Disclaimer: We don't own Duncan, Joe, Methos, Richie or anyone or anything else from the Highlander universe. Characters and concept owned by Rysher, Greg Widen, Panzer/Davis, and a bunch of suits. Same goes for Alex Krycek. Fox, Chris Carter, 1013 Productions, and lots more suits own him. No money made here, no malicious intent. Just wanted to play with them for a bit. Please don't pick on us, it's all in good fun.

Crossover: DM/Ratboy (with two arms, dammit!)

Rated NC17 for homoerotic content, m/m sex, extreme sap, frottage galore, h/c, and lots of soul searching.

Song title borrowed without permission from Robyn Hitchcock. Song lyrics borrowed without permission from Robyn Hitchcock, Pete Townshend, and Eddie Vedder.

This is one of my wacky AU ideas. It's been four years since Richie died and three since Duncan defeated Ahriman. Methos hasn't been seen since Duncan asked him to take his head. Our fine Scott has been brooding and sulking ever since. The rest is pretty self explanatory, I hope. This is my first attempt at writing solo and my very first stab at (hopefully) hot sex. I know this is a weird pairing, but Duncan needed someone to take care of, and a broken rat fit the bill. Music is the elixir of life for me, so it plays a big part in my stories. If you ever want to know about a song or artist, drop me line!

BTW, I believe that fanfic is fantasy, we do this for escape, so I don't feel the need to deal with safe sex issues in my slash. In RL however, I am a strong advocate of education on safe sex issues. Case in point... Blow jobs ARE NOT safe without a condom!!!

Thanks to my sis and best friend nancy. She kept telling me I could do this over and over and over until I had the courage to give it a try. You're the best nance, thick as thieves! nancy got me started, but without Suze's encouragement at 2 am, I may never have continued. Thanks Buddy. Neverending thanks to MoonPuppy, best beta there ever was, and a darn good friend. And to the wonderful women of the RSM, you guys RULE!

Arms Of Love

By Zen&nancy

There wasn't much of a crowd at Joe's bar tonight, and Duncan was grateful for it. He sat quietly, getting lost in the scotch he swirled slowly around in his glass. It felt like he could see his life swirling around in the tumbler, all the regrets floating to the top.

"C'mon Mac, how many years can you brood?" Joe joked gently, but it was true. He'd been worried about MacLeod for a while now, the guy just wouldn't snap out of it.

"How are you tonight, Joe?" Duncan smiled at his friend, ignoring the mothering his Watcher was so prone to.

"I'm fine, but you, my friend, just keep sinking deeper and deeper. You've got to pull yourself together Mac," Joe said quietly, wondering if he could get Duncan to open up.

"Drop it Joe. I'm not in the mood for a heart to heart tonight," Duncan mumbled into his drink.

"Yeah, I know, you never are." MacLeod hadn't talked to him about anything but the weather and what they had for lunch in longer than he could remember. "Fine, if you won't talk to me, how about a vacation? You need to get away."

"Bored with Seacouver, Joe?" Duncan made a poor attempt at kidding his friend. "Don't Watchers get paid vacations of their own?"

"Very funny. I'm serious, MacLeod. You work at the university, run the dojo, and stop in here for a drink twice a week. Not much of a life. You've got to forgive yourself, Mac. It's time to move on."

"It's not that easy. You want me to go sit on some beach and leave all my cares behind? That's not my style, Joe." Duncan shook his head slowly.

"I know. I'm just saying that a change of scenery might help you get some perspective." Joe could sense that the Highlander was getting ready to run out on this conversation. He tried a different angle, "Did I ever tell you that my dad was a truck driver?"

"No. Are you saying I should sell the dojo and buy a semi?" Duncan actually laughed at the thought.

"No, that's not what I'm saying." It worked, now Joe went in for the kill, "My dad used to say that all his answers were on the open road. You've got that beautiful T Bird, it was made for the highways. Pack a bag and go, you'll thank me when you get back. Y'know Mac, you spend all that time behind the wheel and it can be like meditation. Hit the road and take some time to figure yourself out."

"Do I look like Jack Kerouac? Go find myself on the open road, huh?" Duncan chuckled. This wasn't what he expected when Joe had started in on him about his brooding. Maybe he had been sulking for too long, but he couldn't let it go of it, any of it.

Joe shrugged, "It's worth a shot. What have you got to lose? Besides wallowing in your misery. Mac, I don't know if this is about Richie or Adam or both, but I do know that you're being too hard on yourself. Let yourself enjoy life again." Joe's last words were heartfelt, and he put a hand on Mac's arm to emphasize his sincerity.

"It is spring..." Duncan realized that what Joe was saying was true. Well, some of it anyway. His life had been reduced to waking up, working all day, and then going home to bed. He didn't have any friends anymore, he'd pushed them all away. Even Amanda had stayed away for two years now. He certainly hadn't found any answers here. Ever since he came back from the monastery and fought Ahriman nothing was clear. He'd been living in the past for too long, brooding over it. Joe was right, it was time to start living in the present again. Duncan MacLeod made the first snap decision he'd made in years.

"Okay Joe, you win. I'm leaving in the morning." With that he tossed back the last of his drink and started to get up.

"Whoa, that was too easy," Joe chuckled. "Don't go running out the door just yet. I need to know where you're heading, I do have a job to do."

"I know. I'll check in with you every night, okay? I'll even tell you where I'm heading, when I know where that is." Duncan knew Joe couldn't just hop in his car and follow Mac all over the country, and he didn't like the idea of another Watcher being on his tail.

"Fair enough, and if I hear of any nasties coming your way I'll let you know. You've got enough to worry about."Joe smiled, relieved that Duncan was making an effort to pull himself out of this funk.

Duncan took Joe's hand in both of his and gave a squeeze,"Thank you Joseph, you're a good friend, the best." Then he grabbed his coat and headed out the door.

The next morning Duncan was tossing his packed duffle bag into the back seat of the T Bird. He had decided to bring the katana, but desperately hoped he wouldn't have to use it. He planned on heading east, for no other reason than that was where the most road lay ahead of him.

Getting another professor to cover his classes wasn't easy, but he'd managed it. He had checked his road atlas before leaving, finding that I-90 was the straightest road east. Beyond that he had no idea where he was going. Fighting the morning rush hour on the freeway was making him wonder if this was such a good idea after all.

Two hours later he was glad Joe had talked him into this spur of the moment trip. The air was clear and clean away from any cities, and green was dusting the scenery. His T bird purred as Duncan settled into the leather seat a bit deeper, getting comfortable.

Soon the rhythm of the wheels on the road and the underlying hiss of the wind lulled him into a sense of calm he hadn't felt in years. He had teased Joe for telling him to go find himself, but now he realized how therapeutic this trip might be. If only he could let go of the guilt he'd been carrying around. Richie's death was an accident, he knew that, but knowing it and accepting it were two entirely different things. God he missed Richie. He was the closest Duncan had ever come to having a son, and now he knew what it was to lose one.

A hawk flew low over the highway, sweeping across the sky. Duncan let out a heavy sigh and watched the bird's path, wondering where this path would take him. Letting it be for a while he turned on the radio, scanning the dial to see what he could pick up out here. He was about halfway across Washington now. Living in cities, either Seacouver or Paris for so long, Mac had almost forgotten how big the sky can be in the Northwest. He found some jazz and let himself get lost in the music and the feel of the road.

After stopping at a diner for dinner Duncan felt like driving a couple more hours before finding a motel for the night. The sun was setting as he pulled back onto the highway, a warm glow from behind as he felt the rhythm of the road pulling him forward. Is this why Methos always ran when things got to be too much for him? The sense of freedom and anonymity? He thought that maybe all the times he had thought Methos was running away from his problems, the old man may have been running to this, instead.

What was the difference, though? Running to something or running away, in the end it just meant that Methos had disappeared again. Duncan had seen the look in his friend's eyes when he had asked Methos to take his head. Horror and shock covered the old man's face, and that was the last Duncan had seen of him. Now he wondered if he'd ever see Methos again. They had so much that was still unfinished between them, there were so many things he had thought of to tell his friend since then. So many regrets over how he had handled things in the past.

Four days later Duncan had settled into the routine of living on the road. He was up at five every morning, enjoying the sunrise until it became too bright, and then stopping somewhere for breakfast. He checked in with Joe every night, as promised. He hadn't found any answers, except that he was lonely. He'd been so absorbed in his brooding and self recriminations that he had pushed all of his friends away. Joe was the only one who could put up with a full blown Scottish brood.

Crossing the border of Montana into North Dakota, Duncan put one more state behind him. It was still quite cold, but the promise of spring was there. The melting patches of remaining snow were giving way to the wild flowers that speckled the roadside. Pink, purple and blue dotted the rough terrain, and once more Duncan gave himself over to the beauty of the cycles of life.

He spotted a large black . . . blob on the side of the road up ahead. He slowed down a bit, curious what it was. Too big for a tire or other roadside garbage, he couldn't imagine what it could be. Doing only 30mph as he passed, he saw that it was a person. He immediately pulled over on the shoulder and backed up a few feet.

There was a man covered in what looked like oil and dirt. He was a mess, shivering and caked in filth. As soon as Duncan touched him he pulled away, making a dry cracking sound deep in his throat.

"It's okay, I'm here to help. I'll get you an ambulance,"Duncan spoke in a soft reassuring tone.

As soon as the word 'ambulance' came from his mouth the man began shaking his head violently and making more of those painful, harsh sounds. As his head turned Duncan could see that his eyes were glued shut with the black goo and dirt, his lips were cracked and bleeding.

"Good lord," he muttered, realizing that the man was actually trying to get up and run from him. The poor creature was barely alive, but at the mention of an ambulance he tried to flee. He had already managed to pull himself up to standing, but he swayed as he tried to walk away.

Clan protector instincts kicked in and Duncan tried again to help."Okay, no ambulance, but if you don't let me help you, you're going to die out here. Please," he put a gentle hand on the man's shoulder and he fell to his knees. "It's okay, I've got you. Will you let me help you?"

A nod and a grunt were all Duncan needed. He put his arms under the other man's, pulled him to his feet and started back to the car. He hoped this stuff would wash off the seats, but he knew his clothes were ruined. The stench that came off the man was wretched. What had happened to him?

As soon as Duncan got him in the front seat he reached for the water bottle and some napkins from the glove compartment. First he dabbed at the swollen, cracked lips, trying to clean them off as best he could. Then Duncan let a few drops of water slip from the sport bottle into his mouth. Instantly the man leaned forward, wanting more.

"Easy, I don't know how long you've gone without water and if you drink too much you'll just throw it back up again. Here, slowly," he put the bottle to the man's lips and gave him a little more water. "My name's Duncan MacLeod, what's yours?"

First only a scratchy noise came out, then, "Alex."

"Okay Alex, are you sure I can't take you to a hospital? You're suffering from dehydration, exposure and I don't know what else."

"No!" He pulled back from Duncan violently, "They'll kill me, or worse."

That was all the energy Alex seemed to have left in him, and he collapsed against the seat of the car. Duncan sat there for a minute, not sure what he had gotten himself into. It didn't really matter, he knew he couldn't walk away from someone who obviously needed help so badly. He tried to get as much of the stuff off of Alex's eyes as he could, but he really needed soap to break up the hardened oil.

Decision made, Duncan got in the car and headed for the first motel he could find. It only took about half an hour before he spotted a Best Western sign. When he pulled in the parking lot he was grateful to see that the rooms had outside entrances, that would make it much easier to get Alex inside unnoticed. He checked on Alex, but the man was unconscious, or sleeping. Running in to the office he got a double and then made his way to the room. He got out and came around to open Alex's door.

"Alex, can you hear me?"

"Yeah," came out as a croak.

"I got a hotel room. I want to clean you up and see if you're hurt." Duncan told him as he helped Alex out of the car. The guy could hardly walk and Duncan was having a hard time holding him up and unlocking the door to the motel room. He was a bit taller than Duncan, and heavier than he had expected.

Once inside they headed straight for the bathroom. He began peeling the filthy clothes off of Alex, who he had propped up against the wall. He could hardly stand up on his own and Duncan had a hell of a time getting the leather jacket off of him. He took note of the gun in the inside pocket, but didn't say anything. The shirt was easier and Duncan sat him down on the toilet so he could get the boots and socks off next. Then Duncan stood him up again and peeled his pants off. Filthy didn't begin to describe Alex's condition. His entire body had a thin coat of oily stuff all over it. The worst was around his face and neck, though.

Leading him to the tub Duncan set the water so it wasn't too hot. Lowering Alex into the tub he grabbed the soap and a washcloth and began working away the layers of dirt and oil from his eyes. Alex held his face up for Duncan, encouragingly. It took lots of soap, but the stuff was breaking up. Soon he could see the long, dark lashes coming loose.

"Try to open your eyes." Duncan instructed softly, after rinsing all the soap off of Alex's face.

The lashes fluttered and then shut closed, tightly.

"Too bright." It was a painful whisper.

"Put your hand over your eyes and let the light in slowly." Duncan told him as he started to wash Alex's back.

Alex did as he said and in a few minutes he pulled his hands away from his eyes and turned to face Duncan. Piercing green eyes stared at him, sizing him up. He got a glass of water from the sink and then sat back down next to the tub.

Alex took a few careful sips of water. Even though he wanted to guzzle it all down at once, he knew better. Where the hell was he and who was this guy who had saved him, and why?

"Why?" He managed to ask, even though talking was excruciatingly painful.

"Why did I help you?" Duncan prompted and was answered with a nod. "Because I couldn't just leave you by the side of the road to die and you wouldn't let me get you to a hospital."

Duncan had resumed his thorough scrubbing, and Alex let himself relax into the touch. How long had he been in there? How had he gotten out? He had been sure that the silo was going to be his tomb, it was the last thing he remembered thinking before he found himself on the side of the road. Somehow, he hadn't died. Instead he was in a bathtub being washed by this apparent do-gooder that fate had sent his way. Screw you, Cancer Man, I win this round. A wry smile spread across his face, causing his lips to crack and bleed more.

Duncan saw the spark behind Alex's eyes and watched a smile cross his face. It was a cold expression, accentuated by the new blood coming to his lips. A hard look for such a sweet face. Duncan had been surprised when he had finally seen the face beneath the grime. Alex was truly pretty. He looked young, but Duncan couldn't even guess at his age. There were deep hollows under his eyes, and he was pale, but he could get a glimpse of what Alex would look like in better health, and it was striking.

"Tilt your head back a bit and I'll wash your hair." Duncan took the other glass from the sink and removed the plastic packaging. Alex complied and he started to wet down the oily mess of hair. He couldn't tell what color it would be when it was finally clean. Alex closed his eyes and drew his knees up, hugging his arms around them. It took three washings, but finally his hair was clean, and brown, after all. For some reason Duncan had expected it to be blond.

By now Alex was clean, but the bathtub was covered in a layer of black slime. Duncan refilled his water glass for him and asked,"Will you be alright for a minute if I run out to the car to get my bag? I've got some clean clothes you can wear."

He nodded, slowly sipping the water. When Duncan shut the bathroom door Alex felt his chest tighten and the panic started to creep up on him. Concentrating on taking deep breaths he told himself that he could get up and walk out anytime he wanted, that he wasn't trapped.

