Disclaimer: Zen and nancy don't 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. Please don't pick on us, itís all in good fun.

Rated NC-17 for explicit m/m sex. This one took a long time, we hope it was worth the wait<g>. It picks up a couple of weeks after Little Earthquakes ends. We realize the telepathy thing has been done quite a few times before (and done well, too), we're just obsessed with the double quickening.

Story title taken from The Church song without permission.

Please do send us feedback, we're tougher than we look<g>.

UNGUARDED MOMENTS

By Zen&nancy

Methos stood in front of the dresser, trying to decide, the brown sweater or the green? He smiled cynically at himself. Two weeks ago he wouldn't have thought about it at all. Now he stood here with an empty suitcase, disparaging Adam Piersonís wardrobe. Sighing in irritation, he tossed both into the open case on the bed, followed by two pairs of jeans. As an afterthought he stuffed in a decent pair of slacks and a jacket, in case Mac wanted to go anywhere fancy. Socks, T-shirts, and sweat pants flew over his shoulder in a wide arc landing in a pile in the middle of the bed.

He was gathering razor, toothbrush, and soap from the bathroom when he felt Duncan approaching. Responding to the knock on the door with a call to enter he went back to his dresser to grab a few last items. Turning back to his suitcase with his arms full he found the Highlander sitting next to it, carefully refolding and packing the clothes he had thrown in haphazardly.

"Denim doesn't wrinkle, Mac."

"Oh, but you look so good in them, I wouldn't want to take the chance. Besides, you could fit more in here if you bothered to fold anything," Duncan gave him a saucy smile.

Methos grinned, hoping his face wasn't as pink as it felt. He still had a hard time believing Mac found him attractive. His sharp angles and long bones were rather dramatic, he thought, but very different from the curvaceous prettiness of Mac's usual partners. Not that Duncan hadn't given him enough proof of his attraction, but lust was one thing and admiration another. Gods knew the Highlander's looks had been driving him to distraction often enough lately. All he had to do was stare into those coffee brown eyes and every thought went right out of his head. It was unnerving.

"You look great," Duncan's eyes dragged slowly down from his lover's face to his black boots and up again. "How am I going to keep my hands off you for 12 hours on a airplane?"

Methos laughed, moving into the arms that reached for him.

"You'll just have to suffer."

Mac's lips closed over his, kissing him with expertly gauged force until Methos melted against him. Then his assault changed, becoming gentle and coaxing as his tongue stroked his lover's mouth. When Methos sighed against his lips, he pulled back with a satisfied grin.

"As long as I'm not the only one suffering," Mac teased.

Methos pulled the tight pony tail at the base of Mac's neck, but not hard.

"Fiend, lecher, tease," the older man taunted, laughing when he was grabbed and thrown down on the bed, Duncan's weight holding him down.

"Call me a tease..." Duncan threatened. Humor and lust were unmistakable in his deep voice. His hand was sneaking towards Methos' belt, trying to undo the buckle without loosing his hold on the laughing, squirming body beneath him.

A strong grip closed around his wrist as he was drawing the leather through the denim loops.

"MacLeod."

"I hate it when you say my name like that, it always means you're about to get snotty and condescending."

Two weeks ago Methos would have reacted to the jibe with cold anger, his pride injured. Now he only laughed, Duncan was right. He spared himself a moment to realize just how good this man was for him.

Duncan's hand was still determined, and getting dangerous. He had the button on Methos' jeans undone and was fighting with the zipper.

"MacLeod," he tried again in his most commanding voice. Then more reasonably, "We do have a plane to catch, and if you start taking my clothes off now we will very likely miss it."

Duncan nuzzled his neck, the slight burn of stubble on his skin as devastating as the soft mouth. One more time he tried, in his most convincing Iím-losing-my-patience-voice.

"MacLeod!"

"I hate it when your right," Duncan whispered in his ear, biting the lobe for good measure before letting him up.

As it was, they barely made it to the airport in time to go through the customs circus.

Methos hated airports. The tension in his body was noticeable as he paced back and forth in front of Mac at the gate. Duncan stood like a rock, his arms crossed over his chest, eyes carefully scanning the crowds of people streaming by them.

Mac knew exactly how the other Immortal felt. His credentials as an antique dealer made getting the two swords through customs much easier than the ordeal most Immortals went through, but security was always a hassle. Just the thought of some flunky baggage handler touching the katana made him edgy.

Studying his lover's posture, he realized Methos was even more unhappy about being separated from his blade than he was. The next time Methos paced by he reached to put a hand on his shoulder.

"Relax, anyone on this side of the security check is in the same position. Besides, you can't lose your head in a crowd like this, international security is a call button away."

"I know, itís just disconcerting. What if they lose them? Fly them to Katmandu or something."

Duncan smiled, "Relax, they won't, I promise. You'll have it back a half hour after we land."

"Very reassuring, MacLeod."

Duncan took his hand, squeezing harder when Methos tried to pull away, very much aware of the uptight business man glaring at them.

"Let him look," Duncan drawled, wrapping his arm around the older Immortal's waist to pull him close to his side, glaring right back at the bigot.

"MacLeod, he could be a watcher," Methos hissed in his ear.

Duncan hadn't thought of that, and Methos sounded genuinely angry. He refused to let Methos go, and after a second of resistance his lover decided acquiescence would make less of a scene.

"Is that what all this stress is about? You're worried that you'll blow your cover?"

"Yes," Methos hissed. "Could you possibly lower your voice?"

"Sorry," Mac whispered in his ear. "Is it really any different than being seen with me in the past? Just because you're with me doesn't mean you're Immortal. Maybe I have a penchant for researchers."

Methos realized Mac was right, he was being just a bit too paranoid. He couldn't help it. He couldn't just shed thousands of years of ingrained anonymity at the drop of a hat. Kissing the best looking man in the airport while standing at the gate waiting to board wasn't exactly his idea of blending, but Mac had other ideas.

Duncan could feel the tension radiating from his lover's body. He thought he understood; people were staring, and Methos hated to call attention to himself in public. He didn't care, not one bit. He was so happy, and yes, proud, to claim this man as his lover. He didn't care if an 8x10 glossy of this kiss ended up on every watcher bulletin board worldwide, but Methos did, and Mac knew it.

"Showing off?" Methos broke the kiss, shoving Mac away with a hand on his chest. His voice clearly conveyed his contempt.

"Maybe," Mac replied, now just as irritated as Methos.

"Well, find a more willing trophy then. I'm not here for you to play show and tell with," Methos shot back, stalking away angrily.

Duncan glared at the business man who had caused this argument, wishing he could shout his frustration at him. However, that would make even more of a scene, and he had already caused enough trouble.

For once, he didn't go chasing after the old man, demanding that Methos deal with this right now. A week in the company of the oldest Immortal had taught him a few things. It was just possible that he was learning to 'do nothing'. To wait for the right time to act, instead of rushing headlong into every fight, determined to force his will.

