Those Who Trespass (NC-17)

by Bone

Disclaimer: The Highlander characters are the property of Panzer/Davis and Rysher Entertainment. Borrowed without permission. Do not archive, repost, publish or link without discussing it with me first. Written for pleasure, not profit. Contains sexual situations between Methos and a variety of his Immortal ilk, male and female. If you're underage or the concepts offend, please read no further. Comments are welcomed (and usually responded to) at JBonetoo@yahoo.com.

Acknowledgments: Kady Mae and Kat continue to be incisive, decisive beta- readers, full of constructive suggestions and positive reinforcement, for which I'm grateful. JaC - thanks for being the first-look guinea pig. :) Z&n -- you run a hell of a hostel here, and you provided me with a wonderful roommate.

Canon Caveat: Loosely woven through "Forgive Us Our Trespasses," with a few minor alterations.... This is a companion piece to Interlunation.

Thoughts encased in /...../

Part 1

Into his restless sleep floated a warning. "Someone's here," it said. "Someone Immortal." Into his dream, the cacophony of blood and sex that was his nightly companion, the warning poked insistently. "Someone's *here*, someone Immortal." Awareness returned with a rush and his eyes opened wide. Someone was at the door. Someone Immortal. The knock that resounded an instant later was superfluous. Methos launched from the bed, sweeping up his sword in the same smooth movement, sheltering himself behind a wall, suddenly rudely, shockingly awake. The pounding continued.

"Methos! Open the door! I know you're there!"

He slumped in disgusted relief, dropping the sword to his side. The knocking wouldn't stop, and he headed for the door.

"Methos! It's Amanda!"

He could see her silhouette through the veneer of the venetian blinds that cloaked the glass door. If he'd had a gun in his hand, he would have shot her through the door and made her shut the hell up. He yanked open the door, surprising her with her hand raised for yet another knock.

"Do you want to knock a bit louder? I don't think they heard you in Philadelphia," he snapped.

She pushed her way inside, saying, "I'm sorry, it was an emergency, ok?"

Methos stopped her with the tip of his sword at her throat. She stilled. "No, it was a good way to get your head cut off, is what it was," he said, but then he pulled the sword away.

"You're turning into an old grouch, aren't you?" She walked her eyes up and down his body and he realized he was standing before her in just his boxer shorts, bare-chested and barefoot. "Or did I interrupt something important?"

He turned from her, giving her his back instead of his front. "Amanda, it is the middle of the night and I wasn't expecting anyone. Give me a minute. You want some coffee?"

"Yeah," she said, following him. She took off her coat and laid it over a priceless vase, ignoring Methos' protest. He tugged on a t-shirt and went into the small kitchen. While he made coffee, she gave him the quick and dirty version of the events of the last couple of days: Keane's appearance, Duncan's distressing lethargy and depression, her anger at his passivity.

Methos handed her a cup of coffee and headed back to bed.

"All right, so tell me what you know about this Keane guy," Amanda said.

"Nothing. Never met him." Why had he offered to make her coffee? He just wanted to go back to sleep, even if it meant sliding into his dream again.

"Wait a minute, I thought the Watchers knew everything," she said.

"I've done with the Watchers," he said, standing on the bed while he gathered the covers, then sinking down to where the sheets still held warmth from his body.

"Really?" she asked. "I thought you'd found the perfect hiding place."

He pulled the covers over his chest. "Well, I've changed my mind. Sorry, can't help." The perfect hiding place. Hardly. The Watchers had their uses. He would undoubtedly return to them again; he always did. But just now nothing held much appeal, let alone something that by its nature distanced him more. The hiding place was turning out to be his own apartment, which he left only to restock groceries, to exercise when his body cried out for it, or to go down the street for a drink at whatever bar was open, when sleeping was worse than staying awake.

"No, listen, Methos, why don't you just talk to MacLeod, try to convince him that Keane is wrong about him." She came and sat beside him on the bed.

Methos sighed. "You want me to talk to MacLeod, and tell him, what, 'Stop worrying, you're not a bad guy'?"

Amanda nodded enthusiastically.

This was her plan? To have *Methos* talk to MacLeod about the ethics of good and evil? He would have laughed if it weren't so pathetic. He was the *last* person MacLeod was likely to believe when the discussion was about good guys and bad guys and how to tell the difference. He turned on his side, trying to shut her out.

"Trust me, Amanda, that's not going to work," he said.

His indifference glanced off Amanda. "Look, Methos, you have to do *something*. I've never seen him this upset. And you know how guilt-ridden he can be."

Exasperated, Methos sat up to face her, rubbed a weary hand across his eyes, then wrapped his arms around his knees, blocking her with the cage of his body.

"If he goes up against Keane thinking he deserves to lose, he'll lose," Amanda pressed. "He'll *die* Methos."

Her vehemence and persistence were wearing him down. It must be bad if she'd left the barge at this time of night and come to him. Methos ignored the voice inside that pointed out he now had a great excuse to see the Highlander again. He hadn't laid eyes on MacLeod since the night they'd killed Kronos and Silas. The night they'd sexed away in alleys and hotel doorways, elevators and shower stalls. Sex up one side and down the other. Hard and fast, slow and hot, top and bottom, side by side. A hell of a first date. In the light of day, with MacLeod's semen dried on his body, with his skin smelling like big lusty Scot, and his hair spiked from hours spent laced in Mac's fingers, Methos had bolted. Scared of his own emotions, afraid of what he might, or might not, see in Duncan's face. He'd donned his mask as easily as he put his coat on, held Mac off with apathy, and walked away while his legs would still carry him. But he couldn't stay away. He never could.

"All right, Amanda. I'll talk to him," Methos said. "But don't expect too much. We're not on the best of terms right now."

Amanda put her hand on his. "He might listen to you, Methos. At least you can try."

Methos nodded. "I'll try." She'd gotten what she wanted, but she wasn't leaving. He looked at her, and raised an eyebrow. "Anything else, Miss Vixen?"

"Can I stay here?" Amanda asked.

"No, you may not," Methos replied firmly, flopping back on the pillows and dismissing her with a none-too-gentle nudge of his feet.

"Oh come on, Methos, don't be like that. I can't go back to the barge now, not after that grand exit," Amanda prodded.

"So go to a hotel," he said, unswayed.

"Please, Methos? I've had enough of being shut out for one day."

Amanda was all impulse and indiscretion, a perpetual adolescent with an under- developed capacity for delayed gratification. But whatever her flaws, her emotions -- genuine and deeply felt -- rode so close to the surface they skimmed her skin. Methos sighed.

"If I say you can stay, will you shut up and let me sleep?" he asked, cursing himself for giving in so quickly.

"I promise, cross my heart," she said, scrambling off the bed and tugging her boots from her feet.

Methos shook his head. A promise from Amanda was just about worth the air it took for her to say the words. He was going to regret this, he knew it.

"Do you have something I can sleep in?" she asked, already starting to snoop in his bureau drawers.

"Third drawer on the right," he asserted quickly in self-defense. He groaned when he saw her choice.

"Barenaked Ladies? What the hell is Barenaked Ladies?" She actually sounded a bit shocked as she took in the name on the t-shirt. "A bar?" She turned to him, a well-practiced, wide-eyed look on her face. "A strip club?"

"A band, Amanda, it's a band." Methos glanced at the bedside clock. 1:20 am. The night was going to go on forever, he could already tell.

"Kinky," she said, swishing off to the bathroom. When she came out, she was wearing the t-shirt and what must have been minuscule underpants, given the flash of ass she gave him as she flipped back the covers and slid in beside him. She smelled of his toothpaste.

"Tell me you didn't use my toothbrush," Methos grated out.

"I didn't use your toothbrush."

They both knew she was lying.

Amanda turned on her side, facing Methos, one arm tucked under her head, the other lying between them on the bed. For a few minutes, uneasy quiet reigned in the room. Methos felt his body finally start to relax again, the adrenaline from her unexpected appearance leaching away, leaving twitching muscles and heavy eyelids. Then she spoke.

"This feels familiar," she said softly.

He turned his head towards her, seeing the soft light of the room on her high cheekbones and glinting off her hair.

"To me it feels strange," he responded.

"Why, because Rebecca's not on your other side, complaining that we're hogging the bed?" Amanda smiled as she said it, but she looked a little sad.

"I never understood how anyone as skinny as you could take up so much room," he said, memory lending warmth to his voice.

"You're the one who sprawls over any available surface, Methos, you can't put *all* the blame on me," she said. "I don't know why she put up with us."

"I do," he said, a wicked grin breaking over his face.

"It was fun, wasn't it?" Amanda asked, nostalgia coloring her tone.

"Yes, it was fun," he said.

Quiet dropped on them again, a soft blanket now, comfortable and mild. Amanda closed her eyes. Methos closed his. He could hear a dog barking somewhere far away. The ice-maker in the kitchen whirred, a door opened and closed down the hall. Just another night in Paris.

"I miss Rebecca," Amanda said, throwing off the quiet again.

Methos turned to face her, mirroring her pose, resting his cheek on his wrist, letting the other hand fall near hers on the bed. In their white shirts, with their short, dark hair, they looked like siblings. Puppies in a basket, huddling close for company.

"We've lost so many, I don't think I could stand it if I lost Duncan, too," she said, choking a bit on the last bit.

An unacknowledged tear dripped down her nose and Methos flicked it away with the tip of one finger. He tapped her cheek and said, "We'll think of something."

She nodded, and managed a watery smile. Methos moved the wandering fingertip up to the short strands of her hair, sleek against her head. Soft as water, full of life, the little hairs followed his finger when he pulled back.

"Why did you cut your hair?" he asked, trying to distract her from the misery at hand. "I seem to recall you viewing it as an integral part of your allure. Crowning glory and all that."

"Well, that crowning glory almost got me killed," she said. "I'd almost gotten away from a guy when he grabbed me by it. While he was getting ready to cut off my head, I took my knife and cut off the hair he was holding and ran for it. Then I just kept cutting."

