Carson Kearns' Highlander Fanfic
Lost in the Loving: Coming Home
by Carson Kearns
He was back there.
Dreams gathered him up and took him back, when it all became too hard. When life was too complex. In dreams he would go back to his teachers, and devote himself, and purify his heart, his soul and his mind. He would discipline every fibre of his being...of his nothingness... and eventually, their voices broke through and the tears would slow,.and he would be left hollowed out, dry, but alive.
And he would raise his head and look into
the eyes of Buddha, pure enlightenment.
Lamala kyabsuchao (I take refuge in the
....then you notice
that the sky and the sea
have vanished too.
Just space is left.
Lovely, lovely space, going on forever....
that space stays long
if you can do without you. Not you and space, you see
...Another means to help the dead is the practice of the Hundred Peaceful and Wrathful Deities....the deities send out thousands of rays of light, which stream out to the dead and purify all their negative karma...
...All things are impermanent, and all things die...
And it was this last statement that always brought him undone, because his very existence seemed to fly in the face of the Buddha himself. He didn’t die. Or perhaps he did die...endless regeneration....endless rebirth....
All pleasure and pain, and all delusions exist nowhere apart from your mind
To attain control over your own mind;
this is the heart of the practice for the bardo of becoming....
Like her mother, she was mesmerised by the performance of the remarkable man spinning around the floor, who was larger than any fantasy in her life. She watched in wonder as he spun magic for her, amidst the prisms of light and color.
Duncan immediately went into the long, flowing sequences of cuts, thrusts,
slices, stabs and parries, all combining in precisely predetermined patterns of
movement. Methos found himself giving an exposition, without ever consciously
deciding to do so. “You have seen Duncan do Kata before, Anne? Each Kata is a
simply a sequence of those predetermined movements. You’ll notice that he
started with the relatively simple movement of sword-drawing and now he’s
quickly following with omote-ken-jutsu, the novice sword-art Kata.”
Anne looked at the movements, fascinated. “There’s nothing ‘simple’ about it, Adam.’
“True. The more skilful the practitioner, the simpler it looks. And Duncan has been doing these daily for a very, very, long time.”
Duncan had meanwhile moved on to various forms of bo. Methos continued quietly, “And finally comes the eight foot long naginata.” Even Methos had to admit to being transfixed as Duncan twirled it so quickly it could have been a drum stick.
|It flashed through the air in great arcs as he twisted it
before returning to the intricate, fast and short-lived sword-art
Sweat was now dripping from his body and he had discarded his top. He was
relentless, thrusting and parrying, turning and striking. Despite the
presence of the three in the room, he never lost focus, never let himself
Not content with his level of exhaustion he then picked up the 9 foot spear and used it to deliver the traditional stabbing strikes made with screwing motions.
He then took up hiskatana. Methos knew what this action symbolised and what taking it up on today of all days meant. Because of Mary’s presence he didn’t bother to vocalise the fact that, unknown to non-practioners of the art, the smallest blow was capable of delivering death instantly. A cut to the crotch would cause death in twenty seconds; one to the armpits more quickly still and a cut to the side of the throat would sever the jugular and bring death within three to four seconds.
"Centuries of feeling the way air moves around solid bodies - not that there's
too much solid about Adam's scrawny body!" he jibed.
The slight tension of the moment was effectively relieved by visions of the fierce highland warrior in a tutu as Mary announced, “Unca Duncan’s a ballerina. I’m going to be a ballerina just like him, arnten I M'Adam?”
Duncan gave Methos a threatening look. “Don’t say it. Don’t even think it.”
“Okay Giselle, you’ve got a deal.” Laughing, all decided that Duncan definitely needed a shower and that a Scottish breakfast was to be the next item on the day's agenda.
Snippets of conversation echoed around the beautiful room as the group departed, - something about Methos wanting to observe Duncan’s various balletic positions when Duncan had finished sewing on his sequins.
