weight, taking a few trial swings.

It felt good.

MacLeod laughed as he caught sight of himself in the mirror: stubble shadowed his jaw, his eyes bloodshot, his hair a mass of tangles. He thought he'd never looked better. He quickly ran an hand through his hair, straightening out the worst of the mess, then grinned at his reflection. "It's party time."

And who better to invite than his old brother Methos? The older immortal had the potential to be the life of this party.

Duncan pulled on the duster and tossed the katana on the bed, substituting Kronos' blade for his own. For a moment, the heavier weight of the blade dragged on him, but Mac squared his shoulders and closed the door behind him. He whistled as he strode down the hallway to the elevator, startling the maids as they worked next door.

He growled at them and they jumped. Mac smiled. This was gonna be fun.


The presence startled him, and Methos turned to face the shadows, his hand already going for his sword.

"Greetings, brother." The words froze him, and Methos found himself sprawled on the ground, Duncan MacLeod triumphantly above him, Kronos' sword in his hands. "I think we have some unfinished business, don't you?" He raised the sword, but Methos pulled a gun first, and shot MacLeod in the chest.

Gasping, bubbles of red foam dripping from his mouth, Duncan crumpled and collapsed. Kronos' sword fell from his hands, and Methos rolled out of the way. He stood shakily, his heart pounding. Despair settled in his stomach as he noticed the changes in MacLeod's body.

Once again, Kronos had won.


Methos could not trust MacLeod enough to stop for the night in a hotel. He kept driving, the road bumpy with pot holes, jerking the car to the left or the right with little warning. Whether he dozed at the wheel or not, did not matter. One moment he was on the road, and then next, the wheel was ripped from his hands, the car narrowly missing a tree. The adrenaline surge helped him, and Methos carefully guided the Volvo to a wide spot not far from the road, and turned the car off.

His hands stopped trembling, as the terror and panic of the last several hours eased. He leaned his head against the steering wheel, not even sparing a glance at MacLeod, who sat frozen in death beside him. Throughout their trip, he had felt the immortal presence come and go as MacLeod revived, only to die again as the dagger he had jammed between Mac's ribs refused to allow the wound to heal. Methos had hated to do it, but he hadn't seen any other way. MacLeod needed to be taken to the spring: Methos needed to ensure his own survival.


Pounding on the window awakened him. "Hey, are you all right?"

Methos blinked in the flashlight's glare. A dark-haired young man in his early twenties was at the car window, beyond him, a blonde young woman also of college age. They had flashlights, and Methos could barely make out their car near the roadside, several meters away. Methos groaned. Just his luck to run into a couple of good Samaritans.

He rolled down the window. "I'm fine. Just tired. Thought I'd pull off and take a rest."

The boy wasn't looking at him; he was staring at MacLeod. "I think your friend's hurt." He went around to the other side of the car.

Damn, the knife. If the kid saw it sticking out of MacLeod's chest, he'd probably run to the police. Methos stretched across MacLeod, attempting to lock the door while palming the dagger that kept the Highlander dead. In the process, the makeshift bandage holding the dagger in place came apart, and the wound started to bleed. Methos cursed under his breath as the door was pulled open; he'd never managed to set the lock.

"I'm sure it's nothing. We just had a minor accident, that's all. I fell asleep at the wheel." He tried to hide MacLeod with his own body, but the boy pushed him aside.

"My God, he's been shot or somethin'. He's bleeding." Methos unbuckled himself and got out of the car, his mind working on some plausible way to get the couple out of here before MacLeod woke up.

The boy yelled over to the girl. "This guy's hurt. See if there are any blankets in the back of the car." The girl nodded, and started back toward the road.

Methos felt MacLeod's presence surge through him. Oh fuck.

MacLeod's eyes shot open and he lurched upright in the seat. He grabbed the mortal who was leaning over him before Methos could get around to the other side of the car. "And what do we have here?" MacLeod pushed the boy in front of him as he got out of the car, using him like a shield, keeping the kid between Methos and himself.

The Highlander staggered, his body barely alive, and his grip relaxed for a moment. Methos hoped the boy would run, but the kid just kept staring at MacLeod.

"You were dead," he whispered. He licked his lips, staring up into the immortal's face, "I checked your pulse, your heart rate. You were dead."

MacLeod's grip tightened on the boy again, the opportunity lost, and MacLeod looked over at Methos. "Yes, I was dead, wasn't I?" He kneed the kid hard in the groin and dropped him, before turning back to his old friend. His eyes were lit with an unholy light, and his lips pulled back into a feral smile.