Exhaustion was taking over, making it hard to think. Who was this guy and why was he being so nice? What was in it for him? Was he working for the Consortium or was he really just the 'help thy fellow man' type? And how the hell did he get out of that fucking silo? What was he going to do now? Not letting himself think about why he was in there in the first place, Alex slowly finished off the water and set the glass on the floor. He tried to lift himself out of the tub, but he was still too shakey and he fell back hard, on his ass.

"Shit!"It was just a whisper through his clenched teeth. His throat was still so raw from all the screaming he'd done in hopes of being let out of the silo. After the first day or so he had given up hope of rescue, but continued to holler until he passed out.

"Okay, how are you doing in here?" Duncan asked cheerfully as he set some clothes down on the sink.

"Better." Alex whispered, but he looked like he was about to pass out.

Concern fell over Duncan's face and Alex wondered if he was always this easy to read. He grabbed a towel and literally lifted Alex from the tub. He made a mental note that this guy was possibly tougher than he looked. Against his better judgement, Alex let himself enjoy the feeling of someone touching him in kindness.

"Here, lift your leg," Duncan instructed as he pulled black sweat pants over the strong legs. Maybe this kid wasn't as malnourished as he had thought. "Do you remember the last time you ate anything?"

Alex just shook his head in reply. He had no idea how long he'd been in there.

"Not a problem, we'll start slowly. I'll go get you some broth and crackers as soon as I get you settled." As he spoke Duncan helped Alex pull the grey sweatshirt over his head. For a moment he just stared into those tired green eyes. Poor kid looked like he'd been to hell and back, but the spirit glowing behind the exhaustion made Duncan think that hell might be a bit worse for the wear.

Jesus! When was the last time someone looked at him with so much compassion? Alex certainly couldn't remember. Warm brown eyes had locked his stare, and he felt the world spin.

"Whoa," Duncan caught him as he saw Alex's eyes roll back in his head and his knees gave way. Grunting, he picked up his unconscious patient and hauled him to the bed. Carefully adjusting pillows and tucking blankets, he saw Alex start to come round.

"Hmm," he tried to sit up, but fell back against the pillows.

"You need to sleep. Just settle back and get some rest. I'm going to go get some food and supplies. I don't think you're going anywhere for a while. I'll be back as soon as I can, will you be alright?" Duncan was worried about leaving Alex alone, but he didn't have much choice.

"Be fine." Alex whispered as he nodded his head. Was this guy kidding? He was clean and warm and in a soft bed. He was on cloud nine.

"I'll be as quick as I can," Duncan promised as he walked out the door.

Alex finally gave in to the exhaustion and fell asleep instantly.

When Duncan came back he was surprised that Alex didn't wake up. He hadn't been gone more than an hour, but now he was afraid that he shouldn't have left Alex alone at all. He set down his bags and went to the sleeping man in the bed. He put his hand to Alex's cheek to see if he had a fever. As soon as he touched him the young man rolled to his side and sighed, leaning into the touch. Duncan carefully pulled his hand away and sat down on the other bed. Alex was still sound asleep.

Who was this man? Alex hadn't said more than a few words here and there to answer Duncan's questions, but his eyes had said a lot more. He got the feeling that Alex was a strong man, a survivor. He was half dead when Duncan found him, but at the first threat to his safety he had summoned the strength to try to run. Not necessarily an honest one, though. He wouldn't go the hospital because people would kill him. Or worse, he had said. What people, and why? What had Alex done? He remembered the gun in the leather jacket and wondered how often Alex had used it.

Duncan stood up and started putting away the things he'd bought. The restaurant connected to the motel had given him a large cup of broth, and he thought that he should wake Alex before it got cold. He went back to the bed and set the broth on the nightstand. Reaching out carefully he laid a hand on Alex's shoulder and lightly roused him.

"Alex, I've got some broth for you. Can you wake up to eat?"

Impossibly long lashes fluttered and then those piercing eyes were looking up at him. "Food?"

"Yeah, here," Duncan helped him to sit up. He looked sleepy and a little lost. Duncan handed him the large styrofoam cup, but Alex almost spilled it as soon as Duncan let go. "It's okay, let me help," Duncan coaxed as he held the cup to Alex's cracked lips.

He took a sip, and then a few more. The salt of the broth stung his lips, but it felt heavenly as it went down his raw throat and warmed him inside. He looked to Duncan's eyes, asking for more. A strong hand cupped the back of his head as he drank more broth from the cup. It felt so wonderful to have someone take care of him, just for a little while, that he was able to ignore all of the alarms going off in his head. Did he really care if this guy ended up betraying him and killing him? He looked at Duncan's strong features and kind eyes and decided that this man could kill him later, if he would be nice for just a little longer. Alex hadn't realized how starved he was for human kindness until that strong hand had caressed the back of his neck. It felt so good he almost cried out.

Duncan watched the carefully masked emotions come to the surface as Alex's eyes closed when he touched him. He let the man drink his fill of the broth and then moved away to sit on the other bed. He didn't want to take advantage of Alex's vulnerable state. He didn't know if it was because he was so lonely, or if he just needed someone to take care of, but all his instincts were to take Alex in his arms and not let go.

Alex had laid down and was on his side facing Duncan, watching him. Whoever Duncan MacLeod was, he wasn't very good at hiding his emotions. Anyone who was so open and honest with their body language couldn't be working for any of the long list of people who would like to see Alex dead. They wouldn't last a day in that line of work. Well, if Alex really was safe for the moment, he was going to enjoy it.

"More food?" His voice was a little stronger and he tried to grin at Duncan.

"How about some crackers?" Duncan got up to get them, and one of the bottles of Gatorade that he had bought. "Here," he handed Alex the crackers, "I'll go get some ice, if you'll be alright for a minute."

"Thanks, 'm fine," he had already ripped the box open and was eating a cracker as if it were filet mignon, savoring it.

A minute later Duncan was back with the ice and put some in a glass with the Gatorade. "This should help your dehydration. Can you tell me what happened to you?"

Duncan had sat down on the bed across from Alex and was looking at him with worried eyes. What could Alex tell him? That he was possessed by an alien, had literally puked the alien out of his body back into it's ship, and was left there to die? Hardly.

"I don't remember."

"That's okay, maybe it will come back to you later."

Duncan didn't believe him. The man sounded sincere enough, but that haunted look Duncan had seen earlier told him that Alex probably did remember everything. Either he couldn't or didn't want to tell him. What if he was a killer? Lord only knows what had led Alex to where he was now.

Duncan had an epiphany at that moment. He realized that what had led him to this point was being overly judgmental and self righteous with the people he cared about. He remembered Methos' face when he had told him 'We're through' over the horsemen bullshit. Maybe finding out who and what Alex was wasn't important. Maybe helping the man in front of him now was all that mattered.

Alex slowly munched crackers as he watched the emotions change, and change again, on Duncan's face. One thing he was good at was reading people. If he weren't he'd have died a long time ago. There was a lot more to this man than your average shmoe driving down the highway. He could tell by the way Duncan moved and reacted that he'd had combat training, or something like that.

"You should drink as much as possible," Duncan leaned forward and picked up the glass of Gatorade. "Can you hold this?"

Alex sat up a bit and put his crackers down. He took the glass with both hands, but didn't drop it. He drank half the glass before Duncan put a hand on one of his to stop him. It had tasted so good that he forgot he shouldn't guzzle it. He tried to smile at Duncan without his lips cracking.

"Sorry, got carried away." His voice was still scratchy, but stronger.

Duncan watched as a little more life came back to the man in front of him. Then he noticed the dots of blood on Alex's lips and went back to search through he bags he'd brought in.

"Here, this should help your lips heal."

Alex took the tube of Blistex and immediately smoothed some over his dried up mouth. It stung at first, like the broth had, but then he felt some mobility return to his lips. He could smile without causing his lips to bleed.


Duncan returned the smile and picked up a paperback that he'd bought at the store. He sat back down across from Alex, "Do you want me turn on the television? I have another paperback if you're interested."

Alex listened to Duncan's voice and wondered how someone so young had picked up so many different accents. He was feeling almost giddy from being safe and warm and fed. He thought he might be pushing Duncan's good nature, but made his request anyway.

"Will you read to me?" He felt small and silly asking for such a childish comfort.

"I'd be happy to." Duncan settled back against his pillows, arranging them behind his back. This felt oddly right. Was it just his protective nature taking over? He watched Alex put the glass and the crackers on the nightstand between them, and he didn't care. He was needed, and that was enough.

Alex scooted back under his covers and turned to face Duncan. As he started reading his voice filled the hotel room. It was a badly written mystery, but Alex didn't care. He could listen to that voice read the phone book and he'd be happy. He was alive and safe and most importantly, not alone. The isolation of the silo had been the worst part. He did not want to die alone. Now Duncan's voice wrapped around him as his eyes drifted shut, and he was lulled to sleep by the comforting rhythm and warm sound.

Duncan set the book down in his lap and rubbed his eyes. Alex had been asleep for a couple of hours, and the book wasn't very good. He laid his head back against the pillows and closed his tired eyes. His road trip would have to wait until Alex was better. Where would the man go from here? He tried to imagine what kind of life Alex might have. Duncan assumed that since he hadn't tried to call anyone, he was probably alone. Well, that was one thing they had in common. For once the why's and how's didn't seem to matter as much as they used to. He fell asleep wondering if Alex played chess.

Screams pulled him out of sleep so fast that his feet were on the floor before his eyes were open.

"Lemme OUT!!!" Alex was sitting straight up in his bed, his arms flailing.

Duncan carefully sat down next to him and caught an arm as it swung by him. Alex woke immediately and his head snapped up to lock eyes with Duncan.

Terror was frozen in those glowing green eyes, and they screamed to Duncan. For a moment neither of them moved, then Alex began to shake.

"Shh, it was just a dream. You're safe, it was only a dream," Duncan quietly soothed. He stroked Alex's back and the man crumpled.

Alex curled his shaking body around Duncan's torso, and Duncan pulled them back against the headboard. He ran his hand over the back of Alex's head and the shaking became worse. He pulled Alex up from his lap and held him, fiercely. Strong arms crushed him as Alex hid his head in the crook of Duncan's neck.

Why couldn't he stop shaking? As soon as Duncan had pulled him out of his nightmare and he felt the warmth of his touch, something inside him had broken. All the bricks were crumbling as Duncan rubbed a hand up and down his back. Then the shaking had started and now he couldn't stop.

"Please," he sobbed the word, more than said it. His walls had fallen and Alex felt himself shatter apart. It hurt to need this much, and it scared the hell out him.

"Anything. It's okay, you're safe," Duncan spoke gently into Alex's ear. He brought one arm up to hold the back of his head, running his thumb back and forth over the silky hair.

"Don't let go," Alex drew in a shuddering breath after he'd said it. If Duncan let go now he was sure he would disintegrate.

"I won't, I won't let go. I'm right here, it's okay," Duncan crooned as he stroked the back of Alex's head. Slowly, the shaking began to lessen, but Duncan continued his quiet string of reassurances. Alex didn't say another word.

He relaxed in Duncan's hold for a while, reveling in the feel of a warm body holding him. This is what he needed, more than food or water, this is what would heal him. Could he be this vulnerable? Could he give Duncan that power over him? Alex Krycek did not expose his soul to anyone, even if he was in the middle of an emotional breakdown.

He made himself leave Duncan's embrace and rolled over with his back to Duncan. He couldn't look him in the eyes, he couldn't stand to see the pity. He needed a little control here. Duncan didn't move or say a word. Why didn't he leave? Alex snuck a look over his shoulder and saw Duncan with his head back against the wall, eyes closed. Duncan let out a deep, ragged sigh, and Alex thought that maybe Duncan needed this as much as he did.

He sat up next to Duncan and took his hand. Duncan raised his head and looked Alex in the eyes. That expressive face told him all he needed to know. He reached across Duncan and took his other hand, pulling Duncan down onto the bed with him. He drew Duncan's arm over his, turning on his side, and they were spooned together.

"Thank you," Duncan's husky voice breathed across his ear. Then he settled himself against Alex and relaxed. It was only 7:30, but both men fell back to sleep within minutes, the physical and emotional intensity of the day having taken it's toll.

Duncan woke as the first bit of sun peeked through the curtain of the hotel window. He was still spooned behind Alex, his arm wrapped protectively around the younger man. The clock was behind him on the bedside table, but he guessed it was around five in the morning.

Well, his vacation had certainly taken a bizarre turn, but not an unwelcome one. Last night when Alex had broken down in his arms his heart had gone out to the man. When Duncan had told him "anything" he had meant it. He would do anything, give anything that Alex needed, and it still held true. He wasn't deluding himself, he knew that once Alex was strong enough they'd go their separate ways.

It didn't matter. He felt like time was suspended here, as if he'd stepped just off to the side of the linear path that time must follow. When they left this hotel they'd be stepping back onto the undeviating path of time, back into the real world. Just as he had pulled off the highway to get here, and would get back on it when he left.

He raised himself up on one elbow, careful not to disturb Alex. Looking down at the sleeping man, Duncan let himself study Alex's face. The dark circles had lessened with sleep, just making those thick lashes seem longer. The sun peeking through the curtains lit up Alex's face, and put some color back in his cheeks.

Such soft features for such a strong person. Duncan had felt Alex's battle for control last night, felt him struggle against his needs. When he had pulled himself from Duncan's arms and turned his back to him, Duncan knew he should've gone back to his own bed, but he couldn't make himself leave. When Alex had taken his hand and pulled him down to curl behind him, he knew it was because he had recognized that Duncan's need was as great as his own. It had put them on equal ground.

The first thing that registered in Alex's brain was sunlight, the next was a solid body curled against him. Sunlight... He wasn't in the silo. Before he even opened his eyes a huge smiled spread across his face as wonderful sunlight warmed his cheeks.

"Do you always wake up smiling?" Duncan chuckled. He was amazed when a smile slowly covered Alex's face before he even knew the man was awake. Beautiful.

"No," Alex opened his eyes and rolled onto his back. "I rarely have reason to, though."

Duncan was laying next to him, raised up on his elbow, head resting on his hand. The warmth that came from his smile was better than the sunlight. His other hand was resting on Alex's stomach, and he reached for it, interlacing their fingers.

"Thank you." Alex gave a tight squeeze to Duncan's hand.

"That goes both ways." Duncan returned the grip and saw relief in the bright green eyes. "Let me get you something to drink."

He let go of Alex's hand and went to get a glass of water. When Alex saw him coming back he sat up in bed and reached for the glass. Then the room spun and he covered his face with his hands.

"Dizzy?" Duncan put a hand on his shoulder to steady him.

"Yeah." It felt like his head was floating around on the ceiling.

"It's the dehydration, just keep drinking." He sat down and waited for the dizziness to pass.

Soon, Alex slowly pulled his head from his hands and reached for the water again. He still felt light headed, but at least the room had stopped spinning. Duncan gave him the glass, but watched him to make sure he didn't drop it.

He savored the feeling of the water in his mouth and throat as he slowly drained the glass. He swore he could feel his tongue suck up the water like sponge, returning it to it's proper size. By the time Duncan had found him his tongue had become a rock in his mouth. He was finally beginning to feel human again. Weak, but very much alive.

His stomach took that moment to let out a loud, long growl. Immediate visions of eggs and toast and sausage and pancakes popped in his head. Crackers just weren't going to cut it.

"Breakfast?" He turned one of his patented 'charm the pants off you' smiles on Duncan and hoped.

Duncan's deep laugh filled the room. "I think that can be arranged. There's a restaurant here, I'll get us breakfast to go. Will you be okay for a while?"

