Disclaimer: We all know that they don't belong to me, and
I promise to put them back when I'm done. Highlander belongs to
Rysher Panzer/Davis, and I'm not quite sure who owns Sliders, but I
know it's not me. Just let me win the lottery though.... No copyright
infringement is intended.
Cory and Ryan broke down their campsite, making sure not to leave any
sign of their presence aside from the remnants of their fire. While this
normally would not have taken very long, the process was drawn out since
they kept getting distracted by each other. In fact, at one point, rather
than rolling up the sleeping bag, they rolled around on it,
then had to go to the stream to clean up, of course. And then seeing each
other naked in the water... well, they had originally intended to go back to
town the previous day.
They piled Cory's belongings into his jeep and climbed in for the drive
back to Los Angeles. Cory's home was in the San Bernardino hills, but he'd
already told Ryan that he had to go into LA to pick up some things before
they went home. Ryan was actually looking forward to seeing this universe's
version of Los Angeles. After everything Wade and the others had told him
about the differences they'd encountered in their travels, he was curious
whether this one was anything like the city he knew.
When they finally got close to LA and came to a bend in the road that
overlooked the city, Ryan realized that he had not been prepared for
this. He stared in dumbfounded amazement at the sprawling, haze-shrouded
megalopolis. He'd traveled to every corner of his world, and he'd never seen
anything like this in his entire life.
"My God," he gasped, "how many people live here?"
Cory shrugged. "About ten million, I guess."
"In one city?! The population of my entire world is only 500
It was Cory's turn to be startled. "Are you ever in for a dose of
culture shock! The population of this world is over 5 billion... or
maybe it's six by now. Who knows?"
"Five billion? How? Where?" Ryan stuttered.
"Everywhere. I guess you're probably used to a lot of wide-open
spaces. You're not going to find too many of those here."
Ryan was still stunned. "What's that haze over the city?"
Cory looked at him uneasily. "You don't have smog either?"
"Shit," Cory groaned, wondering if Ryan was going to be able to
breathe in the city. Well, there was only one way to find out, and he was
going to be keeping a close watch on the mortal. If he had any trouble, Cory
would get him out of the city and take him to his castle in England. He'd
managed to con the widowed lady of the keep into marrying him back in the
14th century, and he'd held onto the building and all the surrounding land
ever since. There was definitely no smog there. Lots of sheep, but no smog.
He explained what smog was to Ryan, who couldn't understand why people
would harm their world like that. He started to feel a little superior, then
remembered the lottery. Somehow, he didn't think the lives of all those
people were a fair price for an unpolluted world, no matter how idyllic.
When Cory started describing racial tension, prejudice against same sex
couples, serial killers, gang wars, famine, and the Third World, Ryan
suddenly wished that he'd gone with Wade and Quinn after all. Then again,
they'd mentioned horrific worlds, and if they came from one like this, as he
suspected, he didn't want to know what they would consider worse. He glanced
over at the man by his side and smiled. At least this one had Cory.
Ryan smiled. He'd never expected to find happiness with another man,
particularly one who could be his reflection, but it seemed to have found
Whoa there, Ryan. He suddenly realized what he was thinking. You've
only known this guy for a few days, in a situation completely outside his
normal life. You don't know him. And you sure as hell don't know if he's
interested in anything more than a casual relationship. Just because he felt
sorry for you and offered to let you stay with him until you get used to
this world doesn't mean he's planning to take you home to mother. Assuming
that he had a mother of course. And that she wouldn't have been dead for
several centuries. Ryan groaned and let his head fall back against the
rest. He was startled to feel a hand gently stroke his hair, soothing him
Ryan turned his head, meeting an oddly knowing green gaze. For the first
time since he'd met Cory, the Immortal's showed his true age. Every one of
his several centuries showed in his eyes.
"It's okay, Ryan," Cory said quietly. He'd been able to follow
every thought just by watching the expressions flit across the mobile face
of the young man beside him. He remembered that when he was young, before
his first death, his best friend, his blood brother, had once told him that
his own face was just that expressive, that every thought he had showed upon
it. Alwyn, my dear old friend, I hope you are truly resting in peace.
Staid, honorable Duncan MacLeod would be surprised to know that Cory Raines
was more than a prankster, but the Highlander had never learned to look
beneath the surface. And Cory was more difficult than most. To know him, a
person had not only to delve beneath his facade, they also had to navigate a
labyrinth of funhouse mirrors reflecting only what he wanted them to see.