Methos took a step back, sure that the Kronos-possessed Duncan would try to follow him, this time taking his head.

"Don't you trust me, Methos?" Hands wide and outstretched, the Highlander advanced. "I trusted you."

"You're not yourself, MacLeod." Methos carefully felt for footing as he retreated, the rocks and sticks littering the ground making every step unsure. His mind skittered through a spider's web of plans. If he could lure Duncan in close enough, he could use the dagger on him.

But for that to happen, he would have to put himself in danger, and he wasn't sure he wanted to. MacLeod seemed a little too...unpredictable...for Methos to feel safe.

"You never could accept this part of me, could you, Methos? Always talking about how good I was, how I was destined for greater things. Well, this time, I'm going to prove to you exactly what I really am." Duncan stalked back to the mortal, squatted down, and jerked his head back to expose the boy's neck. "I was never a boyscout, Methos. And now, I don't ever have to pretend to be one." He licked behind the kid's ear and bit down hard on the ear lobe, drawing blood. The boy screamed, and MacLeod leered up at Methos with Mephistopheles' eyes. "Have a seat Methos. I'm sure you'll enjoy watchin' me do this kid. I know you've enjoyed watchin' others."

The older immortal looked away quickly, unsure of his own reaction. Part of him knew this was his punishment--for which of his sins, he wasn't sure--yet at the same time, part of him wanted to watch, to enjoy the terror of the moment, to lose himself in the power that fear created. That feeling aroused him, tantalized him, called to him with a siren's voice. Just as quickly as he turned away, he found he had to turn back to watch what MacLeod would do next.

Duncan threaded one hand under the kid's shirt, obviously pinching his nipples, making the mortal squirm against MacLeod's lap, his eyes never leaving Methos, noting his reactions. "Remember what this was like?" Mac taunted him. He kissed the boy voraciously, with one arm down the kid's shirt, the other around his neck, choking him.

Methos watched in horror, simultaneously feeling himself harden at the sight. He swallowed, once, twice, three times, before he could manage to speak. "You don't have to do this." Echoes of the last Dark Quickening crept through him, mocking his words. When Duncan had trusted him, he could believe what Methos had said. Mac had accepted the words as truth, allowed himself to be convinced that he was different from what the Dark Quickening had forced him to be. He'd let Methos' dogmatic persistence convince him that he should live.

But that faith had been consumed by the fire of Kronos' return, leaving ashes scattered in the wind. What 'Adam Pierson' had said to Duncan in Darius' church a year ago could not hold for a man possessed by Kronos' Quickening. Yet some part of Methos hoped it might; that Mac still believed in him enough to listen and take back control.

The ache in his groin proved that another part of him hoped Duncan would not. Shame made him speak, the words a weapon to drive the images from his own mind. "I know you. This isn't who you are MacLeod."

MacLeod looked back at Methos, while the kid lay cradled, whimpering, in his arms. His gaze traveled the length of Methos' body, his eyes finally resting on the older immortal's obvious erection. "Maybe it's not who you are either." He stood, dropping the mortal to the ground, before kicking him hard in the ribs.

Methos stood there, looking at MacLeod, then at the boy, feeling the fear emanate from the figure on the ground. He had felt the power and the fear then, tasted the scent of blood. For one moment, he found himself back on the desert plain, the face of the boy in France morphing into the face of a slave 3000 years dead.

Over the centuries, Methos had built walls--walls he saw as mud, and brick, and stone--between himself and the darkness that had once consumed him. Now the memories pressed into him as MacLeod played Joshua to his Jericho, and his first wall faltered, cracking under the strain, but it did not fall.

Methos noticed the girl coming back towards them, blankets and first-aid kit in her arms. He knew he would lose if there were two hostages. He shook off the old memories, strengthening his barriers, and pulled out his knife. From where he stood near the car, he yelled over to her, "RUN!"

She looked at them and froze, the bundle dropping out of her hands; she turned and ran.

Smart girl.

Methos' fight with MacLeod lasted no longer than the first, but this time the outcome was different: him on the ground, MacLeod with the knife, and the orgasmic sensation of fear coursing through his veins, his cock hard and pronounced.