Someone knocked on the door.


Duncan saw the panic on Alex's face.

"It's okay." He gently reassured as he got up to open the door. He only opened it as wide as his shoulders, blocking the view into the room.

"It's fine, thank you. Oh, may I have some clean towels, please?" He was as polite and charming as ever and the maid was smiling back at him before he finished his sentence.

"No problem at all, sir. Shall I come by tomorrow to change the sheets for you?" She handed Duncan a stack of towels.

"Yes, thank you, that would be fine." He closed the door as politely as he could, but without letting the woman get in another word. He locked the door and turned to see how Alex was doing.

Alex had been frozen from the moment he heard the knock on the door. Panic had seized his entire body and all he could think was Oh shit over and over and over again. He couldn't even sit up without having the room spin, how was supposed to get away if they came after him? The way Duncan opened the door one bullet could have dropped him in a second.

"Alex, it's okay, just the maid." As Duncan spoke he came back to sit next to him on the bed.

"Yeah, this time. What about next time? I'm a sitting duck here, I bet I couldn't even make it across the room without passing out. I've got to get my strength back and get moving, fast." He felt so fucking helpless.

Duncan got up and went to put the towels in the bathroom. When he came back he had Alex's gun. He handed it to Alex butt first, smiling at him.

"Maybe this will better your odds." He knew Alex wouldn't shoot him, but even if he did, what difference would it make?

"You're giving me my gun?" He checked the clip, it was loaded. "With bullets?"

He couldn't believe that Duncan was that naive, not possible. Too many little things pointed to Duncan having lead a very well rounded life.

"This way if some one does come through the door and manages to get past me, you won't be a sitting duck." Duncan desperately wanted Alex to feel safe.

"Why do you trust me?" Amazement touched his voice.

Duncan shrugged. "Why not? You haven't given me any reason not to trust you."

"You mean besides the part about the possibility of people trying to kill me? Or how about the condition I was in when you found me?" Alex's voice was light and teasing, his head cocked to one side as he looked at Duncan.

Duncan smiled and shook his head, "Those are bad things that have happened to you, not reasons for me not to trust you." He rubbed his hand gently between Alex's shoulder blades. "Now, weren't we discussing breakfast? How do you like your eggs?"

"Scrambled." Alex was stunned. He couldn't be this lucky. Luck usually ignored him completely, or threw a pile of shit in his direction, never good things.

"Scrambled it is. I'll be back soon." Duncan gave a squeeze to Alex's shoulder and got up from the bed. He remembered to put the "Do not disturb" sign on the door as he left.

Alex was sitting up in bed with a dazed look on face and his gun in his hand. Every time he wondered if his life could get any weirder, it did. Why should these recent events be any different? He piled the pillows up behind him, sat back and picked up the tv remote.

Channel surfing was something he only got the chance to do when he was holed up in a motel somewhere. Leading the kind of life he did, it wasn't that uncommon an occurrence. The difference this time was that a Best Western was like the Ritz compared to most motels Alex had holed up in. Better motel meant better cable, and more channels to surf through. Ren & Stimpy made him laugh and he felt his lips start to crack again. More Blistex soon fixed that problem, and Alex figured he had just about found rat bliss.

He heard a key in the door and he released the safety on his gun, holding it casually under the blanket pointed at the door. It was only Duncan, but it had felt good to have some power over his situation. He put the safety back and on set the gun on the bedside table. Whatever Duncan had, it smelled incredible.

"I think I may have too much food." He started setting take out containers on the table by the window. "I wasn't sure if you wanted coffee, juice or milk, so I got them all."

"Sounds great and smells better." Alex started slowly moving across the bed. Duncan was there to help him to the table. He had to stand slowly and take small steps or the room would start that damned spinning again.

"Here's the eggs with some hash browns, I didn't get you sausage or bacon because I thought it might be too hard on your digestive system. All you've eaten so far is crackers and I don't want to overload your system."

Duncan continued a play by play of the food he kept putting in front of Alex, shuffling containers and handing him a plastic fork and knife. Alex just smiled bigger and bigger as more and more food appeared before him.

"I'm in heaven, breakfast heaven. I feel like fucking Tiny Tim in front of the Christmas goose! Is that a hot cinnamon roll?" He was laughing and stuffing food in his face at the same time.

"Easy, slow down," Duncan was laughing, too, overjoyed to see Alex in such good spirits.

He stopped shoving food into himself and made an effort to eat as slowly as possible. The rest of meal was quiet, except for Ren & Stimpy in the background and the occasional "Mmm" from Alex. Finally he had his fill and sat back in the chair with a contented sigh.

"That was fantastic, thanks." A warm, sleepy feeling of content was creeping over him, and it felt incredible.

"My pleasure." Duncan started cleaning up the empty containers as a huge yawn came from Alex. "Maybe you should sleep some more, you need all the rest you can get."

"Yeah, maybe. Do you always take such good care of complete strangers?" Alex still couldn't get over the concern Duncan was showing toward him.

"Not always, and you're not a complete stranger." Duncan helped him out of the chair and back to bed. "Maybe it's just in my nature."

"Fair enough. Mind if I channel surf for a while?"

"Not a bit. I'm going to try to clean the tub before the maid sees it tomorrow, she'd scream if she saw it now." He pick out a few cleaning supplies from the things he'd bought yesterday.

"Oh fuck, the tub. You shouldn't have to do that." Normally Alex wouldn't give two shits about someone having to clean up after him, but Duncan wasn't just someone.

"No worries, watch tv, sleep if you can." He disappeared into the bathroom before Alex could argue.

He flipped channels aimlessly, savoring his recent upgrade in living arrangements. From the hell of being locked in the silo to the heaven of a Best Western, and he had no clue how it had happened. Who let him out? He couldn't imagine. He stopped switching channels when he found a Twilight Zone rerun. He fell asleep thinking, how appropriate.

The tub had been a challenge, but Duncan had finally scrubbed it clean. He also managed to clean up Alex's leather jacket pretty well. The rest of the clothes were ruined, and he was already planning on getting Alex some new ones. There was a K-Mart next to the grocery store he'd been to yesterday. Tomorrow he'd go pick out some jeans and shirts for him.

When he came out of the bathroom he saw Alex was sleeping, propped up on his pillows and the remote still in his hand. He wasn't as pale as he'd been yesterday, and certainly seemed in better spirits. Even his lips were healing faster than Duncan had thought they would.

He put away what was left of the cleaning supplies. Picking up the paperback, he went to sit on the empty bed. The man he'd eaten breakfast with this morning was a stark contrast to the one who had broken down last night. When Duncan had seen Alex wake up this morning, it was hard to believe it was the same person. He was smiling before he even opened his eyes. Such extremes.

Duncan was doing his best not to take advantage of the situation. Holding Alex last night he had felt himself coming out of the dark haze that had settled over his life. The word redemption came to mind, but he tried to ignore it. Is that what this was? Fate giving him another chance? Maybe. He knew he couldn't change the things he'd done, but he could learn from them. Judging Alex for who he was or what he'd done would do neither of them any good, but accepting the man as he was, and extending what help and comfort he could, might just heal them both.

He got comfortable and started reading. The book wasn't very good, but he didn't have much else to do. There was a low budget, black and white science fiction movie on the tv. Not his cup of tea. His attention wandered from the bad book to the bad movie and then to Alex. He wasn't sleeping as peacefully as he'd been before. He'd turned on his side and twisted the covers around his legs. Duncan waited to see if he would settle down again, but his fitful sleep only got worse.

He set his book down and went over to Alex. He was shaking in his sleep, curled up into a tight ball. Duncan put a hand on his shoulder and tried to calm the nightmare. He spoke quiet reassurances and soon Alex started to relax. He rolled on to his back and stretched, opening his eyes to look at Duncan.

"You were having a nightmare," Duncan started to explain, not wanting Alex to misinterpret his closeness.

"I know, thanks." Alex scooted over in the bed and pulled back the covers, his expression somewhere between question and invitation.

A little surprised, but very pleased, Duncan lay down beside him. Smiling, Alex pulled the covers and himself over Duncan. Laying on his back he had Alex covering the left half of his body. Pulling him closer he felt Alex's long leg settle between his as he threw his arm around Duncan. Alex was a fraction taller than he was, but he'd scooted down a bit so his head rested on Duncan's shoulder. Duncan felt stubble scratch his neck as Alex nuzzled into him, and he was lost. The entire world disappeared as Alex rolled his hips against him.

Alex hadn't planned on this, but he certainly wasn't going to stop now. Coming out of the nightmare to Duncan's voice had been wonderful, but when he saw the compassion in his strong face he wanted more. He wanted to drown in this man's warmth. He'd been prepared for a polite turn down, and he couldn't contain the rush of eager expectation when Duncan actually got in bed. The feel of the solid body under him, and the deep, sweet smell of Duncan, sent him reeling.

Alex burrowed into his neck and tasted the sweet skin. Duncan groaned and pushed his trapped thigh up into the heat between Alex's legs. Duncan felt the needy hunger in the mouth devouring his neck and he ached to give Alex everything he needed. Turning them on their sides he cupped the stubble covered jaw, brushing his thumb across Alex's full, chapped lips. Heavy-lidded eyes held his, and Duncan saw need and desire turning the green eyes dark and smokey.

As Duncan's lips covered his Alex felt the walls coming down again. The tenderness of the kiss was taking him apart. Duncan was slowly nipping and sucking his lips. His tongue gently stroked and tasted as he caressed Alex's face and neck. When Alex tried to take control by grinding his hips into Duncan's and lunging his tongue into the other man's mouth, he was turned on his back.

Duncan tried to calm Alex's wildness, understanding that he was trying to cover his desperate need for comfort and love with passion and lust. He'd felt Alex fight the gentleness of his kiss, pushing away the caring by attacking Duncan's mouth with his. He spread his body across the younger man, the same way Alex had been laying on him a moment ago.

Alex wanted this desperately, but it terrified him. Duncan was looking at him with so much caring and gentleness in his eyes. He realized that this could be his undoing. He'd survived the spy game, Cancer Man, bombs, and aliens, but Duncan's soft, brown eyes could very well be the end of him. A good hard fuck with a stranger in motel room he could handle, but he could see that was not what Duncan had in mind.

Slowly, he started kissing Alex again. Deep, sensuous kisses that didn't end. Alex felt his shirt being pushed up, and then over his head, when the kisses stopped. Duncan was looking at him, staring at him with such intensity he felt defenseless and exposed. The alarms were going off in his head again, screaming at him to stop this, to run like hell from the kindness of this particular stranger. It was too much.

Duncan ran his hands over the soft skin of Alex's chest and watched the tremors running through the muscles under his hands. God he was beautiful. Dark green eyes were slowly hidden as those long lashes closed over them. He felt Alex's erection pushing into his thigh, rocking against him. He slipped his hand through the soft, fine hair and held the back of Alex's head, pulling him up and covering his face in gentle, wet kisses. He ran his tongue along the bristled jaw, sucked the full lower lip, and kissed his way up the strong neck. He was determined to take his time, to let Alex feel wanted and loved.

Too much and not enough. Alex ignored all the alarms, little voices, and instincts that were telling him to stop this now. He needed this so very badly. He hadn't let anyone get close to him in what felt like a lifetime or two. Not since long before he became Agent Krycek - rat bastard for hire. Now, as Duncan sweetly kissed him senseless, Alex felt himself letting go, letting himself dissolve under Duncan's touch. He ran his hand up the strong arm, his fingers tracing the sculpted muscles. His other hand doing the same across Duncan's back. More, he needed more. He pushed his fingers into the thick, long hair, reveling in the feel of Duncan's hard body as he rocked against him.

"Please, please, more." Alex moaned, in spite of himself.

Duncan heard the rawness and hunger in Alex's voice. Heat rushed through him and settled in his groin. Alex was writhing under him, grunting and moaning continuously. Duncan took his hand from the short hair, pulling himself up to see the abandon on Alex's flushed face. He looked wild, panting at Duncan as he started pulling at the button on Duncan's jeans.

"Easy." Duncan leaned down to croon in his ear, as he helped Alex get his shirt and jeans off. He toed off his socks as Alex squirmed out of the sweat pants.

"Ahhh." Alex sighed as Duncan lay on top of him again. Flesh against flesh, finally.

Duncan kissed across Alex's chest and shoulders as he stroked and petted his hips and flanks. The man was everywhere, every part of Alex was enveloped by Duncan's heat. His cock was screaming for release, but he wanted more of Duncan's relentless caresses, more of that hot mouth teasing him. He never wanted this to end.

Duncan's heart jumped as he saw Alex give himself over to the gentle touches and soft kisses he was raining over his body. He'd stopped touching Duncan, his arms flung over his head as he arched his chest up to meet Duncan's mouth. This was so sweet, so good. He needed this every bit as much as Alex did. He pulled a puckered nipple into his mouth and tongued it as Alex's body surged under him. Working his way down, he traced each rib with his mouth and tongue. Alex was making the most amazing noises. Quiet deep sounds, somewhere between grunting and humming, that were in rhythm with his body's sinuous rolling and rocking.

Duncan slowly kissed and sucked his way down the washboard stomach. When he reached the dark, wiry curls at Alex's groin he nuzzled his face in the hair and was surrounded by the strong, salty musk scent. He grabbed Alex's thighs to still him so he could pull his weeping cock into his mouth.

"Yesss." It was hissed through clenched teeth.

Alex's entire body tensed as Duncan's lips closed over him. As he was slowly sucked into the heat of Duncan's mouth, and then deeper in his throat, he sank back into the bed. Duncan didn't pull up, but instead sucked his entire length, as he was held in Duncan's throat. He could feel the muscles pulling him, milking him, and he was amazed at Duncan's control. Obviously this man didn't know the meaning of the words 'gag reflex', and he was eternally grateful.

It had been a very long time since Duncan had done this, but some things you never forget. Alex was making those noises again, and Duncan felt his cock pulse in response. He started moving, pulling back just a little and then sinking down on the hard flesh. As his strokes increased he reached down to roll Alex's balls around in his palm.

"No, wait, not yet." The deep rumble of words came spilling out of Alex. He needed more, he needed to lose himself in Duncan.

Duncan heard Alex above him and pulled his mouth away. He crawled up the sweating body to brush his fingers across Alex's cheekbone.

"What do you want? Tell me. Anything Alex, you can have anything."

Duncan's voice was warm and husky and Alex shivered as Duncan brushed his cheek tenderly. He was floating, flying on the rush from opening himself so completely to Duncan. He needed it all, he needed to completely succumb to the gentleness and caring of Duncan.

"You, in me. Need you in me." Alex heard his voice crack with emotion and looked deep into Duncan's eyes, baring his soul. This was the most liberating experience he'd ever had. He felt absolved, as if by giving himself over to Duncan he could abandon himself as well, leave it all behind.

Duncan looked into Alex's eyes and saw him let it all go. He was awed by the power in Alex's submission. His face was lit up, glowing with need and desire. He nodded and brought his legs between Alex's. Duncan ran his hands down the slick chest as he leaned back on his knees. Alex pulled his knees up and slung his legs over Duncan's shoulders, arms twisting above his head.

Holding himself up with one arm Duncan put two fingers in his mouth, wetting them thoroughly. He brought his hand down and slowly teased Alex's ass. He relaxed immediately, opening himself to Duncan's touch, who stroked gently, adding a second finger when Alex started pushing back.

