SLASH WARNING: This story depicts an explicit sexual relationship between two men. If you are underage in your locality, or squicked by the notion of such things, please bale out now.

FEEDBACK: Gratefully recieved. Write to

Thanks to the crew of SaB especially Mandragora, whitecrow, Maz and John for beta efforts. Any mistakes left belong to me.

So what did happen to that tattoo....


Wish you were here?

Four words and a question mark written on the back of an unsigned postcard. Nothing special, Duncan told himself, just the casual enquiry of a friend. A throwaway cliché, written with a momentary intent to amuse and no sooner posted then forgotten. Nothing to quicken the breath or to cause the heart to stumble, beating too hard and too fast in the struggle to regain equilibrium. No, nothing at all.

He picked up the card from its resting place on the mahogany desk for perhaps the tenth time that morning, staring at it as if intensity of gaze would yield some greater revelation beyond the simple facts of location and sender.

Where was obvious, Gaudi’s multicolored mosaic dragon spoke clearly of Barcelona, even without the flowing script that spelt out the name across the top right hand corner of the card. Park Guell, one of the city’s premier tourist attractions.

And who? Well, that was no mystery either. The writing belonged to Methos.

It was five months since Duncan had seen the other Immortal. They had parted angrily over the dead body of Jacob Galati - Duncan’s friend, whom Joe and Methos had sacrificed without a qualm in order to save the Highlander.

That Jacob had worked himself into a suicidal hell of grief and revenge had made very little difference to Duncan at the time. Or the fact that their actions had probably saved his life, not to mention the lives of a number of innocent Watchers. As if, thought Duncan with a sudden unexpected resurgence of bitterness, that wasn’t a contradiction in terms. Joe and Methos had played God. That Duncan had done the same himself in the past didn’t make it any more palatable. Or any easier to forgive.

For some time the friendship between himself and Joe had been strained. Finally it was now working its way back into the familiar patterns of easy companionship as his initial, wholly emotional, reaction was tempered by a more rational perspective. Joe’s loyalties were clear. Not so with Methos. Even out of contact, the rift was still there. It wasn’t so much that he found it harder to forgive the other man but that the betrayal seemed greater.

Duncan had expected more from Methos. He always had. And, somehow or other, sarcastic and complaining, Methos had always managed to be there for him; through Kalas, Kristin, the Dark Quickening, Cochrane, even while dealing with his own loss after Alexa died. Now Duncan missed Methos with a physical intensity that perversely fed his anger towards the other man.

Wish you were here?

A simple enough question. If only he knew the answer. Did he? And if he did, what was he going to do about it?

As if there was any real doubt.

Duncan rolled his eyes in a theatrical gesture of resignation, despite the fact he was alone, and dropped the card back on his desk. The address book was by the phone, he opened it, flicking quickly through the pages until he found the number he sought, then picked up the phone and began to punch the buttons.


Barcelona airport was as clean and uncluttered as ever, the long promenade of expensive shops and the central courtyard with its rows of red and pink geraniums in pots unchanged since his last visit. It had been easy enough to lose Joe, telling him he was going to visit an old friend in the antiques trade who had contacted him to see some ceramics. Only half a lie, since he had a long-standing invitation to see Antonio and every intention of conducting some business while he was in the city, if only to tell himself that finding Methos wasn’t his sole reason for flying here. Finding Methos. That in itself was a joke. How, in a city of three and a half million was he supposed to find the other Immortal from that single postcard clue? Go perch on Gaudi’s dragon and wait for a sign? Check out every bar? Or every bookshop? If Methos were even here. He was probably in Paris again, doubled up over Joe’s counter in fits of laughter over the idea of Duncan chasing round Europe after him.

And if...when...he did find him, what then?

Exiting customs he stood for a minute holding his bag and taking in the scene, letting his eyes rest appreciatively on the long legs of a short skirted flight attendant as she strode past him towards the main exit.

“It’s no use even thinking about it, she’s sleeping with the Air France steward,” said a familiar voice in his ear, even as he was swamped with a rush of presence.

“Methos?” Duncan turned sharply and nearly collided with the slim figure that had apparently eased itself out of the marble flooring. “You crept up on me!” he said accusingly, unclenching the hand that had automatically reached into his jacket, towards the katana.

“Teach you to pay attention,” answered Methos, insufferably smug. “I could have cut off your head half a dozen times while you eyed up that woman.”

