Please Don't Pet the Methos
by Suze


Not mine. No money. Rating...uh, I'm not really sure. It's slash, of course. There's rough language. There's something that has a vague resemblance to a sex scene.

Oh, and there's a little bit of sap, but just a tiny bit. Methos woke up and clobbered Duncan with the broom before it got too far out of hand.<g>

Several innocent beta-type bystanders had a hand in different parts of this, including Ellen, Kamil, Diana, Lum, and Fi. Don't blame them for the ending though, only Lum got a quick glimpse at the second half. <g>

Duncan MacLeod was halfway up the stairs when the buzz kicked in. Methos. He'd recognize that particular version of the irritating fingernails-on-a-blackboard sensation anywhere; he fully expected to recognize it when he felt it in hell. Taking the remaining stairs two at a time, he stopped on the landing and knocked softly at the glass-paneled door.

"Adam? It's Mac." Silence. A shadow flowed across the rippled glass. Tall, elongated, moving swiftly. Carrying something long and pointed.

"MacLeod? Is that you?"

"No, it's the Big Bad Wolf of the Apocalypse. Open the door. I don't want to do my huffing and puffing out here in the hall."

A pause. Then a click of metal on metal. Another. And another. Finally the door opened, framing a silhouette against the pale moonlight. Tall, slender, carelessly graceful -- Methos. And a half-naked Methos at that. Duncan checked off the boxers- or-briefs question on his Methos-as-sexual-fantasy list, briefly mourned the much hoped for red leather thong, then looked a bit closer and added 'silk, paisley.'

"Candy-gram!" The older Immortal stared at him and started to speak, but whatever example of burning wit Methos was preparing to deliver was swallowed by an inconvenient yawn.

Duncan crossed his arms over his chest, leaned against the doorjamb, and studied the other man. First, a quick scan of the whole body. Then a slower, more in depth examination -- stopping occasionally to savor the especially good parts. Slender. No surprises there, he already knew that. Good shoulders, broad and surprisingly well muscled. Well defined abs -- he wondered if Methos was ticklish. He'd have to add that question to his list.

Duncan could afford to affect a certain degree of nonchalance. He, after all, was wide awake and prepared for the encounter -- not to mention fully clothed. Methos, on the other hand, had been startled out of a sound sleep by an intruding buzz, and ninety seconds later was standing in his open doorway displaying a provocative amount of cream-colored skin to a man he hadn't seen or heard from in six months. Off balance to start with, Methos was beginning to look more than a bit disconcerted at MacLeod's slow, thorough perusal.

Getting the old man off balance was a good start, but an experienced tactician knew better than to deviate from a well rehearsed plan. The six months of careful plotting and scheming, the endless hours he had spent analyzing every conversation, every significant look, every offhand caustic barb Methos had ever tossed his way, were all going to pay off tonight. With more than a little effort, Duncan managed to hold in the wolf whistle and refrain from licking his lips. The twitch of interest behind his zipper was beyond his conscious control.

"If we're going to stand here and stare at each other all night, that's fine with me-- the view is certainly entertaining enough. Or were you planning to invite me in?"

"Sorry. You caught me a bit off guard." Methos moved out of the door, waited to close and relock it behind Duncan, then paused to turn on a lamp before leaning his sword against the wall.

Duncan stifled the smirk that was trying to sneak onto his lips. He pushed a tiny flicker of pity for Methos into the corner with the hidden smirk and stifled it, too. Off guard was good. Off balance and off guard already, and Duncan was barely in the door. Poor Methos. If things went according to Duncan's plan, before the night was over he'd be baffled, bewildered, befuddled, and in the end, befucked.

"Well, there's a first time for everything, Methos."

Methos turned his head and surveyed the room, as if wondering if anything was in view that shouldn't be. Running his hand through his bed-rumpled hair, he blinked and squinted as his eyes adjusted to the light.

"First times are few and far between in my life these days, Highlander."

"Occupational hazard of being the world's oldest man?"

"You could say that. Want a beer?"

"At this time of the...? Come to think of it, a beer would be good." Duncan settled himself on the surprisingly uncomfortable sofa, thought for a second as he contemplated the height of the seat and the depth of the cushions, then adjusted his position to approximate a classic Methosian sprawl. Of course. Trust Methos to have furniture designed for sprawling.