Methos was surprised when Mac didn't follow him. Either he was angrier than he had estimated, or he was taking his frustration out on the man with the cheap suit and the judgmental stare. Methos wasn't sure which was worse. Why was he so unwilling to kiss Mac in public? //Because you're a coward// a little voice in his head answered promptly. He scowled, but he had to admit it was true.

He got himself a cup of weak tea from a vending machine and walked slowly back to the gate, where the long line of people were beginning the boarding shuffle. Duncan stood exactly where he had left him, but the uptight businessman had gone.

He walked up behind him, trying to be unobtrusive in spite of the fact that Duncan had felt him coming from several yards away.

"Hi," he said quietly, offering the other man his cup.

"I'm sorry," Duncan said simply, declining the tea with a shake of his head. "I was being... what is it? Pompous and stubborn?"

"No, you were being yourself. Proud, arrogant and egotistical," Methos quietly chided.

Duncan smiled at the comment.

"That doesn't mean I like it MacLeod!" Methos admonished. "But maybe I could try to be a little less paranoid."

"Okay, come on then, they're boarding."

Duncan offered his hand, and Methos took it, telling himself this was not at all the same thing as being shown off to satisfy Duncan's ego. He slipped his hand into his Scottish warrior's, letting himself be led onto the plane.

"Does it really bother you when I kiss you in public?" Duncan asked quietly once they had taken their seats and settled themselves for the long flight.

Methos started to reply but was forced to wait as his response was drowned out by the roar of the plane's engines. He waited until the flight attendant had made her speech and the plane had taken off before trying to reply. He used the time to find an answer that was truthful, but one that wouldn't open the way for a long discussion he wasn't ready to have. Certainly not on an airplane, anyway.

"Only sometimes. It depends on your motivation. I don't like being shown off."

Duncan studied Methos' face for a moment, trying to understand what he wasn't saying.

"Okay, Adam. Itís not a big deal. Next time I'm being boorish and possessive just tell me, okay?"

"Okay," Methos replied and rewarded Duncan with a brilliant smile. He popped a tape in his Walkman and settled on Mac's shoulder for a nap. Duncan accepted a drink from the stewardess, deep in thought. Obviously, starting a life with Methos was going to be a little more complicated than he had thought. He would be very patient, he told himself. Having Methos sharing his life with him was a powerful, complicated idea. To have Methos by his side, to share life and death and battle and love seemed so much more than anything he'd ever had, and he wanted it desperately. He wanted to have those ancient eyes be the first thing he saw in the morning. He wanted his friend's quiet strength, and his wry laughter. He also wanted his guidance, he realized. It had been a very long time since he had sought anything like a teacher, and Methos' "Iím-just-a-guy" attitude discouraged any such notions. However, these last few years had been incredibly difficult, the time of the gathering upon them, changing all their lives. He wanted someone to face the future with, no matter how difficult, or dangerous, that union might prove to be. He hoped Methos would think it worth the risk as well, that he would stay. If he didn't, Mac thought it very likely that he would lose his mind and track the man to whatever far off place he disappeared to.

Duncan shifted carefully, trying to stretch his cramped legs without disturbing the head on his shoulder. Methos had slept for the better part of the flight, waking long enough to eat the dinner served to them. He read Mac's book over his shoulder for awhile, eventually drifting back to sleep, using Duncan's shoulder rather than the pillow the stewardess brought.

It was dawn and they would reach Seacouver within an hour. Duncan sat watching his lover, feeling humbled by the trust that allowed Methos to sleep so deeply against him. For a man who avoided using his sword as much as possible, Methos displayed a strong unwillingness to be parted from it. Duncan thought about that for awhile, playing with the layers of his lover's personality in his head, trying to see the ancient warrior in the mild mannered researcher. The warrior was perhaps much closer to the surface than Methos would ever admit.

Duncan wondered if this amazing man would ever trust him enough to show him the deeper parts of himself, to share with him the man he had been. Not just the times with the Horsemen, of that he understood a great deal more since the shared quickening. There had been... memories, of Methos, absorbed from Kronos with his quickening that Duncan had been too horrified to dwell upon at the time. He had tried to push them out, but they remained. When Kyven had held him captive, he'd remembered, and drawn strength from the knowledge that Methos had survived those horrors, and worse.

There was so much more history, so much more to the man that snored gently on his shoulder. Certainly more than the nightmare that rode as Death, destroying because it was in his power to destroy, but not to escape the destruction. Such a long, long journey from that captured, vicious creature to Adam Pierson, who he loved with all his heart. He loved the older soul he caught glimpses of in the quiet moments between them as well. He wanted to learn his truths. He was not nearly as afraid of Methos' past, and itís inevitable ghosts, as his lover seemed to be. Somehow he would find a way to open the door to Methos' history. He wanted so very much to be the person he could share it with. It was important that Methos understood that Duncan could accept anything, that nothing could diminish his love. He was sure it was true.

Methos woke at the announcement of their arrival, they would reach Seacouver International Airport on schedule. He was stiff from sleeping leaning half over his seat, and anxious to be on the ground.

"I'm hungry," he grumbled, rubbing the sleep from his eyes.

"Iíll take you out for breakfast as soon as we get there," Duncan told him. "I told Joe I'd call him after I got over to the Dojo and got settled."

They caught a cab back to the Dojo, dropping their bags in the loft. There were large white furniture sheets thrown over everything to protect from dust. Duncan was walking around, opening windows to clear out the stale air. As soon as they had all of the furniture uncovered they headed out to breakfast.

Duncan took Methos to his favorite coffee shop, where they each devoured an omelet and a great deal of much needed coffee. Duncan pushed his empty plate to the side, reaching for Methos' hand across the table top.

"There's something we should decide now," Duncan looked uncomfortable.

"What? Whether or not to tell Joe about this recent development between us?"

"How do you do that?"

"What, read your mind?" Methos smile was definitely feline.

"Yes! Now stop it, and talk to me seriously. How do you feel about it? Joe is a rather perceptive man, itís likely he'll figure it out anyway, unless we take careful pains to prevent it."

"Is that what you want?"

"No Methos, don't answer a question with a question, tell me how you feel about this."

"As far as I see it, that depends greatly on whether we are announcing our affections to Joe our buddy or Joe the Watcher. Have you thought about this Mac? Have you considered the position we'd be putting Joe in? There is already a great deal he's omitted from your chronicles to protect you in the past, and we haven't even opened Adam Pierson's can of worms yet." Methos covered Duncan's hand with his own, gentling the harsh words. "I am not ashamed of us, Duncan, but this isn't about declarations of love, itís about complicating and possibly endangering Joe's position, and mine."

Duncan's smile was almost meek, "I guess I didn't think about it, really. You always see so much more. Itís infuriating, you know? But you're right." He sipped his coffee, thoughtfully."Itís very likely he will figure it out eventually, Methos, itís the man's job to know who keeps me company, among other things. What are we going to do when he does?"