“In your dreams!” So easy, marvelled Duncan. It was so natural to slip into the casual verbal banter that was so much part of his relationship with Methos. Like the curve of his hand around his sword, they fell into familiar grooves, the unwritten rules providing both comfort and restraint. Already he was finding it impossible to be as angry as he had intended to be at this first meeting, to retain the desire to say any of the things he had rehearsed and determined must be said, before they could resume their friendship. Just as Methos had intended, he realised. He observed the other man carefully, Methos was in a suit of unbleached linen, the cloth already crinkling slightly in the heat, sunglasses peeking out of the top pocket of his jacket. He looked as though he belonged here, the usually pale complexion warmed by sun into a light tan. By contrast, Duncan felt hot and overdressed in his jeans and white cotton sweater worn against the chill of the plane’s air conditioning.

Comfort and restraint indeed. Try that thought again, substituting the words conflict and constraint. Ah, yes, that was more like it. Five months and never a word. Fury at the silence battled with relief that Methos was obviously all right. Duncan experienced a twin urge to both smash his fist into the aristrocratic face and grab Methos and hug him as if he’d never let go. He did neither. Methos met his stare, amusement and perfect understanding evident in his gaze. It was the same look he had when executing a winning move in chess, a delight in the moment of understanding even greater than in the making of the play itself.

“You bastard,” Duncan said conversationally. “Did you have a purpose in luring me here or was it simply a study in manipulation?”

“Buenos Dias to you too,” said Methos smiling broadly. “Come on, follow me.”

And that was that. Before Duncan had a chance to frame any of the questions that crowded on his tongue Methos was disappearing into the crowd, his light coloured clothing melting effortlessly into the flow. Duncan could only follow. He caught up with Methos just short of the exit doors and grabbed his arm to keep him inside.

“You never answered my question.”

For the first time, Methos looked uneasy as if he hadn’t been expecting Duncan to follow up the question so soon, or so publically. Good, thought Duncan, pressing the advantage. A burst of anger, which he had thought lost but was obviously only waiting its chance, swept through him. He tightened his grip on the arm under his hand, feeling the muscle pull under his fingers in a way that must have been painful.

Methos stilled and looked down at his sleeve pointedly. “No.”

“No what?”

“No, I haven’t answered your question, and while I have every intention of answering it, it isn’t going be done while you come on like Conan.”

“Conan who?” Duncan loosened his grip slightly, allowing Methos to pull his arm free. He replayed the previous speech in his mind and attempted to follow the convoluted paths that marked Methos’ thought processes. He was mentally running through his list of casual friends and acquantences when Methos consented to explain.

“You know, Conan the Barbarian, children’s comic book hero, all big pecs and heroic tendencies.”

“Thanks,” said Duncan, stung. “I suppose he’s dumb as a plank too?”

Methos considered the question carefully, ostentatiously smoothing down the wrinkles in the arm of his jacket. “No. Not quite. In fact, not at all really, just tiresomely right all the time.”

Was that an admission? Possibly. In fact, probably. But, for once, Methosian ambiguity wasn’t going to be enough -- he needed an explanation in clear English. “You haven’t answered me, Methos. What exactly are you playing at?”

Methos sighed, and seemed to give up on attempting to divert his companion. He folded his arms protectively across his stomach and started to speak, the words spilling out quickly, with a rare intensity.

“You just don’t give up, do you? All right, here’s your answer. Yes, I had a reason for getting you here. No, I wasn’t trying to manipulate you. I’ve decided to leave the Watchers and thought - though what kind of misbegotten deity knows why - that you might be interested. OK. Satisfied?”

“Yes...No...Methos!” began Duncan, breaking off and once again reaching out to catch his companion, who had started to walk away.

“What?”snapped Methos. “And will you stop fucking grabbing me like that?”

Temper, temper, thought Duncan, gentling his hold but not releasing the other man. In any one else the words and tone would have had him responding in kind but he was used to Methos’ attempts at prevarication. That level of angry sarcasm, appearing so quickly, meant that he had really touched a nerve. “If I let you go, are you going to run away?”

Methos snorted. “Naturally. I go to all the effort of getting you here just to run away. Then you can chase me all around the airport and make us even more conspicuous than we already are.”

Duncan dropped his hold. “Sorry,” he muttered, shoving his hands into his pockets to make sure he didn’t reach out inadvertently and grab Methos again. Except, perverse as ever, now that Duncan had freed him and apologised it was Methos who was shifting about uncomfortably.

“Don’t be sorry. You were right. Is that what you needed to hear?” said Methos, then abandoned the snide tone. “I can’t say I’m sorry about Galati, because it was a choice of him or you, and given the same situation I’d make the same choice again.” He voice softened, “But you were right about the Watchers. I had to make a choice. And I have. Can we go now, or do we need to indulge in a little more public soul searching and arm grabbing before you’re satisfied?”