From the look in the Duncan's eyes, Methos knew he was lost. Mac would not kill him, at least not right now, not without tormenting him first. Duncan squatted on the ground next to him, the jumble of leaves cracking beneath his feet. He leaned over and squeezed Methos' shaft roughly, grinding it through the denim.

Methos trembled: part desire, part fear, part love. Involuntarily, he arched up into MacLeod's hand, his body betraying his passion and his interest. He cursed himself for his reaction, and anchored himself to but a single thought: although his body was lost, he still controlled his own soul.

"Maybe you're the one who needs help, Methos. This is what it's all about, isn't it?" MacLeod placed his hand on Methos' chest, where the blood surged through his heart. "I know you, better than you know yourself. You don't want to be alone."

Methos stared up at MacLeod half in agony, half in hope. He could not draw the Highlander away from the cliff, but MacLeod knew how to push him over the edge. The loneliness of centuries ached in his breast, and the need to be accepted, to be loved no matter what he had been, made him too ready to listen to Duncan's words.

Somewhat panicked, Methos forced the words out of his now-dry throat. "You can fight this. I can help you." The script was an old one, well-used in its time, and both of them knew the magic had fled.

MacLeod smiled indulgently at him. "Who are you trying to convince?" Duncan stroked the hair that lay plastered with sweat on Methos forehead. "There is nothing waiting for us, Methos, nothing but death." He looked over at where the kid lay moaning in the dirt and leaves. "But that boy is alive, and his fear, his pain will make us live."

Methos shuddered at MacLeod's touch, the need in him too obvious to be denied.

"I know you want to feel alive." Duncan placed fingers over Methos' lips, dark eyes bright with understanding. "Everything you were, everything you believed in, is gone. People you loved, everything you cared about." He grabbed Methos' hand and pulled it up to his own chest, resting it over his heart. "See me as I am, not as you want me to be. See yourself as what you have been. You don't need to hide any more, not from me."

MacLeod moved in close to Methos' ear, his breath misting in the winter's air. "I have seen you at your worst, Methos, and I liked it." His voice was low, a conspirator's whisper. "With me, you would never be alone."

The truth was seductive, and Methos swallowed once, defeat almost at hand. He had nothing left to fight for, right now. Duncan was right. Everyone, everything was gone. Did it really matter what happened to one more mortal?

MacLeod helped him to sit up and pointed at the kid. Triumph shimmered in the Highlander's voice. "You want him. I saw the way you looked at the boy." Methos tried to push himself up and away, but MacLeod grabbed his arm, pulling him back. His gaze darted across Methos' face, absorbing his reactions. "You felt it too, didn't you? The fear? The pain? The power?" He dropped Methos' arm and turned away, looking back at where the boy lay on the ground. "How many have you taken like this in your lifetime? What would it hurt to take one more?"

MacLeod stood and walked over to the boy, prodding with his boot. "I think we can have a bit of fun with this one, don't you? I'm sure there's enough life in him to last the rest of the night."

The strained mud wall crumbled and fell, the words calling up old memories, and the cool winter's breeze was replaced by hot dessert wind. In his mind, Methos heard Kronos' voice, three thousand years in the past: "I'm sure there's enough life in him to last the rest of the night. And one night is all we need, eh brother?"

Methos glanced at the slave and back up at the horizon. "That one's a waste. There's no fire left in him."

Kronos took out his knife, casually flipping it and catching the pommel as he watched his brother, ignoring the slave whose hand was crushed under his boot. "Kill him first, or fuck him first? Which would be more fun?"

The slave whimpered, drawing their attention. The boy's eyes were white with fear, and he smelled from having fouled himself moments ago. Methos sneered. "He smells like a camel, Kronos. Do you want to fuck a camel?"

Kronos moved his foot, grabbed the slave's hair and jerked the boy's head back, pressing his knife against the exposed neck. Long dark hair spilling over thin shoulders and down the slave's back, revealing the beat of his heart in his naked throat. Kronos looked over at Methos and smiled wryly. "Even a camel may be ridden, my brother, once it's been broken. Join me. I think you will enjoy taming this one to your touch."

"I want to get out of the sun right now, rather than rut in the dirt." Methos stood and dusted himself off. "The waterhole is not far from here. I'm going for a swim. You can join me when you're done."

"We'll join you now." Kronos pulled the boy to his feet by his left arm, half-dragging, half-carrying the terrified slave behind him.

"Why?" Methos strode along, loosening bits of armor as he walked, trying to cool himself a bit in the light breeze. The day had been long, almost fruitless. A few sheep, some new slaves, and not much else.