"Well, let's try not to let that happen just yet. I think we both need some time to figure out where this is going before we start complicating poor Joe's life as well. If he does catch us gazing deeply into each other's eyes, I think it would be best if we asked him to leave it off the records for a while. Not forever, mind you, but just until we've figured how to handle it."

The old man's expressive hazel eyes spoke volumes, and Duncan could easily read the hesitation and uncertainty there. He resisted the urge to force the issue, reminding himself that Methos' acceptance of their relationship was something he must pursue slowly, and with a little cunning.

"Okay, agreed, but you're going to have to be prepared to compensate me for all the time I'm going to have to restrain myself. Iíll not hold myself responsible for the consequences when I finally do get you alone."

"Not an unbearable price to pay, I think," Methos grinned, glad that Mac was willing to table the difficult subject. There would be time to talk about it later. "Let's go see Joe, maybe he has some advice for you on how to deal with the Dojo."

Duncan grabbed the check and they strolled contentedly together down the busy Seacouver street towards Joe's.

The bartender called out an excited welcome as they entered, hurrying around the bar to greet his friends.

"Damn itís good to see you MacLeod! How did you manage to drag this guy with you?" Joe asked, squeezing Adam's arm in greeting.

"Well, he needed a vacation."

"I wanted to check out the bookstores. I heard a rumor that one of my journals turned up on the west coast, figured Seacouver is as good a place to start as any," Methos interrupted, taking off his long coat and draping it over the bar.

Joe raised his eyebrows mildly at their quick replies, but made no comment. Methos wandered behind the bar to draw himself a pint. Duncan was asking after the bar's business and had drawn Joe to an empty table. It was just before noon, and the place would open soon.

Methos sipped his beer contentedly, he had a genuine affection for this place,  he had missed it in Paris. Joe's was a very nice place to be. He watched Duncan from behind the bar, stealing a moment to study his lover, relaxed and smiling, talking to his friend. It gave him such satisfaction to see him like this, happy, unburdened. It was so good to see Duncan letting himself enjoy the present, rather than brooding in the past or worrying about the future. He would do everything within his power, Methos decided, to keep that smile. He would somehow find a way for them to stay together, without ruining both their lives.

"Methos, come here, Joe wants to know what you've done with that cookbook you were writing."

Duncan's eyes followed his lover appreciatively as he came around the bar, crossing the room to join them at the table.

"Oh, itís coming along," the long body folded itself into a boneless sprawl in the chair Duncan pulled over for him.

"So how long are you guys going to be here? I've got a great band this weekend. Found them in a dive across town, they are really something, not to be missed."

"We'll be here Joe," Duncan smiled, "Itís going to take me at least that long to deal with the Dojo."

"Are you finally going to sell it, Mac?" Joe seemed surprised.

"I honestly don't know yet Joe, but I have to do something. That's why I'm here, to decide. The Chamber of Commerce has been sending my lawyer some very persuasive letters. They're very unhappy about the Dojo becoming another empty storefront, and they're right, I've neglected the responsibility for too long."

Methos chuckled, but the look he gave Mac was tolerant, affectionate, really.

Joe was rather taken aback, he would have expected Adam to respond to Mac's sense of responsibility with a derisive comment, at the least. Maybe MacLeod was having a good affect on the world's oldest cynic. They certainly seemed to be getting along better than the last time he had seen them together.

There was a strange chemistry between these two powerful Immortals, and it seemed, for the moment at least, that they had found a comfortable common ground. Joe was relieved, the tension between his two friends was often palpable, and he had worried in the past that one day it might turn ugly. At the moment, however, they both seemed relaxed and at ease in each other's company. That was good, Mac had far fewer friends than he'd had just a few years ago.

"Well, I certainly wouldn't complain about you moving back here, it would make my job easier, that's for sure."

Duncan shook his head, "I don't think I could open the place back up again Joe, not as a Dojo, anyway. That place will always be Charlie's, and I don't think I want to make a commitment to running it twelve hours a day at this point. I don't really want to sell it, either, but it doesn't look like I'm going to have much choice. Itís not going to be easy, property values have steadily decreased in the neighborhood over the last few years and just finding an interested buyer is going to be difficult. I've got an appointment with my lawyer tomorrow, Iíll see what my options are. I may just give it over to the Neighborhood Committee, let them turn the building into an activity center or something."

"Maybe they'll turn it into a Boy Scout Club, preserve your legacy," Methos quipped, grinning at MacLeod over the rim of his beer glass.

"Very funny, old man," Duncan hooked a leg behind Methos' chair, threatening to knock him over backwards. He was leaning back, two legs of the chair off the floor.

"Don't even think about it," Methosí deep voice was laced with humor.

Patrons had begun to stroll in, and Mike was busy behind the bar. Methos finished his beer and they said their good-byes, promising to meet for a late dinner the next evening after the bar had closed.

Back at the loft Methos helped Duncan remove the sheets from the furniture and unpack their bags. The loft was quickly restored to habitable condition and Methos settled cross legged on the floor, his back against the couch to clean his sword. He watched Duncan roam around his old living quarters as he absent-mindedly polished the shining steel with a soft cloth. Duncan moved slowly around the loft, touching things here and there, lost in thought. He stopped to stand at the window, staring out at the grimy street below.

"You know Methos, now that I'm here, I really don't want to give this place up. I was afraid that it would be rough, coming back here to all the memories, but it just feels like home."

Methos sighed involuntarily. Home... such a long lost concept. Sometimes it was hard not to envy Duncan his strong connection to the mortal world, his ability to live as one of them, instead of existing on the outskirts, as most Immortals did.

"You don't have to sell Mac, not if you really don't want to. They can't force you to. Besides, you could easily rent out the Dojo itself, and keep the loft. Wait until tomorrow, and see what the lawyer says."

"You're right," Duncan turned back to him with a smile. "I don't have to worry about any of it until tomorrow, so what shall we do with the rest of our day? Would you like to go for a drive? I really should go get the T-bird out of storage if we're going to be here for a while."

It was a little past midnight. They were sprawled contentedly, one at each end of the couch. Methos' eyes were closed as he lifted his glass to his lips, letting the smooth scotch slide over his tongue.

"I thank you for a lovely drive Duncan, the mountains were beautiful. Dinner was spectacular as well. I can't recall when I've been so well treated."

"My pleasure," Duncan replied quietly, and it was. It was something he intended to spend a great deal of time doing; treating Methos well, making him happy. He was finding that it was really very easy. He had no idea, except for his short time with Alexa, how long it had been since Methos had someone who wanted to make him happy.

Methos yawned, feeling fine and mellow, the good scotch and the soft music relaxing after the long day. Mac rose to turn himself around on the couch, flipping his body to lay with his head on Methos' hip, his legs stretched over the arm of the couch.

