|The Simple Answer
by Rachael Sabotini
Thanks as always to elynross for editing this for me. DPP owns the Highlander source. I make no money from this, and I mean no harm.
"I don't paint." Methos levered himself partway off the couch, his beer dangling in his free hand, putting the carpet in grave danger. "I don't hammer. I don't wallpaper, and I don't plumb. I do not construct in any way." He settled back against the arm of the couch again. "Home repair is the third level of hell as far as I am concerned." He popped back up again, like a deranged jack-in-the-box. "You brought this whole thing on yourself, you know. You could have just hired people."
"Methos, you painted the house just two days ago." Duncan smiled slightly, remembering the conversation on the porch which had led to his current plan.
Methos snorted, looking both pleased and disgusted at the same time. "That was a special occasion."
"Be kind to Highlanders' day." Methos took a sip of beer, ensconcing himself even further down on the couch.
Any lower, and he'd be beneath it, Duncan thought. "I thought it was more 'Give obnoxious advice day.' But that's every day, isn't it?"
"No, that's 'try to stop Duncan from getting himself killed' day."
"That's alright, then." Duncan picked up his empty bottle and let his eyes travel over Methos' lean form. "I like it when you use my given name."
Methos' face reddened slightly under Duncan's gaze. "Oh, all right. I'll help you this afternoon, but after that, you better get someone in."
"I'll look into it." Duncan let a grin creep over his features as he threw the bottle into the recycling. It had been painting Anne's house that had birthed the idea of seducing Methos; while they worked, it had certainly felt like Methos was flirting back. But when things had escalated with Kristen.... Well, those thoughts had gone by the wayside, and after, Methos had moved into a hotel.
He wanted Methos back. Unfortunately, he did need to get the primer coat on before the weather turned wet again, so he couldn't devote the whole day to Methos' seduction. There actually was work that needed to be done. "You want something to eat first?" He called over his shoulder.
"Hmmm?" Methos jumped a little, as if he'd been startled. "Oh, that sounds good. Whatever you've got is fine."
Duncan searched through his refrigerator, pushing the containers around to see what he had. Something not too rich. "You like crab?"
"Mac," Methos sounded exasperated. "You know I'll eat anything."
Duncan nearly choked.
It wasn't fair, Methos thought as he watched Mac pull off his T-shirt, for anyone to look that good in sweat. He watched the muscles in Mac 's back flex as he climbed the ladder and put masking tape around the molding on the ceiling. The floor was covered with a canvas drop cloth, making the room look like it had been flooded by a great greyish-white sea.
Well, either that, or a very scratchy cloud, Methos thought. One that Mac would look particularly good against. Minus the dark blue sweats, of course.
"Hey, Methos!" Mac said to him from the top of the ladder. "Hand me some more tape." He tossed down the empty spool of masking tape and held his hand out, waiting.
There was something galling about the way he did it that set Methos' teeth on edge. "I'm not hired help, you know." He stomped over to the pile of new spools and snagged the one on top, then tossed it to Mac. "Be nice, or I'll leave you to do it yourself."
The ladder rattled as Mac over-extended himself catching the roll. "Yeah, yeah. I'll be nice." He turned to the ceiling, then glanced back down at Methos. "Why don't you start taping the edges down there, then? Please?" He tossed back his hair and batted his eyes; 'winsome,' 'camp,' and 'oh, God, please no' were the thoughts that ran through Methos' mind.
He couldn't prevent the chuckle that escaped his lips, and Mac looked inordinately pleased at the effect.
Mortified, Methos turned back to his assigned task. "All right, I'll do the taping. But tell me you brought some beer."
"Sorry, just some water in the chest over there."
"You wound me, Mac. Really. Making me work and not giving me beer."
"You cleaned me out earlier." He fished around in the pockets of his sweats a moment and pulled out his keys. "There's a 7-11 about a mile away. We passed it on the way in. Why don't you take the car and get us some?"
"What about money? I'm not paying for this myself, you know."
Mac rolled his eyes. "Here." He grabbed his wallet out of his pocket and threw it and the keys down to Methos. "Bring me back the change."
Unfolding the cracked, black leather wallet, Methos counted the bills. "There's six dollars in here. That's barely enough to buy anything decent, let alone have any change."
"How much are you planning to buy?"
"That depends. How long are we going to be here?"
"Methos...." Mac said warningly.
"All right, all right. One six-pack. I'll pitch in and get you a couple of bottles as well."
"Sounds fair." Mac nodded amiably. "I'll be here when you get back."