“We can go,” said Duncan.

He followed Methos out of the terminal and a short distance along the road to a bus stop signed for city centre destinations. On his own he would have taken a taxi but the bus was already there and, having at least tacitly agreed to follow Methos, it seemed churlish to quibble. Methos paid for them both, deposited Ducan’s bag in the luggage space at the front, and led him to the rear of the vehicle and into a pair of empty seats, where they would be able to talk in relative privacy. The seats were narrow and Duncan could feel the warmth of the other Immortal’s leg where it pressed along the length of his thigh. A crawling awareness that left him both uneasy and confused. Why had he kept grabbing Methos like that? He wouldn’t have dreamed of laying a finger on Tessa no matter what the provocation. The thought brought him up short. Why was he thinking about Tessa? Joe or Richie would be a much better comparison, except that, like Tessa, Methos had the ability to strip aside all his pretences, his defences, and make him face the truth of any given situation.

He stole a look at his companion. Since their confrontation at the exit doors Methos hadn’t spoken a word. He’d put his glasses on to avoid the glare of the sun through the window and was watching a harassed Spanish family attempt to get three children, a baby and half a dozen suitcases into the confines of a tiny Fiat with apparent fascination. Suddenly Duncan wished he could see Methos’ eyes. He cast about for something to say, both to break the silence and to try and understand something of his companion’s mood by his tone of voice. Plans. He would ask Methos what he had planned.

“What do you mean ‘all the effort’?”

Damn. Where had that come from? It wasn’t at all what he had intended to say. Methos turned to face him, lips twitching with what was obviously suppressed mirth and he heard himself continue sulkily, “One miserable postcard and a bloody cryptic one at that.”

“You managed to work it out.” Methos took his sunglasses off, presumably to give Duncan the benefit of a wide-eyed gaze.

“I may be Conan the Almost-but-not-quite Dumb as a Plank but I know the devious way your mind works.”

His companion laughed, openly this time, the sound so infectious that Duncan found himself joining in. “Why here and why now?” he asked when they were both quiet again.

An eloquent shrug.

“Methos!” Some of his frustration must have shown through in his voice because Methos shot him a look of irritation, but did not again attempt to sidestep the question.

“Neutral ground. I wanted to meet you somewhere where there was no history between us. A blank slate. And now, well, Mac, despite your ability to make instant judgments about the right course of action in any given circumstance, it’s taken me a while to decide what’s best to do.”

“I was angry at Joe as well,” offered Duncan, apropos of nothing but somehow trusting that Methos would understand.

“I know.” Methos once again stared out of the window. They were moving now, travelling along a surprisingly small and underused road, passing fields containing small light aircraft and dully-painted hangers of corrugated iron. “You had good reason.”

The last was said to the passing countryside. Duncan almost didn’t catch it, wasn’t in fact sure he had heard correctly but a certain set of Methos’ shoulders discouraged him from asking again. He had pushed enough, probably more than enough, for now.

They got off the bus at the Placa de Catalunya, in the centre of the city. It was packed, as it always was, with tourists consulting maps, teenagers lounging on the pavements and the small areas of grass, and locals hurrying between shops and businesses. After the relative coolness of the bus the heat hit like a blanket. Still it was good to stretch his legs again, feel the circulation coming back into limbs which he’d forced to remain stiff and motionless for the half-hour journey. By his side Methos was stretching too and once again putting on his sunglasses.

“What now?” asked Duncan as he found and put on his own shades against the bright sun. “I presume there is a now?”

“We drop off your things at your hotel and get something to eat. You are staying at a hotel?”

Duncan nodded and gave the name of the place he had booked into, a discreetly expensive establishment located half-way down the Ramblas, the mile-long central promenade which linked the Placa de Catalunya, at the heart of the city, to its port. They followed the crowds heading towards the sea. It had been a few years since Duncan’s last visit but, as at the airport, nothing had changed. The outside streets of the Ramblas still featured a mixture of restaurants and hotels, while the pedestrianised central zone contained a fascinating mixture of stalls selling flowers, animals, books, jewellery and art. Interspering all were the famous living statues that were less like the street theatre of Paris or London than some medieval mummers band.

They passed a clown, a musician clad in Mozartian wig and breeches, a harlequin and a robot before coming upon one of the most beautiful girls Duncan had even seen. Dressed all in white, with dark hair drawn high on her head and a rose cradled gently between her hands, she balanced on her plinth and waited for someone to throw the coins that would bring her briefly to life.

“She looks like a young Miss Haversham,” commented Methos peevishly, as Duncan paused, but he made no demur about stopping and Duncan got the impression that the snarking was more token than real. If anything she reminded him of Alexa, the same air of determined fragility about her person.