"Just as well," Methos said. "Dangerous stuff, your hair."

"Remember the time we had to cut you loose?" She giggled a little at the memory.

Closing his eyes, Methos could put himself back five hundred years, to a country house with feather beds and thick tallow candles, the air filled with the smell of hay and pine. Could see himself waking to find he was captive in a web of black and auburn hair, tangled in snarls of curls, long silky strands weaving together to bind him in a perfumed knot. What the two women had been doing while he slept off copious amounts of cock ale he'd never known, but they'd apparently enjoyed themselves. He'd roused them from their slumber with whispers, pleas and finally threats. In the end, they'd had to cut him free with mending scissors, dissolving into gales of laughter at the game they'd inadvertently trapped.

He'd made them pay with a currency they were rich in -- their sweet lithe bodies. He'd made Rebecca stand over him on the bed, the nest of auburn curls between her legs positioned for his mouth, while he thrust hard into Amanda as she lay stretched out on her stomach beneath him, letting him hold the length of her dark hair like reins on a mare. Tasting the one with his tongue, the other with his cock, the best of all possible worlds his for the taking. To this day, he got hard when he saw a woman with long wavy hair. Rebecca and Amanda had spoiled him.

The image of MacLeod's tousled curls spun through Methos' mind. Some things never changed. /Once a hair slut, always a hair slut,/ he thought. MacLeod. The reason Amanda had come to him. The reason he was awake now instead of asleep, the reason he was crowded in his bed now instead of alone. Had anything in the last three years *not* come back to MacLeod?

"Have you ever told Mac?" Methos asked, wondering why he wanted to know.

"What, about me and thee and Rebecca makes three?" Amanda asked. "No, I haven't. I thought about it once, but I couldn't quite find the right words. It's a little hard to explain, don't you think?"

/That's putting it mildly/, Methos thought. Monogamy rarely worked as a lifestyle for Immortals. Bigamy was even less common. Hard enough to find one woman to live with for a century, let alone two. But that's what Methos had done, off and on, for a couple hundred years, with Amanda and Rebecca. Nothing as legal as marriage, not even a love-match, just an arrangement that suited them all. In the wilds of northern England at that time, surviving the winter by whatever means necessary was much more important than who, or how many, the lord of the manor kept in his bed. Good times, those, despite what would have been considered deplorable conditions today. The three had sailed through the plague years, avoided the witch-hunts, mesmerized the locals with healing talents and magic tricks. Alone, they'd survived. Together, they'd *lived.*

Amanda linked her little finger with his on the bed, a small tie between them. Once upon a time, that signal would have led to clothes coming off, skin heating up, nipples hardening, moisture flowing. Once upon a time pleasure would have been their only goal, and only exhaustion would have stopped them. Put together two mischievous, smart-mouthed tricksters and you got sexual fireworks. Add a wise and loving teacher into the mix and you got spontaneous combustion. But that was long ago and far away. A lot had changed.

"We shouldn't," he said, even though she hadn't asked.

"No, we shouldn't," she agreed.

Methos looked at her familiar face, seeing the medieval maiden in its modern incarnation. He'd been there when she got the crystal from Rebecca. He'd made her wear it to bed that night, mouthing it between nips at her breasts, tonguing the chain where it lay against her throat. She'd been so beautiful, radiant in the refraction of the crystal, luminous in the security of their arms. The crystal was a tangible link between the three of them. Methos, who'd persevered until they found it in the first place. Rebecca, who'd given it to her. And Amanda, who wore it without fail from that day on.

How ironic that the crystal had been a dividing point between them five hundred years later. And how like Amanda that in the end, she'd offered it to him freely. Her talisman. Her touchstone. Her link to Rebecca. He'd refused, not to rebuff her sacrifice, but because he'd learned to live without trinkets. "Courage, courage," she'd whispered as she kissed his cheek, and that had been enough for him.

Methos laced his fingers more firmly with Amanda's where they lay on top of the sheet. He understood logically that she was manipulating him with "remember when" stories so she could get whatever it was she wanted from him. But it had been awhile since Methos had indulged in the comfort of touch, and it felt good to hold her hand.

She touched her hot palm to his. "But we *could*," she whispered.

His mouth went dry. His cock swelled instantly. In the gaping neck of her t- shirt, he could see the hollow between her breasts, shadowed and compelling. He wanted to. He really, really wanted to. Wanted to see just how small her panties were, wanted to smooth his hand again down her long, long legs, wanted to pull her over on top of him and slide himself inside her. It probably wasn't true, but he remembered Amanda as living in a constant state of readiness, always wet, always willing, without an inhibition to her name.

"What, and give MacLeod one *more* reason to die heroically?" Methos asked, reaching for arguments that might counterbalance the insistence of his penis, now poking out through the flap in his boxer shorts.

"He doesn't have to know," she wheedled. "I'm not going to tell him. You're not going to tell him. It's not like it's the first time."

"No, but it's the first time since Dun..." Methos shut his mouth tight, aghast at what he'd almost revealed. He was starting to remember why those couple hundred years with Amanda had been off and on. God, she could be irritating.

"Since Duncan what?" She pounced, bouncing up in bed, smacking both hands flat on Methos' chest, knocking the air out of him. "What, Methos?"

He pushed her off him, sitting up to face her. "Forget it, Amanda. This was a bad idea. I'm sleeping on the couch." He started to throw off the covers, then remembered his indecent exposure, and reached under the sheet to tuck his erection back in his boxers. She'd still see, but at least it wouldn't be winking at her.

"Methos, don't leave. I'm sorry I asked. Whatever's between you and Duncan can stay that way." Amanda put both hands on his arms. She looked surprisingly sincere. He sighed. Was nothing ever easy? His old lover, who was now the lover of a man who'd once, just once, been *his* lover, wanted to screw around. For old time's sake. For comfort. For distraction. Because they were there, and it was late, and they could, if they wanted.

"We could call it a pity fuck," she said with a sly grin.

"A*man*da!"

Oh good, she'd shocked him. Score one for Amanda. A visceral reaction from Methos was always a prize to be cherished. She'd never met anyone with more self-control. Methos rarely indulged in an unbridled, headlong reaction. It tickled her to make him squirm.

But maybe she'd pushed it enough for one night. She'd come to him in desperation, literally unable to think of anything else to do. She knew it wasn't a great plan. Methos and Duncan were each skittish about the other, and she'd give a lot to know what happened the night they'd taken out Kronos and Silas. *Something* had happened, that was certain. But MacLeod wouldn't tell her, and Methos had closed up tighter than a virgin on prom night after his minuscule slip. She sighed. Her Plan B was even less fool-proof and would require a real sacrifice on her part. She'd have to hope Methos could be persuasive.

"All right, all right, forget I said anything," she said. "I'll be good, I promise."

"But will you be *quiet*," he retorted.

"Lie down, Methos, yes, I'll be quiet." Amanda snuggled into the pillow. Cautiously, he lay down beside her, facing away from her. She patted his shoulder.

"Sweet dreams," she whispered.

"Sweet dreams, Amanda," he murmured back.

Part 2

The dream started as it always did, with dust. Filling his lungs, stinging his eyes, gritty in his teeth. Clouds of it stirred up by the horses' hooves, settling only when there were no more screams, when no one was left standing. When only the dogs still walked free in the camps, and then only if Silas got to them before Caspian. Sometimes Kronos let the women live long enough to moan. He liked that sound. Sometimes he killed them quickly, savoring the scent of their blood as much as the sounds from their throats. In the dream, Methos watched it all dispassionately from his position on the ground. He sat back on his haunches, looking at the bodies, seeing his compatriots rummaging through the wreckage for anything of value. Next to him lay the body of a young man, probably about the age he'd been at death, a strong supple man who'd been helpless as a babe in the face of Death on a horse. Memory or dream? It didn't matter; he relived it every night regardless.

"Why did you kill him if you wanted him so much?" Kronos stood over him, appearing a giant as he could only do in a dream, wrath in animal skins and metal. "You could have had him as a slave."

Methos was mute in the dream, all his clever ripostes sealed behind lips that could only sneer and not speak.

"You *did* want him, didn't you?" Kronos was asking as he swayed slightly on his feet. Kronos reached inside his tunic, bringing out his thick erection, displaying it for Methos, saying, "Will this do instead?" Oh so seductive, this brutal beast. Kronos slid his fingertips along his cock. Methos watched the blunt phallus before his face extend even further, and felt the dust in his mouth become mud as saliva leaked in. Bloodlust. Blood. Lust. Whoever had put the two words together first certainly knew what he was talking about.

Reaching down, Kronos dug his hand into the wound on the young man's chest, coating his fingers with blood. He smeared his fingers down his hard cock, painting the weapon bright red. Methos looked away, and his eyes skittered around the camp for something else to focus on. There, on the edge of the row of slaughtered tents, what was that? A man, left alive. Vibrantly alive. How could that be? A man glowing with vitality, with long dark hair and brown eyes. Sitting serenely, with a katana laid on his crossed knees. MacLeod? Watching this? Not possible. But happening anyway, in this fucking interminable dream. "On your knees, Methos," Kronos commanded. "Now."

Methos moved into position, presenting, facing MacLeod across the camp. Kronos flipped the tunic up, pulled the skin pants down and thrust two blood- covered fingers deeply into Methos' anus. Methos groaned at the sensation, closing his eyes and riding it out, vividly aware of other eyes on him. When Methos pushed back hard against Kronos' fingers, Kronos ripped his fingers out and stuffed his cock in, thrusting in to the hilt with a barbaric shove, rocking Methos with the force of it. It almost came close to satisfying the need. Kronos labored above him, grunts coming from him at every stab of his penis into Methos' shuddering body. Methos could feel his own cock rise in response and he reached a hand down to touch it.

"NO!" Kronos barked, smacking Methos on the back. "You want something to fuck, try this."