"Later." Methos stuffed the bills in his pocket and headed out to the car. He knew he was being touchy right now, and part of him wanted to blame Kristen's Quickening, but he couldn't really lie to himself and place the blame on that. No, he'd assimilated her power easily, without so much as a metaphysical hangover after the whole ordeal.
Mac was getting to him. Friendship hadn't seemed so tough in the beginning, but lately...he'd spent too many nights lately trying not to think about sweaty, muscular flesh. In fact, that was the main reason he'd opted for the hotel room after Kristen's death; he didn't want to do anything he might later regret. It seemed to him that Mac kept giving him mixed signals. Flirting one day, pulling back the next; it was driving him right round the bend.
He pulled into the parking lot and slammed the car door. Ah, well, at least working gave them both something to focus on. Still together, yet apart. Methos had the uncomfortable feeling that would be the pattern of their relationship for a very long time.
It wasn't fair, Duncan thought, as he watched Methos bend to add the beer to the ice chest, for anyone to look that good in jeans.
Pretending to focus on the trim he was painting, Duncan surreptitiously watched while Methos opened the bottle, threw back his head, and drank. Long swallows, with a few drops of liquid escaping his lips, glistening brightly against his skin.
Damn, Duncan thought, forcing himself to turn away. What was that? The definition of sin?
"It's too quiet in here," Methos announced suddenly.
"Then turn on some music." He nodded toward a pile of stuff near the cooler. "There's a stereo in there somewhere."
He heard Methos pawing through the pile, then music roared out of the speakers.
"Welcome to the Hotel California...."
Startled, Duncan turned around and caught Methos stabbing the off switch.
"I hate live versions," he said, looking up at Duncan. He pressed the eject button and examined the tape. "Hell Freezes Over?"
Duncan shrugged. "I liked them."
"Big follower of the supergroups, were you?"
"That and disco."
Methos screwed up his face, staring at him. "I'm having a very hard time imagining what you looked like at Studio 54." A full-body shudder ran through him. "I hope you at least had some fashion sense." He waved the cassette in the air. "You have anything else? Or will I be forced to listen to you sing sea chanteys?"
Duncan gestured to a tarp-covered piled next to the boom box. "Might be something in there. Most of it's Richie's, though. "
Turning back to the wall, Duncan could hear Methos sorting through the tapes behind him.
"Boys II Men, Mariah Carey, Janet Jackson.... What is this? Where pop music goes to die?" There was the sound of more cassettes rattling together. "Tell me the truth, Mac. Are these Richie's, his girlfriend's, or yours?"
Duncan didn't bother to turn around. "If you don't like it, we don't have to have anything on. Or turn on the radio. I don't have a preference."
He heard the tapes clatter to the floor, and then the zip-gurgle-tink as the radio zoomed past several stations. Finally, the dulcet tones of Garth Brooks kicked in.
"That1s better." Methos said loudly, and a passage from Alice in Wonderland flitted through Duncan's mind: "Throw your baby in the air, and hit him when he sneezes. He only does it to annoy because he knows it teases." He grinned and painted more vigorously, afraid that if he laughed aloud, Methos would ask him what was up.
After a moment, the channel switched again, settling on world music and NPR. Duncan glanced back and watched Methos slide into a half-dance as he started taping the back walls, the driving drum beat seemingly impossible to ignore.
Duncan sighed wistfully as he watched. It was true. No one should look that good in jeans. As soon as they were done, he promised himself, he'd see if Methos looked as good when the jeans were gone.
Methos started to strip almost the moment they got back to the loft; he was sweaty, dust covered, and in need of a shower. His muscles ached, and he was famished, but first he wanted to get clean.
He tossed the shirt into the dirty laundry pile and glanced back at Mac, who was staring intently at Methos' chest. Methos looked down, but didn't see anything; he ran his hand across his back, but he didn't feel anything, either. Maybe he'd hit up against something at the house and poked himself, but hadn't noticed. Or, he thought, horrified, he'd backed up against the wet paint somewhere and now had huge streaks someplace he couldn't see. "What is it?" he snapped out. "What's wrong? Do I have paint all over me?"
"It's nothing." Mac walked over to him as if mesmerized. He hadn't come within five feet of Methos while they were working, yet now he drew in close, his eyes fixed on Methos' chest. He raised his hand, and Methos' jerked away, not sure what, exactly, Mac meant to do.
Gently, Mac fingered the leather thong with the Chinese coin attached to it that lay against Methos' neck. "Any special reason for this?"
"Not really." Methos wanted to push into the touch. "I just like the weight of it. It feels good around my neck."
Mac's thumb brushed over the dull metal surface, looking at the inscription. "It seems like it would." He glanced up, his dark brown gaze fixing itself at Methos' lips. "It's warm."