He threw a small coin into the box in front of the girl. The statue came slowly to life, raising her rose to her face, before bending deeply and freezing, with the rose extended impartially between them. A momentary overbalance and the flower dropped to the ground. The girl stayed still, only her eyes betraying her panic. Without thinking Duncan reached down and picked it up holding it out to the girl who made no move to take it.

“Chivalry Mac?” Amusement and affection blended in Methos’ voice. He dug a hand into the front pocket of his trousers and withdrew a handful of coins. Choosing a couple at random he tossed them into the box. The girl reached out for the rose and held it up to her lips smiling, looking not at Duncan but at Methos.

Methos laughed immoderately. “Mine I think,” he crowed as they strolled on.

Duncan thwapped him on the arm in mock indignation. “I’m the one who picked up her flower, I don’t see why she’s thanking you.”

“Commerce.” Methos snickered. “Beats chivalry everytime.”

“You would know,” said Duncan, thinking again of Alexa.

“Yeah,” said Methos, meeting his look and instantly deflecting any further intrusion with an acid-sharp rejoinder. “Unless, of course, you’re playing scrabble.”

Methos’ crowing didn’t abate until they had reached Duncan’s hotel and were established in the well-appointed room he had booked for the weekend. Not quite a suite, but only one step down, with furnishings in marble and gold and huge bunches of flowers and fruit waiting to welcome guests.

“Very cosy,” Methos approved, biting into an apple and making himself at home on the bed while Duncan unpacked. He switched the television on mute and started flicking through the satellite channels with the remote control, complaining in between mouthfuls about the paucity of Spanish television and the inconsiderate nature of hotels that didn’t think to provide a complete range of cable for their guests.

“Where are you staying?” He wondered if perhaps Methos had chosen to live here permanently. The thought displeased him for some reason. Odd when the Old Man was so obviously at home here.

“Somewhere Adam can afford,” complained Methos in a voice of long-suffering. “Take it from me, it’s a dump and you don’t want to go there.”

“Methos,” Duncan asked seriously, “what will happen to Adam when you leave the Watchers?”

Methos shrugged. “What’s it to you?”

Duncan glared at him, then stared pointedly at his suitcase and around the hotel room. Methos sighed and acknowledged the hit. “Nothing will happen. Adam will have his teaching and his bookshop and as long as he’s a good boy and doesn’t go blabbing about Immortals no one should come looking to put a bullet in his head at night.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes, Mac.”


“You mean that?”


Duncan felt himself grinning, ridiculous to feel so relieved. Methos had finished his apple was picking around the fruit basket again, eating red and green grapes and wondering loudly just how they were supposed to consume a whole pineapple with neither plate nor cutlery. He nibbled at a few grapes himself and glanced briefly at the television where a cartoon was playing.

“So now all I have to do is lose the tattoo,” said Methos, flicking channels again in an irritating fashion.

“Easy enough.” Duncan grabbed the remote and tossed it on the far side of the room. If Methos wanted it he would have to get up and get it.

“Yeah. I thought I might do it while you were here. A symbolic gesture. If you like, I could do it now.”

“Now?” Duncan stopped watching television. “Are you certain?”

“You know what they say, no time like the present.”

Methos unsprawled himself from the bed and strolled over to a table. He produced a flick knife from the pocket of his trousers and placed it on the surface of the table, ranging himself on one of the four chairs provided. He tested the blade briefly against a thumb. It cut instantly, blood welling from the small wound to be immediately cauterised by the healing sparks. “It’ll bleed a lot,” he observed hesitantly looking across to where Duncan stood.

“I’ll get you some cloths.” Duncan headed for the bathroom where a stack of fluffy white towels lay folded on the counter. When he got back Methos had shed his trousers and shirt and was clad only in a pair of white boxer shorts. He sat with his elbow propped against the surface of the glass, examining the Watcher tattoo intently.

“Ten years,” he said softly.

“It had to end sometime.” There it was again, Duncan thought, that need to gentle what he’d believed was a just course of action. He arranged a bath sheet over the top of the table and sat down on one other chairs watching and waiting.

Without warning Methos brought the knife down hard against his wrist, cutting deep. Blood welled everywhere, obscuring the line of the cut. “Fuck,” he swore in obvious pain, as the thick fluid and the healing fire combined to impede his progress. “I think I caught an artery.” The knife faltered as a stream of bright red blood pulsed out, running down his arm and into the cloth on the table.

The towel was now more red then white, the soft pile flattened by the amount of fluid. Duncan pulled the knife out of Methos’ hand. “You’re making a mess of it.”

