Everything was over. He understood that. He'd lost Mac and he couldn't even struggle against it. He just didn't have any strength left in him. If Mac didn't want him any more, so be it. He gave up.
He let the grey mist envelop him tighter, let it cover everything and slowly seep deeply into him as well. He was wrapped in this mist, a curling, rolling ball of grey, both confining him and confined within him. Nothing could penetrate his solitude now nor mar this untouchable tranquility. He wouldn't suffer any more. No Mac, no pain. Unfeeling.
Unfeeling even though he was aware of irons being unlocked from his wrists and ankles - and his broken limbs were touched hesitantly but not dared to move - and something soft covered his body, wooly and warm - but not so warm as the hand that was smoothing his hair back from his forehead in hasty, almost feverish movements. But those movements were fading away; the warm hands slipping away and then grey mist covering everything. It’s alright, the mist is warm in its way, warmer than the ice inside, and comforting. No thinking, no pain, just nothing. Until the memories come…
Duncan was frantic, soothing his hands over Methos’ ruined face. His eyes looked wrong, the lids slightly sunken. Steeling himself, Duncan lifted the pale skin only to find ruined orbs. The sockets, caked with dried blood and gore, gaped sightlessly passed him. Can immortals regenerate eyes? Although Duncan could see small weak sparks floating over Methos’ body, there was no response to show that Methos was conscious, but he was alive.
Carefully, he and Joe wrapped Methos in blankets and Duncan picked up this most precious cargo and quickly carried him out of this chamber of horrors, let the Watchers take care of the room filled with a blood covered table, various gore-encrusted tools, a corpse…was that a tongue on the floor?...and video equipment.
“I’ll take care of this, Mac. You get him home and I’ll join you there later,” growled the grey-haired Watcher. Sickened by the mess, he wondered about that last phone call ‘You can come and take him.’ Still, despite the directions, they had trouble finding him. Or what’s left of him. If Mac hadn’t felt the weak call of Methos’ Quickening, they might not have found this room, found Methos. The mortal who kidnapped and tortured Methos was still unknown to him. Why did he do this? Was he an enemy of Mac or Methos? Mac claimed he didn’t recognize the corpse, but then his eyes had been only on the horribly damaged body of his friend. Joe made a few phone calls and then, once the others arrived, he would leave to see how his friend fared.
Mac carefully laid Methos in the front seat of his car and rushed back to the barge, speaking to Methos the entire way, “You’re safe. Its okay, I’ve got you. You’re alright now.” Mac kept a hand on Methos, just touching or rubbing, trying to let Methos know that he was safe and wouldn’t be hurt.
Carrying his ancient friend across the gangplank and into the barge, he gently laid him down on his bed. With towels and several basins of warm water, Mac washed the dried blood, semen, and other fluids from the ancient’s body, taking extra care around the damaged sockets. His beautiful eyes, God, please let them grow back! Mac couldn’t imagine his friend living in a darkened world. Yes, he could learn to protect himself, but the loss of Methos’ books! It’s not like all those ancient texts would ever be transcribed into Braille. Who else in the world was still able to read some of those nearly-forgotten languages?
Mac pulled the covers up over the cold, unresponsive body. If it weren’t for the healing still taking place and the slow, steady heartbeat and respirations, Mac would think that Methos was dead. But now, dead or not, it was time to wait until Methos showed some sign of awakening.
Grey mists swirled across his eyes as he gasped back to life. Eventually he could make out the texture of the rough hewn rock over him. Where...? Confusion and fear fought for precedence in his brain. Fear won out as he realized he couldn’t move his arms or legs. He sucked in another hissed breath. Oh, no! That was a mistake, you fool! Now they know you’re awake! Evil laughter rang out near him, echoing off the rock.
“So you’re back with us! Good, I much prefer looking in your eyes as I fuck you.” A shadow crossed over him and he felt hands rubbing circles across his belly which quivered with every breath. A hand slowly caressed the tender skin of his lower abdomen and slid further down across his genitals.
“So sweet, so soft” murmured that voice. A quick twist of the hand on his genitals forced a scream from his throat. “What a lovely voice. Sing for me, my sweet!” The hand continued to twist forcing more screams from his throat as the grey mist floated back across his eyes…
Mac had just poured himself a cup of coffee when a knock at the door brought Joe into the barge. “How’s he doing?”
“It’s still ‘wait and see’,” replied Mac as he handed Joe the cup. “Any word on who the mortal was?”
“Not yet. I’ll keep you posted.” Joe looked at the man lying on the bed. “What about his eyes, Mac? Do you think they’ll come back? I mean, the only blind immortal I know of was blinded before becoming an immortal. And Xavier St Cloud’s hand didn’t grow back, but that’s not to say it wouldn’t have eventually.” Jesus, I’m babbling… Joe rubbed a tired hand across his face. “I’m going to have to do some reading on this. Know anything?” Joe looked at Mac, saw the fear in the dark eyes.
“No, no…I don’t know. But whatever you find…”
“Yeah, yeah, I’ll let you know. God, between you and Methos, one of you is always ripping my heart up. What’s with you guys?”
Mac didn’t say anything. He just rubbed his hand up and down Joe’s arm. “I’m going to settle in for the wait. You’re welcome to stay. I can set up the couch for you, if you’d like?”
“No, I’m going to do some research and see if we’ve found out anything. Call me when he wakes up, okay?” Joe made his way out with Mac walking him to the door.
“Sure, Joe…and thanks.” Joe nodded and left. Mac walked back to the bed and looked down at his friend. Friend? Lover? Was Methos still his friend? They hadn’t been lovers since before Bordeaux, before Kronos had torn them apart. Mac was still torn over who he thought Methos was and what he’d found out about his past. There were so many times he felt like he hated the ancient man. How can he have done what he’d done in his life and still walk around as though it was all forgiven and forgotten? How can he live like that? Despite what he knew of him now, Mac still wanted Methos, ached for him. Duncan desperately missed him in his life and in his bed. Sitting alone in the barge at night he’d thought of nothing but the Old Man. They’d just started this new phase of their relationship before it all went to hell. God, he’d wanted to know so much more about this man who was still such an incredible mystery. But at this point, he wasn’t sure he could deal with the next revelation. He’d never been around anyone so full of contradictions and who kept him on a knife’s edge of emotion. Lately, the chief emotions were confusion and loneliness...ever since this mutual coldness after Bordeaux kept them apart. How is it possible to know him when the old son of a bitch constantly exasperated him to no end and hid who he was?
Mac eyed the still figure. He looked so young and vulnerable as he slept. But God, that tongue! Richie used to say his best weapon wasn’t his sword but his mouth. Mac doubted there’d be any other time he’d ever wish for a scathing comment from the Old Man but he wished for one now. “Come on, Methos, wake up! Say something, anything…just one ‘Highland idiot’ in that arrogant tone you’ve perfected over the centuries...please!” Instead he lay there, seemingly asleep in Mac’s bed, so still. The only movement visible was the slight shifting of that finely-muscled chest with each breath. And so Mac waited.
As the shadows grew longer and night softly moved in, Mac moved about the barge and turned on some lamps. The golden pools of light reminding Mac of so many quiet evenings spent right here with the Old Man. Evenings where he’d make dinner then they’d play chess or watch a movie, sometimes deciding to go visit Joe. Sometimes they’d just sit and read, quietly enjoying one another’s presence. Memories briefly flitted through Mac’s mind leaving a feeling of warmth and companionship unlike any other in his life. God, he missed the Methos he knew, but who was he, really? What else was hidden in the ancient man’s past? What else can come between them? What else will rip his heart out? Mac was so tired of the same questions and thoughts running in circles through his mind. He was just tired through and through.
God, what could have possessed that animal to do those things to Methos? Was he another demon from the Ancient’s past? Never in his long life had he ever seen or heard of torture taken to the level of brutality that he’d seen in the videos sent to him by that madman. Mac’s stomach turned and he began to tremble at the memory of the horrors Methos had suffered. As much as Mac wanted to destroy the tape, he forced himself to view it – seeing it didn’t compare to living it. He’d hoped to get some clue as to where they were holding him. The effort proved useless. They couldn’t trace the phone calls, either. The madman knew just how long he could stay on the phone. Mac knew the sound of Methos’ screaming would be the stuff of nightmares for the rest of his life.
And Mac couldn’t help him, couldn’t find him. That last phone call was the only way to get to him and Methos had found a way to kill the madman before he even got there. The Old Man had always said he could take care of himself, had been doing so for 5000 years. He certainly proved it. Mac couldn’t even conceive of the strength of will behind that last monumental act. His incredible will to survive, Mac thought grimly. As often as he’d derided the dictum of survival at all costs, for once he was glad Methos lived it. He had survived to grow stronger and fight another day.
Before this latest horror he thought that Methos was getting ready to leave again. Shamefully, he actually wanted Methos to leave hoping he could find some measure of peace with the Old Man gone. But obviously it just wasn’t time, yet, not until this was finished. In spite of everything, Mac wouldn’t leave his side. Not while Methos needed him. “Whatever happens, Old Man, I’m here. I’m with you.”
“It’s been three days, Joe! Why won’t he wake up?” Mac paced back and forth next to the bed that held the ancient, still unmoving after the horrible beatings and mutilations he’d suffered. Mac had succeeded in getting him to swallow some water he dribbled in Methos’ mouth, but no other movement came from him. His body had healed and even his eyes had healed. Mac had awakened from one of his fitful dozes the day before to check on Methos. Instead of finding the eyelids closed over the damaged organs, they were rounded out prompting Mac to gently lift the long-lashed lids. He found beautiful gold/green orbs right where they were supposed to be. Mac’s own chocolate eyes misted over at the sight. “Methos…please wake up!” Mac tried in vain to rouse his friend, but Methos’ eyes stayed closed with no evidence of waking. “Okay, Old Man, maybe you’re not completely healed, yet,” thought Mac. “You need just a little more time.” So Mac waited. But by the fourth day, Methos still showed no sign of awareness. Joe and Mac tried to shake him, yelled at him, and even slapped his face without result. Together they waited.
“Deny me, Brother?” The backhanded slap would have knocked Methos to the ground if not for the ropes that secured him to the pole. “Did you forget that we share everything?” Another slap threw his head in the opposite direction. Kronos reached around Methos and cut the rope, savagely throwing Methos to the ground. With one hand painfully twisting a handful of long, dark hair, Kronos lifted Methos hips with his other hand. In one savage thrust, he fully sheathed himself in Methos’ ass as Methos screamed in one long cry. Dry, each thrust tore more of the delicate tissues releasing a torrent of blood. Pulling his knife, Kronos played with the skin across Methos’ ass. “Pity these won’t last, Brother. It might make you reconsider all the time you spend riding.” The blood dripping down his thighs mixed with the blood from the long slices across his buttocks; every thrust causing pain both within and without. Why did he let his mouth get him into trouble again? When would he learn to just shut up when Kronos pushed him?
That rape had been two days ago. Since then he’d been tied facedown in the dirt, lying in the sun as punishment for his lack of judgment. He tried to get the sand out of his mouth but he had no spit left. His tongue was thick and sluggish, failing miserably at scraping the grit from inside his cheeks. He grunted as his arms were pulled out in front of him. “Well, Brother, I’m ready to test this new filly you’ve trained! You said she runs like the wind, but I’m sure she won’t only run for you. Let’s find out, shall we?” ‘Gods, when will he learn that Kronos takes what he wants?’ That was his last coherent thought as both arms were pulled from their sockets when Kronos spurred the filly forward, dragging Methos along behind…
Mac sat on the couch with his head in his hands. Joe had researched everything he could on immortal healing, but couldn’t find anything about healing taking this long. He did find out who the mortal was – Terrence Jackson, the lover of an immortal, a hunter, whom Methos had killed. Everything Jackson had done to Methos was to revenge his lover’s death. He’d lost, though, when Methos’ final effort during a rape was to rip out Jackson’s tongue letting him choke to death on his own blood.
Joe got up to get more coffee and glanced at the man on the bed. At his sharp intake of breath, Mac looked up and then jumped off the couch to run to the bed. Looking down at Methos he saw that his eyes were finally open. “Methos!” cried Mac as he sat on the edge of the bed. With a smile on his face, Mac reached over to place his hands on Methos’ shoulders. “Methos?” said Mac again when he realized that Methos hadn’t looked at him. Mac shook his shoulders a bit, but Methos continued to look straight ahead. His eyes were empty and lifeless. Lifting his hands to Methos’ face, Mac turned Methos’ face towards him. The eyes never moved, just traveled with Methos’ head to the new direction, never focusing.
...He dreamed about curling; just to be able to lie on his side, pull up his legs and press his arms to his chest. This wish was haunting even when he had the chance to get just sleep, not to slide into death or oblivion. The ache in his stretched limbs was constant while the numbness of immobility in his spine and shoulders was replaced with sharp pangs of pain from time to time. His backside rubbed in blood against the rough concrete but his healing abilities spared him from sores...
...The tip of the screwdriver approached implacably until it was forced between his eyelids. He had never experienced anything like that - the metal of the tool scraping over his socket, spooning around his eyeball and driving it out. He thrashed, breaking his wrists, and choked with a scream as the man took his eye and tore off the string of the nerve that still connected it...
The dark field in his sight shocked him more than pain. He cried out incoherently and then he saw the bloodied screwdriver nearing again. He tried to turn away, as much as he could, not caring what was going to be with him for this rebellion - nothing could be worse, anyway. But the man coped with him easily, fixing his head between his knees, repeating the horrible motion of the screwdriver on his other eye.
He lay unable to stop shuddering in horror but although his consciousness failed minutely, he was sure he didn't pass out completely. He floated in the dimness - that was not black as he could expect it would be - but undetermined grey. He could feel his eyelids falling and rising over the empty sockets, already healing...
“He is catatonic and somewhat dehydrated. It doesn’t appear to be physically induced. I’ll do blood work to make sure it isn’t chemically induced. Since he’s immortal, it appears all physical damage has healed. I can confirm this through testing, but I’m afraid I’ll have to move him to a hospital to do this.” Dr. Grace Chandel said as she completed her examination. “I can keep much of the testing private, and I can arrange for a private room. At this point, there’s not much more I can do. He’ll need to have a feeding tube inserted so that he doesn’t starve. Until he comes out of this, he’ll need constant care, as well as protection. Duncan, are you prepared to provide what he needs?”
