Belling the Cat
by Suze


Warning: Here there be Slash. Homo-erotic fan fiction. Male/male sex, get it? Two gorgeous men -- and when Amanda's in the mood, one beautiful woman -- doing the wild thing. If this squicks you out, or if it just makes you uncomfortable, or if you're under the age limit for adult content in your current corner of the space-time continuum, please -- leave now!

Highlander: The Series and the concept of immortality presented therein belong to Rysher and Panzer/Davis. Believe me, if these characters belonged to me, I'd dress them better -- at the very least I'd get Methos out of those tacky rust colored pants and into painted-on jeans where he belongs. With silk shirts -- white, loose on the shoulders, unbuttoned halfway to get the picture. Duncan wouldn't get shirts at all. Just jeans and low-slung sweats. Oh, all right -- the occasional tux. But only if it's Armani.

I'm not going to apologize for the continuing appearances by Amanda. I like Amanda, and she gives me an extra pair of eyes to write through. Duncan can only do so much Blatant Methos Body Worshipping by himself.

I make no profit from these stories; I'm just amusing myself and hoping to seduce the occasional innocent bystander into the Highlander Universe along the way.

Chapter Two:

Amanda says you look innocent when you sleep, guiltless and washed clean of five thousand years worth of mayhem and grief. She says it's something only a woman can be expected to see -- the insecurity and the pain, the lost, lonely little boy hiding beneath the cynical surface.

I think you look as if even in your dreams you're planning some new mischief designed to annoy me. Some new deviltry to keep me from feeling too comfortable with my life.

Amanda says you don't want me to feel too comfortable with you.

Comfortable? With you, Methos? I'd laugh, if it didn't make me want to cry.

Sometimes I wonder if Amanda and I know the same Methos. Sometimes I wonder if any two of your friends know the same Methos. Maybe someday we should get together and compare notes. Me, Amanda, Joe...and the ghosts I bring to the table.

Kronos. Byron. Caspian. Richie.

Did you think of Richie as a friend, or was the distance of age and experience too great to bridge? Maybe if you'd had more time....

Either way, you acted as his friend, if only for my sake, and I thank you for that.

Caspian wasn't your friend. But you knew that, didn't you? Even in the depths of his insanity, he was smart enough to be afraid of you. How strange. He wasn't afraid of Kronos. He respected him -- in a sick, twisted sort of way -- but he didn't fear him. Why you? Did he fear you because he could see you more clearly than Kronos could -- because he didn't love you?

Kronos and Byron loved you, from the day they met you till the day I took their heads. And they thought you loved them, too --  until you left them. And even then, they still loved you. They were fools, Methos. They thought they understood you. At least I won't make that mistake -- I know I don't understand you. I know I'm maneuvering in the dark.

Did you tell them the same thing you told me, give them the same oblique warning? That loving another Immortal was too much of a commitment for you? If you did, they loved you too much to believe you. They loved you, but they never forgot that in the end, you left them. And they never forgave you for that.

Will I?

Someday, if you walk out of my door and don't come back, will I forgive you? Years after that, will seeing you again be like having a knife twisted in my heart, like it was for them?

If I never tell you that I love you, if I never ask if you love me, will you stay? If I go to bed every night pretending that it doesn't matter whether you're with me, will you be there in the morning? That's what my ghosts tell me, Methos: not to make the mistakes they made. They tell me that I can hurt you, but shouldn't scare you; that even if I can leash you, I shouldn't try to hold on to you; and most of all, that I should never let you know how much you can hurt me.

I can't imagine living like that. Loving you, but never telling you that I do. Opening the door for you to go, while praying for you to stay. Lying to you, and to myself, every minute of every day. Love shouldn't have to be a secret.

Amanda says I'm full of shit. She thinks I should just chain you to the bed and fuck you senseless for a few decades if that's what it takes to keep you here. Not the most eloquent piece of advice I've ever gotten, but it's certainly one of the most tempting. And my ghosts approve of the chaining you up part -- I'm not sure if those are true memories, or simply wishful thinking.

And they certainly have given me vivid images of what you like to do in bed -- and to have done to you. That part surprised me, but Amanda says she can see it in you, too. She doesn't think I'll be able to pull it off, though. Maybe Amanda doesn't know me as well as she thinks she does. It's not my usual preference, but I think I can handle it. I know I can. I can do anything it takes to keep you here. You need a keeper more than anyone I've ever met -- including Amanda. And a small part of me is still so pissed off at you that I'm actually looking forward to it.