"Now, please." Alex's low voice ground out the words as he impaled himself on Duncan's fingers.

Duncan pulled his fingers from Alex's body and positioned himself against the hot opening. Holding himself up with his arms on either side of Alex he slowly pushed in. He sank deep inside Alex, getting little resistance, and was overwhelmed by the heat surrounding him. Alex started rocking, using his legs as leverage against Duncan's chest. Duncan leaned forward, folding Alex in half as he lowered himself down to grab Alex's strong shoulders. He started fucking Alex slowly, listening to the deep sounds coming from him.

Alex was lost. Duncan was everywhere, in him, around him, part of him. Duncan's hard cock was pumping in and out of him, strong hands held his shoulders down, and Duncan's thick, long hair was falling around his face. Nothing mattered, nothing else even existed. He was one huge nerve ending, exploding from Duncan's touch. He heard Duncan moan above him and knew they were both going to lose it soon. He felt Duncan drag over his prostate one last time and he exploded.

Duncan watched Alex's face contort as he came. Agony and ecstasy played across his face as he clenched around Duncan. He pushed into Alex one more time and his own orgasm filled Alex's body. He fell onto the strong body beneath him, his limbs had turned to jello. Alex was holding him tightly, eyes squeezed shut. As soon as Duncan felt a little strength return to his body he tried to pull his weight off of Alex.

"No." Alex couldn't let go, not yet.

"Okay, but let's get a little more comfortable."

Duncan's gentle voice coaxed him as he felt him pull out and lower his legs. He came right back to lay down on top of him again, and Alex was comforted by the weight. Alex ran his fingers lightly up and down Duncan's back and heard him sigh. This man had taken him apart and put him back together again. Even though he'd just surrendered himself more completely than he ever had in his life, he also felt more alive than he ever had.

Alex woke up sticky and thirsty, but completely and utterly content. Duncan was asleep next to him, one arm flung across Alex's chest. This was the happiest he could remember being in a very long time. Duncan snored, but it was a reassuring sound. He could feel warm breath on his neck, and Duncan's hair on his shoulder. The tv was still on, but he didn't want to move so he could see it, this was too good.

Duncan couldn't have been more perfect if Alex had invented the man himself. The aesthetics alone were a perfect balance of masculinity and warmth. Duncan's body was a sculpture of muscle, and his skin was bronze and smooth with just the right dusting of hair across his chest and down his stomach. Duncan was solid and strong, but his face was the picture of human kindness. Alex had been overwhelmed by those deep brown eyes from the first.

Before he had the chance to contemplate his situation any further, he felt Duncan starting to wake up. He rolled onto his back and rubbed his face with his hands. Then he completely surprised Alex by rolling back on top of him.

"Thank you," Duncan paused for a kiss, "I think you may have saved me as much as I saved you."

Duncan was smiling down at him and Alex was struck by his honesty. He had the feeling that outside of this motel room he and Duncan were probably complete opposites.

"Can I interest you in a shower?" Alex returned the smile.

"Hmm, how about a bath?" Duncan sat up, pouring more Gatorade into the glass for him. "Here, sit up slowly."

Alex took the offered hand and the advice. Then he downed the entire glass of Gatorade and held his glass out for more. Duncan laughed, and then poured him the refill. After that glass disappeared down Alex's throat, he helped him stand up.

"Shit, I hate this." Alex felt the room lurch as he stood.

"I know, just keeping drinking and it'll get better." Duncan put a hand at the small of Alex's back and another at his elbow, guiding him to the bathroom.

Alex started laughing when he saw their reflection in the mirror. For some reason their nakedness made the situation seem too obscure, surreal.

"What's funny?" Duncan asked, already starting to laugh himself, and it felt wonderful.

"Us. Or maybe just the fact that bizarre situations seem to rule my life." Alex shook his head and continued the shuffle to the bathroom.

Duncan nodded his head,"I know what you mean."

Alex doubted it, but you never know. There was a slim possibility that Duncan's life was almost as chaotic as his own, but not very likely. Duncan seemed much too refined, well bred, to lead the kind of life Alex was talking about. Then again, maybe he'd been referring to finding Alex half dead by the side of the road. That was definitely a bizarre situation.

They'd made it to the bathroom and Duncan was filling the tub. The man had a beautiful backside, and Alex took advantage of the opportunity to admire it.

"Is this hot enough?" Duncan was referring to the bath water, but when he saw Alex's smoldering stare the question took on a whole new meaning.

"Oh yeah." A devilish grin covered Alex's face.

"It's nice to be appreciated, but I was talking about the bath water." Duncan reached a hand out and Alex took it, still grinning, and stepped into the tub.

"Perfect." He sighed as Duncan stepped in, facing him. "But are we going to fit in here?"

"Let's find out." Alex was surprised when Duncan returned his evil grin, his face taking on a sense of playfulness he hadn't shown before.

They sat facing each other, and after rearranging a few limbs, they fit. Alex grabbed the soap and started washing Duncan's chest and shoulders. He felt the relaxed muscles rolling under his hands. He washed the strong arms and hands, kneading the muscles as he scrubbed.

"Mmm, that feels wonderful." Duncan sighed as Alex carefully massaged every muscle in his hand.

"Least I can do. After all, you did save my life." And possibly my soul, or what's left of it.

"Hmm." He closed his eyes, concentrating on Alex's touch. "Something tells me you would have survived even I hadn't come along, but I'm glad I did."

Alex began on the other arm, "Me too. I might have survived, but I'm sure that any other possible scenario would never have felt this good."

Duncan opened his eyes and leaned forward, resting his forehead against Alex's. "That goes both ways. I meant what I said."

"I know. Just don't dig too deep, you won't like what you find." Alex's voice had dropped, he was staring down into the bath water.

That hit home. Duncan was struck by what a familiar tone those words had taken. Methos had sounded the same when he'd told Mac it wasn't in his nature to understand or even accept what the old man had done in his past. It had been true then, but God help him it wasn't ever going to be true again. He rinsed the soap off his arms and pulled Alex's face up to look at him.

"Let me tell you a story."

Alex looked confused, but nodded.

"A true story. A few years ago I had a best friend, and since I'm being completely honest... If I'd not been so afraid of who he was, it could have been a lot more."

Alex nodded again, understanding, but not wanting to interrupt.

"After three years of friendship, of literally putting our lives on the line for each other, I found out about a particularly ugly part of his past. I judged him and condemned him without ever taking into consideration the man I knew. I let his past become who he was in my eyes, and I turned my back on him when he needed me."

Alex saw the regret and pain cross over Duncan's face and took his hand, waiting for him to continue.

"We managed to put the friendship back to together, sort of, but it was never the same. I didn't learn, and I hurt him over and over again, until he disappeared from my life. I'm never going to make those mistakes again. It doesn't matter who you are or what you've done, or even what you're going to do. I like the man I'm sharing a bath with, and that's all that matters. I think I've finally learned not to impose my moral code on the rest of the world."

"It takes all kinds?" Alex cocked his head to one side, beginning to understand what Duncan was working through here.

"Yeah, it does. A world of Duncan MacLeods would be a very boring, self righteous place."

"I doubt that. Don't sell yourself short, you left out kind, caring, and brave. It took guts to pick me up off the side of the highway. Besides, you don't know the man you're sharing a bath with."

"I know enough. You could've killed me, stolen my wallet and my car and gotten the hell out of here. You're shakey, but not helpless. Instead you trusted me and let me help you. You've come through all of this with your spirit and sense of humor intact, that takes a very strong person. I admire you and enjoy your company, Alex. That's more than enough." Duncan squeezed his hand.

He was amazed by what Duncan had said. Unconditional acceptance. Was this possible? Fate must have mistaken him for someone else when they sent Duncan MacLeod his way. Never being one to look a gift horse in the mouth, Alex decided to stop questioning his good luck and just enjoy it. As if on cue, Duncan picked up the soap and started washing him.

Duncan saw Alex working through what he'd said. He felt more of the weight lifting from his life as he'd made his bath tub confession. Now he just let himself enjoy the feel of Alex's soft skin as he washed him. Once he'd rinsed the younger man clean Alex seemed to have worked through whatever was going through his mind.

"Can I wash your hair?" His sweet smile made Alex look very young.

"Sure, I'd like that." No one had done that for him since Tessa.

Duncan turned and let Alex wet down his unruly mass of hair. It felt so good when Alex started massaging in the shampoo that he moaned in pleasure.

He heard Alex chuckle, it was a satisfied sound."Maybe you should let someone take care of you for a change, Duncan. I get the feeling you usually give more than you get."

"Maybe," Duncan sighed the word more than said it.

"God this stuff is gorgeous. How long did it take you to grow it?" Alex asked as he ran his fingers through the soapy hair that hung down to the middle of Duncan's back.

"About three years ago I cut it very short." Duncan remembered the ritual he'd done to rid himself of the pain.

"Why? Did you just get sick of it?"

"No. It was a way to let go of some my guilt and pain at the time. " Duncan wasn't sure how to explain it to Alex without going into detail about the circumstances. He didn't want to talk about losing Richie now, he was too happy.

"By cutting off your hair you were cutting off the bad stuff? Makes sense." Alex kept his own hair short because he didn't look threatening enough with long hair. Pretty, yes, threatening, no. Pretty didn't get you very far in his line of work.

Duncan was relieved that he didn't have to go into details. He leaned back and let Alex rinse his hair. Strong fingers worked the conditioner through, and when Alex was done there wasn't a tangle left.

"Hungry?" Duncan tilted his head back a bit further and looked at Alex upside down.

"Yeah, I am." Alex chuckled at his contortionist act.

"Okay then, let's get out of this tub and I'll go get dinner from the restaurant." Duncan stood up, water cascading down his body.

Alex took his hand and pulled himself up from the bath. He still got dizzy every time he stood or moved too fast. It was driving him crazy. He didn't want to leave Duncan, or this safe haven, but he knew he wouldn't be safe for long. If he stayed in one place too long they'd find him for sure. Eventually he'd have to leave, and live on the run again. The faster he got better the greater his chances at survival.

"Careful, are you still dizzy?" Duncan felt Alex leaning on him heavily as he got out of the tub.

"Yeah, and it's driving me fucking crazy." He took a towel and started drying himself off.

"You're recovering faster than I thought you would, actually. I think you should be on your feet again in a couple of days." Duncan had already accepted the fact that he might never see Alex again.

"Don't get me wrong, I'd love to stay here indefinitely with you if I could, but that really isn't an option. I need to keep moving."

"I know, it's okay." And it really was.

Alex took a nap while Duncan went to get dinner. He was happy to find that they had chopped steak on their menu, it's what Alex had requested. Duncan loved watching Alex's reactions to food, there was so much enthusiasm. Of course the reason for his enthusiasm was probably because he'd been half starved to death when Duncan had found him. Still, it'd made him happy to see Alex's face light up when they had discussed dinner.

When Duncan got back to the room he was surprised to find Alex watching tv. It looked like he was just mindlessly channel surfing, but he seemed very content.

"The mighty hunter has returned! Did you go out and kill me a chopped steak?" A crazy grin was plastered to Alex's face, and he was already making his way across the bed to the table where Duncan had set down the food.

"Yes, I did. Slow down there Alex, you don't want to pass out before you get to the food." Duncan was laughing as he started spreading dinner out on the table. When Alex made it to the edge of the bed he helped him to the table.

"Thanks. This is great. What did you get?" Alex started buttering a dinner roll and peeking at Duncan's food.

"Baked chicken and mashed potatoes. Want some?" He offered his food to Alex.

"No thanks, just curious. What's this?" He picked up a large cup sitting in front of him.

"It's a chocolate shake, I thought you might like it."

"Are you psychic Duncan? I love chocolate milkshakes, and it's been a long time since I've had one. This is rat bliss." Alex still couldn't get over his good fortune.

"My pleasure. For some reason I figured you were a chocolate fiend. What do you mean, rat bliss?"

"Ah, it's kind of a nickname I've given myself. Someone once told me I was a rat bastard, and well, I was, am. Anyway, I just kind of think of myself as a rat." Alex didn't seem uncomfortable referring to himself as a dirty rodent.

"That's terrible, and it doesn't say much for your self image." Duncan was horrified that Alex saw himself that way.

"Not really. Sure, at first I took it as an insult. Thought of myself as a rat when I was in those self-recriminating moods, but then I really thought about it one day. Rats are smart, clean, resourceful creatures. I even read an article that said they'd been studying rats in some lab experiment and determined that rats can laugh, and they do it often. Even the plague wasn't really the rat's fault, it was their fleas that spread the disease. They've just got a bad reputation that they don't really deserve." His eyes smiled at Duncan as he slurped his milkshake.

"Does that apply to you as well?" Duncan felt like he was beginning to understand Alex.

"Maybe," he thought about it as he finished off his dinner. "Maybe I deserve my bad reputation, but I'm not guilty of as many things as some people think I am."

"You have a bad reputation?" Duncan feigned shock and disapproval.

"Very funny." Alex was realizing that Duncan had a playful streak hiding under that serious exterior. "Hey, thanks again for letting me use your razor. I felt like I was wearing a mask with all that growth on my face."

"No problem. You don't look like a beard person." What Duncan was thinking was that it would be a sin to cover that sweet face with a beard.

"That was perfect, even the green beans were good. They didn't over cook them to a state of mush. You keep feeding me like this and I'll be back on my feet in no time."

"Actually, I figure you should be okay in another day or two. I'll go to K-Mart tomorrow and get you some clothes, your's were beyond hope. I did manage to clean up your jacket pretty well, though." He'd started clearing up the empty containers, throwing everything away.

"Duncan, you're being too good to me. What am I going to do when I go back into the world and everybody hates my guts again?" Alex was actually laughing, turning his situation into a joke.

"Do you always turn your life into a joke?" There was concern in his voice.

"Well, the way I look at is, it's better to laugh than cry. Besides, if you can't laugh at yourself, then you're taking yourself much too seriously." Alex didn't want Duncan to think he was fishing for sympathy. That was the last thing he wanted.

Duncan realized that what he thought was extremely low self esteem was actually a very healthy attitude towards life. He helped Alex back into the bed and opened a new bottle of Gatorade. Alex had drunk two of the large bottles already. He'd get more Gatorade tomorrow, too.

"I need to call my friend. I'd been checking in with him every night and he's probably wondering what happened to me by now." Duncan hadn't had the chance to call Joe yesterday, and he didn't want to worry his Watcher.

"No problem, I'll turn the volume down." He grabbed the remote and turned the tv down to a quieter volume.

Duncan sat on the other bed and dialed Joe's number at the bar.


"Hi Joe, sorry I didn't call you yesterday."

"I was starting to worry. Glad to hear you're alright. What's up?"

"Nothing, just decided to stop for a couple of days. It's really beautiful here." Duncan didn't say anything about Alex. He knew it would take too much explaining to Joe, and he didn't want to make Alex feel uncomfortable.

"Exactly where is here, Mac? I just want to keep track of you." His voice was kidding, but he did need to know where Duncan was.

"Dickinson, North Dakota. I'm at the Best Western."

"Okay, how's it going? You feeling better?" Joe was concerned, because even though Duncan said he was enjoying himself, he didn't sound much better.

"Yeah, I'm finding a few answers." Duncan smiled at Alex, but he was watching tv.

"That's great Mac. Keep in touch, okay?"

"Yeah, I'll let you know when I leave here. Thanks Joe."

"No problem. Be safe."