Throughout the examination, Duncan had sat silently on the opposite side of the bed, lending a hand as needed while the immortal doctor examined Adam Pierson. She wasn’t aware of the true age of her patient and didn’t need to be. Even though she dedicated her life to helping others, Duncan didn’t want anyone more than necessary to know who this helpless and vulnerable person truly was. In fact, Duncan hadn’t left Methos’ side since he’d brought him to the barge five days ago. After he and Joe discovered that something was terribly wrong with Methos’ healing, they knew it was beyond their scope and sought one of the few immortals with medical knowledge to help them. Unfortunately, Grace Chandel didn’t specialize in psychological problems, and that appeared to be where their problem lay.
“Yes, I’ll do whatever is necessary. I’d appreciate any help you can give us to figure out what’s wrong. How long do you think he’ll need to be hospitalized?”
Grace looked at Duncan and realized that he truly didn’t understand what Adam really needed now. If what she suspected was true, there was no way of knowing how long Adam’s current condition would continue. Until they could break through whatever it was that kept Adam locked in his own head, he’d remain much as he was now – his body slowly deteriorating to a point where only his immortal healing kept him barely alive, but not much more than that.
“Duncan, come sit with me for a moment.” Grace moved to the couch. Duncan followed and sat next to her. Joe sat opposite them, but didn’t say anything, listening and watching as usual.
“Duncan,” she began again, “if what I suspect is the case, Adam will never go beyond where he is right now until we can break through the walls that are keeping him locked in his own thoughts and memories. His current condition could possibly last the rest of his lifetime. As an immortal, he is vulnerable to anyone who has no compunction against taking the head of an invalid. He will require constant protection. Forever. It is true that immortals have been known to survive entombment for years and years, their immortality preventing them from truly dying. You could secrete Adam away somewhere safe and leave him until he wakes on his own…”
Duncan drew a sharp breath, his eyes widening in shock. “I can’t do that! That’s wrong! I…” Grace raised both her hands to forestall Duncan’s gasping denials.
“Please, Duncan, let me finish. I agree with you. Morally, you can’t do anything so horribly wrong. I would, in fact, stop you in any way that is within my power. What I’m trying to impress upon you is that until Adam can come out of this, he will need constant care. Hospitalizing him right now is only temporary until I can run some tests. After that, you will need to consider long-term care, definitely on holy ground,” Grace continued her eyes intense and looking straight into Duncan’s. “Twenty-four hour nursing because he will require a feeding tube, possibly catheterization and I.V.s for dehydration, depending upon what he is capable of. He will need orderlies to help turn his body and work his muscles. They would also care for his hygiene – bathing him and cleaning him when he soils himself. Duncan, do you understand what I’m telling you? This is a major commitment to the care of another immortal.” Duncan stared at her, a horrified look on his face as the reality of what she was saying slowly sank in. Although his head shook in minor movements of denial, no sounds came out of his mouth except for the sound of his harsh breathing.
Grace slowly stood up. “I believe you need to think about this, Duncan. Please don’t make any decisions right now. I’ll call you with the arrangements for getting Adam to the hospital today. We’ll know more after that. I’m so very sorry, Duncan.”
Mac just nodded numbly and stood to walk Grace to the door. “Thank you, Grace…for everything.” Raising her hand, Grace gently ran the back of her fingers over Duncan’s cheek. Her eyes luminous with unshed tears for the pain she saw in Duncan’s eyes. A single nod and she turned and left the barge.
Mac closed the door and locked it automatically, but stood there for a moment, resting his head against the doorframe. Dear God, the enormity of Methos’ condition seemed insurmountable. Taking a deep breath, Mac decided – first things first. He needed to arrange for a lengthy stay at the hospital with Methos. There was no way he was leaving him unprotected. Holy ground was next…long-term care on holy ground. That might take some doing. Mac turned back to the barge and walked up to his friend and Watcher, Joe. As he came up to him, he was only partially surprised to see the tears streaming down his friend’s face.
“Dear God, Mac. How can this have happened? What did that bastard do to him to cause this?” Joe looked up as Mac knelt by his chair.
“I don’t know. I don’t know what’s going on in Methos’ head right now, but I’m going to take care of him until he decides to come back to us. I swear it, Joe. I refuse to take his head and I won’t let anyone else have it.”
“Yeah, I’m with you, buddy.” Joe scrubbed the tears away from his face. “You know, I saw a few guys like this after they were brought back from ‘Nam. I can’t imagine the horrors they suffered to make them retreat into themselves like that, but the guys I saw eventually came out of it. Now, I know that Methos has seen and suffered more in his 5000 years than I can possibly imagine. He’s alluded to some stuff, but doesn’t openly talk about anything. I’m just so afraid that maybe this last round on top of everything else is what finally pushed him over the edge and he’s lost in 5000 years worth of horrors.” Joe paused, and then continued more softly. “I don’t want to lose my friend, Mac.”
“I know, Joe, I don’t either. We’ll get him through this somehow.” Mac walked back to the bed and looked down. Sitting slowly next to his friend…yes, his friend, Duncan reached out to push a stray lock of dark hair off the pale forehead. Reaffirming his vow, Duncan whispered “We’ll get you through this, Methos. I swear it.”
Pain! Terror! Thousands of years of memories of complete horror and desolation continued to whirl maddeningly through Methos’ brain, making him retreat further and further into the soothing grey mists that were the only recourse from the memories. Visions of Methos himself, arm raised as he prepared to whip the bleeding body in front of him, agony as the metal-tipped leather cut into what remained of his own flesh, knives raised both by him and against him cutting into flesh, sinew and soft tissue; countless rapes, burning brands…all of it caught in a whirling miasma of terror. ‘Please let me die!’ Methos cried as he begged every deity he’d ever known. Everything that he was went into the effort to shut out the echoes of screams that cut like shards of glass piercing his soul, the dying multitudes around him crushing the breath from his body. Grief and pain, loss and regret so acute the screams died unborn in his throat and sent him deeper behind the grey wall.
Duncan sat by Methos’ bed. As usual the Old Man lay on his back staring at the ceiling. He was wearing a hospital gown that did nothing to hide the fact that he was losing weight. His face, always angular with sharp planes defining his features, now appeared gaunt. A thin tube snaked into his nose from a bag suspended next to the bed. Hanging from the bed was another bag containing the fluid waste passing from his system through the catheter. The nurses would come by and write down measurements on fluid intake and output. God, how Methos would hate that if he knew about it, thought Duncan. What would he hate more – the catheter or the adult diaper he was wearing? Duncan could only imagine the colorful phrases Methos would probably use to describe this whole situation in general and Duncan in particular for putting him here. The thought made Duncan chuckle quietly. Would you ask me to take your head rather than suffer this indignity, Methos? Would you really mean it, or would you suffer this because it meant your survival? What do you see as you stare at the ceiling? He prayed it wasn’t this last round of torture, but then he couldn’t honestly say if there weren’t other instances just as horrible in the Ancient’s long life. He thought back to the tape – he’d finally destroyed it knowing he’d never let Methos see it. Their memories of the atrocities committed were evidence enough. Duncan let his thoughts wander as he waited for the final visit from Grace and the staff psychologist. He’d arranged for the barge to be put into dry dock and all of his belongings put into storage. He’d also arranged for Adam Pierson’s belongings to be put into storage, with exception of his journals, or at least those that were in his apartment. Duncan would take those with him and keep them safe until Methos was able to claim them again. He knew Methos would never forgive him if they fell into Watcher hands.
The door slowly opened and Joe made his way into the room. “Have the Docs shown up yet?” Joe asked quietly. What is it about hospitals that make you want to whisper all the time? As often as he’d been in and out of them since his return from ‘Nam, Joe was never able to figure that one out.
Mac just shook his head no. “Did the realtor call?”
“Yeah, they have about five listings that are probably on holy ground from the description. I told them you’d arrange a time as soon as we got back to the states.” Mac had decided that he couldn’t fully protect Methos in a public facility and had decided to move them to their own home on holy ground as soon as he could get it ready. He’d arrange for whatever professional care Methos needed when he wasn’t providing that care himself. It didn’t take much to arrange his finances; money had never been a problem for him. He just needed to move it around so that it was accessible for his needs.
“That’s good. Thanks.” Mac was taking Methos to see a well-known psychiatrist, Dr. Jacob Hadras, who happened to be located in Seacouver and who specialized in treating victims of violent crime. They had already arranged for Methos to stay in a convalescent hospital situated on holy ground until Mac could secure and renovate a suitable home. Now they were waiting for the final release from this hospital in order to fly Methos back to the states. All of the arrangements from special accommodations on the plane, including an in-flight nurse, to ambulances at both ends had been arranged.
Just then both doctors walked in. After initial greetings, both Grace and Dr. Benét reviewed Adam’s condition prior to his release. All tests confirmed that there was nothing physical causing the stupor that Adam suffered. Grace had ensured that all the test documentation remained in her custody so that any odd readings due to Adam’s immortality remained a secret. The psychological profiles they could get based on the story that Adam was a victim of random violence were all that Dr. Benét had access to. Those records had been faxed to Dr. Hadras for his review prior to their arrival in the states. With final instructions on caring for Adam during the flight, Dr. Benét released his patient to Mac. Wishing Mac good fortune, he left leaving Grace behind.
“Duncan, I just wanted to say good-by and to tell you that what you’re doing makes my heart so glad. I’ve always known you to be an honorable man with great compassion. I hope Adam is able to one day know what a wonderful friend he has in you. If there is anything at all I can do for you, please let me know and, if you’ll allow it, I’d like to visit you in the states to see how things are going. Would that be alright?”
Mac responded to her words by taking Grace in his arms and whispering in her ear. “Thank you, Grace. Your friendship means a great deal to me and your help has been invaluable to both Adam and I. Of course you’re welcome any time you’re in the states. I’ll keep you advised of any change in his condition.” With those words he bent and gently brushed his lips across hers in a tender kiss. Stepping back he let Joe come closer to shake her hand and give his thanks and farewell.
It was the smell that struck him first – strong musk of some pack animal. Next was the pounding in his skull that increased with every step as his head swayed and hit the beast in the side. So nauseous, gods he felt like his stomach was about to empty itself. He tried to lift his head but couldn’t, his hands were tied behind his back, so obviously he was a prisoner. When? Where? He closed his eyes against the confusion and the ache in his head, the world shrinking to a pinpoint of light in the grey mist…
With that, it didn’t take long for the orderlies to take Methos to the waiting ambulance. Joe was staying back to take care of a few details with the bar, but he wouldn’t be far behind in following his friends back to Seacouver. All in all, the flight and subsequent trip to the convalescent hospital was accomplished with few problems.
…Sold! The sun beat down on his bare shoulders. The heat under his long, dark hair sent rivulets of sweat down his neck and back as he stood on the dais in the marketplace. His head aching, Methos kept his eyes down which eased his swimming vision. Naked, with his hands chained behind his back, he heard the man next to him extolling his reading and writing ability. If you care whether or not I can write, why am I naked? What kind of slave will I be now? A scribe or a pleasure slave? Maybe both – a pleasure slave who pauses every now and then to jot down notes. The thought of that made such a ridiculous picture in his mind that he chuckled. Oooomph! A sharp jab to his stomach made him realize that laughing was not the best thing to do while being sold as a slave. Gods forbid anyone thought that he wasn’t taking his enslavement seriously. Hands now chained in front of him, he and another new slave were pulled forward. Oh, the sun was so hot, but the grey mists seemed so cool…he needed to move into the mist ahead of him, just ahead of him…
...he watched the drop of sweat gather on his forearm, completely transfixed by the slow movement as it meandered across his skin, gathering tiny droplets along with it in its travel. He was amazed that he still had that much moisture in his body. Behind him he heard the hiss as the whip was sent back behind the overseer. Methos took a deep breath, preparing himself for the next slash across his body. This overseer was quite practiced, he mused. Every slash had come at an unexpected location, an unexpected interval, making it impossible for Methos to anticipate the next blow. But years of “training” in dealing with pain still allowed him to distance himself, allowed him to find that cool, grey haven that protected him from whatever intolerable situation in which he found himself. He let it call to him, seducing him back into the grey mists before the next blow landed. He succeeded...
Some time later Methos was settled into his room in Seacouver. Throughout everything Methos remained still and silent. He laid quietly on his left side, eyes open and staring in the general direction of Mac’s chest. “Methos, what horrors are you re-living? Is it the Horsemen? I can’t begin to understand that time in your life…but, I know you’re not that man anymore. I was so wrong in Bordeaux. I need you to know that.” Any further words were strangled in Mac’s throat as he sat and looked at his friend, fatigue and sadness etched in the lines of his face. He’d settled in on the chair provided in the room, but he had a cot up against the wall behind him, still determined not to leave Methos’ side. If the hospital staff thought this was strange, no one spoke of it except to comment on the devotion of the one man to the other, speculating that perhaps the two had been lovers before the terrible incident that mentally separated them, and wasn’t that just so awful? Those poor men…
Weeks slowly passed during which the beautiful old chapel that Mac selected as his and Methos’ new home was completely renovated. The stone front of the chapel had a beautiful old wisteria growing at the side of the entrance. Mac looked forward to seeing it bloom in the spring. The property itself was a good size, surrounded by farms and a cemetery. Only twenty minutes outside of Seacouver, Mac had immediately fallen in love with the quiet beauty of the area after the noise and bustle of Paris.
Mac kept many of the structural features of the chapel intact. Upon entering the front doors, the study to the left had been updated slightly into a library with floor to ceiling bookshelves in a rich, dark wood. Above the entrance was a stained glass window that let mellow colored light shine on the gleaming wooden floors. Like Mac’s other homes, he kept the floor plan open with inviting places to sit or to wander into the adjoining dining area. At the back of the room on the right, what once was the chapel’s community kitchen had been updated into a fully functional gourmet kitchen. On the left, an office space was converted to a downstairs suite that had all of the medical necessities installed including a hospital bed, therapy bed, and a fully handicap-accessible bathroom. A small hallway under the staircase led to a half bath, a lift to the second floor, and a large old classroom that was converted into a workout salle with a light-colored parquet floor. Upstairs now contained the new master suite with a full bath and two spare bedrooms along with another bath. All in all, Mac was pleased with his new home.
