|Ghosts and Faeries
This story is rated NC-17 for adult content, including the graphic description of sex. If you are under the age of 18 (and do not have your parents' consent... uh-huh, sure. No, no... I believe you), or if the loving depiction of consensual M/F sex does not appeal to you, PLEASE turn back now. You have been warned. If you persist in reading this despite my warning, don't come crying to me if you get offended. You know if you should be here or not.
Methos, Kronos and the concept of Immortality are the property of someone else with more lawyers than me. I claim no ownership, no money... Just for fun, eh? I promise to return the guys relatively unharmed when I am done with them.
Methos' identity of Ceallach is my own creation, as is the character of Gráinne.
This story and the telling of it are copyright 1997 by Taselby.
Special thanks to my Beloved Beta-readers(tm) Maygra, Juanita , Sandi, and Tilla. Any correct spelling, grammar, punctuation, or continuity you find herein is entirely their fault. All mistakes are, of course, my own. Mea culpa.
This is a missing scene from "The Causes Remain," and while it isn't absolutely necessary to have read that story first, this one will make much more sense if you do.
Ireland c.439 AD
Methos floated in a weightless void, wrapped in comforting shadows for a split second before his awareness returned. He reached for the warm, dark cocoon, trying to cling to it, to remain in that painless place even as he felt it slipping away from him. Agony flooded his body as he struggled with a jerking gasp back to consciousness, back to life. He convulsed and rolled, clutching at the still-painful place under his ribs where the wound had been, coughing, vomiting up the blood that filled his stomach and lung. His knees skidded on the slippery mud as he indelicately retched up the blood and bile, heaving helplessly until there was nothing left.
He sat back shakily on his heels and wiped his mouth on the back of a muddy, bloodstained hand. Memories of the battle, //the ambush,// he corrected himself, gradually reconstructed themselves. The pouring rain had stopped. How long had he been down? His eyes swept over the torn, trampled turf with growing alarm as he counted the bodies lying dead in the wet grass. //Five...// He had killed two before a third had cut him down from behind. Had Gráinne...?
//Gráinne...// Panic swelled, pushing aside the lingering stiffness and pain in his body. Methos swallowed against his rising hysteria, his eyes tearing across the landscape in a frantic search for her. Was she hurt? Killed? Had she simply left him there, thinking he was dead?
//There.// Methos breathed a quiet sigh of relief. She stood against the oak tree, motionless, her dark eyes wide and white-rimmed from shock. Blood spattered the front of her tunic and smeared her long arms to the elbow.
"Gráinne?" he inquired gently.
"What are you? I saw you dead, the sword in your side." Her chest trembled in the effort to control her breathing as she gestured past him to the dead men in the grass. "I killed them for you, to avenge your ghost." She looked at him intently, unafraid, but very cautious, her eyes lingering over the bloody rent in the side of his tunic. "What are you, Ceallach?"
A dozen lies flashed through Methos' mind, a score of tricks he could deceive her with, a hundred ways he could kill her to keep his secret safe. He studied her as he considered his response, marveling to himself at how absolutely plain she was when calm. She stood there in the pool of shadow at the oak tree's roots, her wild black hair wet and matted, clinging to her face and neck in ropy strands and ringlets. Her saturated tunic bunched and gathered appealingly on her long flanks, riding up the strong thighs. She regarded him warily, knuckles white with tension on the hilt of her sword.
//A hundred ways to kill her...// One response came to his lips.
"Mise bithbheo." he said simply. I am Immortal.
Gráinne closed the distance between them with careful steps, lifting a tentative hand to touch his face, like she was afraid he might suddenly vanish in a puff of smoke. "Sidhe..." she called him. Faerie.
Methos shook his head gently. "It is more complicated than that."
"You are a child of Dana, a faerie lord..." her voice was very quiet. "I didn't know you in disguise."
Methos caught her before she could sink to her knees. The very thought of this proud, strong woman submitting to anyone was unnatural. In all the years he had known her, all the time they had been shield-mates and lovers, Gráinne had never willingly given an inch, never surrendered anything without a fight. It didn't matter whether it was an argument, a sparring match, or the favors of her bed. Methos had often fantasized about seeing her bend to him, submit to him. To have her yield softly like the white-limbed Roman women he had known... And now presented with the reality of her subservience, he could not bear to see her kneel. Gods help him, he would never see anyone on their knees in obeisance again.
"No, you must never kneel to me."
Gráinne searched his face as though he were a stranger. He had never seen her eyes so soft, so unlike her typical scowl or flinty appraisals. There was no challenge in her gaze this time. Trembling fingers, still stained a dark rust, wandered over his cheeks and brow, trailed over the contours of his long mustache, just brushing his lips. He could smell the blood and steel on her fingertips. Her voice was low and velvety, the only truly *beautiful* thing about her. "Perhaps then, Ceallach, if we knelt together..."
Thunder growled in the distance as they sank down in the wet grass, just touching. Methos leaned in to capture her mouth for a kiss, and was pleased to see some of the old resistance, the familiar fire in her eyes. He wanted her, needed to reassert his life, his aliveness in her body... to hear her cry out beneath him, to pour himself into her warmth. For an instant he wished vainly that he could give her sons, and almost laughed at the thought. No, Gráinne wouldn't thank him for that. She already had two children by different fathers being raised by foster families. She was not the motherly type.
