|Silence Breaks the Heart
by Rachael Sabotini
CYA: All standard disclaimers apply, whatever they might be. I make no money off this; I mean no harm.This story is rated R for what might be considered romanticised sex between consenting adult males. Deal or Bail; it's your choice.
This takes place at the end of "The Modern Prometheus".
The bar was long closed, dawn still a few hours away. Mac could hear Joe putting away his guitar, getting ready to leave for the night, the silence deafening.
In all the time they'd been sitting here, not one of them had spoken more than a few words, each handling grief in their own way. Joe had worked through his feelings with his music, as he always did. Methos had withdrawn into himself, his pain a counterpoint to the rhythm of Joe's guitar.
Mac found himself torn, unable to act as he normally would. His preference was to walk, run, do something to sweat the tension from his system. But tonight, he didn't. He quietly sat in his chair as the night grew long, physically an arm's length away from Methos, emotionally separated by an ocean of mistrust. He'd done nothing as Bryon's memories sifted and surged and melded with his own. He waited, watching Methos get drunk, expecting anger, guilt, and recrimination for what he had done, knowing that would have been what his own response had their situations been reversed.
Like Kristen, and not like Kristen. Her beauty had faded in her own eyes; Byron's poetry had faded in his. Both of them needing to see their reflection in others to know their own worth. Both of them killing any competition they ran across. Mac's old lover; Methos' old lover. Two of a kind.
They sat and they drank, and Joe played. Methos said nothing, MacLeod said nothing, both letting Joe's music talk for them instead. Neither of them able to think of something to say that wouldn't make it worse; everything was fucked. But at least the music was there, steadying them, uniting them, making them feel whole, if only for the instant.
And now Joe was leaving, their last connection gone. "Some of us have to get some sleep, ya know."
The Watcher looked tired, soul-weary in fact. The night hadn't been easy on any of them. "Yeah, Joe. I know. I think I'm gonna get some sleep too." MacLeod drained his drink and set the glass on the table, throwing down a couple of bills to pay for the mess.
Joe nodded in Methos' direction. "Do you want me to take him home?"
Both of them looked at where Methos sat, still curled in upon himself, an empty glass in his hand.
"No, Joe. That's okay. I'll do it." He squeezed Joe's shoulder reassuringly, hoping the Watcher would let it go. It was always hell when friends divorced, and MacLeod didn't want to cause him any more pain.
"You sure, Mac? He, uh," Joe rubbed the back of his hand against his beard, "He hasn't really talked to you all night. At least, not since you first showed up."
Duncan nodded solemnly. "I know." He looked up at the dim lights, trying to find the right words to say, and finally failing, just like always. There were no words for what he felt, what he wanted to say. Mac looked back at Joe. "I'll make sure he gets home safe."
"You do that. It might be just what he needs." Joe picked up the case in one hand, his cane in the other. "See you tomorrow, MacLeod." He paused, then turned back. "And thanks."
Mac waved back, and watched as Joe left, before turning back to table.
In that entire conversation, Methos had not moved at all. He hadn't even bothered to say good-bye to Joe.
Duncan stood, took Methos' glass from his hand, and carried both it and the empty bottle back to the bar. He stood behind Methos a moment, feeling the grief and exhaustion pour off of him like sweat. It was a different type of grief than Duncan had seen before; with Alexa, and with Silas, Methos' grief had been loud and painful, like a fireworks display. This time, though, it was silent and painful, reminding MacLeod too much of guilt.
Duncan placed a hand on Methos' shoulder, trying to get his attention. "Come on, old man. Closing time."
"Hmmm?" Methos looked up, and Mac saw the redness of his eyes. No tears had fallen yet, but he knew they would as soon as he left. It hurt to realize that their trust was so fragile that Methos would no longer cry in the Highlander's presence. He swallowed hard.
From lovers to strangers in five easy steps.
MacLeod squatted down, and let his fingers run down Methos arm to rest easily on the back of Methos' hand, trying, somehow, to will Methos to understand what he'd done. "Time to go home."
Methos pulled his hand back and turned away, still silent as the night.
Duncan stood, resting his hand on the back of Methos neck. Unbidden, his fingers traced through the fine hair, as if trying on their own to soothe away some of the pain of the last few hours, the last few days, the last few months.
