Carson Kearns' Highlander Fanfic

Carson Kearn's Montage by Killa

Lost in the Loving:
Holding You Fast


by Carson Kearns
carson@carsonkearns.slashcity.net

Warning and Disclaimer

THIS IS NC-17 RATED: Violence, Male/Male Sex and rape.
You have been warned. Do NOT read any further if this is likely to
offend or if you are underage.

The Highlander characters are the property of Rysher: Panzer/Davis and are used without permission. But I’m not making any money out if this. This material may not be copied or distributed without my permission. Do not link, publish or post this material without permission.

 

As always, thank you to my Beta reader, rac, and to Nancye for your invaluable assistance in pulling this together.

Note: this story takes place 5 months after Duncan and Methos' visit to New York and London, as recorded in "LL: The Calling", 5 months before Duncan's musing in the Luxembourg Gardens about how being with Methos is like dancing with razors as recorded in "LL: Dancing With Razors"…and 6 months before "LL: Coming Home".

 

Late November, 1999. Paris

It was one of those Parisian Sundays, brisk enough for warm sweaters and heavier long coats. Both coats now lay aside in favor of the MacLeod tartan rug, keeping at bay the actual chill of the Bois de Boulogne grass. One Immortal sprawled out in abandon on the thick, soft wool of the rug. The other curled most of his body on the bony five thousand year old surfaces of his lover.

The weekend had been wonderful. On the previous evening, they had ended up sprawled on the floor in front of the barge's open fire, drinking and spilling the finest of Duncan's whiskys. At one stage, Duncan started to compose some playful poetry about how his very ancient lover was older than the cosmos. At least it had been silly, on Duncan's part, until Methos took it over and wrote out three final verses whose poignancy resulted in some hours of exhausting and very satisfying love-making:

"…You turn towards the man
Who loves and yearns
Who fuels your heart and soul
and quietly burns

And lights the dreary dark
of empty space
Who found and put your heart
Into that place.

The cosmos wends its way
Its checking done..
Acknowledging you both…
Its moon and sun…"

Both admitted to remembering little from the night before - only much laughter, tickling contests, and something about a poem concerning, according to the Highlander, "…some stardust crap…". Amid their sketchy remembrances, both agreed that a much needed languidly spent Sunday was in order.

While Duncan showered, Methos quietly retrieved the scattered and torn whisky-sodden pages of the poem from beneath various articles of ruined clothing and tucked them safely into his wallet, a haven where he was sure they would see little in the way of sunlight to fade them.

Duncan soon reappeared, packed a picnic and tidied the barge after some suitably snide comments about his lover's laziness.

"Get someone in!" Methos suggested.

"I got someone in! That's exactly why I need a full-time team of domestic servants. Couldn't you have picked anything up while I was showering?"

"I did pick up something. I distinctly remember picking up a scrap or two of paper." Methos refused to be in any way goaded.

"Nothing too heavy, I hope!"

"Nope, just right," the world's oldest smirker smirked. And with those suitably ambiguous comments from the ancient Immortal, Duncan gave a perennial, long-suffering sigh, and the two set off for what they hoped might be a quiet and event-free day of simply luxuriating in each other's company.

It had been a very successful week for them both: Methos uncovering some long sought after original works that he needed for an article he was finalising, and Duncan making a small fortune on some rare swords for an old and valued client. Celebrations were in order.

The rich foliage of the Bois de Boulogne provided a perfect setting for them to unwind. Methos lovingly stroked the brow of his lover and ran his fingers through the Highlander's wind-blown, knotted hair. "Hair heaven," he mused, until a deeper intellectual reflection amended the musing to "Highlander hair heaven…"

Recognising the first signs of sentimentality, he decided that it was most definitely time for deflection of such thoughts with some Duncan teasing and unnerving. And in a moment of uncharacteristic honesty, he found time to admit to himself that he really didn't know anymore whether he did this more for himself or for Duncan.

Without preamble, he launched his verbal assault. "You are unbelievable, MacLeod! Bloody tartan rug," he carefully and painfully enunciated. "What? You think you'll forget who you are if your bum isn't wrapped in your clan colors? Next we'll have tartan in our bloody bed."

Duncan MacLeod of the clan MacLeod stretched and decided to play. "There's already enough tart in our bed."

"Ooh, nice one, MacLeod. I'm having a good effect on you."

Duncan ignored the patronising jibe. "Besides, Rachel bought it for me."

Methos, of no clan that would possibly lay claim to him, gave the world's oldest sneer. "Suggest whisky next time."

Duncan pressed his head a little more firmly into the cushioning groin below his cheek but was soon stopped by a playful whap as Methos reached over and hand fed him some cheese and fresh bread. Rising up on one elbow Duncan took the food and the large glass of superb Bordeaux being offered.

Methos dipped his forefinger into his glass and slowly painted Duncan's lips with the wine. "I'll say this for you MacLeod, you certainly know how to pack a mean picnic hamper."

The Highlander smiled. "Just one of my many talents, old man." He started to give a hint of where his other talents might lay by beginning to suck off the residue of the rich Bordeaux from Methos' fingers. Methos smiled and let himself be indulged. Since their return from London in mid–year, Duncan had taken their relationship to a deeper level by actually acknowledging their relationship in public. And as with everything Duncan did, he did it totally. Having finally accepted that he was in a same-sex relationship, he now seemed to bask in demonstrating the joys of having a partner like Methos and his commitment to this lover, to any who cared to watch.

Well, mused Methos, nothing too overt—all within the bounds of decency, regardless of the fact that they were in Paris! He was determined that getting Duncan to lose control in public would be an interesting challenge to set himself over the coming months.

  And so the lazy afternoon continued: touring the gardens of Paris, watching children sail their boats on the numerous public ponds in the Luxembourg and Tuilleries gardens, and generally soaking up the late Parisian autumn.

Methos had refused absolutely to visit the Monet exhibition in the Orangerie. "Do you have any idea how many times I've seen Monet's bloody waterlilies? If I see another one, I'll puke! The Farinelli concert at St Julian's was my monthly contribution to your continuing cultural education." He added, smiling suggestively. "Besides, I quite like the barbarian in you."

Duncan had needed little persuasion to travel via the underground Metro around the various gardens, instead of driving. Methos was insistent. "For a start, we'll be there in a quarter of the time. And anyway, I love the buskers and the impassioned speeches you always get by every man and his dog with a cause to be promulgated. Make sure you bring your small change, MacLeod. They'll expect a tip."