Methos disappeared briefly, returning with two bottles. He handed one to Duncan, moved back a safe six feet, and crossed his arms over his chest, all without once meeting Duncan's eyes. He hadn't looked directly at MacLeod since the initial disbelieving stare at the door. The hunched shoulders and crossed arms, the avoidance of his eyes and the braced legs-- and very nice legs they were, too-- all screamed 'defensive posture' to the experienced fighter in Duncan. Things just kept getting better and better. Duncan relaxed a little deeper into Methos' man-eating sofa and sipped his beer.

"Nice place, Methos. Lived here long?"

"Comparatively speaking, no. Long enough for you to have visited before now, yes. So-- long time, no see. What brings Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod to my door at this ungodly hour? Disaster? Calamity? Did Amanda break a nail? Whatever it is, will it wait while I put some clothes on?" Methos crossed the room to the sleeping area and set his beer on a small dresser near the bed before rummaging in a drawer.

"No disaster, no calamity, not even a bad dream. Go ahead and get dressed...if you have to."

"What does that mean?"

"Just something I've wondered about from time to time. I guess this is as good a time as any to ask you about it."

"Ask me about what?" Methos' voice was muffled by the t-shirt he was pulling over his head.

"This excessive body modesty of yours. Where did that come from? I've given it a lot of thought, and considering your age and the different cultures you must have lived in, I wouldn't have thought that you'd worry about showing a little skin."

Duncan repressed a grin as Methos froze, his head halfway through the neck of the shirt. Only the rumpled hair and startled eyes were visible, gazing at him in bewilderment. Duncan savored the moment, it wasn't a look Methos wore very often. Then Methos blinked and unfroze, finished pulling on the shirt and bent over to retrieve a pair of sweats from the floor.

"There's nothing mysterious about it. It's called cold, MacLeod. You got me out of a nice warm bed in the middle of the night. I'm freezing my arse off." Duncan allowed himself a good five seconds of appreciative contemplation of the object under discussion, every deliciously tight muscle of which was clearly outlined by the silk boxers, before responding.

"Uh-huh. Methos, we've known each other for four years. We've sparred together, worked out together, you've crashed on my couch for weeks at a time-- and tonight is the first time I've ever seen you without a shirt. You always changed in the bathroom, always slept in sweats and t-shirts-- which you obviously don't do when you're alone. I was beginning to think you were scarred or disfigured, had three nipples, or at the very least an embarrassing tattoo. Obviously that's not the problem. So what is?" Duncan managed to arrange a look of innocent curiosity on his face before Methos turned around.

Methos glared at MacLeod as he stepped into the sweats. Duncan noticed that the other man's defensiveness and inability to meet his eyes shrank in direct proportion to the amount of clothing he was wearing. That might be very useful knowledge to have before the night was over. His plan didn't actually include ripping Methos' clothes off, but the idea did have a certain barbaric appeal, and Duncan was more than willing to improvise if necessary.

"I don't believe this. You call us together, give us all sickeningly maudlin 'what you mean to me' speeches, do a dramatic exit into the fog, disappear for months without a word to anyone, then show up at my door at three in the morning desperate to know why I like warm clothing. Do you feel all right, MacLeod?" Methos jerked the sweats up to his waist and tied them, then stalked across the room. After a barely perceptible pause in front of the tallest chair MacLeod had ever seen in a private home, he settled on the opposite end of the couch.

"I feel fine, Methos. I'm just curious. Are you like this with everyone, or is it just me? Why the hell does this make you so uncomfortable?"

Methos looked at Duncan, his wide eyes and parted lips showing 'baffled.' Then he squinted, his expression changed to 'concerned,' and he leaned toward MacLeod and sniffed, twice.

"Exactly how much have you had to drink tonight, Highlander?"

Duncan held eye contact with Methos as he raised his beer to his lips and drank.

"Exactly half a beer, Methos."

"Uh-huh. Been smoking any funny cigarettes?"


"Popping pills? Sniffing glue?"


"Taking Quickenings from strange Immortals?"

"Only on alternate Thursdays. Are you going to answer my question?"

"Fine. You want to play games? I'll play. I'm not uncomfortable, MacLeod. Do I look tense to you?"


