Disclaimer: Zen&nancy donít own Duncan, Methos, Joe, or anyone else from the Highlander Universe. No money made here, no malicious intent. Characters, concept etc. owned by Greg Widen, Rysher, Panzer/Davis and a bunch of guys who make a heck of a lot more money than we do. But, we all know that the boys belong to each other. Please donít pick on us, itís all in good fun. Story title borrowed without permission from Bob Dylan.

Rated NC-17 for violence and homoerotic content.

Thanks and adoration to Maygra. Special thanks to Moonpuppy for being beta goddess at the House Of Slack. Zen&nancy take the blame for any remaining mistakes.

BUCKETS OF RAIN- DUNCAN

By Zen&nancy

The coffee is cold, yuck, I sit the mug down on the coffee table in disgust. How long have I been sitting here, staring off into space, thinking about all the places he might have gone? Methos, why did you have to leave me? It changes nothing, resolves nothing. I love you just as much when youíre not here, donít you know that? Why are you such a coward, Methos? I want you so badly. What we are together, itís more than anything I have ever had before, and I need it, I need what only you can give me. I feel like there is a great, empty space inside me, a black hole that nothing will fill up.

There is nothing I want to do, I just want to sit here on my barge and remember him. Here, exactly, he sat, looking into the fire. Remembering something I havenít seen, Iíll never know. I imagine I can still smell him on my skin. I remember what it felt like when he kissed me the first time, it felt like coming home, like everything I've wanted. I remember his voice whispering in my ear, as I drifted off to sleep. Oh Methos, please, survive, come back to me.

Of course he will survive, thatís what he does, but heís not going to come back. I read his note one more time, crushing it in my hand. If I were mortal, maybe then he would stop denying us. I would happily take one lifetime with him instead of this endless future alone. Immortality is such a double-edged sword, I am so bloody sick of the game, the gathering. I donít think I care who wins, because all it means is that everyone I care about has to die first. I try not to think about it, try to live for the time I have with them, but with Methos itís never enough. I always want him to stay and he always leaves, I donít know why I thought making love with him would change that.

Why does it have to be him that makes me feel this way? He is like no one else in the world, his power, the things he has seen, he devastates me. He makes me feel like a child, but somehow I know he understands me. He knows me, completely, as no one else ever has. I was drawn to him like a magnet from the first minute I walked into his house. Now weíve finally crossed the line, slept together, and all it did was make him leave again.

I was so curious, I had no idea what it would be like to be with him, although Iíve thought about it, wanted it, for years. He made me feel....whole again, loved, safe. Iíve never given myself to someone like that before. It felt so good, to let go, to let down all my defenses. He made me feel wild, free, and for a few hours I forgot all about four hundred years of regrets, grief and mistakes. I wonder if Iíll ever have that again, or if this was my only chance, and I lost it.

I canít believe what Iím feeling, Iím imagining it, that canít be his presence Iím feeling. Oh, god, please, let it be him. No, itís real, those are his steps on the deck, Iím sure. I donít believe it, he came back? Methos?

Flinging open the door, I am thrown off by the deja vu. Isnít this exactly what we did last night? Itís dark out, heís standing in the rain, about to knock...

"Duncan I...."

"Methos," I hope this is real, that Iím not dreaming him standing here in front of me.

"Can I come in?"

Pulling him into my arms, I drag him in, I wonít think beyond holding him. I donít even want to know why he came back, as long as I can hold him pressed against me like this. I drag him with me to close the door, and then down the steps and over to the couch. Heís laughing, his arms around me hold me just as tight. Weíre going to break each others ribs...

"Donít talk Methos," I beg him, kissing him hungrily. Iím going to kiss him until our lips bleed. Oh God, thank you... I donít believe heís really here, Iím so happy Iím afraid Iím going to cry.

"Iím sorry," he whispers against my lips.

"Shh, donít talk," I mumble, kissing him again. Iím afraid heíll tell me that he didnít come back for me, that itís something else, or that heís not going to stay. My hands are fumbling with his coat, getting it off of him with some help. Oh, he tastes so good, so sweet. My tongue is in his mouth, trying to tell him how much I need him, how glad I am heís here. We fall back against the couch, Iím only aware of his kisses, everything else is fuzzy, unimportant.

He relaxes against my chest, looking up at me with defeat in his hazel eyes. "You win MacLeod," but he is smiling.

"Aye, and I concede," I tell him quietly, my eyes roaming over his face. He looks so tired, exhausted. "When was the last time you slept Methos? You donít look very well. Have you eaten anything today?"

"Have you?" He asks me accusingly, sounding mildly annoyed but willing to put up with it. Good, because I canít help it, I love him, and he really does look like hell.

"Well, no, but I could make us some dinner," something with lots of carbohydrates and protein, heís about fifteen pounds underweight.

"Okay," he starts to say something else, but it gets cut off by a huge yawn. With my arm around his waist I drag him off the couch and over to the bed, which I havenít made since he left. I didnít want to erase the lines our bodies had make in the sheets, twisted together. I pull the covers over him, unable to resist the urge to kiss him one more time before going into the kitchen.

Joy. Pure joy, I canít believe he came back. Why? I donít even care, it doesnít matter, heís here, and Iím not letting him leave this time. Surveying the contents of the fridge, I have clams, I have tomatoes. Good, pasta then. Filling a pot with water and setting it on the stove to boil. I realize Iím humming, and smile at myself, I canít help it, I canít believe I got him back. This time, Iím going to be careful, Iím going to be patient, Iím not going to push him, or make him angry, but God help me, I am not letting him out that door.

I lean against the counter, waiting for the water to boil. I wonder where he went, and why he came back so quickly? Tossing the pasta in the pot, I canít resist the urge to wander back to bed, just to look at him. Heís lost his blankets, and his sweater is all twisted up. On closer inspection, his jeans are wet, and heís shivering, even though heís sound asleep. He must have been completely exhausted. Methos, what happened, where were you? I try to wake him gently, shaking his shoulder, he canít be comfortable like that. Heís out cold, in a very uncomfortable looking tangle of bunched up sweater, limbs and damp jeans. I pull the sweater over his head, slowly working his arms free. The jeans are more difficult, and heís not cooperating. Heís not moving at all, in fact, he sleeps like the dead. Struggling them down his hips, I have to stop and look at him, I canít resist. I am struck by the straight lines and sharp angles that blend so perfectly together. He is classically beautiful. I can imagine someone sculpting this body, each rib is perfectly defined, extending to the muscles of his back. The long curve of his spine, and his sharp hips, he is remarkable.

