by arachne

DISCLAIMERS: No ownership claimed, no money made.

RATING: This is an NC-17 slash story. If you are underage or offended by descriptions of same sex relationships, please bail out now. Consider yourself warned.

NOTES: Oh no, not another post CaH/Rev story! 'Fraid so. Despite there being hundreds, possibly thousands, of lovely stories out there, somehow I still needed to write my own to make Duncan and Methos' reconciliation real for me. Heartfelt thanks to the flamethrowers of SaB and the fallen angels of pandeomonium for beta advice and for always being there.

This story was originally published in Revelations II.

Feedback is always welcome. Write to arachne@pandoemonium.com.

'The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.'

— LP Hartley, The Go-Between


They parted in a churchyard. Where better to lay the corpse of desire and the ghost of love lost? A few brief words then Methos returned to Paris and MacLeod to Seacouver. Alone.


SEACOUVER, March 1997

Late afternoon sun tilted through the window of the dojo, casting golden shadows on the only two people in the practice room. The shadows flickered, grew strong, faded and reappeared, dancing across the walls and floor, echoing the movements of their owners.

"Give...give...for Chrissake, Mac! Yield!"

A sharp edge of panic inflected Richie's voice as Duncan clashed swords with him. Or rather, Duncan's blade was clashing, while his student was reduced to making a series of rather desperate parries as he was forced inexorably backwards. MacLeod said nothing and Richie, concentration and effort fully engaged in keeping his head on his shoulders and his sneakered feet from slipping on the polished floor, had no breath to spare to speak again.

Finally, with Richie's back against the wall and his sword lying some two feet away, Duncan had seemed to come back to himself. He twisted his lips in a poor approximation of a grin, dipped his blade point down, and tried to turn away the lapse.

"Just so you know, Richie. It's not usually a good idea to make jokes with a man holding a sword."

"Thanks, Mac. I'll be sure and add that to my list of Important Things to Remember." Richie's return smile had been forced at best. He wiped his hands down the back of his sweats, brushing away moisture that was more than the result of the exercise and bent to retrieve his fallen weapon. "Just excuse me for existing," he muttered as he grasped still-damp fingers around the warm metal of the hilt. The sword needed to be put away, but he lingered over the task, reluctant to release it again even though Duncan had already slid the katana back into its sheath and was walking off toward the showers.

It had started as an ordinary afternoon spar. The same kind of practice fighting bout that he and Duncan had engaged in hundreds of times before. At least Richie had thought so. Duncan had been so serious lately that he'd been moved to make a joke as their swords crossed in a series of set maneouvres. "For God's sake, lighten up, Mac, you look like death warmed up."

Bad move. A seriously bad move. For a while there, Richie was considering whether it might not prove to be his last move ever.

Whatever had happened in the bust-up between Mac and his ancient pain in the ass of an ex-lover, it had certainly given Duncan a sense of humor bypass. In fact, Richie admitted grudgingly, much as the sarcastic old-timer wound him up, his absence in Duncan's life was proving more of a stumbling block then his presence had ever been. He'd tried once or twice to get Mac to open up on the subject to no avail. Joe too, had proved uncharacteristically tight-mouthed. Whatever caused the break-up, it must have been some fight. Richie had seen Duncan have plenty of disagreements with Tessa during the years he'd lived with them, but these had been of the fiery blow-up and spectacular make-up variety. The air of barely-masked desolation that Duncan had worn since his return from France was something unexpected. Unwillingly Richie was thrown back to the months following Tessa's death, when he'd first discovered his own immortality. Duncan had been beside himself with grief then, railing at himself and fate for allowing the two of them to survive when all the laughter, talent and beauty that was Tessa was gone. Major shit, he concluded, and it had certainly hit the fan in a big way.


Streams of water splashed against Duncan's back and shoulders as he rested his head on his arms and leaned against the wall of the showers. The spray was hot. Too hot, but he welcomed the physical discomfort as his thoughts chased round and round. That scene with Richie... Of what had he been thinking? Or of who? As if there was any question. Methos.