The boy stumbled and fell again. Kronos looked over at Methos, who grabbed the slave's other arm with an exasperated sigh. Together, they carried the boy to the watering hole, stripped him, and tossed him in. He gasped, splashing around, trying to stay afloat.

Kronos turned to Methos. "I thought water would improve the smell, for one thing. And second, I didn't want to get any of his shit on my hands."

"Just his blood." A wry grin lit Methos' face as he stripped off his clothing.

Kronos laughed and clapped Methos on the shoulder. "You know me too well, brother." He stared at the boy, who had managed to drag himself to shore. "He's well-formed, isn't he?"

Methos followed Kronos' gaze and stared at the slave. His hair was long and dark, curling a bit where the water had soaked it, emphasizing his mouth. Full lips, sharp cheekbones, eyes wild with terror as he cradled his crushed hand in his usable one. Long muscles, lean from work, trembled under light olive skin, while the few hairs that scattered his chest promised a thick pelt, one that he would not live long enough to acquire. It was hard to tell the true size of the boy's cock, shrunken with cold and nestled under a thick forest of dark, curly hair.

A boy, yet not a boy, almost a man. Maybe not such a waste after all.

Kronos drew his knife and started down the dune toward the slave, but Methos grabbed his arm. "You were right, brother. This one interests me."

"I knew he would." Kronos' smile was predatory, his knife flashing as it caught the light. "I know you better than you know yourself."

The centuries fell away like so much dust as MacLeod's smile merged with Kronos'. One arm was wrapped around Methos' back, and he found himself guided to where the young mortal lay moaning on the ground. MacLeod leaned over his shoulder and nuzzled his ear, sharp counterpoint to the boy's groans of pain.

"Look at him, Methos, feel him, breathe in his scent." MacLeod breathed deeply, and involuntarily, Methos breathed along. The sensation of power washed over him, and his muscles trembled with memory. He gasped, and clenched his hands into fists, trying to calm his reaction.

Duncan watched him and smiled ferally. "You see? You do want him."

MacLeod stepped in front of Methos and placed his hands on the other immortal's shoulders, his voice pleasant and concerned. "This isn't about love, Methos. This is about power and desire and freedom." He ran one hand under Methos' chin, watching him swallow convulsively. "He is but a small step." Duncan leaned his forehead against Methos', and he gave Methos a small kiss. He drew back, leaving Methos a conflict of needs, mind skating from one thought to another. What was right, what was wrong, what was simply need. MacLeod stepped over to the boy and looked back at Methos, holding his hand out. "Take him with me."

The boy was struggling upright now, his body uncoordinated after MacLeod's last blow. His fear drew Methos like moth to a flame, and the immortal stepped hesitantly forward, taking MacLeod's hand.

Like a proud father at his daughter's wedding, Duncan escorted a shuddering, aching Methos to where the boy knelt heaving on the ground. MacLeod took Methos' hand and placed it on the boy's head, like a benediction, and stepped back. "Show me what you can do," he whispered, eyes bright with triumph as Methos' second wall, the wall made of brick, shuddered and fell.

Methos drew back his arm and backhanded the boy, the act unfettering ancient desires leashed within his soul. He watched a trickle of blood leak from the boy's split lip and smiled. The power of the blow smoldered its way down his arm and into his chest, burning through the vestiges of civilization and down into his groin, nesting deep within his balls. He was hard, and he wanted more.

MacLeod's voice fed the fire, seductive in its tone: "His ass or his mouth?" His hand briefly drifted down Methos' back, pulling the immortal in next to him, uniting them as one force against the world. "I am feeling generous, brother. Your choice."

Old feelings, old patterns superimposed themselves on Methos' life. His breath came in sharp grasps, his hands trembled, and his eyes were hot with tears. He could not think any more as the night merged into day, and past transformed itself into present. "I want to fuck him."

"I never knew you liked virgins." Kronos' voice this time, cast over his shoulder as he dragged the slave out of the waterhole. Methos finished undressing, laying his clothing on the shore, the feel of desert air on naked skin cooling his blood a bit.

Kronos looked down at the boy, then back at Methos and down at his engorged cock. He laughed and prodded the slave with his boot, urging him to his feet. "Enjoy him. I think I will watch. I want to see how much you've learned." He ran his knife under the slave's neck and nicked him behind the ear, a small trickle of blood. "You will please my brother, won't you?"