Regaining a measure of control, I toss his clothes by the dresser and pull the covers up around him. He curls into a ball, burrowing under the comforter. I let my hand rest on the soft spikes of his hair for a moment, taking a deep breath. Please god, let me find a way to make him want to stay here. I love him so much, I donít want to have to live without him.

I keep myself busy building a fire and starting the clams. Iím not thinking, not letting myself worry or hope. Heís here, sleeping in my bed, and thatís enough for now. When he wakes up, Iíll let him talk in his own time, and hopefully heíll tell me why he came back.

Everything is done, the pasta and clams will be okay in the covered skillet, and the bread is warming in the oven. I settle down in my chair with a book, content to wait, but Iím really just watching him. The slow rise and fall of his breathing is hypnotic, maybe Iíll crawl into bed with him and sleep. Itís early, but Iíd happily fall asleep next to him and let everything else wait till morning. I donít know if that would be presumptuous or not, I wish I had some idea what brought him back to me like this.

Reading is better than worrying, and half an hour passes slowly. I can feel him waking up, something in his quickening. He wasnít with me a moment ago, and now he is, I wonder how it works, this strange kind of telepathy we have since the double-quickening. He sits up after a minute, looking around. He looks disoriented, did you expect to be somewhere else Methos?

"Hi," I smile at the look on his face, trying to wait patiently for him to wake up.

"What time is it?"

Going to the bed, I check the clock, "Itís 8:30, did you get enough sleep?"

"Um yeah," he still looks confused.

"Are you hungry?"

"Ah, maybe, beer?"

Heís going to drink all my beer. Maybe I can find a liquor store that delivers.

"Take a shower, wake up first, then you can have a beer."

"Okay," he scrambles off the bed and heads for the bathroom, grinning at me over his shoulder when he realizes heís only wearing his boxer shorts. I blush, grinning back.

I go back into the kitchen, getting him a plate and silverware. Iím not hungry, there are too many butterflies in my stomach to eat. If only he will listen to me, I have to make him understand that whether we are together or not, the game will continue, that it doesnít matter, and I need him.

Sometimes I think he needs me too, although, maybe thatís just because I want him to.

He comes back wearing one of my t-shirts and my sweat pants, which are much too big for him, and they hang enticingly low on his hips.

"Can I have a beer now?"

Smiling, I give him a beer. Our hands brush when I hand him the bottle, and I feel a little electric shock. I donít know what to say to him. Iím suddenly embarrassed, I want to thank him for coming back, for not leaving me alone.

"Iím very glad you came back. Thank you," I mumble, not looking at him. Not exactly the way I wanted to approach this, but I donít know what else to say.

"Mac...Itís not that anything has changed, I still think this is a hopeless situation, I just couldnít do it. I was at the train station, and I had my ticket, and I couldnít get on that train. It hurt too much. This could cost us both a great deal, but not having you is worse."

My heart leaps wildly, at least he needs this as much as I do, even if he would like to deny it.

"Methos, why do you think that we are doomed? It doesnít matter, whether you make love to me or not, I will still be trying to defend you, and I will still be dragging you into my life, and you will still be showing up at three a.m. to drink my whiskey. I think we are meant to be together, I think that one day will follow the next and we will face whatever comes. Can you do that Methos? Just take one day at a time?"

"I have to, because I canít begin to imagine a future without you. When did you get so smart, Highlander?"

Relief floods through me, I look up at him, unable to contain the huge grin spreading over my face, "Must be the company I keep. Hungry?"

"What have you got?"

I hand him his plate, wondering, will I cook him dinner tomorrow night? And the next? A hundred years from now, will I be somewhere else, cooking him pasta? I hope so. Resting my elbows on the counter, I watch him eat. He looks happy with it, good. I remembered that he likes seafood, but I had no idea if this was breakfast, lunch or dinner for him. Probably all three, from the way heís devouring the bread and pasta.

I know Iím staring, but I canít help it. Iíve been doing it for three years, watching him. I study everything he does, Iím aware of his slightest movement, always trying to gather more information. Learning his gestures, his speech patterns, trying to understand him from the inside out. He gives away so little of himself, holds his past and his secrets so tightly, Iíve come to collecting these little clues, hoping to get closer to who he really is. Right now he just looks hungry, and happy to be eating good food.

I have no idea what he wants from me, if he wants me at all, and suddenly, I have to know. Iím afraid, afraid he doesnít need me nearly as much as I need him. Or that he will talk himself out of this, decide that this is too dangerous to his survival, that Iím not worth the risk. So many times I have loved, and lost that love. To time, and mortality, I know he has as well. This is one thing I cannot stand to lose. What we created last night felt, sacred, like something strong enough to last forever. I have to know if he felt it too,

"Methos, what do you want?"

He scowls, dropping his fork, I think itís regret I see in his eyes, and my stomach lurches. Please, no Methos, donít tell me that this is less than it is, that it was only sex, or curiosity. Donít lie to me, donít leave.

"Duncan, I shouldnít even be here. I should be on a train half way to New Delhi. I should stay the hell out of your life. I donít know why Iím here, because I know for a certainty that all weíre going to do is damage each other, but I just couldnít do it. Maybe, we should talk for awhile, and then I should go."

Oh no Methos, you are so wrong, if you leave me the damage will be unrepairable. You will take pieces of me with you that I will never get back. If he leaves now, if he convinces himself that we will screw each other up too much, that itís not worth it, he wonít come back again, not ever. I know it, if he runs this time I will never get him back, I will never see him again, and then someday, somewhere, he will die, without me. I canít take it, Iím moving around the counter and on my knees in front of him before heís finished speaking. Iím clutching his hands tightly, speaking without thinking, hoping that he can feel everything I need to tell him in the energy between our hands, because I canít think.

"Methos... No... Please, you canít do that. If you try leaving me now I swear I will follow you to Mt. Everest if I have to. What we are together...can you honestly tell me it is only lust? Have you ever felt anything like this before? I havenít."

He drops down on the floor facing me, and relaxes the death grip I have on his hands. He pushes against my palm, uncurling my fingers until our hands are spread out, palms pressed against each other. His fingers are longer than mine, and his palm narrower. He is staring into my eyes, his expression unreadable.

"No, I have never felt anything like this before," he tells me, his voice deeper than usual.

He closes the space between our bodies, pressing his lips to mine. Emotion wells up in my throat, and I squeeze my eyes shut tightly, kissing him back. I donít want to cry. I have never been so afraid, I have never needed someone so desperately in my life. His tongue slides into my mouth, soothing and exciting.