"Well, I'm not!" As if to lend credence to his patently untrue declaration, Methos leaned back and settled more firmly into his seat beside Duncan. The extraordinary amount of leg stretching and hip twisting involved in this maneuver sent an anticipatory twitch through Duncan's groin. He wasn't surprised. Those agile hips and long runners legs had been causing similar twitches for four years now. Four very long years.

"Fine. You're not tense." He smiled calmly at Methos and waited for the expected, comfortable 'you're damn right' look to appear on the narrow face before continuing.

"But you're not half-naked anymore, either. Pity, that." Comfortable disappeared without a trace, making way for confused again. And was that, lurking around the edges, just a hint of panic? Perfect.

"MacLeod, what the hell is going on here? Is this your twisted idea of a joke? If so, I concede. You're the Seinfield of the Immortal set. Can I go back to bed now?"

"Nah. It's almost morning anyway. Let's stay up and talk. We can watch the sunrise together. Read any good books lately?"

"Watch the sunrise together. Talk. Uh-huh, right. MacLeod..."

"Why not? We have a lot to talk about. And we have to start somewhere." Duncan sipped from his beer and watched the parade of expressions continue its rapid march across Methos' face. He missed confused when it turned the corner and disappeared-- it was so endearing, so Adam-- but baffled was almost as good, and on its heels should come-- yes, right on cue-- epiphany, followed immediately by righteous indignation.

Duncan settled back and waited for the show to begin. Methos in a righteous snit was just so damned cute! His eyes darkened and sparkled, twin streaks of color accented his sharp cheekbones, and whenever he paused in his ranting, he inhaled through his mouth, taking short, gasping little breaths. In Duncan's favorite fantasies, that was exactly how Methos looked when he came-- except for the ranting. But a little creative editing here and there could transform the rant into breathless pleas to be fucked harder and faster.

Someday he'd have to tell Methos that. He'd save it for a special occasion though--maybe their tenth anniversary. 'You're so cute when you're angry' would probably be worth a world-class snit. With the long years of an Immortal life stretching in front of him, it was nice to have something special to look forward to. Oops-- had he just missed his cue? No, not quite. This particular rant still had another five or six minutes to run.

"Oh, bloody hell. Are you listening to me? Earth to MacLeod!"

"I'm listening, Methos."

"Good. Because I get it now-- I understand your whole idiotic plan. The thank-you speech, the dramatic exit, the six month disappearance. It was all a set-up, wasn't it? You were lulling me into a false sense of security, weren't you? You think that now that things have calmed down, we're going to have that little chat about my misspent youth, aren't we? Modesty? Nakedness? Not a very subtle lead in, Highlander. Confusing as hell, yes. Subtle, no."

"Methos..." A token interruption only, Duncan didn't actually expect Methos to stop. The older man had pulled himself out of his sprawl and was perched on the edge of the cushion, a position which Duncan knew from his own brief testing of the sofa to be too uncomfortable to maintain for long. Duncan had summoned a fight or flight response, and Methos was preparing to fly. Two more minutes and he'd be stalking around the room, flinging his arms about and reading Duncan the riot act. Once he'd achieved a safer distance than an easy arms stretch across the sofa, of course.

"You've decided that it's time for me to reveal all and tell you the sad story of my sordid life, haven't you? Well, tough shit, MacLeod. I'm not baring my soul on demand just so you can have closure." Slight miscalculation-- make that one minute. The slender body was off the sofa and across the room almost before Duncan saw him move. Methos planted his bare feet firmly on the wooden floor, tilted his chin and glared at MacLeod through narrowed, angry eyes. His lips were slightly parted, and yes, he was breathing in those sexy little pants. Full snit mode engaged. Damn, the man was tempting. Duncan's cock twitched again in silent agreement. Assuring his enthusiastic cock that its patience would be rewarded soon, Duncan sipped his beer, smiled at Methos fondly, and calmly prepared to knock those long, graceful feet right out from under the ancient son of a bitch.

"Good for you, Methos. It's probably a boring story anyway, and it isn't your soul that I'm interested in baring tonight. In the words of a great American poet, why don't we just get drunk and screw?"

"...And where the hell do you get off..." Methos paused in mid- tantrum and turned confused eyes toward MacLeod. "What did you say?"

"Let's cut to the chase, Methos. Wanna fuck?"

"What?" Methos' confusion morphed into disbelief.

"Fuck. Make love. Screw. Do the deed. Make the beast with two backs. Is any of this beginning to sound familiar to you?"