“I’ll never have delusions of grandeur with all of you around. My brooding Highland warrior persona is reduced to a sniffling worrier. And as if that’s not bad enough, “ he pretended to pout, "my stunning evocation of the way of the warrior gets turned into a scene from Swan Lake. I definitely need some porridge!"
Ten minutes later Duncan stood luxuriating in the steamy shower. He gave himself up to being totally stimulated by the hot needles pricking his face, back and neck. He let it beat down on his face and let it wash around his mouth, before having to draw back for breath. He had thoroughly enjoyed the early morning exercise in the Conservatory and, remembering Mary’s observations, laughed aloud. Duncan the ballerina....Dancing Duncan.
He rubbed the heather scented shampoo into his hair and onto his chest and pubic hair, finding his thoughts turning to Methos and how much he had enjoyed being challenged by their sword fight. Methos, he knew, didn’t often open himself up so completely, always seeming to hold himself back, somehow.
Not like Tessa.
And suddenly the need and memories were tangible
things, swirling all around him, mixing with the steam,
saturating him. Guilt. Unanswered questions he had been avoiding for
weeks surfaced. Now - only hours before the ceremony, it permeated him.
Why had he agreed to bring her body to Glenfinnan?
//At least in Paris I could visit her. What was I thinking? She doesn’t know Scotland. She hasn’t got any family in Scotland! Who will visit her grave?// He was suddenly furious with himself for having been so selfish. For having ignored her family’s pleas. He dried himself and dressed.
Methos found him, some twenty minutes later, standing at the window of their room looking out over the mountains and the Loch. One arm rested on the window, and the other covered his mouth.
“Duncan? Breakfast has been ready for fifteen
minutes. What’s the
He didn’t turn, but kept staring out the window. Slowly he took his hand away from his mouth. But the words tumbled out, in no order at all. “What have I done? Why did I bring her here? Scotland means nothing to Tessa. She hasn’t got any of her family here. In Paris I visited her all the time. Her family visited her. What’s wrong with me? Am I just getting Richie and Tessa out of my way, under the guise of bringing them home? Maybe I just want them away from me, from Paris. Why did I bring them here? By what right do I even still call Glenfinnan home? When you___”
Methos stopped the rambling and guilt by coming up behind him, putting his arms around him, and leaning his head against his shoulder blades. “This is so_typically_.you. So very bloody typically you. I could have set my watch by this outburst.”
Duncan pulled away, angry. “Sorry to be so boringly consistent.”
“No. I can assure you that you are many things, but you’re never boring. Frustrating? Yes. Infuriating? Yes. Predictable? Yes. Case in point? What you’re doing now. You’ve determined to be angry and to find something to fuel that anger. And you’ll try and manufacture something. So why not let me save you another hour of guilt and make it easy for you if what you've just poured out has any truth to it. As it was my idea to bring them here, this has clearly been a nefarious plot on my part to separate you from your loved ones. And you’re clearly so weak-willed, that anyone can talk you into anything you don’t want to do. Particularly when it concerns two of the dearest people in your life. So," he leaned back once again to rest on Duncan's back, “I manufactured it, and manipulated you into going along with it. So there’s only one solution, Highlander. Send both coffins back to Paris and send me packing.”
Duncan folded his arms against the glass and leaned on them, “How do you do it? I was really beginning to get lost inside a major dark brood and you come along and with one puff, blow it all away and leave me feeling naked and stupid.”
“Well, there you go. There’s something else to feel angry with me about.”
“I don’t want to feel angry with you. I was suddenly just so - ” he fumbled with the words, clearly frustrated, unable to articulate the thoughts for some seconds, "- frightened. And I couldn’t remember why on earth I thought this was a good idea. Remind me, Methos. Please. Tell me again why this was a good idea?” He was still leaning against the window, but raised his head to look out over the scenery stretched out before him. “You know, sometimes I feel that if I let go," he whispered, "I'll never stop falling."