As Duncan loaded his coat pockets with various denominations of francs he decided against bothering to inquire why he was the one doing the tipping. May as well wonder why the sun rose or set, he decided. Some things were as they were simply because Methos deemed them to be so. It was as simple as that. Not that anything was actually simple in their lives. But, the Highlander admitted, late November afternoons lying on his lover's lap, being finger-fed fine cheese came very close to simple perfection.

The Scot finished the fine wine and licked some residual camembert from Methos' fingers. He continued to bask in the afternoon sun, revelling in the uncharacteristic warmth of the late Autumn Parisian sun. He decided to do some taunting of his own. "You do realise, I hope, that it's our anniversary, Methos."  

Methos eyed him cynically. "Gods! Of course I don't! You're the sentimentalist. Besides," he continued, attempting to smooth a particularly wayward Scottish curl, "if I remembered then I'd have to spend time and money on a bloody present or something. So—indulge me. What is it this time? Twelve months since I first used your blue mug? Six months since I ruined all your best jeans in the wash—even if they did look more fetching two sizes smaller. Ten months since I last helped with any housework? Two months since I cooked? One month since you ran out of beer?"

The Highlander rolled over so that his left cheek now lay on Methos' thighs and he faced Methos' feet. He presented a truly delectable profile.

Duncan used the fingers of his right hand to play with the kneecap only inches away from his face. "You know what it is Methos. Stop teasing."

"I'm not teasing. I truly don't know. I haven't the slightest idea." Oh gods, he loved this! Every time…every time and his Highlander fell for it every time. Methos decided that his Disingenuous Face was really getting over-used of late. He watched in fascinated joy as his lover started to perform on schedule. First the scowl. Then the heavy eyebrows followed by the pouting mouth—the lines of worry that maybe, just maybe, this time Methos might be speaking the truth. Then the pick…pick…picking at the denim covering Methos' kneecap.

In for the glorious kill. "Give me some hints, Duncan, since it seems to be important to you." Now the laboured Scottish angst-ridden sigh. Gods but he loved this man.

"Don't worry, Methos. It isn't anything important," the Highlander sighed.

"Geez, MacLeod, all that's missing are some heart-wrenching violins. But if you're sure it wasn't anything important…"

"I'm sure. Nothing important…to you anyway…"

From his pocket, Methos quietly took a packet and laid it on his groin, behind Duncan's head. Minutes passed with the only sound being various intonations of further Highlander sighing. Methos continued to stroke the profile, running his finger over the brow, nose and lips. Finally Duncan gave one last deep breath and turned to lay his right cheek on the too comfortable thigh with all its associated images and smells. He was comforting himself with that thought when his eye caught the glint of gold on the box's wrapping paper.

Methos thought there were times that his heart would simply burst with joy. Seeing the delight on his Highlander's face now was one of them. It took so little to bring the laughter to Duncan's eyes and mouth. There had been too little laughter in Duncan's life these past few years. Far too little, he reflected.

Rising, Duncan laughed aloud, whacked the ancient Immortal across the shoulder and grabbed his present.

Methos affected pain and scowled. "It doesn't mean I remember anything important. It's just that, living with the world's oldest boy scout, I've learned to be prepared. So whenever the dreaded word "Anniversary" is uttered by your good self, I always have something totally trite on hand in one of my pockets…"

Duncan ripped the paper from the package before Methos finished. "Gods, MacLeod. Didn't you get presents as a child? You're like a five year old."

"That's how you make me feel, Methos. Like a child." He gazed at the uncovered package: a leather-bound book with a gold candle embossed on its cover and the words 'Lighting Duncan Home' tooled into it. Inside, on handmade paper, were poems and excerpts of diary entries, all written for Duncan by Methos during the terrible eighteen month period that followed the death of Richie. Duncan uncovered a smaller, tissue-wrapped package, and found the most exquisite gold ear stud. Closer inspection showed it to be a small circle with a gold candle in the middle, surrounded by Celtic knot work made up of the initials D and M.

"You can pretend that it stands for Duncan MacLeod if you ever get sick of me…"

Duncan simply smiled and looked from the earring to Methos and closed his eyes to contain his joy. Finally opening them, he looked at the candle amidst the knot work once again and realised that its flame was his birthstone. Opening the book, he saw that every entry concerning those dark and despairing days was handwritten. Like the best of ancient manuscripts, the first letter of every poem was a medieval illumination, with the candle forming one side of the hand-colored square. Across the bottom of each page, the Celtic D/M knot work formed a border, so that nothing of their past and of what they had shared could ever slip away.

Duncan was speechless. Momentarily. "And this is just something you have hanging around in one of your pockets? Sure, Methos!"

"Yep. If I'd reached for my back pocket, who knows what would have come out. I can't keep track of them all, MacLeod." And of course, with an opening like that, it only took seconds for Duncan to attempt to ensure that there was nothing in either of Methos' back pockets. After some concerted feeling of the general area and much laughter and rolling, Duncan pinned his lover to the grass and used his greater weight to hold him in place. "They're beautiful, Methos."

Finally Methos took pity, smiled and drew his Highlander's head down for a deep kiss. "And so are you. So are you." And affixing the ear-ring to the Scot's left ear lobe, Methos continued, "You're branded now, MacLeod. Mine. You realise that, of course?"

"I always was, Methos. I just didn't know it."

Methos said nothing. Some joys could never be uttered. "Come on…let's walk back to the barge so you can ooh and aah over all the Christmas lights along the way." He pulled Duncan up, taking extra care to brush off any non-existent dirt that might have been attracted to the Highlander's backside.

  Two hours later, fifteen minutes of which had been consumed by Methos' insistence that they ride the giant Millennium Ferris wheel in the Place de la Concorde, the two Immortals were finally settled back before a roaring fire on the barge.

Duncan was making his views of the Ferris wheel known to all and sundry. "You know I hate heights, Methos. And that contraption is crass…"

"You're a snob, MacLeod. Admit it, it was fun. Besides, I need to make up for lost time."

Duncan looked across at his partner and smiled indulgently. It was true. Methos couldn't remember his childhood and was invariably like an exuberant child around fair grounds and circuses and the like.

"Well, it's not as if we had giant Ferris wheels in Glenfinnan, you know!" he taunted.