I pull back, staring at him, I can feel the energy crackling in the small space between our hands.

"Will you stay?"

"Yes, I will stay, for as long as you want me, I swear it," a brilliant smile spreads slowly across his face, and I lean in, capturing his mouth.

I want to crawl inside him, Iím trying to tell him with this kiss everything his promise means to me, and that I will never, never, not want him. His mouth is just as hungry as mine, it feels like we are going to melt into each other, become one person. His quickening beats in the back of my head like a second heart beat, it is, and if it stopped now, I know I would die. Oh Methos, I love you so much, I want to touch every single part of you, I want to kiss every inch of your body, until there is no place my love hasnít touched.

My knees hurt, I want to move, but I donít want to stop kissing him. Dragging him to his feet without breaking the kiss, I back him up, moving towards the couch. When we finally have to breath, we are standing in the middle of the room, pressed against each other, gasping. I take his hand, leading him the short distance to the couch. I pull him close, holding his body tightly against mine.

"Iím not going to let you go," I tell him soberly. He has a right to know, and I donít care anymore what else happens, no one, nothing, is going to take him away from me.

"Donít," his voice is shaky.

I kiss him very softly, pressing my lips to his over and over again. I hold his face in my hands, kissing him as if we were both very fragile, as if we could shatter each other if weíre not careful. My tongue slips past his lips, gliding over his small, sharp teeth to stroke the inside of his mouth. He has melted against me, and this feels so good, I want to kiss him forever. I donít want to do anything but sit here with my arms around him, breathing his breath, my tongue moving slowly in his mouth.

My hands slip under his t-shirt, caressing his back. He is kissing me back so passionately, letting me feel his need and his desire. The phone makes us both jump, he groans, but pulls back a little. I wrap my arms more tightly around him, willing who ever it is to go away, to leave us alone. It doesnít work, two, three more rings, I sigh, not quite willing to move yet, but admitting Iím going to have to.

"Um, that would be the phone," heís smiling, trying to catch his breath.

"Stay," I growl, kissing him one more time, hard, before pulling myself away from him. The phone is on the desk, working on itís fourth ear-splitting ring. I answer just to shut it up,

"MacLeod."

"Mac! Itís Joe, Iím down at Mauriceís, did I interrupt something?"

"Hi Joe, um, well, only sort of. Whatís up?"

"I thought Iíd see if you wanted to come down here, the guys and I are going to play a late set, Maurice lost his second act and I volunteered. Feel like comin' over?"

"Sure, can I bring a date?" Iím grinning at him across the room, the look on his face is priceless

"Like I could stop you," Joe chuckles back.

"Okay, great, weíll be there. See you then," I hang up, thinking about what a shock itíll be when I walk in with "Adam". I wonder if heíll figure it out on his own, or if Methos will let me tell him?

"MacLeod! I am not your date!"

Not even if I want you to be? "You mean you donít want to go see Joe play a late set at Maurice's?" I give him an angelic smile, hoping the thought of limitless ales will suppress his annoyance.

"Okay, but youíre buying," he shoots back, grinning. Thatís not fair! Mauriceís prices are far from cheap, and heíll drink the most expensive import he can find, just to spite me.

"Youíre the one who said I was your date, MacLeod."

Well, when he puts it that way... "Oh all right, but you canít call me MacLeod, not at all, itís not polite, especially for a first date. You have to call me Duncan."

This is fun, Iíve found a way to get him to say my name, and I know he wonít refuse, he likes spending my money too much. Anyway, I love the way he says my name.

"This is ridiculous!" Heís going to go along with it though, I can tell, heís trying to hide a grin, "What time are we to be there, Duncan?"

Ooh that sounds nice, "Ten. Do you want to borrow something to wear?"

He could wear those sweat pants and it would be just fine with me.

"No, lets not make this any more obvious, I think I can wear my own jeans thank you."

"Youíre no fun."

"Iím lots of fun, youíre the killjoy who wants to go out."

"Iíll make it up to you," I promise him, dragging my eyes down his body. He is so beautiful, can the man sprawl in a position that isnít erotic?

"Okay." Heís looking at me like Iím dessert, which he has reluctantly decided to save for later.

I walk over to the dresser, dropping the robe on the way, just for fun. I canít resist teasing him a little. I can feel his eyes on my body, and I take my time getting dressed. Tight black jeans and a white silk shirt, Iíve noticed he looks at me an awful lot when I wear this outfit.

Heís stolen a shirt after all, black, of course. My, but we make a striking pair in the mirror. Iím putting my hair back, heís reaching for my aftershave. Iím struck by the way the black oxford makes his skin seem almost translucent, luminescent. I canít look away from the picture we make, light and dark, our features almost perfect opposites. I think if I had ever seen us in a mirror like this before, I would have seduced him a long time ago. We complement each other perfectly, we look like we were made to go together.

"We make a striking couple," I murmur, bending my head to kiss the side of his neck, just above the collar of my shirt.

He turns his head towards me, into my kiss. "Yes. We do," he murmurs in my ear.

"Ready?" I whisper, wrapping my arm around his waist.

"Almost," he turns, pulling me into his arms for one more devastating kiss. The way he holds me, his arms wrap all the way around me, his fingers splayed out across my back, caressing me through the thin silk.

"We could stay, get there a little late..." I whisper in his ear, deliberately provoking.

"If we do, weíll be more than a little late. When I finally do get you in bed, Iím not going to let you up for at least two days," he tells me, his lips hovering near my ear, making me shiver. This man can make me hard with nothing more than the sound of his voice in my ear. I should be afraid, but Iím not, not at all.

I reach for my keys, smiling at him, "Then lets go, I donít think Joe can wait two days."

Joe chokes over his drink when he sees who my "date" is, I like making him go Ďwhat the hell?í every now and then. After all, he's my watcher, and I try to stay one step ahead of him. I wonder how long it will take him to really figure it out, and how heíll approach me to ask me about it when he does? I guess Methos would be pretty upset if I just blurted it out, but somehow it makes me feel reassured to think that my love for him will be chronicled for all time. Joe will figure it out eventually, though, he knows me too well. There is just no way I could possibly disguise how happy I am.

"Hi Joe," Methos looks nervous, as if heís not entirely sure of his welcome here. I just manage to check the urge to put my arm around him.

"Adam! What the hell are you doing here? I thought you disappeared. MacLeod?" Joe looks apprehensive.

"He decided he couldnít live without me," I say, laughing at Methos with my eyes when he looks at me incredulously. For a moment he squints at me, murder in his eyes, then he throws his head back, laughing.