Methos pulled the tie from his hair, and threaded his fingers through the long strands. He closed his eyes to feel the silky texture of the locks as they slid through his fingers. His fingertips moved to work small circles at the base of Duncan's skull, where the tight ponytail had been. Duncan purred, nuzzling his face into the hollow of his lover's denim clad hip in a wordless request for him to continue the scalp massage.

Methos' skillful fingertips were gentle, moving in constant circular motions across the back of his head, following his hairline and working gradually to the top of his head, and then back down to his temples.

"That feels so good, Methos. Where did you learn to do this?" Mac groaned softly.

"China. Shh, don't talk."

Methos' strong fingers moved slowly from Mac's temples to draw lines across his forehead and down his cheek bones to his jaw, tracing the lines of tension he felt beneath the pads of his fingertips. His eyes were closed in concentration as his hands moved lovingly across Duncan's face, erasing all the tension from his features.

Gradually his hands stilled to stroke his lover's cheek. Duncan smiled, turning his face into Methos' hand to kiss his palm. It sent a warm little thrill through the older Immortal, the contact of those soft lips against his skin. Duncan's breath was warm against his palm, and Methos wanted more. He slipped his arm around Duncan's chest, pulling him up into his lap for a long, slow kiss. Methos held him, one arm around Duncan's waist, his other hand buried in his hair. He kissed him with lazy passion, using his tongue in a slow seduction of his lover's mouth.

Their lips parted and Duncan smiled, his brown eyes warm, "I am far to big for your lap."

"No, itís wonderful, stay," Methos whispered, shifting to slide further down on the wide couch and pulling Duncan more securely into his arms. He kissed him, his tongue gliding smoothly into Duncan's mouth. He tasted of scotch and the spices from their dinner.

Methos' arms held him tightly against his chest while the elder's mouth devoured him. Duncan thought he would drown in those kisses. Methos' kisses were as intense as his eyes. His lover ravished his mouth with a carefully controlled force that made Duncan giddy.

//Who would have imagined making out on the couch would still be this exciting after 5,000 years?// Methos thought hazily as their lips joined and parted in soft caresses that had neither a beginning or an end. Duncan's hands were fighting with the buttons of his shirt, trying to get closer to skin without moving from his arms.

Duncan could feel his lover's cock hardening beneath him and he squirmed in the tight embrace. He tried twice, unsuccessfully, to pull Methos out from under him and tear the offending cloth from the body he craved.

"No, I like you here," Methos whispered against his lips. "You're mine," the arms that held him close tightened to a crushing embrace as Methos' lips parted his, his tongue invading to stroke the softness of Duncan's mouth.

Methos reveled in the feeling of holding the big, warm body captive in his arms. He concentrated on slowly kissing Mac senseless, and knew he had succeeded when the Highlander began to writhe in earnest, whispering his name in broken little gasps between kisses.

"Methos... Methos, please."

"Please what?" Methos teased him, nibbling on the full lower lip, swollen from his passionate assault.

"More?" Duncan's voice was pleading, his eyes shining, the pupils dilated to black pools.

"Tell me, Duncan, what do you want?" Methos whispered, before claiming the swollen mouth again, his fingertips stroking lightly down his lover's throat.

"I want to feel you naked against me. Please, Methos."

Long, nimble fingers were already pulling Duncan's shirt from his waist, struggling it over his head.

"Can we go to bed?" Duncan asked as soon as his head reappeared from under the sweater.

"Yes," Methos' voice was rough, betraying the hunger he held so tightly in check.

He let Duncan scramble off his lap and rose, following him to the bed. They undressed hastily, pulling their jeans and socks off with hurried movements. Methos' hands on Duncan's shoulders pushed him down to land on the soft bed, covering him with his body. They were almost the same height, and seemed to be made to fit together. Methos' sharp angles nestled comfortably in Duncan's well muscled curves. They gasped simultaneously at the first contact of heated skin. They were both hard, and their cocks rubbed smoothly against each other, each rocking their hips slightly, the glide of smooth soft skin over aching hardness irresistible pleasure.

"Is this... what you wanted?" Methos panted, arms braced on either side of Duncan's broad shoulders, watching his lover twist beneath him.

"Yes," Mac groaned, thrusting his hips up and against Methos.

"You are so beautiful," Methos told him, leaning down to kiss him hungrily.

Methos slid down the long body, dragging his lips and teeth across bronze skin. The Highlander was thrashing in his arms now, the fire he had built between them quickly burning out of control.

He slowed his explorations, dragging out the moments before his roaming mouth reached Duncan's straining groin. Mac's fists clenched handfuls of the sheets, twisting the linen in an unconscious grip. Duncan's cock was so hard, the head rosy and seeping, trembling against his belly. But Methos turned his head, licking and nipping over the muscular hip, trailing kisses lower as he slid farther down the bed to nuzzle the soft brown curls. He blew lightly across Duncan's balls, then nuzzled the smooth skin, tracing each one with his tongue.

Duncan moaned helplessly as Methos rained light kisses across his balls, drawing the sensitive sac into his mouth, sucking gently. He stayed there, ignoring Duncan's groaned requests. His tongue moved in slow circles, caressing the satiny skin. Methos' fingers caressed his inner thigh, coaxing him to spread his legs.

Duncan whimpered, turning his head to bury his face in the sheets. Methos' breath was hot against his skin, his tongue flicking over his sensitive flesh. He was burning, and each searing flick of his lover's tongue drove him higher, until he couldn't see, think, or breath. The wet softness of Methos' tongue invaded him briefly, and Duncan bit his lip, breaking the skin and not even noticing the taste of blood in his mouth. Then two fingers were penetrating him very slowly and his cock was engulfed in the wet heat of his lover's throat.

Methos swallowed him, taking him deep in his throat with one devastating thrust. Every muscle in his body strained, trembling. The orgasm began where his lover's fingers were buried deep inside him, an explosion that uncoiled from his center. He heard someone scream, but he was falling, drowning in the waves of pleasure that pulsed through him. Methos sucked him gently, swallowing around his pulsing cock as he spilled his essence down his throat.

Methos withdrew his fingers from the still body carefully, waiting for his lover to come back to him. Duncan's eyes opened slowly, watching the remains of the blue quickening energy that sparked between them with wonder.

"I'm surprised we didn't blow the lights out," he whispered.

Methos grinned back at him, "I was worried about the windows."

"Come here?"

Methos slid up Duncan's body, taking Duncan's face in his hands to ravage his lips. Duncan's mouth yielded under his. Mac's lips were warm and soft as he melted against his lover's passionate kiss. Methos' tongue swept into his mouth, thrusting with a barely restrained force. His kisses were demanding as he opened the full lips wider to press deep into his mouth.

Methos was losing control, lost to the heat of Duncan's lips and the sweetness of his submission. He moved slowly over the sprawled body, his tongue thrusting into the softness of Duncan's mouth, mimicking the contact he craved. He could feel his blood rushing through his veins, he could feel his need to posses Duncan in the pounding of his heart. To have him, to cover him with his scent, his touch, to mark him with his teeth.