"I know, but you had a childhood and family, and you were clearly a completely spoiled brat…"

"Huh! Spoiled? My Father was harder on me than on any other boy in the village."

"But there was no one he loved more…"

"He did—until…" As always happened whenever that topic was raised, Duncan quickly sat up and changed the subject.

Methos let him, but a plan started to take shape involving taking Duncan and his ghosts back to Glenfinnan one day. Duncan quickly got a fire restarted and disappeared only to suddenly emerge with wine, glasses—and a beautifully wrapped package.

"So, do you want to see your present, Methos?"

Methos smiled. "Remind me again what it is we're celebrating?" He managed to duck in time, and both started to laugh. Duncan gently stroked the planes of the face before him. "I tried so hard that night, after O'Rourke tried to kill me, to convince you that we could never again get lost in the loving…."

"And you failed miserably, Duncan."

The Highlander gave one of his characteristic laughing sighs, mouth closed but pulled back in an attempted smile, eyebrows raised. "How did you know what I really meant? What I really wanted that night?"

"You couldn't touch me. Couldn't face me. Gave me platitudes. But I was really sure when you came and stood beside me, while I tried to open that impossible champagne cork." He remembered how frustrating it had been when none of his fingers would obey him. The shock of Duncan's near death that night had still been all too real.

Duncan looked at him, puzzled. "I don't understand."

"You went into warrior mode. Presented me with your narrowest target. You unconsciously do that a lot when you're preparing for battle, verbal or physical. You stand to the side, making yourself less of a target." He paused as Duncan looked down, avoiding eye contact. "You couldn't look at me. Thought you could draw some line across our lives as if we'd been distant acquaintances. At first I was angry…I had no idea what to make of your statement about accepting that life was about change. But then I realised that you couldn't have been that afraid of touching me or really looking at me unless you knew how deeply you loved and were loved."

Duncan looked up and traced the outline of his lover's brow. "And I was that predictable, was I?"

"Yes, you were that predictable, Gradhach. And by the end of November—twelve months ago today, if I'm not mistaken," he continued with a wry grin, " you were back where you belong. With me."

Duncan leaned forward to claim his lover's mouth, only to be halted by two firm hands on his chest. "Oh no you don't, MacLeod! Not until I get to open my present."

Methos removed the wrapping, then simply sat and stared—and couldn't stop his fingers and hands from caressing the ancient chronicle.

"My god, Duncan. How?" There were few times, particularly in the past few centuries, that the old man was genuinely surprised by anything. This was one of them.

Duncan gave a very self-satisfied grin. "Joe! And I really really didn't want to know how…although it did involve a considerable outlay for a meticulous copy to replace it…."

Comforting silence wrapped around both Immortals while Methos further examined the chronicle that detailed his time on the Isle of Iona twelve centuries before. He had first uncovered it while with the Watchers. It was the rereading of this particular chronicle that had brought back to him the allure of the holy Isle and its healing magic. After the Horsemen fiasco with Kronos, Methos had gone back there for the first time in centuries. And so it was that when he had to find a sanctuary for his damaged lover after the killing of Richie Ryan, Iona had been at the front of his mind.

Methos looked up from the chronicle. "Of course, you know what this means to me."

"Yeah, I think I do. But feel free to demonstrate," Duncan sniggered.

Methos lifted his hand away from the precious pages to trace the outline of Duncan's mouth, moving up across the cheekbones to finally cup the entire side of his face in the palm of his hand.

"Oh Methos..Methos…I love it when you do that."

Methos brought his other hand up and framed the Highlander's face, leaning across to gently kiss the tip of his nose. "I don't think I'll ever, ever get tired of looking at your face…feeling you …touching you…tasting you. God, Highlander, you're a decadence I can ill afford. There's nothing I wouldn't do to keep you safe-. Nothing."

Duncan's whispered, "I know," was all the more poignant for its absolute certainty.

With the open fire restoked, two very satisfied Immortals arranged themselves, their respective alcohol and their presents more comfortably. Methos sprawled across the large couch, taking silent pleasure in letting his lap be used as Duncan's pillow. Both settled down for a lazy read of their respective presents. A tape of Joe's soulful blues reverberated off the steel walls, softening the surrounds in concert with the flickering glow of candlelight.

Duncan finally looked up from reading the poems Methos had written to him and for him, after Richie's death. "You'd appreciate the irony of these particular presents, Methos. You gave me poems written to me and us while we were on Iona. And I found your Iona Chronicle." He turned his head to look up at the calm face above him. "And by the way, you still haven't told me about your original time on Iona. Don't think that I've forgotten, because I haven't."

"Now you have an added incentive to learn Sumerian, don't you, Gradhach!" he laughed. "And yes," he continued, pausing to trace the outline of Duncan's ear and throat, "there is a cosmic irony in our both choosing similar presents. We've obviously been together too much. Definitely need some time apart, Highlander. Gods, just imagine it. I'm starting to think like you. I'll be helping little old ladies across the street soon if I'm not careful."

His lover didn't bother to dignify the comment with a reply; he just settled further into reading the poems. Their pain from that time soon had him feeling guilty. "I'm so sorry, Methos, for what I put you through."

Methos threw his head back and sighed. "Bullseye! You are so predictable. If you're going to use your gift as an excuse to brood and flay yourself, then I'm taking them back. They record a period of our lives, Duncan. There's nothing to apologise for. Besides, if it's any consolation, you've given me more to write about in my chronicles in the past few years than I've had in the past few centuries."

"Glad that my paltry traumas are serving a higher literary purpose." But the Scot smiled, realising that he was being teased. He turned back and got more comfortable on his side before continuing to read:

" You were larger than my life…
and all that I was, and felt
required more space, to move, to breathe,

…to live.

I hid inside your clothes, I burrowed deep
and wandered freely on the plains and
through the open spaces of your heart
-your presence used to leave me boneless,
strewn across your living heart and hearth

And pasted to the insides of your soul…" (Methos. June. 1998)

Turning the pages he read an edited entry:

"…Six months have passed…six months, and I know that the world has turned, Duncan. I've even had some old friends come to call. I've been getting on with my life. In terms of everything that doesn't matter, my life has continued. Lovers old and new have warmed my bed…Then I came back to Paris and saw your face and felt your heat and pain. And suddenly I remembered only lukewarm lovers, cooling friends and six months' memories of empty days… (Methos. Nov. 1998)

 

and yet another:

"I watched a young man spinning on the ice.
He spun such magic, spun such surreal sights -
and then he slowed, and bowed his head to me,
then slowly he looked up, into my eyes
And as I watched, imprinted on that place
I saw your face…

You smiled, and gathered up your warrior grace
and spun your sun-drenched body in the cold -
you torched my soul...and as my tears began
you bowed - he bowed - and breathing ghosted snow
you spun in circles, spun my soul away.