Of course, she also thinks you're frightened. The gospel according to Amanda is that you're scared, and tired, and need to be protected. God only knows what she thinks the world's most dangerous surviving Immortal needs protecting from. Wolves, rabid hummingbirds, other Immortals, the odd rampaging librarian with over-active hormones. Yourself more than anything, probably.

Do you see what you've brought me to, Methos? I'm taking advice on my love life from two neurotic ghosts and Amanda. She's ever the pragmatist, our lovely Amanda. Even more than you are, sometimes. Her judgment may be a little skewed about this one, though; she has an almost boundless confidence in my physical attraction. Fucking me may be her weakness, but is it one of yours?

She also thinks you love me. I hope she's right.

Cold. Methos shivered and continued the long, dreary climb back  to consciousness. Something had changed -- what was it? Just moments ago he'd been warm and happy, held tightly against the chest of a big, toasty, furry, Highlander-scented teddy bear. Being deserted by one's teddy bear was bad enough, but did it have to take the blankets with it? His disgruntled contemplation of the treacherous nature of teddy bears was interrupted by a broad hand making swift, hard contact with his ass.

"Rise and shine, Methos!" Bright, cheerful, wide-awake -- the Highlander's voice rang with all the things that irritated Methos most about morning people. Methos was definitely not a rise-and-shine kind of guy. Start small and build wasn't just a pithy philosophy for bumper stickers, it was a guide to surviving mornings with Methos.

Methos yawned, turned his head, opened his eyes, and contemplated wreaking havoc on the nude form standing by the bed, hands on hips. Fortunately for MacLeod, havoc wreaking took more energy than Methos was usually willing to expend before coffee.

"Mac, your talents as an alarm clock are sorely lacking in the finesse department. Work on it." Methos closed his eyes and curled his arms tightly around his pillow.

"Up. Shower." Still too bright. Still too cheerful.


"Now, Methos."

Still there. "Fuck off, MacLeod. This isn't a school day, and you're not my mother."

Once again, strong hands closed around Methos' ankles. Once again, Methos clutched futilely at the sheets as he was dragged across the bed. Once again, Methos was effortlessly lifted and moved.

"Deja vu. What a concept! Damn it, MacLeod...whoooof!" The sudden, violent impact of his diaphragm with Duncan's shoulder cost Methos his breath and spared the Highlander from what would certainly have been one his more memorable 'Damn it, MacLeod' tirades.

"Did you say something, Methos?" MacLeod settled the long form more securely across his shoulder, patted Methos' naked ass with fond condescension, and headed for the bathroom. MacLeod didn't wait for an answer, and Methos didn't give him one; he was too busy reminding his body it was supposed to breathe occasionally. A small, frivolous part of his brain was occupied with  contemplating the unique view his new position offered him of Mac's admittedly gorgeous ass. These treacherous brain cells were apparently in direct contact with his cock, which -- ignoring MacLeod's juvenile behavior and the indignity of his situation -- began to harden.

Finally a breath, then two. Methos gained the air to speak just as MacLeod dropped him from his shoulder and his feet touched cold tile.

"Damn it, MacLeod...Shiiiiit!" His ability to breathe promptly disappeared again, washed away along with his incipient erection by the cold water cascading from the twin showerheads. His instinctive struggles to escape were hindered by the wet tile and MacLeod's arms closing around him. One arm settled around his chest, pulling him back against Mac's warm body, while the other settled lower and a firm hand closed possessively around his cock.

"Damn it, MacLeod!" Who the hell did he think he was? It wasn't even noon yet, and Methos had already been physically lifted and put where MacLeod wanted him twice. He was starting to feel like a new objet d'art that MacLeod couldn't decide where to display. Methos continued to struggle -- against Duncan, against the slippery floor, and most of all against the part of himself that wondered if being manhandled by Duncan was necessarily a bad thing. It was a losing struggle against  overwhelming odds. Duncan, with the advantages of superior position and strength on his side, wouldn't let go, the damn floor wouldn't give him any traction, and his treacherous cock sneered at him as it defected to the other side.