Amanda knew him, but despite what they'd told Mac, they'd known each
other since before he'd died the first time. Even then, they'd conned and
stolen together. Both of them were quite convinced that they were the basis
of the Robin Hood and Marion legends, though well leavened with pagan
aspects. Cory thought the two of them were a much more likely source than
that boring, mortal thief most people assumed had been.
"What are you thinking about?" Ryan asked quietly.
Cory smiled openly. "That as nice as it is to have a lover, it's
even better to have a friend. I'm glad I found both in you. It's been a very
Ryan watched him quietly. "You're going to have to spell it out for
me, Cory. What do you want from me?"
Cory smiled, the familiar, wide, reckless grin. "'Come live me with
me and be my love,'" he recited, placing a hand on Ryan's thigh when
the other man looked away in disappointment at his apparent mockery. "I
mean that seriously, Ryan. I think we'd make a great team, and I want you to
stay with me as long as you can."
Ryan frowned. "As long as I can. Planning for the ending is not a
good way to start a relationship."
"Oh. No, that's not what I meant." He looked away for a moment,
then turned back to Ryan. "I meant that I'm an Immortal and you're not.
I meant that I want you to be with me until age or sickness or some stupid
accident takes you away from me. 'Come live with me and be my love,'"
he repeated, his heart in his eyes.
All the logical reasons why this was insane raced through Ryan's mind,
but in the end whether he'd known Cory three days or three centuries didn't
matter. He wanted this man. "Yes," he said simply.
Cory reached for his hand and held it the rest of the drive.
Downtown, it seemed that Cory's fears about Ryan's ability to breathe the
polluted air of Los Angeles were groundless. He didn't experience any
distress, although his nose did wrinkle at the first smell, making Cory lean
over to smooth away the expression of distaste with kisses. He looked around
curiously, taking note of the bars on the store windows; the scantily clad,
heavily made up young women and men standing at the ends of alleys; the
packs of young people clearly carrying knives and other assorted weaponry,
and he turned to Cory in dismay.
"Is the whole world like this?"
"No," Cory was quick to reassure him. "Not even the whole
city is. But the friend I need to see likes living in this kind of setting -
you should have seen the neighborhood he chose to live in in 16th century
London! This is about as bad an area as I'm likely to take you."
Ryan looked at him curiously. "It sounds like there are worse
places, but you're... protecting... me from them."
Cory shrugged. "A little. But I don't have any particular desire to
stroll around downtown Kosovo or to see people dying of famine myself, so I
think we'll just skip the war zones and Third World if it's all the same to
Ryan frowned slightly. "All right. Just... keep in mind that I want
to get to know this world. I'm going to be spending the rest of my life
here, after all."
"I know. But I'd like to show you some of the good as well. We do
have good too, you know."
Ryan raked his eyes along the length of Cory's body. "I thought
you'd already shown me the best?"
Cory snickered. "Back to the immodesty, are we, o' mirror image
They shared identical smirks.
"Just admiring what I see," Ryan grinned.
"Well, if you think you've seen the best I have to offer, just wait
till I get you in my bed. I may never let you out again."
Ryan shivered faintly as tremors of arousal raced along his spine.
"Promises, promises. Put your money where your mouth is, pal."
Instead, Cory pulled over, put on the emergency brake, and put his mouth
where Ryan's was.
The sound of applause and catcalls made them pull apart. Ryan blushed
when he saw the hookers laughing at them, but Cory just bowed mockingly and
pulled back out into traffic. After picking up the proceeds of the sale of
the items he'd left with his friend before getting out of LA for a while
until interest died down, Cory took Ryan to his home. It felt odd, seeing
his mirror image walking around his home. Ryan was even wearing his clothes
since all he'd had was the remnants of the tuxedo he'd been wearing when
this all started back at the Lottery winners' ball on his own world.
Watching him, Cory suddenly knew how Alice had felt when she stepped
through the looking glass. It, he, was the same, but... not. Cory kept
expecting Ryan to react to things the way he would, but, of course, he
didn't. The differences between were more than simply a result of being from
different worlds, although that alone created a gap of experience. Several
centuries' difference in age, all of them spent in the certain knowledge
that others of his kind would like nothing better than to cut his head off,
had made Cory wary and honed his reflexes and sense of self-preservation to
a hair trigger.
At heart, as well as on the surface, Cory was still the same reckless,
feckless outlaw he'd been in Medieval England, and he still loved to play
games, especially with someone as straitlaced as Duncan MacLeod, but he was
instinctively suspicious of other people. Ryan was not. Except for the
results of winning the Lottery, which was a unique set of circumstances,
he'd never in his life had to worry about anyone trying to harm him. The
very idea was foreign to him. Cory shuddered to think what could have
happened to him if he'd run into someone else in those hills.