I quietly wept...

Your going left me shards of bloodied ice
embedded in my lungs, and through my heart.
The ice moves slowly through my blood, and pools
in all the silences your leaving left.

I never look at ice or skates these days -
They shred my soul.
"
(Methos. Norway. 1998)

Turning back, Duncan looked up once again at the man now acting as his living couch. "And you accuse me of being sentimental!"

"Only with you, Duncan. I save it all for you. Only Celts appreciate it."

""Huh!" Duncan looked up and moved his hand to trace the outline of Methos' lips. "Tell me a story, Methos."

"Tell you a story! What type of story?"

Duncan didn't need to be looking at Methos to know how his eyes would be crinkling with laughter. "About us. Tell me about us; how we first came to love one another." He let himself snuggle down more deeply into the body supporting him.

Methos let himself fall into the part being crafted for him by the Highlander. It wasn't hard. His years had allowed him a lot of time to perfect the art of storytelling, nurturing the cadences that had so long ago marked him as one of the Bards-Beloved. He often thought that that was why he got along so well with Joe, that other Bard-Beloved. As his voice took on a richer timbre, he looked down at Duncan and watched him relax into the sensory cocoon of a voice perfected over millennia..

"Oh Duncan, I think that it happened a very long time before we were born—when our souls were young and the universe unformed. I think that our love was part of the heaven's programming. So we were always meant to be.. Always.'

"God, I love the way you talk, Methos. I love the sound of your voice. I love the images you paint for me…It makes everything I don't like go away. Everything I fear. All the bad dreams." He circled Methos' waist with his large hands and pulled himself tightly against the body supporting him. Reaching up, he took his lover's hand and arm and brought it to cover his upper body. "Never let me go, Methos. Hold me."

Without realising that he was doing it, Methos stroked the long, silken hair strewn across his lap. 'You make it easy to forget the world is out there, Duncan." Nothing was said for long minutes until finally Methos came back from whatever place the image of his beautiful Scot had taken him. He took a deep breath, as if to center himself. "So, youngling, you want to hear a story about you! Suitably humble to the last, I see."

"Just remember some of the good things. Tell me the good things…"

"Ah, a revisionist version! Fortunately for you, I’m very skilled at rewriting history…"

"Not rewriting…exactly." Duncan turned onto his left side and snuggled deeper into the human pillow and started to curl his legs up. "Edited. Tonight, I just want to hear the nice things. There were so many good things, good times. Sometimes it's too easy to forget them."

Methos looked down at the stunning profile and swallowed as he saw how deep the pain still lay on those features. It didn't take much reminding—ever—to realise how fragile Duncan still was beneath the bravado and the seeming normalcy of everyday life. He stroked the brow and tucked a wild curl behind Duncan's ear. "Wild child, with your wild curls. You'll be sucking your thumb next."

"Unless you have something better to suck?"

"Aaah, sorry. It will have to be your thumb…or mine, " he added mischievously.

"I'll neve forget the first time I saw you, Methos. Ever."

"And I you. You were everything I'd expected. You have no idea how the researchers at Watcher Headquarters talked about you after you'd dropped in on them. God, the place was at fever pitch. Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod, sauntering across the library in his long leather coat. Most of them had never seen an Immortal in the flesh—and then to see the living legend…"

Duncan reacted on schedule with embarrassment. "You're making that up!"

"No, I’m not. You have no idea what a sensation that caused. They all expected you to pull out your katana on the spot. And then, of course, when you did finally get off your butt and kill Kalas, you had to do it in suitable, theatrical splendour by blacking out Paris and saving the Immortal race as well as the Watchers from oblivion."

"That bloody CD. I still shudder whenever I think of what it could have done to us if it'd fallen into the wrong hands."

Methos smirked. "What do you mean, 'done to us.' You don't think I was stupid enough to include me on it, do you? A vague reference to a Methos was on it, but certainly there was nothing of any accuracy that could have provided any useful information to anyone. Ever. Mortal or Immortal!"

Duncan turned on his back and looked up at the disingenuous face above him, genuinely shocked. "But you put all my information on it!"

"Well, yours was public anyway. It would have been impossible to have left it out without Don becoming suspicious. Besides, it gave me an excuse to read your chronicles and look at endless pictures of you. That's why I just couldn't leave when they sent word to me that you were coming to see Adam Pierson."

Duncan reached out for his glass and pulled himself up long enough to take a full mouthful of wine. Settling back down on Methos' lap, he mused for a few minutes on what Methos had said. Surprising as it was, he also realised that there were such obvious things about each other that they had never asked. Such as describing their first meeting. Duncan couldn't think now why he hadn't asked, but there were so many things about each other that were always left safely tucked away. He decided that tonight he wanted such a discussion.

"But you must have known, Methos, that I'd feel your buzz and know you were an Immortal. That was pretty high risk–taking, wasn't it, for the ultimate survivor? How did you know that I wouldn't take your head once I realised that you were an Immortal masquerading as a Watcher?"

"Because you're a good guy. You never just take someone's head. You're fair and reasonable and honorable, and I keep telling you that it will get you killed one day! Besides, do you think that I really had my walkman turned on? Or that I didn't have a sword and gun under the bed within easy reach?"

"Of course. Stupid me. Why would I have assumed that anything was as it seemed with you. I never learn, do I?"

Methos smiled and continued to stroke the Highlander's forehead. "Oh, I don't know Duncan. You've managed to learn what makes my heart glad, and you give it to me every day."

"Stop trying to butter me up." Duncan turned onto his back, so that he was looking up at Methos, upside down. "You know Methos, I've never been able to work out how I knew it was you. But I did. I've tried to rationalise it and piece together what clues there must have been that led to only that conclusion, that Adam Pierson was Methos."

"Like what, Sherlock?"

"Firstly, your furniture and fittings were far too expensive and old for an impoverished researcher."

Methos sniggered. "For all you knew, I was simply apartment sitting for a friend."