The boy swallowed and nodded. Methos wasn't sure if he was able to speak, the fear so all-consuming that his muscles twitched and spasmed whenever he or Kronos spoke.

"Good." Kronos stepped aside as Methos strode forward, power and passion controlling each footstep. As Methos passed, Kronos held up the knife. Methos looked at it, looked at the boy, and grabbed the knife from Kronos' hand.

The slave saw what happened and backed away, turned and ran.

Methos chased after him, his feet kicking up mud and water from the pond's edge. The boy was slow, and Methos tackled him, shoving him into the dirt. The slave screamed as his weight handed on the injured hand, and he instinctively rolled onto his back. Methos knelt next to him, placing his hand on the boy's chest, and bent over to whisper in the slave's ear. "Do you know who I am?" the immortal asked quietly.

The boy found his voice. "A Horseman?"

Methos smiled. "Close. Actually, I'm Death." He grabbed the boy's face under the chin, and leaned in, gnawing the slave's lips, drawing first blood.

Methos flipped him onto his stomach, shoved his face into the ground, and pulled his ass into the air. He placed Kronos' knife under the boy's chin, nicking his Adam's apple. "If you move while I fuck you, you are dead, do you understand?"

The slave swallowed but did not nod as Kronos' laughter echoed though the little valley.

MacLeod's laughter echoed through the forest as he sliced through the boy's shirt with Methos' dagger, leaving it in rags around his heaving chest.

Methos grabbed the knife. "You have no sense of artistry. Leave this to your betters." He knelt down and rubbed his hand over the cuts, whispering in the mortal's ear. "If you do not obey me, I will kill you. Do you understand?"

The mortal opened his mouth to say something, and Methos pressed one finger against his lips. "Hush, little one. No talking. Just nod your head."

He nodded, like a mouse staring at a snake.

"Very good." Methos drew his thumb along the boy's face, watching as he closed his eyes in fear. The immortal's thumb paused at the edge of those glorious lips, and the boy drew it into his mouth with the gentlest of kisses.

Methos preened under the touch, the fear and terror as good as he remembered. He placed his hands on the side of the boy's face and kissed him once, gently, then kissed him again, deliberately plundering his mouth. When he pulled back, the boy followed somewhat, as if he didn't want Methos to leave. Tears leaked out of his eyes, and Methos brushed them away, tucking the boy's hair away from his face. The boy was showing signs of hope, based on Methos' gentleness.

It would be so much better when he ripped that gentleness away.

"Why don't you just fuck him?" MacLeod asked angrily.

"When I'm ready." He leaned in again and kissed the boy savagely, nibbling and biting his lips, this time drawing blood. The mortal groaned as Methos pulled away, the immortal's body panting for air, his cock barely restrained by the thick denim covering it.

Methos turned to MacLeod. "Watch me, and learn." He took the knife and teased the boy's skin with it, unconsciously moving it in the patterns Kronos had taught him more than a millennia ago. Then, when the skin rippled and shook from the constant stimulation, when the muscles twisted each time Methos moved the knife to a new location, that was when he sank the knife into the boy's flesh, cutting deep.

The boy screamed, and Duncan slapped him across the mouth. Methos cut the boy again; this time, no scream. He learned fast.

The concentrated, deliberate use of pain recalled so many memories, Methos could not focus on just one. The feeling of power, of control, tore through his body, building an unholy fire deep within his groin, saturating his body with an intense, animal heat. His cock felt as hard as it had ever been, and Methos slowly unfastened the buttons, pulling out his shaft, feeling the blood pound through its length. The boy stared at him, eyes open, fear evident in each breath, totally unaware of the flicker of emotions racheting across his face: hope, fear, pain and desperation in a constant, endless circle, pulling Methos deeper into the fire.

He looked at MacLeod, and the Highlander looked back, staring at Methos with hungry eyes. "Do him."

Methos grabbed the boy's pants and jerked them open, and MacLeod helped pull them off. The boy fell and MacLeod kicked him, breaking a rib from the sound of it. The boy groaned and struggled onto his hands and knees. Methos pressed his hand against the boy's back, holding him there. MacLeod nodded and knelt, unfastening his own pants. He pulled out his own cock, thick from the excitement, and stroked it, fully lengthening the shaft.