"I decided I couldnít live without good beer and good blues, am I welcome?" This has touched me before, the way he is always so uncertain of his welcome. How many times has he been hurt, betrayed, used and cast out? I can only imagine.

Joe brings me back to the present, assuring his friend Adam that he is welcome, and calling to Maurice for drinks. He starts to ask Methos a question, no doubt one I would dearly like to hear the answer to, but his band is calling to him that itís time to start.

He settles for a gruff, "You two have a lot of explaining to do," over his shoulder, which elicits a shrug from Methos. Good luck Joe.

"Iím sure youíll think of something," I tell him, following Maurice to a table.

"The truth is okay. I couldnít live without you," he tells me calmly, folding himself into his chair. I fall into my seat, reaching blindly for my drink. After that last bit enlightenment, I need it. I canít believe itís really this simple. Heís just admitted that he needs me as much as I need him. In a matter of two days my entire life has been turned upside down and righted again, he has taken me from heaven to hell and back to heaven again.

"Are you serious?" I ask him, trying to keep my voice from squeaking.

"Yes, completely," he says, giving me a Cheshire cat smile.

Iím speechless, staring into his shining eyes. I canít quite believe that he means it, that he canít live without me. Joe is introducing the band, and I turn away from him, hiding the joy and the relief in my eyes.

I close my eyes, losing myself in Joeís music. I wonder what it will be like, being his lover? I wonder if he will let me talk him into living on the barge with me? What will it be like, to live with him, to spend all the little moments of daily life together? Thinking about waking up next to him every morning makes me feel wildly happy. I think I donít even care if he makes a horrendous mess of my barge. It will be worth it, to have his presence there.

I reach for his hand under the table, giving him a taunting smile when he hesitates. He gives in, letting me intertwine our fingers.

We sit in companionable silence for a moment, not really needing words. The buzz of another Immortal jerks me from the happy calm that had settled between us. Iím hoping wildly that itís only Richie, back from the circuit unexpectedly. Whoever it is, theyíre young. The quickening isnít very strong, just a steady prickle running up and down my spine, and a single note, continuous buzz in my head.

Methos has already freed his hand and has it tucked under his coat, on his sword. Great, just bloody wonderful. The very first time we go anywhere together, fate proves him right, and sends someone along to interfere.

Immortality can be a hell of a mood breaker. Damn! Itís definitely not Richie, although this one looks about his age. Heís very tall, dressed as courtier, and has an egotistical air that I can feel from across the room. How incredibly annoying. I am so sick of fighting these angry, arrogant children. Maybe I can talk him out of it. If Methos will let me, that is. He looks like heís ready to draw steel right here in the bar. Whatís gotten into him? I expected him to bolt as soon as I felt the kid coming. I shoot him a look that hopefully says, "keep it cool" very clearly.

"Which of you is Duncan MacLeod of the clan MacLeod?"

His voice is like everything else about him, pretentious and affected and very annoying. I wonder if I can take his head and get it over with before Methos decides this isnít the kind of life he wants and does a disappearing act. Why do they do this? If this is the last snotty little English boy who thinks the head of Duncan MacLeod will make him invincible, I will be eternally grateful. Heís not though, there will always be more. Iím about to answer him when Methos jumps to his feet, getting in the boy's space.

"That would be me. Do we know each other?"

I know Iím sitting here with my mouth hanging open, staring at him, but Iím so shocked Iím frozen for a moment.

"No Sir, your reputation precedes you. Allow me to introduce myself, I am Peter Winston, of York."

Before I can get a word in, Methos is talking, with an almost convincing burr,

"And why should I care who yew are, Peter of York?"

What is he doing? Has he lost his mind? The worlds oldest man, Methos, the great survivor, is getting in some little snot's face, about to fight my battle for me. Iíll kill him...

"I'm Duncan MacLeod, you pompous fool!"

All of the anger at Methos has been instantly transferred to this little pain in the ass. Why couldnít I have just one night to sit and listen to great blues and hold his hand under the table? I really wanted that, and now weíre going to spend the rest of the night fighting over this. The looks weíre giving each other across the table have nothing to do with the boy.

Heís smiling, dangerously, "Dunna be foolish Adam, Iíll be back in noh time. Order me another ale." He turns back to Peter of York, who looks annoyed. "You will haí ta forgive my student, he is impatient for conquest. After yew Sir..."

He extends his arm, the other hand hidden in his coat. For a moment I have the insane idea that he is going to draw and take his head right here, from behind. There is something in his eyes I have never seen before. It frightens me, and excites me tremendously. What in the world has possessed him to fight my battle for me, even with a pompous child? I donít get it, is he trying to protect me, or has he simply lost his mind?

I grab his wrist, pulling him back when he takes a step to follow Peter of York out of the bar, "Methos, what the hell do you think youíre doing?"

He gives me a brilliant smile, his eyes are bright, he looks like someone shot him full of adrenaline. "Oh come on Duncan, you get all the fun. Let me fight for a change. Do you seriously think that one is going to beat me?"

I return his smile in spite of myself, squeezing his wrist, "No, of course not, heís an egotistical child. You're not serious, are you?" I have never seen him like this. For a moment Iím tempted to go along with his charade. Clashing swords with some clumsy brat in a cold, dirty alley is the last thing I wanted to do tonight.

He rips his wrist from my grasp, flashing me a mischievous grin before darting into the crowd, heading for the door. I canít believe heís really doing this, or how much heís enjoying it. I think I like him acting a tenth of his age. I follow him out of the bar, slipping my sword from the loop in my coat.

I follow the sound of footsteps around the corner and into the alley, he is several yards ahead of me, calling for the foppish challenger.

"Are yew ready, Peter of York?" I can hear the laughter in his voice. Oh Methos, you are so dangerous. I canít quite believe what Iím seeing, he is sauntering up the alley, taunting the boy. His rich voice echoes off the stone walls, making me shiver.

Peter of York steps from the shadows near the other end of the alley. Sword drawn, he approaches slowly. I watch them circle, thinking this is going to be a very short fight. The kid is taking too long, letting Methos read his movements. The young one doesnít know it, but in the five seconds he has given him, his opponent already knows every move heís going to make, and how to counter them. Methos dances lazily, his posture a disguise for lightning speed and amazing endurance. He wonít need it tonight, though. I hope he lets this boy walk away. Iím going to be furious with him if he doesnít, but thinking about the inevitable argument, I realize I really donít want to have it. Our fights are so predictable, and we dig deep, wounding each other. Iíd really rather avoid this one.

"Adam, let him keep his damn head, itís not worth it!" I call to him, hoping that I wonít distract him too much.