"True, but I didn’t think of that at the time. You seemed too comfortable there, sitting cross-legged, lord of all you surveyed. That was the second thing. You looked so young, and yet you had all the confidence of someone very old. You knew that I was coming to see you. I'm not totally obtuse, Methos. I'm vaguely aware of the effect I have on people, particularly young Watchers. Particularly young, non-field Watchers. I knew from Joe that Duncan MacLeod had a reputation. Yet here you were, seemingly a young researcher, not a field agent. One of the most powerful Immortals on the planet was dropping in…"

"In all humility…" interrupted his lover.

"In all humility. We’re being factual, aren't we? Well, one of the most powerful Immortals on the planet was coming to call on you. If you were mortal, you should've been unnerved. But once I felt that incredibly powerful buzz and knew that you were an Immortal...well…at first I thought that you must have killed the real Adam Pierson." The Scot stopped and replenished his alcohol intake. "But suddenly it all made sense. What better place for Methos to hide? You admitted it yourself later. Used that very phrase…" Sitting up, Duncan leaned across and took Methos' head between his large hands. Leaning in, he kissed him for what seemed like hours. "And I loved the way you looked at me that day. Not that I understood it, mind you. All I knew was that I wanted to know more about you, be friends with you. I liked you. So much for my early warning radar!"

Methos pulled back from the kiss, still breathing heavily. "Gods, Duncan. I knew the minute I laid eyes on you that you’d be an incredible kisser. It was all I could do to not jump your bones there at the bottom of my stairs. You undid me with your mouth. You were everything and more than I'd imagined…" Reaching across to the plate on the table behind, Methos proceeded to feed Duncan with a selection of gourmet cheeses. Duncan indulged himself, enjoying the teasing game being played by Methos' fingers on his lips.

Methos finally reached for his glass, sipping slowly between sentences. The fingers of one hand kept their slow and sensual circling of Duncan's bottom lip. It reminded him of another type of circling, capturing…" I don't know what you did, MacLeod, before I came along. I truly don't. That day Joe came to see you, after Jacob's death, after the Watcher mess …I saw it all. Watched you circle Joe on the Quai like a bloody eagle about to seize its prey. Do you have any idea how often you do that, Duncan? Circle your victim?"

"I guess it comes naturally. I'm not conscious of it."

Methos continued. "Even in jest you do it. Remember when you were trying to get me to agree to that Valicourt fiasco. You circled the couch and got behind me. In the Loft, when you were trying to get me to reveal my identity to Richie when that other Methos was in town. You circled me….God, it turns me on…..you're so feral when you get like that. Such a predator…your victims don't have a chance."

Methos pushed the Highlander off him with a light kiss and went to change the CDs. Duncan simply looked at him, saying nothing. They had been through so much in such a short time. Days like this were precious beyond measure, when they could simply relax, drink, eat, reminisce, listen to good music. Settle into each other's souls. Do the odd bit of repair and maintenance work on each other's hearts.

"Time for a bathroom break for me, Highlander. And note that I've no intention of moving afterwards so if you have any bodily needs that need servicing - apart from those," he smirked, reacting to an immediate suggestive eyebrow from Duncan, "get them serviced now."

Fifteen minutes later both were settled again, except that this time the positions were swapped, with Methos sprawled all over the couch and his Highlander. Methos resumed right where he’d left off.

"You circled poor Joe, clearly said something that upset him, then you stalked off to the barge. You didn't see how long he stood there, just looking at you. I was as bad to him, of course, told him nothing of where I was going. I waited for Joe to disappear, and then I came to the barge…I actually intended to apologise for Galati's death, you know." Even Methos appeared stunned at this observation. "Although for me, it was as it was for you and Byron. I was sorry that I'd hurt you, but I knew that I'd do it all again. . And there you were, on your knees in the bathroom spewing your guts out for all they were worth."

"I knew it was you. Who else would have just barged into my home without an invitation?'

"True. I guess it pays to be predictable, doesn’t it. Anyway, I didn't really know what to do. I mean, there never really is a correct etiquette in these situations. Does one go and stand alongside the nauseous one? Or politely wait until it's all over, pretending that nothing is happening?"

"You wouldn't have had those dilemmas if you hadn’t burst in uninvited in the first place. And you must have had more experience than anyone on the planet with being the cause of other people spewing their guts out!"

"What can I say? It's a gift!"

Duncan stopped his fiddling with Methos' sweater and gave him one of his totally confused looks. "And you came to me. Brought a hair tie and pulled my hair back. Got a warm facecloth for me. Made me something hot to drink…"

"You looked so heart-sick. You hadn't eaten or slept properly in days." Methos stopped, and started to rub the thigh that pillowed his head. "I know what it's like, to have a Quickening forced on you, Duncan."

All Duncan's movements ceased. The very air seemed to stand still. After some minutes of total silence, Duncan spoke very quietly. "I couldn’t bring myself any relief. Jacob's Quickening and my rage were racing through my system, out of control. I ran, I walked for miles…I hadn't eaten properly for days…I knew that I needed to just…relieve myself…in the shower, but it was as if I was paralysed. As if, as if doing that…would somehow cheapen his death even more than it had been. As if my last memory of him would be of me masturbating him down the drain…"

Methos gentled him, resuming the calm stroking of his thigh and knee. "I know, Gradhach. I know."

"And when I came back out from the bathroom, you were still there, just like you were always there when I needed you most. I remember sitting on the bed, sipping that awful tea…and feeling the hot steam soaking my face, realising after a while that it wasn't hot steam. It was tears." He stopped and looked at Methos, refusing to break the eye contact. "And you were there, wiping them away with your thumbs, pushing me down onto the bed." His rich, deep voice had dropped to a whisper. "I felt the mattress dip as you lay down behind me and put your arms around me. I wouldn't cry aloud. I remember trying so hard not to let any sound of crying escape my body. But I knew there was nothing I could do about the way my body shuddered with the effort. But warriors don't cry aloud. Huh. Such false pride, eh, old man?"

Methos simply smiled and used his thumbs to echo that other time he had wiped the tears away. He said nothing as the memories of Duncan's grief-wracked body washed over him. "I intended going to Nepal and suspected that I'd never see you again—or, after what had happened with Galati, that you would ever want to see me again."

"Do you think that anything will ever, ever be simple with us, Methos?"

Methos appeared to consider. "Nope."

