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This is a continuation of the story I began in "For Friend's Sake". You don't have to read that one to understand this one, but it might give you a little background. "A Bed of Roses" (A Valentine's Story) takes place after this story, but is a stand alone story about our two favorite men. This is an ADULT story. If you are offended by two men doing the wild thing, then please delete or turn back. If you aren't of legal age, don't go here either. MacLeod and Methos belong to Rysher: Panzer/Davis. I am just borrowing them for awhile. I will return them unharmed, I promise. Comments Welcome. Let me know what you think. The only pay I get is from you, the fans. E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This story takes place after Avatar.
The lyrics in the story are from the Queen song "One Year Of Love" and are used without permission.
Thanks to my wonderful beta readers- Roberta and Debra- I couldn't have done it without you.
MacLeod finished his kata and wiped the sweat from his brow with the towel that lay on the chair next to the mats. He'd been working out for several hours trying to rid himself of the fog in his head, but he found that as soon as he stopped concentrating on his form, his mind returned to the nightmares of the previous weeks. He had laid down his sword for over a year, refusing to use it for fear of the consequences, and only recently had he begun to carry it. He thought frequently about Richie, his student, friend and lost comrade whom he had killed when Ahriman tricked him with its evil.
'I'll never forgive myself for my part in his death. I know Ahriman wielded my sword, but I should've been able to stop my actions. I hope Richie knew I never would have harmed him intentionally. I know I have to continue my life, living each day, trying to find a reason to get up in the morning, but its so hard.'
*Live*. He mentally winced at the word. His memories sparked visions in his head that seemed to repeat themselves, visions of the racetrack, the killing stroke of his sword and his remorse.
'I should've told Richie that Joe was right here in the barge, should've said it was the demon tricking him, should've said to wait till I got there, but I am Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod and I protect everyone I care about because I'm the clan chief. I wasn't sure it was real, just that my mind kept playing tricks on me. I should've asked for more help, should've tried harder to convince Joe and Methos I wasn't hallucinating. But noooo, I was sure I could handle it all. I was so wrong. Kronos, Horton, Richie all circling me, taunting me with their voices. I wielded my sword trying to shut them up and then, then I killed Richie. The minute I felt my sword meet living flesh, I knew, knew in my heart that I'd killed Richie. Oh G-d why? I can't keep reliving this nightmare.'
'My worst nightmare played out in front of my eyes. I had to leave, had to remove myself from my friends, fearing I would hurt more innocent people. I walked all night, tears blurring my vision, but I didn't care, there was nothing I wanted to see, nowhere I wanted to go. I don't remember where I went or what I did, but I remember morning coming, the sun rising over the water, and thinking that Richie would never see another sunrise, ...never laugh again,... never hit on another woman,... never have another great scheme,... never come to me for help,... never, never, never. I had to leave. I returned to the barge, gathered my things and fled to the monastary in Tibet. After a year, I returned to Paris to defeat Ahriman and avenge Richie's death. It still hurts, but *I* must go on with *my life*.'
*Ironic isn't it, I have to get on with *my life*. I remember telling Methos the same thing when Alexa died. He'd disappeared into his own grief, not acknowledging anyone or any part of this world and then I gave him a reason to live. Now I need to take my own advice. It's so damn hard to live when you fear for your sanity, feel your life is over, feel your friends aren't your friends anymore and that no one can stand being around you. What do I have to live for? My friends are gone; hell, I've killed a lot of them and those who remain I've driven away with neglect and my own brand of judgement. I am the judge and jury and I make the laws that I judge them by. No wonder I'm alone.'
Just one year of love Is better than a lifetime alone One sentimental moment in your arms Is like a shooting star right through my heart It's always a rainy day without you, I'm a prisoner of love inside you I'm falling apart all around you
'Even Methos. Methos, the man I allowed to get close to me, to be my lover, my savior, my reason to live. I left without even saying goodbye. I miss him. I miss that cynical attitude and his acceptance of life's mistakes without question and introspection. I wish I had his abilities now. I'm not the great moral clan chief anymore, am I?'
'When I asked him to kill me, his response, "Absolutely not," rings in my head daily. How could I have asked the man I love to kill me? What a terrible task I asked of him. He was damned if he did and damned if he didn't, he couldn't win because I left him no options. If he killed me, he would have to live with that vision the remainder of his life and I know he has enough fodder for his nightmares as it is. By not killing me, he was saving my life, but what was that life worth after I had killed my student, isolated myself and judged all my friends?'
'Where is he now? Does he think about me? Does he wonder where I've gone or if I've returned? Probably not, I'm not sure if I were him I would care or wonder about me.'
'I want him back in my life. We started a wonderful relationship after Alexa died, but then the deaths of Byron and Richie separated us from each other. They should've brought us closer, allowed us to share our grief, but I'm stubborn and carry my hurts and hates for a long time.'
'I want him in my life and in my bed, but can he forgive me for all the hurt I've caused him? Can he forgive me for killing Byron, his past lover, or Richie, my student? Can he forgive me my condemnation of his past life as a Horseman? Of course, I left without saying goodbye; are my actions going to condemn me to a life of loneliness and self-recrimination? I'd give my soul to have Methos return to my life. I love him, but do I deserve his love?'
'Deserve his love, what a selfish bastard I can be. I don't deserve anything, let alone happiness. When I learned he was a Horseman, I condemned the man before I heard his side of the story, sure of his guilt because I'm the all knowing judge and jury, the great Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod. I killed his former lover because I had judged his actions wrong, not listening to Methos' desire or to consider there may be another way. I deserve nothing but loneliness and regret. Did killing Byron bring Mike back? Did it solve anything? No, it just made me feel better and of course, I'm always right, never wrong, my solution is the only option and I was 'right' to kill him.'
'I'm so tired of being alone. I need to get on with my life as it is today because my old life was left behind when I killed Richie and I left without saying goodbye. Maybe I should start over, move, and begin again. Too much effort for today, I'll go back to the barge and read.'
Somewhere in Paris Methos sat in the library in Watcher Headquarters continuing in his never-ending quest to find the elusive 'Methos'. Today he was having difficulty concentrating on the task at hand and frequently found his mind filled with thoughts of the Highlander. He had spoken with Joe last night and had received his monthly update on Duncan's activities. Visions of the Highlander filled his thoughts and he decided writing was better suited to his mood than research.
November 20th, 1998
Today I'm sitting in Watcher Headquarters reviewing 'Methos' life in the court of Isabella of Spain. I- no he oh it is too confusing sometimes. Anyway I had been a friend of the court at the time Columbus was trying to obtain funding for his expeditions and was gently encouraging the Queen to sponsor him in his quest. Columbus was a personal friend and I firmly believed he had some great discovery to bring to the world and I was right.
I see Columbus dressed in his finery, coming to court to talk to the Queen. This was his third trip to the court and he had attended many receptions and wooed many of the court persons to his quest and today he was finally going to ask for his money. It was a grand dance of innuendo and flattery between himself and the Queen. Kind of reminds me of Mac and how he can dance around a subject, avoiding answering your request until it suits him.
Mac- Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod, Why does everything I do keep coming back to you? Is my life a continuous time loop, one where I go nowhere, but find myself back at the beginning time and time again? What happened to us? Where did we go wrong, or did we go wrong? Was there a we to go wrong?'
My heart cries out to your heart, I'm lonely but you can save me. My hand reaches out for your hand, I'm cold but you light the fire in me My lips search for your lips, I'm hungry for your touch There's so much left unspoken And all I can do is surrender To the moment just surrender
How do you fit into my life? I almost gave up my place in the Watchers for you when Joe was tried for treason, but then I needed a reason to live, to get up every day ,as you reminded me, so I kept on the Methos project. Then we became lovers and it was very dangerous for both of us for me to continue my association with them, so I resigned, but then you left. You killed Richie and you......*left- without even saying goodbye*. My heart felt like it would break in a million pieces, like Humpty Dumpty, but I didn't let it, I survived and rejoined the Watchers. They were very happy to let me back in, they hadn't trusted anyone else with the Methos project and my little game was back in business. I used the Watchers to try to find you, but no one knew where you were, you had disappeared off the face of the earth, then suddenly you reappeared at Richie's grave and my heart soared because I knew you would come looking for me, but you didn't, you ignored all your friends, keeping to yourself, locked in your own little world. I know you could find me if you wanted to, hell, I haven't gone anywhere, still have my same address. I want you to seek me out so we can renew our bond, but my doorstep remains eerily quiet, no one ringing my bell or knocking at any time. It doesn't seem to be that difficult of a move, but yet you haven't made it. I wonder if you still want me, do you still care? Was our brief, but intense time together an interlude to pass the time between women or had it truly meant something to you? It was not a brief interlude for me. I love you, want you, and need you in my life. I have to take a chance and see if you want me in your life. I'm tired of being alone.
The last several years have been a living roller coaster. I met and fell in love with Alexa who reminded me what life was about, reminded me to live and enjoy the little things, not looking at the big picture. Live each day as if it were your last. She was a joy to be with and her warmth and enthusiasm lightened everything she touched. When she died, I forgot those joys and my reason to live until you reminded me that Immortality was a gift and that you wanted to share it with me. That time was also a magical moment in my long life because we began a relationship that surpassed friendship, one of intimacy and trust. It lasted such a short time, being interrupted by Kronos, Byron, and then Richie.