Fragments of memory, unwanted and unbidden, forced their way into his mind. Blood and semen. The white pressure of fingers pushing into unwilling flesh and the harsh sound of sobbing. Terror. Confusion. What exactly had he done?

Methos had beaten Silas. He had killed Kronos. The deaths near simultaneous and the combined strength of their Quickenings was like nothing Duncan had ever experienced before. For a few brief moments in the maelstrom he had felt Methos open his self up, absorbing some of the pressure from Duncan's overloaded senses, before their minds had wrenched away in panic and confusion.

What followed was numbness. He'd seen Methos briefly but his attempts at breaking through the barriers between them were met with indifference.

Alone in the shower, Duncan shook his head trying to banish the memories. No, not again. He would not go back there. It was past. Finished. Burnt out in a haze of violence and physical passion. If he'd left part of himself lying amongst the blood and twisted metal of a disused submarine base in Bordeaux, well, that was lost too. The important thing was to go on.

Joe had said it. Amanda had said it. And now, even Richie had felt compelled to add his two cents worth. "D'you know something, Mac, you're always going on about facing up to your problems and moving on. How's about you take some of your own advice?"

Face up. Move on. Get over it.

He called Amanda.


Shopping in Seacouver did not compare with shopping in Paris but Amanda did her best. She arrived at the dojo along with a jumble of packages from a dozen fashionable boutiques. "Haven't you got enough clothes?" asked Duncan, as he paid off the taxi driver and helped her carry her trophies up to the loft.

Amanda looked shocked. "Duncan, you can never have too many clothes. Besides, the fashions in America are completely different from those in France." His expression must have remained unconvinced for she stepped back and placed her hands on her hips defiantly, fixing him with a glare that quickly softened into an expression of amused tolerance, "I did pay for them all, you know."

Duncan laughed, responding to her good humor. Amanda could always cheer him up. Whatever the sexual highs and lows of their friendship she'd always been there for him. Now was no exception. He dropped the bags on the bed for her to sort through later and pulled her into his arms for a kiss. She came willingly, tilting her face and parting reddened lips at his touch.

"I've missed you." he said finally, letting her go reluctantly.

"Mmmm. Me too," she agreed, licking her lips with a saucy pout. He would have reached for her again, seeking the familiar touchstone of her body, but already she was moving away from the bed and into the kitchen area, complaining loudly as she did so that she was about to fade away from hunger. Duncan obediently brewed coffee and produced sandwiches and Amanda fell on the food as if she hadn't eaten in months.

"Been starving at another health farm?" he asked, to which she simply shot him a saucy look and filched the last sandwich from under his hand.

"Shopping," she announced with the air of an expert, "burns off a lot of calories."

They chatted idly for a while then, but when he excused himself saying he had a class to teach, Amanda made no attempt to detain him. She smiled an easy acquiesence and stated her intention to shower and change and then go and see Joe. They kissed again and arranged to meet at the bar at 8.00 p.m


Richie and Joe were transparently delighted to see Amanda as she entered the bar in the shortest of short skirts with a black bustier top more or less covering her breasts. "Wow!" Richie breathed, shifting a little on the barstool.

She grinned coquettishly at him, pleased at the reaction. Richie was a mere baby, of course, but a very cute one. Maybe in a few hundred years...

"Wow indeed," echoed Joe. "What would you like? It's on the house since every guy, and probably most of the women, you passed on the way in is going need a extra beer to cool down."

"A beer will do fine," she said, and reached over the bar to kiss him on the cheek Parisian style, once on the left, on the right and again on the left. She and Joe understood each other. So much so that she didn't bother with the usual flirtation but let him cut straight to the chase as he handed her a drink.

"When did you get in?"

"Earlier this afternoon."

"Seen Mac?"

She nodded. "Are you going to tell me what's wrong with him, Joe?"

Joe's gaze fluttered briefly to Richie but the younger man had moved away slightly and was absorbed in a conversation about motor racing with Lisa, one of his waitresses. "He hasn't said?

She met his eyes. "But you know?"