And then underneath Methos, caged by him, lay Cassandra. Filthy, covered in blood, green eyes so full of hatred they glowed, cursing him in a dialect only his subconscious remembered. Always the same, it was always the bloody same. He would rear up on his knees, impaling himself further on Kronos' enormous erection, feeling him all the way up his backbone. He would wrap one hand in Cassandra's hair and plunge his other hand between her thighs, and she would be dry, so dry, and so small his fingers wouldn't even fit, let alone his big cock, and she would end up screaming and his cock would end up spitting blood instead of come on her stomach and then he would awaken sticky, sweaty, heartsick and still hard.

Always the same. Always the bloody same. Might as well get it over with. He reached for her, grabbing her hair, thrusting his fingers between her legs. She cursed him, right in his ear, but the words were harsh Anglo-Saxon. The hank of hair was a fistful of cotton, and between her legs she was hot and wet, so slippery she took three fingers all the way, and undulated against them.

Methos jerked awake, his eyes flying open. No dust, no bodies, no Kronos, no MacLeod, no Cassandra. He had a handful of t-shirt ruched up under Amanda's chin, baring her from stem to stern. His fingers were deep inside her heat, continuing to move against her resilient walls without his conscious direction, his thumb rubbing the thong of her panties into her clitoris, making her writhe.

Amanda's eyes were shut tight and she was moving against him in ways he'd forgotten. She clutched at his chest, slipped her hands under his shirt and scraped her fingernails hard across his stomach. He flinched. She was breathing so hard that he could watch each breath in the rise and fall of her flat belly, and he could see her heartbeat below her breastbone.

He hesitated.

"Finish it, you bastard, *finish* it," she panted, reaching for his boxer shorts and shoving them down over his ass. He pushed them off and took the moment necessary to throw off his t-shirt, and hers, to tear the fragile satin from her hips, then he laid his body flat out on hers, their curves and planes finding their familiar places. She took his cock in her hand, stroked it once in welcome, then threaded it home.

He pushed into her, relieved to be feeling a welcoming clench instead of a scraping wince. He felt her breath hot and moist in the hollow of his neck, her breasts luscious mounds against his chest, her hard nipples biting into his skin. She chanted his name under her breath, clutching at his shoulders, scratching his back, moving sweetly beneath him, the age-old rhythm one they'd always been able to dance to.

Methos surrendered to it, the purity of the link like a balm on a burn. He knew all her secret places, knew the language her body used to tell him when to go hard, when to go fast, when to hold still and when to move. He curbed his own rampaging desire, testing his own limits by making her climax once, twice and then once more before he laid her flat on her back again and pounded into her until he came.

They lay tangled for untold minutes, mingling breath as they kissed wantonly and sleepily, open mouths lingering to relearn lips, tongues saying hello again. He nudged his hips at her, trying to keep his softening penis inside her. Amanda clenched down hard, laughing when he slipped out. Methos pushed himself up on his elbows, traced her eyebrows with both index fingers, then patted her rounded cheeks.

"So as a pity fuck, how did that rate?" he asked, and was rewarded with a swat on his bare behind. He moved onto his back, bringing her with him, tucking her head against his shoulder. She touched the healing scratches on his belly, and a last echo of fire flickered through him.

"What was that all about, Methos?" Amanda asked quietly, more serious than usual. "For awhile there, you didn't even know it was me."

"A dream, that's all. Just a dream," he said wearily.

"Sounded more like a nightmare to me," she said.

"If I call it a nightmare, I give it power, so it's just a dream," he replied.

Amanda petted his chest, soft little touches designed to comfort him. He appreciated the effort. She didn't need to know that much as he dreaded its appearance every night, some ancient part of him reveled in the violence, in the blood, in the uncaring. In his dream, he always came -- blood or semen, it *felt* the same.

He hoped the dream would retreat for the rest of the night. Sometimes it played over and over, and he woke up exhausted and strung out. Maybe Amanda's warm body cuddled up to his would keep it at bay. She was already nodding off, her head a welcome weight on his chest. He wrapped his arms tight around her, closed his eyes, and willed himself to sleep.

Methos awakened some hours later with a handful of breast and a mouthful of hair. In his sleep, he'd crawled practically on top of Amanda, crowding onto her side of the bed, climbing up her back and tucking his head up against hers on the pillow. /Oh no, you're not too needy,/ he thought, disgusted with himself. So much for the lone wolf image he cultivated with such care. Give him five hours in a bed with a warm willing woman and he was back in the cradle again. Soon he'd be sucking his thumb. He carefully disengaged, shivering a little when his bare skin hit cold air. He squinted at the clock. Half past six. Time to get up. Time to shower, get dressed, and head out to try his hand at convincing the man he loved, but wasn't talking to, not to commit Immortal suicide. All in a day's work.

Amanda stirred, mumbling something under her breath. Automatically, he smoothed a hand down her back, a leftover reflex from decades of leaving her snuggled with Rebecca while the day began for the rest of the household. He tripped on her torn panties on his way to the bathroom, and after wrestling them off his toes, he picked them up and shook his head in wonder. Three strands of elastic with a tiny panel of white lace in the front. Why bother? Then he remembered the sensation of nudging that narrow band into the top of her sex, and grinned. All right, so they had their uses.

A quick shower, colder than he liked, helped him remember that Amanda was *Duncan's* lover now, and whether he approved of her choice in undergarments wasn't really germane to the situation. Last night was a fluke brought on by her anger and worry and his damnable dream. No big deal, nothing to repeat, nothing to regret. Just one of those things.

Amanda was groggy, but awake when he came out, and he could feel her eyes on him as he tugged on a pair of black pants and a shirt, followed by one of his habitual over-sized sweaters. He sat on the side of the bed to put on his socks and shoes, and she curled around him, putting her head on his thigh. There was nothing sexual in the gesture -- in the gray morning light, her expression was preoccupied and anxious.

Methos touched his hand to her hair. "If nothing else works, I'll kill them both," he said. "He won't appreciate it, but it's a good last resort. I hope it doesn't come to that."

She nodded. "Why is it that he's so willing to fight our battles, but gets all twisted when we try to help him?"

"Because he's a bloody stubborn Scot with tunnel vision and an over-developed conscience," Methos said, and she smiled.

"Something *we've* never had to worry about," she said, and she was so cute that he had to lean over and kiss her, savoring her true morning-Amanda flavor, one last taste before sending her back where she belonged.

In good Amanda fashion, she followed him. Through the streets of waking Paris to a vast park, deserted at that early hour, peopled only with statuary and pigeons. She perched herself at the top of a flight of stone steps, well out of sensing range, pulled a pair of opera glasses from her carry-all and settled in to watch.

There, there came Duncan, straight and resolute. He paused and she knew he'd felt an Immortal signature. Keane's? No, it was Methos, stepping out from a boxwood bush, intercepting Duncan on the path. In a huge open expanse of grass and pathway, the two men stood close enough to punch each other. Close enough to kiss. Now wasn't *that* interesting. Neither seemed to notice that they were almost standing on each other's toes, each trespassing the space typically provided for conversation, and even for confrontation. No safety zone for these two. They could have spoken in whispers and still been heard.

She couldn't tell what they said, but Methos did most of the talking and Duncan responded with sharp shifts of his head. They watched each other's faces, but she doubted they knew just how much they said without words. Amanda considered herself something of an expert on reading faces and body language -- it was the only way to be a really successful thief. And what she read on their faces surprised her. An intimacy existed between Duncan and Methos, an intensity she hadn't seen before. Emotional intimacy, certainly. Physical intimacy? Apparently, unless she'd lost her touch. Sparks were flying between the two men. Latent homoeroticism? Or just too much testosterone? Impossible to tell at this distance.

Amanda pressed her legs together, aroused beyond belief at the thought of Duncan and Methos together, ashamed of herself for thinking about sex when Duncan was so close to the edge. If they all came through this intact, though... Nefarious, depraved, delicious schemes flashed through Amanda's mind. Duncan *would* survive, and she'd get her chance. She just knew it.

But wait, Methos was stepping away, motioning for Duncan to pass him. That wasn't good. It meant talking was over. Duncan walked away, turned back for one stark moment, then turned his back on Methos. "Oh Duncan, honey, that's not smart." Sure enough, Methos raised a pistol and plowed him down. The fact that Duncan had turned his back on Methos spoke volumes about a huge character flaw -- even in anger, he trusted his friends.

Amanda sighed. Now Methos would face Keane. Not an ideal solution either. Much as she loved Methos, she wasn't sure she'd lay odds on him in a fight. Had no idea whether his tricks would be enough to beat a righteous crusader with vengeance on his mind. And if Keane beat Methos, God forbid, Duncan was now utterly defenseless. Men. Couldn't they do *anything* right? Time for Plan B. Damn. She hated to give up that necklace, she *loved* that necklace. But it would bring the police to the fight, it would get Duncan out of danger. If they picked up Methos and Keane in the bargain, well, to hell with them.

Methos made himself stroll away from the scene, away from Duncan's glowering face, away from Keane's intact, dead body. It could have been over, two seconds more and the sniveling wuss would have bidden good-bye to his head. Then Methos could have enjoyed a nice healthy Quickening, Duncan would have lost his reason for not living and they could all have gone back to what passed for normal lives. But no. The Highland Martyr wanted to fight his own stupid battle. Fine. Methos didn't have to stand there and watch.

Wandering without conscious purpose, he eventually ended up at Le Blues Bar, open for business, but empty. Joe and Maurice were restocking the bar and Methos pulled up a stool, accepting the cold bottle of beer from Joe without saying a word.

Methos sipped the beer, watching the men working contentedly together. What would his life be like without Duncan MacLeod in it? /Not so different from the way it is now,/ the devil inside taunted. One night of passion, that's all he'd gotten. Just enough to whet the appetite. Their bodies had known far better than their heads how to communicate.