You finally accepted my life as a Horseman; although, I still don't think you like to think of me in that way, but now it appears you won't afford yourself the same luxury of acceptance. True you killed your student, one you loved like a son, but it was the evil Ahriman that caused your actions. It's probably better that we're apart, but now that my heart has been reopened to the joys of love and friendship, I can't let you slip away. I want you in my life. The last year has been torture, not knowing where you are, worrying that you were dead or lost to me forever. My heart leapt with joy when the Watchers told me you had returned to Paris. Of course, I was still pissed that you left without telling me goodbye or keeping in touch with me while you were gone, but you were alive and I was glad. I was sure my long wait would soon end because you would soon be knocking on my apartment door, but my wishes weren't to be granted, as you appeared to be burrowed in you own world, one that didn't include me. I have to try once more; you are more important than I realized. I have to talk to you and let us try again.
end of entry
Looking at the clock, he realized he had been writing most of the afternoon and what he had written had little to do with his time with Isabella and Columbus. His mind was definitely preoccupied and until this matter was settled, he was not going to get a lot of work done. Methos went home, showered, shaved and changed into his favorite sweater and black button jeans. He combed his short, cropped hair and looked into the mirror. "Not bad. I guess I would find me inviting if I was looking." He got in his car and drove to the barge. As he was driving, he began to have second thoughts. 'What if Duncan is involved with someone else? What if he is with a woman? What if he doesn't want me? What if? What if?' A thousand questions bubbled in his brain and he almost turned around, but stopped himself. He loved Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod and wanted him back in his life. It had only been a short time since he exited his life, but it was time to have him back. He continued to drive his car toward the barge. Duncan sat on his couch contemplating his life and feeling aimless. Right now he couldn't find any purpose in his life, nothing he wanted to live or die for. He'd always had a purpose, a goal, an identity, but now he had nothing. He was filled with self-loathing and poured himself a double scotch, hoping to dull his mind so he wouldn't have to think about his life. His body numb from the alcohol, he closed his eyes and let his mind wonder.
And no one told me that love would hurt so much Oh yes it hurts, And pain is so close to pleasure, And all I can do is surrender to your love, Just surrender to your love
Warm, hot breath blowing over the skin on my neck as Methos gives me little love bites on my throat and behind my ear. I can feel my arousal growing as he slides his hands underneath my shirt. He touches my nipples and begins to tweak them until they are like little pebbles, hard and sensitive, reaching out to enjoy the sensation of his touch. Taking off my shirt, he slides his hands through my chest hair, touching my pecs and then my sides, massaging along the way. My senses are reeling from the firm loving massage my lover is sharing with me. He kisses me on my lips, first a short sweet kiss, but then I open my lips to mingle my taste with his and he responds by placing his warm, sweet dancers performing a great love ritual. He explores all the reaches of my mouth, touching and caressing as his tongue finds the hidden secrets there. His kiss is like fire; it burns my body and leaves me hyper sensitive to all of his ministrations. Each touch of his hands, legs, and tongue brings me closer to the edge, yet I do not want to end this pleasurable journey, I need his touch, it is fuel for my soul, my existence, I need it to live and exist. He removes his mouth from mine and I let out a small reluctant sigh, wanting to continue the dance, but then he moves his mouth to my chest, kissing, licking, biting and sucking as it travels to my sensitive nipples. He caresses them with his tongue and hands as he continues to rub his body against mine. He leaves my nipples and again I feel a sense of regret, but know where those loving touches and his succulent mouth are headed, a greater prize for both of us. My erection is straining my jeans, needing a release from its tight denim prison, wanting his hands and mouth to caress its sensitive skin, wanting Methos to release my energy, to complete our lovemaking and share our bond again. I hold my breath as he slowly works his way down my body.
MacLeod's reminiscence is interrupted as he feels a wash of presence, grabbing his Katana, he cautiously opens the door to the barge. He is surprised to see Methos standing there, but can't decide if he should slam the door, hug the man, or use his Katana to fight the Old Man. He is very aware of his aroused state and doesn't want Methos to interpret the situation in the wrong way.
'Of course, I'm not sure what the wrong way is, now do I?' Methos is standing at the door, hands down, sword in his coat, seeing the rapid shift in emotions the Scot's face elicits.
"Hello MacLeod. Do I get to come in or are you going to have me stand at your doorstep all night?" "Come in Methos. You look good." Duncan says neutrally as he decides not to act until given some direction from Methos.
"Thanks MacLeod. You cut your hair. Enjoy your vacation? Seems like you took off for parts unknown. Hard to keep up with friends, if they disappear on you." The sarcasm dripped from Methos as he spoke.
Duncan inwardly winced when he heard Methos' tone, but refused to allow the Ancient Immortal to stir his emotions. He didn't want Methos to know his true feelings so he tried to convey a nonchalant attitude in his speech.
"Yeah. Well it's not every day you kill your student and alienate your best friends all with the single stroke of a sword. He added with a decisive tone, "Of course it doesn't help when they think you've gone mad and you agree with their assumptions."
MacLeod's body was stiff, uninviting, his arms crossed and back straight, fearful that Methos would try to argue the point, he tried to appear very self- assured.
Methos was aware of Mac's anger and fear. He felt that the Highlander was trying to appear tough to protect himself, but Duncan's words were angering him and he had to try to keep his emotions in check. He didn't come here to fight with Duncan, rather to find out if Duncan was still interested in pursuing a relationship. This was not the reunion he envisioned and he had to try to bring the Highlander down, to have his emotions neutral so they could talk. He lowered his voice and went to sit on the couch.
"MacLeod. It happened. You killed your student and you can't bring him back. I should've listened when you told us about the demon, but I thought you were losing it. I'm still mad that you left without saying goodbye. Not a very nice way to treat your friends."
Methos gave a small grin when he said this statement, hoping to bring the Highlander into a lighter mood.
"The clan chief doesn't usually leave the clan without letting them know where he's going. You're back now, so let's try this again." Grinning widely he stood up, reached out his hand and clapped Duncan on the back. "Hello MacLeod. How the hell are you? You got a beer?"
"Hello Methos. Beer is in fridge. Help yourself. Sit down." Duncan uncrossed his hands, and sat down next to Methos on the couch. He was still leery of the Old Man and kept his guard up.
"What brings you here? Got another important Watcher problem for me to solve? Duncan's voice started rising and the edginess was painfully obvious. "Oh that's right, Duncan MacLeod is the problem. He kills his student and many innocent Immortals. I forgot."
The tension in the room was increasing and Duncan's slightly agitated state was quickly escalating into a disturbed frenzy. Methos moved further away from Duncan as he watched his friend lose his control.
"Why are you here Methos? I can't have anything you want, I'm not worth anything to anybody unless you want a hired killer, but then if you wanted a hired killer, you could do the job yourself. You are an expert swordsman." The Highlander was now on the downward spiral of his emotional roller-coaster, his face a portrait of despair that would evoke distraught feelings even amongst the most callous person. His body sagged and his eyes were downcast.
Methos ire was provoked as he watched the spiraling flow of emotions, unable to understand why MacLeod's anger was directed at him and the feelings of self hatred that MacLeod was espousing were equally distasteful to the ancient Immortal. He allowed his anger to come through in his voice as he almost shouted at the Highlander.
"Cut the crap MacLeod. Stop feeling sorry for yourself. Richie is dead and you can't change that. No need to dwell on it. You avenged his death, move on with your life."
"I have no life, Methos." Mac sighed.
Methos got up from the couch, looked Mac in the eye, and grabbed him by the shoulders, "You have a life, but do you want to live it? I'm not sure you do, MacLeod. I thought I'd see how you were and what you've been doing for the last year and a half, since you obviously weren't going to keep me informed."
Surprised by the physical contact, Duncan came out of his quiet reverie. His anger building again, "You're not my Watcher, why should you care? Oh I see, you are doing a little research for the Watchers on Immortals who kill their students, is that it?"
"No, MacLeod. That's not it. I came for you, but I see I was mistaken. Goodbye." Methos sighed loudly as he realized his dream for a reunion was an illusion of his grand imagination.
"Goodbye" Macleod retorted, obviously tired of the short conversation and wanting his 'guest' to leave the premises.
Methos grabbed his coat, slammed the door of the barge and retreated up the gangplank to his car.
'Well, that went well. He's alive, but I still don't know anymore than I did when I started this adventure. I know I still care, but I have no idea where MacLeod's head is except that he is one angry man. Maybe I should just leave him alone and let him come to me when and if he is ready. I have lost lovers before, I will survive.'
Methos got into his car and drove toward his apartment.
'Damn that stubborn Scot. I go out of my way to look him up and he treats me as if I'm the intruder. I don't know what to do with him. I guess leave him be. I got my answer and he isn't part of my life nor does he want to be. Fine. Just fine. I'll forget him. That's what I'll do. I'll leave next week. No need to stay around where I'm obviously not wanted. Good, another decision made. I'll make plans now to leave town. I'll tell the Watchers I found a lead on a possible journal of Methos and I must track it. They are so gullible, they'll believe anything. Good thing I didn't give up my job. It's easy to make up a lame excuse using "Watcher Business" for my cover. Leave the Scot to his own hell. Yes, that's the ticket. I don't need him, don't need anybody. I'll leave and no one will know where I've gone.'
'Good job Duncan. That went well. Tell the old man off. Where was your brain? You know you've been thinking about him a lot lately, hell that dream he awoke you from should have been proof that you wanted him around, but NOOO.... you had to go and mouth off. Scare him away and get him angry at you. Good job. Great, now where is your life going? What do you have to live for? You've sent your lover away.'
No one ever told me that love would hurt so much Oh yes it hurts. And pain is so close to pleasure
Both men attempted sleep that night, but neither was very successful. Each dreamt of the meeting earlier that evening, replaying the encounter over in his head, trying to see what went wrong, but neither got anywhere. Both awoke feeling very tired the next morning.
During the next week, Duncan worked in his antique business finalizing a big sale of estate jewelry and Adam informed the Watchers he wanted to hunt down an important journal. The Watchers obliged his request since they valued Adam's input into their organization and wanted to keep him employed.
Methos gave up his apartment, had placed his few belongings in storage and was readying the others for transport to his new location in Italy, when the phone rang.
"May I please speak to Adam Pierson."
"Yeah. What do you want? I'm kinda busy," Adam answered sharply, hoping to end the conversation quickly.