“You can let go. I mightn’t always catch you the first time, but I’ll always come looking. And I’ll always find you.” He leaned into the warm, beautiful back. “And I’ll always, eventually, catch you,” Methos assured him. He left his ear against Duncan’s back, continuing to luxuriate in the feel of the vibrations against his face, everytime Duncan spoke.
Methos closed his eyes in frustration as Duncan continued, seemingly oblivious to Methos’ attempts to halt the guilt.
“Methos I feel the weight of those two coffins. Did I bring them here because I so rarely come here? So I won’t have to see them any more, every time I drive past that cemetery in Paris? Have I somehow fooled myself into thinking that it’s some noble act. When all it is, is getting the physical evidence of my failures as far away from me as possible?” He gave a disgusted snigger. “Make them my parent’s responsibility? How ironic. Wonderful! Just what my Father would have expected from me. Another monumental failure on his son’s part. All of their hopes turned to ashes when I didn’t stay dead.” He suddenly stopped, turning around suddenly. “That’s it. That’s what this is about.” He pulled away from the window and fell to the bed.
Methos continued to stand by the window, waiting to see what the Highlander was going to reveal, knowing that whatever it was, it would simply be another weapon from his past to brutalise himself with. Sometimes, he felt as if he hated Duncan’s parents, with a passion.
Duncan looked up at the man standing by the window, but his eyes took on a distant glaze. “If I’d stayed dead, they’d have mourned, been heart-broken. But their lives would have gone on. As a couple, they would have survived. But I lived and the price of my living was the death of everything for them. Their relationship never recovered. My Mother couldn’t forgive him for banishing me. He lost his faith. It was all destruction. Because I lived. And now I’m bringing back two more corpses, but you and I know that I could be bringing back a hundred. And I keep living.”
Methos listened, realising where Duncan was going to take this. He determined to stop him. “So?” he stated, the word, the emotion, brutally clipped.
Duncan stared at him, horrified. “So? What do you mean ‘So’? That’s what this is about. I’m just gathering, in the one spot, more deaths, more of my failures, more of ....”
The sentence was never finished. He never saw Methos move but his head jerked back painfully as the words were cut off by the back of Methos’ hand across his mouth.. And because Methos had more warning than Duncan, of what was to happen, he was prepared when Duncan’s eyes flashed fire and when, from nowhere, he produced a knife.
Methos clutched Duncan’s shoulders and drew one hand up to grab the long hair, immobilising the beautiful head. He allowed five thousand year’s worth of experience and learning and frustration to enter the ice of his eyes and to wash over the fire of the Highlander’s eyes. “Stop it. Duncan, listen to me. Stop it. No one knows better than me how difficult it is to leave past regrets and past sins behind. But what you keep brutalizing yourself with had nothing to do with your intents or motivations or wishes or desires. If I can live with death and destruction that I did intend, surely you can live with destruction that you didn’t? I refuse to listen to you continuing to savage yourself like this. There's a point where self-recrimination becomes self-indulgence!”
Duncan continued to breathe quickly and heavily, his adrenalin still surging from the attack and the emotional turmoil he was battling with. He wisely said nothing when Methos continued. “Yes, your Father rejected you. Yes, the beloved son arose a demonic monster. Yes, their world crumbled. So tell me what you could possibly have done differently? Nothing! Duncan. Read my lips. Not one fucking thing. And if their world crumbled afterwards, at least they and you had more than your fair share of good times. It was more than most others ever dream about. Tessa died at the hands of a lunatic, - a drug-crazed gunman. It happens every day all around the world. It could have happened years before. It might have happened the next week. You know all this. Stop doing this to yourself. And to us.”
Finally, Methos stopped, paused and took a deep breath. “Do you know your
Duncan was still very angry. “Surprise me! I’m sure you do and are about to tell me.”
Methos never stopped engaging with the magnificent eyes. “Bright boy! I do happen to have an opinion which I do intend to share with you. Where do you think your parents are?”
Duncan frowned and tried to pull away.
“Duncan? Where are your parents? Why is it so hard to answer me?”