Maurice headed off to the bank on the corner for the change bag, and Joe brought his sponge and towel to the bar in front of Methos, making him lift his elbows so Joe could clean the surface beneath them.

"Amanda told me about Keane," Joe said quietly. "You have a chance to talk to Mac?"

"For all the good it did, yeah," Methos replied, taking another swig from the bottle. Beer for breakfast. Finally, something was going right.

"You tried, man, can't ask for more than that," Joe reassured him.

"No? I should have just taken Keane's head, fuck what happened next," Methos said, castigating himself.

"Adam.... Methos....," Joe said. "You can only do so much to keep a man from killing himself. You tried. Let it rest."

Methos raised angry eyes to meet Joe's, but at the expression he saw, he relented. Joe had been there. Joe knew what he was talking about. Methos exhaled a heavy breath, raising his bottle in Joe's direction in acknowledgment that a 50-year-old mortal sometimes knew better than a 5,000-year-old Immortal.

"Joe," Methos said, then hesitated. How to ask this? "When you got back from Vietnam, did you ever have ... dreams?"

Joe put down his cleaning props and rested his elbows on the bar. "I still have them."

"Thirty years later?" Methos was appalled. Thirty *years* of this?

"Not every night, no. If something happens that reminds me, then, yeah, for a week or so, I'll have them. They scare the shit out of me," he said. "It's called post-traumatic stress syndrome. Occupational hazard." Joe paused, then oh-so-casually asked, "Why? You having dreams?"

God, this was hard. He'd rather pull out his fingernails than talk about this. Methos cleared his throat, staring pointedly at the label on the beer bottle, flicking the corner with a finger tip, starting to roll it off the hard surface.

"Since Kronos and Silas... died... I sort of relive it all," Methos spoke in fits and starts. "Only it's different. It's worse. Guess I didn't bury it deep enough."

"Want some advice?" Joe asked.

"No, Joe, I enjoy baring my soul at 9 am over a beer. Yes, I want some advice," Methos snapped.

"You don't have to be a prick about it," Joe said huffily.

"You're right, you're right. It's just hard to talk about," Methos said.

"Mine got so bad, I finally went to a shrink. I hated him on sight," Joe said with a rueful smile at the memory. "But he told me something that actually helped. I'd been doing everything I could to forget the dreams, to ignore them. He made me remember it all while I was awake."

"He hypnotized you?" Methos asked, intrigued.

"Didn't have to. I could tell him the whole dream from beginning to end. It wasn't like it changed. Damn thing was imbedded in my brain."

Methos nodded. That sounded familiar.

"Anyway, he had me remember the dream and then consciously change it, change the ending, change how I reacted, what happened to me."

"Take control over it, in other words," Methos said as the simple power of the idea worked its way into his mind.

"That was the basic idea," Joe said.

"Did it work?" Methos asked.

"It's worked better than anything else. Better than drinking myself to sleep, better than trying to pretend it wasn't there," Joe said. "Better than taking sleeping pills."

Reaching out to touch Joe's arm, Methos said, "Thanks, Joe."

"No problem," Joe answered, covering the long fingers fleetingly with his own rough hand.

The phone rang insistently in the corner of the bar. When Joe came back from answering it, he was smiling.

"Amanda had him arrested. Broke up the fight. He's in jail. Screaming for someone to come get him. You want to go? Or should I?"

Methos relaxed for the first time since Amanda had awoken him the night before. "I have a better idea," he said with a grin. "Send Amanda."

Part 3

The remaining hours of daylight passed in a haze of phone calls and hasty visits. Methos could barely keep track of the players, let alone the score and the hectic emotions and activity wore him out. Duncan was furious. Amanda was irritated, and still afraid. Joe was befuddled. Methos himself was mostly just tired.

Amanda appeared at his door again in the evening, a stray who'd been fed once and come back for more. He gave her a drink, commiserated with her to a certain extent, but eventually felt compelled to point out that she'd framed Duncan, pure and simple, and the Scot had a right to be angry.

She swigged her drink too quickly, smoothed her skirt over her hips and sauntered towards him. He watched her approach in the mirror over the bar table. She wanted to stay. Again. She came up to him where he stood pouring another Scotch, and slid her arms around him from behind.

"No, Amanda, I don't think so," he said, trying to be gentle.

"I think you need me," she said, burrowing under his sweater and finding the points of his nipples under the thin shirt, tweaking them roughly, then circling steadily with her fingernails.

"Amanda, I don't *need* you," he said, tugging her hands out, ignoring the rush of sensation her fingers had engendered. "Come on, Duncan's in jail, it would be just plain mean. There's not even a good excuse this time."

"How about because you want me," she persisted, and her hands went to his crotch, outlining his erection with supple strokes. Against his back, her nipples pressed into his shoulder blades, insistent, aggressive.

He turned around, holding her off with stiff arms. "Not good enough," he said tightly. "I'd want anyone who touched me like that." Not because he meant it, but because it would make her stop. And it did.

She flounced away, pissed off and announcing too loudly as she headed out the door just exactly what he would be missing that night. Methos shook his head as the door frame rattled with the slam of the door. Amanda *hated* not getting her way.

Weary to the point of stumbling, Methos dropped his clothes were they fell and tumbled into bed. He doubted he could have serviced Amanda even if she *had* stayed, he thought derisively. Feigned apathy was part of Methos' normal arsenal, but this genuine lethargy was unusual, and he fought it. Part of the problem was dread of what he knew was coming when his eyes closed. He'd sleep and then he'd dream. Maybe it was time to try Joe's technique. If he could just stay awake long enough to do it...

He took deep breaths, using meditation techniques millennia old. He forced his mind to focus on scenes his consciousness fought bringing to the surface. /Start with dust,/ he thought. Start with dust. The scene appeared before his closed eyes, the fog of dust settling as always, revealing the bloodied bodies, the scrawny dogs barking, the grotesque laughter of his compatriots.

There he was, mute on the ground, settled back on his haunches like a vassal. Methos watched from the outside this time, purposely seating himself away, a puppeteer who could make this Dream Methos do whatever *he* decreed. He saw Dream Methos looking at the dead young man with yearning. /I didn't know I looked at him like that,/ he thought to himself. /No wonder Kronos .../

Kronos appeared in his blood-soaked clothes, rattling chain-mail.

/Get up,/ Methos urged, and Dream Methos rose from his huddled crouch. Kronos didn't seem quite so big now that Dream Methos was standing. But he still said the same vicious things. "Why did you kill him if you wanted him so? You could have had him as a slave."

/Say something,/ he thought, and Dream Methos spoke.

"He preferred Death, so that's what he got." Kronos would hear the double meaning. It would infuriate him.

Kronos reached inside his tunic, bringing out his erection, hunching forward his hips while he stroked it. "Will this do instead?" he asked, leering at Methos, taunting him.

Methos looked down at the angry tool being rubbed vigorously by Kronos' dirty fingers. This weapon had wounded him more than any sword, a blunt-edged instrument of pain and pleasure, wielded with a combination of brutality and sensuality that had enslaved Methos. It was a dick like any other, much the size and girth of his own, in fact, but looking down on it now, it lacked the fierce power he usually subscribed to it. Now it was just one more way Kronos drew blood.

"No, brother, it won't." Ah, the beauty of an emphatic denial given voice. No, it wouldn't do. It never would again.

He turned his back on Kronos, on the cock he knew as well as his own, and let his eyes search the compound for the other one, the man he knew was there, watching. Out of the haze he emerged, a composed, placid figure sitting cross-legged, a katana balanced on his knees. He stood as Methos approached.

Methos hesitated feet from him, seeing the sharp contrast of his filthy skin and clothes to the pure man before him. "I'm not clean," he said.

"Then I'll wash you," was Mac's simple answer, and his hand went out.

Now, instead of a barren wasteland, there stood an oasis. A blue, cool oasis of water and palm trees. Duncan walked with him to the water's edge and encouraged him to enter. Water melted away Methos' stained clothes and he stood naked in hip-deep water. When he ducked his head under its surface, he watched blue paint wash away in rivulets and dissolve. Matted hair fell away, leaving his shorn strands clean and straight. He watched in the reflection as Death disappeared before his eyes, and he saw himself as he was.

Duncan waited for him with a soft cloth, which he wrapped around Methos. The sun settled beyond the horizon, and in the dusk, Methos saw blankets made into a bed, a fire burning, a flask of wine set aside. Methos tried to speak, but Duncan said, "Shhhh" and nudged him towards the makeshift bed. The bodies were gone, his brothers were gone, the stench of smoke and blood was free from his nostrils. In this dream, only Duncan remained. Duncan, and a bed of blankets, and a sky big enough to absorb the cries of pleasure that followed.

Methos stretched out on the blankets, watching as Duncan shed his clothing and joined him, hands reaching for him before he even settled. Smooth hands shaped smoother skin, a moist mouth soothed his cracked lips, sipping from him. Duncan gently pushed Methos flat on his back, rising above him, balancing on his hands as he lightly, lightly danced his body up and down Methos', his chest kissing Methos' torso, his hard penis sliding sweeping strokes across Methos' erection. Methos gazed up at the stars, thousands of them visible in the dark, dark sky, as Duncan's mouth moved slowly down his body, stopping only when he'd drawn all of Methos' cock into his hot, wet mouth. With slow motions of his head and hands, Duncan drew out the pleasure with long laps of his tongue, sweet sucking lips arousing Methos, teasing him to levels of delight unknown... A door slammed.

A door slammed? Jolted, Methos opened his eyes, his heart pounding. Back in his solitary room, the air was nippy on his bare chest. He had his hard cock in one hand, his balls in the other. Well, he'd certainly managed to cook up a different ending for the damned dream. /Maybe I should write a romance novel,/ he thought. The claptrap his psyche had just drawn forth couldn't have been any further from reality than the latest effort from Carolyn Marsh.

