|Carson Kearns' Highlander Fanfic|
Lost in the Loving:
Warning, Background and Disclaimer
THIS IS NC-17
RATED: Male/Male Sex
All standard disclaimers apply. The Highlander characters are the property of Davis-Panzer 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.
I would also like to thank my amazing beta reader, Ruth whose brilliant insights and encouragement got me this far and keep me going. All remaining typos etc are of course completely my responsibility.
Thank you everyone who has emailed me with comments. It's because of this feedback that I've been inspired to keep writing.....
Scotland. Summer 2001
Methos gazed out over the beautiful stillness of the lake. It had been a long time since beauty and peace had been any part of his life. With Duncan had come beauty, of course. But never peace.
Leaning back against the nearest tree, he breathed deeply and let himself be caught up in the tranquillity of the setting. He deserved it, he told himself. Ever the cynic, however, he wondered what eddies and currents - what monsters - lurked beneath the still waters before him. Five thousand years should have taught him to take nothing for granted, that just when you most relaxed, just when you let yourself get lost in the loving, the monsters would start circling, and destroy it all.
How many times, he wondered, could he say that name over and over. How long before it lost its power over him? How could he, with all his years of living, of knowing what life had a habit of doing - how could he have ever taken their future for granted?
Certainly, he berated himself, he had taken the Highlander's strength for granted. As he had, once, taken his sanity for granted, with disastrous results for them all. And with death for Richie. But one sin, he reassured himself, of which he had never been guilty, was ever taking Duncan's love for granted. He leaned back against the solid bulk of the trunk behind him, letting it take the weight of his 5000 years. He let his memories and his conscience re-visit those tragic events when he had assumed that Duncan would and could cope with anything and anyone. He had been hopelessly, disastrously wrong.
He doubted his failure to prevent what happened then and afterwards would ever really leave him at peace. He laughed quietly.
"Gods," he muttered aloud. "It must be the bloody air or something. I'm sounding like a brooding Scot!"
He leaned down and pulled another beer out of his backpack and let himself slip down the trunk of the tree, so that he was sitting comfortably, back still supported. He had spent too many years feeling unsupported in any way, shape or form. And too many years failing to give support.
Gazing out over the still waters of the lake he marvelled at how truly beautiful this place was. No wonder Duncan had always loved it so, he reflected. Without realising it, he started to nod his head, slowly, agreeing with himself. No, not with himself, he realised, agreeing with Duncan. He could hear him down the years, laughing, eyes flashing with good humor and love, - Methos telling him that one day he would bring him to his home, "...Glenfinnan, on the shores of Loch Shiel..." he had mimicked. He gazed out over the lake, letting the place that had nurtured Duncan begin to seep into his soul.
He whispered, "I promised you, Highlander. I kept my word. I brought you home."
Tears started to fall slowly down his cheeks and he did nothing to stop them.. It was a welcome release. There was something about this place that reached out to him and gave him comfort in no doubt the same way it had always done for Duncan. He decided that he liked this experience, discovering the land that nurtured Duncan and made him into the magnificent warrior that he had become.
The saltiness of his tears mingled with the alcohol on his lips. He started talking to himself, a bad habit of late. "Tears and beer! Well MacLeod, that certainly sums up my life since our first meeting," he mumbled, leaning down to let his lips play with the neck of the bottle, beginning to lose himself in the remembering.
He quietly chuckled, even amidst the tears. That had been a favorite game, out in public, in restaurants, Galleries. One of them would look up, only to find the other sensually rubbing a lip with the neck of a bottle (or a finger), seemingly innocent, the tip of the tongue exposing itself just enough to hint at private sensual pleasures before retreating quickly, leaving a moist trail on the luscious lips. Duncan, he recalled, had it down to a bloody art form!
Methos swallowed, just thinking about it, and felt the first stirrings of desire as the memory of those lips and those amazing hands started to wash over him and take hold. Duncan's hands. A warrior's hands. A lover's hands. An artist's hands, moulding, creating, giving life where there was none. Such love in those fingers, such strength, gentility, surety. They could always stir long dead feelings, reactions. Awaken the dead.