Duncan sniggered. "Anyway, I remember that I slept with your arms around me, slept more deeply than I'd slept in weeks. And you left me—naturally…left me to work out what in hell had happened and how it could have felt so right to have your arms - a man's arms, - around me, in my bed…"

"Now that's revisionism for you. I left you a very nice handwritten note, as I recall. I didn't just disappear..."

"You don't have to try and remember. I still have the note. I'll get it." Duncan rose and went to the beautiful chest by the wall where he had stored his katana after Richie's death. He reached below some linen and retrieved a box, rifled through and pulled out a single sheet of paper and read from it.

 

Duncan

I need to go away for a while, but I'll be in touch. Don’t regret what happened here today. I don't …

Methos

Duncan looked up at Methos, smiled and resumed his seat on the couch. "Do you have the slightest idea, Methos, how much reading and research I did on same sex relationships over the next three months? I decided that I hadn't really loved you holding me that night…..that it had all been due to stress. That we could just resume our friendship as if nothing had happened. Amanda came, and we had great sex, and you have no idea how relieved I felt about that. But when she left, I stood by the loft window for what must have been hours, thinking about you and me. How lonely my life was without you in it. Admitting that I wanted you in my bed and my life." He quieted as he recalled how desperately he had craved Methos' strength, how tired he had felt, and how much he had found himself yearning to crawl inside the shelter and promise of all that was Methos.

"Well, if it's any relief, Duncan, you have no idea how many times I tried to convince myself that it was all gross foolishness. At one point, I decided that I was never coming back into your life. Couldn’t work out why I was being so careless. And then it became clear one very beautiful morning in Nepal. I realised that you surrounded me with color. I was so busy surviving that I'd forgotten how to live. And the next thing I knew, I was emailing you, and there was no way that I was going to let you slip out of my life. Even if it didn't involve a sexual relationship."

Duncan said nothing for some minutes, thinking about how precious were these revelations from Methos. Despite their intense closeness, these rare moments when Methos actually peeled back layers into his deeper self were gifts beyond words to Duncan. He wanted to savour the moment - make it go on forever. He was torn between not moving, blinking - doing nothing that would in any way break the spell. But another part of him decided that if Methos could start to see these interludes as a normal part of living with Duncan, whereby nothing special was made of them, that he might continue to open himself up more in future. Duncan decided on the latter course, acting as if it was the most normal thing in the world for Methos to bare his soul as he had been doing. So normal, in fact, that it could be interrupted.

"Time to light some candles around here, old man, and get some dinner going. Come and keep me company." Rising, Duncan put some extra wood on the fire and lit a variety of candles. A quick reconnaissance of the kitchen produced a smoked chicken along with snow peas and Spanish onions and pasta. Duncan threw the onions to Methos. "Make yourself useful and peel the onions for us."

Methos pulled up one of the stools and sat in companionable silence, sipping his wine and peeling the onions. This was one of his favorite past times. Everything seemed so normal and so safe when Duncan was in his kitchen, cooking for them. For how could there be a Game, with its gruesome decapitation, when the only thing of importance in your world was to produce a smoked chicken pasta and salad?

"Keep going old man - I was enjoying 'The World according to Methos'." Duncan wiped his hands on his apron and reached for the spices that would elevate this meal above the ordinary. "When I came into the loft and you were lying there on my bed, as if you owned the place…."

Methos wiped the onion tears from his eyes and sniggered. "I was tired, and the couch was lumpy." The onions now sliced, Methos walked behind his Highlander and reached around him for another bottle of wine. But instead of retrieving the bottle, he let himself simply lie along the back of the Scot, letting his face rest on solid shoulder blades. He undid Duncan’s apron and let it fall to the floor.

"What do you want me to do to you? Anything, Duncan. Tell me…" Methos reinforced the suggestion by tasting Duncan's succulent neck, letting his mouth map once again its seductive surfaces. He allowed his tongue to trace the outlines of veins and arteries and pushed deeper into the muscles that fired the heat and passion that was his lover. The joy that was Duncan MacLeod..

"Aaaaargh…Methos…….." Duncan let his head fall back, instinctively exposing the full line of his throat. "Oh god…oh god….." Suddenly he took a deep breath and pulled away. He took one final breath and turned to the sexual demon now inhabiting his kitchen. "If we are going to have any hope of eating tonight, then I strongly suggest that you get your body out of here while I finish getting our dinner ready." The next sentence didn't need to be uttered since Duncan's eyes and smirk gave away his thoughts. Methos read the body language and retreated, agreeing with Duncan's silent assessment that they were going to need their strength for later games.

Methos, ever the pragmatist, wandered over to the CD player. The barge’s quiet was suddenly disturbed by a loud shriek as Methos finished reading the liner notes of a CD he found pushed to the back of Duncan's collection. "Oh my god, Duncan! I don't suppose you'd care to share with me how you ended up the hero on a CD entitled 'Highlander: A Celtic Opera'. Methos paused only to wipe away the tears of laughter streaming down his face.

Duncan rolled his eyes, cursing himself for not having thrown the CD into the Seine. "You remember when I went to London to see Claudia perform? It turned out there was more than just a piano concert. Don't ask me how, but she and Walter had somehow got together with Carolyn Marsh and composed a musical using my life—loosely—as the basis."

"What? Used your loose life?"

Duncan counted to ten, ignoring the jibe. "Can you imagine how I felt when they told me we were going to see this wonderful, new musical that was taking London by storm…only to have to sit trapped through a performance of my life put to music. Do you have to play that while I'm talking?" Strains of various songs permeated the barge while Methos took delight in reading aloud from the song lyrics.

"Our Celtic sons are free men once again
Clan MacLeod! Clan MacLeod! Clan MacLeod!"

" Oh Duncan, this is wonderful! How long have you been hiding this from me? Let me see if I've got this right." Methos became totally theatrical as he studiously read the lyrics and proceeded to prance about summarising Duncan's life a la Andrew Lloyd Webber. "By the way, you are getting royalties, I hope?" he innocently inquired. "I had no idea, Duncan, that I was living with a star of stage and screen."

From out of nowhere, Duncan produced his katana and started to circle the couch. "A smart man, lover, would put that CD in its case, open the porthole, and drop it."

Methos edged away, still holding the liner notes securely away from the mortified Scot. "Wrong! A smart man would milk this for everything that he could and then some. And I’m definitely a smart man. Unlike some of us who let themselves end up smeared all over the surface of Watcher CDs and as the star of Celtic Operas. What happened to keeping a low profile, MacLeod?"