The Highlander’s eyes looked up at Methos in genuine confusion. “I don’t understand the question. They’re dead, Methos. Happy? D..E..A..D. What was so fundamental about that incisive revelation? It’s hardly the latest news.”
“Once again. Where are they Duncan?”
“As far as I know they’re six feet under the earth, half a mile from here. Happy now?”
“Where are they Duncan?”
Duncan continued to stare at Methos and then his face took on the pain of centuries of unrequited grief as the answer to Methos’ question started to break free from somewhere long buried inside him. “I don’t know where they are. I wasn’t there when they were buried. I know where their gravestones are because that’s what I was told. But I wasn’t there to say goodbye or say any prayers or weep next to them or soothe them when they were drawing their last breath, or hold them in my arms when the light started fading, and tell them it would be all right. That I’d be there to look after the one left behind. To tell them how much I loved them and how proud I was to be their son. To beg forgiveness for living when I should have died. They were such good people, Methos. And I was their only child. And I didn’t bury them. I should have sent them on their last journey. And I didn’t bury Richie. I wasn’t there for him either. And Tessa’s family took control of the funeral in Paris. The look in her mother’s eyes still haunts me. And the ceremony was theirs, not mine, or Tessa’s. It wasn’t what she would have wanted. It helped them. But not me. Not Tessa.. I took her away with me. I didn’t protect her. And then I couldn’t even fucking bury her properly.” He wiped away tears that had started to fall.
“Oh Duncan, Duncan, Duncan. Where are they?” Methos continued to whisper, kissing the bowed head before him.
“I don’t know. I keep seeing them in those coffins and I know that they’re not there but I don’t know where else to look for them. I keep seeing them trapped, in a dark place, looking to me to get them out but I can’t. I can’t get to them. I know, I know rationally, how stupid that is. But it’s what I feel, Methos. It’s what visits me at night.”
Methos gathered the Highlander to himself more firmly, stroking his head, trying to surround as much of his body as he could with his arms, cradling him to his body as Duncan continued to speak his thoughts. “Dammit.. I hate it when I cry. . Pathetic.”
“You’re not pathetic. You love with your entire being. I’ve never known anyone who feels like you do, Duncan. Everyone else gets to take these bitter regrets to their graves. They get to bury them. They don’t get resolved. They’re hidden. They’re denied. They’re ignored. And, for mortals, they die when their lives end. But we don’t die, and our regrets are revived every single bloody time we are, along with all the crap from every Quickening we take. And I don’t think that anyone’s taken more Quickenings than you, these past few years. And they all need to be integrated into our already cracked and crumbling psyches. It’s an impossible task for anyone, Duncan. Even a god. And we’re not gods.”
He leaned down, kissing Duncan’s swollen eyes. “We don’t die. And no matter how hard we try to resolve things, the years breed and grow our guilts and our fears and our thousands of regrets. We’re just one long case study of unresolved conflicts, interspersed, if we’re very lucky, by some occasional good times. And in between, people are trying to decapitate us or kill those we love.” Methos’ calm, soothing voice started to have an effect on the distraught man in his arms. “We’re all screwed up, Mac. It’s just that most of us aren’t as honest about it as you are. But that’s who you are. Most of us have learned to bury our feelings under so many layers that they are rarely ever uncovered and dealt with.”
When Duncan looked up Methos had the good grace to be smirking. “We’re going to break some new ground. We’re going to work out how to fix this, so that you never have to feel these same fears and guilts again.”
"Gods. Someone to take control. Could life really be that simple?" Duncan mouthed quietly.
He stood up, wiping his face with the flats of his
hands and gathered up the ancient Immortal in his arms. Leaning across, he
stroked his chin across Methos' hair. “How do you always know the right thing to say
to me? Hmmm?”
“I don’t. Most of the time I’m winging it.”
“Well?” Duncan queried, “Tell me. How are we going to fix it?”
“You’ve said it yourself. You need to say goodbye to these people in words that they would want to hear, with people they would want to be there, in a ceremony they would have chosen.”