"And you're going to tell me?"

There was no disguising the regret in Joe's voice. "If I could, I would, but it's not my secret to tell."

That floored her. When Duncan had phoned she'd realized something was wrong. Not because he was calling her-they made it a habit to keep in touch even if only long distance-but a peculiar sense of morality made him reticent about inviting her to stay when involved in another relationship. He hadn't invited her in all the years he'd lived with Tessa. The pattern had looked to be continuing with Methos.

Amanda took another sip of beer. "That bad?"

"Worse," replied Joe.

She got the story out of Duncan over dinner. Champagne, pate, salmon en croute, followed by Death on a Horse for dessert. "Duncan, I'm so sorry." she said, reaching out impulsively across the table and capturing his hand in hers. Compassion flooded her but she said nothing beyond the initial exclamation, sensing that just now silence would be more effective than words in reaching through to him.

"For what?" There was a world of bitterness in Duncan's tone.

Amanda held his hand tighter and spoke slowly. "For everything. For you. For Methos."

"You know, Amanda, I really thought we had something special." The words were drawn out slowly, unwillingly. "How could he do all those things? How could he be so far away from the person I thought I knew, the person I thought I could love."

"Oh Duncan," she said sadly and brought their joined fingers up to his face, stroking his cheek gently. How indeed? Though she already knew the answer. How could Methos possibly have been the Adam Pierson that Duncan wanted to believe in and yet survive for so long. Her own thousand years harbored lifetimes that she would rather not remember or admit to. But it would do no good to say that now, so she kept her mouth shut and listened while he talked himself out.

Stalked by the smartly dressed waiter replenishing their wine, Duncan ordered a second bottle. The candles dipped and spluttered on the table between them as the whole sorry story spilled out.

Love and hate. It was obvious that that it wasn't over. Just as it was obvious that there was more to the closing of the tale then Duncan was admitting to. "And the Quickening?" she asked.

"It was intense," he admitted, finally, a blush working its way up his dark skin.

She watched, fascinated. "Intense. How?"

"Just intense. Look, Amanda, I can't really remember the details."

"Okay," she soothed.

But this time it was Duncan who couldn't let it go. "I didn't... I mean, it wasn't me...you must know I'd never deliberately hurt..."

"Of course not," she said and waited for him to continue. He didn't, and when, after a moment, he politely inquired if she'd like coffee here or at the loft, she allowed the subject to drop. "The loft," she decided and filled in the gap between MacLeod's requesting and settling the bill with a stream of amusing nothingnesses about a party she'd been to hosted by the de Valicourts.

In the event they had brandy; expensive brandy in finely spun glasses. Amanda took a sip of the former and made a mental note to ask Mac exactly where he'd purchased the latter-and if the store's security was up-to-date. Duncan seemed slightly more relaxed now, as if he'd left some of the tension back at the restaurant. There was probably never going to be a good time, but this was likely to be as close as it got. She put her glass down and asked bluntly. "So, what aren't you telling me here, Mac? There's a whole a lot more to this story than 'Methos screwed up big-time and we split up.' If that was all you wouldn't wallowing in quite such a big way. Spit it out. Apart from the initial part where you might-and only might, considering what you and Cassandra meant to each other-be judged to have acted a little hastily, I can't see anything you have to reproach yourself for. I mean there was Cassandra to consider after all. But from the way you're acting you'd think you'd rammed the guy up against the wall and raped him."

Duncan went pale. "That more or less covers it," he admitted quietly.


PARIS, March 1997

The market billed itself as antique but it was really just a flea market, and not a very good one at that, both traders and wares having, for the most part, seen better days.

Methos loved it. He spent some time ferreting in the boxes of junk, picking up and discarding a series of tins featuring brightly painted scenes of children playing with puppies and idyllic villages covered in snow, romantic renditions of a past that never was. The sense of Presence and the sound of Amanda's voice calling out his name, arrived at the same time. He turned to face her with a tin in each hand.

She smiled, lifting a sculptured brow to a short white-blonde hairline. "You planning on throwing them at me?"

