I can just see the pond from the window, where I sit, warm by the fire, Watching from inside, a Chronicle on my knee and a drink at my elbow. Hot buttered rum all around, the Highlander declared, pouring with a generous hand. For a moment I thought he might heat the stuff with the poker, the old-fashioned way, but this lodge has all the modern conveniences. He used the microwave. The stove is electric and would take too long; or longer than he wanted to take. Adam - Methos - watching him the whole time, with that (besotted) smile of his.
They are out there on the pond now, on the ice, shapes spinning and weaving, dancing in the winter starlight. Mac left his mug on the table, half-drunk, the steam-curls vanishing as it cools. Adam (oh, he's calling himself something else now, but he's always going to be Adam to me, and this journal is for me, and when I'm gone it will go to him, not to the archives, a lurking time-bomb among the Chronicles) took his with him, never one for letting go of heat when he doesn't have to, let alone wasting good alcohol. Skating as foreplay.
Lovers. Have been for a while: smooth rum and slick ice.
It is so easy to see either one of them presiding over a gently steaming punch bowl, Duncan expansive in his generosity, Adam more inclined to wit and incisive observation, but neither would have other than quality ingredients and a well-tested recipe. Easy to see Adam (Methos, Benjamin Adams, Remus, Metopholus …) in the context of just about any kind of brew, ancient to modern, cold to hot, barley-malt to distilled molasses. Mead poured out under the stars to the gods, aqua-vitae raised in toast, Midas’ golden brew royally dispensed (of course I read that article, and ribbed him about it.)
Duncan has his Scotch, and is expert of course on sake and plum wine. He appreciates the wines of California as well as the wines of France (though he will always, I think, give the French the lead there.) But it was Adam introduced him to ice-wine, and the year we all brought out our favorite winter-concoctions I’m not sure I’ve ever seen him has drunk as he was on Adam’s eggnog, while Adam sipped (yes, sipped) Duncan’s athelbrose. The rest of the crew decided ‘Joe’s Wassail’ was the winner, but I really think in the end it was a draw.
Fiery spirit and mulled wine both warm what was long frozen.
They’re good for each other, good together. Out there, skating in the moonlight, starlight on snow, silver blades flashing in sport on their feet, not in earnest in their hands, there is no time, no age, only now, living in the moment in delight. Anyone who’s ever Watched Mac would know, seeing them tonight, that Mac is in love, that Adam is his lover, and more then that, a comrade, an equal, a brother. They might see that Adam is as in love with Duncan. They wouldn’t see - would never be allowed to see - that Methos is even more so.
Watching them, I can tell when Duncan realizes that Adam is getting chilled, well before Adam seems to. (Which says something about the kind of cold he’s experienced, I think, and he’s one who never had a lot of meat on his bones; I’d be fond of Bali and Tahiti too, given that.) Then there’ll be a whirlwind, laughing chase and someone will end up in a snowbank, and they’ll come in. Before he shuts the door, Methos will sweep the sky, the lake, the woods beyond: light and shadow, terror and beauty, danger and delight. Ice without; fire within.
They’ve both come through, endured, so much, to be here, together.
They don't seem to mind that I'm here, that I can hear them, that I know when they're making love. Know how Methos sounds when Mac takes him. How he looks: Mac's hand spread wide and olive-dark against the cream-pale of his belly, the arch and tremble of his back. The curve and jut of his cock. The way he welcomes Mac's thrust, opens to it, meets and matches it with that low, quick gasp, half laugh, half sob. The cry when he comes. It’s an even older dance than the one they do on the ice, under the stars.
Though I don't think they actually intended me to see quite as much as I did when they came in from skating on the pond. It’s a small cabin: stout against the weather outside, arranged inside for the warmth from the hearth to reach everywhere. Maybe they didn’t see me in the firelight. Or maybe they did. Watching is an old game too. Perhaps they wanted a witness to their love. Someone other than the stars and the fire, their own hearts. A Watcher, as ephemeral as the skate-marks and the frozen surface of the pond, the taste of rum.
Cold and hot, light and dark, they know I love them.
They've both lived through so many different times, different attitudes, different expectations and understanding of how the world works, what constitutes good and evil, right and wrong, even things like maleness and femaleness. "The world was different then." And yet, in some ways, not different at all. There's a fragment of a chronicle - no idea who recorded it, no certainty who the story is even about - a day-in-the-life: hunting red deer for the rath in winter, cracking the shin-bones and using them as skates, racing and laughing on the frozen pond, then tumbling in the furs together, still laughing.
That watcher, that immortal, so long ago -- yet hardly different from today. I watch them, the four hundred year old Highland Scot, the unimaginably old survivor, playing, loving, living. It's not the tools, the toys, the technology that matters (hot stones, hot pokers, excited microwaves all heat) but the hearts and minds and spirits that employ them. They’re out there again this morning, chasing about in the snow, and I hope we'll all be here next year, ten years hence. That a thousand years from now they'll be fixing force-fields to their feet to skate on, still laughing, still together.
Flying over ice, drunk with the spirit of life and love.