Methos jerked away and stood, picking up his coat. Once on his feet, he swayed unsteadily, and MacLeod thought he might collapse. He reached out to grab Methos, but the other immortal grabbed a chair instead, using it for balance. He closed his eyes--Mac assumed the world was spinning just a little--and finally spoke. "You don't have to do this, MacLeod. I can find my own way home." Methos opened his eyes, and stared at the Highlander, his voice bitter. "I bet you don't even know where I live."
"I do. Amanda told me."
"Amanda." Methos cracked a smile at that. "I should have known." He took a step away from the chair and swayed again; Mac swooped in under his arm to steady him.
Methos looked over at MacLeod, eyes wide and filled with unshed tears. "I guess I do need that escort after all."
Somehow, MacLeod managed to carry all of their stuff while Methos clung to his arm. Part of him sizzled with the memories of the few times they'd made love. Having Methos close, touching him, was bringing it all back. It was something he thought he would never have again.
Together, they managed to find Methos' apartment. Methos fumbled in his pocket for the key, then inexpertly tried to unlock the door. "Thanks for seeing me home, Highlander."
MacLeod extracted the key from Methos' hand and unlocked the door, letting them both inside. He followed the older immortal in, unsure of his own feelings. He knew he shouldn't stay, but he could not leave, either. Not unless Methos threw him out.
Methos had gone instantly to the minibar on the wall and poured himself a drink.
"You should rest, Methos. It's been a long night." Duncan look around the room, noticing a few of the pieces of art Methos had tucked away years ago, when they first met. Watchers didn't own such art, but Methos was no longer a Watcher.
"I don't need a mother hen." Methos gulped that drink and poured a second, keeping his back to MacLeod.
Mac placed his hand on Methos' fingers, stopping him from gulping this one as well. "You don't need to do this. It'll be okay."
"Will it?" Methos looked at him, and MacLeod found himself getting lost in the swirls of color in Methos' eyes.
"Yes." He said it with as much conviction as he could muster, knowing it could not possibly be enough.
Methos sank against MacLeod and allowed the drink to be taken from his hand and set on the table. "Don't ever go insane, Mac. I don't want to have to kill you. I don't think I can. I'm running out of old lovers as it is," his hand reached up and touched MacLeod's face before drifting back to his side, "not to mention old friends."
It was so easy to slide into old patterns, and MacLeod did, pulling Methos' head against his shoulder and gently rubbing the tension out of the other immortal's back. The sweater was soft, and Duncan felt the leap and pull of muscles as he stroked, heartache palatable under the skin. He bent his head down and kissed Methos' ear, then froze, realizing what he had done.
Methos wrapped his arms MacLeod's waist, and murmured something. The soft sound might have been, "Please."
Duncan pulled Methos in tighter, squeezing him, trying to make Methos understand that he knew what Methos felt like, trying to give him some comfort.
One night. Nothing more. Mac simply said, "It's all right."
He guided Methos to the thick down bed, and carefully undressed him, cherishing the moment. He slowly and deliberately made love to Methos, stroking his chest, rubbing his nipples, massaging his cock. Methos gasped and arched into the contact; MacLeod smiled. Methos tried to sit up and unbutton Mac's shirt, but the Highlander pressed him back against the bed.
Methos closed his eyes and sprawled back, letting out small gasps and moans as Mac worshipped Methos' body with mouth, and hand, and hair, and skin. The tension grew, and Mac relished every sigh and groan that Methos made. At last, he could stand it no more, and he lowered his mouth down on Methos' burgeoning erection, sucking and nibbling and savoring it like a long forgotten delicacy.
Methos pressed himself upward, crying, filling MacLeod's mouth with his essence. Mac swallowed carefully, enjoying the feel and remembered taste of Methos' ecstasy. The other immortal lay still a moment, finally relaxed, probably able to sleep and deal with it in the morning.
He never opened his eyes.
MacLeod lay beside him and watched, until Methos' breathing finally settled into the rhythms of sleep. He gently pulled the duvet over the sleeping form, and stood, straightening out his own clothes, before gathering his things. As he left, he looked back at where Methos lay sleeping.
In the morning.
They would talk in the morning.
MacLeod pulled the door shut behind him, and tested that the lock held.
In the morning, if nothing else went wrong.
Sticks and stones are hard on bones, aimed with deadly art.