"This is Dr. Pierre Picard from the Hotel de Invalide. I'm calling in regards to a Mr. Joseph Dawson. Do you know him?"
"Yes. Is something wrong with Joe?" Methos' heart was pounding so hard at the mention of Joe and the words doctor and hospital in the same sentence that he didn't think he would be able to hear all the necessary details. His knees buckled and he found himself sliding down the wall as he listened to the voice at the other end of the phone.
"Well he is in our intensive care unit right now. It appears he has had a heart attack."
"A heart attack, Will he be alright?" Methos' hand went to his own heart, feeling a sharp pain, as the faceless voice spoke to him.
"We're not sure. He was unconscious when the ambulance brought him in. He collapsed at a club near here, seems someone walked in and found him on the floor. He is in the intensive care unit right now, but it appears we stopped the clot from doing a lot of damage."
"Thank you. Thank you for calling. I'll be right there."
He stood up from his spot on the floor and began to pace the apartment floor. 'Damn Joe. Why do you mortals have to grow old and your bodies wear out? I'm not ready to do this again. Of course, you didn't do this on purpose, but I guess I should be grateful that you became ill before I left. I can at least see you through this.'
'Duncan. I've got to let Duncan know. Regardless of how we feel right now, he would want to know if Joe was sick.'
Methos picked up his cell phone and dialed Duncan's barge. He silently prayed the Highlander would be there and he would not have to try to locate him. The phone was picked up on the first ring.
"Hello Duncan," Methos tried to keep his voice neutral, fearing the Highlander would hang up on him if he sensed that Methos wanted to talk.
Hearing Methos' voice, Duncan immediately became agitated and wondered why he was even talking to this man. "What do you want Methos? I thought we said it all the other night. Goodbye."
"Duncan wait, its about Joe."
The name of his friend caught his ear and stopped him from hanging up.
"What about Joe?" Duncan's fear for the Watcher's safety kicked in and he felt himself breaking into a light sweat.
"He's in the hospital. He is unconscious and in the intensive care unit. They think he had a heart attack."
"Oh my god. Where is he?" Duncan's heart was pounding, his mind reeling, and his body was now pumping the adrenaline through his veins at an alarming rate.
"He's at Hotel de Invalide."
"Thanks Methos. I'll meet you there."
MacLeod and Methos left for the hospital and arrived within 10 minutes of each other. They went to find the doctor to discuss their friend's condition. Methos, aka Adam Pierson, found Dr. Picard and asked how Joe was doing. He explained that Joe had no relatives and he was the man on the emergency card that Joe carried. Dr. Picard stated that his vitals were stable and that they could go see him, but only one of them could visit at a time. Adam decided he would go first and MacLeod waited outside the room.
Joe lay on the hospital bed, the white sheet draped over his barely moving body, an oxygen tube in his nose helping him breathe and the heart monitor by his bed beeping with each thump of his heart beat. He was still, so lifeless and helpless, the only movement, his chest undulating with each breath. Adam stood by his bed, not saying anything, but thinking about mortals and how they all must die and leave their Immortal friends behind.
'He looks so helpless laying there.'
"Where is the strong blues player we heard such a short time ago? Come on Joe, wake up, tell me a joke or two, make fun of me, offer me a beer and then chastise me since its been hours since I ate and I might regret drinking on an empty stomach, anything but lie there like a lump of flesh."
Methos stared at his friend for several minutes and went outside so that Duncan could see Joe. A tiny tear formed in his eye as he left the room and the mortality of his friend reminded him why he had remained friendless for so long, hating to watch them die, leaving him alone once again.
Duncan walked into the room quietly, fearful of what he might find and not wanting to see his friend so helpless. Joe was always strong for him and he didn't like to see him incapacitated.
Duncan glanced around the room, taking in the heart monitor, the oxygen tube and the I.V. in Joe's arm. The realization of his friend's mortality hit him like a physical blow. His heart ached and he suddenly felt very tired. He wasn't ready for Joe to leave his world, not that he was ever ready for his mortal friends to die, but this man had become such an integral part of his life these last 6 years, he was like his own family. 'Family.....Joe was like family. Yes.....he was and boy have I treated him like shit. I'm surprised he even talks to me these days.'
He looked solemnly at his friend, sat in the chair and played with the bed rail keeping Joe safely in the bed. He spoke in a soft clear voice.
"Joe, I know I haven't been around a lot lately, been kind of occupied. Anyway I'm here now. I know it is a sorry excuse for a friend when they only show up when things are bad, but I'm pretty sorry sometimes. I know you don't like to hear me chastise myself, but of course there is that Scotish guilt kicking in. You know, I'm really very good at that lately, of course you know that, you're my Watcher. Anyway, when Methos called to tell me you were in the hospital, I forgot our differences and our petty squabbles, knowing my place was by your side, by my friend. Funny how crisis' can do that to people. Methos and I are here, ogether; we came to see you through this, G-d knows you've seen us through enough hard times, you even have us talking when you aren't around, but you know, you could have tried less drastic measures. It would have been okay, really. Just wake up, will you? I hope you can hear me and remember some of the stuff I'm saying, I really do mean it. I'll be here when you wake up."
Macleod, a few tiny tears dripping from his eyes, got up from his chair, lay his hand on the Watcher's arm, giving it a slight squeeze, turned around and left the room. He needed someone to share his feelings with and Methos fit the bill, but he wasn't going to share *those other feelings* with Methos right now.
Still teary eyed from his encounter with his very mortal Watcher, Duncan, his voice choking on his own words, spoke to Methos, "Methos, I'm not ready for him to die. He can't die yet. I've lost too many friends, I can't lose him too."
Seeing the distress of his friend, Methos lay his hand on Duncan's arm as he tried to offer comfort to him, "I know MacLeod. I don't want him to die either, but we know mortal lives are so short. We have to enjoy them while they are with us."
Methos added a little levity to his voice, not wanting Duncan to realize the extent of his own fears and feelings, "No one said he is going to die, he is too stubborn to die. You know it really is a conspiracy by him to get us talk to each other again. He is a scheming old geezer. Leave it to him to have a heart attack right before I leave town just so that I have to drop what I'm doing to be with him. I mean, really, the nerve of him."
"Methos." Mac chided his friend at his callousness.
"I'm only joking MacLeod. Joe is a true friend. He's never judged me, never questioned me, always accepted who I am and what I've been. I haven't had that luxury from many people I know."
Mac winced at the ancient Immortal's words, feeling his own guilt building within him. Mac knew he had judged Methos many times while Joe had always tried to see the good in him.
"Joe is that. He never questions and he's always kept coming back, even when I told him we couldn't be friends, he didn't listen, he just kept right on coming. He is a one of a kind friend. I will always have a soft spot for him in my heart."
Then Methos' words hit him, every muscle in his chest tensed, their tightly strung sinews outlined through his clothing, his jaw rigid from anger, and his eyes dilated from fury, as his voice rose to a loud hiss, "You're leaving. Where are you going? Were you going to tell anyone where you were?"
Methos answered sarcastically and with a little twinge of anger at the Highlander. "How dare you, Macleod! You don't own me, nor do you have any say in my life. It was pretty obvious by your overwhelming joy in seeing me at your doorstep that you didn't want or need me in your life. In fact I got the distinct impression that you didn't want or need anyone. Change your mind?"
Mac quickly realized he had overstepped the line and checked his anger. He took several deep breaths, and relaxed his arms. "About the other night," Mac hesitantly began to speak.
"Yes," Methos answered abruptly as his voice gave away his short temper.
"I got a little carried away. I'm sorry." MacLeod looked apologetically at Methos. "I just have a hard time thinking anyone would voluntarily seek me out these days, after all I'm not Joe, I'm not that good of a friend. I'm judgmental, I brood, and of course we can't forget the all important one, I kill my friends and my student." As he finished, he quickly looked away from Methos, fearing the answer Methos might give.
Seeing an opportunity to start again, Methos reached out with his hand and softly turned Duncan's face to his. "I like you Duncan. Remember I came to see you. I'm your friend and ....."
A noise was heard from inside the room and Duncan rushed to Joe's side.
"Where am I? What happened?" Joe's voice was thick from the medication they had given him and he spoke as if he had cotton in his mouth.
"Joe, you are in Hotel de Invalide. You collapsed at the club and someone brought you here. You were unconscious." Duncan answered, trying to keep his voice level and tone even, not wanting to alarm the Watcher and trying to mask the concern he felt for this extraordinary man.
"I hurt all over. Sure I didn't get caught up in one of you guy's quickening?" Joe remarked and a small grin appeared on his face. He tried to sit up, but grimaced at the movement and exertion the effort took, so he lay back on his pillows.
'Joe's going to be fine. If he can make jokes, then he's o.k.' A wave of relief overcame MacLeod and he smiled as he told Joe, "Welcome back- big guy. You had us scared there for a while"
Joe looked around slightly confused as he only saw Duncan standing there.
"Us," he quizzically asked.
Understanding his confusion, Duncan told Joe that Methos was outside and they were there together. "In fact, he was the one who called me when the hospital notified him you were here."
"Methos is outside." A smile formed on his lips. "Good. Then you two are on speaking terms again? I'm glad because your friendship with him is important. He might not say it, but it's true." Joe's voice was a little stern as he told Mac this bit of information, hoping that he would realize how important the Oldest Immortal was to Duncan.
A small smile crossed Duncan's face as he heard Joe relaying information and trying again 'not to interfere'. "Yeah, we are talking, sort of, but I wouldn't bring out any beer to toast our lasting friendship yet. He only called me because you're here; nothing has changed between us. I'll tell Methos so he can see for himself that our favorite Watcher has beat another crisis."
Methos walked into the room with his usual saunter. Now that the initial crisis was over, his gait returned to its normal swagger, rather than the hurried clip that he had been using earlier in the day. With a broad smile on his face, he greeted Joe with his usual jovial tone.