"You too. Bye."

As Duncan hung up the phone Alex looked at him.


"For what?" Duncan didn't understand.

"For not mentioning me to your friend. The less people that know about me the better." Alex went back to his channel surfing.

"You're welcome, I'll go get more ice if you're alright here."

"I'm fine. Hell, I'm great. Well fed, warm and safe for the moment. That's the best I've been in a very long time." Alex was smiling as he settled back against his pillows.

"Okay, back in minute."

Duncan wasn't gone long, returning with a fresh bucket of ice. He put a few cubes in Alex's Gatorade and set the bucket on the bedside table. Before he even had a chance to think about it, Alex had grabbed his hand and pulled him to sit on the bed next to him.

"Wanna watch tv with me?" He started scooting forward in bed.

"Sure, what are we watching?" Duncan took off his shoes and socks as Alex explained to him the fine art of channel surfing.

"Here, sit back on the pillows." Alex instructed as he arranged the pillows against the headboard.

Duncan got comfortable, and Alex sat between his legs, resting his back against Duncan's chest. He pulled Alex close, wrapping his arms around the younger man's torso.

"Hmm, nice." Alex rested his head against Duncan's shoulder and resumed his channel surfing. He turned off the bedside light and the room was lit by the glow from the tv. He stopped for a minute on an old black and white movie.

"This looks familiar, what is it?" Duncan asked as he nuzzled the silky brown hair against his cheek.

"Gaslight. Huh, maybe that's not a good choice, I've had enough insanity in my life, I don't need to watch it on tv." He chuckled and Duncan felt him relax even more.

Soon they were happily changing from one show to the next, making jokes about the crap on tv. After a while Alex sat forward and took off his sweatshirt. Then he reached behind him and started pushing Duncan's sweater up. He took the hint and removed the sweater. As soon as he did, Alex settled back against him, sighing happily. Duncan felt more at peace with himself than he had in many years.

"Oh yes!" Alex had stopped on a music video.

Duncan was able to catch the words "Pearl Jam" before they faded from the corner of the screen. He recognized the name from a tape Methos had carried around with him a few years ago, before things went bad.

"What is it?"

Alex turned and gave that wicked smile Duncan was getting used to. "It's my song."

He wasn't able to make out all the words, but the phrase "I'm still alive" was repeated enough times that he could decipher it. Indeed. The perfect song for a survivor like Alex, or Methos. When the video ended he was pulled from his thoughts by Alex's quiet, low voice.

"Still alive. Amazing." It was said with a sense of awe.

He didn't know what to say, so he pulled Alex closer and held him tightly for a minute. Then they went back to surfing the channels.

"This is perfect, one of those perfect moments you want to memorize and save for when the shit hits the fan again and you need something good to hold onto. Y'know? Or am I just getting soft?"

Alex had spoken without thinking, just saying what he felt. Now he felt uncomfortable revealing his thoughts. It wasn't something he did very often. If you kept it all in your head no one could use it against you.

"Yeah, I know." Duncan did know, all too well, how one good memory could get you through some of the most horrific situations.

He kissed Alex's temple. A simple gesture, but Alex felt that kiss in every part of his body. He tossed the remote on the floor and turned to face Duncan. He kissed him briefly, and then turned himself around and put a leg on each side of Duncan's hips. He scooted forward, letting Alex curl his legs around his waist, and bending his own legs so his feet were behind Alex's ass.

Duncan smiled as Alex put his arms loosely around his neck. He was grinning at Duncan mischievously, leaning in to nibble at his lips. It was wonderful to feel so comfortable and relaxed. Alex pulled away when Duncan pushed his tongue deeper into his mouth. He looked at Alex's face and saw that he was just being playful, and not backing away because of anything Duncan had done. He reached up and traced Alex's full lips with his fingers, watching the desire grow in the green eyes.

Alex poked his tongue out and licked at Duncan's fingers, wrapping around one and pulling it into his mouth. He fixed his stare on those brown eyes and sucked Duncan's finger as his tongue wound around it, stroking back and forth. He watched as warmth and sweetness gave way to lust and desire in the coffee brown eyes. He pulled his mouth from Duncan's finger, and ran a hand down his chest.

"My turn now." Alex almost purred as he popped the button on Duncan's jeans open.

Duncan's breath caught in his throat at the tone of Alex's voice. His zipper was pulled down and he lifted his hips, pushing his pants down and kicking them off when Alex lifted himself up and out of the way. As soon as his pants were off Alex sat back down where he was before and pulled his own pants off. He wrapped his legs around Duncan's waist, pulling them together until their cocks were nestled against each other.

Duncan's arms were holding him tightly at the small of his back. He sank his hand deep in Duncan's long hair and pulled him close, kissing him slowly. Their tongues came together and pulled back, as their lips closed over each other. It was a continuous motion, repeating over and over in rhythm to their grinding hips. Alex wanted to crawl inside Duncan, fuse them together in this living knot.

They pulled apart, panting. Duncan dipped his head and bit into Alex's soft shoulder as he thrust his hips. He was pushed back and Alex pulled his legs out of the way. Alex slid his knees down on either side of Duncan's legs, pushing them together. Sitting back on his knees, Alex's ass rested on Duncan's shins. Flashing that wicked smile, he bent his head and quickly sucked Duncan's length down his throat.

"Jesus," escaped Duncan's mouth and he felt Alex chuckle as he tongued up and down his dick. The emotions of last night were still there, but Alex's passion was overpowering him. Obviously, food and water weren't the only things Alex had been starving for. His mouth was driving Duncan out of his mind, his tongue was moving so fast it felt like he had three of them.

Alex loved this, being able to make a clearheaded, sensible man like Duncan wild with desire. He'd closed his eyes and was muttering phrases in a language Alex could only guess was Gaelic. Large hands ran over his short hair, never resting in one place, as he sucked and licked Duncan into a frenzy. He was thrashing, pushing up into Alex's mouth with powerful thrusts. Alex watched as Duncan tossed his head from side to side, his voice getting louder as his orgasm approached. Duncan was strikingly handsome, but now, with his hair splayed across the pillows, moaning and thrashing, he was magnificent. Uninhibited and wild suited him much better than the polite, well mannered exterior he showed in day to day life.

He pulled his mouth from Duncan's erection and scooted forward, straddling his hips. Their cocks were side by side, trapped by Alex's weight. He braced his elbows on Duncan's shoulders and sank his hands into the tangled mass of hair. Duncan's heavy lidded eyes looked more red than brown as they stared up at him. Bending his head down, Alex kissed and sucked Duncan's lips as their hips ground together.

Duncan ran his hands up and down Alex's back, not able to keep still. They were in constant motion, hips rolling and grinding together, heads twisting and turning as their mouths sucked and bit each other. He was caught up in Alex's fevered state, reveling in the strong, heavy body on top of him. He was nuzzling Duncan's neck now, panting and moaning. Alex's low, steady hum sounded in rhythm to his rolling hips. The sound was hypnotic, filling Duncan's head.

Grinding harder against Duncan, Alex knew he couldn't hold on much longer. The friction building between them was exquisite. He humped Duncan's hard body recklessly, the powerful hips coming up off the bed to meet him. He felt Duncan's hands gripping his ass, pulling and squeezing in time to their thrusts. That was all it took. Alex jerked his hips in short, hard, stabbing motions as he came across their stomachs, and moaned into the side of Duncan's neck.

Duncan shuddered as he felt Alex's hot, wet come cover them. He tightened his grip on Alex and was overwhelmed by his own orgasm. He came in long, neverending waves, his body trembling uncontrollably. He heard himself cry out, surprised by the volume of his own voice.

Alex heard Duncan howl as he came and a deep feeling of satisfaction followed. He lay sprawled across the expanse of Duncan's chest and torso, unable to move. His muscles were still twitching from the strain he'd put on them. He licked the sweat from Duncan's neck, enjoying the salty taste. He felt Duncan's hands slide up his back, one settling on his shoulder, the other stroking through his damp hair.

"You still with me here?"

"Yeah, barely." Alex's voice was breathless in his ear, but he was smiling.

"You wore yourself out. Me too, but I'm not complaining. Here," Duncan carefully moved Alex off his chest. "Have something to drink."

He poured more Gatorade in a glass and turned to give it to Alex. What he saw took his breath away. Alex was glistening with sweat, his cheeks flushed and a huge grin was plastered across his face.

"Hmm, that felt good." He chuckled and stretched every muscle in his body. Then he very slowly started to sit up. He really had overdone it, but he didn't care. So what if this set him back a day in his recovery, it was worth it.

"I think 'good' is an understatement. Here, drink." He smoothed the hair at the back of Alex's neck as the young man downed the glass of Gatorade.

"Thanks, I feel a little more connected to my body now. We need a shower." Alex ran his hand through the come covering Duncan's chest.

"Sounds nice, I like you wet and naked." Duncan leaned close and crooned in Alex's ear.

"I like you when you let loose Duncan, you should do it more often." Alex laughed as Duncan bit his ear. "You're much too serious, you miss out on all the fun."

"You have no idea how true that is. Not anymore, though. This is the new Duncan MacLeod, no more brooding. I think it's time I start living again, and I have you to thank for this long overdue change in attitude." He kissed the full lips that were smiling at him.

"My pleasure. I think I needed this little break from reality as much as you did, even if I hadn't been two steps from dead when you found me. I was getting too caught up in the circles of deceit. I lost track of the important things."

"What are the important things?" Duncan was curious to know what Alex considered to be the important things in life.

"Well," there was that sinful grin again, "Staying alive, good food, great sex, never letting anyone get the best of you, and having as much fun as you can in this madness we call life."

"That's pretty basic." Duncan wondered where love fit in Alex's list.

"Hey, what can I say? I'm a born hedonist." Alex rumpled Duncan's already chaotic mass of hair, and started to scoot to the edge of the bed. "Shower?"

"Shower." Duncan affirmed as he helped Alex to stand.

The next morning Alex woke up to find himself trapped under a snoring Duncan. He was pinned on his stomach with heavy limbs thrown across his back and legs. He turned his head away from the window and was staring straight into Duncan's nose. Overcome by happiness, he bit down on the tip.

"Mmmphh." Duncan pulled his head back and opened his eyes to see Alex's devilish smile. "You bit me!" He was chuckling as he rubbed his nose.

"Couldn't resist. Besides, you had me pinned, I had to wake you up." Warm laughter filled the room as they rolled over and Duncan started taking bites out of Alex's cheeks and neck.

Alex barely made a show of a struggle, he was enjoying it too much. The more time he spent with Duncan, the more he saw the playful spirit of the man coming to the surface. It was heaven to wrestle and play like this, he loved being able to enjoy the strength of another man. Soft and fragile had never appealed to Alex. Too bad he was still so weak or he'd be able to give Duncan a run for his money.

"What do you want for breakfast?"

"How about a waffle? And some sausage?"

"It's yours." Duncan bit him one more time before getting up.

"Well, let's see how I'm doing today." Alex mumbled as he started to sit up. It wasn't as bad as yesterday, but he still got light headed.

"How're you doing?" Duncan squeezed Alex's thigh as he asked the question.

"A little better, I think. I'm still dizzy, but it's not as bad. Last night in the shower I was somewhere on the ceiling."

"So was I." Duncan smiled as he helped him stand.

Alex put his arms around Duncan's waist and kissed him. "Thanks. Go get breakfast, I can handle it from here."

"Okay, if you're sure." Duncan took another kiss before he started putting clothes on.

"I'm sure. See, I can get to the bathroom all by myself." He heard Alex joke to himself, "I'm a big boy," as he closed the bathroom door.

Duncan was captivated by Alex's smartass sense of humor. In a lot of ways his cavalier attitude reminded Duncan of himself about 300 years ago. He used to think of that time as his 'young and dumb' days, but now he missed the sense of fun he'd left behind. Alex was right, he'd become much too serious. Of course, conquering a demon that shows up every millennium to destroy the world as we know it tends to sober a person up.

Alex came out of the bathroom and pulled on his sweat pants. He saw Duncan's bag was open and he grabbed a t-shirt off the top. Not interested in tv, he turned on the clock radio next to the bed. He scanned the radio until he found a classic rock station. The Who was playing Let's See Action, and he started singing along. He flopped on the bed, laying on his back. He didn't have a very good voice, but when he was alone he sang anyway.

Give me a drink, boy

Wash my feet

I'm so tired of running

From my own heat

Take this package

And here's what you do

Gotta get this

information through

I don't know where I'm going

I don't know what I need

But I'll get to where I'm gonna end up

And that's alright by me

Duncan walked in the door to catch a glimpse of Alex laying on his back singing at the top of his lungs. As soon as Alex realized he wasn't alone anymore he stopped singing and rolled over, turning down the radio.

"Don't stop on my account." Duncan teased as he set down the bag full of breakfast. "What were you singing?"

"It's a Who song, Let's See Action. Sorry, no one should have to listen to me sing."

"What was that last bit before you turned it down? Nothing is everything, everything is nothing? Pretty metaphysical thinking for rock and roll." Duncan knew he was horribly behind the times when it came to modern music and culture, but he hadn't heard anything as simple and yet profound in rock lyrics before.

"Yeah, Townshend was hanging around Meher Baba when he wrote that one. Do you like The Who?" Alex had been listening to Pete Townshend since he was a teenager. The guy had so much to say, and he said it so well.

Duncan normally would've played it off, giving Alex a safe, vague answer. But he was curious about this because Alex seemed to know so much about it.

"To be honest, Alex, I don't really know much about rock music. The Who is a band?"

Alex cocked his head to the side, "Yeah, you've never heard of them? They're as famous as the Rolling Stones, you've heard of them, right?"

"Yep. So, tell about them, The Who I mean." Duncan waited to see what Alex had to say.

"Pete Townshend writes almost all the songs, and he's done some incredible solo work as well. He created the rock opera. The first one he wrote was really just three songs that were strung together, it's called A Quick One. Then he wrote Tommy a few years later and in a lot ways rock n' roll was never the same. They even made it into a movie, Ken Russell directed it. My favorite is Quadrophenia. There's this song, I'm One."

He started reciting the lyrics, "Every year it's the same, and I feel it again. I'm a loser, no chance to win. Leaves start fallin', come down is calling. Loneliness starts sinking in. But I'm one, I am one. And I can see, that this is me, and I will be, you'll all see, I'm the one. "

Duncan stared at him, Alex looked as if he were reciting scripture.

"It hit close to home for me when I was a teenager, I never really had it very together." There was that crazy grin again. "So, is there a waffle in there for me?"

"Yes, there is." Duncan noticed Alex's gun on the bedside table as he unpacked breakfast. "You might want to put that in the drawer instead, housekeeping will be back today."

"Right, I forgot." Alex stashed the Sig in the drawer and turned off the radio. "Hope you don't mind, I borrowed a t-shirt."

"Don't mind a bit." He watched Alex get up and shuffle to the table on his own. It took him a while, but he got there. "You're doing much better. Maybe we'll eat at the restaurant tomorrow morning, if you want to."

"Yeah, it'd be good to get out of this room. I'm starting to get cabin fever." He sat down, looking at the drawn curtains.

"You want me open these a bit? Get some sun in here?" Duncan was already pulling the drapes as he spoke.

"That's nice, thanks. I'm kind of claustrophobic, a recent development." Alex grimaced.