"So?" he said finally. "What do you think?"
Ryan smiled over his shoulder at him, immediately turning his attention
back to the Kandinsky that engrossed him. "It's beautiful. I could
spend years here, just looking at all the works of art you have."
Cory chuckled softly. "Just wait till you see my other homes. You'd
be amazed what you can amass over eight centuries." He paused a beat,
then couldn't resist. "Wanna see my etchings?"
Ryan burst into laughter, turning around to face him. "That line's
gotta be older than you are, Cory!"
"If it ain't broken, don't fix it," Cory intoned, with the air
of one imparting a great pearl of wisdom.
Ryan picked up a cushion of a couch and threw it at him, laughing so hard
he could barely see to aim. "Lunatic!"
Cory launched himself at the younger man, gauging it perfectly so that he
knocked Ryan flat on his back on a nearby couch and landed on top of him.
Ryan oophed, the air knocked out of him by the impact, but Cory's mouth on
his soon made him indifferent to minor difficulties like lack of oxygen.
Cory pulled away with a chuckle after a moment.
"The blue clashes with your eyes, sweetheart. Breathe, Ryan."
As an inducement, he lowered his mouth to Ryan's throat, suckling on the
tender skin and making Ryan gasp. He smirked against the purpling flesh when
he felt Ryan hardening against him, and he rubbed their groins together.
This time the sound Ryan made could only be called a needy whine.
Cory went to pull away, intending to get their clothes off and move this
to the bedroom and his nice, comfortable, king size bed, but Ryan snarled
and yanked him back down, arching off the sofa to thrust his aching cock
against Cory's, and all thought flew out of his head. Cory groaned, grinding
against Ryan, and covered Ryan's mouth with his own once again, plunging his
tongue inside as they twisted together.
Ryan suddenly grabbed Cory's ass and pulled him tightly against himself,
groaning Cory's name as he came. Even in the midst of his own pleasure, he
kneaded Cory's ass and writhed beneath him to bring him to the same joy, and
he collapsed, panting, when Cory's moan and shudder told him that he'd come
Cory lay draped over his lover, catching his breath, content to remain
there until the cooling wetness at his groin reminded him that they should
clean up. He levered himself upright, plucking the cold, damp denim away
from himself with a grimace of distaste. "Yech!" he muttered.
"I'd much rather be sticky than soggy."
Ryan couldn't help the giggle fit that overcame him. Cory'd gone from
passionate lover to disgruntled, cranky little boy in the blink of an eye,
and it struck him as funny.
Cory stared down at him, hands on naked hips - he'd already peeled off
the offending jeans - shaking his head. "Poor lad, he's gone mad."
He licked his lips, letting a lascivious smile play over his face. "So
there'll be none to stop me from having my wicked way with him."
Ryan snorted. "I'll kill anyone who tries! Please, have your wicked
way with me, sirrah." He tried to keep a straight face.
"Already?" Cory was impressed.
"Well, you keep telling me about Immortal recuperative powers. Are
you saying that they don't apply to this?"
"Hardly... and I use the term advisedly." Cory grinned. "I
just didn't think you could go again so soon."
Ryan smiled a sleepy half smile. "I want you inside me."
Cory's breath drew in sharply. "Ah. I think I can manage that for
Ryan reached over and petted him. "I'm sure you can."
"Up," Cory said abruptly, hauling Ryan to his feet.
Momentarily dizzy at the abrupt change in position, Ryan clutched at him
to remain upright. "Hey, what was that for?"
"Because it's insane to be contorting ourselves into all kinds of
bizarre and uncomfortable positions on the damned couch when I have a nice,
comfy bed in the bedroom. Come on." Cory shifted his grip to Ryan's
hand and drew him toward the bedroom, pushing him down on the bed when they
Ryan stretched out, his hands behind his head and the damp patch at the
front of his jeans prominently displayed. He looked up at Cory
"So, what are you going to do with me now that you've got me
Cory leaned back against the wall, crossed his ankles and smiled down at
him. "Well, first I'm going to slowly undress you, then I'm going to
make sure that you're clean and comfortable by licking and massaging every
inch of you. I'm going to taste every bit of you, learn you until I could
recognize you blindfolded and deaf, just by smelling you. I'll make you
relax into a warm puddle, then arouse you till you don't think you can stand
it. And then I'll just make you even hotter.
"I'm going to lick and suck and bite you until you scream, and then
I'll start all over again. I'm going to make you forget your own name, and
you're going to love every second of it." He regarded his victim
assessingly. "I think I'll start at the top, stroking my fingers
through the soft silk of your hair until you purr for me. Then I'll notice
your ears, small, neat... sensitive." He smiled. "I'll lick one
softly at first, then suck on the lobe, then when you moan for me, I'll bite
it, and the small pain mixed with the pleasure will make you wild."