A casual observer would have thought him relaxed but the hazel eyes were slitted and the hands clutched rather than held the objects in their grasp. His voice too was wary. "You tell me, should I want to?"

"Not as far as I know. You may even want to thank me."

An expression of absolute disbelief was his immediate response, but the welcome when it came was genuine. "Hello, Amanda, it's good to see you.

"Good to see you, too. Surprised?"

"A little. I thought you were in Seacouver enjoying a spot of cozy domesticity with MacLeod."

Bitterness disguised as sarcasm. Who did he think he was fooling? Certainly not Amanda. A flash of concern crossed her face, her reply too quick and sharp for the comment. "Fishing Methos? I was. But now I'm here."

"Doing what?"

"Same as you, I imagine. Picking up antiques."

She held out her hand. Methos replaced the tins in the box, stood up straight and caught her fingers, drawing them through his own.

They ended up at a nearby cafe. A student hangout, judging by the clientele and the music. The decor was kitsch, each table with its own lava lamp, and the walls decorated with posters by Klimt. A miniature copy of The Kiss hung by their table, the lovers caught forever in a stylized embrace.

"How are you keeping?" asked Amanda casually, facing her companion over a latte. She observed him openly. From the look of it, he was keeping about as well as MacLeod, which was to say not very well at all.

"Fine," he managed at last, letting his eyes stray from her face to the tiny print. It was a cheap reproduction, the gold too bright and shiny, making the figures seem cheap, the embrace coarse. Amanda's voice dragged him back.

"You don't look it."


"Meaning nothing. Only that you don't look so good." She shrugged, and added as if an afterthought. "Duncan doesn't look so good, either. Guilt always did play havoc with his digestion."

"Just as well he's a saint then," said Methos nastily.

"That's not his version," countered Amanda.

Methos sighed, and dropped any pretense of not understanding her. " . They'd both been on one journey too many.

He headed for Joe's first. At the sight of him, the Watcher's face lit up and Methos felt himself smiling in response. He hadn't realized how much he missed Joe. How much he had come to rely on him as a friend.

"You're here to see Mac?"

"That obvious?" He glanced down at his arm, where the loose folds of his sweater bunched against the elbow. "I should learn not to wear my heart on my sleeve."

"You have a heart?" Joe laughed. "C'mon, buddy. Beer's this way. You can tell me all about it, or you can just get tanked. Either, it's up to you."

He opted to get tanked. Which in turn led to crashing in Joe's spare room. Breathing space, he told himself. It wasn't that he was being a coward. Or that he was afraid to face MacLeod.

Except, when it came to it, he was afraid. Or rather, apprehensive. For months he'd existed in a kind of emotional void, but despite his best efforts to remain unmoved, Amanda's visit had rekindled a small flickering tendril of hope. A frail and painful feeling he could have done without, except now that it was here, he was terrified of losing it.

He arrived early, but even so the dojo was open. A sprinkling of customers, with the pale complexions of office dwellers working out before settling down behind desks for the day, punched and kicked their way through a class. Duncan was teaching. His eyes moved unerringly to Methos the moment the Immortal stepped into the room, but after the first intense stare he continued as if the other man was not there.

Bad sign, thought Methos. He shouldn't have come. He should go. Instead he took the lift to the loft and settled down to wait.

Two hours. Methos had arrived at the dojo determined to be conciliatory. "Fuck your pride," Amanda had advised pithily and, for once, Methos was going to take her advice. But as the seconds ticked into minutes, ticked into hours, it was pride that sustained him. As the second hour struck he got up and walked toward the lift. He might be slow, but he could take a hint.

MacLeod met him at the door, stopping him from leaving by the simple expedient of a vice-like grip on his upper arm.

"A simple 'Go away I don't want to see you Methos' would have worked just as effectively," commented Methos caustically as he attempted to step around MacLeod.

"What the hell are you talking about?" hissed MacLeod furiously. "You can't just turn up here out of nowhere and walk out in the same way."