Halfway through breakfast the maid showed up. She was finished just as they were done eating, doing a quick but thorough job. After breakfast Duncan went to K-Mart and Alex flopped on the newly made bed. He still didn't feel like watching tv, and the paperbacks Duncan had weren't very good. He was sure that MacLeod was a very well read man and had just picked them up out of desperation. The paperback selection in Dickinson, North Dakota couldn't be very good. He wondered where the hell Dickinson was, and started sifting through the pamphlets on the table. This was a pretty nice hotel Duncan had found, but then, you really couldn't go wrong with a Best Western. He found a map on the back of a flyer for the Dakota Dinosaur Museum that was only a block away. From what he could tell, Dickinson was just off of I-94, in the southwest corner of the state. If he remembered correctly, this was at least fifty miles from the silo. How did he get this far? He'll probably never know.

Drinking more Gatorade, he turned on the clock radio again. Not many choices besides country, but he found a public radio station playing some classical music. Having finished the last bottle of Gatorade, he lay back on the bed. He wondered again what Duncan's life was like. He didn't seem like the businessman type. He didn't seem like any 'type', really. Who cares? If he was lucky he'd get to spend another day or two with him, and Alex planned on making the most of every minute.

He spent the hour or so that Duncan was gone just lying around. He didn't know what to do with himself. It was strange to be bored. He hadn't had time to think in the past six months of his life, let alone get bored. Now he found himself contemplating the tacky pictures on the walls. He should be forming a plan, but what could he plan on besides running? Well, that and getting his hands on a laptop so he could hack his way around and try to figure out who was trying to kill him and who wasn't.

All of that could wait until he left here. For now Alex's life was in this motel room, where there were no demands or dangers. Nice change of pace in his life, no immediate worries and perfect company to spend his spend his time with. The classical music was getting boring, but he heard Duncan struggling with the door. He peaked through the peephole to be sure it was Duncan. It was and he opened the door for him.

"Thanks." Duncan smiled as he watched Alex try to take the bags from him. He handed him one, the lightest, and followed him over to sit on the bed. He started pulling clothes out of one of the bags and setting them on the bed. Alex reached over and switched off the radio.

"I hope these fit. I got you a couple of sweaters, it's still gets pretty cold at night." Duncan was concerned that Alex might be spending nights outside, not sure if he had money or anywhere to go.

"Nice." Alex held up a cable knit, white, fishermans sweater.

Duncan continued to unload the clothes onto the bed. There were 4 pairs of jeans, two blue, two black, a pile of t-shirts, a pair of sweat pants, a sweat shirt to match, and the two sweaters, one white and one black. A couple of packages of sweat socks and underwear were the last to appear and Alex started to chuckle.

"I don't mean to be rude, but I don't wear underwear." Alex tossed the package of socks up and caught them over and over again as he spoke.

"No problem. Will this stuff fit? I think I guessed your size pretty well, but I'm not sure about the jeans." He noticed that Alex seemed to have much more energy than he did the day before, the repeatedly airborne bag of socks was a dead give away.

"Let's find out." Alex slipped off the sweats and grabbed a pair of black jeans from the pile. He stood up slowly and pulled the pants on. Duncan watched as Alex slid the denim over his bare ass and it suddenly got hotter in the room.

"Perfect fit." Alex smiled as he did up the last button of the fly. Then he pulled off Duncan's t-shirt that he'd borrowed and put the sweater on, the black one.

Now Duncan knew he was seeing Alex as the rest of the world did, a dangerous man. The black sweater padded his wide shoulders, making them look massive. Alex's build had surprised him from the start. Duncan had expected him to be thin, but even in the wretched state he had found him in, Alex's bulk hadn't suffered. He was bigger than Duncan all around; height, weight and muscle mass. Now, standing in front of him, dressed all in black, smiling like the devil himself, Alex was definitely intimidating. At least, he would've been if Duncan didn't know him.

"Duncan?" Alex saw the look in Duncan's eyes, and he loved it.

"You're normally a very dangerous man, aren't you Alex?" Duncan's voice was laced with desire, and the complexity of the word "dangerous" hung between them.

"I can be," Alex's smile turned from sinful to sweet in the blink of an eye, "But never with you, Duncan. I'll never be any threat where you and I are concerned."

"I know." Duncan nodded slowly. "I got a few things to relieve your cabin fever." He started pulling things out of the last bag.

Alex tossed off the sweater and put it back in the pile of clothes. He watched Duncan pull a large, expensive (even for K-Mart) back pack out of the giant plastic bag.

"You'll need something to carry all this around. Do you play chess? I hoped you did, so I bought a set. It's just a kids toy, but it'll do." Duncan thought that if Alex didn't play chess, he would love to teach him.

"Yeah, I play. That was a great idea! What other little treasures do you have hiding in there?" Alex tried to grab the bag from him. Duncan swatted at his hands, laughing.

"Hmm, let's see..." He teased Alex, looking in the bag, but not pulling anything else out.

"Duncan!' Alex tried again and failed to get the bag away from him.

"Okay, here." He pulled the top of the line walkman and a handful of tapes out of the bag. "I warned you I don't know much about rock music, but I tried." He handed Alex the tapes.

"Quadrophenia!" Alex looked at Duncan, shaking his head in disbelief. "You're something else. More Pete Townshend? This incredible, really."

"I didn't know what tapes to buy, so I just guessed at it. The cover of that one caught my eye."

"It's a self portrait." Alex was holding the tape Another Scoop so Duncan could look at it again. "Let's see what else you got. Pearl Jam, two of them, thanks. More Pete, Chinese Eyes? You picked exactly what I would have." Alex was smiling, amazed at Duncan's thoughtfulness.

"The title of that one was too strange to pass up. All The Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes. What does the music sound like?" Duncan couldn't imagine.

"The most beautiful stuff, soul searching." He watched Duncan pull another set of headphones out of the bag with a bunch of batteries. Enough batteries to last months. This man thought of everything.

"I thought maybe we could listen together and you could tell me about the music." Duncan sounded hesitant.

Alex checked the walkman, and sure enough, there were two jacks for headphones. "Fantastic, sounds great."

Alex unwrapped all the tapes and Duncan pulled tags off the new clothes. When they were done, he cleared all the garbage away and came to see what tape Alex was putting in the walkman. It was the Chinese Eyes tape.

"Here, sit with me." Alex moved over on the bed, sitting against the headboard.

Duncan sat next to him and took the offered headphones. Alex hit play and he heard 'A love born once must soon be born again'. The music was happy and sad at the same time and the voice was somewhere between talking and singing. The song was about love, and the many pains and frustrations that go with it. It was almost poetic. Then he heard 'For that is what true beauty is, time's gift to perfect humility', and realized it was poetry.

Soft horns played as a high pitched man's voice sang 'People, stop hurting people' and the song faded. Alex stopped the tape and looked at Duncan.

"What do you think?"

"I like it. You're right, it is beautiful, but sad." Duncan took Alex's hand and squeezed.

"Here," Alex had flipped the tape and was rewinding it. He stopped to play a chord or two and then continued until he found the song he was looking for. "This is slightly appropriate. It's called 'Somebody Saved Me'."

He watched Alex close his eyes as he pressed play. Duncan realized what a perfect gift the walkman was for Alex. He looked positively serene. This wasn't what Duncan thought of when he heard the phrase 'rock and roll'. The music was as expressive as the words. He listened to them, hearing a story of a man who was shunned by a woman and devastated by the rejection. 'I don't know about guardian angels, all I know about's staying alive.' was sung sweetly and he thought of the man laying next to him. Alex was smiling, his mouth moving along with the lyrics. Duncan wondered if he was singing. He pushed the headphones off one ear in time to hear Alex sing 'Somebody saved me.' as the song faded out.

Alex stopped the tape and opened his eyes. "Chess?"

"Sounds great." Duncan took off the headphones and handed them back to Alex. "Want to play here, or at the table?"

"Table." Alex was already standing at the other side of the bed, making his way to the table by the window.

Duncan followed and put the box on the table. "Want me to open the window?"

"That'd be great." He watched Alex take a deep breath as the chilly spring air blew in.

Alex knew it wasn't the safest thing to do, sitting in front of the open window, anyone could take him out. The air smelled so good, and the sun on his bare skin was heaven. It was worth taking the risk.

"You might want to put a shirt on, that breeze is a bit chilly." Duncan was already getting a shirt from the pile of clothes he'd put on the dresser.

"Are you mothering me, Duncan?" Alex was completely amused by Duncan's doting.

"Probably," Duncan laughed at himself. "I warned you it was in my nature."

Alex took the shirt, but didn't put it on for quite a while. The sun felt too good, even if the air outside was still tinged with winter. They played chess most of the afternoon, taking a break for Duncan to go get some sandwiches. By the time the sun was setting Alex had managed to beat Duncan twice, but lost the first three games they had played. Duncan was the best opponent he'd had in many, many years, and he loved the challenge.

"Okay, enough. I think I'm all chessed out. You play a mean game, I'm not used to losing." Alex raised an eyebrow at Duncan, asking a silent question.

"Same here." He wasn't about to tell Alex that he'd been playing for a couple hundred years, so he left it at that. "Hungry? I could go get some dinner."

"Not yet, those were huge cheeseburgers we had for lunch. I think my brain's ready for some mindless tv. Interested?" He just wanted to revel in Duncan's company.

"Sure, maybe we could watch the news, though?" Duncan hadn't seen a newspaper in a couple of days, and he liked to keep up with world politics. It made him feel more connected. The mortal world could become so distant sometimes, for some reason watching the news or reading the paper made Duncan feel more a part of it.

"Okay, but it's all bullshit. They only tell you what they want you to know." Alex usually watched the news as a source of entertainment, not to get information. He had more information on the state of world powers than any newscast out there.

Alex had laid down on his stomach, his head at the foot of the bed facing the tv, propped up on his elbows. Duncan sat down next to him cross legged.

"You want CNN or network news?" Alex was already flipping through the channels. He didn't sound very enthusiastic.

"CNN is good." He reached over and squeezed Alex's shoulder and his head fell to the bed. Duncan struck a bargain. "Tell you what, you suffer through Headline News and I'll give you a backrub."

"You've got a deal." Alex pulled off his t-shirt and flopped back down on the bed.

Duncan straddled his hips and sat down on Alex's ass. "Am I too heavy?"

"No, feels good." Alex purred.

Duncan worked on Alex's back as he listened to the news. An occasional grunt or sigh would pull his attention to a particular spot and by the time the financial report came on he'd almost forgotten the tv. Working the muscles, he admired the physique of the man beneath him.

The weight of Duncan on top of him was comforting, and his hands were finding muscles in Alex's back that he didn't even know he had. He couldn't remember the last time someone had given him a back rub, but this was certainly the best one he'd ever had.

"Mmm, if this isn't what you do for a living, it should be." Duncan's hands were turning him to mush.

"It's not, but thanks for the compliment. Actually I teach ancient history part-time, and I own a dojo." Duncan saw no harm in telling Alex a little about his life.

"Ahh, that makes sense." This almost explained how Duncan can appear so refined and scholarly, and move like a commando. "The perfect balance of brains and brawn."

Duncan smiled, "I never thought of it that way before."

"Oh, right there, ahh." Duncan had found a particularly sore spot. Just then something on the news caught Alex's attention.

"The United States government has released a statement admitting that U.S. troops in the Gulf War were exposed to VX nerve gas by the Iraqis," the newscaster read off his prompter.

"Hah, yeah, but what their not telling you is that we're the ones who designed the damn shit and they knew that it would be used against our troops from the start of the conflict. See, the news is just a way for the government to control the public. Let them know a juicy little tidbit to distract attention from the really big stuff they don't want anyone to know about. It's all just a bunch of bullshit." Alex put his head back down on the bed, waiting for Duncan to resume his back rub.

"Where did you hear that?" Duncan was confused, Alex didn't seem at all to be the 'conspiracy theory' type. Of course, he thought, after witnessing the way governments were run for the past few hundred years, he knew that most of what Alex had said was true. Propaganda was nothing new in world affairs.

"You wouldn't believe me if I told you." Alex didn't usually spit out little bits of information like that, but the way the government screwed over the troops in the gulf was one of the few truths he knew that had bothered him. Most of the things he learned were just filed away to be used to his advantage in the future, but this one stuck with him.

"I'd believe anything you told me if it was the truth, Alex, but you don't have to tell me anything." Duncan was worried that since he had told Alex what he did for a living, that Alex felt obligated to reveal something about himself.

"Truth, that is without a doubt the most complicated word in any language." He shook his head and turned to look over his shoulder at Duncan. Something about him made Alex want to tell him everything, every last little secret he knew. He turned under Duncan, so he was on his back looking at him.

"I mean it Alex, you don't have to tell me anything." Duncan eyes were very serious, but he was smiling.

"I know, but for some insane reason I want to." Maybe, Alex thought, it's my masochistic nature and I really want to see if you meant it when you said it didn't matter. "I guess you could say I'm a spy. Not like James Bond or anything, I'm more like their errand boy. I do what they tell me to. Well, most of the time." He waited for Duncan's reaction.

"Okay, do you want to talk about this, or do want to get dinner?" Duncan smiled. He was pleased that Alex trusted him enough to tell him the truth, and he managed to completely stifle his judgmental instincts.

"Shit, you are unbelievable." Alex was stunned again by Duncan's acceptance. "I'm not a very nice person. I do what I have to, whether that means killing someone, stealing something, or covering up the truth." He didn't want Duncan to be able to sugar coat anything in his mind, he wanted him to understand who he really was. A rat bastard.

"Actually, I think you are probably a good person who has done some horrible things." He lifted himself off of Alex and lay down on the bed next to him. Alex rolled on his side to face him. "I'm beginning to understand that sometimes you do what you have to in this world to survive, no matter what that may be. I used to think it was noble to die for a cause or moral code, but now I'm beginning to see that there is nothing noble about dying, period. I like you very much alive, and if the situation you are in means you have to do some horrible things to stay that way, then that's the way it is."

Alex didn't know what to say. He never thought of himself as a good person, but obviously Duncan wasn't going to be dissuaded. It was worth everything that had happened to him, just be where he was right now. This was the perfect gift that he never would have thought to ask for.

"Jesus Duncan, when you make an attitude adjustment you don't fool around. You realize I just told you I'm a killer and you didn't bat an eye?"

Duncan chuckled. It was cathartic, being able to accept Alex without judging him. It'd taken him over 400 years to get to this point. "Yes, I realize that. I told you, I'm through passing sentence on people, especially people I care about."

He leaned down and kissed Alex on the forehead. Warm lips caressed him and Alex let out a sigh. He'd never been this... submissive with anyone. Probably because he never felt he could trust anyone this much. Strange, that he trusted Duncan so completely, but he did. He couldn't help it, he'd lost that battle two nights ago.

"You teach history, high school or university?"

"University, why?"

"I was just thinking that all of your female, and some of your male students must have massive crushes on you. Like Indiana Jones."

Duncan had seen that movie with Richie, and he had made the same comparison. It didn't hurt as much to think of Richie now, maybe his scars were healing.

"Hey," Alex's voice pulled him from his thoughts. "You okay in there?"

"Best I've been in years, and I think I have you to thank for that." He intertwined their fingers, smiling into sparkling green eyes.

"I think you were working through your shit before I came along, but I'm glad I could help."

Duncan slowly pulled Alex up to sit next to him. They sat staring at each other for a minute, then Duncan moved to the other end of the bed and sat against the headboard. Alex followed and sat back between his legs, as he had last night. Duncan pulled him close, arms wrapping around his torso, hugging him. They watched the news run by and start over again at the top of the hour. Neither paid much attention to what was on the tv, but they were too content to move.