Cory paused to savor the moan Ryan emitted and to watch him squirm.
Ryan fumbled at the fastening on his jeans, and Cory barked,
"No!" making him freeze and stare up with big green eyes.
"Hands back behind your head. You don't touch yourself in any
Ryan's breath hitched, but he obeyed, staring avidly at the suddenly
dominant Immortal. Pleasure shuddered through him at the idea of giving
himself up to Cory, and he relaxed as much as he could in his state of
Cory rewarded him for playing along by unfastening his jeans and pulling
them off while Ryan helped by raising his hips. He briefly stroked the
semi-hard cock, then lowered his head to give it a quick lick, chuckling
when Ryan's hips rose, trying to maintain the contact as he pulled away.
"Not yet, sweetheart. You're not nearly as desperate as I want
"Now then, where was I? Oh yes... well, after I've played with your
ear, I'll move on to your throat. I'll lick it like a cat, feeling the
stubble there rasp over my tongue, then when I find the right spot, I'll
bite down lightly and suck on it until I've left my mark on you. Have I told
you how much I love being able to do that? You can't mark Immortals, you
know. I think I'll put several marks on you, so every time you look at your
own body you'll be reminded of me, that you belong to me."
"To each other," Ryan argued.
Cory nodded slowly. Yes, they did belong to each other. "I wish you could
mark me," he whispered.
Ryan smiled at him. "I don't need to. Wearing my face is enough of a
mark, I think."
Cory laughed, his momentary melancholy banished. "It was mine first,
youngster. Now then, don't interrupt.
"I'll mark you and slowly work my way across your chest, nibbling on
the firm muscles, letting my teeth sink in just enough to feel the
resistance, to make you squirm. I'll do that for a long time, staying away
from your nipples no matter how much you beg. I'll watch them harden without
any direct stimulation, and I'll imagine how they'll taste when I finally
take them in my mouth.
"Eventually, imagining won't be enough, and I'll lick one nipple
lightly, teasingly. Do you want more, harder? I'll keep it soft and gentle
until you scream my name desperately, pleading with me to give you what you
need. Then I'll bite you, scrape my teeth over your aching nipples,
first one, then the other, over and over until they're nearly raw and you're
still begging for more.
"But I'm still not done with you. I'll nibble my way down your
belly, following the faint trail of hair, and I'll nip at your navel. You're
ticklish and so sensitized now that that tiny bite makes you arch off the
bed and yelp. God, you look gorgeous, all hot and needy, wanting me. I do it
again, and I get the same reaction again. Your cock brushes against my chin,
and I feel the thin strand of precome connecting us. I scoop it up with one
finger and taste it, taste you, while I look into your eyes. You're almost
where I want you, almost desperate enough... but not quite. You're not
"Oh yes, I am!" Ryan interrupted with a wail, and Cory
"You don't want me more than your next breath yet. But you will.
You'll do anything I tell you to, won't you, sweetheart?"
"I bypass that gorgeous cock, knowing that it'll taste even better
when I do get there, and turn my attention to your legs. They're so
sensitive. I love seeing you squirm when I nip at your inner thigh and how
your legs spread wide for me when I lick behind your knees." Cory
smothered a chuckle when Ryan's legs parted just at the thought of it.
"I could spend hours on your legs, but I won't do that to you...
this time. You're still too impatient, and if I'm being honest, I don't want
to wait that long either. You burst into laughter when I drag my tongue
along the arch of your foot; you're so damn ticklish. I love the sound of
your laughter even more than the way you gasp my name when you come.
"But we're both past the point of playing like that, so I work my
way back up your legs, letting my teeth sink into the heavy muscle of your
thigh briefly, and you grab my hair, trying to pull me to your dripping
cock. I pry your hands free and take advantage of their proximity to suck on
your fingers, showing you what I'll be doing to other parts of you soon. I
wonder if you even realize that you're moaning continuously, whimpering and
begging, and I'm certain that you can't begin to imagine how hot that makes
"I draw your arms up to the headboard and place your hands against
the bars. You get the message and grip them tightly, your back arching
slightly to offer yourself to me, trying to tease me. Holy Mother, I love to
watch you. I have to taste you now. That one little lick earlier only
whetted my appetite, and it's time.