"Sshhh, Methos. I've got you. I won't let you fall. Just...relax." Ignoring Methos' ineffectual efforts to free himself, Duncan began pressing small, delicate kisses to the side of his neck. Methos began to wonder if it was really necessary to take a stand now. Later would do just as well, surely. Later, when they were calmer, without the distraction of sex. Yes, later would work just fine.

<Just remember, whatever happens next, it's your own fault.>

Apparently the Amanda demon knew a juicy rationalization when she heard one. Well, he'd deal with her later, too.

As the water warmed and the hand around his cock continued its distracting motion, Methos' struggles diminished and died, only to be resurrected moments later in the form of erotic, cat-like strokes of his body against Duncan's. His leg brushing against Duncan's strong inner thigh, his back rubbing against Duncan's broad chest, his ass caressing Duncan's hard cock. Stroke for stroke, caress for caress, Duncan matched his manipulation of Methos' hardening cock to the increasingly rapid rhythm of the body moving sensuously in his arms.

"Oh damn, that's good, Duncan. Soooo good. Don't stop." Methos felt the ripple of muscles in Duncan's chest as the other man chuckled softly. Duncan's teeth closed on his earlobe briefly before the warm lips moved up to breathe into the shell of Methos' ear.

"So the shower wasn't such a bad idea after all, hmmm?" Methos smiled and gave in. The joy in Duncan's laughing whisper, the warm lips against his ear, the tongue that was playing with his lobe, the teeth that were nibbling gently at his skin -- all conspired with his aroused cock to thwart his attempts at resistance, except for a few faint, lingering traces that mocked him with Amanda's voice.

<How are you going to handle it when he's gentle, Methos? When he caresses you? Kisses you?>

Most of his time in MacLeod's arms had been rough and frantic, one body challenging the other to strive harder and faster for completion. But this -- this must be what Duncan's women got, what had kept Amanda coming back for hundreds of years. Slow and romantic seemed to be Duncan's forte. The skilled mouth moving slowly down his neck made common cause with the hand that was stroking and teasing the sensitive skin of his stomach; together they conspired to coerce unconditional surrender. Reluctance, resistance, doubt, whatever had been locking Methos' knees melted away, and he leaned against Duncan. Trusting in Duncan's strength to sustain them, Methos relinquished control of the moment, and his body, to the insistence of the other man's desires.

<What will you do when Duncan forgets 'it's just sex' and makes love to you?>

Relaxed, confident, safe in Duncan's embrace -- Methos banished the Amanda-demon from his mind, wishing her a long, painful stay in the special level of hell reserved for politicians, witch burners and used-car salesmen.

"No, the shower was one of your more inspired ideas, MacLeod, I'll give you that. But we do need to work on your seduction techniques."

"Oh, really? Any specific suggestions, or are you just bitching for effect?"

"Liquor is good, foreplay is better, but even a simple 'Methos, let's fuck' beats the hell out of being manhandled twice in one morning." Methos kept his tone light. He could feel Duncan's answering smile in the lips that were pressing feather-light kisses against his shoulder. Turning his head to the side, his mouth was met and tasted, treasured in a brief, fervent kiss.

"So we subtract two points for style. But the results are okay, hmmm?"

"I have no complaints with the results, MacLeod." Methos gasped as the hand around his cock slid upward and Duncan's thumb traced lightly over the head, first tormenting the small opening, then soothing it as the muscles in Methos' abdomen tightened in pleasure. "No complaints at all. Not one."

Slowly, never loosening his grip or losing the rhythm, Duncan maneuvered them forward until Methos was up against the shower wall, his forearms braced on the wet tile. He was thankful for the support it provided as Duncan pressed against him from behind. He arched his back and spread his legs further apart, encouraging his partner to get on with it. With the addition of a writhing motion of his hips, the message was unmistakable -- if Duncan didn't fuck him soon, he would come without him.

"Duncan, do it -- now!" Methos was beyond caring that his voice broke and the words came out as a plea. MacLeod's hot lips on his neck and the restrained strength apparent in the body that was pressing its hard, insistent length against his ass were weaving a deliciously distracting accompaniment to the hand moving over his cock.