Alex had scooted down in Duncan's arms, so his head could rest on his shoulder. He felt Alex slowly relax into him as he ran his fingers lightly up and down the strong arms.

"Hmm, that's nice." Alex sighed as Duncan's touch raised goosebumps on his skin.

Duncan continued to slowly skim his fingers over Alex's arms and hands. Letting only the tips of his fingers brush the skin, he traced the muscles and tendons of the forearms, then slightly more pressure as he ran over the backs of Alex's hands. He turned his hands over, and Duncan continued, pulling his fingers across the palms and wrists.

Alex groaned when his sensitive inner arms were teased by Duncan's gentle touch. He couldn't remember anyone ever touching with him with so much gentleness and care. Sex was sex, and love was something he didn't want any part of, but this fell somewhere in between. It was very sensual, but he knew sex wasn't what was motivating Duncan, it was... affection. He'd never found any use for affection in his life, and if he couldn't use something to his advantage he didn't bother with it at all.

He felt his stomach rumble, but ignored it. He wanted just a little more of this before he had to move. Closing his eyes he burrowed into the crook of Duncan's neck, and let out another sigh. He felt soft, warm lips brush his forehead, and smiled. The next rumble of hunger was loud enough for Duncan to hear.

"I should go get dinner." He said it softly, and Alex could feel his breath across his forehead.

"Not yet, this feels too good." Alex took his hands and hugged himself with Duncan's arms.

"Yes it does," Duncan placed another kiss on Alex's forehead. "But the point here is for you to get better. Let's eat dinner and then maybe we can find a movie on tv."

Alex heard the unspoken in Duncan's words. He was saying that they could crawl right back in bed after they ate, that they could pick up where they left off, later. Opening his eyes, he sat up slowly, letting Duncan off of the bed.

"What do you want for dinner?"

"Hmm, surprise me," Alex was laying back down, getting under the covers to make up for the loss of Duncan's body heat. "I'll eat anything."

Duncan thought for a moment as he put on his shoes and got his coat. "Are you sure? I'd hate to bring back something you didn't like."

Alex looked up at him, smiling at Duncan's never ending concern. Sleep was calling to him, but he thought about food for a minute. "How about spaghetti and meatballs, or something like that. Lots of carbohydrates."

"Sounds good. I'll be back soon." As he spoke he came back to the bed and ran his hand through Alex's silky hair. He smiled at Duncan, and then closed his eyes, already falling asleep.

When he heard the key in the door his hand automatically reached out to open the drawer where his gun was. Before he could pull the drawer open Duncan was talking, and he fell back into the pillows.

"Lasagna was the special tonight, how does that sound?" He noticed Alex jump from sleep when he'd come in, reaching for his gun before he was really awake. He wished he could bring safety to this man's life, but that wasn't in the cards.

"Mmm, yeah, lasagna sounds good." Alex sat up and kicked off the covers.

Duncan had all the food out of the bag and went over to Alex, offering a hand as he stood up. He looked like he still wasn't really awake, rubbing his eyes and yawning.

"I just went out like a light. That was one hell of a back rub you gave me." Alex was smiling as he sat down to eat.

"Glad I could help." Duncan watched Alex dive into the lasagna.

"So, we're in a town called Dickinson, right?" He still felt horribly disoriented.

"Yes, is there somewhere you need to get to?" Duncan wanted to help Alex as much as he could. Giving him a ride somewhere would be no trouble at all, and it would mean he'd be able to spend more time with him.

"No, nowhere. Just trying to get my bearings." He knew what Duncan was about to offer before the words ever came from his mouth.

"I'd be happy to give you a lift somewhere."

"No, I'll be fine. Besides, you can't really give me a ride if I have no idea where I'm going." He smiled at Duncan, knowing that if he got on the road with this man the temptation to stay with him would be too great. He didn't want to put Duncan in any more danger that he already had.

"Okay. Finished?" He took the empty container from Alex, and started to gather the rest of the garbage from the table.

"Yeah, thanks."

He watched Duncan clearing the table, memorizing the man. The memory of Duncan would get him through the many cold nights ahead. Alex planned on storing up a few more memories before he left.

"You said something about a movie?" He grinned at Duncan.

"Yes, I did. What kind of movies do you like?" He guessed that Alex was probably an action fan.

"I don't get the chance to see a lot of movies, but I'll watch almost anything. What about you?" He stood on his own, and was only a little off balance.

"I haven't been to the movies in a couple of years." I'd been too busy brooding, Duncan thought.

"Well, lets see what we can find." Alex crawled into the bed.

"We should have candy or popcorn." Alex was surfing the channels as Duncan was coming out of the bathroom.

"Okay. Find anything good?" Duncan put on his coat.

"Where are you going?"

"To get some candy and popcorn from the vending machines. What do want?" He loved indulging Alex.

"Great idea. Wait, I'll go with you." Alex got out of bed and pulled on the sweater Duncan had bought for him. "Where are my shoes?"

"They didn't survive, I bought you some hiking boots." Duncan handed Alex a shoe box.

"Why didn't you show me these before?" Alex hoped they fit. He'd needed new shoes since long before he was in the silo.

"I forgot." Duncan had been so distracted by the way Alex looked in the sweater and jeans he'd forgotten all about the boots.

Tying up the laces he took a few steps around the room. "They fit great! Are you sure you're not some guardian angel disguised as a history professor?" Alex stood behind Duncan and purred in his ear, wrapping his arms around the shorter man.

"I'm sure." Duncan chuckled as he leaned back against Alex's warmth. He was only a couple of inches taller than Duncan, but it still felt strange to be smaller than his lover. He hadn't been with a man for almost a hundred years, and then it had been a very drunken encounter.

"C'mon, lets hit those vending machines." Alex started walking forward, pushing Duncan from behind.

"Sure you're up for this?" Duncan was worried about Alex pushing himself too much. He'd just got to the point where he could walk around without help.

"Yep. It's not far, is it?" He needed to get out of this room, even if it was just for a trip to get munchies.

"No, it's not far at all, but we'll walk slowly," Duncan instructed as he opened the door for Alex.

"You could turn into a real mother hen, couldn't you?" Alex teased as he stepped into the night air.

Twenty minutes later they were back in bed, still looking for a movie. When they returned to the room with candy bars, microwave popcorn and other assorted junk food, Alex had changed back into sweat pants, and Duncan did the same. Now they were sitting under the covers, side by side, sharing the popcorn.

"Oooh, how about Hellraiser? I read the book, but never had the chance to see the movie. Do you like Clive Barker?" Alex looked hopefully at Duncan.

Here we go again, thought Duncan. He had no idea who Clive Barker was, but from the name of the movie he got the impression that it was horror movie. He wasn't a fan of horror. He'd seen enough horrors in four hundred years, he didn't need to watch some crazed psycho hacking people to bits in a movie.

"Hellraiser? Sounds gory," Duncan grimaced as he grabbed another handful of popcorn.

"Scared Duncan?" Alex teased, as he wiggled his eyebrows at Duncan.

"No. I'm not scared." Duncan poked his companion in the side. "Do you really want to watch this movie?" He asked, already knowing that he'd end up giving in and watching a horror movie if that was Alex wanted.

"It'll be fun. I promise I'll hold your hand during the scary parts." This was too much fun, Duncan was already squirming as the previews ran by on HBO.

If Duncan were to be completely honest with himself he'd admit that in a silly way he did get scared by these movies. He'd grown up with ghost stories and tales of evil, magical creatures, and a small part of him still reacted like a boy hearing ghost stories around the campfire. He wasn't about to admit that to Alex, though.

"Okay, we'll watch a horror movie, but only if you share the chocolate bars." He leaned over and nipped Alex's neck, tasting the now familiar skin.

"You strike a hard bargain," Alex leered back at him. "Okay, you can have some of the chocolate, but we get to turn off the lights."

Before Duncan had the chance to argue or agree, Alex had switched off the light next to the bed. The movie was starting, and he turned up the volume on the tv.

By the time the popcorn was finished Duncan was completely engrossed in the movie. It wasn't about psycho killers with chainsaws. It was actually a very intelligent movie that happened to be a horror film. The whole chinese puzzle box concept had him fascinated. He never could remember the tricks to opening those things, and now he was glad.

Alex finished his soda and threw an arm over Duncan's shoulders. He could feel the tension there, and wondered if Duncan was actually scared by the movie. Just as he was considering that possibility Duncan jumped in reaction to what was going on the screen, and Alex smiled. This could be fun. He let Duncan snuggle closer, and picked up a candy bar.

As Alex munched the chocolate he watched Duncan carefully. His eyes were huge, and fixed to the tv screen. Alex took the candy bar and broke a piece off, slipping it into Duncan's mouth. He smiled and happily chewed the candy, but never looked away from the movie. Duncan continued to move closer and closer to Alex as the time passed, and by the end of the movie he was practically in Alex's lap.

As the credits rolled Duncan let out a huge sigh of relief. It had been a good movie, but an exhausting one to watch. He felt Alex dig into his shoulder muscle and he groaned.

"Lie down." Alex scooted down on the bed and waited for Duncan to lie on his stomach. When Duncan was settled Alex sat on top of his back. He began rubbing and stretching the tense muscles in Duncan's shoulders and neck.

"That feels wonderful," Duncan moaned as Alex worked his shoulders.

"Shh, just enjoy it." Alex was happy that he was feeling well enough to do this for Duncan, but it also meant that he'd be leaving soon. He wanted to try to give back some of the kindness and care that Duncan had shown him.

Forty five minutes later Duncan was lightly snoring and Alex was still happily massaging his back. Finally, he pulled himself off of Duncan and lay down next to him. Pulling the covers up, Alex shut off the tv and lay facing Duncan so he could watch him for a while. He'd been sleeping so much these past few days, that now he didn't want to lose any more time to sleep.

Duncan's hair had fallen across his face and Alex pulled it back, running his fingers through the long, thick mass. Duncan was sound asleep now, and snoring more loudly. Alex found it a comforting sound, and fell into the rhythm of Duncan's breathing. He admired Duncan's dark skin and gentle features, accented by the moonlight. Alex felt his eyes growing heavy and fell asleep breathing in Duncan's exhaled breath.

"Duncan, wake up, I'm hungry." Alex purred quietly in Duncan's ear, licking the fleshy lobe to be sure he would wake up.

"Mmm," Duncan nuzzled Alex's face, pulling Alex into his arms.

"Breakfast?" Alex asked hopefully.

"Okay, breakfast," Duncan mumbled, his voice still thick from sleep.

"I'll wash your back in the shower," Alex offered, smiling suggestively at Duncan.

"You, my friend, have yourself a deal." Duncan ruffled Alex's hair as he got out of bed.

Alex was good to his word, and then some. He meticulously washed every part of Duncan, and then pressed his body against Duncan's, which was now slippery with soap. Duncan's eyes were closed and he was panting as Alex's lips closed over his mouth.

Duncan was kissed senseless as Alex's hard cock slid against his own. They were writhing and grinding against each other, and Duncan felt his back hit the cold tile wall. It was only a minor distraction, he was lost in the feel of Alex's hard, wet body pushing and rocking into him. He pulled his mouth from the kiss, and began to suck Alex's shoulder, leaving dark purple marks.

Duncan's teeth on his skin sent lightning through Alex's body, and he increased the pace of his thrusts. Duncan was moaning and biting him, his strong hands holding Alex's ass still as he bucked against the younger man. The last bite into his skin was harder than the rest and Alex froze for second, and then came, his shout echoing off the tile. Duncan followed, almost breaking the skin when he bit into Alex as his orgasm erupted from his body.

They stood panting under the spray of the shower, smiling at each other. Alex was overwhelmed by emotion and pulled Duncan tightly against him. They stayed like that, arms wrapped around each other under the shower, until the water started to cool.

"We'd better rinse off and get out before we lose all the hot water." Duncan ran his fingers down Alex's back, then stepped back from the embrace.

Alex looked him straight in the eyes. "You're wonderful Duncan MacLeod, don't ever let anyone tell you differently." Then he rinsed off and got out of the shower, leaving Duncan with a silly grin on his face.

Happily seated in a booth in the restaurant, Duncan and Alex each perused a menu. Alex looked at Duncan over the top of his.

"What are you having?"

"Corn beef hash and eggs. How about you?"

"Biscuits and gravy. It's good to be out of the room. This has been a wonderful break from the cold, hard world." He smiled at Duncan, trying to express emotions he didn't have words for.

Duncan smiled back. "Yes, it has, and as sorry I am that it has to end, I'm glad you're feeling better."

Just then the waitress came and took their order. After she left Duncan asked the question that he didn't really want an answer to.

"So, when do you think you'll be leaving?"

Alex knew that Duncan didn't really want them to go their separate ways, he could see it in Duncan's eyes. Alex was very grateful that Duncan didn't verbalize any of these feelings. It would be much too painful to have to turn down any offers that Duncan might make, and too tempting.

"I should probably get going tomorrow. My strength is back and it really isn't a good idea for me to stay put for too long." He smiled sadly at Duncan.

"I know." Duncan did understand, but that didn't make it any easier.

The remainder of breakfast was filled with quiet conversation about nothing in particular. Duncan paid the check and they headed back to the room. Alex still moved a little slower than what was normal for him, but he was getting around on his own with no trouble. When they got back to the room the beds were made and everything was neat and clean.

"One of the best things about hotels is that you hardly have to clean up after yourself at all. I love coming back to the room and having the bed made and all the garbage gone." Alex chatted as he sat down and took off his boots.

"It is nice." Duncan took his shoes off as well, enjoying the coziness of a clean room.

He'd enjoyed talking over breakfast with Alex. He was a wonderful conversationalist and they'd talked about everything from Dostoevsky to the history of martial arts. Alex seemed to know a little bit about everything. Duncan wondered what kind of education he'd had, or if it was all self taught.

"Would you like to watch some tv?" Duncan hoped Alex would say yes, he wanted to crawl in bed with Alex and hold him until tomorrow came.

"That sounds good. I promise no more horror movies," Alex teased. He grabbed the remote and pulled the pillows out from under the well tucked covers.

Duncan took the pillows from the other bed came to sit down with Alex. They piled the pillows up against the headboard and settled down next to each other, side by side.

"Here, you pick." Alex handed Duncan the remote.

He flipped through the channels and stopped when he saw the opening credits to a black and white movie. It was King Of Hearts, a movie he had seen when it came out in the theaters years ago. It was about a soldier who was sent to check out a French village during World War II. The people who had lived in the town had abandoned it when the Germans had come too close, but the patients in the mental asylum had been left behind. They had left the asylum and were living in the village when the soldier came to the town. He has no idea that all of these people are mental patients. It was a very funny and philosophical film and both Alex and Duncan were deeply enjoying it.

The time passed quickly and the movie was over much too soon. This last day was precious to both of them, and they wanted it to last. As the last of the credits ended Duncan pulled Alex against him and kissed him slowly, enjoying the full, sweet lips of the younger man. Alex responded with more gentleness than he'd shown before, holding Duncan's jaw and stroking his cheek as Duncan kissed him more deeply.