"I slide between your legs, which immediately hook over my
shoulders, you gorgeous slut, and I get a good grip on your hips to hold you
down, then lick the head of your cock. You taste so fucking good that I have
to do it again and again, rubbing my tongue over you until you scream. That
makes me do it again, and you twist so hard I almost lose my grip on you. I
lightly press a trail of kisses along your length until I reach the base,
where I pause to inhale the musky smell of your arousal.
"Do you have any idea how good you smell? I want to keep you
permanently aroused just so I can smell that whenever I want. I press my
cheek against your balls, nuzzling you, and you moan when my stubble rakes
over the sensitive flesh. You can't tell pleasure from pain anymore, and I
love every second of it. I suck a ball into my mouth, and you actually
scream. I want to keep doing it to hear that again, but you're too close. I
don't want you to come yet."
Cory paused to take a deep breath. Sweat was beading on his face, and he
ached. Between imagining everything he was describing and seeing and hearing
Ryan's reactions, he wasn't sure which of them he was torturing more. He
wanted Ryan so badly he hurt, but he was determined to finish this.
"I wrap my fist around your cock and pump up and down a few times,
then take my hand away, ignoring your wails of protest. You bite me in
frustration, and I just laugh. I start to suck you, a couple of inches
inside my mouth and the nails of one hand scraping ever so lightly along the
rest. At the same moment, I slip a finger inside you. It goes in easily, all
covered in your precome from me stroking you, and I pull it out and slide
two in. I hook them over your prostate and suck hard, and it's too much for
you. You explode in my mouth, and I swallow every drop of your come, loving
"When you're done, I sit up and look down at you, sprawled boneless
over my bed, totally wiped by what I've done to you, what I've given you,
and I know that you're mine." Cory stopped talking when Ryan whined
desperately, then came, brought off by nothing more than the erotic power of
his voice and the sensual images he created. He watched greedily as the
creamy liquid spurted over Ryan's belly, and he knelt on the bed between
Ryan's widespread legs, just as he'd described, and leaned down to lap it
Ryan moaned wildly at the first touch since Cory'd pulled his jeans off
when he lay down on the bed, and another pulse of pleasure ran through him,
Cory catching the resulting fluid in his mouth this time. Cory took his
mouth then, sharing his taste with him, and they both moaned.
"Fuck me, damn you," Ryan rasped. "I need to feel you
"If you insist," Cory managed to laugh harshly. He hastily
prepared the other man, no difficult task as relaxed as he was just then,
positioned himself, and slid inside. Ryan responded to the long-awaited
satisfaction with a long, hoarse sigh, and Cory found himself wanting to
yell his pleasure aloud. He remained motionless, not daring to move or it
would all be over, and Ryan seemed to sense his precarious control, for he
lay quietly, just looking up at him.
Finally, Cory felt his orgasm was no longer imminent, and he started to
move, long, luxurious strokes into his lover. He laced his fingers with
Ryan's, holding on as he slowly glided in and out, feeling Ryan move into
his thrusts despite his languor. Cory gritted his teeth, trying to hang on,
but his prolonged tease had affected him as well, and he couldn't maintain
the easy pace. Almost against his will, his hips began to pump more rapidly,
and he drove into Ryan's tight heat, moaning softly at the incredible
sensations. His eyes, which had fallen closed as the pleasure began to
overwhelm him, fluttered open again, and he looked straight into Ryan's
gaze, seeing the affection there. Cory smiled and shifted slightly to kiss
him, his cry of completion lost in the moist warmth of Ryan's kiss.
He slumped over Ryan, nearly limp in the aftermath of his intense climax,
then carefully withdrew to lie beside him and draw him close. They lay
together, snuggling drowsily, for what seemed like hours but was probably
only a few minutes. Finally, the lingering stickiness urged Cory to his
feet, and he vanished briefly, reappearing with a warm, damp cloth that he
used to clean them up.
"Come on," he said, holding out a hand to Ryan to pull him to
his feet. "Shower."
That sounded good to Ryan, who hadn't seen hot water since he'd gotten
ready for the Lottery winners' ball, a week and one universe back. He was
used to going for long periods with only cold washups from his days
exploring the most remote areas of his world, but nothing felt as good as a
hot shower. He followed Cory to the bathroom, barely sparing a glance for
the objets d'art and dimestore trinkets mixed together eclectically.
Clearly, Cory acquired possessions that appealed to him, regardless of their
intrinsic value. Ryan knew he'd be fascinated by the peek inside Cory's head
afforded by his belongings... later. Just then, his whole focus was on
getting a shower.
Once inside the washroom, Ryan made a beeline for the huge, glassed in
shower stall. He was sure that five or six people could have fit comfortably
inside. He grinned over his shoulder at Cory, who wasn't any slower in
heading in that direction.