"Glad to see you're awake Joe. Ready to join the living again? You scared me there for a minute; could've have given me a heart attack, except of course, Immortals don't get sick. Wait a minute, do I have a heart or am I like the Tin Man and need to see the Wizard in the Emerald City so that I can have feelings? Never mind. Won't keep you talking long, just wanted to make sure you are okay for now. I wasn't ready to have you leave us just yet, glad to see you decided to stay."
Joe smiled at Methos' humor and was about to respond to his little joke, when Methos put his finger up to his mouth and told Joe to be quiet.
"I'll go get the doctor and let you sleep. You need the rest. We will be back in the morning." Methos sauntered out, leaving Joe tongue tied and slightly amused with the Immortal, but was too tired to respond, so he closed his eyes to rest.
Duncan and Methos left Joe in the capable hands of the hospital staff and began walking to their cars.
Not wanting to leave MacLeod's company, he casually turned to him and asked, "Want to grab some coffee or something? Come to think of it, I don't think I had any dinner."
"Sure Methos. I'm game, where to?" Mac responded casually, while his thoughts were not so quietly thanking the powers that be for a second chance with his friend.
"Someplace quiet, we need to talk." Methos stated seriously for the first time since their friend had regained consciousness.
"Yeah I guess we do. How about we go to the barge, I'm sure I could find us something there." Mac responded with anticipation, hoping that this *talk* really meant something other than conversation.
Methos' response was subdued and he explained, "No, I think we need someplace a little more neutral. How about the cafe on Rue St. Michel."
Macleod didn't want Methos to see his disappointment and tried to hide behind his casual response, "Sounds good. I'll meet you there in 15 minutes."
The two men drove to the cafe and parked their cars on the dimly lit street in front of the cafe. It was a Thursday and the cafe was beginning to bustle with the pre-weekend crowd. Methos and Duncan asked for an outside table so that their conversation would be less likely to be overheard by the other patrons and ordered some dinner and wine. Both men realized they were very hungry as the adrenaline rush of the past few hours dissipated from their bodies. Now that the easy task of ordering and getting settled was complete, an awkward silence was felt at the table, neither man wanting to be the first to talk, both wanting to begin the conversation and each hoping that the conversation would have a better ending than the one last week on Duncan's barge.
Duncan picked up a roll to butter it and placed it on his plate. He fidgeted with his napkin and played with the flower vase in the middle of the table. He was avoiding the conversation he knew needed to take place, but decided he wasn't ready to talk about the real issue, their friendship, so instead he began with Joe and his illness.
Duncan tried to keep his voice in an even tone as he looked at Methos. He gently turned the Immortals face to look at his, ensuring Methos' attention.
"When you told me Joe was in the hospital, I felt a sharp ache in the pit of my stomach and I couldn't breathe, couldn't think, my mind raced with thoughts of all the things I wanted to tell him that I hadn't in the past year. I wanted to thank him for his help with Ahriman, to thank him for his devotion to being my Watcher and to thank him for never giving up on me. I never thanked him for any of those things or for the other one thousand things he has done for me in the last 5 years. I could've survived without him, but he has enriched my life so much. I've had so much loss in the last year, I don't think my sanity would hold out if I lost him too. I am so glad that he is alive and that I have another chance to tell him."
Mac took another roll from the bread basket and buttered it. He hadn't eaten much of the first one, but that fact didn't register, keeping his hands occupied was more important than the food. He swallowed some of his wine, looked at the other patrons in the cafe, and pretended to be engrossed in some minor squabble of the patrons sitting at the next table. The hum of Methos' 'presence' brought him back to their table and his conversation.
"I remember Tessa dying, we were going to get married, planning our wedding, and then she was kidnapped, got shot so needlessly in a senseless robbery. I know she knew how I felt, but there were so many things I wanted to tell her, but never did, thinking I had all the time in the world to share my life with her. I knew I would outlive her, but I thought I had lots of time to talk, to share, but I was wrong. I can't take another loss like her again. Thank god, Joe is alive. He woke up and now I can tell him all of those things."
MacLeod's eyes teared up as he finished his reminiscence and he wiped them with the back of his hand.
"Yeah I know, MacLeod. I've known him for over 15 years and while he has only recently known me as Methos, he has been my friend throughout my time in the Watchers. He introduced me to Don Saltzer and that friendship was one of the highlights of the last decade. Don started me on the road to living again. Before I met him, I was in reclusive mode, but after he befriended me, I became interested in life."
Methos looked at Duncan, aware that this conversation was only a poor mask for their true discussion, but willing to continue, hoping to place the Highlander at ease with him again and to renew their friendship. He took a sip of his wine and looked intently at Duncan as he continued his praise of Joe.
"His bar is a great place to retreat to when life gets hectic. I know I don't have to put on airs with him, nor do I have to hide my true nature, hide who I am. It is a great relief to know I can be myself at least one place in the world. His loss from my life would leave a gaping hole."
Methos looked out at the crowded street, seeing the people bustle as the area became crowded. He seemed to look through the crowd, not noticing any one in particular, but glancing at the *life* passing by.
Methos looked into Duncan's eyes, getting lost in the deep brown pools that returned his gaze. His voice was soft as he asked, "Joe is alive, but that's not why we're really here is it?"
"What do you mean?"
"Mac.... Is Joe the only person you don't want to live without in your life?" Methos stretched his hand across the table near Duncan, but stopped short of touching him. Methos' eyes were filled with anticipation and fear, wanting Mac to acknowledge their friendship, but afraid he was reading more into their friendship than Duncan was willing to acknowledge. He almost willed Duncan to provide him the answer he so desperately wanted to hear.
No answer came from the Highlander's lips. His brown eyes looked at his table mate, starting at the top of his spikey hair, moving down to his sharp angled cheeks, the warm, red, sensuous lips, the milky white neck, the taut, chest muscles and his mouth moved its muscles into a soft smile.
Gently touching Methos' hand, he whispered, "No..... Methos. I want you in my life too."
MacLeod's touch sent shivers down Methos' spine, but he was reluctant to just accept his answer; he needed reassurance that Mac was ready for *them* again, ready to pursue a relationship, ready for togetherness, not the solitude he had sought for the past year and a half.
"Do you Duncan? Do you really want me in your life? You have a funny way of showing it," he stated with a bit of questioning in his voice.
Macleod squeezed Methos' arm then played with the salt shaker as he spoke, "Forgive me Methos. I was so surprised to see you the other night. I was feeling sorry for myself, realizing how alone and lonely I truly am and dreaming of past happiness and then you showed up. I didn't know what to do. I was afraid you would reject me so I made the first move and rejected you before you had the opportunity. I can't take anymore rejection; my life has had too many disappointments these last months, another rejection would send me over the edge."
Methos was losing his patience with the brooding Scot; trying to break the mood, he stated with a twinge of exasperation, "MacLeod, remember who showed up at whose door. I came to you, why would you think I would reject you,"
The joyous mood quickly shattered and Macleod angrily told Methos, "Because I killed my student, the ultimate disgrace of an Immortal. We are told to teach other Immortals, help them learn the game, ready them for life in a universe where there can be only one, not to teach them, befriend them and then kill them."
Macleod's anger dissipated, only to be replaced by the deepest remorse Methos had heard from his Highland friend, "I tried to kill Richie twice before and I remember his words to me after the Dark Quickening, 'It won't be that easy next time.' I relive that moment at the racetrack daily, almost hourly, trying to see where I could have changed the outcome, trying to rationalize my actions, but I can't make any sense of it. Methos, I killed my student and that is the only truth I know. Why would you or anyone who knew Richie and knew me before Ahriman trust me with a sword, trust me to be their friend, trust me in their life? If I could kill Richie, the closest thing I had to a son, then what am I capable of doing to others that I think I care about. I have to protect those people who are still alive, from me, their worst friend in disguise. I can't take responsibility for anymore deaths. I just can't Methos."
MacLeod's eyes had filled as he shared his fears with Methos, then his tears earnestly fell from his brown eyes and Duncan tried to wipe at them with his napkin. Methos saw the pain and anguish of the man across from him as he saw the body that used to be strong appear tired, visibly taut and somewhat underweight. Methos hadn't had time to notice last week, but MacLeod had lost weight and his usually well-muscled body was smaller, somehow appearing to collapse onto itself. MacLeod wasn't dangerously thin or malnourished, but the stress of the last year was visible in his eyes and his body. He reached out his hand and covered Duncan's hand with his own, gently squeezing his friend and letting him know that he was there for him. Feeling this gesture was insufficient, he stood up and hugged his friend. Duncan cried, the stress of the last year leaving his body with each passing tear.
Their food arrived a few minutes later and both men ate without engaging in further conversation. When dinner was over, they looked at each other and it was understood that this conversation needed to be continued in more private quarters. They left and drove to Duncan's barge. They went inside and Duncan poured himself some Scotch and gave Methos a beer.
Even though the two men were now in a very private place, the tension lingered. Neither wanted to start the conversation that had been left unfinished in the cafe. Methos acknowledged his role in this reunion as he looked at Duncan, taking in the languid, brown eyes whose gaze melted his heart each time they met his. The black shirt encasing the well- muscled torso of his lover brought visions of that slightly hairy chest against his lean spare one as they explored each other's form as a prelude to the glorious melding of their two bodies as they solidified their strange and compelling bond. His heart fluttered and his erection began to grow in his jeans, straining the fabric. He knew he wasn't ready to attend to his need; re-establishing the bond between himself and his former lover, the most important item on his agenda for now.
Trying not to reveal his urgency or the desire in his voice, he softly spoke the Highlander's name, "Duncan".
Hearing his name, he turned toward Methos, his eyes seeing the liquid fire in Methos' body, but choosing to ignore the flame as Methos did.