"No?" he drawled. "Watch me." Only, when it came to it, nerves and pent-up frustration would not be denied and he gave in to anger, the words spilling out swift and furious. "I'm talking about two fucking hours, MacLeod, or is that some kind of ritual humiliation you've been enjoying my going through." He tried to pull away but was pulled back with equal force.

"Like you didn't know I'd be teaching a class. I bet you planned your arrival deliberately." Duncan spoke quietly but he wasn't fooled, the muted tones carried as much contempt as a shout.

Sarcasm came easily. "Of course, we all know the sun rises and sets around the teaching schedule of the great Duncan MacLeod."

Duncan shook his head in apparent disbelief. "You are unbelievable. Tell me then, what exactly did you come for?

And that, Methos thought later, was the good part of the conversation. The halting history of the past, a self-exposure, which it had all but flayed him to even attempt, had been received with barely masked boredom. At last he wound down.

"Is that all you've got to say?"

Duncan's tone was cold. Methos allowed a chill to creep into his own voice as he replied. "More or less."

"A hell of a long trip to tell me that times were different then."

"A hell of a long trip," agreed Methos silkily. He chugged back the rest of his beer as he rose from the couch. "And a wasted effort."

He moved to the door to find Duncan blocking him, again. "What did you really want? For us to kiss and make up and then everything will be all right?" Duncan laughed as if he had said something funny then stopped abruptly. For a moment their eyes met. Duncan reached for him again.

Hands gripped his shoulders and a mouth captured his hard, forcing his lips open. Methos forced himself to relax, opening his mouth, allowing Duncan to penetrate him with his tongue. They were both breathless.

Duncan's hands were moving over him now, exploring the hard muscles of arm and shoulder, repeating the pattern of a hundred previous encounters. The hands contained that same combination of strength and gentleness, the mouth as full and as soft as ever, the thighs parting naturally to draw him closer, pressing groin to groin. Just the same, only different. Once upon a time they had made love. All that was on offer now was fucking. And fucking that was more about power than sex.

He stepped back, pushing down the betraying tide of arousal. Duncan immediately dropped his arms. "Methos-"

"I'm out of here," said Methos quietly, a bizarre echo to an earlier parting. The memory flared briefly in Duncan's eyes but he said nothing, did nothing, and Methos strode to the door unimpeded.


"Where is he?" Duncan's entrance was abrupt and his question even more so.

Joe looked at him coldly. "Who?"

"Who d'you think? Methos."

"He's gone." Joe had no intention of making this easy. Watcher-training allied to a naturally observant nature, plus an emotional investment in the man in front of him, made it easy to read MacLeod. Methos had barely paused to say "Good-bye" the previous day. He had immediately packed his duffel and caught a taxi to the airport, leaving Joe with all too accurate an idea as to how the meeting between the two Immortals had gone.

"Gone where? I need to know where to find him."

Need, not want, that was something at least, thought Joe. But when he spoke his voice remained cold. "How the hell should I know? Jeeze, MacLeod, the guy's had five thousand years to perfect the fine art of disappearance."

"You can use the Watcher network," stated Duncan flatly. He was pacing now, a typical outburst of physical agitation, black coat billowing around his legs as he walked.

Joe didn't bother denying it. But the look he turned on his friend was unequivocally a refusal. It said more clearly then words: you want him, you find him yourself.

"Fine." Duncan turned to go, his exit as abrupt as his arrival, his face a study of righteous indignation, mixed with dumb misery.

In other circumstances Joe might have been tempted to laugh. He paused in wiping his glass. "You know, MacLeod, sometimes you can be a sanctimonious son of a bitch."

Unexpectedly, Duncan smiled. "You sound like Methos. Just tell me one thing, has he gone back to Paris?"

Joe hesitated, then nodded.

"Then pack your bags Joe. We're going on a trip."

Paris was a blank. Or, to be more precise, Methos' apartment was a blank and the assistant at the shop shook his head politely and regretted to inform Monsieur MacLeod that Monsieur Pierson had embarked on a buying trip and, no, he did not know when he was likely to return.