"Better stick close. I'd hate to lose you in there."
"Ha ha." Cory obviously needed to develop a better appreciation
for Ryan's sense of humor.
They stepped in, standing under the hot jets of water coming from the
dual showerheads, relaxing under the water's massage. They slowly soaped and
washed one another with their hands, enjoying being able to touch each other
without the edge of arousal. Cory traced Ryan's body curiously, for the
first time really looking at him without the haze of passion. It was odd to
Cory to see what looked like his own body with scars, the visible signs of
Ryan's adventuresome past. Cory had been lucky enough to die young and
attractive and without any disfiguring marks, something of a rarity for a
man of his time and social class. Seeing the few scars Ryan carried made him
realize how different his life would have been had he been homely or older
at his first death.
Eventually they tired of playing in the water and toweled off. Cory
loaned Ryan a pair of sweats, and they went into the kitchen to find
something to eat. They discovered that they shared an interest in cooking,
undoubtedly due to a common love of eating well. They worked well together,
preparing the meal without any of the awkwardness usually found the first
time two people try to share a kitchen, but they each seemed to know what
the other wanted without having to speak.
For the first few days, they stayed close to home. Cory took Ryan for
short drives to different places, letting him slowly get accustomed to this
new world he found himself in. Ryan adapted intellectually to the idea of
the vastly larger population, but it was the little things that threw him,
things like locking a door or needing a key to start a car, prices, rude
As he grew easier in his surroundings, they gradually went further afield,
expanding his horizons. While it was still something of a shock to him, Ryan
found that he enjoyed the faster pace of life here. He wondered what it
would be like to be part of it, so he broached the subject of getting a job
Cory, who'd never worked a day of honest labor in eight centuries, was
appalled. "Why would you want to do that?" he demanded in
"Because I'm not used to leeching off of someone!"
Cory blinked in surprise at the vehemence of the response. "You're
not leeching, Ryan. I asked you to stay with me. I want you with me,
but, sweetheart, if you get a job, that won't be possible."
"You'd dump me if I worked?" Ryan asked, wondering if he'd
completely misjudged the other man.
"No. Of course not. But I move around a lot, even for an Immortal,
and none of us can stay more than a few years in any one location by our
very nature. Add to that that I'm restless, and I don't think I've ever
stayed put for more than a few months... and that, infrequently."
Ryan frowned. He hadn't considered that. He couldn't ask Cory to change
or to risk his life. He sighed. He'd have liked to become a more active
participant in this society, but he had to admit that he, too, was
accustomed to being able to pick up and go whenever he wanted.
"Okay," he said quietly. "We'll do it your way."
It was Cory's turn to frown. He wanted to keep Ryan with him, but not at
the cost of making him miserable. He'd think about it and discreetly
question Ryan, and he'd come up with something that would keep Ryan busy
without tying him down. Maybe he'd like to learn about computing and start
his own consulting firm. He'd have to find out Ryan's interests and skills.
That made Cory remember Ryan's particularly skillful method of waking him
up, and his breathing quickened. For someone who'd never been involved with
another man before, Ryan was a fast learner. Cory wondered if he was being
fair to the other man in keeping him with him. Ryan might have mistaken
feelings of gratitude to the person who'd helped him and an interest piqued
by their uncanny similarity for something more. It wasn't like he'd had a
chance to meet and get to know many other people. Cory decided that he had
to give Ryan a chance to make up his own mind.
He considered telling Ryan that he had to go away on business, but Ryan
didn't have an independent source of income, and Cory wasn't certain that
his pride would allow him to take anything of Cory's if he wasn't there.
Besides which, he didn't want to leave Ryan or chance making him feel
rejected. Ryan'd mentioned that he spoke French, so Paris seemed an ideal
change of location.
Cory's apartment there was more centrally located than he was in LA, so
Ryan would be around other people constantly. It had the added advantage of
being the current home of Cory's old friend Amanda. He'd be able to spend
some time with her, and she would comfort him if Ryan did leave him. He'd
heard that she had a new student, and knowing Amanda, he was probably her
lover as well, but Cory knew she'd make time for him.
His decision made, Cory set about convincing Ryan to go along, which
involved hauling him back to bed, fucking him nearly unconscious, and
telling him about the trip while he was still floating in a post orgasmic
haze. He'd already noticed that, like him, Ryan would agree to almost
anything in that state.