The familiar ring of metal clashing echoes in the dark alley, the boy is sloppy but watching Methos play with him is pure beauty. Heís like a cat with a bug, playing with it even though itís not very interesting. I have never seen him fight like this before, without anger, or rage. Heís having fun. He is more mischievous than deadly, letting his opponent feel only the slightest brush of his blade, but proving very efficiently that he can get as close as he likes. He pulls a classic disarmament, for which there is a very well-known counter, but the boy has already given up. He comes back up without his blade, eyeing his sword at Methosí feet wildly. For a moment I think heís going to let him pick it up, and then the broadsword is at the boyís throat.

"Do you want to walk away, Peter of York?"

"Yes!" he gasps, he canít believe heís going to live.

Relief floods through me, thank you Methos. I knew you wouldnít...Methos has pulled his sword from his throat and the child is diving for his blade, with the speed of desperation. He comes sweeping at Methos, aiming for a clean stroke to sever his head.

"METHOS!" I shout his name, but he is already turning, spinning just barely to the left of the deadly strike, and then his heavy broadsword comes down, taking the head cleanly. Peter of York never saw the fatal blow coming. I stop dead in my tracks. In the moment before the lightning comes, I can feel his power flooding over me, rushing up to take the quickening. I am overwhelmed by the incredibly erotic picture. He looks at me, eyes desperate and pleading. He didnít want this, he looks scared. For a moment, I consider trying to take the quickening for him, or at least share it, give the painful lightning someone else to ground to. No, itís his to take, I can see it in the look he gives me. I step back, watching the wind swirling up the alley.

I grimace as I watch his body contorted by the lightning. He shouts, hanging on to his sword for dear life as the energy explodes around us, eventually finding itís target and grounding itself inside him. I know exactly what that feels like, pain and pleasure and victory and madness. The white lightning wraps around him, turning his shout into something more painful. Itís okay, itís almost over. I want to go to him, and as soon as the quickening begins to dissipate, finding itís home inside him, I do. Catching him just as he begins to fall and wrapping him in my long coat. I wish I could shelter him from the turmoil thatís yet to come. Methos doesnít take quickenings well. All I can think of is getting him back to the barge, where I can help him.

"I wasnít going to Duncan, I was going to let him walk away," he gasps, looking up at me with fear and regret in his eyes.

"Methos!" I shake his shoulders, but gently. I can feel the tension radiating off him, his resistance to the quickening trying to merge inside him. This is so hard for him. After Silas, I understood that there were other reasons beyond secrecy and survival that he fought so seldom. Iíve worried about it a great deal, fearing something like my dark quickening might one day happen to him, if he took too many. 5000 years of survival adds up to a hell of a lot of souls inside you. Iíve often thought itís a miracle heís even sane.

"Iím glad you took him! Donít you ever scare me like that again," I tell him, trying to dispel the tension. There is anger in his eyes, but itís not for me. Itís sometimes like this for all of us, the rush of victory and your opponent's consciousness inside you make you want to keep fighting, to let out some of the wildness raging inside you.

He pulls away and I release him, watching him pace a few steps up the alley and back. When he looks like heís about to bolt, I stop him, my hand light on his arm,

"Methos, wait. Go back to the barge. Iíll slip back inside and speak to Joe, heíll have someone take care of this. Iíll meet you back there, okay? Here, take the car," I dig the keys out of my pocket, hoping he can remember where we parked.

He stops, waiting for me to finish talking with undisguised urgency, "No, I think Iíd rather walk, thanks. Iíll meet you back there." He offers me the ghost of a smile before he turns down the alley, walking fast, with long, aggressive strides.

God, watch him, get him back to the barge safely, I pray briefly, heading back inside. I hurry back into the bar. Joe is waiting for me at the table, the look of relief and acknowledgment Iíve seen so many times on his face. I straddle a chair backwards, leaning towards him and speaking tersely,

"No Joe, it wasnít me, it was Adam..."

He jerks his head up to look at me, "Is he...?"

"Heís fine," I reassure him quickly, "Well, not exactly fine...he didnít expect to take the kids head, he tried to let him go and he went for him. I sent him back to the barge, Iím hoping heíll go there....I need a favor, Joe..."

Heís already dialing his cell phone, nodding reassuringly, "Weíll take care of it Mac," he tells me quickly before his call goes through. He speaks quickly and tersely to someone on the other end, who wears an identical tattoo.

"Itíll be taken care of, do you know who he was?"

"Peter Winston, do you know him?"

"No, not at all. Let me get this taken care of and Iíll meet you back at the barge. Do you think heíll be okay Mac?"

"Umm, Joe, I need another favor, or two?"

He frowns, waiting. "Joe, I know this is asking a lot, but I need this to have been Duncan MacLeodís fight, in the chronicles. Wait, let me explain, it was supposed to be, that kid came in here to challenge me. Methos, he, for some reason, he jumped up and told the guy he was me. He was, having fun. He asked me to let him be the one to fight for a change, and for some crazy reason I let him. He didnít intend to take the kid's head, he was playing with him. He had him and he let him walk away and then..."

Methosí distress is like a vibration in my head, Iím havin' a hard time talking, getting back to him is all I can think about.

"And the bastard went for him," Joe finishes for me, scowling. "Okay, I understand. Whatís the other favor Mac?"

"Let me take care of Methos," I look at him sideways, not sure how to tell him that I need to be alone with Methos, that he needs me...

His eyebrows disappear beneath his bangs for a moment, but he sighs, nodding his agreement.

"Okay, Mac, but you two still have a lot of explaining to do."

I flash him a grin, "Tomorrow, lunch."

"Itís a date. Now get out of here, my people will be here soon and thereíll be a hell of a lot less speculation if you're not sitting here having a beer with me when they get here."

"Okay. Thanks."

I leave quickly, looking both ways to make sure no one sees me as I walk back to the car. Parisian speed limits are a rhetorical thing, I excuse myself, gunning the engine and making it back to the barge in minutes flat.

I find him siting on-deck, his shoulders hunched against the wind, staring into the river.

"Methos, are you okay?" I call to him, walking across the deck to stand behind him.

"Yeah, Iím fine."

That doesnít sound very good. His presence has settled down a little in my head, now that Iím back with him. That doesnít make sense to me, but Iím grateful. I put my arms around him, pulling him back against me. He is so tense, I can feel the rigid muscles in his back against my chest.

"Methos, itís okay. You had to, he was going to take you from behind, after you let him go. There was nothing else you could have done. If he had killed you...I swear, I would have..." I canít talk anymore, I realize Iím shaking, as he turns in my arms, returning my embrace.