To have given such life where there had been formless clay would have, he knew, marked Duncan out as a god in many of the cultures and times through which Methos had existed.
The splash of the lone swimmer broke his train of thought and drew his eye to the long sensual strokes of the golden arms and the cascading water pouring from the body as it ploughed through the still waters of the Loch.
What was it about water, he wondered, that was so sensual? He seized the fragment of memory and focused every sense on rebuilding it, recapturing it. The memory was to do with Duncan, and he had long ago determined that he would remember every fragment, every snippet, every syllable. Not for the dry archival reporting of his journals, but to remind himself, constantly what they meant to each other. Gradually the scene he was searching for began to play itself out before him...
...It had been the winter of 1999, the morning after a particularly theatrical and hurtful argument. Duncan had disappeared for days and Methos had finally found him sitting alone in the Luxembourg Gardens, amidst the snow. He started to laugh aloud as the voices in his head began to speak. After the reconciliation he and Duncan were lazing in bed, in the barge, satiated, exhausted, tangled in each other's presence and bodies. Languid and satiated. All Methos had wanted to do was sleep, but Duncan had started muttering about how water was the most sensual medium that he knew. Methos' own pleas for silence, he recalled, met deaf ears. Duncan had insisted on sharing his thoughts and feelings out loud and keeping Methos awake. That voice, so low and erotic, murmured insistently in his ear of the slickness of the water, its sucking motions against the barge, how it always stimulated him. Duncan had suddenly started to laugh out loud, revealing to a fully awakened and aroused Methos his realisation how phallic the barge was, and how feminine the Seine. Methos smiled, remembering how he had accused Duncan of being an appalling macho stereotype, citing the T-bird and the barge, amongst other pieces of evidence.
"Surrounded by all that subliminal stimulation, no wonder you're always so horny," he had teased. Of course, what always made such retorts doubly delicious, was watching Duncan mentally worry over them, obsessing slightly.
Until I distracted him.
With his awareness now returning to the vista of the beautiful, silent loch, he further recalled how Duncan was so very easily distracted in that regard.........
The trouble with alcohol, Methos mused, swigging another mouthful of beer, was that it freed up not only the mouth, but also the soul and the memories. Despite the pull of the glorious Loch and the distraction of the golden skinned swimmer ploughing its surface, Methos found that his thoughts were returning again, as they so often did, to that fateful night in Paris four years before, when his lover had discovered what hell looked like, what its heat felt like and what its bitterness tasted like.
Can hurt and pain be infinite, he wondered? Does it ever heal? Can a soul have an endless dark night? In five thousand years he had never known a bleaker, blacker night than that night three years before when Duncan had killed Richie Ryan. A night that never ended. He had never felt such emptiness. He had never felt such frailty in the face of such tragedy.
The night after Byron's killing at Duncan's hands had been an appalling example of how they could inflict lethal blows on the soul. It now seemed ridiculously petty and silly, throwing away days of happiness, not appreciating how quickly the grains of sand were beginning to fall away.
He had rarely before that night of Byron's death, denied his lover, their mergings - as close as either ever came to complete surrender of all sense, senses and sensibility. Every nerve. Every feeling. Every wanting and craving. And oblivion, "...sweet sweet oblivion..." for them both could be defined by the complete, inexorable, passionate surrender of self.
But he berated himself at the memory of the times they had taken a pernicious delight in hurting each other. Who had needed swords when words and a look could inflict such pain? It hadn't come as naturally to Duncan as it had to him, but the combination of a fast learner and a good teacher had been fatal.
On the night of Richie's death Duncan had sought from him a different annihilation, a total absence of being, seeing no way home, no way back. Just an endless, mindless one way journey into the center of nothingness.
Methos let the beer wash around his mouth, enjoying the stimulation, wondering why he couldn't better control these unwelcome memories. But they insinuated themselves when he was vulnerable, as he was now, watching the golden swimmer before him.
He had no doubt Duncan fully intended killing himself that night of Richie's death - and for a long time thereafter..
Taking forever the only fire and passion Id felt in centuries.
After five thousand years, he would once again have no warming body or spirit, no laughter, no soul in which to lose himself.
He remembered looking down that night at his fallen Archangel, on his knees before him.