The kid was dry, and Methos didn't care. He licked his hand, and wetted his cock with his own spit. Quickly, he pressed himself up against the tight-clenched hole and pushed, watching the head of his shaft flatten as the kid fought the intruder. He forced his way past the ring, and into the boy's body, ignoring the faint, whimpering noise of protest as he felt the skin tear around him.

He sank most of the way into the boy's ass and stopped, watching as MacLeod took his throat. Duncan thrust in, giving the kid no time to adjust to his thick shaft. Almost immediately, the boy started to choke, gagging around the invader. MacLeod smiled, holding his shaft deep in the mouth, and looked at Methos. Their eyes locked, and their need connected them, bound them as one. He thrust; Methos thrust; and the boy bucked and twisted under the assault. It was obvious MacLeod's cock left him little room to breath, and Methos' cock impaled him, forcing him to stay in place. Between them, the boy writhed, the picture of exquisite agony.

Part of Methos screamed at him to stop, but his desire pulled him on. The boy's tight passage squeezed against him, trying to force him out. Methos pushed himself deeper, dominating the boy, whose pain acted as an aphrodisiac to forgotten senses.

Methos groaned, and MacLeod laughed. "Tight, isn't he?"

"Very." The word a whisper as Methos controlled his need to push deep into the boy. He looked at MacLeod, whose head was thrown back in debauchery, his hands gripping the boy's hair and scalp as he ground his cock into the boy's open lips, fucking his mouth.

Their rhythm rubbed the mortal's ass against his cock, and Methos answered the summons, heedlessly pounding into the boy. He grabbed the kid's ass, sinking his fingers into the cheeks, while the mortal struggled to get away or even to breath, his pain evident in each thrust.

MacLeod's eyes locked with Methos as they fucked, and the air between them hummed like a high-voltage wire, the air charged with electricity. The smell of blood, sex, and dirt drove Methos on, his memories of the past inseparable from his experiences of the moment.

MacLeod jerked his cock out of the boy's mouth as he came, splattering the boy's face. He grabbed the boy under the chin and kissed him, "You were good. Maybe I should let you live after all." He fastened his pants and sat back on his heels, and nodded at Methos. "When you're done, " MacLeod said, "we can end the party."

The third wall trembled under the force of the Highlander's gaze, but, this time, the wall of stone held. Methos realized that MacLeod meant to kill the boy, and, in his desire, he'd forgotten how precious mortal lives were.

They lived such a short time; what was the point of killing them?

Once again, he stood on the plain as Kronos stuck his dagger into the slave. "Once you've been fucked by a god, what is there to live for?" At the time, he agreed with Kronos. They'd had their fun; the boy could not travel. He would have been a liability to the camp. He needed to die.

Times change. The mortal would die soon enough, without Methos or MacLeod to help him along. If MacLeod killed the boy, then even by Methos' own excuse for a moral code, Duncan deserved to die.

And Methos wanted MacLeod to live.

The dagger lay on the ground by the boy. Methos grabbed it and threw it at Mac, neatly piercing his heart. He noticed the boy watching as Duncan fell, saw him pass out, probably from a mixture of blood loss and relief.

Methos pulled out of the kid and fastened his pants, ignoring his own need and the boy's blood, stumbling back to the car. He grabbed the blankets the girl had dropped, and pulled out the first aid kit with antiseptic and bandages for the kid. He tried to ease the mortal's pain as best he could, then dragged MacLeod's body back to the car. He left the kid where he had fallen. The girl would have gone to the police by now; they should be able to save his life, but he would carry the emotional scars to his grave.

After carefully retying the dagger back into place to keep MacLeod from reviving again, Methos manhandled the Highlander into the car, closing and locking the door before getting in on the other side. Dawn was coming; it would be only a couple more hours to the spring.

As he drove, Methos despaired at what might happen. If MacLeod beat the dark side of himself, most of what had happened would become faint memories, like most of the memories from a normal Quickening. It was a small benefit of the spring, lessening the pain and realization of what you had done.

Methos had had no spring. He relived his experiences over and over again, remembering the killing, remembering the blood whenever his life was recalled. He lived in a hell MacLeod would never have, if the spring worked.

If it didn't, if Duncan could not find himself amongst all of the voices, no longer feel compassion for others... If he had truly lost his humanity, Methos would have to kill him, before MacLeod could seduce him into losing his own once again.

He had lived once as a horseman, at Kronos' beck and call, living on the blood and fear of others. He had left that life far in the past. This time, he would be a horseman no more.


The End

A "bad luck" story for Friday the 13th, 1997