I pull him tightly against me, relief flooding through me at the feeling of his long, hard body pressed against me. Heís radiating heat, a rather shocking erection pressing into my hip. He going to rip right through those jeans if I donít get him inside soon. Itís okay love, I know what this feels like, to be so painfully aroused by the quickening, the need for release of all that energy inside you. I drag him across the deck, inside, and down the stairs. Pulling off his long coat, I drape it over a chair and pull him tightly against me once more. He flattens himself against my body, trembling. His skin is flushed, his breathing somewhere close to hyperventilation. I want to kiss him long and languidly, to taste the want in his mouth, but I know he canít stand any teasing right now, he needs this very badly. My hands fumble with his jeans, dragging them roughly over his hips as I drop to my knees before his straining erection.

Iím shrugging out of my coat when he gasps, "Duncan, wait, no."

"Why? You need this. Itís okay, I know what itís like, afterwards, let me do this for you," I hold his wild eyes for a moment, before taking him in my mouth.

He is so incredibly hot in my mouth. I suck him greedily, going with it when he falls, curling my body around him, on the floor. I am vaguely aware of his hands in my hair, holding me still as he thrusts sharply into my mouth. I am overcome by the taste and the feel of him, the flavor of his urgency. Relaxing completely around him, I shelter him with my body, letting him bury himself in my throat as him begins to shudder, coming in hot, fast spurts. I hold his hips, keeping him in my mouth as he bucks and twists, I swallow around him, not willing to release him from my mouth just yet. The wildness of his body is intoxicating. I feel lost in his urgency and his need. I look up at him, and our eyes meet.

What I see there, in those complicated hazel eyes, makes my heart leap into my throat. He is looking down at me as if he wants to devour me, I can feel his hunger. There is a reckless abandon in his eyes I have never seen before, and I feel my heart pounding in anticipation. I realize heís going to pounce a second before he does, and I suddenly want him to take me, to devour me.

His weight on top of me is good, holding me down, tearing at my shirt. I roll with him, managing to get his jeans completely off him before he pins me. His mouth covers mine, taking the sounds Iím making inside him. His tongue in my mouth is forceful, everywhere at once, while his hands rip at the buttons on my shirt. Twisting beneath him, I canít tell if Iím struggling against his violent hold on me, or helping him wrench my tight jeans down my legs. He leaves them around my ankles, giving me no time to move before heís on top of me again. Iím panting, sweating, struggling against his hands because I canít get enough of his strength, because I love the way it feels to have him restrain my movements.

His knees pin my arms, just above the elbow, letting me take all of his weight. It hurts, but my arms tingle, quickly going numb, and his mouth is on mine, kissing me softly, murmuring incoherently against my lips. I have never given myself to anyone like this before, I feel wildly free beneath him.

His teeth sink into my lower lip, and I taste the iron of my own blood before his tongue rasps against the wound, licking at it until it heals. A rush of adrenaline, like white hot energy, like a quickening, runs through me, at the sensation of his small, sharp teeth on my mouth. I arch my hips helplessly into air, longing for his touch, his mouth. His teeth are taking small, sharp bites of my lips, moving over me with precision until he has bitten every available inch of my mouth. My lips are swollen, sensitive, and I moan and twist beneath him when his tongue flicks over them repeatedly, heightening the sensation.

I turn my head, trying to bite his neck and he makes a sound deep in his throat, somewhere between a growl and a purr that stops me. His breathing is harsh against my throat as his mouth moves slowly down my neck, marking me with his teeth. It feels so good, the scrape of his teeth over my skin before he bites, and the soothing , exciting flicks of his tongue. He is biting me harder as he moves down to the hollow of my throat, and for a moment I am afraid, and then the fear mixes with the urgency and the need and I groan, begging him wordlessly not to stop. I know he wonít, he's going to devour me.

He reaches for my ponytail, wrapping it tightly around his fist, holding me down. The pain mingles with the tingling in my arms and the throbbing of my lower lip, and I moan, but I donít want this to stop. His knees come up off my arms, and the sudden freedom confuses me, as I feel the blood rushing back to my fingers. I squirm restlessly, wanting his weight on me, holding me down. He turns his head and his teeth sink into my shoulder, over the muscle.

As the pain reaches me, sharper than before, he takes my cock in his hand, closing his fingers around me. I freeze, watching him. Iím not really afraid, but something glinting in his eyes makes me hold very still.

He holds me tight, but not quite painfully so, as his mouth moves down my chest, licking and biting me until I moan helplessly, begging for more. His teeth close lightly over my nipple, his tongue flicking rapidly, making me cry out with the intensity of the pleasure. Oh, it feels so good, and when I think I will go mad from the pleasure, that he has to stop, he turns his head, biting me, hard. I yelp, arching up towards him. I want him to wrap me in his arms, to cover me with his body. I am so hopelessly aroused Iím shaking, I canít think, canít talk. I need him so badly, I donít even know how to beg, or for what, I only know that I need him. His mouth is skimming across my stomach, ticklish and not enough. His long fingers stroke my thighs, trying to calm my wildness or his, I cannot tell. I watch him run the tip of his tongue quickly from the base to the tip of my cock, his teeth just barely scraping the head.

"Ohhh," I cry out, trying desperately not to move, to stay still beneath him, but my hips arch instinctively towards his mouth. He smiles up at me, almost tender, before he turns his head, biting deeply into my inner thigh. I hear my scream ring through the silent barge, and it surprises me. The pain is intense, very intimate, and I know I am lost. His lips are slick with my blood when he covers my cock once more. He holds me between his lips, scraping his teeth lightly, and then a little harder, up and down my trembling cock. Itís not enough, I need to be deep in his throat, with the heat of his mouth close around me. I am so painfully hard, so sensitive, that when he nips delicately at the tip, I arch up into the little bites, asking for more. I canít take much more of this torture, I need to come so badly, the drag of teeth and his fingers stoking me lightly arenít enough. I throw my head from side to side, begging him in a hoarse voice,

"Oh God, please," please, Methos, let me come, just a little more...

I am arching up into his mouth, pushing my way in across his teeth, which drag painfully over tight skin. Only itís not pain, itís ecstasy, because his mouth is hot, wet, finally closing around me, sucking me hard. I lose control completely, shoving in to him, fucking his throat in reckless abandon. I finally feel the release I need so badly gathering inside me, rolling through me like thunder. Every muscle in my body strains, my senses jumble in my brain and I hear myself shout, exploding all over his lips, chin, cheek.