Methos began speaking, softly at first and then his voice became deeper, more intense as his message took on an urgency that he didn't realize he felt. "Duncan, why did you leave without telling me where you were going? You suffered a horrible loss, one that no one should have to bear alone and you left. I wanted to help, but no one knew where you were. I tried to find you, but you disappeared."
Methos gently cupped Mac's chin while he looked deep into the Highlander's chocolate hued eyes. His deep voice, a calming presence in the Highlander's angst ridden mind.
"Duncan, now that you have returned, let me help you. Killing a student is horrible, but you appear to have lost more than Richie. You've isolated yourself from all your 'Clan': Joe, Amanda, Me. Everyone that cares and knows you. You are the only Immortal I know who gathers others of our kind around him and makes them an integral part of his life. Isolating yourself hurts more than just you, it affects all of us in your 'family'. I know you didn't intentionally kill Richie, it was the demon Ahriman wielding your hand to accomplish his evil task, but you won't let your Scottish guilt see beyond the actions. Richie wouldn't want you to be so alone; he knew how much 'family' meant to you, how you were always trying to make him part of your family. Each time the two of you parted, somehow he understood, he could always come back to you, his family, no matter what evil he had wrought, no matter who he killed or what he'd done, he was always welcome. Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod needs a family, a clan around him and you've isolated yourself from everyone who cares."
Methos' voice lowered to almost a whisper and one of his hands caressed Duncan's cheek ...the other was placed over Duncan's heart.
"Duncan I've missed you. Our time together was special and I've thought of you often in the last few months. We've had some rough times, but all I can think about is you in my life. Do I have a place in your life?"
Methos stopped to catch his breath and to look at Duncan sitting on the couch next to him. He saw the effect his words were having on his friend. Duncan's face had become a demonstration for acting class, as emotions including anger, hurt, frustration, loneliness and love had all flashed on it in the past few minutes. Methos was surprised it could change so quickly. He knew that Duncan's brain was probably overloaded with information too, but he felt he had to finish what he started, not knowing if he would have another chance to tell Duncan what he felt. Methos gathered both the Highlander's hands in his and held them as he continued his speech.
It's always a rainy day without you I'm a prisoner of love inside you- I'm falling apart all around you My heart cries out to your heart I'm lonely but you can save me My hand reaches out to your hand I'm cold but you light the fire in me
"You helped me when Alexa died, let me return the favor. MacLeod, I want to be with you, to be your family. Don't you understand? I don't think you're a monster for killing Richie. It happened and I know it wasn't intentional. The short time we were together made me realize that I've become entwined in your life, I care what happens to you, I wonder what you're doing when I'm not here, and I want to protect you. You are too important to 'me' to lose. Live, grow stronger, fight another day has special meaning for you because I want you to be the embodiment of that statement. I allowed you to enter into 'my' world, become an important part of 'my' life, no one except Alexa got that close to me in a very long time. Immortal relationships can be hazardous to my health, but my feelings toward you are so intense that I'm willing to take that risk. When you aren't here, I'm empty, aching for your closeness, wanting to know that you are alive and safe. I've spent the last year and a half wondering where you were, were you safe, were you alone, were you lonely, were you happy? I need to know if you've had the same thoughts about me or are our contacts to be limited to the hospital, while our friend returns to health, and then I leave as was my original plan?"
Methos sat quietly on the couch, his eyes bored into Duncan's, trying to will a positive response from Duncan that would re- establish the bond between Duncan and himself.
Duncan was speechless. He couldn't believe what Methos was saying. Methos wanted him in his life, felt he was important, thought he was worthwhile. Methos could even forgive his part in Richie's death. His thoughts were a mixture of relief and disbelief.
His inner turmoil over the events involving Richie's death and his desire to renew his friendship/ relationship with Methos had him very confused and his response illustrated this inner battle. He stood up and began pacing the barge, turning away from Methos so he wouldn't have to look at those inquisitive, soul boring eyes, begging for his attention.
His voice was strained, almost a shout, "Methos. I killed Richie. Never mind that it was an evil demon that caused the death. It doesn't change the fact that I killed him. He was like my son. I killed my son! I couldn't live with the pain and still have difficulty facing it every day. I wanted to die. I knew if I didn't retreat to holy ground, I might regret my actions, or rather inactions, so I left." Taking a few deep breaths, he continued to pace, but lowered his voice to a more conversational tone. "I guess I will always feel him in my heart. I miss him. He was such a pain sometimes, always getting into trouble, fighting against Immortals that would've killed him if luck wasn't on his side, but he was my student. He was also my family. Tessa and I took him in and we were a family. That was the closest I have come to having a family since Little Deer. After she was murdered, I retreated to Holy Ground also. I guess I'm a coward. I can't face death especially of my loved ones. To know that I caused Richie's death is so hard to accept."
He turned toward Methos and allowed him to see the tears that were forming in his eyes. Methos walked to his friend and lead him back to the couch where he lay his hand over Duncan's. "Duncan. I'm sorry I wasn't there for you when Richie died. I know what he meant to you and I should've been there."
Methos gently squeezed Duncan's shoulder, trying to show his support, without overstepping the invisible barrier that had been drawn. Speaking softly so Duncan had to pay close attention to his words, Methos continued sharing his thoughts, "You didn't mean to hurt him. He knew you wouldn't harm him, Duncan. He was like your own son. Richie loved you. I know you miss him greatly and nothing anyone can do will bring him back. He died too young and his Immortality added too few years to his life. Duncan you gave him a wonderful life while he was with you. You helped him enlarge his appreciation of the finer things in life: art, music, and theatre. You gave him the most important thing of all, love. You and Tessa took him in and helped reform him into someone who could love, laugh, and enjoy life. He was able to feel love with the two of you, something he never had in his whole life until you came along. He knew he could always return to his teacher, mentor and friend, Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod. Your home was always open to him. I know you miss him and the fact that you were involved in his death will haunt you for a long time. Let me help you with this grief. I too, have killed those I love, but life must continue even when you feel it can't possibly go on the way you want it to. New loves and a new life emerge. We never forget, but the pain and hurt lessen until you can live with them again."
Methos moved closer to his friend, kissed him on the forehead, and lovingly caressed his cheek. After a few moments, he stopped, but continued to keep his hand on Mac's, allowing his support to be felt. Calmer now after his outburst and tears, Mac continue to talk. He took Methos' hands in his and held them closely. "Methos. I didn't mean to hurt you when I left. All I could think of was myself and my misery. I'd killed my student and I couldn't think beyond that reality. I'm sorry if I hurt you with my departure. I never wanted to do that. I returned six months ago, but didn't contact you because I was too ashamed of my actions. My friends believe I am so honorable, but no honorable man kills his student, his "son", so I didn't try to return to my previous life. I had to try to reinvent myself, leave all of my friends at a distance so that I could try to protect them from me, protect them from being killed also. Its better that I let them leave my life, than to jeopardize their existence."
Duncan's eyes were moist with unshed tears for Richie, his friends, and his former life and Methos reached over to comfort his friend, but hesitated, unsure of the response he would receive. As Duncan saw the arms move toward him, he moved into the embrace.
'I've missed this man so much. How could I have questioned his love for me? I want him in my life, in my arms, and definitely in my bed. I was foolish to run away after I killed Richie. He could've helped me deal with the pain and helped me to live again. I want to live. I want to be with him. I want to feel again.' 'I've missed this man so much. How could I have let him leave when he killed Richie? I was foolish to let him walk out of the racetrack. I should've followed him, or at least put a tail on him. A year and a half was too long to wait for his return. I realize that amount of time is only a fraction of my life, but his life is so important to me, I can't let him out of my life. He is too important to lose. I love him.' "Duncan" "Methos" "You first," stated Duncan as he gave the ancient Immortal a loving look.
My lips search for your lips I'm hungry for your touch There's so much left unspoken And all I can do is surrender To the moment just surrender
Methos pulled Duncan close to him and brushed a soft kiss on his lips which Duncan quickly deepened into a soul-searing caress. His tongue quickly sought the far reaches of Methos' warmth and began his quest for renewal of their relationship. Methos returned the kiss and explored Duncan's mouth as if it were the first time he had explored the warmth of his lover. The heat seared the two men and their minds and bodies quickly began to boil from it. Duncan's hands began to caress Methos, reaching under his sweater to locate the soft nubs of his nipples. He gently rubbed his finger across the sensitive area and was rewarded by Methos' nipples becoming sharp points. Methos' gasped at the heightened sensation his body was experiencing. It had been so long since he had felt the passion of love. Duncan wanted to kiss, caress and fondle his soulmate so he quickly relieved Methos of his sweater and gently leaned him back on the couch. Methos shivered as his naked torso was exposed to the cold air of the barge. MacLeod felt a shiver pass through his chest and quickly placed his body over his lover's to share his warmth with the man. They continued their kiss, but Duncan wanted to continue the exploration of Methos' body and moved to the side of the ancient Immortal. Methos wanted to give Duncan access to his entire being and broke his tender kiss to suggest they move to the bed where there was more room to maneuver. The two men moved to the bed where Duncan renewed his assault of Methos' chest. He began his exploration with his mouth as he gently kissed his lover's neck, nipping and biting the space below his ear. He wanted to show the world that this man belonged to him, but his Immortal nature would make the love bites disappear before others could notice them. Methos moaned and caressed the locks of Duncan's silky hair as he watched the Highlander nibble his way down his chest. The loving look in Methos' eyes didn't begin to show the feelings he had for this wonderful, magnificent man. Duncan's kisses traveled down Methos' chest to his aroused nipples, sucking one nipple as his fingers gently played with the other until Methos' breath came in short pants. Duncan returned to Methos' mouth where he renewed his exploration of his tongue and lips. He gently sucked on his lower lip and returned frequently to the inside of the warm cavern. If it was possible to place more of his tongue into the mouth of his lover, he would have done so quickly and without hesitation. Duncan pulled away from Methos' mouth as Methos let out a small sigh and groan. MacLeod slowly kissed his way down Methos' chest, stopping at his belly button to suckle and lick it as well. When he kissed down to the top of Methos' jeans, he unbuttoned them and helped Methos out of them. Methos wasn't wearing any underwear, his arousal evident as MacLeod tugged on the straining fabric.