All that remained was to bring Methos home. Dr. Hadras had been treating Adam for several weeks now, but nothing seemed to break through the self-imposed isolation Adam suffered. Dr. Hadras had tried several drugs, including some experimental ones, as well as electroshock therapy in his attempt to get some response…all to no avail. Time, he said, was their only other option. Time was certainly something they had an abundance of. Although Dr. Hadras wasn’t fond of the idea of moving Adam out of the hospital, wanting to have more access, he nevertheless gave in to Mac’s desires, knowing that the nurse would continue the therapy in hopes of reaching Adam through sensory stimulus. The only problem now lay in finding the right nutritional balance in the formula they were giving Adam to meet his dietary needs.
As Mac arrived at the hospital, he found Joe sitting outside of the room. Ever since their arrival, the two had been spelling one another in their protection of the ancient both knowing that if knowledge of a helpless immortal got out, someone would try to take him off holy ground and take his head. “Hi, Joe, what’s going on?” asked Mac when he arrived, concerned to see Joe in the hallway.
“Hi, Mac, seems the latest version of that crap they’re running down Adam’s nose still isn’t right. It loosened up his bowels, so they’re cleaning him up now. I was talking to the nurses, Stacey and Diane. I guess this happens quite a bit when people are on feeding tubes for long periods of time. You gotta watch the chemical balance of the stuff. It could cause any number of problems. Diane said the nutritionist is meeting with Dr. Hadras about this. He’ll be coming down to talk to you this afternoon.”
Mac rubbed a hand over his face. His sole desire was to get Methos out of this place, but if they’re having that much trouble meeting his dietary needs, can he adequately care for him at home? Mac stared at the floor, lost in depressing thoughts of trying to enlist help in Methos’ care and protection if he wasn’t able to leave the hospital. The schedule he and Joe were keeping was extremely difficult, but who else could he trust? As these thoughts circled around his head and started to sink him into a full brood, Dr. Hadras arrived.
“Mr. Macleod. I’m glad you’re here. I assume Mr. Dawson filled you in on what’s going on with Mr. Pierson?” At Dr. Steven’s approach, Mac nodded as he stood and shook his hand. Dr. Hadras gestured for him to resume his seat. “Sometimes patients don’t handle the tube feeding very well. That seems to be the case with Mr. Pierson. Through testing we’ve ascertained that he does retain part of his autonomic swallowing reflex. The problem with this is that unless great care is taken and the process is closely monitored, the possibility of aspiration increases. Hospital policy is to continue tube feeding as required, but since you’ve decided to take Mr. Pierson home with you, I wanted to discuss your plans for his care.”
With Mac laying out the plan for dedicated nursing care, they concluded that Adam could move to bottle feeding with some spoon feeding of pureed foods to increase his fiber intake since they’d found that stimulating certain places on Methos’ tongue resulted in prompting the swallowing reflex. Since his care would be so closely monitored, the decision to remove the catheter was also made. Its presence was a constant source of irritation to the patient and care was constantly required to watch for sign of infection. Not a problem, thought Mac, since Methos is immortal and neither infection nor aspiration was an issue. These decisions eased Mac’s mind considerably since the presence of tubes running in and out of Methos’ body had always seemed an unnatural and disgusting necessity.
It didn’t take long to have Methos installed in his room at home. Caring for him, although time consuming, was relatively easy. Mac preferred to handle all of Methos’ care alone at night and on most weekends after dismissing the nurse, Mrs. Grimes, and the big Samoan orderly/ bodyguard, Derek, after their shift. The fact that both the nurse and orderly had matching tattoos on their wrists helped considerably with “Adam’s” care, since Mac didn’t have to explain anything about quick-healing bed sores or a lack of complications if Adam accidentally aspirated some of his formula. Mac was also more at ease leaving Adam during the day since Joe had personally checked out both Mrs. Angela Grimes and Derek Raio before letting them work for Mac. Without Joe’s involvement, Mac wouldn’t even trust a Watcher with such a vulnerable charge. Mac shied away from the thoughts of Horton which always made his stomach churn. Derek was a good find regardless of his Watcher status. As an ex-special forces troop he reminded Mac a lot of Charlie DeSalvo. With excellent martial arts and weapons training, not much seemed to faze the big islander and he also gave Mac a run for his money as a workout partner. Not to mention his constant chit-chat and cheery personality that kept the house from being altogether too quiet.
In time, Grace Chandel did come to visit. Her stay was short but very supportive of Mac’s efforts. She remained positive that Adam would come back to them. The only other person to visit was Amanda. Tracking Duncan down through Joe, the blonde thief came in a whirlwind of activity. Despite her words and efforts at helping take care of Methos, Mac could see that his condition terrified her. After only a couple of days, she suddenly had pressing business in Italy, so she blew out of their lives as quickly as she’d blown in, promising to keep in touch.
Slowly the weeks turned into months which passed with no visible change in Methos’ condition. What had changed was Mac’s view of himself, Methos, and their relationship. Mac knew how wrong he had been during the events at Bordeaux. Again, after the incident with Keane, he still hadn’t considered the reasons behind Methos’ actions. It seems that throughout their history together, Methos had constantly been there for him, helping him, protecting him and giving him his complete friendship and trust. But Mac had failed him since then. He’d never stopped loving Methos, but he never told him that, never told him how wrong he’d been. And now, his deepest fear was that Methos would remain like this forever, never knowing how much Duncan loved him.
Unknown to him Methos was, in fact, coming closer to finding himself. Slight moments of partial awareness began to filter through to the closed world in which he’d cocooned himself. Time had once again worked its magic and dulled the sharp edges around his most horrible memories; never erasing them – for his immortal memory recalled every detail in painful clarity – but merely allowing him to distance himself enough to know he was no longer there, no longer that man and that it had all passed form this world millennia ago.
“Oh, Big Mac did it again! You gotta show me that move so I can quit looking at your ceiling,” gasped Derek. “I’m gonna start callin’ that the Big Mac Attack!” Mac laughed as he leaned over to give the big islander a hand up. With a quick glance over his shoulder at Adam, Mac slowly went through the move with Derek. Throughout the workout, both men constantly looked over to Adam as he sat quietly in his wheelchair, his body cradled in the chair’s padding, straps keeping him upright and a plaid lap blanket over him to keep him warm. Methos’ hands and feet were always cold, so Mac liked to keep him covered snugly. Adam’s head was tilted slightly forward and his eyes were half open, seemingly staring at either his lap or at a point about two feet in front of him. Sometimes Adam’s head would slide forward or to one side. All of his caretakers assumed they’d failed to support him properly and usually rushed forward to fix it. For now, they called it a day since Derek’s shift was at an end, but he’d be around long enough to stay with Adam while Mac took a shower after the workout. Adam was never left alone.
Slowly, slowly the grey mist parted. Where was he? Looking at the ground he tried to see where it was he walked, but all he could see was a pattern – plaid? Was it a tartan? Don’t tell me, I’m lost in the Highlands with a misbegotten Scot. Where is he? From somewhere ahead of him he heard a gasp and the sound of someone falling. Mac, is that you? Big Mac? What does that mean? Mac! Where are you? Mac’s not here. A small tendril of fear twisted in his belly. Where was Duncan? Those words “We’re through,” echoed around him. Duncan’s gone...Methos had betrayed him, seeming to side with Kronos. Duncan betrayed him, siding with Cassandra. “I tried!” he screamed to the mists. “Why didn’t he trust me?” In the end, he’d betrayed Silas and Kronos and they were gone. It was unavoidable, but a betrayal nevertheless. He wasn’t able to keep Silas alive, or Byron, or Alexa. He had failed them all... We’re through... One of a thousand regrets, he’d said. But the reality was so much more. Everyone he’d ever loved in his life left him...left him to face an interminable future alone. He was so tired, so very tired. When was it his turn to rest? In his millennia-old way of dealing with pain, he sought the grey mists...succeeding yet again.
Derek moved Adam to the library while Mac cleaned up. As he settled him by the fireplace he thought again about this mysterious immortal he was “watching”. The fact that Mac obviously loved “Mr. P” wasn’t lost on Derek. In the nearly two years that both he and Mrs. Grimes had been working for Mac, they had become well aware of all the small intimate touches and looks Mac constantly bestowed on Adam although they’d never discussed it. Even though Mac always addressed Mr. P as “Adam” in their presence, he’d once overheard Mac call him “my love” when Derek was unknowingly just outside of the room. Derek didn’t mind, though. Mac was a good person despite his being an Immortal and Mr. Dawson called him friend which went a long way with Derek. And Derek didn’t care about the man/man thing. Whatever floats your boat, he figured. But what could keep an immortal locked up like this? There wasn’t much in Adam Pierson’s chronicles, not like in Duncan Macleod’s chronicles. Now that man had a history! And all those women…so, who was Adam Pierson that he’d caught Mac’s heart? It’d take a lot for someone to devote themselves to another in this condition, so there must be a lot more to Adam Pierson than Derek will ever know unless he wakes up. Oh, well. He’d be watching.
“I don’t have any plans this weekend, so if anything comes up, you can call me, okay?” Derek reminded Mac as he left.
“Thanks, Derek. I’ve got it. Have a good weekend.” Mrs. Grimes had left prior to their workout so with Derek gone it would be just Mac and Adam until Joe’s visit the next day. Mac closed the door and turned to Methos in his chair. “Are you hungry, love? Let’s go see what’s for dinner.” Mac was always careful as to how he addressed Methos while others were around, but he was totally unaware of the hand that reached out to caress the beloved face or the thumb that slid across slack lips before he moved to the back of the chair. Together, they moved into the kitchen.
Knowing he had some sauce in the refrigerator, Mac decided on some pasta and salad. After putting some water to boil, he pulled out the food processor. At the beginning, he and Joe and purchased several types of pureed baby foods that should be easy for Methos to eat. But Mac took one taste of the unseasoned meats and vegetables and decided he couldn’t do that to his friend, although Derek and Mrs. Grimes did in fact give him those foods during the day along with several bottles of formula and water. Mac did have to admit, though, that the fruits and puddings were alright. He actually really liked the tropical fruit puree and always snuck a few tastes for himself, but there was no way he’d ever let Joe know that. Joe also agreed about pureeing regular food and felt that maybe they’d eventually come across a food with a flavor that would invoke some kind of response. It hadn’t worked, yet, but they kept trying. Mac had even cooked up some sea anemones, but after the trip through the food processor the look and smell of the final product prevented him from feeding it to Methos. The memory alone made him shudder. Okay, if he got desperate enough or found a better recipe he’d try it again, but not yet.
Finally seating himself at the table next to Methos, Mac took a spoon and dipped it into his wineglass. Using his left hand, Mac pulled down on Methos’ jaw and placed the spoon in his mouth. Mac moved the spoon across Methos’ tongue and tipped it, dribbling the wine. At the touch of the spoon, Methos’ tongue started to move allowing him to swallow the liquid. Mac pulled the spoon out and contemplated that wonderful organ. Helplessly, Mac started to remember the marvelous things Methos could do with that talented tongue. God, he missed that mouth on his, those lips moving sensuously across his mouth and that tongue…oh, that tongue! Touching and licking its way down his throat and across his chest. Mac could feel Methos’ tongue laving circles around his nipples. Mac had never realized just how truly sensitive his nipples were until that first night Methos had put his mouth on them, sucking and biting and using that sinful tongue to flick the tightened nubs back and forth. Sure, his female lovers had played with and stroked his nipples, but no one had ever worshipped them before. Methos’ attention to those two small nubs made Mac wish he had full, lush breasts with big, tender aureoles that Methos could suck into that hot, luscious mouth...That thought made Mac’s nipples tighten painfully in arousal. The prickling sensation was like an electric surge that simultaneously shot straight to his groin and to his brain…STOP! Leaning back, Mac closed his eyes and took a deep shuddering breath. Regaining control after a moment, Mac took another deep breath and sat back up. Thoughts in order but with an aching heart, he quietly resumed feeding Methos what little he would eat and eating his own dinner.
After cleaning the kitchen, Mac and Methos resumed their regular nightly ritual. The main part of the evening would be spent either watching TV or a movie, with Mac supplying commentary (although not nearly scathing enough) in Methos’ stead throughout, or a move to the library where Mac would either read to Methos or they would play chess. Tonight Mac was in the mood for a game of chess. Mac had set the chessboard on a small turntable so he could play both sides trying to emulate Methos’ playing style. Obviously Mac hadn’t quite gotten the strategy down right because Methos rarely won. It was not lost on Mac that this was probably a subconscious effort on his part at payback for all the losses he’d suffered at Methos’ hands. A fact that didn't bother Mac's conscience at all and tonight was no different.
Eventually, it was time for the last bottle of the day. Duncan moved Methos to the hospital bed so that he could clean up while Methos had his bottle. Duncan raised the head of the bed to bring Methos’ upper body up, mindful of the time Methos started to choke on the formula. Duncan then readjusted the towel supporting the bottle so that the angle allowed the nutrient formula to flow smoothly into Methos’ mouth. Methos lay on his left side, his head angled slightly up, the only movement coming from his tongue which mindlessly worked the nipple. Methos’ beautiful lips were slack around the nipple so Duncan pushed up on Methos’ jaw, trying to close Methos’ mouth a bit to provide better suction. Methos had lost so much weight that Duncan wanted to be sure he got every drop of the specially formulated nutrient drink which had been recently adjusted to provide even more calories. ‘How was he burning them?’ Duncan wondered for the thousandth time.
Methos had a high metabolism and had always kept minimal body fat. Duncan had loved and admired his sleek muscled body; the whipcord strength and runner’s musculature hidden beneath baggy sweaters and loose jeans. But now, after nearly two years of complete inactivity and a mostly liquid diet his body resembled that of a hunger victim. His thin arms remained tucked close to his chest and, unless repositioned, his legs tended to begin their climb into a fetal position. The beautiful long muscled thighs were now thin with bony knees jutting out like large knobs on rail-thin legs. Those long, lean once graceful hands dangled from wrists that had been powerful enough to swing the heavy Ivanhoe blade with absolute precision. Now both the hands and arms showed every tendon in the motionless limbs, thin blue veins easily visible under the delicate skin. Duncan looked at Methos’ face. Methos’ wonderful eyes were half closed, olivine eyes staring sightlessly ahead but focused inward, lost in whatever hellish memories trapped Methos away from Duncan.
“There you go, Sweetheart, drink up,” Duncan said quietly as he ran his thumb across Methos’ jaw. “Joe is coming up again this weekend and I’ll sneak you another beer while he’s here, but only if you behave, okay?” A sad smile creased his face at the small joke that was becoming tradition. Still, a swell of tenderness flooded through Duncan’s chest as he gazed at the oblivious man gently sucking on the formula. As usual he felt some guilt at being grateful that he could indulge in the intimate care of this beloved man, but he was desperate to see an expression of shock and offense that Duncan would dare take such a liberty. As usual, Duncan kept up his end of the on-going one-sided conversation that characterized most of his time as he cared for Methos.