Ryan knew something was up, but he didn't mind. He'd been to France many
times, hiking in the Pyrenees and seeing the Lascoux caves, but he'd never
visited Paris. He was looking forward to seeing it for the first time with
Cory and Ryan spent a few weeks playing tourist, visiting the museums and
churches and famous landmarks. Eventually though, Cory felt it was time to
see Amanda, and he decided to surprise her. Amanda was running a club, and
Corey thought it would be fun to just show up with Ryan. The club was on
holy ground, so the unexpected sensation of another Immortal shouldn't
bother her too much. He was looking forward to seeing her face when she saw
the two of them together.
They headed over to the club around 10:00 that night, Cory having just
told Ryan that it was owned by an old friend of his. When they went inside,
the strong sense of other Immortals told Cory that Amanda wasn't alone. It
appeared that he was going to meet her lover in addition to introducing her
He led Ryan toward the bar as soon as he spotted Amanda. He saw that
she'd bleached her hair platinum blonde again, and he wondered why she kept
doing that when her natural dark color suited her so much better. He could
see her tension and that of the man sitting beside her, and he watched it
melt away when she spotted him.
"Cory!" she called, smiling widely despite the continued
tension of the man at her side. Her eyes widened, and her smile faltered
when he got closer and she saw Ryan behind him.
"Hi, Amanda," he greeted, pulling her into a kiss. He released
her, intending to introduce her to Ryan, only to falter when he found
himself the focus of two jealous glares.
"An old friend?" Ryan demanded, arms crossed and anger fairly
radiating from him. This was starting to feel like Wade and Quinn all over
Nick didn't say anything, but he didn't look any happier than Ryan.
Amanda moved back to his side, slipping an arm around his waist.
"What's going on, Cory?" she demanded in bewilderment, her eyes
flickering from Cory to Ryan and back again.
"Long story, love. I'll tell you all about it sometime, but for now,
let me introduce you to my lover, Ryan Simms." As he spoke, Cory moved
so that he was in front of Ryan and leaned back against him. He felt a
tension he hadn't even been consciously aware of vanish when Ryan's arms
came around him in an embrace.
Amanda blinked at the sight of the two identical men, but before she
could introduce Nick in return, another voice interrupted.
"Dear God, two of them!"
"MacLeod," Cory exclaimed in delight. The oh-so-honorable
Highlander was such fun to torment. It was his turn to be distracted as an
attractive man with incredible eyes and a memorable nose peered over
MacLeod's shoulder at them.
"Adam Pierson," he introduced himself.
Introductions were made all around, but Cory and Ryan were definitely the
main focus of attention. The Immortals all stared that the young man, who
began to fidget uneasily. Cory came to his rescue.
"Would you stop staring at Ryan like he's some weird new species of
bug?!" he demanded in exasperation. "Yes, he looks like me, and
no, he's not Immortal."
Methos chuckled. He'd heard a lot about this Cory Raines, and he had a
feeling that he was going to like him. The fact that it would irritate the
hell out of his Highlander just made it better. He was still mad at the man
for disappearing for the better part of a year... again. Thinking about that
made Methos make a mental note to get a collar and leash for his errant
lover. Now that he had him, he was damned if he'd let him get away again.
Although everyone was curious about the various developments in their
lives, this obviously wasn't the place to discuss them. With that in mind,
they spent the night dancing, Cory and Ryan garnering some startled looks
from strangers who clearly thought they were twins.
"This could be a problem," Cory sighed, intercepting yet
another hostile glare.
Ryan raised his head from Cory's shoulder, where he'd been nuzzling his
lover's throat. "Huh? What?"
"People think we're brothers. Even people who don't blink at
homosexuality will usually object to incest."
"But we're not related," Ryan protested. "We're not even
from the same world."
"You know that, and I know that, but they don't know that.
And let's face it. If you saw two guys who looked alike, would you say, 'Oh
look, there are two total strangers from different dimensions,' or would you
assume they were twin brothers?"
Ryan groaned. "Well, what can we do about it? It's not like we can
change our faces..." He paused, then said slowly, "Well, I suppose
"No!" Cory snapped immediately. "You're not going through
that pain and having to get used to a different face than the one you've had
all your life."
"Well, what would you suggest then? Big buttons that say 'We are NOT
Cory sighed. "I honestly don't know. But we'll think of
something." He laughed suddenly. "Pity we don't look like Elvis.
We could say we were impersonators and met at a convention."
"Who?" Ryan asked blankly.
"Your world didn't have Elvis? Wow. Music must be really different
Ryan shrugged. "Not that I've noticed. This Elvis was a musician
"Uh, yeah. He was - and still is - known as the King of Rock and
Roll. You know, this makes me realize that we're going to have to sit down
and go over history and pop culture, sweetheart. It hadn't occurred to me
till now that with such a significantly smaller population, there'll be a
lot of famous people and events that never existed in your world." He
thought about it for a moment. "You were probably lucky enough to miss
most or all of the major wars of this century. We'll have to figure out
where the universes diverged and get you familiarized with this
"That could take forever!"