Closing his eyes, Methos shattered the lingering remains of the ridiculous oasis, and concentrated instead on a memory: Duncan's hand on his desperate cock, his warm breath on Methos' cold skin, the smell of their wool coats in the damp air as Duncan pumped him to necessary completion. Mimicking those strong, sure strokes, Methos took himself over the edge, groaning aloud at the final moment, squeezing his balls tight, gripping the stem hard as it spurted onto his chest. Real life beat the crap out of romantic visions, he thought sleepily, and dozed off with his dick still in his hand.

It took another whole day before the tension eased. Amanda gave it one last shot, trying in desperation her weapon of absolute last resort: Sincerity. It hadn't worked. Duncan had left her teary and frantic, determined to fight Keane. Amanda dragged Methos to the barge, where she kept vigil and he paced restlessly. When they felt the presence they both stilled, staring fixedly at the door until Duncan walked in, looking a little weary, but wholly intact.

Amanda leapt into his arms, smothering him with kisses. Around her pecks, Duncan caught Methos' eyes for an instant, an acknowledgment arcing between them. They'd really been worried, Duncan thought. Well, they had to have been to go to the meddlesome lengths they'd achieved.

"Oh ye of little faith," Duncan quoted, touched by their obvious relief, but a wee bit affronted as well.

"Duncan, you have to admit, your heart wasn't really in it," Amanda pointed out, still hanging off him.

"It wasn't like with Kronos," Methos said, the barb finding its target. "Where the conquering hero strives to save the world from the wicked."

"Saving the world? Is *that* what we were doing?" Duncan flung his own dart at Methos. "Funny, it seemed more... personal... than that."

Methos paled. Amanda looked back and forth between them, calculating who had the upper hand. Duncan, by a mile at this point, given Methos' pallor.

"Sharing a Quickening must do that," Methos rallied himself for a final volley. "Make things seem more... personal... than they really are."

"You shared a Quickening?" Amanda pounced on the intriguing comment. "What's *that* like?"

/Now you've done it,/ said the look Duncan gave Methos.

/Serves you right,/ Methos' eyes sliced back.

Duncan excused himself. He dropped Amanda back on her feet. "You brought it up, you can explain it," he murmured under his breath as he passed by Methos on his way to the barge's tiny bathroom.

As soon as the door closed behind him, Amanda asked sotto voce, "So what *did* happen that night?"

Methos was through even trying to be polite. He turned on her and lashed out. "Mind your own *fucking* business, Amanda. For *once*." He didn't know if he was mad at her for picking at the scab, or at himself for risking those painful, precious memories to her scrutiny.

"I don't know what you're so bent out of shape about, Methos, it was just a question," she said through clenched teeth, her own temper fraying at the viciousness of Methos' attack.

"I'm bent out of shape because you're *trespassing*, Amanda. *Again,*" Methos said, his voice getting progressively louder the more worked up he got. "For five hundred years, you've ignored the big signs I put up that say 'PRIVATE.' You trample them by whatever means you have at your disposal, from your incessant chatter to your oh-so-willing body."

"Methos," Amanda tried to check him, tried to protest.

Methos exploded. If she wanted to hear it all, then by God, she was going to hear it. "You want the blow by blow, Amanda?" Methos said sharply. "Where should I start, with the handjob in the alley? Or getting reamed in the shower. You choose." A heavy flush swept up Methos' throat, all the way to his hairline. "It's none of your business, but you won't leave it alone. You never do. He fucked me, Amanda. And then I fucked him. Does that answer your question? We had carnal knowledge of each other. I know about the mole, does *that* satisfy you?"

He was shouting now, his voice rattling around the low ceiling of the barge. By the time they realized Duncan had heard it all, was in fact standing in the same room with them again, it was way too late to salvage anything even approaching dignity. Methos dropped his chin to his chest and roared in frustration. Amanda looked away from both men, crossing her arms over her chest, suddenly finding the river outside the porthole utterly fascinating.

Duncan stepped down into the room, glancing from one to the other. "I think she was asking about the double Quickening," he said slowly.

Methos turned his back on them, facing the free-standing fireplace as if the fire in it suddenly held a mysterious fascination. Amanda risked a glance at Duncan and was reassured to see a small smile playing across his lips.

"That's a pretty elite group, you know," Duncan said casually, wandering closer to Methos. Amanda latched onto the statement like a lifeline.

"What is?" she asked.

"The people who know about the mole," he answered, keeping his eyes on Methos' bent head.

"Is it possible to die from embarrassment?" Methos questioned softly.

"Yeah, I've done it," Amanda said.

"Of course you have, you've done *everything* at least once," he snapped.

"Problem is you revive, just like any other kind of death, except it doesn't take as long and you're still right where you were," Amanda rambled.

"Thank you, Amanda, the question was essentially rhetorical," Methos said.

"Sorry," she said. "Just trying to help."

Duncan walked over to the chessboard and sat down. Methos pulled himself together enough to face them again.

"You really thought I'd lose?" Duncan asked, both because he was genuinely curious and to move the focus away from Methos' flushed face.

"Yeah, and you didn't?" Methos retorted.

"It wasn't about that," Duncan said. He turned to them. "You guys still don't get it, do you."

"No," Methos said flatly.

Duncan sighed and swirled down the rest of his drink. He headed back to the bar, taking Amanda's glass from her on the way. "I had to take responsibility for what I'd done and nothing you two could do was ever going to solve that for me," he said. "I had to face him and fight the best fight of my life, knowing he'd do the same. Just trust the fates to decide the winner."

Methos scoffed. "Trial by combat. Whoever survives is proved right in the eyes of the law."

Duncan caught his eye as he handed a drink to Amanda. "Bright boy," he said.

Amanda remained unconvinced. "What if he comes after you again?"

"He won't," Duncan assured her.

"How do you know that?" she wanted to know.

"Because I wouldn't," he said, as if that explained everything.

"Well, he's not you," she pointed out.

"He's not that different," Duncan said. "None of us are. We all make mistakes."

Here Methos had to interject. "And we all have mistakes to forgive."

Duncan brought his eyes to meet Methos' hazel gaze. He was getting there, consciously trying to adjust his mindset to accept the whole of Methos' long, long life, but he'd let the Old Man sweat awhile. His pride still smarted from being shot in the back. And it appeared there was a nice long story about Methos and Amanda that he was going to have to beat, or seduce, out of one or both of them.

"Speaking of mistakes...." Amanda said. "There seems to be an Inspector who's determined to put my cute little butt in jail." She slid into Duncan's lap and he embraced her, laughing.

"Sorry about that," Duncan said, not one bit sorry and they all knew it.

Amanda pretended to consider. "Should I forgive you?"

"Oh, no, I don't think you should," Duncan demurred, chuckling under his breath and kissing her.

Methos stepped forward and grabbed his coat off the back of the sofa. "I think that's my cue to leave."

Amanda and Duncan didn't even look up as they said, "Bye, Methos."

"You guys be good," was Methos' parting shot.

"And if not, we'll try to be better," Duncan parried. The door closed behind Methos.

Amanda nuzzled at Duncan's ear, nipping at the lobe, then licking up the rim, just like he liked. He put his hand on her arm, stilling her.

"You want to go after him? Or shall I," he said, warm eyes twinkling up at her.

"I'll go," she said, sliding off his lap with a grin. "He likes my 'oh-so- willing body'." She vogued a pose for him, then headed after Methos.

He stopped her before she reached the door. "Amanda, someday soon, you and I are going to have a serious talk."

She looked innocently over her shoulder. "What about, hon?"

"Trespassing," he said firmly, and she had the grace to color a little, at least momentarily abashed. She started to speak, but he urged her out with a lift of his chin. "Go on, get him before he disappears."

Duncan watched her stride out the door, heard her yell "*ME*thos!" at the top of her lungs.

"We all have mistakes to forgive," Methos had said. Perhaps tonight was as good a time to start as any. Duncan grabbed a bottle of wine and three glasses. Walking over to the bed, he turned down the covers and fluffed the pillows, then lay down to wait for his lovers to return.

Part 4

The door of the barge burst open with more vigor than Duncan expected and a jangle of harsh voices startled him. In the doorway stood a struggling Amanda, with Methos behind her, snapping at someone behind *him*, "Just hang on, will you."

Duncan came off the bed in a rush, the forgotten goblets tumbling together on the spread. As he went toward the door, four, no five, people surged into the barge, and stumbled down the stairs, all talking at once. The Inspector, with two henchmen, a furious Amanda and a surprisingly complacent Methos.

"What's going on here?" Duncan said to the Inspector.

"Monsieur MacLeod, you know we have been watching for Mademoiselle Darieux," she said smoothly.

"Duncan! You sent me out there on *purpose*?" Amanda was incensed.

Duncan put both hands up in self-defense. His reasons for sending Amanda out into the night had *nothing* whatsoever to do with revenge, but he couldn't exactly explain to that to her at the moment. Amanda turned on Methos next.

"If I find out *you* did this, you thick-pricked son-of-a-bitch," she spat at him, but Methos just bit his lips to control a smile and shrugged at her, apparently enjoying the spectacle.

Thick-pricked son-of-a-bitch? Duncan raised his eyebrows at Methos, who blushed slightly. Yes, this was definitely a story he wanted to hear.

"Miss Darieux, if you will, please," the Inspector said.

"Let me get my coat at least," Amanda said. "It's cold out there." She walked slowly over to the peg, surreptitiously ditched her sword in the collection of clothing there, then haughtily waited for the police officers to open the door for her. At the door, she turned, hissing under her breath to Duncan and Methos, "*Do* something."

"We'll get you out, Amanda, don't worry," Duncan assured her.

"Of course we will," Methos chimed in, putting a restraining hand on Duncan's arm. "First thing in the morning."

And with that, he shut the door, muffling the outraged howl that ensued.

"You're harsh," Duncan said, with reluctant admiration.

"A night in jail won't hurt her a bit," Methos said dismissively. "And it'll make *me* feel a *lot* better."