Finally, it was time for bath and bed. Placing some clean dry towels on the therapy table, Mac turned to move Methos into the large bathroom. This room had been equipped with both a large stainless steel tub as well as an extra large shower. As the tub filled Mac locked the wheelchair in place while verbalizing all his actions every step of the way. Mac then proceeded to unfasten the shoulder and waist straps so he could remove Methos’ clothes, a task at which he’d become very proficient. If Methos only knew! Since Methos only wore running suits with a zipper front and a t-shirt, it didn’t take much to unzip and pull the stretchy material down his arms. “Okay, baby, let’s get rid of your shirt.” Easing each arm through a sleeve, Mac pulled Methos forward onto his shoulder and pulled the t-shirt up and over Methos’ head, tossing it aside. Easing him back into the chair, Mac then bent to remove his slippers and socks. “You’re feet are so cold! The bath’s nice and warm. That’ll feel good won’t it, love?” Pulling Methos forward onto his shoulder again, only a bit higher than before, allowed Mac to lift him enough and hold him with one arm while pulling the sweat pants down with the other. Easing him back into the chair, Mac then pulled the sweat pants down over the Old Man’s legs. Tossing the garment aside with the rest of the clothing, Mac glanced at the water level and determined the tub was full enough. The final part was the hardest because Mac had to unfasten the diaper and lift Methos away from the chair and into the tub. If Methos were still at his full weight and the movements less practiced, this would have been exceedingly more difficult, but as it was Mac was able to lift and move him with ease. “Here is your seat, Good Sir. I hope it meets your approval,” joked Mac as he eased Methos into the specially designed recliner. It had a smooth plastic head support that kept Methos’ face above water, but allowed Mac to bathe his friend.
Letting him soak a bit, Mac turned to pick up the clothes and move the chair back into the next room. Returning to his friend, Mac proceeded to wash his body. Mac found that as long as he proceeded in a completely impersonal way the procedure was less emotionally taxing for him. Thinking back to the first few times Mac had bathed Methos he recalled a couple of instances where he found himself unable to proceed because of his own sobbing. Maintaining firm emotional control alone allowed Mac to do what he needed to do for his ancient friend. Not allowing himself to linger, Mac quickly finished and let the water drain. Covering Methos with an extra large towel, Mac wrapped him and then lifted and carried him to the next room. Placing Methos on the table he’d prepared with towels, Mac briskly rubbed Methos dry. After fastening a new diaper, Mac moved to apply lotion and see if he needed any nail trimming. Seeing all was well, Mac dressed Methos in a clean t-shirt, a pair of soft pajama bottoms and some warm slippers. Placing Methos back into the wheelchair, Mac secured all the straps and placed the lap blanket over Methos’ shoulders, conscious of how easily the man got chilled. Mac then wheeled him back to the bathroom where Mac ran a brush through Methos’ incredibly soft hair and cleaned his teeth.
Wheeling Methos out of the room and to the lift, Mac moved the Old Man to the master suite. Our bedroom, thought Mac, since he was unable to rest with Methos unprotected in another room and there was no way he wanted his friend to wake up and find himself alone in a strange place. Mac placed Methos in their bed and then got himself ready. Crawling into bed he maneuvered Methos onto his left side. Sliding under the covers, he moved close and then snuggled up behind Methos. Pushing his left arm under his pillow, Mac snaked his right arm over Methos’ waist and pulled him closer, pushing his groin up against Methos’ butt. Spooned tightly together Mac buried his nose in the hair at Methos’ nape and breathed in deeply. With the scent of shampoo, soap and the indefinable spicy scent of the man himself surrounding his senses, Mac wondered once again what would happen if Methos woke up right now, right at this instant. Mac imagined Methos’ outrage at their intimate position. Or maybe it would be shock? Joy? Mac would take any response since he would be so busy begging Methos’ forgiveness for not trusting him, not letting him know just how much he meant to Mac. “Please wake up, Methos. Whether or not you let me have a place in your life, I’m begging you…please, wake up!” Hugging Methos tightly Mac let himself start to drift. “Goodnight, darling.” Mac said quietly as he pressed a gentle kiss to the Methos’ nape and slipped into sleep.
Mac wheeled Methos into the kitchen while he started to prepare for lunch for Joe’s visit. He left Methos at the kitchen table while he turned to make a salad, listing off the ingredients for Methos’ approval. Methos was always one for adding, what was to Mac’s thinking, some of the oddest combinations of ingredients in his salads. But they did always seem to work. “One of these days, Methos, I’ll need to look at your fabled recipes,” he quipped. After that the only sounds in the kitchen were the sounds of the chopping knife. After a bit, Mac heard the doorbell. Knowing he’d only be a moment, he left Methos sitting in the kitchen.
Whoosh, click, whoosh, click…the sound of the respirator droned steadily in the background, the slight hum of the monitors and the quiet steps of the nurses along the hall. Idly, Methos cataloged all the sounds of a hospital engaged in this waiting game, no longer trying to preserve the life of one so precious, just trying to ease her passing. Alexa lay so still and small with all the tubes and needles running in and out of her body. She’d been so valiant in her last days of consciousness. Alexa lay quietly, gently smiling at the nurses who changed out her I.Vs, administering her medications, all the while knowing that it would do no good. She had apparently done a good job of preparing herself for this time. Not Methos. Silently, he railed at the pain of her illness. Behind his still mask, he marveled at all the different types of pain she had to endure. You have to cause pain to ease pain, he thought the first time they had to move the location of the shunt because the vein had collapsed, leaving a large mottled bruise. The pain of the needles, the pain of her illness, the nausea caused by the medication…Oh the god-awful pain of losing her! Pain…it was his whole existence now. He put his head down, hands over his ears and eyes shut, trying to make it all go away. Please, make it stop!
Slowly, Methos’ head slipped forward chin on chest, hearing the sounds of the respirator in his head, but seeing only the grain of a wooden table before his eyes. Eventually, those thin lines wavered and disappeared entirely from his sight as he was lost to another moment in time.
“Hey, Mac, how’s it going?” said a chipper sounding Joe as he walked in the door. “Good, Joe, I’m glad you could make it,” replied Mac as he relieved Joe of a large paper bag. “Lunch will be ready in a few minutes; Methos and I were just finishing up. Come join us in the kitchen.” Mac threw out the last bit over his shoulder as he made his way back into the kitchen. Glancing at Methos, Mac was surprised to see his head fallen forward. How did that happen? “Don’t worry, Mac,” said Joe following him. “I’ve got him.” Joe walked straight over to Methos who was parked near the kitchen table and propped his head upright. “Hey, Buddy, let’s fix you up. How’s that?” asked Joe as he brought a warm hand to Methos’ shoulder. “I brought some more of that cream stout you like so much. I don’t want to ruin your appetite, so what say we have some after lunch?” Every time Joe came over he made sure to bring some of the beer that Methos mentioned liking so much over two years ago, just before that mess with Kronos.
Together they ate lunch while Joe filled both Mac and Methos in on what had been happening at the bar. Keeping up the conversation, Joe and Mac covered everything from the latest band at the bar, music in general, and a discussion of the evolution of blues. Despite the light chatter, good natured ribbing and overall pleasant diversion, both men were keenly aware of their silent third partner. The loss of his sharp insight, barbs pointed at a certain “thick-headed Scot with no musical taste whatsoever”, overall cynicism and quick wit…delivered in that wonderfully accented baritone...was never commented upon by mutual agreement long ago.
Moving out to the garden area, Joe sat on a bench and poured the promised after-lunch beer into a bottle for Methos. Sipping his own beer, Mac propped the beverage for Methos to enjoy. Joe sat back and watched, “You know buddy, not much changes around you – you still suck on a beer with the same intensity. The only difference now is the nipple and I won’t even go there!” Both Mac and Joe chuckled as Methos mechanically drank his beer.
Eventually, as the visit wound down, Mac moved to push Methos back to the house. Along the way he paused to pick some lavender to bring into the house, placing piles of fragrant blooms on Methos’ lap. Mac had ensured the gardener put in several varieties of plants to include the lavender and heather that would bloom throughout the season. As a result, the beautiful garden was a constant balm to Mac’s aching heart and was one of Joe’s favorite parts of the grounds. Eventually it came time for Joe to leave to open the bar. Fond farewells and a plan for the next visit left Mac and Methos to spend the rest of the quiet weekend together.
On Sunday evening, Mac decided to shower together with Methos rather than bathe him in the large tub. Maybe not the standard nursing practice, thought Mac, but sometimes it’s just easier. The shower also had a molded plastic seat that made the process easily handled by one person. Methos definitely needed a haircut, Mac thought as he brushed his hair later. It had grown long enough to curl around his neck and tended to fall in his eyes. It was longer than it had been when Mac had first seen Methos – the day he’d discovered that Adam Pierson was actually Methos, the oldest Immortal. He looked so very young then, looking very much like the geeky researcher he’d pretended to be. Later he tended towards the shorter, spiky hairstyle that lent itself to his grad student persona. I’d love to let it grow long, mused Mac, it’s so soft. Winding his fingers through the silky tresses, Mac gave a sigh of regret. Maybe when he was himself again he could try and talk him into a longer style. Mac himself tended to keep his hair long out of habit – he had grown up in a time when warriors wore it thus – and he knew that Methos had seen every style imaginable, but favored keeping it short. Leaving the discussion until Methos could actually provide input, Mac resolved to make the appointment that would bring the hairdresser out to the house rather than try and take Methos into town, something Mac avoided.
Strong hands brushed out his long, long hair. The strokes would be soothing but for the position of his head – tilted back because the chain pulled up on the front of the collar forcing his chin up and back. He knew better than to complain or to move his hands from where they rested palm up on his thighs. The hands were moving now, taking sections of his hair and braiding long silken plaits that brushed against his hips. He was almost ready, his body cleansed and shorn of all hair, oiled and perfumed. He would be led to the main room where his Master would be entertaining his guests, there to be chained to the chaise where his Master lay. He wasn’t alone. There were other slaves prepared to comfort the guests, but only his Master would touch him in whatever manner it pleased him to do so, sometimes gently if the mood was upon him. Kneeling, thighs apart, head down and hands in their familiar position, he waited and prayed that his master was having a pleasant evening…
...the hand reached over and grabbed a handful of braids, jerking his head back. His body was already stretched from where his hands were secured to the wall above the bed, wrists mangled and bleeding in their restraints, but the hand continued its pull. Methos could feel the hair ripping from his scalp, warm rivulets of blood and sweat working their way down the sides of his head. Dizzy from the beating, the vision of blood running down his arms and the feel of blood running down his scalp while the cock rammed into his rectum had him confused. He saw the blood on his wrists, why did he feel wetness on his head and his thighs? Pain blossomed across his shoulder as the man behind him leaned in and bit hard enough to take a mouthful of flesh. Despite his own screaming, Methos was sure he heard the piece hit the floor. Excited by the sight and smell of blood, the man behind him ripped his cock out of Methos and flipped him over. Methos tried to pull away only to have his head explode in pain as something solid hit his jaw. He was sure it was broken. He began to choke as blood filled his mouth and streamed from the corners. The same mouth that ravaged his shoulder covered his left nipple. Again, pain blossomed across the left side of his chest as teeth bit down on the sensitive flesh. Another gurgling scream was torn from his throat. Methos felt the cock return to his savaged anus and begin to pump again. That pain was almost mild in comparison to the bite he felt on his right nipple. Screaming again only brought a fist to his barely healing jaw. The pain exploded in his head once more, but this time brought sweet oblivion with it. Methos reached out for the grey mist with his last ounce of strength...
Mac pushed back from the desk and stretched. He’d just finished making the appointment for the hairdresser to come out to cut Methos’ hair later in the week. It would be the usual guy, Gerry, whom Mac had already checked out. He wouldn’t be there for this visit since he had an appraisal scheduled at the same time, but Derek would be there. He’d make sure Derek stayed during the appointment. The dojo manager had just stopped in to say that everything was locked up for the night and that he was leaving. Deciding to take a quick look at the books before heading out, Mac sat back at the desk.
Some time later he felt the presence of an immortal. Quickly getting up, katana in hand, he entered the dojo just as a stranger came to the doorway. “I’m Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod,” he intoned and surveyed the stranger. “Are you here for me?” The stranger stood about the same height and weight as Mac. His powerful shoulders were obvious under the thin coat he wore. Appraising what he was up against, Mac settled into the mindset for a challenge.
The stranger inclined his head at the question. “Daniel Morrisey. Do we dance here or the alley?”
“Alley,” was the only response as Mac led the way out back. Facing one another, Morrisey lunged first. Mac danced quickly back, parrying the lunge, but swung around to the left and advanced on Morrisey. They continued back and forth, alternately attacking and parrying, ascertaining one another’s style, strengths and potential weaknesses. A good swordsman, Morrisey pressed to finish the fight, but Mac had the advantage in endurance and training. As Morrisey tired, he left an opening that Mac quickly exploited. One crosswise slice had Morrisey looking down at his own intestines. He looked up in time to see the katana coming at his neck.
The quickening was powerful and left Mac on his knees, shaking and gasping as the last of the tremors coursed through his body. When he was able, he got up and cleaned his katana on Morrisey’s coat. Moving the body, he returned to the dojo to call Joe and clean up. He also called Mrs. Grimes to say that he would be a bit late. It looked like it was going to be a long night.
When he returned home he found Methos fed, bathed and being read to by Mrs. Grimes. Derek sat quietly nearby, also reading. Seeing the fatigue on Mac’s face, Mrs. Grimes let Mac know that a dinner plate was left warming in the oven and then both she and Derek left for the evening. Mac quietly ate his dinner while he told Methos about Morrisey. Afterwards, he moved to the bar and poured himself a generous drink, downing it quickly. Refilling the glass he moved to sit near Methos, sipping this second drink more slowly. He needed to settle this quickening in his body, but as each second passed every ounce of him screamed for attention. The adrenalin-induced arousal snaked its way through his veins until he was nearly shaking with tension. Looking at Methos only increased his arousal as memories of slaking other quickenings in one another’s bodies crashed through his brain. Downing the rest of his drink Mac decided that another shower was in order...a very cold one.