Duncan shifted his weight, adjusted Methos' position slightly, and gently pressed the head of his cock against the tight opening hidden between the firm muscles of Methos' ass. Strong fingers stroked over Methos' hip, down the cleft of his buttocks, and traced a gentle, exploring path over the slightly  raised ring of muscle. Then they stopped.

"Methos?" The voice in his ear was amused and loving, soft with the lilting cadences that so frequently announced Duncan's emotions. Methos groaned in frustration. He sincerely hoped that this was going to be a short conversation. Very short. Every fiber of his being was convinced that his continued existence depended entirely on having Duncan's cock inside him in the next twenty seconds.

"What now?"

"The next time I tell you to do something, do it." This voice was not soft, amused or loving -- neither was the large cock that drove into him, nor the tight hands that left deep bruises on his hips as a violent shove pinned him to the wall. Unprepared, unresisting, all of his defenses disassembled in tatters at his feet, Methos gasped and jerked at the abruptness of the change in Duncan's mood.

Methos juggled confusion with desire and a hot spike of anger -- what the hell was happening? The gentle, romantic Duncan who had lured him into surrender was gone, replaced without warning by the impassioned, savage lover who tempted him with talk of games and glimpses of a brief, superficial dominance. The switch was too sudden, too unexpected. His skin still felt the ghostly touch of gentle hands; his ears still echoed with playful, loving whispers. He was too open -- his emotions too close to the surface, vulnerable and exposed. Methos struggled for balance, any kind of balance, trying frantically to hang on to the edges of his control. But the only weapon he could find was an unwelcome memory.

<You told me you could do submissive, Methos. I hope you meant it.>

"This would be so much more satisfying if you'd wear the collar, Methos. I made it especially for you. No fancy studs, just smooth leather, soft as butter so it wouldn't irritate this beautiful neck."

Collars. Chains. Amanda's goddamn rules. It was only a game, and it was one Methos had played many times before. But it wasn't a game he could afford to lose himself in -- not completely. Not with this man.

Duncan wanted a game. Just an occasional round of slap and tickle, with a bit more slap than tickle. And he thought Methos wanted that too. But what Methos really wanted would horrify a man who thought collars and leashes were just for play.

<Just remember, whatever happens next, it's your own fault. You set the stakes for this particular game, Methos.>

His fault. His demons. His price to pay.

The ripples of heat and passion that Duncan's touch roused in him were growing inexorably into waves, sweeping through his body to drown reason and leave trembling muscles and pulsing senses in their wake. He gasped again, uncontrollably, and again as Duncan withdrew without pausing then thrust once, twice more. Then Duncan stopped, his cock buried deep inside Methos, his body holding Methos' caged and helpless against the cold tile. The gasps became moans, then faded to choked sobs as Methos shivered against the arms that were holding him upright.

"You bloody son of a bitch! What the hell do you think you're doing? "

"Do you understand the rule, or not, Methos?" Duncan was calm, his voice low and even. Methos recognized it. Soft, patient, it was the voice Duncan used when training particularly slow students in the dojo.

"I understand that you've lost your mind, MacLeod. Let go of me." Methos voice was taut and strained -- an uncontrollable reflection of a body that had passed too rapidly from writhing in lust through shivering in pain, to end vibrating with tension.

"Wrong answer." Sensitive flesh that was just beginning to calm was excited again as Duncan abruptly pulled back, then resumed thrusting. A relentless hand reclaimed Methos' cock and began a rough, rapid stroking.

"God damn you, MacLeod!" Methos was fighting again, but he wasn't fighting Duncan this time. That battle was already lost -- to Duncan's size and strength and to Methos' vulnerable position. He didn't waste effort fighting his own body, which was responding to the savagery of Duncan's possession with an answering passion that had passed beyond his ability, or desire, to temper. Instead, he called on every reserve of anger and wounded pride he could find, every vestige of self-doubt and fear he could summon, and fought hope. Duncan was far too good at this game. It was so tempting to believe it was real.

<What will it take to make you beg and plead?>

It was a game. It was only a game. It wasn't real. Not real. It couldn't be real.

But he couldn't make himself believe that, not entirely. The hard strength of Duncan's arms, the unrelenting pressure of the large cock pumping into his body, the exquisite friction of the hand that never ceased its rough movements over his cock, were all demanding that he believe that it was real. That it was happening. That it didn't have to be a game. He could let go. He could cede control to Duncan. He could lose himself in the pleasure of belonging, totally and absolutely, to Duncan MacLeod.