'......a slow and silent stream,
Lethe, the River of Oblivion, rolls
her wat'ry labrynth,...'
But for Duncan, that night, it seemed the river of death could not take him soon enough.
Methos recalled that he had had to do many things in five thousand years that could be defined as hard. But nothing compared to having to keep holding Joe Dawson while Duncan walked away into the darkness, leaving behind the slaughtered remains of Richie Ryan.
And it had taken what seemed like hours to help get Joe settled, to question Richie's Watcher. And all the while, as he comforted Joe, he had been silently screaming to Duncan to wait for him. And he had no idea, no idea at all, how this could be salvaged, how their relationship, or Duncan could in any way emerge intact from this latest farcical tragedy.
He had no doubt that they had totally failed each other.
On the evidence before him, he'd decided that Duncan had finally gone completely insane. And none of Methos' wit or wisdom, insights or counsel has been able to stop it.
An eternity later he had finally arrived at Darius' church...
As he had entered he had seen Duncan kneeling, arms wrapped around himself, rocking back and forth, tears streaming down his face and neck. He had had no idea what language the keening was in but had assumed, correctly, it was Lakota, for it had been in that culture that Duncan had lost another son and another family.
Despite the state Duncan had been in, he recalled how relieved he had felt, the feeling flooding his being and weakening his knees, rendering him immobile for some seconds as he stood looking at his ravaged Archangel.... He had feared the worst, that Duncan may have, somehow, committed suicide.
The memories were now painful and he shifted against the tree, tightening his grip on the bottle as he was once again back there, afterwards, in the bathroom in the barge, gathering towels and a hot wash cloth. As he'd knelt down before the destroyed man he'd noted that Duncan had in no way acknowledged his presence.
He had started to wipe Duncan's face and eyes, rubbing the warmth into his neck. Even in deep shock, Duncan had intuitively turned his face into the touch, like a cat. Gently he'd wiped blood off the younger mans powerful hands and towelled them dry. The total lack of resistance had been heartbreaking. His beautiful hair was sticky and stiff, blood spattered through it.
Making a decision, he had reached across and pulled the lax man to his feet, shepherding him towards the bathroom. Here he'd stripped him, clinically and methodically, and discarded the clothing. He couldn't remember a time when he could have thought that he could be holding his naked lover in his arms and have all sexual yearning and responses set aside. But he did then. The care of Duncan's sanity and soul were his only focus.
He had also stripped himself and steered a still numb Duncan into a hot, steamy shower. Here Duncan had at least reacted, immediately slumping against the wall, as if trying to escape from yet another assault on his body and senses. Methos had quickly washed him, removing all traces of the evenings activities, then rinsed him off and wrapped him in two of the large bathsheets. Carefully he had sat him down, quickly getting himself dried and dressed, and then gently led him to the bed.
And still no words, just the shaking , the staring, the keening.
He had laid him down and rubbed him dry, hoping that the stimulation might evoke some response. But there had been nothing. He'd found some warm sweat pants and a top and had clothed him and led him back to the fireplace, letting him kneel down once more.
And as soon as he had left him, to get a fire started, Duncan had wrapped his arms around himself again, as if terrified that he would simply leak away or evaporate. As the fire took hold and grew, he had watched the flames reflect off Duncan's haunted face. It showed no warmth, no heat, nothing. Nothing, it seemed, was going to be able to penetrate this deeply wounded man before him.
He had gone to the kitchen and boiled the jug for some hot sweet tea, not knowing how long it had been since Duncan had eaten anything. As he found the tea leaves he remembered again why he had no idea. He had been ignoring him, punishing him. For Byron. He hadn't intended it to go on much beyond the next few days. They had all the time in the world, in any event. And no one did angst like Duncan, so why not leave him alone for a few days to brood? It had seemed so simple, really. And their reconciliations were always so passionate and intense.
As he poured the tea he thought of how he had, in the end, relented, and had come to the Barge yesterday only to find Duncan storming towards him screaming out to him, asking him if he'd seen Kronos. Methos had decided that Duncan was decidedly drunk, or playing some cosmic joke.