Irritation and pain roughened the usually smooth tones as Methos drew in a shallow breath and leaned forward in what was obviously an attempt not to faint. “Well sorry. You try flaying yourself some time. Physically, that is. I’m well aware that you’ve got moral flagellation down pat.”

“Just talk to yourself why don't you. Your tongue could cut hide.” But even as he spoke Duncan was passing a wet flannel across the maltreated wrist, cleaning away the blood. The tattoo was half gone in parts, a ragged travesty of the Watcher mark, unblemished skin patchworked among the ink.

Methos grinned, already recovering. He licked his wrist, then looked at the skin expectantly. “No. I don’t see any blood. MacLeod’s suggested tongue method is obviously not going to work, so it looks like it’s going to have to be the knife again, after all.”

Duncan tsked and shook his head. “You’re sure you wouldn’t just like to go and have it removed by laser?”

A nod. Methos reached across the table, obviously intending to retrieve his knife. Duncan picked it up first.

“I’ll do it.”


“You heard me. At least it’ll be quick that way.” He smiled reassuringly. “And it’s not as if I haven’t skinned a rabbit or two in my time.”

He sat close to Methos and took the other’s wrist in one hand. Methos allowed him, quiescant under his touch. The flesh was warm, the bones fine compared to his own, but he knew the appearance was deceptive and that behind the slenderness lay considerable strength. He had a sudden image of Methos holding his sword, fighting against him desperately on a Paris night, begging him to take his head. Duncan blinked, forcing away the vision, concentrating again on the flesh in his hand. He tightened his grip and began to cut. As before, the healing came almost immediately, the quickening visibly knitting the torn skin together. The blue sparks reached towards him, as if seeking his own quickening. Like matter to anti-matter.

The knife was sharp but, even so, it must have hurt. Methos was tense under his hands, the muscles bunched in his arm, jaw clenched. Apart from the unsteadyness of his breathing, he made no sounds. As he worked, a part of Duncan was thinking, this is pointless, I could easily knock him unconscious, a swift press against the jugular and merciful blackness, it would be so easy. Yet he made no move to do so. In a few minutes it was over. Methos, pale from loss of blood, was otherwise recovered. “How long was it since you skinned those rabbits, Highlander?”

“Did I hurt you?” Duncan asked, returning from the bathroom with yet more towels.

“What do you think?”

Yes, then. Good, trembled on the tip of his tongue but, appalled at himself, he managed not to say it. He glanced down, embarrassed at the pettiness of the emotion and found to his surprise that Methos was hard, erection pressing against the white cotton of his shorts. Shocked, he looked back up to find Methos’ eyes on him, mouth twisted ironically.

“That turned you on?”

The words flew from his mouth before he could stop them. And he blushed, as though he’d been the one caught in a compromising position.


“But...” He felt his speech cloying in his mouth, bit his tongue to stop the long-abandoned brogue he could feel forming there.

Methos watched him. Pale still and motionless as a work of art, except for his eyes which shone black and gold, like those of a genie escaped from the lamp. “You turn me on.”

And there, unspoken, was a challenge. What was he going to do about it? He stood staring at the other Immortal, hunter caught by the rabbit. The moment stilled...stretched...and broke. Methos sighed and got up, the movement causing the corner of his erection to poke slightly though the gap in his shorts. He pushed a hand down and cradled the shaft loosely.

“Well,” bitterness accentuated the British accent, “I guess that’s clear enough. I’ll be in the shower if you want me.”

The door was firmly shut and water running before Duncan moved. What had just happened here? He began tidying out of habit, gathering up the soiled towels, making a neat pile of Methos’ clothes on the bed, and trying to make sense of the scene that had just played out in front of him.

Methos wanted him.

Oh. A connection formed in his mind, simple and incontrovertible.

He wanted Methos.

Now what? He waited impatiently for Methos to come out of the bathroom, restraining himself with difficulty from going in and interrupting with news of his new-found knowledge. Two years of acquaintance refocussed in the light of this revelation, revealing the steady dance of flirtation that had led inexorably to this point.

This turning point.

Methos reappeared, his face closed and unapproachable. Without speaking he gathered up the clothes from the bed and began to get dressed. Trousers. Socks. Shirt. Each item a defensive layer. Duncan would have liked to touch him but knew that it would not be welcomed.



“I want you too, you know.

“Yeah, it really looked like it.”

“I...It was the shock...the whole thing with you leaving the Watchers.”

Methos paused in the act of doing up a button, his voice expressionless. “Tell me, Mac, what did you think was going on here?”

“I thought it was about choice.”

“So did I.”