Duncan reacted as if Methos had slapped him again. He pulled away and again covered his mouth with his hand, a traditional gesture Methos had come to associate with Duncan struggling with a thought. Pulling his hand away, a short time later, he turned back to Methos. “God - it was so simple I almost missed it. I would have missed it, if you hadn’t stopped my self indulgence. I’ve been thinking about a ceremony. You were right Methos. So right.”
“Naturally. Er.......right about what? When it comes to me being so intuitive, even I sometimes miss it,” the world’s oldest Immortal admitted, hoping for a more detailed clue as to what Duncan was thinking.
Duncan ignored the genuine query, his eyes now shining with new found direction. “I need to see Rachel.”
Turning back to Methos, he brought him into a firmer hug. “I love you.” He leaned across and let his voice tell Methos what he meant to him, while his lips gave a more physical demonstration.. All Methos could later recall of the next few minutes was the Highlander’s mouth and lips moving across his forehead, temples, cheeks, his wet mouth massaging his jugular while his hands and fingers kneaded and caressed. While Methos sank into the sensation, he was vaguely conscious of Duncan’s incredibly erotic voice, accompanying his hands. Duncan’s sensual assault continued. ”I love you. I love going to sleep in your arms. I love waking up entangled with you. I love the way you look at me and the way your eyes glaze over when you want me. And how you care enough to slap me down when I start raving.”
“It was a pleasure,” he laughed, tousling his Highlander’s hair.
“You have no idea how much I’d love to stay and play, but I’ve a busy few hours before the ceremonies. I need to find Rachel. But here’s something to keep you going until tonight.” He recommenced the journey his lips had started, as if there had been no interruption. “I love the way your breath starts to get short...and you always look at my mouth and my lips... and I know you’re thinking that all...you... want... is for me to keep kissing you...like this....and tasting you....like this...and sucking you...like this...and wetting my mouth with my tongue and letting it slide up ...and down ...the side of your neck ...and over your jugular, sucking it..like this..”
Taking a deep breath, Duncan pulled back and pulled himself together. Methos simply slid onto the bed.
“Duncan. Please?? Please keep going or I’ll go mad!.”
The object of Methos’ desire stopped only to grab his wallet. “Take a shower!” And as he disappeared out the door he threw over his shoulder, “Korean?”
Methos shook his head, attempting to dislodge visions of Duncan’s soaped hands wrapped around his painfully engorged cock. “Fucking maekju!" He shouted after the retreating larger than life figure. "I hate this game! Duncan? Duncan! Come back! Do you hear me? You’ve only got five countries left!”
But the Highlander had disappeared in a black swirl of cashmere and wool and firm resolve. Methos continued to shake his head, completely incapable of working out how his lover could possibly have run such a gamut of emotions in such a short time. He mumbled to himself as he headed for the shower. "Let’s see. In thirty minutes we’ve gone from introspective major brood to killing anger to absolute confusion to distraught grief to totally focussed clarity. Yep. That’s my Duncan. Who ever said life was dull? You couldn’t just let him rant and rave and brood. Oh no. Gods. When I think of how I could have distracted him....Jung would be impressed. What in bloody hell happened to the selfish, self-centered prick persona I’ve been perfecting for centuries? But good old Dr Pierson had to play counsellor didn’t he! And I don’t even know where he’s gone or what the brilliant solution is. Take a bloody shower indeed! One of these days I’ll learn to keep my bloody mouth shut. And stop talking to myself!"
Visions of mouths being enticed open were enough to get him through the next thirty minutes, in the shower recommended so highly by the departing dark angel, as he swept out of the room. There really was nothing like fierce angst to send an over-supply of blood to the groin. And if Duncan declined to help, then really, what was a frustrated Immortal to do but cover himself in heather, and musk-scented soap and shampoo and body gel, and relieve the unresolved tensions himself.
Until tonight. Tonight the only heather he intended smelling was the heather scents impregnated in every pore of a certain Highland warrior.
Go to Part 5
Re-edited 1 January, 2001
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