All thoughts of the past year, including his doubts about himself, his unworthiness to continue to live and his worth as a friend, vanished as he looked into his lover's face, seeing the look of peace, happiness and love written in the hazel eyes of his lover. The look of unconditional acceptance was one Duncan could get used to very easily. Duncan lowered himself to Methos' feet. He reached out his hands to slowly caress Methos' feet, massaging the toes, the arches and the balls of each foot. He eased his mouth down to Methos' right foot so he could engulf each toe, swirling his tongue around the tender flesh, delighting Methos with each successive suckling. Methos' groans of pleasure made MacLeod want to keep up the loving gestures forever. He repeated his actions on the left foot then MacLeod traveled his kisses and small love bites up Methos' left leg, gently massaging and nipping until he reached the juncture of his final conquest. Instead of exploring the turgid flesh between Methos' legs, he traveled his kisses over the other leg as well, swirling his tongue as he reacquainted himself with his lover's body.
Methos' erection was straining from all the stimulation Duncan was lavishing on the surrounding flesh, the small dark curls were slightly moist with sweat, the earthy aroma that was unique to Methos assaulting him with its pungency. Duncan inhaled the aroma, grinning as his prize was so close. He blew his hot breath over Methos' groin and swirled his tongue around the sensitive flesh at the tip of his scrotum. He gently lowered his mouth, taking one of Methos' balls into his mouth, swirling and sucking gently. Methos moaned aloud from the continued assault of love on his overly stimulated body. MacLeod sucked each ball gently in his mouth then moved his tongue to the engorged cock. He licked it like an ice cream cone, then swallowed the cock whole once he reached the top of the shaft. He touched the tip with his tongue, pushing the slit open with his tongue and flicking it. Duncan continued his onslaught as Methos' moans and sighs grew louder and more frequent. "Duncan. I want you. I need you. I want to be sheathed in you, now. Please." Duncan was eager to comply with his request. He quickly relieved himself of his clothes and grabbed the lube from the nightstand. Duncan gave the lube to Methos and he quickly coated his fingers and gently inserted one into Mac's small coil, wanting to prepare his lover after their long absence from each other. Duncan drew a swift breath at the intrusion as he leaned his great frame into the ancient's hand. Methos added another finger and finally a third until he was certain the Highlander was ready for his much larger intrusion. When the Highlander's body was pushing against his hand, he withdrew his fingers and turned MacLeod on his back as he placed a pillow under his lover's hips for easier access. He placed Duncan's legs on his shoulders, then quickly lubed his own engorged cock. Pushing it into the tight orifice, he entered and lay still for a moment to allow MacLeod to adjust to the fullness. The pain and pleasure of the act overwhelmed both men. Methos slowly began gliding in and out of MacLeod's body, ensuring their reunion was a pleasurable one for both men. Soon the heightened sensation overwhelmed him and he began to thrust into his lover's strong body, grabbing MacLeod's engorged cock and stroking it with the same rhythm that he pursued inside his lover. He could no longer contain his release, coming with a sudden jerk and MacLeod quickly followed, his semen squirting over Methos' fingers. Both men were spent from their activity. They released each other and lay exhausted in each other's arms; their labored breathing slowing as their heart rates returned to a normal pace. They both lay quietly on the large bed, enjoying the reunion, each with his own thoughts regarding this new start. MacLeod got up first from the bed and retired to the bathroom to clean up. He returned with a wet cloth to clean his friend. That business taken care of the two men looked at each other and again began talking simultaneously. "Duncan" "Methos"
"This is where you belong, next to me, in my life, not apart from me wondering if I'm alright, lonely, or happy. I'm happy when you are here, sharing my life, not reading about it in some Watcher file. Yes, Methos, I do want you in my life and I'm sorry I kept you away for so long, blame it on my damn stubborn Scottish pride. After all I'm Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod, a true Highland warrior, too proud to admit when he needs help."
"Yes, Duncan MacLeod of the clan MacLeod you are one stubborn Scot, but I wouldn't have you any other way. You wouldn't be 'my' Highlander if your honor and chivalry were completely discarded. I'm not going anywhere, but I do suggest we get some sleep. After all we have another friend who needs are support lying in the hospital and he will expect our presence in the morning."
When Duncan awoke in Methos' arms, he smiled and stroked his lover's cheeks with a light brush of his fingertips. He had slept soundly without nightmares for the first time in a very long time. His dreams were so often filled with the re-enactment of the fiasco at the racetrack that he frequently avoided sleep until he dropped from exhaustion, but today he was refreshed, his body rejoicing in its peaceful renewal, as if beginning a new life. He didn't want to disturb Methos' sleep so lay his head back on the pillow and luxuriated in his bed with his soulmate nearby. Methos awoke and felt Duncan's staring at him, his mind electrified by the presence next to him as he realized his dreams of this moment were being fulfilled. "Duncan. Good morning and how are you today? Any regrets?" Methos said to Duncan as he kissed his mouth with a soft touch of his lips. He was smiling from ear to ear and his happiness was very evident. He began to caress his lover's chest and nibble behind his ear, but Duncan stopped his loving touches. "No. Methos, I haven't any regrets, just that I was foolish to wait this long. I like you here, it feels right. I've missed you."
Methos began caressing Duncan's chest as his kisses trailed down its contoured musculature. His tongue nipping and sucking the tasty flesh of his lover and then caressing it to ease the slight sting of his bites.
"Methos, Stop! Duncan demanded, even though he was thoroughly enjoying the ministrations of his partner. "Remember Joe needs us and we need to check on him so 'this' will have to be postponed for awhile."
"You do know how to put a damper on a man's good mood. I'll hold you to that promise. I won't forget, even if I do have a five thousand year old brain," Methos chuckled and continued to kiss his lover's chest as he worked his way back up to Duncan's exquisite mouth.
As he gave his lover one last sweet peck on his cheek, Methos questioned, "Join me in the shower?"
"No. I don't trust myself with you and soap. I can see it getting very slippery, no pun intended or maaaaybeeeeee it was. Go get clean and I'll make breakfast."
Duncan got out of bed so Methos' wouldn't be tempted to try and change his mind, put on some sweats, and walked toward the kitchen to fix their breakfast of eggs, toast and coffee.
Methos emerged from the bathroom using his only towel to dry his hair. Grinning, knowing what a tempting sight his naked body presented, he walked toward Duncan, still hoping to change the Highlander's mind, and began kissing Duncan's neck, his arms attempting an embrace.
"I told you later!" Duncan said exasperated at Methos' actions.
With an evil grin on his face, Methos told Mac, "I know. I'm just trying to remind you what you've missed in the last year and a half and to keep you on track. Wouldn't want you to change your mind after last night. You know what they say, 'If we do this, will you still love me in the morning?' I want to make sure the answer is still yes."
Mac continued to put the breakfast items on the table, trying his best to not get angry with Methos and to keep his own arousal hidden from the ancient Immortal. He knew if Methos saw the effect his antics were having, there would be no stopping him from continuing his quest. "Yes, Methos, the answer is still yes, I love you, now just like I did last night. Now go put some clothes on, you are trying my patience."
Methos laughed and retreated to the bedroom portion of the barge to dress, then returned to the kitchen to eat his breakfast, while Duncan showered so they could leave for the hospital.
They arrived at the hospital and checked with the nurse to see how Joe spent the remainder of the night. The nurse informed them he slept fitfully, but appeared to be resting better now. He was still in the intensive care unit; therefore, only one of them could visit him at any time.
As they walked towards Joe's room, Duncan stopped Methos by the visitor's lounge. The lounge was like many other lounges in hospitals and Duncan was struck by the cold, sterile atmosphere, realizing again how fragile mortals were.
He tapped Methos' arm and gently turned him to face him.
"Methos... I'd like to go see Joe first if you don't mind. I ... ah. aahh want to talk to him. I need to tell him I'm sorry."
Surprised at Duncan's sudden talk of remorse, Methos agreed, "Sure Mac, whatever you want. I'll just wait here in this lounge. Come and get me when you're done."
"Thanks Methos. I owe you one."
Mac took a deep breath and began walking down the quiet hallway. The hallway wasn't really quiet; one heard the blips and beeps of the machines set up to monitor their patient's health. The hustle of caregivers trying to save someone's life intruded into the solitude as well. He'd reached Joe's room and mulled over what he wanted to say to the Watcher. 'How could I have allowed myself to distance our lives? You've always been there for me. You've lied, cheated, killed , even offered your life for me and yet.....I allowed my Scotish pride to keep you away. I want you, no, I need you in 'my' life! I can't live so isolated, away from people who care, away from 'my' friends.' He realized Joe was not a priest to hear his confession, but rather a friend whom he owed a rather large apology, so he went in to ask forgiveness.
Joe was awake, resting in his bed. Mac saw the water pitcher on the bedside table and offered Joe a drink of the cool water. After pouring Joe some water, Mac continued to play with the pitcher, moving it in his hands, then looking at it as if it held some magical answer to the ultimate question of the universe.
"Joe. I'm glad you're awake. You had us worried there for awhile. The nurse said you had a rough night, so I won't stay long, let you get your beauty rest."
Moving his eyes from the water pitcher, Duncan looked at his friend the Watcher as he sat on the bed. "Joe. There's something I've got to say." The words were stuck in his mouth as if he had a large marble in there, but he struggled to get them past the lump in his throat.
"I'm sorry. I'm sorry for killing Richie, and I'm sorry for keeping you and all my friends out of my life. It was so selfish of me, but I was afraid I would hurt you too and I couldn't face killing any one else."