Duncan grinned at that, and Methos found himself smiling back at the Highlander. Good to see him at peace with himself again. The Scot certainly did take roundabout routes to get there, but it seemed this round of brooding was about over.

"Now what?" Methos asked. "I assume there was a reason Amanda came traipsing after me?" He hovered near the door, ready to exit again at the slightest sign from Mac.

Duncan left his side, heading over to the bed. He scooped up the wine and the three crystal goblets, dropped one off at the counter and took the others to the coffee-table. "Come on in, Methos, have a seat."

Cautiously, Methos entered the barge again. He took off his coat and draped it on a peg, rubbed his hands together nervously, wiped them on his slacks, then plopped beside Duncan on the couch, slipping into his usual slouch. Three glasses and a bottle of wine on the bed? *Three* glasses?

Duncan handed him a glass of ruby liquid, then raised his own glass. "To Amanda," he toasted. "May she appreciate her penance."

"Hear, hear," Methos said, clinking his glass with Mac's.

The men drank in silence, enjoying the quiet, that serene, rare moment when they had nothing to fret over. Finally, Methos spoke.

"She meant well," he said.

"Yeah, I know," Duncan said, rubbing a finger around the top of his glass. "I know you did, too." He dipped a finger into the wine, then brought it to his lips and licked it clean.

Methos met Duncan's eyes, then hastily dropped them again. The brown eyes were too warm, too knowing. This urbane, understanding Duncan wasn't who he'd been expecting. At worst, he'd expected to be tossed in the river for spouting off to Amanda about their exploits. At best, he'd hoped for a lecture on interference and minding one's own business. But what he was getting was an insidious, invidious invitation. He'd seen Duncan look at women like this, with that lower lip plumped, eyes slumberous and stoked. Methos lifted a knee to hide the swelling in his jeans.

Duncan dropped his head back on the back of the couch, exposing the strong line of his throat, the Adam's apple bobbing seductively as he spoke. "I'm tired, Methos," he said, and he closed his eyes.

Methos copied his gesture, cradling the back on his head on the soft leather. He turned his head toward Duncan, and let his gaze roam at will, touching his eyes to the hollow at the bottom of Mac's throat, where his pulse beat slow and strong, tracing the profile of brow, nose, mouth and chin. Enough, for the time being, just to look.

"You've had a lot on your mind," Methos said, more for something to say than to start a conversation.

"I haven't been sleeping well," Duncan said softly. "Even before Keane came, I was having nightmares. He just made them worse."

Methos sat up straight, and the sharp motion startled Duncan into opening his eyes.

"What is it?" Duncan asked.

Methos turned toward Duncan intently. "What kind of nightmares?"

Duncan sat up abruptly, leaning forward to fill his glass from the bottle on the table. He took two healthy gulps, then set the glass down, facing Methos. Methos thought how different it was from the last time they'd faced each other, close like this, in the park. Then, Duncan had deflected his probes, reflecting the doubts right back in Methos' face, closed off and intractable. Now, his expression was almost too open, because Methos knew what he would say before he even opened his mouth.

"About Kronos ... and you," Duncan said, the words low and halting. "I see Kronos, and he's... raping you... and I'm just sitting there. I've got my sword, I know I could kill him... But I can't move. I have to just sit there. And watch." He paused.

"And then Cassandra's there, too," Methos supplied.

Duncan's eyes widened. "How did you know?" he whispered.

Methos took the first step. He reached out a hand and touched Duncan's thigh where it rested near his. "I have it, too."

Duncan surged off the couch, seeking refuge in movement. Methos could understand that, remembering the times he'd bolted from bed, thrown on clothes and wandered into the bracing cold, futilely seeking distance from something he had to carry with him all the time.

"How can that be?" Duncan wondered aloud. "Something leftover from the Quickenings?"

"Probably. The whole bloody thing was bizarre. It makes a strange sort of sense that there would be some aftereffects," Methos said reasonably. It did make a weird sort of sense. He and Duncan had been connected, linked in indescribable ways. It would have been strange if they *hadn't* found pieces of each other inside afterward.

"Remind me to give you some advice Joe passed on," Methos continued, and felt his cheeks heat as he remembered the path his visions had taken, the oasis and the huge dark sky, Duncan's mouth and hands on him.

Duncan came back to sit beside him, and Methos subsided against the cradling couch. Duncan raised the wineglass to his lips again, swallowing the remaining fluid in a big gulp. He set the glass on the table and turned to face Methos, tucking one foot beneath him. He laid an arm along the back of the couch, so his fingers just touched Methos' hair. He rubbed some of the velvety strands between his thumb and forefinger.

"It's not a dream, is it," he said. "It's a memory."

The thought seemed to hurt him, Methos thought. "I'm not sure," he said truthfully. "It's probably some of each. I'm sorry you have to live it, too."

Duncan gripped his hair. "If it made it better for you, taking some of it, I wouldn't care. But it doesn't, does it."

"No, not really." Methos rubbed his head against Mac' hand, and the strong fingers kneaded his skull, pulling the last bits of remaining tension from him. "Though who knows. I suppose it could be worse."

"Worse than that? God help me..." Duncan put his other hand on Methos' chest, in between the pads of his pectoral muscles, his thumb falling on one nipple, his pinkie on the other. Through the lambswool turtleneck, Methos could feel each fingertip like a brand. Then that hand contracted, grabbing a fistful of soft sweater, and Duncan hauled Methos to him.

Startled, surprised at the loss of balance, Methos fell heavily against Mac's chest, his hands scrabbling for purchase and finding it, one settling on Duncan's thigh, the other on the couch behind him. Close. So close. Methos could feel the firm muscles of Duncan's thigh beneath his hand, feel Mac's fingers on his hips, pulling him down so they touched.

"Easy, Methos, easy," Duncan murmured in his ear, and Methos let his muscles relax, dropping down on Duncan, letting his body mold itself to the younger Immortal. Duncan stretched out full-length on the couch, propping Methos against the back of the sofa, where he could reach more, touch more.

"I'm glad he's dead," Duncan said fiercely, and then he kissed Methos, fitting his mouth to Methos' where it lay open in surprise. Methos felt Duncan's tongue steal into his mouth, laying claim, and he welcomed it with a sigh. Methos let Duncan have his way, opening up to give the Highlander as much room as he wanted.

The Old Man was surprisingly compliant, given the strain of the last few days, Duncan thought. Good. He'd had enough of struggles and arguments, of fighting and holding himself apart. Duncan remembered something Methos had said to him in the dark days when Coltec's Quickening had stolen his soul. "You're not alone," Methos had said. "Not out here, and not in there," touching his heart.

He'd felt alone again, facing the grief and guilt Keane had raked to the surface. But he hadn't been alone. His friends, his *lovers*, had tried to help. Amanda with her schemes and tricks, Methos with his words and actions. He expected it of Amanda. He didn't expect it of Methos. Not after what he'd put Methos through. Not after what Methos had put him through. But it seemed now that what he did affected the oldest Immortal, and the opposite was certainly true. Affected him from the inside out.

Almost every day, Duncan awakened, guiltily -- and violently -- aroused by the images he saw in his sleep, enraged at his helplessness in the dream. Knowing that Methos shared his nightmare, and had probably *lived* its inspiration, incited each protective instinct the Highlander had cultivated in his 400 long years.

Pulling away from the seductive mouth, Duncan moved the hand that still clutched a handful of lambswool down to the edge of the thin sweater. He brushed it up Methos' stomach, baring the ivory skin to his eyes. Between the gray fabric and the blue of his jeans, Methos' belly was a siren song of muscle and smooth, silken skin. Tiny soft hairs started at his navel, leading the eye, and then Duncan's hand, along an arrow of down that disappeared into his worn jeans. Duncan flexed his hand on the bare skin, enjoying its resilience, his wrist just resting on the waistband, his fingers splayed across the network of notched muscles, so vulnerable under the ribcage. Methos moved restlessly under him, and Duncan felt the play of sinew under his fingers. The tip of Duncan's smallest finger just fit in the indentation of Methos' navel, and Duncan played there, testing the fit, mimicking penetration in a way that brought a moan from Methos' mouth.

When Duncan scraped his short fingernails from breastbone to waistband, Methos convulsed, gasping out something between a laugh and a groan. Duncan stilled his hand, pressing hard on Methos' lower stomach, and under his wrist, he felt Methos' erection bulge against the restricting jeans. Duncan tucked his head into Methos' throat, licking and nipping, but kept having to fight the turtleneck to reach skin. Finally, he pulled away long enough to jerk the turtleneck over Methos' head, leaving the Old Man clothed from the waist up in only mussed hair and goosebumps.

Methos was breathing heavily now, hazel eyes bright in his flushed face. He pushed the cream cardigan off Mac's shoulders, then tugged the olive t-shirt from the darker slacks Duncan wore. When they were both bare-chested, Methos moved on top of Duncan again, aligning him so that nipple caressed nipple and their cocks lay side by side, hot heavy weights caged by their anticipation and deliberation.

"Methos," Duncan said softly, groaning as Methos slid a hand under his buttocks, rocking their groins steadily together.

"What," Methos said, obviously distracted.

"What I feel like doing to you, I can't do on this bloody couch."

Methos laughed at that, levering away, closing his eyes as the angle changed and their cocks melted together. Duncan helped him with a push, and they moved to the bed, anticipation quickly surrendering to outright need. Methos tossed off his shoes and socks, but when he went to the snap of his jeans, Duncan stopped him. "I'll do that. Go lie down," he said. He heard the predator in his voice and wondered how Methos would react. He found out. He got a slow smile, an arrogant cocking of the hip, and the hand went anyway to the snap, releasing it, then the zipper parted ways, opening a gap that filled immediately with hair and the red tip of a hungry cock. Duncan swallowed, hard. Methos opened the gap a little more and touched himself, the long fingers using the excuse of opening his jeans further to tangle in the dark hair, to stroke the pulsing trunk. Duncan hoped that as long as he lived, this picture would remain vivid for him -- Methos, bare-chested and barefoot, with his hair on end, his cheeks red, standing before him with his jeans open and his beautiful prick just visible behind denim and long fingers.