"What?" Disbelief disappeared, replaced by a Bambi-frozen-in-the- headlights stare. Duncan imagined that Methos might have been able to approximate the same expression if his sword had risen from its place against the wall, done a Disneyesque waltz across the room, and stabbed him in the ass.

"Help me out here, Methos. Exactly which part of 'let's fuck' didn't you understand?" Fascinating. Duncan hadn't realized that Methos' jaw could drop that far.

"Any of it. All of it. What the hell are you babbling about?

"I've had time to do some thinking, and what I think is that I'm tired of all the bullshit. So-- got any almond oil?" Duncan resisted the urge to cross the room and throw Methos to the floor, half convinced that if it even appeared that he was considering leaving the couch at this point, Bambi would unfreeze in a hurry and hurl himself out the window. He amused himself by contemplating the erotic possibilities of Methos' mouth while he waited for the other man to stop sputtering and form actual words.

"What? I don't...I thought...what about Kronos?"

"He's dead, remember? Which is rather convenient, since I'm not in the mood for a threesome. If you want to try one some time, I'm willing to give Amanda a call. But not tonight. Tonight is about us, Methos."

"Us?" At least Methos was forming actual words again.

"Us, Methos. You, me, the bed and that almond oil."


Great. He'd reduced the man to one word sentences. Maybe he'd gone too far, too fast. Although considering who he was dealing with, one word sentences might not be a bad thing. At least Methos wasn't doing the Bambi imitation anymore. He'd unfrozen enough to wave one hand in front of his face; either he was testing his eyes, or he was banishing an hallucination.

"You don't like the bed?" Duncan looked around the room. "Well, this couch is pretty comfortable, once you get used to it. And I've occasionally found kitchen counters to be a convenient height. Up against the wall can be entertaining, too. Or if you like horizontal and don't think you can wait till we get to the bed, there's always the floor."

"Bloody hell, MacLeod! What's going on here?" Bambi fled into the forest and Methos was back. Something in his face made Duncan wonder if it was the sex-against-the-wall reference that had brought him out of his fugue state. He'd have to remember that, for later.

"I thought I'd made it perfectly clear what's going on here. Don't you recognize the moves? I'm seducing you. Surely you've been seduced before." Now that Methos had rejoined the conversation, Duncan decided the risk that he would bolt was gone, and rose from the couch. Methos confirmed Duncan's guess by staying put.

"In a word-- bullshit. I don't know what your game is, MacLeod, but I know you better than that. Somewhere in your devious little mind, you're still thinking about Kronos-- you still want to know who I was then and who I am now. You're not the type to put the hard questions to rest just by deciding you're tired of thinking about them. So for the last time, MacLeod-- what the hell is going on?"

Methos crossed his arms over his chest and glared at Duncan. The confusion was, if not gone, at least very well hidden-- the narrowed eyes and tense stance telegraphed a renewed willingness and readiness to fight back. He looked like a man who had defined his limits and drawn an invisible line on the floor-- MacLeod could step up to that line, but no further. Bambi had definitely left the building.

Duncan took two steps forward. Methos drew a deep breath and his body tensed even more, but he held his position, refusing to step back. Duncan applauded, silently-- he had never thought that Methos' avowed willingness to run from conflict was an outward manifestation of cowardice, but it was nice to have his opinion confirmed. Apparently, this was a fight Methos wasn't going to run away from.

Duncan paused. He had schemed, planned and plotted for months to reach this instant in time, this moment of delicate balance. And all of his efforts hinged on one question-- were he and Methos going to end this night fighting each other, or were they ultimately fighting for the same thing?

Duncan was fighting to keep Methos in his life. He was fighting to break past the tension and strain that had defined their relationship since Kronos had walked out of the fog that was Methos' past. He was fighting to regain the lost feeling that had seemed to pervade every moment of their time together before Kronos-- that delicious anticipation that at any moment one of them was going to pounce on the other. And chivalry be damned, he was beyond fighting fairly.

He had shocked Methos tonight, deliberately. He had pushed, prodded, and teased the other man to reach this point of no return. Now Methos had drawn his invisible line and Duncan was more than ready to step over it, and he was going to pull Methos over it with him.

"Do you need to hear me say the words, Methos? No problem, they're small words. You had to make choices. I might have made different choices. You were there, I wasn't. And neither of us is the same person he used to be. I finally got it, Methos. I don't need to know who you were then to know who you are now. You're my friend."