"No, not really," Cory explained. "You have a United
States, so we can be pretty sure that the split occurred sometime after the
Revolution. That narrows it down to about two centuries."
"Why couldn't it have happened earlier and just not affected the
Revolution?" Ryan questioned, not following Cory's reasoning.
"Because of the nature of your society as you've described it to me,
the utopian elements combined with a sort of Big Brother run amok legalized
control of life and death. That's contrary to the spirit of our
revolutionary forefathers. Besides," he grinned, "you knew what I
meant by the Revolution, so it's a common event." He stopped and
thought about it. "I'll bet it was probably around the time of the
Depression. Your society's methods could have grown out of some kind of
attempt to stabilize the population and end the Great Depression."
Ryan nodded. "Yes, the initial Lottery did start up back then,
though not in the same vein as it is now."
Cory nodded. "I thought as much. So it's not so bad, just about 70
years to cover. And now, enough of this seriousness. We can figure
everything out tomorrow. Tonight, I just want to hold you and dance."
"Works for me," Ryan replied, nestling close again.
When the club closed, MacLeod invited everyone back to the barge so they
could talk. Remembering how Mac seemed to be a magnet for every unfriendly
or deranged Immortal, Cory suggested going to his apartment rather than
Mac's place. Amanda, who knew that he wasn't the penniless crook he
pretended to be, grinned at the thought of Mac's reaction to Cory's home.
MacLeod reacted as expected, staring around at Cory's belongings in
disbelief. "What? How?" he sputtered, somewhat incoherently.
Cory chuckled. "You've known Amanda for centuries, and you still
haven't figured out that crime does, in fact, pay, and pay well? Come on,
Methos laughed from where he was sprawled bonelessly across the couch.
"Mac only sees what he wants to."
Mac glared at his lover. "Which must be why I can manage to put up
with you, old man!"
Methos only grinned while Cory looked curious at Mac's nickname for Adam.
Methos saw and understood the reaction, but he wasn't ready to trust this
particular Immortal with his real identity, or Amanda's lover either for
that matter. He didn't know either of them well enough to decide whether
they were trustworthy, and 5000 years of survival instincts argued for
"It certainly seems that crime does pay," Methos noted,
ignoring the snort of disdain from the Highlander and Cory and Amanda's
grins. He had observed that Mac was far more forgiving of Amanda's foibles
than of Cory's, and it couldn't be entirely because Cory had embroiled him
in one of his schemes the first time they met. Amanda had, after all, done
the same on several occasions and had even freed Kalas in one of her more
spectacular disasters. He eyed Mac curiously but didn't push the matter
since he didn't want Cory's mortal lover to get caught in the fallout. One
of these days though....
It took a few hours, but they managed to get everyone caught up on the
various developments in their lives, aside from Methos's true identity. Ryan
was startled by the range of ages from Nick's mere months as an Immortal to
Amanda's eleven centuries. He was awed by the history they had lived and
said so. Methos snorted, and Ryan turned to him.
"How old are you? You didn't say."
Amanda and Mac tensed, but Methos merely smirked. "No, I didn't, did
"Well? Are you the youngest or something and embarrassed by
it?" Ryan didn't understand what the problem was.
Amanda and Mac couldn't help it. They burst into laughter. Methos sighed.
After that reaction he had to say something, or the others would pry out of
simple curiosity. The only question was whether to tell the truth or lie.
"As you can probably tell, that's not true," he finally said
dryly. "In fact, I'm the oldest."
"Older than eleven hundred years?" Ryan gasped.
Methos simply nodded and changed the subject back to Cory and Ryan's
problem. "I really don't see any solution. You do look alike, and
people are going to assume you're brothers. Or related in some way later on
when you start to age. You're just going to have to deal with it."
"Great," Cory grumbled. "We get to deal with two
prejudices for the price of one." Ryan leaned closer supportively.
The Immortals left not long afterward, and Ryan turned to Cory. "Are
you sure you really want to do this? It sounds like it's going to cause you
a lot of trouble."
Cory wrapped his arms around Ryan's waist, pulling him close. "I
should be asking you that. I'm Immortal, but you could get hurt. It's a big
world out there, and you could find someone who doesn't come with all the
Ryan shrugged. "I suppose that's true, but I happen to want you. I'm
willing to weather all the rest if you are."
Cory grinned at him happily. "We are going to have so much fun. Let
me tell you about how I like to tease MacLeod...."
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