Duncan went to him, sliding both hands in the back of Methos' jeans, over the sleek buttocks, finding a perverse pleasure in the feel of the rough fabric against the back of his hands while his palms were filled with soft-skinned man. Methos reached around for one hand and brought it to the front, filling it with his hot erection, guiding Duncan's hand in a leisurely, languorous motion. Each thrust Methos made brought him in contact with a Mac hand, front or back, the sensation leaving Duncan ready to strip him and take him where he stood.

No matter how they started, he always ended up wanting Methos with a craving just short of violence. Not an easy man to love, his Methos. Still, the Old Man not only accepted, but encouraged the force Duncan used, so he pulled his hands away, pushed Methos down on the bed and yanked the jeans from his body.

Duncan shucked his own pants with none of the finesse Methos had shown, beyond seduction at this point. He paused long enough to rasp out, "How do you want it?" His breath stopped when Methos turned on his stomach, raising himself on his hands and knees.

"How you do it. I want it how you do it," Methos said, turning his head to look straight into the Highlander as he said the inflaming words.

Honesty didn't come naturally to Methos. In most situations, he was more likely to hedge, or prevaricate, or simply lie. Even Duncan couldn't always get a straight answer from him. But now, Jesus Christ, now he'd been reduced to pure response. Duncan asked him what he wanted, and he told him. Nothing in the world was going to satisfy him now except animal fucking from a loving man. That Duncan could provide that perfect combination was something he thanked the gods for.

Methos closed his eyes, dropping his head forward, his arms and legs already starting to tremble, and Duncan hadn't even touched him yet. /I might just come without him,/ he thought hazily. /Wouldn't *that* piss him off./

He could feel Duncan's weight sink onto the bed, but he didn't mount Methos, didn't touch his back like he had the other time, that fingertip tracing down his spine. No, the Scot was stretching out next to Methos, reaching for his cock, milking it with greedy pulls. Methos tried to pull away, but Duncan stopped him with a punishing squeeze. Within strokes, Duncan had a palmful of come and Methos was still pumping out more. He was still shuddering when Duncan moved behind him. Methos felt the hot sticky stuff being pushed into his anus.

"Lubricant, MacLeod?" Methos asked incredulously. "You did that for *lubricant*?"

"Shut up, Methos, it's better than nothing," Duncan said with an edge in his voice. He gripped Methos' hips and moved him to the edge of the bed.

"No massage oil? No Vaseline? Some boy scout *you* are," Methos scoffed.

"Shut *up*, Methos," Duncan growled.

Now he was where Methos wanted him, standing behind him, his hot hands stroking Methos' flanks. Now Methos could feel the thick head of Duncan's cock at the entrance to his body. Felt it, now slick with his semen, popping past the ring of muscle. Duncan paused, moving one hand to the small of Methos' back, pressing hard. Methos ignored the pulsing pain, the stretched- too-far feeling, and forced his hips back to take in more of the maddening rod. Duncan reached beneath Methos' buttocks, tracing the swollen gland from the outside, massaging the spent testicles, the twitching cock. Under his attentions, the cock stirred again, lengthening as Duncan measured its growth with his fingers. All the while, Duncan kept half his cock outside, and Methos felt the pleasure and urgency grow, surging within him.

Neither man moved for endless seconds, until they were both trembling, both sweating, and then Duncan bent over, put both hands under Methos' chest and pulled him up, up so his back was against Duncan's chest. Up so that the whole rampant length of Duncan's erection could seat itself in Methos. That it was the position Kronos used in their nightmare wasn't something either man thought of, then. Then their minds were blank of all but feral sensation -- One of opening, the other of being opened. One with his arms full of shaking, perspiring beauty, the other falling without reserve into the strength offered. Suspended at Duncan's mercy, Methos could feel the force it took for Duncan to withdraw and surge again, and he rode the power willingly. Duncan clutched him close as he withdrew one last time, then thrust in hard enough to throw them both off-balance, and they tumbled, locked together, to the bed, where Methos rubbed his straining erection into the covers until he, too, came.

Eventually, they parted. Duncan stripped the bedspread, then pushed Methos under the covers. Methos didn't lift a finger when Duncan brought a washcloth from the bathroom and cleaned him. Duncan swiped his hand across the elder's hair, and that earned him a sleepy smile. Turning off the lights, but leaving the fire dancing in the fireplace, Duncan slid into bed, spooning against Methos' back, his hands burrowing under the covers to find warm man.

"You sure this was a good idea, Mac?" Methos asked, when he was sure he had a voice again.

"No," Duncan replied, but his hands tightened on Methos' warm chest when the skittish older man would have pulled away. "I'm not sure about anything. I just know this feels better because we can't blame it on the post-quickening stiffies... or on grief, or guilt, or anything else."

Duncan kissed Methos' temple, a tender gesture that melted the last bit of uncertainty in Methos. "It's good like this. Because we want it, because it feels right..."

"Because Amanda's not here to take up the middle," Methos interjected.

"Oh, don't worry, we'll pay." Duncan paused. "But who knows, we might even enjoy it."

The fire crackled behind them. Under the soft blankets, Methos let his body relax against Duncan's, enjoying the feel of the Highlander's firm muscles, the body hair that tickled his back and legs. One more stolen night. One more link in the chain. Exhausted by the emotions of the day and the exertions of the moment, coiled together in a tangle of limbs, with one heart slowing to beat in time with the other, the two men pitched headlong into deep, and dreamless, sleep.

Epilogue

Amanda let herself into the barge with a bobby pin and a paper clip, annoyed that she'd left her keys inside her pocketbook on the sideboard when the police hustled her out the evening before. In the dim morning light, the barge looked comfortable and warm. She tiptoed down the stairs, keeping as quiet as she could, vague visions of climbing into bed beside Duncan slipping into her mind. The sound of running water kaboshed that idea. Silly man was already up and showering. The whole "early to bed, early to rise" thing was lost on Amanda, but Duncan rarely stayed in bed past eight am and it was now pushing nine.

/Might as well give him something nice to put that clean body on,/ she thought, and stripped off her scalloped black shirt on the way to the bed, dropping it on the floor. She dropped her shoes with quiet thuds and wriggled out of her pantyhose, leaving a trail of clothing for Duncan to follow. As she approached the bed something caught her eye. A bare foot, high of arch and long of toe, hanging off the edge of the mattress. The foot led to a shapely calf, a firm thigh, and one, bare, rounded butt cheek, all exposed from sheets only slightly paler than the skin.

/Well I'll be damned,/ Amanda thought. Methos. Dead to the world, the back of his mussed head visible, his face hidden in the crook of his arm, his back and that whole beautiful left side exposed to the morning air, and Amanda's eyes. Amanda glanced at the other pillow, where a firm indentation was still visible. She didn't know what irked her more -- that they'd had her arrested and jailed, or that they'd gone on without her.

Retribution seemed like a good idea and on cat feet, she crept up to the bed and leaned one knee on it. Methos stirred slightly, but didn't open his eyes. The bare behind proved irresistible. Leaning over, careful not to touch him anywhere else, Amanda took hold of a mouthful of creamy buttock and bit down. Hard.

"*MAC*!" Methos roared, catapulting off the bed, one hand slapping behind him to cover the offended spot. He turned around, sleep-dazed and shocked. Amanda covered her mouth, her lovebite having provoked a much stronger reaction than she'd expected.

Behind her, the bathroom door flew open and a stark naked Duncan MacLeod stormed into view, searching frantically for a sword. He stopped dead at the sight of them. Amanda looked down. Oh my. She was sans shirt, Methos was sans anything. They were huddled in the middle of the bed. Time to take the offensive. Amanda let her eyes roam slowly over Duncan's nude form, then turned her eyes on Methos' equally bare body. "Like that, is it?" she asked impudently.

Mac padded over to them and pushed Methos' hand away so he could see the purpling bruise on the Old Man's butt, the perfect circle of small teethmarks a vivid, if temporary, tattoo.

"Like that, was it?" Mac retorted and Amanda gave him the point.

"Touche, Mac," Methos muttered under his breath, and went back to rubbing his posterior.

"Who let you out," MacLeod asked, and Amanda took offense at the tone, which made it sound like she was a cat who'd been let out for the night.

"Joe," she said snippily. "Good thing I wasn't waiting for *you* two to come get me."

Duncan paused at the mention of the name Joe. Amanda's eyes narrowed. So there *was* an inhibition left in Duncan. Good to know. She filed the information away for future reference.

"I can't believe you had me arrested so you could..." she started, but Duncan put a hand up, silencing her.

"Don't go there, Amanda," Duncan warned, trying to forestall Methos' response, but it was too late.

"What are you mad about, Amanda? Being arrested? Or being left out?" Methos jibed, and she turned on him with teeth and fingernails bared. Duncan reached over, grabbed both wrists and tugged her off the bed into his arms. He locked his arms around her and hugged her tight. She struggled briefly, but then the feel of his damp chest against her breasts felt so good that she relaxed, nuzzling in closer.

"Come on, Amanda, what do you say we start the morning over," he cajoled, wrapping her even closer to his bare chest.

Amanda pouted. It would never do to cave so quickly.

"Good morning, Amanda, so glad to see you're out of jail. Say hi to Methos," Duncan said in a sing-song voice.

"Hi Methos," Amanda said grudgingly, her anger somehow dissipating as the warmth and smell of Duncan started to work its usual magic. Impossible to stay mad in this man's arms. And he damn well knew it.

"Methos, say hi to Amanda." Duncan continued the game.

"Hi Amanda, nice *teeth*," Methos said.

She turned around at that, ready with a sharp retort, but her breath died at the sight of him. He'd propped himself up on one elbow, that bare left side still exposed to their view. He looked confident, comfortable, and ridiculously sexy.