"I want you," he whispered hoarsely against Duncan's throat, moving between his legs to press against him gently.

Duncan gasped as sharp teeth marked his neck, moving over his throat with a feral, possessive intensity. He arched his body, throwing his head back to offer his surrender.

"Take me," he groaned, knowing Methos needed to hear the words.

Methos' hands went to his hips, lifting them up to rub his hard length slowly down the cleft of his lover's muscled cheeks, pressing against the tight hole. He teased him with the head of his cock, spreading the drops of liquid oozing from the tip with slow circular motions.

Methos rearranged Duncan's legs, pulling his thighs up against his chest and draping his long legs over his shoulders. He held his hips up to stuff a pillow under the small of Duncan's back.

"Look at me Duncan," Methos demanded softly, needing to look into his lover's eyes as he possessed him.

Duncan's eyes opened to gaze into intent hazel ones, bright with passion. Methos read complete trust, excitement and anticipation in the warm brown eyes as he stared down at him, unable to look away even as he fumbled in his bag at the foot of the bed for the tube of lubricant.

"I want to be so deep inside you that you can't do anything but come, I want to take you and fill you with my hunger. I want to come deep inside you," Methos whispered raggedly against his throat.

Duncan shivered, his eyes were full of longing. "You have me, completely," he whispered as his lover pressed slowly inside him. Methos stopped, holding his lover open with the tip of his cock, the head just barely inside him. He moved his hips in tight circles, letting Duncan feel his power and his need.

Methos watched Duncan's face, taking pleasure in the play of emotions in his bright eyes as he pressed slowly inside him. He was tight and hot, and when Methos moved the pleasure of the friction was so intense he stopped, not yet ready to relinquish his control.

"You are mine, here and now, you are totally and completely mine," he told Duncan in a soft voice, moving slowly to accentuate his words.

Duncan sighed, arching against the slow thrusts. Methos was inside him, above him, surrounding him with his love. He felt the essence of his lover's power in every pore of his skin, felt Methosí quickening beating inside him like his own heart. He was lost in the overpowering presence of the man who held him so tenderly, moving with liquid grace inside him.

Methos held his hips firmly, wanting to direct the rhythm of their lovemaking, not even allowing Duncan to push up to meet him as his cock thrust deeper.

"Och, Methos, yes... just like... that, please,"his breath was ragged and harsh.

Duncan moaned, no longer caring if he begged or cried, so long as this perfect touch inside him continued... and it did. The slow, powerful strokes going on and on until Duncan felt as if he had melted completely into Methos, that he had lost himself to the restless energy that flowed back and forth between them. Fed by the Immortal quickenings, the energy flowed effortlessly in and out of them, binding them together in a maelstrom of sensation and emotion.

Duncan felt himself slipping away, his thoughts dissolving in the warm presence of their joined quickenings. He had never felt anything so completely before. For a second, the quickening they had shared in Bordeaux flashed across his mind. Then he was somehow outside himself, pulled down into the undeniable, magnetic power of his lover's energy. The threads of blue energy twined around their bodies as their quickenings rose up to meet in a wild mating. Duncan had lost the power to speak, but his mind reached out for Methos, //I love you//.

He could feel the words spoken between them, could feel the vibration in his own mind, and somehow, in Methos' as well. He saw himself, gasping and moaning, his head thrown back against the white sheets. The sensation of falling as that body straining below him was plundered, again and again. He felt the blood rushing in Methos' veins, felt his heart pounding as if it were his own, felt his passion and his love. Then he was engulfed in the eye of the storm. He caught a glimpse of himself, bucking and sobbing as the orgasm/quickening took hold of him. He felt Methos shuddering inside him, coming in a long stream that seemed to be pouring into his body and spilling from his own throbbing cock pressed between them all at once. The blue energy crackled in the air around their bodies, lighting up the dark loft in flashes like lightning. Methos collapsed on top of him and his arms went around the trembling body to hold him impossibly close.

When he could speak, Duncan whispered hoarsely against his lover's shoulder, "How did you do that?"

"I didn't do it all by myself, Duncan," Methos replied, shaken.

Duncan searched the eyes that roamed his face with such tenderness. "I have never felt anything like that before, Methos. What did we do?"

Methos was trembling, Duncan eased him gently off his chest and onto the soft mattress beside him, holding him closely. Methos' hand caressed his cheek, looking in awe at the faint light that still played around them.

"I'm not sure how, Duncan, but our quickenings... mated. For a moment I was really inside of you, a part of you. I could feel what you felt, and then I felt our quickenings... joining. It was, more than I know how to say," Methos whispered. Then even more softly, a few words in a language so ancient that itís name was long forgotten. Sibilant, melodic syllables that Duncan realized he had translated in his mind without thinking, somehow. "Light of my soul," the words came before he knew he had spoken them.

They lay silent, arms wrapped around each other, unwilling to move and break the connection that could still be felt, pulsing faintly between them. A peaceful quiet settled over them as their chests rose and fell in synch. When they kissed, it was a slow, complicated communication of thoughts and emotions too intense to speak. Methos' long fingers traced Duncan's features, touching him with awe and tenderness.

"I have never been so close to anyone before, Duncan," he spoke softly, his voice hushed in the stillness. "I'm glad itís you."

Duncan nodded, his eyes as big as saucers, and kissed him again, unable to express the emotion that welled up in his throat. That one moment inside Methos' consciousness had been... enlightening. Even in Bordeaux, it hadn't been like this.

"You're beautiful inside, Methos," Duncan mumbled into his lover's chest, drifting off to sleep.

Methos remained awake for a long time, thinking about what had passed between them. He had not thought such a thing was possible. It had been so much like a quickening, Duncan's thoughts and sensations superimposed over his own. Methos smiled in the dark, remembering what it had been like to feel Duncan's love for him from the inside. Duncan trusted him without reservation, would give him his life if he asked for it. He knew that now, and it frightened him. Duncan's trust was a heavy weight, it came with expectations he wasn't sure he would always be able to live up to. No matter Duncan's assurances, Methos could not forget that he had lost it before. All it had taken was a little horror from his past, and all of Duncan's faith in him had dissolved.

Methos sighed, kissing his sleeping lover's forehead, he loved this man with a wild, unreserved joy. Duncan was someone the Gods created but once a millennium, if then. Slowly, his mind began to wrap around the problem of how they might contrive to make a life together. Perhaps it was time for Adam Pierson to venture beyond the academic life, try some thing new. Who needed another doctorate lying around anyway. He would miss the libraries though, and all the hours spent researching his own history. It had been enlightening.

He'd probably have to wait and see what would come from Duncan's meeting with his lawyer. Then he'd be able to form a plan for Adam Pierson. He realized he was planning his life around the Highlander's, but this time it didn't scare him. Sleep finally won over as Methos settled in even closer to Duncan's warm body.