"Mac.....," Joe started to respond, telling Mac he knew that he hadn't meant to kill Richie, but something stopped him. He sensed this was a confession, a cleansing of the soul and he didn't want to interrupt him. Better he should wait until all was said, then all would be forgiven as it had in times past.
Duncan continued to play with the water pitcher, turning it around then making swirls in the water marks it left on the table.
"Joe, you scared me last night. When Methos called and told me you were in the hospital and unconscious, a terrible fear gripped me. I remember feeling I had all the time in the world to tell Tessa how much she meant to me and how very special she was to me. I know she knew I loved her and that she was special to me, but I thought I would see her grow old and we would have a lot more time than we did. I mean I'm trying to say..... Oh hell, Joseph, don't die on me."
His voice was almost pleading, as if Joe had a say in this matter and his asking would sway Joe's decision. Both of his hands were drawing circles in the water marks left by the pitcher and his body was visibly rigid and stiff.
"I'm not ready to lose you. I can't lose another friend right now. I know I'm not G-d, and I don't get to choose who lives and who dies, but please don't die. Mortal life is just too short and I'm not ready to let you go. You've got to stay around for a long time. I need our friendship and I want you to be my Watcher for many years to come."
Joe sat quietly, taking in all the things Mac said and all the things he didn't say as well. Strong emotions emanated from Mac and Joe could feel the urgency in the Highlander's words. He was touched that Mac finally acknowledged their friendship and how important it was to him. Tears leaked from his eyes as he looked at his friend, 'His Immortal', one of the most important people in his world.
"Joe.... Am I making any sense here? Help me out," Mac's voice was cracking with uncertainty, fearing he had said too much or maybe not enough.
"Yeah Mac. I get it. I'm not ready to go either, you know. I think you're rubbing off on me. I mean that Scottish stubbornness is in my blood now. It won't let me go yet either." He sat up in bed and gave the Highlander a hug.
After a few moments, they released each other and Duncan got off the bed, sighing loudly. He walked over to the curtain and began playing with the cord on the blind as he spoke nonchalantly as if the past few moments never occurred. "Now that my little speech is over, I guess I should go get Methos. He wants to see you too, Joe." Duncan went down the hallway to find Methos sprawled in the green plastic chair in the lounge. 'Why are all lounges decorated with the same plastic chairs, pale colored paint, bare walls, and laminated coffee tables? Can't they be more inviting? After all the people who use these lounges are waiting to visit their sick family. Can't they at least make them more inviting, more homey? I hate hospitals, hate being in them because they remind me that my mortal friends will die, leaving me alone again. These lounges are suppose to be comforting to the families of the people here, but to me they are very depressing. 'There is Methos, I better go tell him Joe is awake so he can talk to him. The guy looks pretty tired, so I don't want us to stay long, besides I promised Methos some 'fun' when we return to the barge.'
"Your turn, old man. Thanks for letting me talk to him first. I feel much better. Don't stay too long, he's had a rough night and needs his rest." Duncan kissed Methos quickly on the cheek, and gave his arm a small squeeze as he left to see their friend.
Methos walked slowly down the hallway and knocked quietly on the door. Joe answered for him to enter and smiled when he saw who his visitor was. Methos sprawled in the visitor chair next to the bed and began talking to Joe in a somewhat lecturing manner, "Glad you're doing okay, but I have a bone to pick with you. I'm happy that you feel our friendship is such that you kept my card in your wallet in case of an emergency, however, you were lucky that they found me. I'm not always so easy to locate as you should know. I love to disappear into the woodwork, as it were, when I get bored, challenged, or just plain don't want to be around anymore. You should choose your emergency friends with more care. In fact, I was packing up to leave town, my journals were shipped to Italy for my next assignment and I was cleaning my apartment when the doctor called. Another half hour and they wouldn't have found anyone home."
Joe's face showed his astonishment at Methos' information. "You're leaving? When did this happen? How come I didn't know about it? I'm always the last to know."
Methos continued his story in a light conversational tone as if he were retelling a funny incident that occurred to him rather than the serious one it was.
"Well, it happened about a week ago. You see.... I went to visit one rather stubborn Scot to find out why he didn't seek me out and to clarify where I stood in his world or if I had a part in his world. I got rebuffed rather boldly and I decided I didn't need him or anyone for that matter, so the Methos project should just find a new home. I contacted the Watchers and told them I had a lead on a journal of Methos' in Italy and needed to do some extensive research there so I asked to be relocated. They reluctantly agreed and I was completing the final touches when the doctor called about you."
Joe's eyes scrunched and the lines on his forehead creased as he looked quizzically at the ancient Immortal. "But you and MacLeod are here together. Something change your mind, old man?"
A large smile broke out on Methos' face, his eyes shone and his fingers made a triangle as he brought them to his chin.
"You could say that. 'Someone' changed my mind. You see when I called Mac and told him about your situation, he rushed down here. Our mutual concern for you got us talking and we realized we did have something to say to each other. We left here after we saw that you were going to survive and talked. We talked a lot .....and now .......I have to talk to the Watchers again and explain why my thinking was wrong, that the journal I located was not a chronicle, and I really need to continue my research here in Paris, at Headquarters. Guess I'll have to eat my words, show the top brass that Adam Pierson is not the great scholar they think he is."
Laughing out loud and grinning as he spoke, "I hate packing and unpacking. I'll have to go to Italy, specifically Bari, to rescue my journals and send them back here. They are too important to lose, or allow to land in the wrong hands."
Methos' happiness was contagious and Joe smiled too. "Wow back up the cart here. Are you telling me that you and Mac are talking again, that you aren't going to leave because some stubborn Scot regained his common sense?"
"Yes, Joe." Methos shook his head affirming Joe's question. Duncan and I have settled our problems and we're talking again."
"Thank G-d." A sigh of relief came from the Watcher as he continued the conversation. "I don't think I could handle any more brooding. I've seen enough brooding for a long while. You just keep him in line. Between your cynicism and his chivalry, you make a great pair. I'm glad you too are on speaking terms again."
"Now all this thinking is making me tired and I need my rest. You two go do what you do; I don't really want to go there, so don't tell me, because some things are better left out of your chronicles. I'll see you later, maybe this evening. Now go."
His hand made a shooing motion toward the door as Methos quietly left the Watcher's room.
The two men left the hospital and returned to the barge. On their drive they talked about Joe, mortals, their friendship and their upcoming trip to Bari. They decided that they could safely leave the rescue of Methos' journals until Joe was released from the hospital. The journals were being shipped to one of Methos' estates and were safe from unwanted visitors for a while, his servants having been in his employ for many years.
The next several weeks were filled with visits to the hospital and mundane tasks such as grocery shopping and paying bills. Adam informed the Watchers he wanted to stay in town for awhile and make certain that Dawson recovered. Since the Watchers knew Adam and Joe were friends, this request didn't appear unusual to them. Adam visited his friend frequently in the hospital and worked at headquarters when he wasn't busy with other tasks. He and Duncan tried to coordinate their visits to Joe so that the Watchers wouldn't get suspicious. They occasionally visited him at the same time, but never arrived or left together. It was important that no one suspect their relationship, least of all the Watchers. While the Watchers tolerated Joe's friendship with Duncan, they didn't condone friendships with Immortals for others in their fold. Since Adam was a researcher in their eyes, there would be no reason for him to interact with Immortals. They knew he knew MacLeod from the debacle with Jacob, but he had made it his business to distance himself from MacLeod in public, fearing his identity and safety would be compromised. Many Watcher friends visited Joe in the hospital and this was another reason to keep his distance from MacLeod while visiting their friend.
Finally the day arrived for Joe to be released. Methos and Duncan discussed his release in great detail, debating who would serve as caregiver when the Watcher was released and finally agreed that Methos was better suited to this task because there were still many Watchers coming to visit. Methos picked Joe up from the hospital and took him to the apartment that Joe had rented in Paris. Since Duncan spent at least half his time in Paris, it seemed reasonable for Joe to have quarters that were suited to his needs when he was there watching Duncan. Methos settled Joe in and went shopping for food and necessities, seeing that Joe's shelves were bare and what little food was in the refrigerator was long past edible.
Methos got Joe settled in, made him lunch, and assisted him in showering. After all this exertion, Joe was ready to nap and Methos helped him into bed, closed the room up to make it as dark as possible, and wished his friend pleasant dreams. He shut the door and returned to the main part of the flat to put away the groceries and other items he had picked up while shopping. Satisfied that every thing was settled, he grabbed a beer from the refrigerator and sat down on the couch, grabbed a book from his backpack and began reading.
He had difficulty concentrating on his reading and found his mind wondering to mull over his current situation.
'Joe is safe. Thank G-d he will make a full recovery and be able to return to his blues and Watching, but what about me and Mac? Now that the crisis is over, will we be okay? I know these last few weeks have been stressful on everyone and at least Mac and I are talking again, of course the sex is great too, but where do we go from here? Can we live our lives in the same city, together, sharing everything like a married couple? Do I want or can I do this with another Immortal? It is a very appealing thought to wake up to Mac's smile and well-muscled torso, our legs tangled around each other, my head lying on his shoulder or my arms wrapped around his chest, but is that realistic? Get a grip, old man, there is more to life than sex. Yes, but it is soooooo nice and Mac is very good at it. Anyway where was I? Yes, we are Immortal, there can be only one, and we are both very head strong. Can I jeopardize our safety because I love being with him? Hell I love him. I ......love him. Now where did that come from? Do I love him? What does that mean to me? Too much thinking for now. I think I'll take a nap too. Bright boy. Yes, too much thinking, I'll contemplate my life later.'