Duncan started to spin the katana. At least he had the good grace to laugh.

Methos ignored him, ensuring only that he plucked a particular favorite CD of Duncan's to use as blackmail, holding it out through the porthole and threatening to drop the Three Tenors into the murky waters of the river. Duncan froze. Methos continued, secure in his home territory, the immoral high ground. "So, let me make sure I've got the plot of this opera sorted out. Your mother ensured your Immortality by doing a deadly deal with the Witch of Skye…."

"I will do anything to save my child
My bonny Duncan dearest…"

Methos refused to let the blaring music interrupt his recitation. "Your only love, Aurora, died four hundred years ago and is miraculously cloned in the late twentieth century only to have her throat sliced, on your Wedding Day, by one Fritagern, an Evil Immortal determined to make you suffer eternal pain?" He had the temerity to allow his Nave Face to convey that summary.

Duncan moved quickly to the CD player only to find himself engaged in a tussle to hit the STOP button. The two of them finally end up in a tangled heap on the couch, Duncan on his back under the older man - both laughing hysterically as strains of..

"This is my land
I'm a Highlander
I'm a child of this isle
'm a good man
And my heart is pureI know I'll endure
I'm the Highlander."

…continued to encircle them.

The meal was forgotten as Duncan felt the hot weight of his lover move over him. The laughter was replaced by silence as the more poignant words of the opera began to score their mark amidst the golden, reflected images of the scented candles.

"…I have run out of everything else
in this life except me
Why can't I ever just run out of time?
Give me the dignity of finally dying…
"

Methos buried the CD cover under the cushions and pinned Duncan's wrists above his head.

"…There's dreaming in your bonny eyes
They're green as seas and pull like tides
But in them I see Paradise
There's dreaming in your eyes…"

Methos whispered assent to those words as he proceeded to capture the body trapped beneath him. "Oh Duncan, you are bonny. You are that…"

Duncan closed his eyes as the music sought out all the hollows of the barge. As Methos' hips started to meld into his, he gave himself up to the music, allowing it entry into his body, letting it travel across the surfaces and into the few remaining hollows that Methos hadn't yet found. For a man who couldn’t hold a note, Duncan MacLeod was actually very musically gifted, particularly where sex was concerned. There was no rhythm too complicated. No layering too obscure. No harmony too difficult. As Methos started to move against him in time to the music, he started the counterpoint, matching his movements to the words he had last heard Walter sing on that stage in London:

"When two people dance
Here's how they start
Wrapped in each other's arms
Face to face
Heart to heart…'

Despite being the slighter man, Methos' weight would not be dislodged, and Duncan felt himself sinking under his heat and passion. Methos still imprisoned his wrists above his head and was proceeding to taste every Scottish surface that presented itself. All the while, he kept his groin moving up and across and sideways, seeking to merge the two engorged cocks trapped behind layers of denim, silk and cotton.

"Methos…." He never wanted this to end. Never wanted the heavy weight above him to ease. Wanted only to be trapped on that couch…wanted to keep dancing this dance forever. Methos said nothing. He let his body say it for him as he eased himself back onto his knees and continued to take control. He firmly turned the Scot onto his stomach…

"…Skeletons dancing
clattering bones
Making such a racket in the funeral hall
Tickling the ivories
Moans and groans
Everybody rattling
Helter skelter
Skeletons, skeletons
Dance, dance, dance…"

…and lay down perfectly on top of him, both still fully clothed. Methos pulled both of Duncan's arms back behind his head and having securely anchored the Scot he proceeded to let his mouth and tongue roam unfettered over the skin along the side of Duncan's face and neck and hands. He sighed as he reacted to the pleasure of his cock being sandwiched between his body and Duncan's and started the slow rhythmic pressure in earnest.

Thoughts of smoked chicken pasta were forgotten as a more nourishing food was substituted..

"Methos….aaargh….Methos…please…..god…..more…."

Methos was aware of the music. Aware of the candlelight. Aware that there was nothing in all of his past lives that could compare to having this man held beneath him, just so… trapped…..welcoming everything Methos was delivering. As he felt his cock swell further with the images those thoughts conveyed, he bit down instinctively into Duncan's neck as his Highlander writhed uncontrollably beneath him. "Fuck, you're easy, Duncan! Seconds to reduce you to sexual putty…oh god….I want you…want you….."

Duncan said nothing. He simply moaned and sighed and exhaled loudly and grunted his assent as Methos continued to press his cock into the denim covered buttocks below him. Duncan could feel it pressing into the hollow between his cheeks and wanted nothing more in the world than to have Methos rip away the material barriers and bury himself as far inside his Highlander's body as was possible. He wanted to feel Methos' five thousand year old heartbeat pulsating inside him. Wanted to feel his hot breath out of control. Wanted to feel taken…devastated…possessed…wanted…one…

And still Methos refused to remove any of their clothing and kept the insistent pressure of his own hips grinding into the hips below him. This motion forced Duncan's own imprisoned cock to massage itself back and forth into the material layers between Duncan's golden, overheated skin and the couch.

Methos finally pulled both of Duncan's arms beneath the Highlander's chest so that he could now completely encase the beautiful and out of control body beneath him.

"Hold me, Methos. Hold me…..tighter…tighter…..harder….fuck me…gods…fuck me…."

Methos laid his cheek heavily on top of Duncan's, and used all of his remaining strength to hold Duncan's arms out of sight beneath his chest and against the couch coverings. He positioned his feet against the foot of the couch and pushed harder and faster against the body below him, using their breathing to gauge when all sanity was about to be lost…

"…There'll be a Quickening
Soon to be done
Deep into the Great Unknown
I will send your soul a-flying…"

And with those sentiments from the accompanying Celtic opera, Methos sent both of their souls soaring as pulse after pulse of thick semen sought release from the tight confines of trapped, sandwiched flesh and denim…and still Methos kept grinding his body into his lover's. He refused to accept that mere mortal laws of physics could possibly apply. The ancient Immortal wanted nothing more than to merge totally with everything that was and would ever be Duncan MacLeod.