"Methos," Duncan hated waking the old man, but he had to leave to meet with the lawyer. Maybe he should just leave a note.

"Hmm?" Sleepy hazel eyes squinted at him.

"I have to go now, but I'll be back in a few hours. There's coffee."

"Good luck," Methos smiled up at him, eyes still heavy with sleep.

Briefly, Duncan considered crawling back in bed. Methos' eyes were almost too much to resist. Unfortunately the responsibilities outweighed the invitation. He kissed Methos quickly on the forehead and headed for the door.

Methos watched Duncan head out the door, and pieces of last night came back to him in flashes. Gods, what was that? In five thousand years he'd never witnessed anything like it. In fact, he'd seen very little real magic in his life. Any further speculation was going to require some coffee.

Four cups later he still didn't have any answers. Fate seemed to be the obvious answer, and that scared him. The Fates hadn't been very kind, lately... to let him get this impossibly close to Duncan and then take him away, it would be more than he could stand. Best not to think about it. He'd lived this long by taking it one day at a time, why change now? Duncan's warmth and love still buzzed in his head, and he drew strength and calm from it.

Yes, becoming part of Duncan's life could be very easy in some respects. The creature comforts and upgrade in lifestyle aside, the pure joy of being in the Highlander's company was argument enough to stay for at least a century. Duncan's love and acceptance thrilled him, and terrified him. Lately, however, the fear seemed to be receding, just a bit. Last night he'd felt only joy and completion. Duncan had seen his soul and still loved him, unconditionally. A smile of wonder spread across his face. Getting lost in Duncan MacLeod had just taken on new meaning. Telling himself he was turning into an old romantic fool, he headed for the shower. A long, hot one.

By the time Duncan came back Methos had showered, cleaned up the loft, and finished another endless entry in his journal. Before Duncan even had his coat off Methos had him in his arms, kissing him deeply.

"You are wonderful to come home to, Old Man," Duncan nuzzled Methos' face with his nose.

"Keep calling me that and I'll bite your nose off," Methos grinned, deviously.

Duncan gave him a playful poke in the ribs and hung up his coat.

"So, what did the lawyers have to say?" Methos plopped himself on the couch. Duncan admired the way his limbs fell into a sprawl before he answered.

"Well, it seems the best thing to do financially would be to give a try at opening up a business of some sort, but I have no idea what. They're telling me it's very unlikely I'll find a buyer for a building this size, or even a tenant. It could stay on the market for a year or more, or I might not find one at all, even though it's worth next to nothing. It seems the neighborhood hasn't prospered in my absence. I know I don't want to run a Dojo. I don't want something that will demand that much of my time. Not another antique store, either. Too many memories there."

Duncan got lost for a moment, and Methos let him. Occupational hazard, getting lost in memories. He should know, he had enough of them.

"So," Duncan took a deep breath, pulling himself back,"What are you in the mood for? A restaurant? No, that really would take up too much of our time."

Duncan went into the kitchen and came back with two beers. Methos realized that Duncan was talking as if they would run this mystery business together. Would that be too much of a strain? To live and work together? He told himself that the modern times were getting to him. There was a time when living and working side by side with the ones you cared for was the normal, everyday way of life. Duncan handed him his beer and sat down on the couch with him.

"Is that an invitation to become your business partner as well?" he said it with a teasing tone, but he needed to hear the words.

"Yes, unless it's more than you want," Duncan was afraid that he'd assumed too much,"I don't want to force you into anything, but if you'd like, I'm willing to try just about anything."

"Gods Duncan, in a little over a month you've got me thinking about not only living with you but now running a business together. How did I ever get so deep, so fast?" his soft laugh and crinkled smile took all bitterness from the words. Methos' self-amusement was obvious.

"It must be my irresistible charm," Duncan crooned, enjoying this playful side of his lover.

"Yes, must be," a leer perfected over the millennia spread across Methos' face. "I'll think about it. I've been a student for so long I'm not sure I remember anything else."

"Do that. I think I'm getting tired of being an entrepreneur, I thought about it all the way home and I can't come up with anything." Duncan pulled on his beer, interlacing the fingers of his other hand with Methos' on the back of the couch. "Have you eaten anything yet, or are we having beer for breakfast?" Duncan asked, smiling at the mock guilt in the old man's eyes.

"Coffee counts," Methos defended himself.

Duncan smiled indulgently, "Are you hungry? Can I make you lunch to go with that beer, at least?"

"Actually, I am, but you don't have anything in your refrigerator, do you?"

Duncan shrugged, "I forgot. I guess I should go get some groceries. Do you want to come with me?"

"Oh no, no grocery shopping today, put it off. How about we just order a pizza?"

"You want pizza and beer for breakfast?" Duncan made a face at his lover.

"Well, you are trying to turn me into an American, aren't you? If I'm going to live here I may as well embrace the culture."

"Pizza hardly qualifies as culture, but if that's what you want, I'll order one, and we can worry about groceries tomorrow."

Methos thought humorously that letting Duncan talk him into living with him might be very enjoyable. In fact, a Duncan that was willing to do just about anything to please him could be extremely rewarding. Of course, the conscious he didn't like to admit to possessing had already decided to tell Duncan that he would live here in Seacouver with him, if that was where Duncan wanted to be.

Duncan got up to order his lover a large garbage pizza, giving the address and his credit card number to the girl on the phone. He thought it was funny, and also telling, how much more 'modern' Methos was than he himself. Methos listened to Springsteen and ate pizza and knew all the current american slang. It impressed him, that his lover was able to continually absorb and adjust to the cultures around him. Duncan thought that Methos would blend here just as easily as he did everywhere else. Methos would hang out in the coffee houses and get to know all the bookstore owners here, and before anyone noticed, he would be a familiar face, without anyone really knowing a thing about him.

Duncan smiled suddenly. Of course... that was it! The perfect solution.

The phone girl came back on the line, thanking him for holding and telling him the pizza would be there in about fifteen minutes.

"What is?" Methos asked him from the couch.

Duncan hung up the phone and grabbed them each a second beer, coming back to the couch.

"What is what?" he asked, distracted. He must have missed the first part of what Methos had said to him.

"What's the perfect solution?"

Duncan stared at him, his mouth hanging open.

"It's that earthshaking? What, you've found the solution to end the gathering, peacefully?"

"Methos...I didn't say anything. I only thought it," Duncan was still staring at him with a combination of awe and fear in his wide eyes.

"Yes, you did, Duncan," Methos told him patiently, "You said, 'that's it, the perfect solution.' "

"No, I didn't, I only thought it."

Methos looked at him disbelievingly, "People say that I'm getting senile."

"Methos, I am absolutely certain that I didn't say it. I was still talking to the pizza place on the phone, I couldn't have. I thought it, and you heard me. I thought something like that happened this morning, when you kissed me goodbye...I could still hear you, in my head, as I was walking to the car."

"You mean my quickening?" Methos asked him, still not willing to believe that he had read Duncan's mind.