Methos continued to stare at Duncan, but the glare faded to a softer, less confrontational expression.

"MacLeod, that's..." Whatever Methos was planning to say trailed off as Duncan took another step forward.

"A friend who says he cares only about himself, then puts his life at risk, more than once, to save mine."

"Mac..." The eyes got even softer. Not trusting yet, but more open, more willing to listen. Duncan stepped forward again.

"My best friend."

"Duncan..." Methos voice dropped to a low, throaty purr, and a gratified flush touched the high, sculpted cheekbones.

Duncan moved closer. Not close enough to frighten-- almost, but not quite, close enough to touch.

"The friend who flirts with me, stands too close to me, walks too close to me. The one who touches me whenever he can, then backs off just when things start to look interesting. My very best friend. The one who taunts me and teases me-- and then leaves me alone to deal with the raging hard-on he caused."


As sexy as the throaty purr had been, Duncan wasn't entirely disappointed to have it replaced by a surprised squeak. The dangerous moment when he might have lost Methos completely was past, it was time to get this seduction back on track. He took two steps forward. Methos responded by taking three steps back, but Duncan followed and Methos' escape route was blocked. He was backed against the wall now, and Duncan was too close to allow any easy maneuvering. If Methos wanted to get away, he was going to have to move Duncan, physically.

"My close, intimate friend. The one who displays himself on my bed-- that was one of your better efforts, by the way. That picture is still giving me wet dreams. How about the friend who sprawls on my couch with his legs spread, tempting me to imagine what it would be like to tear open his jeans and taste his hard, swollen cock-- isn't that you too?"

"What..." Methos was regressing to one word sentences again.

"Oh, yes, I know exactly who you are. You're the friend who does all of that, then puts up a big 'Do Not Pet the Methos' sign. And now I want to know why."

"Jesus Christ, MacLeod! What the hell brought this on?" Methos edged to his left. MacLeod stopped the escape attempt by placing a hand against the wall by Methos' face.

"Like I said, I've had time to do some thinking."

"Well obviously, you're still severely out of practice. Go away and come back when you get it right."

"I think I've got it right, Methos. I've spent the past six months sorting out the last few years of my life. There was some pretty heavy shit there. Tessa, the Dark Quickening, Warren, your old friends Kronos and Byron. Richie. Not fun, any of it. But it's over. And as much as I want to, I can't change it. I can't bring Tessa and Richie back."

"Or Byron." Methos edged right. Duncan's other hand landed on the wall, counterpoint to the first one.

"No, or Mike, either. When it comes right down to it, there's only one loose end in my life that I can do anything about-- you."

"And so you've come to tie me up?" Methos' voice may have projected sneering bravado, but Duncan wasn't going to be put off by mere words. If the man really wanted Duncan to back off, he was going to have to do more than talk. After all, if Methos had serious objections to Duncan's obvious intentions, a swift knee to the groin would have freed him. When Methos remained safely bracketed against the wall, Duncan's confidence rose even higher, along with his cock. He inched closer and his voice deepened to a sensuous growl.

"Only if that's the way you like it, Methos. Got any rope?"

To Duncan's good fortune, the knee to the groin proved unnecessary. Methos freed himself by the simple expedient of placing both hands against Duncan's chest and shoving, hard. Not really resisting, Duncan snickered and retreated two steps.

"What's wrong, Methos? Can't you take what you dish out?"

Methos moved away from the wall and circled to Duncan's left. Duncan mirrored him, circling to the right. When Methos reversed course and circled right, Duncan responded by going left. Methos stopped moving and frowned at Duncan. Duncan responded with a grin that could only be described as shit-eating.

"MacLeod, I don't know what you think you're trying to accomplish here, but obviously we need to have a long talk."

"Fine. Before or after we fuck?"

Methos closed his eyes for the duration of a long, obviously heartfelt groan. Opening them again, he looked at Duncan and sighed.

"Damn. It must not be a nightmare after all-- you're still here. I need a drink." Methos walked toward the kitchen, frowning when Duncan followed him.

"What? Don't I get a drink too? What kind of host are you?" Duncan leaned against the counter and looked as innocent as he dared. Methos looked at him for a long moment before he snorted and opened the refrigerator. After passing over a beer, Methos opened his own, took a long swallow, and leaned back against the fridge.