“What now?” Duncan asked, afraid that Methos was about to walk out and knowing that if he did there was nothing Duncan could do to stop him.

“Now?” Methos smiled with brittle insouciance. “Now I finish getting dressed and we go out and get some dinner.” He finished buttoning the shirt before adding as an afterthought. “You can pay.”

“Sounds like a plan. I’ll just go shower.”

Duncan pushed past him into the bathroom and began to strip. It was hot, he was travel-worn but an underlying honesty forced him to admit that neither reason was the one that had made him decide him to shower now. He needed time to think, to plan. Think. Plan. Both were impossible when all his mind would supply him with was a picture of Methos gazing at him, erection straining against white cotton. He washed quickly, and pulled on jeans and a black T-shirt.

Methos had wandered out into the balcony and was leaning against the ornate wrought iron railings, watching the comings and goings on the street below. He didn’t turn as Duncan came up behind him but Duncan could see him visibly tense.

“Methos. Look at me.”

“Why? You’ll just do something stupid and Highlanderish like apologizing for sending out the wrong signals and I’ll feel even worse than I do now.”

“You didn’t misread the signals.”

“Oh. Just balked at the fence did you? Well, somehow or other, Mac, that doesn’t make me feel any better.”

“Will you bloody shut up and let me explain!” Duncan almost growled in frustration. How did Methos always manage to have this effect on him? Any minute now he was going to shake the other man and that was hardly the effect he was going for. He moved to one side and grasped the balcony rail for balance.

“What - you didn’t want me then, but you want me now? I don’t come with an on/off switch, Duncan.”

“I was...” Duncan faltered, then forged ahead with the knowledge that it was now or never. Whatever happened now there was no going back. “Touch yourself.”

The same genie eyes that Methos had turned on his earlier came to rest on Duncan now as the long fingers obediently felt for the buttons of his trousers and undid them. The action was less an acquiescence than a challenge. Duncan came closer, placing one hand on Methos’ waist and slipping the other round Methos’ so that they both caressed the hot flesh. “Want me to recreate the mood,” he whispered hoarsely. “Do you need me to get the knife out again?” The flesh under his hand began to harden. “My hand on the knife, cutting you, controlling you, causing you pain.” He lifted the wrist that had borne the tattoo and raised it to his mouth, biting hard and tasting blood. Methos groaned and came in his hand.

“That was easy,” said Duncan, when it seemed likely that his partner could stand again unaided. He dropped a kiss to the damp neck, feeling the pulse racing beneath his lips, tightening his grip when Methos stirred and tried to move away, pulling him closer against his own throbbing erection.

“I need to shower.”

“No. You need to come to bed.”


“Yes.” Duncan insisted turning his captive in the circle of his arms. He shivered at the expression on Methos’ face, raising a hand and tracing his fingers along one cheekbone. Aching tenderness tightened his throat, need throbbed at his groin. “Bed,” he said again. This time Methos did not demur.

Crisp cotton sheets felt cool against his skin, providing contrast where Methos burned and trembled against him. Heat and desire, and the fingers probing him hardly any cooler than his inner heat. Methos was loving him, sucking him greedily, mesmerising him with snake eyes and whispered nothings while his hands wreaked havoc at his centre. Taking. Giving. Sliding heat opened to him, surrounded him, possessed him. Methos was murmuring, nonsense, although he thought he should know the words. “I pluck the rose and love it more than tongue can speak. Pluck it and fuck it. Oh Duncan.”

“Methos,” whispered Duncan the name like a mantra. He said it again and again, in increasingly urgent counterpoint to the more eloquent phrases falling from his lover’s lips. He lifted his hips to deep, deep thrusts. Methos’ beautiful voice broke off into incoherency. Duncan felt himself convulsing, clutching his partner painfully hard as they came together.


The crowd along the Ramblas was still thick but less hectic as business people were replaced by strollers and tourists began to think about settling down at one of the pavement cafes for drinks or an evening meal. Even so, after a while the crowds began to close in and Duncan was not sorry when Methos pulled him along a narrow side street into the old medieval quarter, the Barri Gotic. Dark and crowded, the buildings dated back more than 500 years. “There used to be an incredible brothel just along here,” Methos informed him, stopping in front of an antique shop. The linen trousers had been ruined and he was dressed a pair of Duncan’s jeans and a silk shirt, both loose on his slighter frame.

“Really?” asked Duncan.

“No. It belonged to a baker, but the truth’s never as much fun is it?”

“Some truths are better,” Duncan replied, delighted when Methos quickly looked away. Dressed they had reverted to the safety of casual commentary. Slowly, slowly, he told himself. Luck and bravado had carried him this far but one false move and Methos would certainly bolt. What would he do then? What did he want to do now?