"No, I mean you were still talking to me, sort of...I wasn't very awake, I don't remember exactly what you said, you were wondering about last night, what it was..."

"Duncan, that is not possible."

"How do you know? Last night, when we..." Duncan smiled, moving closer to his lover on the couch, "When you were inside me, and our quickenings...I could hear you, I could feel your thoughts in my head, and it was like I was inside you and inside myself at the same time..."

"I remember, Duncan," Methos told him huskily, taking the Highlander in his arms. "I don't know what happened, or how we did it. I have a natural distrust of anything that seems like magic, because I have seen almost no real magic in all the time I have been alive, and because I've learned that anything that looks like it usually comes with an ulterior motive."

"What do you think the ulterior motive is?" Duncan whispered, laying his head confidingly on the old man's shoulder.

"I don't know, love, I don't necessarily think that there is one. I suppose the only answer I've come up with so far is 'fate', and while it's a little unsettling, I'm not sorry it happened.

"Neither am I," Duncan told him softly, kissing his lover's cheek.

The doorbell rang, interrupting the kiss that followed. Methos sighed against his mouth, letting Duncan up. He went to the kitchen to get them plates and napkins while Duncan answered the door.

They met back at the couch, setting the pizza and plates on the coffee table.

"So, what was the perfect solution?" Methos asked, when he had consumed half a slice of greasy pizza.

"How would you like a bookstore?" Duncan asked, smiling at Methos. He'd been right, he had found the perfect thing. His lover's eyes were bright, and the smile spreading over his face full of excitement.

"Really?" Methos asked, and the hopefulness in his voice was Duncan's reward. He congratulated himself for finding something that would be appealing to five thousand years. Sometimes Methos' past could be intimidating, he was a very difficult person to surprise.

"Really. I have no idea what kind of profit we could expect, or what the competition would be like, but it couldn't be any worse that the first three years with the dojo."

"New or used?" Methos asked quickly, stuffing pizza into his mouth excitedly.

"I don't know, I suppose you could have both, how much space do you think we need?"

Methos thought for a moment, the picture of the place slowing coming into focus in his mind. "At least as much as the dojo is now, maybe more, although that would be for stock, so it wouldn't have to be expensive, just lots of shelving."

"That sounds workable. What shall we call it?"

"Mmm, have to think about that one for awhile, nothing comes to mind. Don would like it, me owning a bookshop..." Methos' voice trailed off, missing his friend.

"Yeah, he would," Duncan agreed gently, letting Methos remember.

"Can we get started right away? Is there anything holding us back on the legal end?" Methos asked, already planning the way the place would look when it was finished.

"Not at all, the sooner we can get it open the better. However, there are a lot of other things we should think about. Like you, Methos. Are you going to move Adam Pierson here, or is it time for him to be retired? And I think it will be easier to begin setting up a business if you're a legal resident. Do you have American citizenship?"

"Last time I checked. I think Adam can safely move to Seacouver, well, as safe as doing anything with you is. In for a penny, in for a pound I guess." Methos smiled at him, shrugging off the very real dangers of living openly with another Immortal.

"Are you sure about that?" Duncan asked softly, thinking that Methos hadn't actually agreed to living with him in so many words yet.

Methos set his beer down, pushing away his empty plate. "Yes, Duncan, I'm sure. At least I'm sure that I want to try. We won't know exactly what the risks are until we try. If it doesn't work, then we may have to go somewhere else, find a less conspicuous life. But if this is what you want, I'm willing to give it a try. I'm not willing to give you up, Highlander, and Seacouver has tolerable weather..."

Duncan laughed, gratitude and relief flowing over him. "I am so lucky..." he told him, kissing the back of Methos' hand, which tasted like pizza.

"There is no luck, only fate."

"Then I am very fortunate to have you as part of my fate," Duncan told him, kissing Methos soundly.

"Do you really think so, Duncan? Even after Kronos, after Kyven?"

"Yes, I do. Absolutely." Duncan's steady brown eyes held his, with complete certainty.

They spent the rest of the afternoon making plans for the bookstore and talking about Adam Pierson's future. They decided that Methos would go back to Paris, in a day or two, to rent out his flat and make all the necessary arrangements. Duncan would do his best to have the Dojo ready to begin reconstruction when he returned. Methos talked excitedly about what the place should look like, and smell like, and what sort of shelves were best for old books and manuscripts. Duncan listened happily, getting caught up in the old man's excitement. Methos' eyes were bright, and his speech animated, grabbing a pen and paper from the table every now and then to draw Duncan a picture when his words couldn't contain his enthusiasm.

They talked all afternoon, until the loft was dark and the bookstore had been built and decorated several times. Methos wanted a good sound system, and a professional espresso machine. They agreed about almost everything, which surprised them both.

"We should go get something to celebrate with, champagne or beer or something. Would you like to go for a walk with me? I'll show you around the neighborhood."

"A very good idea. Let's go. I think we need a case of Pete's Wicked Ale and possibly a bottle of scotch for you."

Duncan laughed, thinking that it didn't matter how much the bookstore made, Methos would spend all the profit on beer anyway.

"I know what to call the bookstore," Methos announced excitedly, turning to Duncan, who had his arms full of beer.

"What?" Duncan asked, waiting for Methos to pull the gate for him. He followed his lover into the loft, setting the box the liquor store had given him on the counter top. Methos came up behind him, reaching over his shoulder to pull a bottle of beer out of the box.

"Bell, Book and Candle," he grinned at Duncan, using the bottle opener on Duncan's keys to pop his beer cap and flicking it dramatically over his shoulder. It slid musically down the wall behind the fridge, landing on the floor behind it with a last little clink.

"Methos! Don't do that. How many bookshops do you think there are with that name?"

"Probably dozens. That's because it's a great name, Duncan."

"Well, I think we're going to have to find out if there are any in Seacouver."

"Fine, but if it's not taken, I want it," Methos told him decisively, drinking his beer.

Duncan smiled, giving in, "Okay, Bell, Book and Candle it is. Are we going to sell bells and candles?"

"Mmm, maybe candles," Methos took his beer into the living room, snagging a second bottle from the case Duncan was putting in the fridge and took it with him.

They sat in silence for a minute, each busy with their own thoughts. Duncan was thinking about all the things he needed to do before the Dojo would be ready for contractor's and estimates. He needed to take down all the swords on the walls, and clean out his office. He thought he might get a little sentimental and see if they could keep the magnificent hardwood floor.

"Duncan?"

"Hmm?"

"Are you sure you want me to live with you? Have you really thought about it?"

"Yes, absolutely, and yes, Methos, I've thought about it, and I think nothing could be better than living and working with you. I want you here."

Methos smiled, obviously pleased, "I guess I just want you to be sure..."

"I'm sure."

"Have you thought about Watchers yet, or Joe?" Methos asked quietly, taking Duncan's hand.

"No, I'm trying not to. Have you?"