They rolled together, Duncan ending up on top. Alex reached up and pulled Duncan's lips back to his. He kissed Duncan slowly, his tongue slipping in and out of Duncan's mouth. Alex finally released his hold on Duncan and pulled back to see those wonderful, sweet brown eyes caressing him. Alex was overwhelmed by the look Duncan was giving him. He nuzzled Duncan's face with his nose, pulling Duncan tightly against him.

They lay like that, just holding each other for long minutes. Then Duncan pulled his head up so he could see the man beneath him. "I'm very grateful that fate sent you my way Alex." He kissed the turned up tip of Alex's nose.

Emerald eyes grew wide, and Alex opened his mouth, but didn't know what to say. He didn't trust himself to speak, his emotions were too raw and close to the surface. Besides, he wasn't sure that he knew the words for what he was feeling, or if there were any. He stared into Duncan's dark brown eyes and they reflected everything Alex wanted to say, but didn't know how.

Duncan ran his fingers across Alex's short, silky hair. It was a reassuring gesture, meant to ease the sadness they were both feeling. Alex responded, turning his head into Duncan's touch. He reached behind Duncan and pulled the hair tie free. Duncan smiled and shook his head, so his long, dark hair fell over his shoulders. It was so long that it fell down around Alex's face and onto the pillow.

As Duncan leaned down to kiss him, Alex's fingers wove themselves through Duncan's hair. They started at his scalp and slowly pulled through the length of it as Duncan sucked and kissed Alex's full lips. His mouth memorized every curve and dip, and he savored the sweet, mellow taste of Alex.

Once again Alex found himself surrounded by Duncan, enveloped by his presence. When his fingers reached the end of Duncan's hair, Alex slipped his hands under Duncan's shirt. His hands splayed across Duncan's back, pushing up across the soft skin. Duncan broke the kiss and pulled his shirt off for Alex, and then took Alex's off as well.

Alex rolled Duncan over, climbing on top of him. He sat up on his knees as he settled himself on Duncan's hips and groin. He felt the stirrings of Duncan's erection under him, but ignored it. He wanted to take his time, wanted to show Duncan all the tenderness and sweetness the man had shown him. Leaning down he kissed Duncan's face. Alex kissed along Duncan's strong jaw and up his cheek, nuzzling his face into Duncan's after every third or fourth kiss. He couldn't remember ever taking this much care and time with a lover before. Alex had never wanted to give someone so much of himself in his love making before. His hands spread Duncan's hair out across the pillow as he gently brushed his lips over Duncan's eyes and forehead.

A sigh escaped from Duncan as Alex slowly worshiped his face. Alex's lips were like feathers across his skin, and his musky, salty scent was filling Duncan's senses. He felt Alex's hands leave his hair and skim over his shoulders and down his chest. There was a gentleness in Alex that Duncan hadn't felt before, and he revelled in it. This was how he wanted to remember Alex, this tender sweetness was what Duncan would take with him when he left this place and time.

Alex lost himself in the feel of Duncan, his taste and smell. He delicately mouthed Duncan's ear lobe, and felt a surge of heat rise from Duncan's bare skin.

"Too many clothes," was whispered in Duncan's ear and he immediately started to undo Alex's jeans.

Alex rolled off of Duncan as they shed the rest of their clothes. Then Duncan turned to face Alex, reaching around to pull him closer. Alex pressed himself against Duncan's warm skin from chest to knees, and slid one arm under Duncan's neck. The other wrapped around Duncan's back and held him tightly. They started kissing slowly, barely losing contact with each other's lips before pressing them back together again. Duncan's tongue reached out to Alex's mouth and pushed barely past his lips, then ran along the underside of Alex's upper lip. The younger man moaned as Duncan's soft tongue stroked his lip.

Duncan pulled his leg over Alex's hip and their groins were pressed into each other. Alex pulled Duncan on top of him as he rolled onto his back. He needed to feel Duncan's weight, needed something to ground him. Duncan was the best drug Alex had ever found, and he wasn't looking forward to the withdrawal. He wrapped his legs around Duncan's and pulled him down, Alex's arms reaching up Duncan's back and grasping his shoulders. Duncan pulled Alex against him, slipping his arms under Alex's back and pulling him up into the cocoon-like embrace.

Duncan held Alex tightly, not wanting to lose the feel of Alex's muscular body in his arms. He brought his hand up to hold the back of Alex's head, cradling the younger man against him. He heard Alex groan, and felt him push his hips up, rubbing his cock against Duncan's. Sparks of arousal shot through Duncan's body as Alex continued to grind against him. He felt Alex untangle their legs and brace his feet on the bed, pulling his knees up for leverage. Duncan lowered Alex back down to the bed, resting his elbows on either side of Alex's head.

Alex reached up and took Duncan's hands, pulling them above their head. Fingers interlaced as Alex stretched their arms out, taking Duncan's full weight on his body. He grasped Duncan's hands tightly, and pulled his arm muscles tight as he pushed his hips up into Duncan. He was using their outstretched arms as another source of leverage, pulling Duncan into his sinuous movements until they moved as one. He felt Duncan fall into the rhythm, using Alex's grip on his hands to hold him up as he ground his hips into Alex's.

"Mmm, Duncan," Alex moaned into his ear, sending shivers down his spine. Alex's voice was deep and sensuous, pulling Duncan further into bliss. They moved slowly, their bodies becoming a human wave on the bed. Alex hummed and groaned in rhythm, his voice reverberating in Duncan's head. Their erections were slick, sliding up and down, trapped between their bodies.

As they picked up speed, Duncan began to tell Alex everything he wanted to say but couldn't. He muttered loving encouragements and tender endearments in Gaelic, pouring out his soul in a language he knew Alex wouldn't understand. He felt Alex shudder in response to his voice, and continued his litany until his orgasm clouded his mind with ecstasy. His body stiffened and jerked as he came, and he felt Alex pushing up against him, coming with a powerful force against Duncan's cock.

Alex lay beneath Duncan, releasing their fingers and wrapping his arms around the man on top of him. He hadn't understood the words Duncan had said, but the emotions came through loud and clear, and were returned tenfold. Alex had found his own form of salvation in Duncan's arms, and he wanted to take this feeling with him until the day he died.

"Hmm," Duncan sighed, his head still collapsed on the pillow next to Alex. "Bath?"

"Yeah, definitely." Alex rubbed his hand lightly up and down Duncan's back. "I'm not sure I can move yet. How about you?"

Duncan chuckled, he still hadn't moved from on top of Alex. "Why, am I crushing you?"

"No, actually, it feels wonderful," Alex admitted.

"Mmm," Duncan sighed. "Yeah, it does, but if we're not careful we're going to get glued together here." He joked as he rolled off of Alex.

Alex turned on his side, staring at Duncan's serene face. His eyes were closed and his face was glistening with sweat, his matted hair pushed off of his face. Alex was overwhelmed and found himself speaking before he knew it was happening.


Duncan's eyes opened to see Alex's intense gaze.

"Duncan." Alex stroked Duncan's cheek as he spoke. "You've given me more than anyone, ever. You've given me back pieces of myself I'd lost a long time ago. I'm never going to forget you."

Duncan was overcome by the emotions Alex was showing him. He pulled Alex into a fierce hug and his voice was thick with his Scottish burr. "And I'll noh forget you, my friend. Never. I can promise ye that." He kissed the side of Alex's head and held him for a long, quiet moment.

They released each other and headed for the bath, never losing contact. One was always touching the other, a hand on a shoulder, an arm wrapped around a waist. Once the tub was filled with hot water and steam was coming up from it, they climbed in. Alex sat against the end of the tub, his back against the wall. Duncan sat between his legs, and sank back against Alex's hard chest. He scooted down into the hot water so he could rest his head on Alex's shoulder.

They soaked in the tub for a long time before any thought of soap and washing came to mind. Finally, when his fingers had become prunes, Alex leaned forward and grabbed a washcloth and the soap. He washed Duncan's arms and chest, closing his eyes and letting his touch guide him. Then he rinsed off the soap and gave Duncan the washcloth.

"Shampoo?" Alex wanted to get one more chance to wash Duncan's gorgeous hair.

Duncan handed him the bottle of shampoo, and sat forward, tilting his head back for Alex to wet it down. He adored the feel of having Alex's hands in his hair. In some ways, the act felt more intimate than sex. Alex's strong fingers massaged his scalp and then he felt Alex lift all of his hair into a sudsy mass in Alex's hands. Duncan felt his head spin as the weight of his hair was lifted and Alex leaned forward to kiss and bite the back of his neck.

Alex spent an endless amount of time washing Duncan's hair. When it was clean and conditioned and free of tangles, Duncan turned and started washing him. He loving cleaned every inch of Alex's body, memorizing every curve and line of the beautiful body. He would remember Alex forever, taking the memory of this through time with him, immortalizing Alex with his memories.

After having had a huge dinner at the restaurant, they crawled right back into bed together. Clad only in their sweat pants and tucked under the covers, Alex indulged Duncan and sat through another session of Headline News. He didn't mind. As long as Duncan's arms were wrapped around him, and he could close his eyes and lose himself in the feel and smell of Duncan, nothing else mattered. When the news was over, Alex had fallen asleep in Duncan's arms.

Duncan saw Alex sleeping like a angel in his arms. Then Duncan reconsidered his comparison. An angel, Alex was not. In fact, with his sweet lips and turned up nose, Duncan thought that Alex looked like an elf, or Puck himself. He stroked Alex's hair, and the man turned, pulling himself closer in Duncan's arms. A deep melancholy threatened, but Duncan refused to succumb to it. He refused to brood or pine over this. He mentally shook off the feelings and sank his nose into Alex's hair. He only wanted to remember Alex with happiness.

Alex was drawn from his dosing by the feeling of warm breath in his hair. He realized that he was curled up in Duncan's arms, and Duncan was holding him tightly against him. He wanted to freeze time, make everything else stop and just be held in Duncan's arms for an eternity. Realizing that he was breaking one of his first rules - never get attached - Alex brought himself back to reality. Tomorrow morning he'd leave Duncan and quite possibly never see him again. Accepting his fate was something Alex was very good at, and he let go of the sadness.

"News over?" He asked, never taking his head from Duncan's shoulder.

"I thought you were asleep." Duncan was surprised when Alex spoke.

"I was. Duncan? Please, try not to be sad." Alex didn't know how to comfort Duncan, but he didn't want these last few hours to be painful for either of them.

"Funny, I just won that inner battle." Duncan chuckled against Alex's hair. "No brooding, moping, or pining. I promise."

Alex could feel Duncan's smile against his head and felt himself smiling in return. They let go of each other, Alex sitting up and stretching.

"Do you want to find another movie?" He asked as he popped his back in three places.

"How about you get the walkman and we listen to some more music?" Duncan had enjoyed laying with Alex and listening to the tapes Alex liked so much.

"Sounds great." He reached into the drawer next to the bed and got out the walkman and a tape. Duncan turned off the tv and the light next to the bed. The moon was full outside the window and it glowed through a space where the curtains didn't quite meet. Alex handed him a pair of headphones and they lay down, Duncan curling around Alex's side and resting his head on the expansive chest.

Alex chose Quadrophenia this time. Finding side four, he fast forwarded over Dr. Jimmy. Alex wanted the sweeping sounds of the instrumental The Rock. He found the beginning of the song just as Duncan put on the headphones. Alex absentmindedly ran his fingers through Duncan's hair as they listened.

Duncan relaxed as Alex stroked his hair, and he let himself get lost in the music. He savored the warmth of Alex's skin under his cheek, the closeness they shared. The music ended and another song began. There was the sounds of the ocean and swirling music and then the words.

Only love

Can make it rain

The way the beach is kissed by the sea

Only love

Can make it rain

Like the sweat of lovers

Laying in the fields

Duncan felt Alex sigh as the song continued, and was very glad that he'd bothered to ask about Pete Townsend and The Who. This music was beautiful and powerful, nothing like what Duncan had expected. They lay together for an hour or so listening to the different tapes Alex would chose. Most of it he liked, but some was too harsh on the ears.

It was late, almost midnight, and they had to be up early. Checkout was at eleven. Alex stopped the tape and took off his headphones, and then Duncan's. He put the walkman back in the drawer, and rolled over, pushing Duncan on his back. Duncan pulled the covers up and wrapped his arms around Alex. Facing each other, laying side by side, they burrowed under the covers. Duncan fell asleep with Alex clinging to him.

The first patch of sunlight streaming into the room woke Alex up. His arm was asleep from being under Duncan's neck all night, but he didn't care. He was still wrapped in Duncan's arms, his head resting against the top of Duncan's head. Duncan had moved down in his sleep and had his face burrowed into the crook of Alex's neck. He let himself lay there for a few minutes, cherishing these last few minutes of bliss.

Finally his arm wouldn't let him be still any longer and he had to flex the muscles. Duncan slowly opened his eyes, and then lifted his head as soon as he figured out that he'd put Alex's arm to sleep. He immediately flopped his head back down on the pillow. This was one morning he didn't want to get out of bed. He felt the bed shift as Alex sat up and rubbed his eyes.

Duncan rolled to lay on his back. "Breakfast?"

"Not today." This caused Duncan to sit up.

Alex turned to smile at him. "We need to get up and out of here, Duncan. Any delays would be too tempting." Alex hoped Duncan understood that it would be too hard to do this any other way.

"Clean cut, huh?" Duncan knew that Alex was right. "You're right. C'mon, lets get moving." He rubbed Alex's shoulder as the climbed out of bed.

An hour later they were clean, packed and ready to go. Duncan took one last look around as Alex put a tape in the walkman he had in his jacket pocket. The headphones were around his neck.

"Ready?" Duncan asked.

Alex pulled Duncan to him and kissed him as if he was feeding Duncan his soul. When he finally pulled away, Duncan reached into his wallet.

"This is my card with the number to the dojo. I've also written the number to the phone in the loft and my email address. This is Joe's bar. Joe always knows where I am. If you need anything, and I mean anything, you get in touch with me. I don't care what mess you're in, I'll help. Understand?" Duncan's brown eyes bore into Alex's green ones.

"I understand." Alex laughed at Duncan's serious tone. "Don't worry Duncan, I can take care of myself just fine. These were extenuating circumstances. But I might drop you an email now and then, if that would okay?"

"That would be wonderful. Just let me know you're still alive." Duncan remembered the Pearl Jam song.

"Not a problem."

Duncan grasped Alex's forearm, and Alex returned the grip. "Safe journey my friend."

"And you." Alex leaned his forehead against Duncan's, and then headed out the door.

Duncan followed, closing the door behind him. Alex put on his headphones and pressed play. He turned and waved as Duncan was putting the key in the door of the T-Bird. Duncan smiled and waved back. Alex turned, walking down the line of motel room doors, heading for the highway. Duncan pulled the car out of the parking lot, heading for K-Mart where he was going to buy himself some tapes to listen to on the ride home.

Alex Krycek walked down the side of the highway backwards, thumb in the air. He had no idea where he was going, but he was smiling as Pearl Jam reaffirmed his state of being. Happily feeling more alive than he ever had before, Alex let fate take him where it may.

The End

Maybe tonight you're aching

For someone you're dreaming of

Wait till the dawn is breaking

Into the arms of love

Maybe tonight you're crying

Like a poor wounded dove

Tomorrow you'll be flying

Into the arms of love

Maybe tonight you're falling

For someone you don't know enough

Tell me you'll soon be crawling

Into the arms of love

Maybe your world is fading

It wasn't strong enough

Through all the dirt you're wading

Into the arms of love

Lyrics borrowed without permission from Robyn Hitchcock

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