Duncan returned to the barge, discouraged. Trust and acceptance, his lover had said. Not asking for forgiveness. Not seeking revenge. He was consumed by the thought that he might lose Methos before he had a chance to apologise, to try and make things right. He threw himself into checking everywhere, frantic to find Methos before any of the million and one scenarios his overactive imagination conjured up for him could occur.

He tried all the obvious places-the university, the museums and the bars before in desperation calling Gina de Valicourt whose reputation as a socialite gave her access to avenues denied to the Highlander.

"And you've looked everywhere?"

"Everywhere I can think of."

"And this disagreement you had..." she trailed off delicately.

"What about it?" Duncan certainly wasn't up to providing details.

"Did it take place anywhere in particular?"

"Yes," he admitted.

Gina was too well bred to gloat openly but he could hear the smug swell of satisfaction in her pretty accent. "Then, I suggest, cherie, that you look there."


BORDEAUX, March 1997

The building was locked and padlocked but not patrolled by any humans. The locks proved easy. Methos thought briefly of Amanda as he cut his way through them. No challenge. Then he was in.


Great shards of metal marked the central well, twisted and blackened, and the walls were branded by shadows of flames. He thought he heard Kronos laughing. "Welcome back, Brother." But it was only the dull thud of his footsteps, heavy on the concrete floor.

He sat back against a wall, drawing his legs up and wrapping his arms around his knees. Kronos, Silas, Caspian, Methos. Dead. Dead. Dead. Alive. Was it some kind of irony that only Death should have emerged from this place unscathed?

For the first time Methos allowed himself to think about his purpose in coming here, reliving once again his last parting with Duncan in Seacouver. His final parting. His thoughts probed at it, like pulling at a badly-healed wound he could not leave alone. Stupid, sentimental idiot. And here he was, fresh from one nightmare, coming to relive another.

He'd told the truth to Amanda about the aftermath of the Quickening being hazy. He recalled lighting bolts, the stripping of all mental and physical defenses, and intense pain. When he'd returned to himself he was alone in the hotel-his body a mass of slowly-healing cuts and bruises. Disoriented. Silas, Kronos, echoes of Caspian brought out by the other Quickenings. No sign of Duncan

Unquiet souls. He felt them again now, that brush of Immortal awareness as if their spirits had been lying dormant waiting for him to come back and give them substance. Except the presence was too strong. This was someone real, real and familiar, his appearance unexpected but appropriate.

"Methos?" The voice was uncharacteristically uncertain.

"Over here," he called, resigned.

"I was worried." Duncan held a flashlight rather larger than his own. Boy-scout issue no doubt.

Methos debated replying. Still so much pain. It was easier to seek refuge in silence. In the end, his perverse sense of self-flagellation got the better of him. "So you came to satisfy yourself that I'm all right. Well, MacLeod, you may take it your curiosity is satisfied. I'm fine."

The look that Duncan gave him was frankly skeptical. And, Methos supposed, that to any impartial observer, sitting in the dark damp ruins of a disused submarine base, albeit one that had recently doubled as the latter-day headquarters of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, was not behavior that would generally be regarded as either sane or fine.

Duncan came toward him now, leaning against the railings, looking down into the well of the base. Methos stared ahead. Determined not to turn his head but aware all the while of the man by his side, his face set and determined, the long dark hair held back by a silver clasp.

"Would it help if I said I'm sorry?"

Methos didn't bother looking up. "What for? Which one of the thousand, no, make that ten thousand wrongs I've done are you here to shoulder the blame and apologize for? It's not in your nature to hide anything, MacLeod, and we both know I don't live any other way. Maybe we'll have more in common when you've got ten thousand deaths on your conscience.

Duncan shook his head. "I don't want to wait that long." The Highlander turned back and slid down the wall beside him. Methos would have liked to have moved but that required too much effort.

"I can't be your judge Methos, I've learned that." Duncan's voice was low, muted in the gloom. "I've learned a few other things in the last week or so, about me. About us."