"Well, that's an improvement."

"What's an improvement?"

"'Duncan'. It's so much more intimate than your usual 'Mac' or 'MacLeod.' I like it. Say it again." Duncan sighed and batted his eyelashes at Methos.

This time Methos' groan sounded like it originated closer to his gut than his heart. Duncan hid a smirk and reminded himself that his goal was to seduce Methos, not nauseate him-- no matter how good it felt to get a little of his own back. If Duncan had realized earlier exactly how fulfilling sustained periods of Methos-baiting could be, he never would have settled for just painting his nose.

"Stop that. I need to explain something to you. Without anymore smart-ass interruptions, MacLeod."

"Awww--and just when I was getting the hang of it, too."

Methos' twisted lips, squinting eyes and tapping foot said 'stifle-it' more clearly than spoken words could have. Duncan choked off a snicker, assembled a look of concentrated attention- - with just a hint of long-suffering patience-- on his face, and obligingly stifled.

Methos waited a moment, watching Duncan closely, then sighed again.

"Dun...MacLeod. First, this is all my fault. I want you to know that I realize that. If I had thought for a minute that you would take me seriously, if I had believed in my wildest dreams that you were at all...uh, inclined to, uh...Shit."

"Spit it out, Methos. You won't offend me."

"Dammit Duncan, there's nothing in your Chronicle that even hints that you're bisexual!"

"So the Watchers don't know everything. Is that a surprise? you of all people should know how spotty and incomplete their records can be. What's the problem?"

Duncan had seen a hundred different faces on Methos: snotty, sarcastic, amused, frightened. But this one was new. He was flustered, a bit pink around the edges, and he wouldn't meet Duncan's eyes. If he hadn't known him better, Duncan would have sworn that Methos looked embarrassed.

"I'm not."

Duncan frowned, trying to place Methos' statement in a context where it made sense. Maybe he had missed something while he was admiring Methos' face.

"You're not what, Methos?"

Methos frowned at the floor and fidgeted. Duncan sipped his beer. Whatever this was about, it seemed to be important to Methos, so he could afford a little more patience.

"Bisexual. I don't...I'm not...Not that there's anything wrong with it, I'm not saying that. It's just...I'm not."

Duncan choked on a laugh, coughed, then gave up and spewed beer over himself, the floor, and an anxious appearing Methos. Methos dove for a napkin and handed it to Duncan, grabbing another to wipe away the beer dripping off his own chin. When he finished choking, Duncan looked at Methos again. Still anxious. What the hell was wrong? Did he really think it mattered to Duncan that he was gay?

"Methos, it doesn't matter. So the remark about doing a threesome with Amanda was off base. I was just kidding..." Duncan's voice trailed off as he remembered-- Alexa. Alexa and sixty-eight wives. "Shit."

Methos pink flush had deepened to a richer shade of red, and he still wouldn't meet Duncan's eyes.

"I'm sorry, Duncan. I didn't know. I never would have...tempted you if I had. You've got to believe that. You're a very attractive man, but the flirting, the's a defense reflex. When I meet a certain type of threat I react by, well-- you've seen it. I roll over and show my belly to the alpha-male in the pack. I learned it so long ago, it's ingrained now. Automatic. I'm sorry...."

Oh, dear God, what had he done? How could he have made such a mistake? Duncan's mind was racing, throwing up conflicting images of Methos, trying to make sense of what the man was telling him. Methos on the floor of his apartment in Paris, peering up at him from under those ridiculously long lashes. Methos at Joe's making puppy dog eyes at Alexa. Methos lying on Duncan's bed, long leg propped up invitingly as he drank MacLeod's beer. Methos flirting with one of Byron's groupies and getting her phone number. Methos giving him significant looks across the bar. Methos looking at Amanda....

Duncan's racing thoughts came to a screeching halt, backed up and turned left.

Methos looking at Kronos. Methos smiling up at Byron. Methos refusing to look at him as he scuffed his bare foot along the floor. Methos was still refusing to meet his eyes. Did he really think Duncan was going to buy into this? What was he trying to pull? And why? And more importantly, what was Duncan going to do about it? The last one was easy-- give the sneaky, lying son of a bitch a bit more rope.

"No problem, Methos. It's never too late to expand your horizons." Yes, that was the perfect response. Methos was looking at him now, and the confusion was back.