Hours later—minutes later—Methos opened his eyes to see flickering candles. He didn't recall setting the CD to the 'repeat' function but realised that he must have, for he was sure that he had been lying atop his lover for what seemed like days. But the CD played on…

"…You never really see the face of fear
Till you have something you fear losing
I am going to take all you hold dear
Because your fate's not of your choosing
Say goodbye now
To your lover…"

That was a dark note on which to end their lovemaking. Methos started to panic and tried to put it down to a lack of oxygen. But he admitted to himself that it was much more serious than that. He was so deeply in love with this man that the mere thought that he might lose him totally unnerved him. Yet the way Duncan lived his life made that outcome almost inevitable, and loom far too soon.

"Duncan, promise me..promise me…"

Duncan started to move languidly, conscious only of a deep sighing coming from deep inside him - miles below Methos' weight. He was vaguely aware of Methos asking something but was too satisfied to want to venture back to the physical world. Even the thought of wet and sticky semen did not in the least disturb him. He decided to let Methos mumble.

"Promise me Duncan…..stop taking challenges…"

"Mmmm, sure Methos……" The old man was so funny, so funny, Duncan inwardly laughed, when he got like this…incoherent….babbling….

Thirty minutes later, both were showered and garbed in thick bathrobes, eating slightly over-done and dry smoked chicken. But the wine was all the better for having had the extra time to breathe. Methos reached across and brushed an errant curl off his lover's forehead. Duncan instinctively turned his face to follow Methos' hand.

"I meant it, Duncan. I want you to do this for me."

This had the effect Methos thought it would have. Years ago, he had begged for Byron's life, but he'd never said the one thing that afterwards he realised would have saved Byron. He'd never said, "Do this for me…because I ask it of you…".

Duncan opened his eyes from the languid caress and shook his head, aware that something important was being asked. "Do what, Methos?"

"I can't bear it, Duncan, the thought of losing you to some pissant, little hunter…it's only a matter of time…."

"We've been down this path before, Methos. Don't go there."

Methos shook his head. "You think I don't see you clean your sword and not know why you're cleaning it? You promised me in London that you'd tell me when you were challenged."

"And you, old man, promised that you wouldn't interfere. That lasted all of two minutes—and I wasn't even in danger!"

Methos gave an uncharacteristic shrug, wiped his mouth with the serviette and reached for another drink. Duncan said nothing while Methos composed himself. Finally he shrugged again, got up from the table and walked over to the CD player and stood listening to the words of the final song, his back to Duncan:

"…Everywhere I turn your image follows
It is burned into my eyes
I will not erase your face from mem'ry
If I live a thousand lives
I don't see the use of living on
Unless you are here to sing your song
Unless you are here to hold my hand
I am a shadow of a man..
You'll be forever inside of me…"

Reaching across, he said nothing and stopped the CD from echoing his thoughts. He enjoyed these games of living chess with the Highlander and quietly congratulated himself for his success in getting Duncan to believe that he knew nothing of the many challenges that Duncan still accepted—and won.

But of course, Methos knew of them, as it was he who signed the monthly checks that ensured his lover had not one Watcher, but two. And the second Watcher swore no oath of non-interference. Indeed, smiled Methos, quite the opposite. Quite the opposite. The only thing that this man had to fear was ever coming before Methos with the news that Duncan MacLeod was dead. Then, Methos assured any passing deity, that the world would truly know what Death was capable of. He often wondered why humans made such a complicated mystery out of performance management. In his experience, it was quite simple. State what was to happen and the dire consequences of it not happening. And carry out any threats that you make. The elite security company that Methos had contracted had no doubts at all of the consequences of their failure.

He had no idea if Joe knew of the second Watcher and never intended to ask. Some things were better left unasked. That way Joe could even pretend that he still abided by his own Watcher oath.

And as long as Methos threw these minor tantrums every few months, Duncan happily went on his way, pleased with himself for seemingly keeping Methos away from his challenges and oblivious to just how far Methos would go and had gone to keep him safe. Methos decided to lighten the mood. Packing the Celtic opera back into its case, he turned and smiled. "Well, Duncan, at least your identity is safe. No one who knows you will ever in a thousand years associate you and this singing Duncan MacLeod. So I guess your secret is safe?"

Duncan laughed. "I can't be perfect in everything, can I?" He arose and walked up behind Methos, feeling guilty at his inability to give him what he wanted by staying out of the Game. He leaned in behind him, echoing a favorite pose of them both, and rested his upper body against Methos' back. "We have a busy day tomorrow. You've had months to unpack those boxes in your bookshop basement. Tomorrow we're unpacking them, and I don't want to hear any whining about where I put the contents."

'I knew that it was only a matter of time before your anal retentiveness would take charge and sweep everything up. I've got a paper to finish if I'm going to make the deadline for the April issue of "Archaeology Today". I promised."

"Yeah, you're very selective in your promises. You promised me you'd sort out all those boxes before we have another flood."

"Mmm, I will. I promise," the world's oldest liar lied.

The world's most gullible boy scout smiled. Leaning forward, he gently kissed the smooth and responsive skin of Methos' throat. "Good. It's good to be prepared." And taking firm hold of the five thousand year old arms of his lover, he steered him to their bed where there was no doubt, at least in that place, other promises of endless loving had far more hope of being fulfilled. The sighs and groans of their bodies falling into each other soon offered more tangible proof.

The last conscious thought that Methos had was a fragment of the MacLeod opera, playing over and over in his head as he slipped deeper and deeper into his Highlander's sated body:

"…there'll be no other in my heart
For the rest of eternity
You will always be part of me…"

"Good night, Methos."

An unintelligible mumble about "…bonny eyes…" in reply said all that needed to be said. Keeping up with Methos was, the Scot yawned, a most exhausting past time…Duncan snuggled closer into the planes and valleys of Methos' body and felt the long, firm arms enfolding him, holding him fast. Protecting him. No food to feed his nightmares tonight..…Only love, and hope _ and joy.

And as darkness descended over the haunting cathedral of Notre Dame and the protected barge beneath it, Duncan MacLeod closed his bonny eyes… and Methos held his Highlander's body fast…

 

Finis.

Carson Kearns

January, 2000.

All lyrics from the Opera CD are from 'Highlander: A Celtic Opera by Roger Bellon. 1999

All lyrics from poems or journal entries attributed to Methos &/or Duncan are by Carson Kearns.

Well? Whaddya reckon?? Please let me know...feedback is my fuel....

carsonkearns@hotmail.com

Please also let me know if you have any plot ideas or scenes that you would like me to write about or incorporate into the Lost in the Loving universe.

 


January 2000.
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