Moving upstairs, Mac brought Methos into the bathroom with him. Setting the wheelchair so that Mac could see Methos, he stepped into the shower. Soaping up and covering himself with lather, Mac lifted a hand to his chest, keeping his eyes on Methos’ face. He started by making small circles around his right nipple with his left hand. While gently pinching the small nub between his forefinger and thumb he moved his right hand down to his cock and started rubbing it gently, occasionally moving down to cup and massage his balls. Staring at Methos’ mouth, he imagined it was those beautiful lips he felt teasing their way slowly up and down his shaft, licking him and tasting his juices. Lost in his fantasy and driven by the quickening, it only took a moment before his orgasm burned its way up and out of his body, his seed shooting forward on to the tiles. Mac fell sideways, leaning against the wall. He let out a deep groan of desolation as he watched his semen slide slowly down the tile to wash down the drain. Feeling empty and lost, he rinsed himself and the tiles. Roughly drying himself and finishing his preparations, he moved Methos into bed and slid in behind him in his regular position.
Mac tried to settle into sleep, but it eluded him. Nuzzling into Methos’ nape and breathing in the essence of the man only served to fire Mac’s passion. Groaning again, Mac grasped Methos in a tight embrace but then released him and rolled over trying to will the arousal away. Instead, the thought of his lover in his arms and the overwhelming scent invading his nostrils filled Mac’s cock. He rolled back over and found himself grinding his pelvis into Methos, trying desperately to get enough friction to ease his pain. With shaking hands he reached into the nightstand and pulled out a small tube of lubricant. Easing down his own boxers, he quickly slicked his cock with his hand, moving his thumb over the head and spreading the drops of pre-ejaculate up and down his shaft, desperate to make himself come. This went on for some time and with a moan, he realized that it simply wasn’t going to happen by his own hand. Desperate, he turned to the silent man beside him. Begging forgiveness, he moved to release the straps that held the diaper in place. Easing it down, Mac used more lube and gently wet the inside of Methos’ cheeks. Moving so that his cock lay between the thin globes of Methos’ butt, Mac started to move up and down, determined to get enough friction to make himself come, but just as determined that he would not penetrate his friend. Keeping his cock sliding back and forth, adding pressure by pressing down on the outside of Methos’ butt cheek, Mac continued to nuzzle and kiss Methos’ nape and shoulder, moaning as tears started to form in his eyes. He was torn between the torture of his desperate need for Methos and the shame of his actions.
Delving deeper into fantasy, he thought of being with an awake and loving Methos. Yes, my Methos, holding onto my arms, pulling my hand up to his mouth where that tongue would gently nip at the delicate skin between my fingers, licking and sucking up the side of each digit only to take them into his mouth one at a time. Running his tongue over and around, over the tip...biting and sucking every square millimeter. Each movement accompanied by the most wondrous sounds of need coming from deep in his chest. It was enough to take Mac over the edge. He felt his testicles begin to tighten as the molten heat spread from the base of his spine to his balls and up his cock, shooting forth as he spilled his love up Methos’ crevice and back. Grasping and holding Methos, Mac held on until the spasms passed, the last of them bringing Mac back to the reality of the unresponsive lover in his arms. Bowing his head yet again into the beloved neck, Mac felt despair as a crushing, burning pain spreading out across his chest. He let out a wail of anguish, the tears spilling out of his eyes as the sobs tore their way out of his throat. Sobbing into the back of Methos head, Mac again begged forgiveness for using his friend. The torrent continued unabated as Mac let out his grief and loneliness and his fear that Methos would never come back.
Eventually Mac’s sobs quieted down, allowing him to clean them both up and re-arrange their clothing, tears still snaking their way, hot and heavy, down his cheeks. Again bringing Methos into his arms, Mac buried himself as close as possible into his love and, with hiccupping breaths, quietly cried himself to sleep.
The moonlight shining in through the window partially lit a room that Methos didn’t recognize. He lay on a bed with a warm presence at his back. Mac. He’d know that scent and feeling anywhere. Where were they? Try as he might, he couldn’t remember, but just the same it didn’t seem all that important. He knew he should probably be more concerned, but he had Duncan with him, sleeping peacefully, so he decided he’d worry about it in the morning. He was so tired and the warm grey mists were calling him back to sleep. Later is soon enough.
Hairdresser Gerry slowed down as the guy up ahead waved him over. The thought that the stranger must be having some kind of car trouble was the last thought Gerry ever had. The four men had been waiting for anyone to come down this road that appeared to have business at the old church, and Gerry was the unfortunate one. They were being paid well to get a hostage to use against Duncan MacLeod. It just remained to see which of the three people that stayed there would be the best. They decided to send in someone to find out since it didn’t pay to walk in blind.
“Oh, dear,” said Mrs. Grimes when Derek had called her. Derek had stopped the hairdresser after the first cut of the clippers. Oh, man. It looked like Mr. P was going to basic training! With no other option but to finish what had been started by the hairdresser, a last-minute substitute for the regular person who was out ill, the haircut continued. Mrs. Grimes couldn’t reach Mr. MacLeod when a new person had shown at the appointment time. Since Derek was there, she decided to let him in anyway. But now, an apparent misunderstanding on “short, spiky” haircut left Methos with what could only be described as a buzz cut. The hairdresser tried to mollify the nurse by explaining that such “a short ‘doo would be easier to care for”, but Mrs. Grimes knew how particular Mr. Macleod would be about his friend’s appearance. “Oh, dear,” she repeated as she paid the hairdresser and sent the supposedly remorseful young man on his way. This was not going to be pleasant, she thought to herself.
A heavy groan was the only response Mac gave several hours later when, upon his return from the dojo, Mrs. Grimes explained what had happened. “Well, we know it will grow back, but for the first time, I hope Adam doesn’t decide to rejoin us anytime soon…I can’t imagine what he’d say about this.” With a grim smile, Mac made sure Mrs. Grimes and Derek knew he didn’t blame them, although he was angry that someone he didn’t know had entered the house. They apparently got lucky this time because the guy had cut Methos’ hair and left. He blamed himself for not ensuring that the salon sent no one except Gerry to his home. He’d make sure of it next time. He didn’t want any strangers near Methos. Duncan reached out to stroke Methos’ head, running his hand from the top of his head to the back of his nape. Methos’ hair, so woefully short, looked like stiff bristles but remained amazingly soft. Sorry, my friend, but it is kind of cute. Still Duncan couldn’t help but miss the longer locks.
“So describe what you saw in that house.”
“It was just a crip in a wheelchair. He was in a coma and I had to cut his hair. I did the best I could, but they still got pissed. You didn’t tell me I had to cut hair.”
“So what happened? How many and did the crip ever move or say anything?”
“There were three. There was a nurse, an old woman who won’t be a problem. There was another big guy, like an orderly. He moved like a fighter. He’s the one to take out first. Neither of them was armed. The only other one is the crip, but like I said, he’s in a coma or something, but I think he’s the important one. He didn’t have the mark on his arm like the nurse and orderly.”
“Okay, we’ll move on the house. We take out the nurse and orderly and grab the crip. Let’s go.”
The gunman knelt down behind a tombstone in the nearby cemetery. He couldn’t come any closer to his prey due to the alarm system set up around the perimeter of the property, but that was his specialty – working at a distance. His high-powered rifle lay at his side, waiting for the moment when the orderly and nurse made their appearance. He’d been waiting several hours already, but he knew that at some point the pair would take their charge outside for some time in the sun. Patience was a requirement in his profession and he was good at it.
Eventually, Derek moved Mr. P out into the garden. As he stood from setting the brakes he suddenly felt a sharp stab in the middle of his back. The drugged dart was driven deep into his flesh by the high-powered rifle. He fell over backwards onto it, crushing it under his weight. Mrs. Grimes fell as she exited the kitchen door with a bottle in her hands. Once they were down, the gunman radioed the others. His part of the job was done. He’d travel back to base camp and let the others finish their part of this mission.
With no one inside watching the monitors, the team was able to break open the gate without a problem. They took Methos very simply by lifting him and his wheelchair into the waiting van. Just before they left, they dropped a piece of paper by the front door with an address to a warehouse on the docks of Seacouver. There they would be waiting for MacLeod.
“Mac, they took Adam. Where are you?” Joe’s voice sounded steady, but Mac could hear the strain in the gravelly voice.
“Who, Joe? What happened?” Mac’s knuckles grew white as he gripped his cell phone. He’d been meeting with a client and was on his way back to the dojo.
“A team of professionals drugged Derek and Angie. They took Adam. There’s a note with an address,” Joe’s voice was tight and low. “Mac, you know it’s a setup, and I can’t even tell you if it’s an immortal or not. My gut tells me it has to be, but we don’t know of any new guys in the area. Can you think of any reason a mortal would want Adam?”
“No, but we both know that doesn’t mean anything. I’ve still got to go. You know that. Tell me everything.” Joe related Derek and Angie’s failure to make a timed check-in with the Watchers. This resulted in someone going to the house where they found the gate broken in and the two Watchers down in the garden, rifle casings were found in the cemetery. They would be fine, but Adam was nowhere to be found. Just the note relayed what was to happen next.
“Mac, I’m on my way there.”
“No, Joe. Stay out of it.”
“The hell I will. I’ll take care of the Watchers. This is Adam we’re talking about. I will see you there.” Joe could hear Mac cursing as he hung up on him. There was no way he wasn’t getting involved in this one. Methos was his friend. End of story.
Joe was already outside of the warehouse when Mac drove up, a stubborn and angry look on his face.
“You shouldn’t be here, Joe.”
“Shut up and I’ll tell you what I’ve seen.” Ignoring Mac’s exasperated look, Joe continued. “The Watchers checking on Derek and Angie gave us a time advantage. I’ll bet they aren’t expecting you until closing time at the dojo. I’ve counted at least four men going in and out, they look like professional soldiers, but not in charge so there’s probably more. No one has left since I got here.”
“Does it look like they’ve taken up position?”
“No, not yet. So I think now would be a good time to take a look/see.”
“Yeah, but you stay here. I mean it, Joe.”
“Bullshit. Unless you plan on knocking me out, I’m in on this. Got it? I may not be able to run, but I can shoot and my guess is that those four are mortals. Methos is my friend, too. We’re doing this together, alright?”
“How are you going to explain this to the Watchers?”
“I need to be close to you to see what you’re up to, right? If anything else happens, self-defense against another mortal doesn’t break my vows. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.”
Mac and Joe stared at each other for a burning moment, aware of how much Methos meant to each of them. With a nod, Mac motioned going to the left, leaving Joe to move in on the right. Up ahead, Mac could see one man with a rifle slung over his shoulder getting ready to climb an exterior building ladder. Taking a position on the roof? I don’t think so. As the man turned and lifted his foot to start climbing, he was completely surprised to feel hands grabbing him from behind and pulling him down. He twisted in time to see a rather large, booted foot just before it connected right between his eyes. Mac grabbed him by the legs and moved him out of the way. Tying him up with the rifle straps, Mac left him around the corner of the building.
Moving up slowly, Joe peered around the corner of the warehouse adjacent to his goal. Seeing no one ahead, he moved slowly forward, his gun with silencer held under his coat. Mac probably wouldn’t approve, but Joe intended to shoot first and ask questions later. He also knew these guys were professionals which struck a chord somewhere in his memory. He knew there weren’t any new immortals in town, so whoever this was (and Joe was sure it was an immortal), he didn’t have a Watcher on him. So who would use professional soldiers but didn’t have a Watcher? The thought nagged him as he crouched behind a dumpster, watching for movement. Then it hit him...Jonathan Parsons. A professional soldier, immortal, but so vicious he’d killed three Watchers – two assigned to watch him and a third who happened to be in the wrong place when Parsons saw the tattoo. Okay, so now Joe knew there were no other Watchers in the area. That’s good, because he didn’t intend to act very Watcherly at this point in time.
Just then he heard footsteps coming his way. Peeking above the dumpster, he saw a lone figure walking his way. No problem. “Excuse me, I’m kind of lost,” Joe started. The man turned at the first word, no surprise on his face as he started to pull his gun. “You’re in the wrong place, buddy...” His comment was never finished as two quick shots hit him in the chest. “Not as wrong as you were,” Joe said to the corpse at his feet. The body was close enough to the dumpster that Joe was able to cover him enough to get him out of view without too much trouble. Nope, Mac would definitely not approve.
Inside, Jonathan Parsons looked down at the quiet man in the wheel chair. “Just who are you, Adam Pierson? I should kill you here and now just to save MacLeod the trouble of dealing with you. You’re nothing but a piece of meat, completely unable to defend that quickening I feel burning inside you. So why does he keep you around?” Parsons was completely unable to fathom any reason for keeping such a burden. His cold blue eyes took in the thin body and vacant stare, revulsion flooding through him. Soon enough, he’d dispatch this one when he was done with MacLeod. Just a few more hours until MacLeod would see his note. Now there was a fighter worthy of being an immortal. Parsons had been hunting for quite some time in between fighting in the various wars and skirmishes that brought him what he needed most: the thrill of battle. He lived for it. But today’s wars were fought at a distance, rarely giving the opponents the opportunity to look one another in the eye, rarely giving him the opportunity to see the light die out knowing he was the cause of it. It just wasn’t fun anymore.
It didn’t take long for Mac to find the second man just inside the warehouse. Quickly, and unknowingly, he dispatched the supposed hairdresser and moved forward into the warehouse, worrying slightly about Joe. Two down, two unaccounted for. He scanned the area. It was mostly open but dark. At the back was a pre-fab office structure. It had some lights on so he moved closer, avoiding the center and staying to the deeper shadows at the edge.
Joe eased in through the doorway at the end of the warehouse. He hadn’t seen or heard anyone else, so he kept moving. Close to his end of the building was one of those Butler buildings, a pre-fabricated structure. The lights were on, so he decided to move closer and check things out. He couldn’t see where Mac was in the gloom so he just kept moving forward. He found himself to the side and behind the Butler building. He stopped to listen, knowing there was at least one, possibly two, other men still out there.
Parsons pulled out his knife and ran the tip along Methos’ throat. A thin red line formed oozing tiny red droplets that dripped down his neck. As quickly as the line was formed, small blue lights danced across the same trail quietly healing the damage that was so idly done. Disappointment shone out Parsons’ cold blue eyes as the lack of response in the being before him. Useless! What’s the point of letting this one breathe!
Pain! Sharp pain across his neck...a low moan, barely audible, escaped from his throat. Gods, please let it stop. Take my head. Let it end. The pain stopped and healing started. Why are you doing this to me? Please let me die! Sobs racked his body as he realized it wasn’t yet over...