He chuckles, reaching for something to wipe his face with. I am overcome by a sense of abandonment, and the sudden lack of his touch. My breathing evens out gradually, my senses slowly untangling. I donít want to open my eyes, I donít want to let go of this incredible feeling of safety, of being enveloped and surrounded by his presence. I feel him moving up next to me, and then his hand touches my cheek.

"Duncan, are you okay?"

Okay? Iím incredible. "More?"

"You want more?"

I open my eyes, turning to look at him. I canít believe how easy it was, to give him everything, to surrender so completely. It felt so good, to lose all control. Iím amazed, that I feel so safe giving myself up to him this way.

"Yes, please. Your teeth, the way you feel, on top of me, holding me down, I want more."

"Do you?" he growls softly, stretching out on top of me. He feels so good, his weight and the smoothness of his skin against my chest.

"Yes," I look up at him, letting him see how much I want him.

"I think I should take you to bed."

"That sounds like a very good idea," I tell him, grinning.

I wriggle out from under him, jumping up. I offer him my hand, pulling him to his feet. He slips his arm around my waist, leading me over to the bed. He kisses me once, very sweetly, before pushing me down on my stomach. His weight comes down on top of me, warm and reassuring. I listen to our breathing, slowly falling into synch. This is heaven, we are almost exactly the same height, he covers me completely, his arms stretched out over mine, his hands hold my wrists in a light grip.

He nuzzles the back of my neck, making me shiver, and then his teeth scrape lightly over my skin. He licks delicately at the vulnerable spot, and I moan, pressing my face into the mattress. When his teeth close over me, very slowly, I feel myself relaxing, melting under his power. This is so sweet, his touch is exquisite.

His fingernails rake quickly down my side, and although I can feel thin welts rising, it tickles, maybe because he has me trapped, holding me down with the weight of his body. I squirm, fighting the urge to throw him off of me as his hand drags down my other side, more slowly. His leaves deep scratches that burn and tingle down my ribs, all the way to my hips. I imagine what it looks like, to have the tracks of his hands running down my body.

"Ohh, I like that," I moan, stretching beneath him. I do, although I donít understand why. The burning of my skin feels like the burning of my desire for him.

"So do I," he growls, biting the back of my neck again. "Turn over."

He braces himself on his arms long enough for me to roll over underneath him. I know he wants me to lie still for him, and I try, but my body is squirming and twisting against the sheets. He smiles, straddling my hips, sitting back on my thighs. His presence overpowers me, devastates me. He is magnificent, beautiful, deadly. It is this, his power, and his passion, usually so carefully disguised, that I am drawn to. I watch his eyes, gone dark and dilated with desire. I think he needs this, to lose control, as much as I do, maybe more.

His hands move over me possessively, touching me everywhere, caressing me and digging into my flesh by turns. He leaves red marks across my chest. I keep my eyes on his face, he is watching his hands on my skin, enraptured. He teases my nipples until I begin to squirm, and then pinches me, hard, and I hold very still, biting my lip, and whimpering.

I want to give him this, my trust, my body, everything. Iím shaking, unable to contain the complicated response he is forcing from my body so carefully. Hunger, and fear, and incredible pleasure. My whole body is throbbing, on fire under his hands, so gentle, and then cruel, and then gentle again, touching me so lightly I think I will go mad.

He leans down, his lips cover my cock for a too-brief, tantalizing moment. My breath catches in my throat, and then his mouth is moving slowly up my chest. Pausing to bite here and there in the places his hands have marked me. Iím gasping, I canít seem to get enough air in my lungs. I want his soft, wet lips on my aching cock again so badly, I think I will cry. I arch up to meet his teeth when they close over my skin, trying to beg him with my body, because I canít find the words. Moving up my chest, he bites deeply into the side of my neck, I can feel his sharp teeth sinking into my skin, I can feel my blood running over his lips. I never thought this would feel anything like it does. There is pain, but it mixes with my desperate need for his touch, and I realize I want him to bite me again.

He lifts his head, kissing me with lips wet with my blood. I suck his tongue into my mouth, devouring him greedily.

"Mmm, Methos...." I moan his name against his mouth, trying to tell him everything he is to me.

Breaking the kiss, he moves up my body until his cock hovers over my lips.

"Suck it," he whispers, and there is something in his voice that makes me want to obey him, instantly.

I raise my head, bending my neck at an awkward angle to take him between my lips. He is so hot, throbbing in my mouth. I run my tongue around his head, sucking gently. It feels so good to hold him in my mouth, to be covered with his scent and taste. I crane my neck to draw him deeper, struggling to take as much of him into my throat as I can. His hand goes to the back of my head, yanking the hair-tie painfully and tossing it away somewhere. His hand plunges into my hair, threading it through his long fingers before wrapping the length around his fist, holding my head down against the mattress. He is watching me, smiling tightly at my efforts to get more of him in my mouth in spite of his fist in my hair, holding me down. He teases me, pulling back until only the tip of his cock brushes my lips, and I think Iím going to pull my hair out at the roots trying to get him back.

He raises his hips, and suddenly he is thrusting straight down my throat, watching me through slitted eyes. I relax, going still beneath him, all my concentration on the hard cock pushing into my mouth. I stroke him with my tongue, caressing the hot, insistent intruder that has my complete attention. He slides down my throat, deeper than I thought was possible, until my lips are stretched around the base of his cock, his balls pressed against my chin. My throat closes up, gagging reflexively when he tickles something in the back of my mouth, and then relaxes again when he sinks deeper. I look up at him, telling him with my eyes that I am not afraid, that I will refuse him nothing. It is an overpowering sensation, to be held down, invaded like this, with no control over the rock hard cock sinking into my mouth so slowly. I am powerless to stop him, or to ask him not to stop, but I beg him with my eyes, letting him see how much I want him. He stays there, buried in my throat, until my head swims and my vision gets blurry. I canít breath, and still I donít want him to leave me. I start to choke, and he pulls out quickly.

"Iím sorry," I gasp, my voice hoarse.

"Oh no, donít be sorry," he tells me, leaning down to kiss me.

His tongue takes possession of my mouth, kissing me senseless. I whisper his name, over and over again, like a mantra. His hands close over my wrists, pulling them high above my head. His eyes hold mine, dark and certain of his control over me. When he tightens his grip on my wrists, I arch up off the bed helplessly, moaning. His fingers bite into my wrists, pushing them down against the sheets before slowly releasing them. I understand that he wants me to keep them there, and try to hold myself very still under his eyes.