"Nice to know it wasn't all time wasted." Duncan flinched, or maybe he imagined the sudden stiffness in the man beside him. Whatever, some need to temper his initial reaction made him continue. "We can't go back, you know."

"No," Duncan agreed. "But we can go on."

"Can we?" Defeat laced his voice. Here with Duncan, memories that he'd successfully pushed out of conscious thought came suddenly to the fore; the stench of blood and smoke, the overwhelming sense of loss, Duncan thrusting into him without care or preparation. "Tell me how?"

"Because we both want to," said Duncan finally. "If not, why did you come to me in Seacouver?"

Duncan was wringing his hands. Methos could feel it, and a detached part of his mind considered the action and decided that the gesture was a mixture of typical Highland guilt coupled with a determination on Duncan's part that he wouldn't use his usual method of tactile persuasion. He forced himself to speak. "Forget it. You're right, I did come to see you in Seacouver to see if we could salvage anything from this mess, but I was wrong."

"I don't think so," said Duncan stubbornly.

"That's not my problem," shrugged Methos.

"No," agreed Duncan. He moved swiftly, so that from leaning against the wall he was now on his knees facing Methos. An attitude of defeat. Or one of prayer. "Tell me you don't want me," said Duncan, as if it were simply a question of yes or no. Black and white.

Methos inhaled slowly. He could lie or he could admit that he wanted this man, still. Either seemed to require more effort than he had energy to make but his uninvited companion was watching him, waiting for a reply. "It means nothing," he said at last, without intonation.

For the first time Duncan gave a half-smile. Black and white. "Nothing?" he asked and leaned in until their lips were a hair's breadth away from touching. Later, Methos supposed that he must have moved forward but he had no memory of doing so. Only the faint whisper of air and then the warm press of Duncan's mouth against his. Whatever his inner misgivings, his body had no doubts about what it wanted: Duncan. Here. Now. In spite of the dirt and decay which surrounded them.

Perhaps then, it was that simple after all.

The first tentative touch deepened as hands and mouths reacquainted themselves after months of abstinence. Finesse gave way to urgency as clothes were hastily unbuttoned and pushed aside in the need to hold skin against skin. Methos found his hands moving automatically over Duncan's skin, following the lines of bone and muscle, lingering on the curve of biceps, the sharp plane of a hip, before moving lower to rediscover the solid length of his erection. "Duncan." he whispered, as if the single word was enough to encompass range of emotions he was feeling, of having Duncan here, in his arms, under his hands, the familiar body once again laid bare to his touch.

"Tell me," breathed Duncan harshly into his ear.

"Want you," he panted.


The voice broke. Methos deliberately turned, bracing himself against the wall to make his meaning clear. No more questions. Instead hands gripped his hips and a hot mouth laid kisses on jointure of neck and shoulder. Behind him, Duncan spat on his hands, once, twice and then came the steady burn of friction as he was inexorably stretched and entered. "Am I hurting you?" he asked.

So many interpretations.

"No," Methos lied and pushed back sharply.

Pain and pleasure. Black and white.

Duncan moved slowly inside him, creating a hot wave of pleasure that embraced the discomfort and overwhelmed it. Again. And again. He gave himself up to Duncan's conviction, to Duncan's hand stroking his cock and his voice whispering a nonsense mixture of endearments and obscenities in his ear.

The thrusting was deeper now. Uncontrolled.

"With me," ordered Duncan and he could do nothing else but obey, surrendering his doubts even as he gave up his body to the pulsing flow of completion.


"...I don't care who you are/where you're from/what you did/as long as...."

Snatches of song on a radio. Something catchy, a little upbeat. Totally not Duncan's kind of song, but the English words pulled his attention from amongst a sea of French. He listened for a moment then reached out a hand to turn the channel. Methos stopped him with a light touch on the wrist and a slight shake of the head. "No. Let it stay."

Duncan didn't reply but he dropped his hand on to Methos' thigh and let it rest there. His companion shifted back in his seat and closed his eyes. Duncan glanced sideways once, taking in the strong profile before turning his concentration on the road.

Outside the scenery shifted from village to fields to village again. The music played on.