They walked further, pausing here and there in front of shop windows, admiring the displays or commenting on the prices or probable authenticity of the antiques. Gradually the streets widened as they came out of the Medieval quarter and into a square surrounded by buildings of various ages that had been converted into apartments.

A group of perhaps half a dozen boys were playing football in the square. The ball came towards Methos who picked it up and dribbled it expertly past two defenders before shooting at the unofficial goal on the far wall. “Si!” shouted the children and a sprinkling of tourists clapped. Methos laughed and bowed, spreading his arms wide to soak up the applause.

“Show off,” said Duncan, amused. It was rare to see the other Immortal let go like this in public. But now the boys didn’t want Methos to leave. He and Duncan were arbitrarily assigned team status, one on each side and the football match began again. Twenty minutes later, sweaty and dishevelled Methos’ team won. “But only because you cheated shamefully,” chided Duncan as they raised high fives with their team mates and wandered off in search of beer.

“You know what they say about nice guys?” Methos asked, wiping a hand across his brow.

“I’m sure you’re just dying to tell me.”

“Only that they’re good in bed.”

“I thought you were going to say we finished last.

Don’t try and second-guess me MacLeod. And who says you’re a nice guy?”

The nearest bar was on the seedy side, but, as Methos said, when beer was needed, it was needed. To give the place its due, the beer was chilled and the landlord friendly and disposed to chat. One beer led to another and dinner was forgotten in the more pressing needs of liquid refreshment. They left after some two hours, the best of friends with their host and somehow having acquired a small speckled bird in a wicker cage which was supposed to sing but apparently never did. A gift, said the barman. At the time, as Duncan pressed a generous tip into his hand, and Methos snagged them each a beer to go, it had seemed to make perfect sense.

They made their way down to the harbour. Darkness had fallen some time ago, the transformation quick as it was wont to be in the south, one minute the sky a haze of pinks and golds, the next black. Like velvet thought Duncan, holding his birdcage carefully. He winced slightly at the prosaic nature of his imagination. It was velvet though, soft and thick and comforting. The sea, which had seemed blue as a child’s crayon when he flew over it earlier in the day, was now closed and secretive, barely moving against the stone of the restraining walls.

They walked around the harbour shops, a mixture of small over-priced boutiques and tourist tat. “Amanda would like those,” chuckled Methos pointing at an unlikely arrangement of three triangles in an abstract print which together looked hardly substantial enough to cover one breast. Duncan agreed absently, he didn’t want to think about Amanda now. Let her steal her own bikini.

Methos shivered in the cool night air. Duncan peeled off the heavy cotton sweater he was wearing and draped it over his shoulders. A brief nod of thanks, followed by the observation that Methos was hungry and was going to purchase something to eat from one of the street stalls. Duncan nodded, lost.

And that was it. As simple as breathing. He thought love would come with a burst of flame or fireworks; not this simple realisation walking in a Spring evening amongst crowds of tourists, eating French fries from a cardboard box. Simple. Undramatic. And yet he blazed with sudden awareness, a feeling of life, of being alive, so strong that it felt like it could shoot sparks from his skin.

“These need more salt,” observed Methos and the words corded through his being like a sonnet. More salt. Precious spices. Come live with me and be my love. “Whatever is the matter with you Highlander? You look like someone’s drawn your brain out through your nose.”

This man. Good or bad, and for this moment at least it made no difference. “Salt,” he agreed with difficulty and found himself smiling at his lover, who gazed at him with tolerant awareness.

“Home?” questioned Methos.

Duncan nodded, temporarily beyond words. Walking quicker now, they made their way back to the hotel.

The bird had obviously been in captivity all its life. Duncan took it to the balcony of his room and tried to coax it out of the cage.

“It’ll die, you know,” warned Methos. “It’s probably never been free and has no idea how to fend for itself.”

“Maybe.” He heard his voice, hating the mulish tone. “But that’s better than being in a cage.”

Methos came up behind him and wrapped strong arms around his waist. He’d shed the sweater and the silk of his borrowed shirt rustled slightly as it rubbed against Duncan’s cotton. “So very young.” he murmured. Heat and silk. “Don’t you know how dangerous sentimentalism can be?”

“And the alternative?”

Methos withdrew his arms to fold them around himself. When he answered his voice was bleak. “Is unthinkable. Is that what you want to hear?”

“Not really,” said Duncan, turning and recapturing the other man. They were in public but the balcony was high enough not to be on display to the crowds. He kissed Methos passionately, delighting in the response shivering through the slender body, refusing to surrender the swollen lips even as he manoeuvered the two of them backwards into the hotel room and towards the bed.