"If only," he'd whispered to himself, turning to look with pain at the other Immortals ravaged expression, the empty eyes. "If only I'd waited for you yesterday. Listened to you."
It was so clear now, in the summer of 2000, but such a joke then. Even from three years later, it had seemed like a silly joke. And even more so when Duncan had started raving about red fog, glowing eyes, reanimated corpses.
Silly idiocy, born out of watching too many horror movies with Richie, he had decided. Yet another indulgence, knowing how much Duncan actually hated horror movies. He laughed, remembering what a tremendous delight it had been to make Duncan sit through some appalling American horror movie, watching his warrior grow increasingly uncomfortable, be unable to sit still, start finding excuses to leave the room. Needing distraction afterwards.
He had stopped these memories and finished pouring the tea and looked down at Duncan. He'd not the slightest idea what had really happened or why it had. But the boy Ryan was dead, and dead at his teacher's hand. Indeed, he solemnly mused, dead at his father's hand.
He'd walked back to the fireplace and knelt down behind him, pulling him back towards him so that he could dry his hair and feed him the tea. Surprisingly, he let Methos feed him, draining the cup and another. But still he had not spoken.
Methos' memories were suddenly shattered by the body moving with such power towards him. Arm over arm sliced through the still waters, the sun glistening off the spray.
It was appropriate, mused Methos, that he should be reminded that Duncan always disturbed tranquillity. When had Duncan's mere presence not managed to turn Methos' world inside out and upside down, leaving a wake of monumental proportions? The golden arms continued to slice through the water, swiftly closing the distance between the swimmer and the man on the shore.
"Bloody Scots!" sighed Methos, shaking his head in disbelief at how anybody could voluntarily submit themselves to such icy torture. Perhaps though, not so strange an action for a person who adored total stimulation and sensation.
Taking yet another sip of his beer, he imagined what it would be like, to strip naked and dive into the chilled waters of the lake and to feel, inch by inch, every part of one's body being encompassed and caressed. The swimmer, he knew, would be in need of some warming, and very soon.
He was shaken out of his reverie by the sounds of laughter as the swimmer reached the shore. He emerged from the dark waters like a Greek god, the golden sun rising behind him, water droplets running sensually in all directions.
"...Beautiful," sighed Methos.
The long dark hair, beautiful chest, firm legs. His lower body was encased in bike shorts so Methos was unable to linger there.
So close.........he could almost,
...have been Duncan.
The golden god smiled at Methos, quickly towelled himself dry and departed, now leaving no one to distract Methos' reverie or provide a welcome alternative to thinking about why he was here.
He gathered up his numerous empties, re-secured his backpack, tightened his hiking shoes and left for the trip back to the large house he had managed to secure for the next fortnight. No mean achievement in this season, he congratulated himself aloud. After all, with Joe, Anne and Mary coming he intended ensuring that everyone had their privacy. It was going to be a harrowing few days as it was, without all bumping into each other at every turn. And he was at heart a very private person. Which had, he knew, made opening himself up to the Highlander even more amazing. The crisp weather settled around him comfortably and he found it too easy to keep thinking while he closed the distance between this part of Loch Shiel and the house.
"You should be proud of yourself, Highlander!"
The pre-Duncan Methos, he knew, would never have taken on the organisation of what had to be done. I'd have run a thousand miles and then some. But he knew what this would mean to Duncan and he knew no one in life or death who would ever be able to emotionally manipulate him like Duncan always could. Even if it hadn't always been obvious to him.
<<Even I always thought, for a time, that I was the puppet master, Duncan.>>
He stopped, taking in the glorious view, feeling insignificant amidst the haunting, brooding beauty of the glens and peaks. The earth and all the living and mythical forces that composed and layered it suddenly seemed to permeate and surround him and he realised that if it was possible for a man to take on all the characteristics of a place then truly, Duncan had. As he breathed it in, he felt those Celtic otherworlds that had nurtured Duncan and shaped him, so that he embodied and emanated not only the dark and brooding elements but also the joy, the sheer magnetism of repressed power, the rigid codes of acceptance, duty, honor and obligation. Stability always on a knife edge of volatility. Haunting beauty. Wildness. Passion and tears. Just closing one's eyes was enough to feel the grief (and strength) of centuries in the surrounding elements. Duncan truly was a cherished Celtic Prince, in every sense of the word.