Gráinne staked her sword in the ground beside them with one firm thrust and reached up to pull Methos deeper into the embrace. There was no art, no subtlety in the way her hard, callused hands caressed him, spreading over his shoulders and down his arms, pressing against his chest to confirm the truth of his beating heart.
Methos' breath caught as she probed at the bloody tear in his tunic, and the newly-healed skin below his ribs. He caught her wrist and guided the hand gently over the sensitive flesh, directing the unusually considerate touch down his hip before reaching for the belt of his tunic. He wanted more than their typical rough coupling today, wanted something gentler than the fierce, competitive sex they normally shared. He needed to feel her against him, to touch her skin.
Gráinne matched him motion for motion as he undressed. Belts, pouches, tunics... All were cast aside. Methos was always amazed at the deep, extensive network of scars that crossed her muscular body, the terrible wounds she had survived. He had never known a woman quite like her, mortal or otherwise.
A hand tangled in his long hair, tugging sharply. He followed the guiding pressure down into the grass, where she pushed him onto his back. "You think too much Ceallach," she chided him, as she always did, leaning down for a kiss.
"Yes," he agreed with her, just before their lips met. Even her gentle kisses were a kind of competition, testing, probing, asserting her strength and control.
Without warning she broke the kiss and swung a leg over him, straddling his waist. She pinned his wrists to the damp ground, grinning above him, her white breasts swinging freely. Her sex was warm and moist against his stomach. "Tell me your name," she demanded.
"What?" Methos was confused by the unanticipated question.
"Your name, sidhe. I know your secret, now tell me your name so I can conjure you at need."
"Gráinne, you know my name," he tried to reason with her, wanting to finish what they had started.
"No, Ceallach, I want your true name, your secret name. Tell me your faerie name." Her dark eyes were bright and intense.
He hesitated. "No." He hadn't spoken his own name aloud since the day he had fled Kronos, 600 years before. He couldn't speak it now. That Methos was dead, and must remain so. He bucked under her, trying to dislodge her from her seat.
She slammed his wrists down into the soft earth. "Yes!" she insisted. "Tell me." This was familiar, the old struggle for control in everything.
Methos moaned as she leaned down over him, nipping at his jaw and throat with sharp teeth. The bites were at once less and more than a caress, riding a narrow edge between pleasure and pain. She nuzzled at his mouth and he opened automatically to the intimacy, only to catch his breath again as, instead of the anticipated kiss, his lower lip was savaged.
"Damn you, woman!" he swore as the coppery tang of blood filled his mouth. He struggled more sincerely under her not-inconsiderable weight.
Gráinne laughed and pulled back just a bit, still holding him against the soggy ground. Her breasts were a soft pressure against his chest as she smiled down at him, her teeth stained red. "Tell me, Ceallach. I will have your name from you."
He clenched his teeth and snarled up at her. "No."
Her face was lighted with mischief and determination, the black eyes soft with arousal as she spread her legs a bit wider around him, rocking her hips in a private rhythm. Gods, she was magnificent like this. He wanted her, needed her... Just a couple more inches and he could reach her, sink himself into her slick heat. It might be worth telling her, trading 600 years of silence for the soft, tight pleasure of her body.
Methos twisted beneath her, breathing heavily. "Gráinne, please..."
Her large hands slid away from his wrists, releasing the painfully tight grip and moved over his face and chest, teasing at his hardened nipples, stroking at the newly-healed edge of his ribcage. Through it all she continued rocking against him in that subtle rhythm, her own breathing nearly as ragged as his as she sought her pleasure.
"Gráinne..." His need was tight and desperate, a coiling pressure in his chest and groin. Maddeningly, he could sense the edge of release just scant inches away, but couldn't reach it like this. Not alone. He needed her, wanted her to fulfill the promises she made him with her motions and her eyes. He yearned for the welcoming heat of her body, or her mouth, or even just to have her *move* so he could ease the pressure himself. A hand, even his own hand, would have been enough.
"Tell me," she whispered, her eyes at once hooded and dangerous.
600 years of silence, of fear and denial pulled at him. This woman was not his enemy. She was not Kronos, come to drag him back to a nightmare life of manipulation and slaughter; nor was she his judge, to condemn him for the terror his name had once conjured an age ago, in lands she would never see. He was still afraid. 600 years was a long time to never hear the sound of your own name.
Hazel eyes searched black ones, grasping for some reason not to speak the word. And couldn't find one.
The sky spun above him, obscured by flat, featureless gray clouds. He swallowed once, trying to moisten his mouth. It was both easier and more difficult than he imagined.
"I am Methos." His heart hammered in his chest like Kronos might suddenly be conjured from the air, now that Methos had admitted his identity.
Gráinne slipped back those last few inches, lifting herself to guide his hardness into her. She settled down onto him with a moan that he echoed, both of their voices raw with strained arousal.
He gripped her hips and guided her rhythm, fast and rough. They both jerked and cried out as the release swept over them.
The fine, misting rain had begun again. Gráinne sat up, still breathing harshly, her face twisted in concentration. She looked at him speculatively, sampling his name, tasting it, twisting it to her language and pronunciation.
"Miotas... that is your name?"
"It is a good name. Do not make me avenge your ghost again."
It was a long journey to the next village.