"What do you mean?"

"We're here, there's a bed handy, and if you don't have any almond oil I'm sure we can find something to use for lubricant. I've taught virgins before. It's been awhile, but I remember how to handle it. Slow and easy." Duncan wished he'd thought to bring a camera. No matter-- the look on Methos' face wasn't one he was going to forget any time soon. He sipped his beer again and waited while Methos decided whether to be confused, offended, frightened, or pissed-off. Pissed-off won by a nose.

"MacLeod, did you hear anything I said?"

"Every word, Methos."

"Well, you may have heard me, but you're not listening! Soft. Smooth. Feminine. Ring any bells? I. Like. Women. I like the way they feel, I like the way they smell. I like the way they move, the way they taste. I even like the way they think. I like women, Highlander!"

"You like women. I get it, Methos. Sixty-eight wives, I remember. So, can we talk about us now? I've got a hard on in my pants with your name on it."

"Jeeeesus!" Methos pushed past Duncan and stalked out of the kitchen. Duncan let him get six steps into the other room before he followed. Grabbing Methos by the arm, he turned him so they were facing each other, and pushed the slender body against the wall again-- a position that was beginning to feel comfortingly familiar. But this time he was careful to hold Methos arms against the wall and position himself against any easy attacks from either one of those sharp, bony knees.

"Don't bullshit me, Methos. I took two of your lovers, remember? Every night when I close my eyes, I see you. Hot, sweating-- hard. Flat on your back under Kronos, letting him pound into you while you scream and beg and plead for it. And Byron on his knees, taking you in his mouth, licking you, sucking you, and then watching and drinking as you come for him. You loved it, didn't you? I can tell, Methos-- I remember it! Night after night I live with other mens' memories of you in my dreams. I want my own memories."

"Let go of me, MacLeod!" Methos was struggling in earnest this time, but Duncan wasn't playing the game for fun anymore. Methos' newest lies had raised the stakes. And he knew Methos had lied. He could feel the hardness in Methos' groin that echoed his own arousal, pressing against him as he moved closer. He had Methos backed against the wall in more ways than just the physical.

"Why, Methos? Explain it to me. The real reason this time. No more lies." Duncan wasn't acting anymore. The anger in his voice was as real as the passion in his cock, and Methos was going to have to answer for both.

"God damn you. You lack brained, dim-witted, sheep-loving..."

Duncan stilled Methos' mouth by covering it with his own. No gentleness seemed to be called for under the circumstances, so he plundered, sacked and pillaged instead. He drank his fill before retreating to lick and bite at the soft lips under his, then left Methos gasping for breath as he moved away from the tempting mouth to nibble a path along the hard line of the jaw up to the soft skin under Methos' ear. Then he bit him there, too.

Methos had stopped struggling for release somewhere between the sacking and the pillaging. He was still moving, but the motion of his groin against Duncan's suggested a different purpose than escape.

Duncan flicked his tongue against Methos' neck. Tasting and teasing, he reveled in the long-awaited pressure of Methos' body against his, basked in the unexpected heat of Methos' pale skin, and memorized the soft moans and whimpers escaping the other man's control. Unable to resist, he returned to Methos' mouth, capturing those delicious sounds and swallowing them whole. Coming up for air at last, he pulled back and released Methos' arms in order to frame that beautiful face with his hands. Methos' arms wrapped around his waist, pulling them closer together as he tried to avoid the grasping hands and hide his face against Duncan's neck.

"No, Methos." Duncan wrapped his fingers through the short, soft hair and pulled Methos head back. Face to face, body to body. He wasn't going to allow room for any more excuses or lies.

"Why, Methos? Can't you feel how good it is? How good we are?" Duncan shifted and pushed one leg between Methos', pressing upward as Methos groaned and arched against him. "Tell me you don't like this, Methos. Tell me that you don't want it. Tell me that you don't want me. And then we'll see if you can make me believe it this time."

"God damn you, MacLeod." Methos was gasping for breath as he twisted, trying to increase the pressure of Duncan's leg against his groin.

"We both want this. Why can't we have it? What are you afraid of Methos?" Pushing forward, Duncan began teasing Methos with too small tastes and unfulfilled promises as he moved his leg rhythmically between the slender, widely spread thighs.

"Too much. It's too much. I can't...Oh, God, please Duncan, I can't..."