Methos woke on the couch, his neck and body stiff from the awkward position he had been sleeping. His mind quickly remembered where he was, why he was there, and why he had fallen asleep on the couch. He got up to check on Joe and realized it was dark outside, the sun having set long ago. He found Joe still sleeping so he went to the kitchen to prepare dinner for the two of them. His mind wandered back to the conversation he was having with himself before he fell asleep on the couch.
'Duncan MacLeod of the clan MacLeod .... What a man and where do I fit in his life or better yet do I want him to be in my life on a regular basis? Yes ....... I do want him in my life. One question answered. Next on the list......Does he want me in his life? Harder to answer.....I think the answer is yes, but that may be only because this crisis with Joe has forced our togetherness. Funny how mortals and/or crisis' can do that to people. Alexa's death brought us together and now Joe's illness has us talking again. Thank G-d for crisis'.
A deep laugh escaped Methos' mouth as he had that absurd thought.
'A relationship with an Immortal,.......Interesting prospect, never had that before......now why is that? Oh yes.....There can be only one. Hard to have a relationship with someone who might come after your head. I like it when Mac goes after *that* head,......still it is an intriguing idea. What to do? What to do? I haven't looked at all the angles of such a question in.... since ....a long time. Why does that Scot make me think, give me a conscience, make me question my motives? Will he ever accept my past, and me or are we doomed to repeat our leave-taking each time he discovers a new part of my sordid life? ......Oh well dinner is ready. I better get Joe up and see if he needs me, after all, I'm here to help him.'
Back at the barge
Duncan fixed himself dinner consisting of chicken alfredo, salad, and a glass of white wine. He enjoyed cooking, but since he had isolated himself from his 'family', there had been no one to cook for but himself and that seemed to be too much effort. He was feeling particularly happy this evening, Joe was released from the hospital and appeared to be mending well, Methos was staying with him to insure his complete recovery, and he and Methos had begun re-exploring their relationship. He still missed Richie and thought of him often, but the hurt ached less and he was able to enjoy life a little more.
'The crisis is over and Joe is O.K. I'm so relieved because I don't think I could take any more loss in my life. I've lost too many people in the last five years: Tessa, Sean, Michael, Richie, Darius, and Fitzcarin. It seems I've been more active in the game in the last five years than I have in the last 100. Damn the Game! Tessa was right. 'Damn the Gathering! Damn my whole race.' I hurt and I've lost so much, sometimes I don't think I can take anymore pain, but each day I get up and go through the motions realizing I'm opening myself up to live again and living means pain and loss. Living,....... Live, grow stronger, fight another day. Methos' famous words for life. Why does he want me to live so badly? It can't be because he wants to be with me; he was just going to leave before he found out about Joe. He wasn't going to even say goodbye, just pack his bags and disappear like he had so many times. I wouldn't even know where to find him and I sure wouldn't ask Joe to help me. Why am I getting so worked up about Methos? '
Mac took a sip of his wine finishing the last bit of liquid and poured himself another glass of the crisp, fruity drink. Closing his eyes, he contemplated his feelings for Methos, his thoughts about life, Joe, his relationship with his Watcher, and a myriad of miscellaneous things.
'I want Methos and Joe in my life. Life is too short for mortals to play games and be mad. I've made my peace with Joe and I think he has forgiven me for killing Richie and my reclusive state these past years. Now I have to deal with Methos. But does Methos want me in his life? After all he was ready to pack up and leave, but.......he stayed and we talked. I need to talk to him, to settle this once and for all. Tomorrow, I could lose my head and then ....... I don't want to have any more regrets, nor do I want to be Methos' 1001st regret, or 1002nd, or 1003rd or whatever number he is up to now.
MacLeod picked up the phone and dialed Dawson's flat.
"Hello Methos. How's Joe, everything going well?"
"He's fine MacLeod. I've gotten him settled, he took a nap and now we're finishing dinner. Want to talk to him?"
"No. I actually called to talk to you, Methos."
"I'm here. What do you want to talk about?"
Feeling silly and wondering why he had called, MacLeod got cold feet.
"Uh nothing. Talk to you guys in the morning."
"No you don't MacLeod. You called for a reason. Now talk. You aren't getting off the hook that easily."
"I thought we could talk, but I'm not sure how to start the conversation."
"Okay, I'll start for you. Let's see I hear there is a new opera in town, have you seen it? Or maybe you'd like to talk about the new bookstore around the corner. No,..... MacLeod.....I'm listening, but only for a minute longer, you are trying my patience."
Duncan stammers into the phone, "Methos, please I'm serious. May I come over? This is kind of hard to do over the phone."
"Now? It's 11:00p.m."
"Well I could come in the morning if you're tired."
"No. No, come on over. I'll see you in about twenty minutes. This better be good MacLeod."
Joe wheeled himself out from his bedroom and looked at Methos who had an odd expression on his face.
"Everything okay? You look kind of strange. There's not another Immortal around? I'm in no shape to Watch right now, you better find yourself another Watcher if you're going to fight."
"No Joe everything's fine, I guess. I just had the strangest phone call from MacLeod. He wanted to talk, but wouldn't tell me about what and then he asked to come over. The man's spooked about something. Ah well, I guess I'll find out soon enough, he should be here in about ten minutes."
Joe shrugged his shoulders and wheeled himself toward his room. 'I'll just go into my room and watch some T.V. You guys keep it quiet in here. I don't think my insurance can handle any more claims right now. My flat insurance is with the same people that have my health insurance and I think they have paid out a lot of money here recently. They probably wouldn't be too happy about another claim if you two got into it. Nor would I. I kind of like the place."
"Don't worry Joe, I don't think it's going to come to swords. If it was, Duncan wouldn't be coming here. Now go rest. I'll send Duncan in to say hi to you when he gets here."
"Fine with me. I'll trust you. 5000 years should account for something when it comes to human nature."
A few minutes later, Methos sensed an Immortal and opened the door for MacLeod. He told Mac that Joe had just gone into his room if he wanted to say hi for a minute and Duncan went to the Watcher's bedroom to visit him for a few minutes. After visiting Joe, he returned to the living area of the flat, grabbed himself a beer from the fridge and sat on the couch. Methos grabbed himself a beer and joined Mac, his curiosity swelling in him, but willing himself to keep his tongue and let Mac talk about whatever he had on his mind, when he was ready to divulge his secrets.
MacLeod drank half of his beer and looked at Methos several times, but said nothing. His body twitched and his leg bobbed up and down. He looked like a nervous schoolboy about to confess some terrible deed to the teacher. Methos was getting increasingly uncomfortable watching Mac and his curiosity was heightened to a point where he had to bite his tongue to keep from questioning Mac.
"How's Joe? Does he need anything? Do you need money to buy food or medicine for him?" Duncan asked in quick succession.
Agitated with Macleod's strange behavior, Methos tersely responded, "I already told you Mac, Joe's fine. Out with it man. What has got you so spooked?"
Duncan's eyes moved around the room, not looking at any one object, just trying to avoid looking at Methos as he stammered, "Uh....I......uh..... How do feel about me, Methos?"
Methos looked at Mac quizzically. The question was so unexpected, he wasn't sure how to answer it because he didn't know where Mac was going with the discussion.
Mac said very slowly for Methos' benefit, "Let me say it again for your 5,000 year old brain, just in case it is a little foggy in there, wasted away from the passage of time and the constant pickling from the beer consumption that it's frequently subjected to. How do you feel about me?"
Having gotten the conversation started, Duncan was less nervous. His leg had stopped bobbing, but his body was still stiff and twitched occasionally.
"I like you. I guess I consider you my friend. Why?"
"I like you too, Methos. You're my friend, but do you feel anything else?"
Methos looked into Duncan's warm, chocolate colored eyes and the path of this discussion became very clear to him. Duncan wanted to know where they were going, was there a future for them, did Methos care for him. He'd had this same conversation earlier in the day, funny how minds linked often thought along the same lines. Yes, he was somehow linked with Duncan, both physically and mentally and yes he wanted it to continue.
"Yes, Duncan I feel something else."
Methos leaned over to Duncan and kissed him very softly on his lips. As Duncan returned his kiss, he relaxed and soon the two men were locked in a passionate embrace, forgetting they were not in a private place.
Joe was thirsty and had wheeled himself out of his bedroom to get a drink when he saw the two Immortals locked in a passionate kiss, unaware of the sensuous picture they presented. Joe wasn't embarrassed by their actions, rather he was relieved to see his friends accept what he knew to be an important relationship for both men.
The two men heard the noises Joe was making and quickly released each other.
"Sorry Joe," They both said in unison and laughed at the scene they must have presented.
"You're forgiven, but you two have homes of your own, now go do that somewhere else."
"No buts, I'll be fine. I have my cell phone and I'll put it in my bedroom with me. If I need anything, I'll call. Now go. I don't want to be a voyeur and the doctor told me to take it easy for at least six weeks."
"You sure? I could leave and Methos can stay as we planned. We can do this later. After all I got the information I came for."
"And what, pray tell, was that, MacLeod? All I remember was you asking me was do I like you? I don't remember really answering you."
"Actions speak louder than words, my friend. I think your kiss told me you care and there is a place for me in your life. Am I wrong?"
"No. You have a place in my heart, Duncan," Methos smiled and placed Duncan's hand over his heart. "I care deeply, too deeply for my own safety, but that is one regret that will not become my 1001st. I will not sacrifice my love for you for my safety, as I would rather have one year of love than a lifetime alone."
Just one year of love, Is better than a lifetime alone. One sentimental moment in your arms, Is like a shooting star right through my heart, It's always a rainy day without you, I'm a prisoner of love inside you, I'm falling apart around you, And all I can do is surrender.
"So I gave you your answer in actions? Was my answer correct?"
"Yes, Oh yes, Methos. It was the correct one. In fact you win the prize. Me. Now let's go back to the barge, we have some unfinished business."
"That we do, MacLeod. That we do"
Finis- Please comment. Shall they continue their story?
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