A small sound, like a subtle cough, came from the still man in the chair. Parsons was somewhat surprised. So, not totally without response...but not enough to really provide any entertainment. Tired of little games, Parsons moved to the other side of the small office space and waited for Burls, one of his mercenaries. He should be about done checking on his men’s position. Soon enough the Highlander would be making his appearance and the fun could start.
Mac eased his way around a forklift and moved forward to another crate. It hit him suddenly, the sense of Presence. Stilling his movements he concentrated on the feeling and knew that there were two immortals ahead and one of them was his beloved Methos. Taking a deep breath he knew that his presence had also just been announced.
Startled out of his reverie, Parsons jumped to his feet at the surge of Presence. MacLeod? So soon! So be it...but where was Burls? Reaching over to grab the wheelchair, Parsons pushed Methos out of the door and into the main part of the warehouse. Holding his dagger to Methos’ throat he called out, “Step out where I can see you, MacLeod!”
Joe saw the movement in the Butler building and crouched low behind some crates. That bastard had Adam! Noting the movement to his left, Joe also saw Mac move out into the center, both hands up. His attention returned to his friend in the wheelchair, but Parsons had turned the chair and himself away from Joe so he couldn’t see anything else, but he’d seen enough to know that that was blood across Adam’s t-shirt. He felt his stomach churn, but from what he was able to see in those few moments, there didn’t appear to be any other marks on him. What the hell happened to his hair? His attention was drawn away by the sound of Mac’s voice.
“I don’t know you, but step away from Pierson and let’s handle this now, you and I.” Intense anger radiated from the Highlander as he also saw the dried blood on his love’s neck and clothes.
Parsons’ laughter rang out through the warehouse, his pleasure evident at the anger in his opponent and pleased that this part of his plan was working. “Of course! That was always the plan, although you have moved the party time forward a bit. Tell me, are my men still alive?”
“For the most part, but I have to admit to not being sure that you don’t plan on having your friends shoot me before you take my quickening. As my host at this little soiree, aren’t you going to at least identify yourself?” Mac took a step closer but still stood at least fifteen feet away. He stopped and examined his opponent. He saw a man, possibly two inches shorter than himself who probably had his first death in his mid forties, judging by the hairline and fine wrinkles around the eyes and mouth. The body, though, was wide and strong showing a lifetime of physical training. The erect military bearing attested to a man that was probably a career soldier, quite probably a killer. So be it, Mac unconsciously echoed Parsons’ earlier thought. From the corner of his eye, he saw a tiny movement and noted Joe behind some crates. Don’t move, Joe, please...thought Mac knowing that he would also have noted the blood. He didn’t want to goad this madman into cutting Methos’ neck.
“Jonathan Parsons, at your service, and you needn’t worry about my men, they won’t interfere. Their presence is just to prevent those annoying fellows with the tattoos from crashing our party. I find that group of people completely lacking in manners and simply won’t tolerate their presence. I hope you don’t mind. No? Good. Now, as to your friend here...” With a generous smile, Parsons leaned forward and ran his knife down Methos’ left cheek. Mac started forward at the spurt of blood that erupted from the gash.
“Uh, uh, uh...Mr. MacLeod, please stay where you are.” Parsons moved the knife across Methos’ chin and over to his other cheek, intent on completely infuriating his opponent. “Please tell me why you are so concerned about this worthless piece of flesh? He seems to be rather lacking in response, so I’m sure he is a terrible fuck, although he might make a wonderful bookend. Not very attractive with this haircut you’ve given him, but functional.” Parsons moved the knife back to Methos’ neck, enjoying watching the Highlander start to lose control.
Awareness flooded through him at the agonizing slices across his face – real pain, not a memory. He could see Mac standing just in front of him. No! No, he wasn’t supposed to be here... Flashes of memory of a man, a weight on his chest, blood...What was happening?
Joe took aim. He’d be damned if he’d let this asshole take Methos’ head, but he also watched MacLeod, waiting for some signal.
“Stop! Your fight is with me, leave him out of this!” Mac gasped out as he drew his sword.
Perfect. Just a bit more... Parsons again started to draw the knife across Methos’ neck...
“Noooo!” Mac screamed out the denial hoping to stop Joe from pulling the trigger of the gun he knew was pointed at Parsons. He knew that Parsons wouldn’t incapacitate himself with a quickening, but didn’t know if, once shot, he wouldn’t take Methos in a last ditch effort.
Instead, Parsons pulled back and slammed his fist into Methos’ jaw just for the Scot’s reaction. “I have no need of his quickening just yet. I believe it is time our party started.” He stepped away from Pierson as Mac moved towards him, never knowing how close he came to being shot in the back by Joe.
Pain exploded across his jaw, stunning him and adding to his confusion. He’d seen Mac pull his katana and yell at someone behind him. Suddenly there were the two of them fighting in his field of vision, swimming in and out of focus.
As Parsons raised his sword, Mac closed the distance between them. The metallic clang rang throughout the warehouse, echoing around the empty interior. Sparks flew from their joined swords, the Scot’s countenance dark with fury, his challenger’s face showing the thrill of the fight. Testing each other’s strength, they fought back and forth, concentrating solely on each other.
The two fought on but out of the shadows on the left Burls scurried forward from behind some crates, a gun in his hand aimed at the Highlander’s back, but Joe couldn’t see him from his vantage point.
The ringing sound of the swords kept Methos’ eyes on the two combatants. Trying to make sense of his surroundings and the fight going on, he took in the scene before him. Suddenly, a movement caught his eye as a gun was raised and pointed at his Highlander. “..aaaaac!” the rusty, unused voice erupted from the frail body. It brought Mac’s eyes to his friend and in that instant he knew someone was behind him.
As he dove to the side Parsons yelled “No! Don’t interfere!” Joe, stepping out from behind the crate he’d hidden behind, saw Burls still trying to get a fix on Mac. One quick shot and Burls fell over. Parsons pulled back behind a crate as Joe moved forward, as quickly as he could, to get to Methos’ side.
“This isn’t over Parsons,” called Mac as he rushed to Methos. Methos’ eyes, dark with the weight of his millennia, looked deeply into Mac’s chocolate orbs, misty with emotion. “Methos...” Mac whispered as he reached out to caress that beloved face.
“No, it’s not over, MacLeod. Let’s finish this!” Parsons charged towards Mac with his sword held high. Mac jumped up and away from Adam and Joe as he lifted his katana to meet the charge. “Joe, get him out of here!” was the last comment Mac made before fully engaging. The battle resumed as Joe moved Adam to a safe distance.
Parsons, bringing his sword down in a vicious two-handed swing, felt the jarring pain up his arms and across his back as MacLeod met the swing with one of his own. Locking eyes together, they recognized each other as equals and knew that this would be one hell of a fight. Acknowledgment and acceptance...they fought.
Joe moved Adam back behind some crates, far enough away to prevent injury from the quickening. “Welcome back, my friend.” Joe couldn’t stop the tears from falling down his face. He knew he should be watching the fight, but his eyes were only for his friend, trusting Mac to do what he did best...win.
Methos looked at Joe and wondered just what exactly was going on. Not only could he not move he couldn’t speak except for some very strange grunting noises. Fear clutched at his belly as his confusion deepened. Moving his eyes, he was aware of sitting in a wheelchair. With no way to answer his questions, Methos looked to Joe and waited. Aware suddenly that the sound of fighting had ceased, Joe looked over in time to see Mac preparing for the quickening to come. “Mac won. Get ready.” was all Joe had time for before the lightening started.
When it was over, Mac staggered over to Joe and Methos. Again dropping to his knees beside his friend he reached over and took a pale, thin hand in his. Looking back up into a pair of confused mossy green eyes, he smiled and said “We’ve got a lot to talk about. Let’s go home.”
Joe stayed back to clean up the mess and provide a report to the Watchers, so Mac moved Methos into his car. Angry and frightened with his inability to speak or sit by himself which meant that he was left laying in the back seat of Mac’s car and unable to complain about it, Methos could only listen to Mac as he recounted the past two years. I’ve been in a stupor for two years? And Mac has been taking care of me for all that time? Methos found he was shocked and ashamed that he had succumbed to the latest experience in such a way. He was stronger than this...wasn’t he? He could feel his body trembling as he agonized over his own frailty. But then, if he was honest, Methos had to admit that this wasn’t the first time this had happened. It had been nearly a thousand years ago when Methos had come to awareness on a pallet in a monastery near the Chinese border. He never knew how long he’d been there, or how he even came to be there. All he remembered was that he’d been unable to move or speak for some time but the monks had cared for him until he was able to leave. That time had also been precipitated by a round of torture and grief.
He shut his eyes in an effort to get away from the memory. Perhaps 5000 years was simply too long for a person to live, to have that many memories of pain and loss. He’d often wondered if his continued existence was an anomaly, pure chance, and never intended to happen to an immortal. Perhaps the Game needed to be won by someone with less baggage, so to speak. Not that he ever wanted the Prize, but he’d always felt he might have had as good a chance as any…that is, until he got to know MacLeod. The Highlander with his innate honesty and justice was an infinitely better candidate for the Prize. An overwhelming sadness rose up in him causing tears to come to his eyes – what was MacLeod doing with someone so very damaged by life? It was obvious that Mac had decided he’d care for him until he was better, and knowing the Highlander’s ridiculously over-inflated sense of honor and need to care for those around him, Mac had probably decided Methos was his personal project. Damnit! He neither wanted nor needed the Highlander’s pity – and after Bordeaux, what else could it be?
They arrived...somewhere...and Mac came around to the back seat. Methos tried desperately to still his trembling, afraid to let the Highlander know this added evidence of just how fragile he was right now. But Mac knew...as he reached in to lift Methos, he could feel the tremors in the ancient’s body. “Shh, its okay, Methos. I have you. It’ll be alright. You’ll see.” Mac whispered gently as he placed him in the waiting chair and pushed him into the house. Despite the dark, Methos tried to concentrate on his surroundings in an effort to control his reaction. The house had the loveliest wisteria growing across the stone. Is this the “home” that Mac had mentioned? Entering the house, Methos was struck by the beauty and care that obviously went into the restoration of what appeared to be an older building. They turned to the left and entered a beautiful library with numerous shelves made of a rich, dark wood – most of them quite empty. Continuing to look around as much as possible without the ability to turn his head, Methos was very surprised to see several sculptures and artworks that were undoubtedly his. How had Mac come into possession of these items? The last that Methos knew, they had been placed in storage in Seacouver after having been brought from his Paris and London warehouses, back when he thought that he would be setting up his own apartment. Just what had transpired in his “absence”?
The answer was suddenly very obvious. His lawyers had no doubt contacted Mac after he had failed to make the appropriate notification within the required timeframe. He’d never told Mac that all his properties were bequeathed to him, minus some specific bequests, upon his supposed death. Mac had probably noted the existence of a local warehouse and had gone to check the contents. Choosing some fine pieces from the inventory, he’d brought them into this house – maybe hoping Methos might recognize them. The thought that Mac had been trying anything to arouse some response from him warmed him in a way he wasn’t prepared to deal with, but he wouldn’t put it passed the Highlander.
Stopping the wheelchair near the fireplace, Mac knew he needed to calm Methos down. The Ancient’s trembling struck a protective chord deep inside of him and he had to forcibly stop himself from taking Methos into his arms. Moving quickly into the kitchen to get a spoon, he returned to the liquor cabinet and poured a glass of whiskey. Returning to Methos side, he spooned some of the fiery liquid into Methos’ mouth. Those pain-filled eyes closed as he swallowed. Taking a drink himself, Mac waited until the eyes opened again. “More?” Mac offered. Methos was able to open his mouth slightly and gave a breathy “..ess...” which Mac took to mean yes. After a couple more spoonfuls and some trial and error, they found that Methos could form words that didn’t require lip movement.
Although it was probably the combination of both the whiskey and the effort to form words that helped calm Methos down, Mac wanted desperately to get him settled for the night. He could see the shadows starting to form under the now-expressive eyes, fatigue and stress causing lines between those fine eyebrows. “Let’s get you cleaned up. Are you hungry?”
“Tired...” Methos again looked around as Mac wheeled him into what looked like a private hospital room. Mac stopped the wheelchair and Methos watched as he laid towels on a padded table.
Mac knelt down at Methos’ side and felt his hands, hands that were icy cold. “Methos, you’re freezing. I’d like to give you a shower to warm you up and get you into bed. I know, though, that you’re not going to like the process much. Will you let me take care of you for now, until you get back on your feet?”
Methos looked at him, knowing exactly what Mac was referring to based on his years as a doctor and in caring for the infirm and he agreed that he wasn’t going to enjoy being cared for, but he was enough of a pragmatist to know he couldn’t exactly take care of himself right now. He couldn’t even provide a scathing comment about taking care of himself for the last 5000 years. Okay, now more than ever, it was time to live, grow stronger, and fight this well-meaning, over-protective Scot another day. Methos let him know he could proceed, so Mac moved them into the bathroom. Amusement warred with shock as Methos took in all the equipment. Looks like Mac carried out his role as nursemaid to the hilt. From the quick efficiency of his movements, Methos knew that Mac was accustomed to providing this level of care for him, so it came as no surprise at how quickly Mac got him undressed. Oh Gods, of course there’s a diaper. Disgust and embarrassment brought a flush to his skin as Mac gave them both a quick shower.
Methos said nothing during the procedure, but Mac could see the flush across Methos’ skin at the intimate contact. He kept his eyes closed so Mac assumed he was distancing himself from the moment. He let him have his privacy by not continuing his usual one-sided banter. Methos turned an incredibly deeper shade of red when Mac placed a clean diaper on him, so Mac rushed through as quickly as he could, contemplating the day’s events. Surprisingly, he felt no urgent needs from the Quickening he’d taken earlier, just more of a need to get things done...finish the mission...? Mac assumed that was Parsons’ military background talking.
He finally, though, had to tell Methos where he’d been sleeping for the last two years. More than ever, Mac wanted to be able to hold him in his arms and look into those incredible eyes, but he was also afraid that it would be too much...Methos’ hold seemed to be so tenuous now. He offered the choice, knowing that if Methos wanted to sleep alone he’d have one big Scot sleeping outside his door.