"Answer the question, Methos. You know what I want to hear. Then maybe, just maybe, I'll let you come. Believe me, Methos -- no matter what it takes, no matter what I have to do, you don't come until you say it." There was passion in that soft, breathless voice, and desire -- maybe even affection. But no quarter, no mercy.

"Not real." Ragged and bloody, some small vestige of Methos' soul resisted the thrill of capitulation -- it fought against passion and lust, against trust and love.

"It's as real as it has to be, Methos." Duncan's answer surprised him; he hadn't realized he'd spoken out loud. Methos struggled to hear Duncan's words. Did Duncan know how much every word he spoke meant to Methos? That he treasured them, hoarded them away to analyze and fret over in the middle of the night? Serious words, playful words, angry words, teasing words. In all of them, there had never been anything that led him to expect this, to prepare himself for this. How do you prepare yourself for the impossible, the unreal?

The hand on his cock stopped stroking and moved to circle the base of the shaft. Open and close, pressure then ease, Duncan denied Methos the release his body was demanding. It was unnecessary effort. Body and mind, Methos was consumed by the fight within himself -- there was no strength to spare to fight against anything Duncan demanded. Right here, right now, Methos wouldn't come simply because Duncan told him he couldn't. Here and now, Methos only existed because Duncan's touch told him he did.

"Say it, Methos. I want to hear you say the words."

It's not real. Not real. Methos was drowning -- the anger and pride that had sustained his resistance had deserted him. He was left with no anchor, no center, nothing real to cling to. But Duncan's body was real, and the arms holding him tight and the warm mouth against his neck were real. The  demands were real, but so was the affection in Duncan's voice. His faith that Duncan wouldn't purposely hurt him was real.

"Give up, Methos. Why are you fighting it? You can't win. Don't you understand that?"

All he had to do to save what was left of his sanity was give in, say the small words that Duncan wanted to hear, and it would end. All he had to do to reach the completion he yearned for was trust Duncan MacLeod in a way he hadn't trusted another soul in centuries. Simply trust Duncan, and then he'd be safe.

"Just admit the truth, Methos...."

Methos moaned in frustration. Give up, give over, give in. Give up, give over, give in. The refrain pulsed in Methos' thoughts in rhythm with the pounding of Duncan's body against his. He arched helplessly in Duncan's arms as he finally reached his limits, and crossed over. What did it matter? It was only a game.

"Yes! Whatever you say, I'll do it -- whatever you want me to do, to be, whatever you need. Anything. Oh God, please. Duncan... Duncan...please...please...."

And Duncan's voice released him.

"Come. Now." Strong arms held him as he shuddered and groaned, emptying his passion over the restraining hand as he felt Duncan thrust once more and spill into him. And Duncan continued to hold him -- stroking him, caressing him, murmuring soft, indistinct words to comfort him through the long minutes until his trembling legs and the support of the wall let him stand on his own again. Until he could hear the words.

"Good boy, Methos. Well done." A final stroke down his back, a soft, possessive pat on his ass, then Duncan was gone.

The sharp click of the latch as the bathroom door closed behind Duncan released the last of the tension that was locking Methos' knees and holding him upright. He slid down the wall, collapsing bonelessly to the shower floor, grateful for the distractions of the cold tile and the rapidly cooling water flowing over and around him. If he could blame his shivering on the tile, the water, the atrocious Seacouver climate -- if he could call it anger, or injured pride -- then he could lie to himself again. He could close that wound in his heart and deny the fear.

He pushed away the trembling in his arms and legs, the warm lassitude in his groin, the gratifying ache of every muscle, and concentrated on drawing the finely shredded bits of his defenses back into place. Naked in more than body, with no strength left to spare for disguises, Methos huddled alone in the cold and waited hopelessly for the tears that wouldn't come.

That had been close. Much too close. Duncan had more talent for domination than Methos had ever suspected. The temptation to let go and give in to him had been overwhelming -- nearly. But Duncan never would have understood that degree of surrender. Not in this game. Having Methos fall to his knees,  kiss his feet, and vow unending devotion would shock the shit out of the Highlander. And he had been too damn close to doing it.