His nails bite into my wrists, dragging down the inside of my arms, and slowly down my sides. I squeeze my eyes shut against the burn and hold very still. I feel the brush of his short, velvety hair against my skin before his teeth sink into my flesh, in the soft place where my arm connects to my shoulder. Air hisses through my teeth and I throw my head to the side, burying my face in the opposite shoulder. He holds me still with his mouth, his teeth just about to break the skin as his nails rake down my chest.

Itís getting harder to hold still, Iím grateful for his thighs thrown out across the lower half of my body, holding me down. His mouth moves lower, biting again just below the first, but not as hard. His lips and teeth move in a straight line down from my shoulder, finally closing over my nipple. Every muscle in my body tenses, waiting for the pain. instead, his tongue flicks over my sensitive skin rapidly, the pleasure so intense I tremble, sweat trickling down my side. He bites, hard, but only for a second, causing explosions of light and color behind my eyelids. I cry out, my hips thrusting helplessly off the bed.

His mouth moves down my body, licking me and taking sharp little tastes of my skin with his teeth. I am so aware of his touch, focused on his mouth, which gives me pleasure and pain and fulfillment in turns, always moving, sliding slowly down my trembling body.

When his tongue sweeps roughly over the seeping head of my cock, I cry out, afraid, expecting his teeth to follow. He takes pity on me, turning his head and sinking his teeth into my hip instead. It feels so good, the way he bites me, holding me down with his mouth, caressing the indentations his teeth make with long sweeps of his tongue. My head is spinning, I feel drunk, high, and totally aware of his slightest touch.

"Oh Methos, please, take me. I need...I need you."

"I know," he tells me, moving between my legs.

His hands are touching me everywhere, spreading fire, making me shiver. He is touching me everywhere his mouth has marked. I feel as though I have lost every other sense beyond touch, all my consciousness centered on the slide of his palms over my skin.

"Comment divin," He whispers, raking his eyes down my squirming body.

He reaches to the end of the bed and comes back with the bottle of massage oil in his hand. Oh, I want this, want it so badly I donít think I can wait for him to be gentle. He knows, or else he is as desperate as I am, because he has moved between my legs, his slick cock pushing insistently against me. I raise my hips, dimly aware of the pillow being stuffed beneath me.

I am shaking uncontrollably, need and the anticipation of pain warring inside me. Then his weight is on top of me, the contact of his body pressed against mine that I have craved and been denied for so long now. He is so hot, pressed between my thighs, seeking entrance. I bend my knees, pushing up against him.

"Please..." I moan, as the head of his cock presses slowly inside me.

One long drawn out word to tell him how badly I need this, and that it frightens me. I can hear the breath hissing through his teeth as he pushes deeper. Iím trying so hard to relax, I want him, want this, but he is so huge, it feels like heís going to tear me in half.

"Oh, you are so big Methos, it hurts, please, wait, donít move, stay. Oh god..."

I am begging him, but I canít even concentrate on the words coming out of my mouth, all I can feel is Methos inside me.

"Shh, itís okay," he leans down, kissing me softly. His tongue is in my mouth, stroking me, and I suck it mindlessly as he sinks deep inside my body. He stays there, for what seems like forever, his cock buried completely inside me, his tongue in my mouth.

When my hand moves, dragging down the sheet to curl around my cock, trapped between us, he stops me. Bringing my hand up to his lips, he nips the inside of my wrist,

"No, just feel it." he whispers.

He moves a little, rocking his hips to accentuate his words. I hear myself groan, but manage to make myself pull my arm back above my head. It is so intense, so much this way, just the slow rocking of his hips and the slide of his cock inside me. I feel my muscles relax, finally, and he groans, shuddering. Then he is pulling out, until just the head of his cock is inside me, and I cry out, bereft, at the sudden feeling of emptiness.

His arms wrap around me tightly, and he is plunging back into me, so deep, and I rising up to meet him. I know that itís okay for me to move now, that I can finally let go of the determination that has held me passive beneath him.

Wrapping my arms around his hips, holding him to me, I rise up to meet his thrusts. Our tongues devour each other, twisting and thrusting against each other as our pace increases. I am so out of control beneath him, it feels as though his tongue in my mouth is the only thing grounding me to the bed, and I hold on for dear life. His thrusts are steady, deep, irrefutable. I am so lost to the pleasure, the ecstasy of this rhythm, that my orgasm sneaks up on me unexpectedly. It begins where he is touching me, deep inside, white hot, incredible pleasure, and spreads in long waves through my body. I cling to him, crying his name, as the tight, urgent feeling explodes inside me, and I come in long, pulsing waves of heat, his cock driving into me.

He is gripping my hips, slamming into me with hard, fast thrusts, groaning, fingers digging into my skin. Yes Methos, please, come for me, come inside me. Iím not sure that I can last much longer, moving with him in spite of total exhaustion, when I feel him go rigid inside me, and then the hot flood of his come.

He cries my name sharply, collapsing on my chest. My arms come up, locking around him. I donít want him to leave me, not yet. I press my face into his neck,

"Thank you," I whisper, "I love you Methos."

He kisses me, for a long time, and I give myself up to the liquid pleasure of his mouth, as he gradually softens inside me. He pulls out of me very slowly, but it still makes me gasp, squeezing my eyes shut against the unexpected pain. His hand curls around my cheek, an unnecessary apology. He moves off me, lying down on his side, pressed against me. I am so happy. I canít remember ever feeling this content, safe and warm and satiated.

"Duncan....you are so precious to me...you are my salvation. I love you, and it terrifies me."

He pulls me into his arms, and I settle against his shoulder. "I am going to love you until the end of time," I tell him, pressing my lips against his throat one more time. Sleep comes up to claim me, my body heavy and exhausted. I think sleepily that he will be here when I wake up, sleeping next to me, and I smile. Slipping gradually into sleep, I sigh, more content that I can ever remember being.

buckets of rain

buckets of tears

got all them buckets comin' out of my ears

buckets of moonbeams in my hand

You got all the love, honey baby

I can stand

I been meek

and hard like an oak

I seen pretty people

disappear like smoke

friends will arrive, friends will disappear

if you want me, honey baby

I'll be here

Like your smile

and your fingertips

I like the way that you move your hips

I like the cool way you look at me

everything about you is bringing me misery

little red wagon little red bike

I ain't no monkey but I know what I like

I like the way you love me strong and slow

taking you with me, honey baby when I go

life is sad life is bust

all you can do is do what you must

you do what you must do

and you do it well

I'd do it for you

honey baby, can't you tell

Song lyrics borrowed without permission from Bob Dylan

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