"Sorry we couldn't help with the night in jail," Methos said, and she heard a familiar seduction in his tone. "As for the being left out part...." He patted the bed beside him. He glanced behind her at Duncan and when she turned back to Mac, she saw they had communicated something to each other, without a word, without a gesture.

Duncan squeezed her tight, lifting her feet from the floor, and walked with her the couple of steps to the bed. He came down with her to the mattress, 180 pounds of muscle and hair and damp, sweet skin. Then she was surrounded by naked men in a tumble of warm sheets. Methos pressed full-length against her back, Duncan her front. She was bologna between a slice of sourdough and a slice of rye. Ahhhhh.

Amanda reached for the zipper on her skirt, but Duncan stalled her. "Leave it on," he said under his breath. Amanda looked down. There *was* something erotic about that last bit of clothing left on in a sea of skin. The contrast of the black against her own belly even stirred her up. Duncan's hand crept under the skirt, curving around her bottom and bringing her hips in close to his. Methos followed the motion, and she could feel one hard-on at the small of her back, another cushioned on her stomach. This was even better than her daydreams. Amanda closed her eyes, forgetting there'd ever been a disagreement.

She edged down Duncan's chest to take a ripe nipple in her mouth, tonguing it slowly until he ground his hips against her and groaned. She threaded her fingers through the crisp hair on his chest, tugging randomly, continuing to torment the erect nipple, and the tiny hairs around it that stiffened under her tongue.

Duncan withdrew his hand from her skirt and reached around Methos' back, pulling him in closer, sealing the connection between them. Amanda felt the heat radiating from them, rippling over her, reducing her world to the hard man undulating slowly against her back, and the muscled chest she washed her face in.

Between her legs, the sweetest ache started. She could feel the tissues swell, feel moisture start to seep, feel the randy clit poke its head out from its hood, wanting more direct stimulation. She raised her head from Duncan's chest, ready to move someone's hand or mouth between her legs -- she didn't care which or whose -- but the thought left her at what she saw.

Above her head, Duncan and Methos were kissing. Not just kissing, but eating at each other, eyes closed, mouths open, devouring each other with strong movements of their lips, tongues and jaws. Men kissed differently, she decided, watching their utter abandon, getting more aroused by it the longer it went on. Nothing romantic, nothing soft. Just an erotic connection that proclaimed equal forces had met. Was it always like that? she wondered, or were these two, as they were in so many ways, special cases?

Amanda slithered out from between the two men. Their mouths came apart reluctantly. She crouched up on her knees. "I think if it's all the same to you, I'll just watch...." and she slid off the mattress, adjusted her skirt and ducked into a small armchair strategically positioned beside the bed, tossing one leg over the arm, stretching the other out in front of her.

Duncan started to protest, but then Methos inhabited the space she'd deserted and attached his mouth to Mac's nipple, biting down. Mac moaned and brought a hand to Methos' hair, holding him steady as Mac turned on his back, bringing Methos over on top of him. They were stretched sideways on the big bed, and she could see *everything*.

Watching Duncan and Methos together was ... well, Amanda's hands went under her skirt. She slipped off her panties and then spread her legs wider. If they looked over, they'd see, and that thought excited her, too. She let her fingers wander the outside, teasing the soft hairs that protected her sex. She could feel the delicious slickness on her fingertip and dipped inside for more.

Part of it was the thrill of watching. But mostly it was the newness of seeing Duncan and Methos together, and the intensity of their passion. Methos' face was focused and intent in a way she'd never seen. He was unaware of anything except the yielding body beneath him. She'd never been under that microscope, never had that laser intent directed at her. And Duncan. He responded to every slight move from Methos, writhing under him, directing him with minute movements of his hands.

Maybe it was because it was still so new for them. Making love with Duncan was always satisfying, he knew just how to touch her, he played her little games, but they'd known each other's bodies for three hundred years. And making love to Methos that night had been a little like finding a favorite lost blouse crumpled in a corner of the closet. Putting it on was delightful, familiar.... but not as much fun as, say, shopping for a new one. Watching them was like rediscovering them, their desire and ardor, the fire that had drawn her at first and continued to torch her with its flames.

On the bed, Duncan was struggling a little with being watched, she could tell. He'd glance over at her, his eyes hot with arousal, but with a bit of doubt, too, but then Methos would move against him, and his eyes would slide closed, his head moving restlessly against the rumpled sheets. Amanda knew the exact moment when he forgot she was in the room. It happened when Methos' mouth slid down his torso to his groin. Methos slid his tongue down the length of Mac's erection, pausing momentarily to slip the head in his mouth and suck on it. Mac's head went back, his throat exposed and working, and Amanda *felt* him abandon all but the sensation of Methos' mouth on him.

Methos released Mac's cock and slid down even further, spreading the Scot's legs wide on the bed, slipping to lie between them. Methos kissed his way from Mac's flank to his knees, then back up again. Slowly, deliberately, he avoided the throbbing erection itself, using his mouth everywhere else, the hollow of Duncan's hip, the spot where his thigh met his buttock, the ridge underneath his balls, then the heavy balls themselves. Methos took one side of the sac in his mouth, then the other, trading back and forth until Duncan started to heave underneath him.

"Fuck, Methos, I'm dying here," Duncan groaned and Amanda pushed a fist between her legs at the words, coming in a surprised little burst. Duncan rarely talked to her during sex, and he never swore. God, how arousing.

Methos released the ball he was mouthing, leaving it gleaming and taut. "Patience is a virtue," he said, probably trying for mocking, but managing only breathless instead.

"Yeah, well, I'm not feeling very virtuous," Duncan rasped, and in sudden move requiring strength Amanda could only imagine, he reared up, lifting Methos with him. Duncan settled on his knees, put Methos in front of him, took hold of his short hair and brought Methos' head to his cock. Methos opened his mouth and swallowed Duncan's entire length, doing it so slowly he never gagged. Duncan used his hands on Methos' head to draw him away, then pull him back, fucking Methos' mouth with a force and vigor he never would have attempted with her.

Man to man. Strength to strength. Power just something they both offered, and both accepted. /They're *equal*,/ Amanda thought, and she thrust both hands between her legs, one pulling the lips apart while the other circled the frantic clitoris with strong strokes. Her legs tensed, her eyes and lips felt hot, and then she felt the release feathering down her spine, raising the hairs on her arms, starting between her thighs and radiating out to her toes and fingers. Pleasure. Relief. Tingling, singing sensation that continued to ripple through her in random jolts as she slowed the motion of her fingers, soothing the stimulated nerves.

Duncan cried out, his head tilted back, his hands holding Methos' head so hard she could see the knuckles whiten. Duncan's hips moved in tight little circles and she could see Methos' cheeks hollow with the strength of the suction he used. Then Mac lurched forward, his hands sliding down Methos' back, his head draped over the older man's shoulder, convulsing. Amanda was spellbound. She'd *felt* Duncan come, but she'd never *seen* him come, not like that. Not like he'd died.

Methos pulled his mouth away, his lips red and wet, his cheeks flushed, and Duncan raised his head again. Duncan touched the corner of Methos' mouth, wiping away stray fluid, then caressed his cheek, reaching a strong hand behind Methos' neck and pulling him up into another kiss. /He'll taste himself in Methos' mouth,/ Amanda thought, and the tingling between her thighs started again. While they talked with their tongues and lips, Duncan slipped a hand between their close bodies, wrapping his fingers around Methos' erection, now standing up straight against his belly. He worked it with hard fast strokes, and Amanda could see the muscles in Methos' buttocks clench as he drove himself up into Duncan's hand. Duncan kept Methos' mouth positioned for his kiss, not letting him breathe or escape while he climaxed, spurting streams of semen on Duncan's hand and on both their stomachs.

Amanda had forgotten to breathe, her hand soaked in her own juices, her skirt now crumpled up around her hips. The hand Duncan reached out to her was the one coated with Methos' come. "C'mere," Duncan said, and the earthy gesture was all the invitation she needed. Amanda went back into the bed that smelled of man and sex. She took hold of Duncan's hand and licked off the salty fluid, delving her tongue into the webbing between his fingers. Then she moved to his belly, and then Methos', sipping away all the evidence, cleaning them, lapping at their skin, savoring their different flavors. Duncan moved her gently back against the pillows while Methos unzipped and stripped her of her skirt. By the time they finished with her, every inch had been kissed, fondled, licked, nipped, caressed or probed. Twin sources of wicked pleasure, selfless in their satiation, they spoiled her forever for her own hand. When she pulled herself together enough to open her eyes, she smiled at what she saw. Duncan had his head cushioned on her breasts, and his tongue reached out from time to time to touch the curve where it met her ribcage. Methos had his head on her hipbone and was tracing tiny designs just above the neat nest of hair.

"Maybe I should get arrested more often," she mused aloud and Duncan and Methos laughed.

Outside the fogged up porthole, Joe Dawson tried to slow his erratic heartbeat. "You're gonna kill yourself," he muttered under his breath. He could see the headlines now: 'Old Fart Dies From Voyeurism.' He'd rationalized his uncharacteristic snooping as a way of making sure Amanda and Duncan didn't come to blows. Tensions had run high over the last few days, and from the way she'd seethed all the way from the police station to the barge, he'd worried.

Nothing to worry about, it turned out, unless it was having a heart attack from watching three people he loved getting it on harder, longer, hotter and in more combinations than he'd dreamed possible. He supposed you could learn a lot about the body, and how to pleasure it, in 5,000, 1,000, or apparently even 400 years. Joe shook his head. Yet another experience that would never make it into a Chronicle.

Stiffer than usual, slower than usual so he wouldn't alert the Immortals to his presence, though he doubted if anything short of a nuclear bomb would disturb them now, Joe made his way off the barge and headed for the closest quiet place he could find where he could take the edge off, one hand already reaching down his trousers.

The End.