Clothes were an irrelevance to be pushed aside as quickly as possible in the need for skin to meet skin. Tasting, touching, absorbing. He wanted to take things slowly. He wanted to rush forward without thinking. He wanted. He wanted.

At the point of surrender, he held Methos still, impaled on the length of his cock, afraid to either move himself or let Methos move in case everything starting sliding away. Methos sighed, arching his back, shifting restlessly against his hold. “Please!”

That was enough. Bed, hotel, city, everything compressed into this one point of connection. A cry and Methos was coming above him, sobbing his release, the rhythmic pressure enough to trigger his own orgasm.

He woke early, momentarily uneasy in the unfamiliar bed. Methos slept undisturbed, the white sheets draped toga-like around his form. Even asleep he looked tired. Tired and thoroughly fucked, thought Duncan with a grin.

The bed smelled of sex. He eased out carefully so as not to wake his companion and moved out onto the still open balcony. It was early but a smattering of people strolled the streets. The cage was where he had left it last night but empty. He looked around, he could hear birds singing but there were none in sight. Smart birds he thought rembering the animal sellers they’d seen yesterday.

His stomach rumbled asking for food reminding him that they’d never got around to eating last night. He called room service and ordered a large caffetiere and a ridiculously large selection from the breakfast menu.

Food arrived, prefaced by a discreet knock, on a trolley, neatly laid with enough plates, cups and cutlery for four people. Well, there was a lot of food. Duncan wondered briefly if perhaps they thought he was holding an orgy in his room, before concluding that they probably wouldn’t care as long as he paid the bill on time.

He poured a cup of coffee, added milk and sugar, and waved it enticingly under Methos’ nose.

One bleary eye glinted open, and opened wider as he saw what Duncan was holding. “Breakfast in bed?” he asked happily, accepting the cup and taking a deep sip.

“If you want,” Duncan said. “Though I thought it might be nice to get up and eat on the balcony.”

“Whatever,” agreed Methos amiably and slid a long leg out of bed. Naked he padded over to the trolley and inspected its contents, breaking off the corner of a croissant and chewing on it. “Shower first,” he mumbled. “Don’t eat everything while I’m gone.”

A scant five minutes later he reappeared, hair still wet and dressed once again in Duncan’s jeans but bare chested. He put down a fresh cup of coffee. For a while they sat in comfortable silence.

“What now?” asked Duncan eventually, the words reluctant, afraid that Methos’ answer would break the moment.

Methos clasped his cup loosely and looked across at him. “Now I have to clear the slate with the Watchers, and retake up life as Adam Pierson. It’ll take a while.”

“You’re not coming back?” A statement rather than a question.

“No. Not yet.”

“But sometime.” He insisted, and fought an urge to pin Methos down for an exact time and date. A nod. “Sometime.”

“Where will you go?”

Methos cast him a measuring glance before answering with a question of his own. “Does it matter?”

“Of course.” Duncan was honestly surprised. What did Methos think was going on here? Some kind of one night stand, unless, and with a sudden gut-clenching awareness he saw that this was a possibility that he had not even considered. He felt his face flame. “Assuming you want to tell me that is.”

“Oh Highlander,” Methos’ voice was wistful. “You still have no idea, do you?”


They stood close but not touching at Placa de Catalunya.

“Goodbye, then,” said Methos.

“For now,” agreed Duncan, placing emphasis on the final word.

Seconds later Methos’ white sweater was absorbed into the crowds that surged through the square. Duncan followed him in thought, trying to visualise his steps through the iron grills and along the underground passages of the Metro.

He set off slowly down the Ramblas, making his way back to the hotel. He would see Antonio at mid-day, examine the ceramics on offer, buy or not buy them, and then make his way back to the hotel. Tomorrow, perhaps he would sleep late, then visit the Sagrada Familia, or maybe the Picasso Museum, before heading back to the airport. Everything in order, a bulwark against the chaos that threatened to break like a wave on the shore of his consciousness.

The statues were back, the clown, the musician and the white rose girl. He searched his pockets finding some loose change and stopped in front of the pale figure. She didn’t move, but their eyes met and held before hers gaze swept on searching for his companion. He shook his head, indicating that he was alone and threw the last of his change into her box. She started to move, slowly and gracefully as if to music only she could hear. One gloved hand raised the rose briefly to her lips, she held it there a heartbeat then pressed it close against her breast before stilling once more.


Hope you enjoyed – comments are always welcome.


It was not in the winter,
Our loving lot was cast!
It was the time of the roses
we plucked them as we passed!
It was not in the Winter
Thomas Hood. (1799 - 1845)