Methos had long ago decided that no one did grief like the Celts did grief. They had honed it to a sharp, masochistic edge. It seemed to enervate them even amidst the despair and the howling. It fed their souls, their fires and their fantasies, their long nights and their brutal days. It delivered heroes and gods and mythical beasts and beautiful heroines. It whispered of treachery, denial, longing. It inspired with brave deeds and raw courage. It threatened. It enticed. It offered Otherworlds for when this one became too unbearable. It taunted with thin veils between the physical and the non-physical. Its tenets, beliefs, mysteries, stole in on the wings of mythical beasts and spread far and wide around the words spoken and unspoken. It claimed and finally surrounded and took possession of mortal reason.
<<Bloody hell, Duncan. You never stood a chance after your first death. There was no way they were going to pass up an opportunity like that to create another bloody mystery to be brooded over and whispered about down the centuries......the dark warrior faerie child, born on the winter's solstice......if you hadn't existed, Highlander, they'd have invented you.>>
And much as he wanted to avoid what lay just ahead on the path he decided that it would be cowardly. So he stopped at the two freshly turned graves now alongside Duncan's parents, Iain and Mary, and noted that Rachel had been busy already, planting and preparing the ground for tomorrow's ceremony.
He hadnt seen Rachel since the day he had delivered Duncan safely home to the Barge, after the Dark Quickening. But they had begun talking yesterday as if they had been friends for years. She had always been so accepting of Duncan and as the various emails and phone calls over the past years had shown, shed never denied where his home was and the home of his family and friends. Glenfinnan. On the shores of Loch Shiel.
//...."I'll transplant some mistletoe," Rachel had sighed.
"Mistletoe?" he queried. "OK, I give up. It's a bit early for Christmas, so why mistletoe?"
She had clucked and rolled her eyes, her smile lightening the exasperation she expressed for the products of contemporary schooling. " 'Tis the symbol of all-healing, immortality and strength, long before it was bastardised for an excuse for a quick kiss," she informed him.
He had laughed at her supposition of his youth and inadequate education, and the poignancy of the association with immortality.
"If you'd had the benefit of a classical education, Adam, ye'd know yer Pliny and we wouldna be having this conversation about mistletoe," she'd chided.
<<Bloody Pliny. Pretentious prick. I even helped him write some of the Natural History!>> he had silently consoled himself, not at all happy with being considered ignorant.
And then shed said it. And this is so right. This is where they should be buried. This is where the Clan honors its own. Glenfinnan. On the shores of Loch Shiel....."
He sniggered, remembering.........Its become a bloody mantra, he'd once scowled at Duncan, repeating it ad nauseam for the next 10 minutes, Glenfinnan, on the shores of Loch Shiel, until Duncan had started tickling him. Soon he found a much better use for his throat and vocal cords.
And he was also now honest enough to acknowledge that he would do anything to avoid being where he was, standing by these two waiting holes in the ground. Think of any conversation, like the one yesterday with Rachel about mistletoe and Pliny. Recall any incident, no matter how trivial. Seize any excuse to go mentally travelling. Staring at the waiting black holes he started to talk aloud, verbally seeking his lover.
"You would have thought, Duncan, that after five thousand years I would have learned to confront and accept the physical trappings of death. But I haven't. I've never been back to Alexa's grave. I should have buried her in Greece. And I've never told you how much it meant to me to have you take over all those arrangements, be with me."
When no one answered he ceased talking and hugged himself at the sudden chill that surrounded him. <<So, Highlander, I hope you appreciate what I'm doing for you.>>
He moved closer to Duncan's parent's gravestones. It was virtually impossible to read the abraded script but he took the opportunity to simply touch them, feeling an amazing connection to the people who had loved and protected - and disowned - his lover. And suddenly he was back in the remembering, back in the Barge, arguing with Duncan about the frustrations and the burden of anonymity, - disconnectedness.
They had been playing a game of chess that had gone on for a week. Each was fiercely competitive over the smallest of things. Alpha males. Mostly. Duncan was a superb strategist but didn't have Methos' gift of bluff.