There was something in Mac's voice that made Methos look sharply at him. "What do you want, Mac?"
The air crackled between them. "I...." Mac hesitated, "I want to know where I fit." He let the coin drop back onto Methos' bare chest. "Where is my place with you, Methos? Pressed against you, like the coin?" His fingers drifted casually down Methos' bare skin. "In case you haven't noticed, I'm interested in exploring my options." He practically growled the last few words.
"You've been flirting with me for months, Mac. That's what I've noticed. Is that what you mean by exploring your options?"
"Yeah." Wrapping his hand around the back of Methos' head, Mac puled Methos forward and kissed him.
Mac's lips were soft, wet, and warm, yet slightly rough. Methos didn't care about the texture, though, as he slid his arms around Mac's waist and returned the kiss as hard and as fast as he could, devouring it like it was a ration of daily bread.
Breathing heavily, Methos stepped back, touching a hand to his lips, cock aching. "Tell me you aren't simply toying with my affections."
"I'm not that kind of a guy." Mac sank to his knees and pressed his lips to Methos' zipper, then mouthed Methos' hardening cock through his jeans. "And personally, I'd rather toy with some other things."
Looking down, Methos' libido pushed itself into the danger zone, the combination of aggression and submission making his balls ache and his brain melt. He ran his fingers through Mac's hair, canting his weight onto one hip so that his groin thrust out a bit more, the pressure not enough to release any of the pain. "And if I want to toy with something of yours?"
Mac groaned and mouthed Methos' clothed erection again, leaving a damp spot. "I think we can work something out."
It wasn't the most studied seduction he'd ever engineered, but it was hard to seduce someone who didn't resist. And who the hell cared anyway, when he was so close to getting what he wanted?
Heart pounding, Duncan slipped the button out of its hole and slid the zipper down, revealing the head of Methos' cock, hard and swollen, straining against its fabric prison. He licked his lips, sitting up slightly, so he was at the right angle. Methos gasped as Duncan brushed his tongue over it, and the noise turned Duncan on even more. He loved this, loved making love -- loved fucking and sucking and sweating and touching, loved the way his muscles were pushed to their limits as he made someone else feel good. It was a type of meditation, almost, when everything felt connected and passion simply flowed.
And he was going to get to do it with Methos. He massaged the underside of Methos' dick with his tongue, flicking it along the vein, then swallowing the head, lavishing all his attention on making this feel good. He took pride in being able to give really good head.
He felt Methos' hand on the back of his head, the fingers still; he liked the weight of it there. He slid the zipper down the rest of the way and pulled Methos' jeans down, then he stood and unlaced his sweatpants as Methos stepped out of the jeans, balled them up, and tossed them onto the rest of his clothes.
A growl catching in his throat, Duncan let himself stare. Methos was lean and trim, wiry muscles and hard planes, chest bare of the hair that dusted his thighs and legs. There was just something about being naked in a room that smelled of sex and sweat that made him want to fuck. Or get fucked. Either way. He was easy.
Methos stalked forward and grabbed his arm. "Come on, MacLeod. I'm not in a mood to wait."
"Is there a problem I should know about?"
"My balls are turning blue, if that's what you mean. God." He slid his hand up Duncan's arm and down his chest to his nipples, "Just look at you." He wrapped his hand around Duncan's cock, rubbed his palm over the tip, pumping it, while staring into Duncan's eyes. "I could make a feast out of you."
"Uhm," Duncan said, arching into the touch. "Sounds like a great plan."
Methos let his finger glide down to the base of Mac's cock and gently palmed his balls. It was marvelous, the weight of it in his hands, the feel of it. Not to mention the way Mac's eyes rolled back in his head and he lost the ability to speak, his voice reduced to simple, sharp grunts and deep half-sighs, each a signal of erotic contentment. God, he wanted to fuck Mac.
It would be good, he thought as he let go and pressed himself against Mac, pulling Mac's head close to his so that he could kiss and nip and suck on those lips the way he'd been thinking about. Good to have Mac beneath him -- beside him -- above him....
It wouldn't be a be-all and end-all, forever and ever fuck. It would just be the moment.
But what a moment.
Grinning, he bit and kissed and tugged at Mac, steering him over and onto the bed, Mac's feet still planted on the floor.
Mac smirked up at him. "If you plan on having your wicked way with me," he leaned back against the bed, arching his back slightly, tanned skin sharp against the white sheets -- erotic as hell, and he knew it, too, "it's in the right hand drawer."
"My wicked way." Methos fisted himself as he looked down at Mac. "Uhm, yeah."