Methos couldn't decide who he was more angry with -- himself or Duncan. Or Amanda. It couldn't hurt to throw a little blame Amanda's way.

<You told me you could do submissive, Methos. I hope you meant it.>

Bitch. The idea that she might not have been joking, that she might have been able to see through him that well, was more than  disconcerting, it was dangerous. What had she seen? How had he given himself away? No, it was just a game to her, it had to be.

But what had she said to Duncan?

<You've played games before, surely. Well, you're going to love this one. Duncan can be so...creative when he decides to play.>

He was stuck now, and it was his own fault. If he hadn't been so damned horny, so desperate to jump into MacLeod's bed, he could have waited -- could have found a different way to play it. A safer way, a way that didn't hit so close to home. But now he'd let it become just another game. Today we'll play Torture Amanda, and tomorrow will be Dominate Methos Day. Tuesday we'll try Crusader and Infidel. The French maid outfit with the frilly apron will be ready next week. Did you want the extra-scratchy lace on that?

He never should have let it go this far.He'd seen it coming, hadn't he? He'd known he was in trouble the first time Duncan automatically took control in bed as if control was the divine right of the MacLeods, just one more perk of being the Clan Chief. He should have stopped it the first time Duncan had picked him up and thrown him on the bed, the first time Duncan grabbed him.

But he hadn't wanted Duncan to stop. He had loved it. Every rough, frantic, savage moment of it. And Duncan knew that; it would have been impossible to hide it from him. But Duncan probably just thought he had found a partner he could let go with. Someone he didn't have to be so careful not to bruise. And he probably thought Methos felt the same way. How could he know how careful Methos was in bed? Careful not to give in too easily. Careful not to care too much. Careful not to give too much away. And very, very careful not to let Duncan see how much he wanted to give in, how much he wanted to care, how much he wanted to surrender.

It was too late to back out, but maybe he still had time to convince Duncan that he'd have to pick another game. What could he tell him? 'Sorry, MacLeod, we'll have to play something else -- anything that feels this damn good can't be safe.' Yeah, right. This was definitely not a time for the truth. If Duncan found out, if he ever guessed what Methos wanted, then even with the best of intentions he'd break Methos' heart. What Methos needed, Duncan couldn't give.

If he believed for one minute that Duncan would really, could really do it, could understand it as real, could embrace it as more than just another game, more than just a prelude to another great fuck, he'd wear MacLeod's fucking collar -- to church. Proudly. But not the Highlander. Not Duncan  MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod. Not the essential Boy Scout with his eight dozen rules of chivalry and his overly romantic ideas of what love should be.

Methos didn't want a partner. He didn't want to be shared with and considered and consulted. He wanted to be owned. Completely and totally possessed. Not as a game. Not with Duncan.

It would be so damn good, if it were only real. If Duncan could actually do it -- not the comparatively brief moments of surrender he'd achieved with mortal lovers, not the pain and torture he'd gotten from Kronos. If Duncan could do it, if he could have that degree of domination -- that degree of commitment -- from someone Immortal, someone he trusted, someone he loved....

If he could have that, then he could rest. He could let go of the struggle and the fear, he could let go of his defenses and his armor, he could sink heedlessly and wholeheartedly into the safety and peace of being Duncan's, totally and completely Duncan's, with no reservations, no limits.

But it was too much to risk on a game; the consequences of failure were too serious to contemplate, the chance that Duncan would back away from him too real to consider. He needed Duncan MacLeod in his life any way he could keep him there. And he could never explain to Duncan how much the depth of that need frightened him. He was so tired of being alone, so tired of shouldering his troubles alone, day after day, year after year, century after century. Tired of fighting, tired of running, tired of being afraid, and tired of not having anyone to admit the fear to. And Duncan's strength was so very, very tempting.

But a man who based his life on honor and justice would never want to own another person's soul.

He could close his eyes and picture Duncan's face. First, the disbelief. Then he would try to help, Methos didn't doubt that; the Highlander would never ignore a friend in pain. He would try to be what Methos needed, try to make it be more than a game. And for awhile, it might even work. But someday he would look in the Highlander's eyes and see what he dreaded: pity for his weakness. And with time, pity so easily became contempt.

He would rather see hate in those eyes than pity and contempt.

Slowly, on legs that were still unsteady, Methos rose and prepared himself to act out a lie.


To be continued...