"It helps to be naturally devious, I guess," Duncan had offered, hoping to distract him.
"Guess it does," Methos had agreed, calling forth his most disarming smile. He secretly called it his Bishop Smile after that, because that (amongst other things) was what it had gained him. Duncan's Bishop. Intense lovemaking followed the capture, and Duncan had insisted on some exquisite punishments for the victor, because of his "...underhanded misuse of his physical assets to distract the superior player."
Afterwards they had lain on the floor by the fire, Methos' head securely nestled on Duncan's lap, Duncan's finger tips playing with the fine line of hairs between Methos' navel and groin, so different to the Highlander's own dark and coarser covering. Softly plucking. Playing. Savouring the Glenmorangie. This was an old game now - berating Duncan for his spoiled childhood.
"And what have you got to brood about anyway?" Methos had chided. "You at least had a home. Had parents you remember. Your home still exists. Your bloody Country still exists. I can't even remember where I was born or even if I ever knew. I have no recollection of a family. No relatives. You turn up in Glenfinnan and can still recognise landmarks, go on walks you went on as a bloody kid....still be the fucking Clan Chief."
Duncan had stopped him at that point by moving his fingers just a bit lower, just as his rich dark voice dropped in volume, taking on a dangerously enticing, erotic quality. "I didn't know that having a family was that important to you, Methos. You always make fun of things like that," he'd whispered, blowing hot air onto his face as he leaned into a kiss. It was what Methos secretly called his Ravisher Voice. Because once he triggered it nothing would distract him from having what he wanted: Methos.
"I only make fun of it because ... "
"....it gets a rise out of me. You think I don't know when you're pushing my buttons..." Duncan had growled, starting to breathe more quickly, pinching Methos' nipple with some vigour.
"Owwww!" and as Duncan had started to pinch harder Methos had quickly grabbed his other hand and placed it over his unattended nipple. "More!"
"Why not just say More in the first place, instead of yelping......" Duncan had mumbled, most of his mouth now filled with Methos' neck. "And you can't have five thousand years and clear memories as well. Stop whining."
He remembered the way Duncan's newly grown out hair had tickled as it stroked his neck, marvelling at how every aspect of Duncan's body could entice in its own way. And when those aspects combined, Methos would have defied any living person to withstand the sensory assault.
"I'm not whining. Simply stating a fact. That I'm deprived and you're one of the few Iimmortals I've ever known who got to have a secure family life. Gods, keep doing that... " he'd moaned, as Duncan sought to press the life out of him with the full weight of his body.
"Youre a masochist. And you are whining. I brood. You whinge. There's a difference. Brooding befits a Warrior. Its what we do. You can't have a whining warrior," he'd continued to tease. "But a researcher can whinge." Verbal teasing. Tactile teasing. Letting his body start a slow gyration as it slowly but completely overpowered the more refined model beneath.
"I want yours, then." Methos had shot back at him, determined to keep playing and not let Duncan think that he could always get away with distracting him from whatever weighty issue was being argued over and debated at length.
"It's yours. Roll over..."
"Not that - well, not yet," Methos had quickly corrected. "I want some of your memories."
Duncan had pulled back, finally distracted enough to really listen to what Methos had been saying. "I'll do better. I'll make you a kinsman. Then my family will also be yours. Mind you, I don't know that they would have particularly liked you. My Father wouldnt have understood you at all. But I think my Mother would have liked you very much. But for a male, brawn was valued over brain."
"Clearly!" But he hadn't been quick enough to miss the gentle whap that retort earned him, after which Duncan had threaded his fingers through Methos' and held his arms securely above his head on the floor. As he started to move his hips, beginning the dance, leaning in to help himself to whatever delights Methos' mouth could provide when his tongue was silenced, Duncan had mumbled something else.
Breaking for air, Methos had asked him to repeat it.
"I said 'As long as you remember who the Clan Chief is....."
The moaning didn't allow for much coherent speech after that. Just fragments. Something to do with Duncan devising a suitable punishment if Methos ever forget who the Chief was......
Go to Chapter 2
Re-edited 24 October 2000