This was incredible, Methos thought to himself. I’ve been where I wanted to be and have no memory of it. What a waste! If the situation hadn’t struck him as so pathetic, he’d laugh. What do I want? A faint memory trickled in of waking to moonlight flooding a strange room, but the memory wasn’t accompanied by any negative feelings. In fact, he recalled a strong sense of safety and warmth, that all was right because he wasn’t alone. Was that here? Was he remembering a waking moment with the Highlander near him? He was so tired, but the thought of sleeping safe, finally safe, was too strong. “’ith you...” he sighed.
Gratefully, Mac moved them both to their bedroom, contemplating how he was going to get Methos to accept a bottle of the nutrient drink. “Methos, I’ll be right back. Stay here.”
Yeah, as though I can actually go anywhere, thought Methos as he looked around. This is it! This is the room in my dream. The room was very masculine, in keeping with Mac’s usual taste. Mahogany furniture and dark, rich colors brought the room a comforting elegance that immediately put Methos at ease. At Mac’s re-appearance in his field of vision, though, Methos wondered what else would be revealed.
“Methos, there’s one more thing. I know you haven’t had anything to eat or drink for hours. You need to get your strength back, but that won’t happen if I let you starve.”
He focused on what Mac was saying. Starving...not pleasant, he mused. And yes, he was very hungry, but he was also exhausted. He wasn’t sure he could stay awake long enough for Mac to feed him. So what was he saying now...?
What! A bloody, fucking bottle! Absolutely not...I am not a goddamned baby who needs pablum in a bottle! Are you insane, you bloody Highland idiot? Garbled sounds that Mac wasn’t quite sure weren’t words in some obscure language that only Methos would know were fervently whispered by the ancient in the wheelchair. The flashing tawny eyes and sputtered whisperings interspersed with gasped breaths were enough to convince Mac that he was probably very lucky he didn’t know what Methos was actually saying.
Mac waited, giving him a chance to calm down. “It’s not baby formula, Methos. It’s a specially formulated nutrient drink that will provide the calories you need to get your strength back,” Mac attempted to explain. “Look, I know you’re exhausted and hungry. Just try it, okay? Then, you can go to sleep. Please?” Giving him his best doe-eyed pleading look, Mac also added the second “Please?” with those luscious pouting lips.
Methos was lost. There was no way he could deny this child anything when he used that look. Closing his eyes, Methos acquiesced.
“Thank you, Methos. It’s really the best for you...”
Don’t push it, Highlander.
“Maybe soon you can drink it with a straw...”
You’re dead as soon as I’m strong enough to hold a sword...
“I’ll prop you up and hold the bottle... it won’t be that bad...”
Oh Gods, I’m meeting his need to be maternal. Now, if he had offered breastfeeding we might come to an understanding... Methos stifled that thought since he couldn’t follow up and there was no need to make this situation any more difficult.
Moving Methos to the bed, Mac settled in behind Methos and cradled the Old Man against his chest. Placing the bottle in his beloved’s mouth, he was thrilled to see the cheeks hollow out with the force of Methos’ suction, even as they flushed with embarrassment.
“Everything is going to be okay, Methos,” Mac whispered into Methos’ crown, “I’ve got you.”
Best get this over with as soon as possible. Gods, this tastes like shit. Methos closed his eyes as he drank the warm fluid as quickly as he could. However, even he couldn’t deny the feeling of comfort and peace at being held against that strong chest with Duncan’s arms around him as his hunger was met.
The fact that Methos had agreed to stay with Mac lifted a huge weight from Mac’s heart. Mac also felt the Quickening finally settle. Hope radiated through the Scot although he knew there was still a long road ahead of them. Looking down at the closed eyes of the man he loved more than anything else, he thought about Tessa. He never got the chance to care for a spouse as they aged through a normal mortal lifetime, eventually succumbing to the inevitable...through sickness and health, until death do you part... Those words had a new depth of meaning for him now, and he knew that he loved this man as much as he had loved Tessa. He swore to himself that he would let Methos know how he felt, and maybe...just maybe, they could start over. He wanted this man back in his life.
Seeing that the bottle was empty, Mac gently pulled it away and set it aside. Mac leaned forward slightly and began rubbing Methos’ back, patting slightly to remove any trapped air bubbles.
Incredible! Mac should really have had the chance to be a father. Okay, Mac, it worked... you’ve burped me. Now let me lay down...
As though Mac had heard the silent request, he eased Methos down and settled in behind him in their usual position. “Goodnight, Methos,” Mac sighed into Methos’ nape.
“’Night” came the whispered reply. Methos could hear Mac’s breathing slow down behind him. He was exhausted, but he wasn’t ready to sleep, yet. The repeated mild shocks at the Scot’s care had removed the immediate need for sleep. He needed some quiet just to think. Feeling safer than he could remember being in a long time despite his physical limitations, Methos tried to remember what had brought them to this point. He remembered the room where he was held by that unknown man. Although his mind shied away from the details, he knew that he had been horribly tortured. He still didn’t know why. Hopefully, Mac would tell him tomorrow.
He did remember thinking that he had to stop the man from getting Mac. He was going for Mac next, he was going to do the same things to Mac that he’d done to Methos. Methos couldn’t allow that to happen. He would not get his Highlander. The man had climbed on top of him again, but there was no pain. He didn’t feel anything, just the knowledge of what he was going to do as soon as the time was right. Yes, that’s it. The man stuck his tongue in Methos’ mouth. That’s all it took. Methos remembered the feel of sucking in that vile organ and biting down. He remembered the gasp of shock and pain, the feel of the man’s heart thudding against his chest. He remembered the heart stopping. He remembered the sweet feeling of success as he spit out the piece of flesh.
Then he remembered that Mac knew exactly what he’d gone through, that he would be disgusted and that he wouldn’t want him. If Mac didn't want him any more - let it be. He had given up. That’s when he’d let the grey mist envelop him tighter, covering everything. He’d retreated into his inner sanctuary, wrapped in the mist of his own making. There he was safe and alone, not suffering, no pain...no love, no joy, and no warmth. Nothing like the warmth he was feeling with the Highlander snuggled up against his back, breathing softly into his neck, arms wrapped tightly around him holding him close and safe.
What is going on here? This is more than a need to care for a member of the clan...unless Mac usually provides this intimate care to all his clansmen. That thought sent a ripple of amusement through him. What was Mac doing? This level of care almost implied that Mac cared for him... totally contrary to the estrangement between them before Methos was taken. Methos wanted to believe that things had changed between them, but considering his condition there was no way he could accept this change out of pity, or worse yet, guilt. Who was that guy? Why had he taken Methos? Did Mac feel responsible? Methos knew he had to let it go for now. He was too tired, and there was too much he didn’t know. So, in his timeless way of dealing with problems, Methos decided that since he couldn’t run away he would simply do nothing. He would just lay here and enjoy what he had, for who knew how long he would have it. He finally let sleep claim him.
Methos woke the next morning in his usual manner – a mental inventory of where he was and who was around him. Feeling the Presence behind him he was initially confused, even though he recognized the Scot...then he remembered everything. He tried to move and found that he still couldn’t. A slight sense of panic flowed through him. His felt his breathing change and then a pair of arms tightened around him.
“Are you alright? Are you in pain?” Mac whispered next to his ear. The feel of his breath against his ear would have evoked a different set of emotions at any other time, but for now it helped calm Methos down.
“Just remembered where I was. I still can’t move, but I’m okay.” The words flowed much easier than they had the night before, but Methos found he still had trouble coordinating his tongue and mouth to correctly form the words.
“Alright. Let’s get you dressed and move downstairs. I need to call your doctor and let him know what’s happening. Everything is going to be fine. You’ll see.” Methos let Mac’s optimism flow around him. Based on his last experience, he was probably right but gods, how he hated being so vulnerable and dependent.
Mac saw the beginnings of a frown, but decided not to say anything, yet. He knew that Methos would be a terrible patient...his vulnerability alone would send his caustic tongue into overdrive, all in an effort to hide his fear. Yes, he knew his friend at least this much and was prepared for it...grateful that they finally had the chance.
Methos took the dressing fairly well, although he still kept his eyes closed. Downstairs, he didn’t grumble too much over the oatmeal once he realized he couldn’t yet chew effectively. Coffee, with plenty of milk, was handled with a straw. Mac was glad. He didn’t relish the fight to get the nutrient drink into Methos by bottle again.
Eventually, despite some eye rolling and minor facial grimaces, Mac was able to get Methos fed, and definitely got the message that enough was enough when Methos spit a spoonful back out at Mac. The gleeful look in those olivine eyes was Mac’s undoing. “My God, how I’ve missed you.” Mac couldn’t hold back the tears that flooded his eyes. Leaning forward and grasping both Methos’ hands in his own, he finally said the words he’d held on to for two years. “Methos, I was so wrong.” His emotions came flooding forth in a heavy brogue. “So verra wrong. I dinna know if you can forgive me. I’ve thought of naught else these last two years, looking back at yer actions and not yer words. I’m a thick-headed fool, and a stubborn one at that. You don’t have to answer now, but I’m asking you to think about this...I love you. I never stopped lovin’ you. I’m hopin’ you’ll find it in yer heart to forgive me and let me have a place in yer life. So I’ll not speak of this again until yer ready and can tell me yerself what it is you want.” Raising Methos’ hands to his mouth, he placed a gentle kiss on the back of each and then laid them back in Methos’ lap.
Methos was in shock...his eyes misting over. He’d finally heard the words he’d been waiting for, for so long, and it was almost too much, the emotional overload nearly shutting him down again. He loves me? No, he can’t! Not after Kr...everything. It’s pity. It has to be. Damnit, Highlander, don’t start this now! I need to think...I need time! Striving for calm, he kept his eyes closed, breathing harshly through his mouth.
Mac looked up into Methos’ face and saw his beloved’s eyes were closed, a silvery track of tears winding down his cheeks. Regret filled him instantly. “I’m so sorry, love! I dinna mean to do this now. I should have held my tongue!” Tears of remorse flooded out of his eyes as he leaned forward to brush away Methos’ tears.
“S’kay...talk later, Dun-can...’kay?...” The pleading look in those eyes, now a deep, misty green, nearly broke Duncan’s heart.
“Yes, yes, love. We’ll talk later.” Not expecting an answer, Mac took a few deep breaths to calm himself and then cleaned up.
After breakfast, Mac moved them into the library while he placed the calls to Dr. Hadras and Joe. He also called the security company to fix the gate later that day and called the dojo to have his manager take his classes. Not wanting to push too much information at Methos so soon after his ‘awakening’, he decided to let Methos ask what was foremost on the Ancient’s mind.
“Why?” was the obvious first question with “revenge” being the ages-old answer. Mac told Methos all he knew, including the fact that there had been a tape and phone calls. Methos didn’t care that Mac had destroyed the tape. He did care that Mac knew what he’d undergone.
“...don’ need your pity, MacLeod,” whispered Methos, glad that Mac only knew of this instance of pain and grief in his history.
“And you don’t have it. What you have is my admiration.” At the skeptical look in those eyes, Mac continued. “I’ve never met anyone with such an indomitable will. Joe thinks you’ve survived this sort of thing before. Joe and I’ve talked a lot about this...surviving for as long as you have...you’ve had to develop some incredible skills. What drives you to keep going? You said once that you no longer had the passion – but to overcome an animal like Jackson...”
“Tha’ his name?” Methos closed his eyes. He had to concentrate on his breathing so that he could keep speaking.
“Yes, and despite everything, you survived...”
“It’s what I do best...but it’s the ‘how’...you have problem with. You don’t agree with my choices, choices ‘bout what I need to do to survive – not black and white e-nough...not clearly honor-ble or just...all they are, are what I decide is the best course...action for me, for what I care about...” Methos trailed off, trying to catch his breath. He wanted to keep this conversation on one part of his history only...the Horsemen...because that’s what MacLeod had to come to terms with. The horrors Methos committed rather than the horrors committed against him.
“And what you care about is so much more than you want to let anyone know. Look, Methos, I know I failed you, more than once. I failed to trust you. Regardless about how I felt, you knew the best choice at the time was to end the Horsemen, once and for all. And, I think that you were trying to get me out of the picture...you know me so well, you know exactly what to say to get the response you want. It took me a long time to fully realize just how much you’ve been on the sidelines protecting me.” Concern for Methos’ struggle to speak was obvious on the Scot’s face. “Methos, I know it’s hard for you to talk and we’ll have more time to talk about this as you get better, so just listen for now, okay?”
Annoying as it was, Mac was right, so Methos listened. “’Kay.”
“I know that my mode of thinking is too strict for you. You think outside the phalanx, covering a multitude of possibilities while I forge ahead. But in the end, didn’t we have the same goal? I may not always know what you’re doing, and I hate it that you can influence me so easily. But, Methos,” Mac moved to kneel next to Methos, “I do trust you. I love you as the man you are today, and it’s taken me this long to finally...accept.”
Methos just looked at the stark sincerity of the dark eyes in front of him. Could this be true? Is there hope?
“Maybe, when you’re back to your ‘old’ self,” Methos rolled his eyes at the pun, “we can try again?”
The hopeful look on Mac’s face was interrupted by the doorbell, and then Joe made his way into the library.
“You’re looking better, Methos.” He smiled as he moved to sit next to Methos.
“Good to see you, Joe.” Methos gave him his best effort at a smile which became surprisingly bigger when Joe pulled out a bottle of the same cream stout they’d shared years ago. Things were looking so much better. Joe was just about to suggest the bottle when Dr. Hadras arrived to give Adam a thorough examination.
Although his efforts at getting Adam to talk about his recent experience proved fruitless, he was impressed at how well he seemed to be doing and cleared him for rehabilitation therapy. He also increased the calorie count of the nutrient drink. “You’re going to find this therapy very tiring, so you’ll need to rest quite a bit in between sessions. Don’t push yourself too hard. Tiring yourself too much will only slow down your overall recovery. I’ll come back tomorrow to see how you’re doing.” Handing Mac a copy of therapy orders, he made his way out leaving an angry Methos in Duncan’s care.
“Not talking to ‘em,” Methos scowled, a stubborn look in his eyes.
“Of course not, Methos, not the truth anyway. But maybe he can help you at least a bit. He specializes in treating victims of violent crime. If only Sean Burns was here...” Mac was silent for a moment, guilt tensing his shoulders. “Methos, you have no idea how terrified we both were that you’d never come back to us...” to me, his eyes said. “How can we help you?”
“Time, I need time,” pain shot through the golden eyes. “Let me do this by myself...it’s worked for me in the past...”
“This has happened before?”
Methos mentally kicked himself for mentioning his past episode. That’s all he needed...Mac thinking that he was unstable. Shit! But he did owe Mac at least a partial story, he just needed to make sure it wasn’t recorded anywhere.