"Not really. I really don't think that we necessarily have to say anything to Joe. He's a very perceptive man, and this isn't going to take a great deal of detective work to figure out. He'll draw his own conclusions, and if he wants to ask us about it, he will. On the other hand, there are other watchers that follow your escapades, Duncan, and it wouldn't surprise me if one of them were to get curious about Adam Pierson. From researcher to infamous Immortal's lover is a rather unlikely step. Although, I suppose the bookstore isn't, really."

"Have you ever owned one before?" Duncan asked curiously.

Methos thought about it for a moment, "I've never owned one, no, although I've worked in several. Not for a long time, though. Let's see, I think the last was almost two hundred years ago."

Duncan smiled, amazed that he had actually found something Methos had never done before this easily, and he seemed to be genuinely excited by the prospect.

"Where were you? What year?" he couldn't help it, Methos seemed in a remarkably open mood, and he couldn't resist the opportunity to gather a little more information.

Methos' smile was ironic, Duncan still managed to keep all those dates in his head, time was still something to be measured for him. It made him jealous, sometimes, Duncan's youth.

"I couldn't even take a guess at an exact year, I think it was about ten years before the French revolution. In Zurich."

"I was in France, with Fitz... Where were you before that?" Duncan couldn't contain his intense curiosity.

Methos withdrew his hand from Duncan's, his answer was flat and emotionless, "I was in Naples."

Duncan was aware of the anxiety buzzing in his lover's quickening, he could feel Methos' distress, and the will he imposed to shut out his memories. Duncan saw, in clear, picture-like flashes, the map making shop Methos had owned, and the beautiful, blonde boy named Antony who had been his assistant. It was so strange, this feeling, it was as if Methos' thoughts were superimposed over his own, and if he stayed quiet, and kept his own mind still, he could almost will himself into Methos' head.

"I'm sorry, Methos."

His lover's smile was enigmatic, "I'm not."

Duncan wasn't sure what to say to that, and the sensation of being inside his lover's consciousness was fading, he could feel Methos withdrawing, gently pulling away from him. Duncan let it go, wishing that he knew how to control the strange ability to feel his lover's thoughts. It was intensely emotional, and very intimate, being inside him like that.

Methos got up from the couch, going into the kitchen for another beer. Duncan thought about what had just happened, and how this strange kind of telepathy might work. It was disconcerting, but also wonderful, to have Methos' quickening inside him like that, a part of him. It was also almost painfully erotic. Duncan remembered the shiver of awareness that had raced down his spine, just before he caught the flashes of his lover's memories, and shifted uncomfortably on the couch. There wasn't really enough room in his tight jeans for his erection. He watched Methos come back to him, a sigh he wasn't even aware of escaping his parted lips.

The older Immortal wandered slowly to the window, and then came back to sit next to him on the couch. Methos smiled, sadness mixed with amusement in his hazel eyes.

"I suppose it's rather pointless to try to hide my past from you now, isn't it, Highlander?"

"I didn't do it on purpose, it just happened... I'm sorry Methos." Duncan remembered the intensity of the pain that came with the picture of Antony, who had been very young, with sharp features and bright, almond shaped green eyes. Methos had loved that boy. He hadn't expected to lose him for many years to come. They'd had a life, of sorts, together, and Methos had been happy. Duncan knew that Kyven had somehow taken all that away, but those memories were buried deep in his ancient lover's conscious, and he hadn't seen anything of Kyven in his glimpses of the old man's thoughts.

"No, don't be. Only, don't search too deeply, love. It could get ugly."

"I won't, even if I knew how... but it wouldn't matter, Methos, I swear it. Nothing could change the way I feel about you," Duncan's voice was solemn.

Methos smiled at him, his eyes full of love, "You are so sure about that."

"Aye, I know it," Duncan told him softly, taking his lover's hand.

Methos shook his head, overwhelmed by Duncan's certainty. Duncan's trust was still somewhat daunting, but he thought he could learn to live with it. Methos stared into the dark brown eyes, absolutely steadfast and calm, and sighed, sprawling against Duncan.

"You know it scares the hell out me, your faith in me. All of this... I know this, though, you are easily twice as good for me as you dangerous to me. In my entire life, I have never met your equal, Duncan. I mean it, there is no one in the world that could be better for me, or that I could want more. I'm scared, but I'm not stupid enough to give you up just because I'm afraid. It's not that I don't want your trust, Duncan, I do, it's just not something I'm very familiar with."

"Methos, please, believe this... It's not that I trust that there is nothing in your past that I can't handle, I'm very sure there is," Duncan smiled, drawing Methos closer to him. "It's that I know that no matter what, no matter how angry you make me or what horrible thing happens, I will love you. This frightens me too, you can be... overwhelming. I know we didn't start this out very well. I was an idiot, and Kyven didn't help, but don't you see, it doesn't matter. No matter what we put each other through, I will love you. I can't help it, and I don't want to."

"I think we're just going to have to be patient with each other. I know I can be difficult to reach sometimes," he paused, choosing his words carefully. "I'm not really accustomed to sharing myself with someone. I don't want to hold myself apart from you, Duncan. I'm not even sure I have a choice anymore," Methos smiled.

"Well, if you don't, then neither do I. I love you, Methos."

"And I love you, Duncan. Baring any major catastrophes, I think we're going to be just fine."

Duncan smiled, wrapping his arms around Methos, "So do I."

Methos turned in Duncan's arms to kiss him, pressing his lips softly against his Highlander's.

"I think we need a nice, quiet game of chess, a little break from all of this..." Methos waved his hand in the air between them expressively, "Intensity."

Duncan's arms around his waist squeezed him briefly, "You're right, as always. I'd love to play a game chess with you. Do you remember...?"

"Yes, of course I do, and the reason I lost was that I couldn't take my eyes off you. You're going to lose this time, Highlander."

"Have I lost my charm already?" Duncan teased, smiling.

Methos shook his head, smiling back, "Oh no, not by any means, but recent events have allowed me to cultivate a small resistance. I think I can keep my mind on the game, as long as you don't get devious."

"No, I promise, I'll be good."

Duncan kissed Methos again, and then got up to get the board and playing pieces. They settled across from each other, Duncan on the couch and Methos sprawled on the floor across the corner of the coffee table from him.

Duncan got up to get them each another drink while Methos set up the board. He had snagged a cushion from the couch and was propped up comfortably against Duncan's chair. His long legs sprawled under the table, one arm resting on the chair behind him.

They began the game without any further words between them, The calm familiarity enough for them both. If they were lucky, there would be an eternity of nights like this ahead.

The End

So long

Long between mirages

I knew you'd find me drinking

Tell those men with horses for hearts

That they're jokes

Don't make me bleed

They only make me feel like shrinking

In an unguarded moment

Song lyrics borrowed without permission from The Church, Steve Kilby, and Michele Parker.

Feedback? houseofslack@hos.slashcity.com