And somehow, through the lies and the deceit, through the masks and disguises, over the moans and the gasps of passion, Duncan heard, and understood. It was too much, Methos told him. Over and over, through his sobs and pleading groans-- too much, too much. He stopped teasing and pulled the dark head down, letting Methos hide against his shoulder. The slender body trembled and he held on tightly, running his hands over Methos' back in the timeless, soothing motions of a mother comforting a frightened child.

"Five thousand years too much, Methos. I understand now." It was a breath, a soft whisper against the bowed head resting on his shoulder. "Too many commitments, too many promises of forever, too many loves lost to death or abandoned from necessity. My memories of Tessa and Richie still hurt. How many Alexas have there been for you, Methos? How many Tessas in your life? How many Richies? I understand. It's too much, and one more would be too many."

Duncan felt the automatic negating movement of Methos' head against his shoulder before the other man could control himself and hide the reaction. And he felt it as Methos realized he'd given himself away again, and sighed. Duncan sighed after him. An 'A' for effort, but wrong again. A mystery inside an enigma inside a puzzle inside a maze. There had better be a hell of a prize at the bottom of this Crackerjack box.

"You're going to have to tell me, Methos, I'm not doing too well at this twenty-questions game. And I'm not letting go until I know where I got it wrong."

Methos sighed again.

"Duncan, don't you know that it's possible to want something too much? It is. And the things you want too much are exactly the things you can't let yourself have. I do want you Duncan-- but I know all the warning signs. I want you the way an alcoholic wants another drink. And I'm far too old to become a sex-addict again. Been there, done that."

Duncan's arms tightened in surprise. Sex-addict? Methos? He thought about it for a moment, considered a few of the more tempting possibilities inherent in the situation, and started to laugh-- soundlessly, but the vibrations of his chest were impossible to hide with Methos trying to burrow into him.

The body in his arms stiffened in shock and Methos' head came up, red-rimmed eyes peering at him suspiciously. Duncan didn't even attempt to hide his grin. Methos glared at him, suspicion giving way to outrage at the lack of sympathy in his response.

"You think this is funny, Highlander? Do you have any idea how much trouble this has gotten me into in the last thousand years alone?"

"Well, it certainly explains a lot. I think I was right. You're an ass, Methos." Duncan was prepared. When Methos renewed his struggles to escape, Duncan shoved him back against the wall with a lack of effort that was almost comical. Pushing his leg between Methos' again, he grabbed the angry face with one hand and tilted it upward. He'd been wrong earlier. Methos wasn't just cute when he was pissed, he was fucking gorgeous.

"Methos, you're looking at this all wrong. I'm not Kronos, and I'm not Byron. Don't think of me as a possible addiction. Think of me as a very good habit you're about to acquire." The narrow eyes continued to glare at him for a moment while Methos processed what he'd heard, then softened as he considered it. Duncan shifted his leg again, and the eyes blinked, glazed over, then fluttered closed.

Duncan moved his leg upward, rotated his hips, and pressed his lips over Methos' again. He nipped the soft lower lip then pulled it between his, sucked gently for a moment, and then released it. His hands travelled down Methos' back to his ass, cupping it tightly and lifting Methos more firmly against him.

"I'm not looking for a great romance here, and I'm not asking you for a commitment to anything but tonight, Methos." Hot breaths were reverberating in increasingly rapid pants against Duncan's neck.

"I'm not asking you to promise me next year, or next month, or even next weekend. I want tonight." Duncan's large, strong hands began to knead the firm flesh of Methos' ass, echoing the frantic motions of the slender body pushing against his leg.

"I want to rip those clothes off of you and devour the sight of you. I want to lick and bite every inch of your body. I want to take you in my mouth and suck till you scream. I want to pin you to this wall and fuck you, hard."

Methos' hands were clutching Duncan's shoulders hard enough to leave bruises. He seemed to be trying to climb up Duncan's body, so intent on his goal that he was oblivious to the seductive purrs and begging whimpers escaping from deep in his throat.

"Then if we enjoy that, we can do it all over again. And I think we'll enjoy it, Methos, I really do."

Methos flung his head back and arched against Duncan. His eyes pleaded silently; he was much too far gone to talk. But this time, Duncan really did understand. He pulled Methos close, fastened their hungry mouths together, and swallowed the scream as Methos came.

 The End