"Talk, talk, talk," Mac rolled over and leaned on his side, his arm bent, head propped against his hand, dark hair spilling around him. "You make promises, but you don't deliver."
"I don't deliver!" Methos said in mock-indignation, as he opened the drawer and pawed through it, finding the lube. "I helped you paint, didn't I?" He tossed the closed plastic bottle on the bed. "And I bought my own beer."
"That's not-- Oh, God." Mac had settled onto his stomach, and Methos bent over to kiss the back of his neck.
"Hmm, what?" Methos said, in between kisses, letting his hands roam and caress Mac's back. "Something wrong?"
"No, I...." Mac pressed back, shaking Methos off a bit, and turned onto his stomach. "Just need to shift a bit, my calf started to cramp. Probably the painting."
"Yeah, too bad that exhaustion and over-work aren't covered by the Immortal medical plan." Methos rubbed the back of Duncan's leg while the cramp eased.
Time passed in a few more kisses, a few more caresses -- as well as some laughter. For some reason, they couldn't stop talking, not until Methos was finally turned around and laying on top of Mac, pressed length to length against him, cocks ready, hard, and touching.
Methos looked at Mac, and in that instant, the laughter died, replaced by a burning heat.
The lube was on the floor, bottle still intact. Methos flipped up the top and poured some into his hand, then coated himself with it, while Mac twisted slightly onto his side, one leg extended, the other bent. Methos rubbed his slicked hand over Mac's ass and easily slipped two fingers inside; Mac groaned, and the noise made Methos' toes curl with desire.
He fucked Mac, and Mac fucked him back, moving to meet each thrust with one of his own. Deep grunts and gutturals, tiny whispered "yeah, like that" sounds becoming louder --"God, that...feels..."-- and louder -- "uhm, harder" -- and deeper--"uh-huh" -- ending with "dammit, fuck me."
Oh, yeah, it was good. They were twisted around so that Mac was face up, his back arched a little, Methos kneeling between his thighs, each thrust hitting just the right places. Sweat covered, Methos loved looking at Mac as they fucked, his hand wrapped around Mac's cock, his pacing relentless.
Mac froze; Methos squeezed and pumped Mac's cock, coaxing the warm, slick cream from inside Mac to spread out between them. The look on Mac's face as he came drove Methos crazy, and he gasped, changing positions slightly so that he could thrust harder and faster. Mac moaned at the change -- his every noise an aphrodisiac to Methos' sensitized nerves -- and Methos groaned, driving in deep, hard and quick, pushing himself up and over the edge. His hips jerked uncontrollably as he came, his head thrown back, neck stiff, jaws clenched.
The frisson eased, and Methos became aware of the feel of Mac's hands sliding up and down his forearms. He looked down and caught Mac gazing up at him, his dark eyes luminous, face flushed, hair damp with sweat. He looked completely debauched. Methos just had to lean back down and kiss him.
More kisses then as Mac guided Methos down onto the bed, curling his arm around Methos' back. "You're spending the night, right?"
Methos laid his head down on Mac's chest, a burble of laughter escaping his lips at the absolute stupidity of that particular question. "Of course I am."
Nuzzling his hair, Mac laughed as well.
Methos looked up at him. "It was certainly worth it, wasn't it, Stan?"
"It certainly was, Ollie."
Methos looked at Mac, and they nodded simultaneously at one another, then burst out laughing again.
A shower followed the sex, a luxury in any era. Methos looked sexy as hell when wet. His hair turned slick, a bit like ...an otter pelt. Duncan stretched out, hands above his head, and toes pointed in a full extension, then relaxed.
Otter pelts. Now that wasn't something he'd thought of in a long time.
"Don't you look comfortable." Methos tossed a pile of sheets on Duncan's chest. "Come on, get up. I'm not sleeping in that."
"When did you become so picky?"
"I've always been picky." Methos stared at the ceiling, a secretive smile playing about his lips. "It's part of my charm."
Duncan gave up. "I suppose it is." He climbed out of bed and started stripping off the old sheets. "Are you will to do some more painting tomorrow?"
"I suppose." Methos tossed the clean sheets on the stripped bed, quickly folding the corners. "If you bring the beer. And not--"
"The cheap American stuff." Mac grinned as he added the blankets onto the bed. "I know. I've heard it before."
"Oh. Right." Methos sat down on the clean sheets and motioned for Duncan to hie himself off to the shower. "I guess I'll have to work on a new line for later. I hate being predictable."
Duncan grabbed a towel and headed for the bathroom, listening as Methos settled in for the night.
Friends, or lovers, it didn't matter. It was just nice to have Methos around.