“Joe, no record...”
“Sure, Methos,” Joe readily agreed for the chance to hear about Methos’ past.
Slowly, and thankful that talking was becoming easier, Methos let them know about his waking up in that monastery. “It took a long time to get better. Had to stay there...I wasn’t quite sane for awhile. I never really learned how long I was there, but by the time I left to find the bastard who did that to me, he’d been dead a long time.” He looked at Mac, easily reading the fear that this would happen again. “I don’t know if this will happen again. I’ve been lucky that no one has taken my head. Sometimes...” he trailed off, a distant look in his eyes, “I think that no one should live as long as I have...too much, it’s too much...” The golden eyes lost their focus, seeing things only he could know.
The unfocused look sent panic through both Joe and Duncan. Oh, God...it’s too soon for this! Duncan dropped to his knees next to Methos, reaching out with one hand to touch his face. “Methos! Oh, sweetheart, please...” Duncan’s panicked voice reached through to Methos.
Sweetheart? An amused, but thankfully focused, look was directed at Duncan. “Don’t worry, it will still take me some time to settle this and put it behind me...just a little more patience, please. I’ll be fine, and I’m still not talking to that charlatan...”
“Okay, whatever you need. You know that. For now, I think we just need his help to build you back up physically. I’m sure you can come up with a story to satisfy him and let him know you’ll be alright. Besides, I’d think you would have fun leading a psychiatrist down a path of your choosing.” Mac grinned at the suddenly happy look in Methos’ eyes, knowing the old schemer was already plotting ways to get rid of the good doctor. Yes, it looked like his friend was back to stay.
Joe looked at his friend, finally at peace with how things were going but felt compelled to ask, “Mac, what the hell happened to Methos’ hair?” Methos’ eyes narrowed at his statement, goldish/green orbs shifting from Joe to Mac.
Mac suddenly blushed and found the carpet extremely interesting. “I’d arranged to have a hairdresser come to cut your hair, Methos. A stranger showed up rather than they guy who normally comes in, Gerry...”
“Oh, man...” Joe murmured. At Mac’s questioning look, he clarified, “our guys found the body of one Gerald Hastings about a mile down the road. We were holding it until we could figure out if he was involved with Parsons. I guess he was in the wrong place at the wrong time and Parsons’ guy showed up here in his place. We’ll take care of it, Mac, so that the body goes to his family.”
Mac just shook his head at the loss of yet another innocent just because he was associated with the Highlander. “Joe, let me know if the family needs any help with the arrangements... anonymously, of course.”
“No problem, Mac. But, I’d say though, that Parsons didn’t train his guys on hair styling, huh?” Joe said in an attempt to lighten the moment.
“Mirror,” breathed Methos, understanding what Joe was doing.
Mac sheepishly disappeared and momentarily returned with the mirror, holding it up so that Methos could see the damage.
“Bloody Hell, Mac, you let the guy butcher me!” Methos eyed his reflection with distaste and turned a baleful eye in the Scot’s direction. He genuinely preferred his hair short but decided to play along with Joe even as memories surfaced of looking into a watery reflection after “butchering” his own hair once he had the freedom to do so.
“It’ll grow back! Besides, it doesn’t look that bad, right Joe?”
“Nah, not bad...makes you look even younger than usual. I might have to card you before I give you some of that beer I brought.” Methos’ eyes lit up at the reminder of the beer, all thoughts of his hair fleeing.
Unknowing if it was the beverage involved or Methos’ own recuperative powers, they found that Methos was very capable of drinking now, despite the straw. Good, thought Mac, knowing that it would soon be time for a dose of nutrient drink. And, despite the angry glare he received in return, Mac did prepare a glass of the necessary liquid which Methos promptly refused to drink.
“Don’t need baby formula and tastes like shit...”
“You need the calories...”
“Beer has calories,” Methos interrupted.
“Yes, but not the vitamins and nutrients you need. Come on, drink this up and you can have another beer,” Mac had no problem using bribery to get the Old Man to drink. Methos’ defiant glare was interrupted by another ringing of the doorbell. Accepting the interruption, Mac went to answer the door. In his absence, Joe tried reasoning with the ancient, but met with the same resistance.
Returning to the room, Joe was heartened to see both Mrs. Grimes and Derek walk in. “What are you two doing here so soon? You were both supposed to take some time off.”
“Now, now, Joe. We’re fine. We wanted to finally meet Mr. Pierson.” Mrs. Grimes answered for them both as they moved to Methos’ side. Mac made the introductions and explained their role in his care.
All Methos’ instincts were screaming that he was in danger...here were two more people, Watcher’s at that, who were aware of his weakness, his vulnerability...and they hadn’t been able to protect him before. Someone else like Parsons could come in and pull the same type of stunt. He wasn’t safe; he could feel fear and anger starting to twist in his belly. Calm down, you’re on holy ground, Mac is here, you can’t think if you lose control... None of his thoughts were evident in his face as he continued to look at Mrs. Grimes and Derek, but he sought the eyes of the Highlander.
If Mac hadn’t been looking at Methos’ face, he would have missed the flash in his eyes that looked like fear. He looked closer, but couldn’t detect any other problems. Still, following his instincts, he made an excuse about getting coffee and taking Methos to see the kitchen. Joe narrowed his eyes at that, but said nothing, continuing his discussion with the other two Watchers.
“Are you alright?” Mac asked as soon as they were out of earshot. Reaching the kitchen he knelt in front of the wheelchair and reached out to hold Methos’ biceps with his hands. “I’ve checked them both out, they’re safe...Methos, I swear I won’t let anything else happen to you.” Mac’s eyes were wide with guilt and his concern over Methos’ distress as he rubbed his hands up and down Methos’ arms.
How could Methos explain? He’d spent his entire life following his instincts, fleeing if there was a hint of danger. Now he had to completely trust this man in front of him, not only with his life but with his heart. There really was no choice...he couldn’t move, could barely talk...and his heart was already taken. “Too many...not safe...” He couldn’t get out how difficult this was, he was too dependent. Eyes narrowed to golden slits that showed only flecks of green stared into the wide chocolate pools.
“Methos...I won’t leave your side...I can let them go, we don’t need them.” Duncan’s eyes began to mist over. “Please...whatever you want...I swear it, Methos, on my mother’s grave...I won’t let anything else happen to you.” He dropped his head into Methos’ lap, his hands reaching out to hold the very slim waist and hips. “I’m so sorry, Methos. I’m so sorry...” I’m sorry I wasn’t there when Jackson took you, I’m sorry I let your past come between us, I’m sorry I didn’t find you sooner, I’m sorry I never told you how much I love you, I’m sorry I let Parsons take you... The litany wound through Duncan’s mind as his fear and guilt spilled out in his muffled words.
Methos looked down at the head cradled in his lap and all his own fear slid away. Here was the answer to the aching loneliness and fear in his life. He had only to take it...and trust in it. Slowly, frozen muscles and joints screaming in protest, he slid his hand from the arm of the wheelchair to the back of the Highlander’s head. Moving his fingers slightly, he felt the thick silk sliding through his fingers.
Duncan felt the gentle touch and brought his face up. The trembling hand moved to slide across his face. He closed his eyes in gratitude for a moment before looking into the eyes above him.
“I trust you,” Methos whispered, knowingly placing his fate in this man’s hands.
Duncan took the hand caressing his face and brought it to his trembling lips. Kissing it gently, he nodded, accepting the trust. Standing, he wiped his face and looked down at his friend. Nodding again, he answered “As I trust you, my friend, now and forever.”
After coffee, both Derek and Mrs. Grimes said their goodbyes. They would be off until the following Monday when their schedule would resume. Mac saw them out. Looking at the time he realized that it was noon. He needed to make some lunch. Methos couldn’t afford to miss any meals.
“I’m going to make some lunch. Can you stay, Joe?” At his grinning acceptance, Mac moved over to Methos so that he could roll him back to the kitchen. “If you’re up to it after lunch, we can go out into the garden and show you around, okay?”
Entering the kitchen, Joe and Methos sat at the table while Mac pulled out some beef stew and began steaming some rice. Once it was ready he pulled out the food processor while Joe explained how they had gone about feeding Methos during the previous months. Methos just rolled his eyes but did laugh when Mac talked about the sea anemones. The laugh died abruptly when Mac placed the bowl of processed stew and rice in front of him.
“Baby shit.” The words were clear and succinct. So was the mulish expression on the face of the ancient.
“Come on, Methos. I admit it looks a little off, but it tastes alright...and you need to eat. You didn’t have your drink at mid-morning.” Again Mac pursed his luscious lips into the patented pout. “You’ll be able to eat regular foods soon...but only when you get better...please try it, okay?”
Joe couldn’t believe it and struggled to keep in the laugh that threatened to choke him. That pout was perfect...I swear if he bats his eyelashes... He deliberately looked down at his own lunch and took a bite, but was irresistibly drawn to Methos’ face in time to see the look of resignation. These two are too much.
Methos resigned himself to eating whatever the brown mess was and determinedly opened his mouth. He glared at Mac who was happily spooning the stuff into his mouth. He completely ignored Joe’s snickers into his own bowl of stew.
Once lunch was done and Mac had cleaned up, they decided to take a walk through the part of the house that Methos hadn’t seen and then moved out into the garden. Methos was deeply impressed with the beauty and comfort of the house. He knew he’d be sorry to move out when he was better.
Mac slowly wheeled Methos down the winding path to one of their favorite spots. Stopping under a tree where Mac had placed a wooden bench they were able to look out across an open meadow to the cemetery and woods beyond the property. Methos felt very much at peace, more so than he had in a very long time. Things got even better when Joe opened the bag that had been hung from the back of the wheelchair. He opened three beers and placed a straw in one. This was ale, dark and nutty and brought a wide smile to Methos’ face.
Eventually the men made their way back to the house. Methos had grown quiet and both Joe and Mac felt he must be getting tired. Joe decided to walk around the side of the house.
“Methos, I’ll be right back, I’ll just let him out the side gate, alright?” Mac moved away walking with Joe when he heard a low moan behind him. He turned to see Methos with his eyes closed a pained expression on his face. He rushed back only to stop at Methos’ low growl.
“Get away from me!” He still had his eyes closed but was breathing through his mouth, a look of mortification and disgust on his face.
“Methos?” Duncan edged a little closer, not wanting to anger the man but needing to see what was wrong. Then it hit him. Oh, God, I’m so sorry!
“Get away, Mac, oh, gods...get away!”
Joe had moved closer but also stopped at Methos’ initial growl. Having been in his position, or at least close to it, he immediately knew what the problem was. Sorrow suffused him as memories of having the same thing happen to him surfaced...being in a hospital bed, overcrowding, moaning men in pain all around him...and having to go to the bathroom. The nurses and orderlies were too busy to come to his aid in time...and then the horrible humiliation of losing your bowels in your bed. Not wanting his friend to feel any more embarrassment, he turned and left, hoping that Mac would be able to handle it without too big a fight.
Mac looked at his friend, at the man that was more than a friend. Very gently he moved closer and squatted next to the wheelchair. He didn’t want Methos to have to look up at him. “Methos, please let me help you...it’ll be quick...I promise.”
Methos opened his eyes, no surprise at seeing Mac at his level. What choice did he have? He felt anger at his body’s betrayal, anger at Mac for seeing him this helpless. Then he reminded himself...Mac had been taking care of him for nearly two years. Oh, Fate...you wicked, wicked bitch. Closing his eyes again, he nodded.
Mac wheeled him back into the house and went to work cleaning up his friend.
The next Monday as Derek settled an exhausted Methos in his bed, Mrs. Grimes reviewed the orders left by Dr. Hadras. Knowing what she did about immortals, Mrs. Grimes had no doubt Adam’s recovery would be nothing short of miraculous. Getting the stubborn man to eat and drink in order to gain weight and strength was where their problem lay.
Derek attempted to place the straw in Adam’s mouth. That tongue just kept pushing it back out as stick-thin arms flailed at Derek.
“No...don’t want it! Tastes like crap...!” Fury that Derek was trying to force that vile liquid down his throat made Adam’s eyes flash...Death was near to hand had Derek only known it.
“What’s going on here?” Mac looked from Derek, who was holding a glass of the drink, to Adam, who made it obvious they were lucky he was barely able to move as he stared down the big islander.
“Mr. P has a powerful Stink Eye, Mac! I’ve never seen one that strong! He don’t want this drink.”
“You think my Stink Eye is powerful? Just wait until I throw some serious juju your way...”
“Adam...that’s enough! You’ve had this drink before, you know you need to keep drinking it...so why are you giving Derek a hard time?”
“Mac, have you tasted that stuff? Don’t try and force it down my throat until you have...”
Mac took the drink from Derek’s hand. “Have you tasted this, Derek?”
“Oh, hell no, not me,” Derek said with a laugh. Mac looked at both men and placed the straw in his own mouth. Taking a sip, Mac just closed his eyes, no expression on his face.
“Adam, we owe you a BIG apology...this does taste like crap...” Adam gave them both a satisfied look, having been vindicated. “...but you still need to drink it.” At Adam’s look of outrage, Mac continued, “Maybe we can fix it up...how about we try some chocolate syrup?”
“You can try, but if it sucks...I’M NOT DRINKING IT!!” Adam had proven to be just as difficult a patient as Mac had envisioned...and he loved it.
It took just over one week before Adam was able to move around with a walker, the strength in his legs coming back much more quickly than his upper arms. “It was all that marathon running...”
“More like just running, period.” Mac joked as he watched Methos maneuver around the training salon. He stood just to the side, not so close as to hover, but close enough to catch Methos if he fell. Yes, he was a lousy patient but he definitely pushed himself to the limit over and over, his drive to rebuild his strength leaving Mac in complete awe. It was in this that he caught yet another inkling of the amazing will to survive the man possessed.
Methos just rolled his eyes and kept moving. He was pushing himself. He needed to be well...well enough to leave. As much as he appreciated everything Mac had done for him, he refused to continue to be a burden. At least he’d stopped sharing Mac’s bed. That in itself had caused some tension between them. Truth be told, it was having that warm body spooned up behind him that was driving him crazy. He absolutely refused a pity fuck, and he wasn’t about to just lay there accepting Mac’s touch without being able to return it completely. But the heat, the scent, the feel of the gorgeous body next to him was proving to be too much. He needed to get back to his own room.
But even though it obviously made the Highlander very unhappy, he seemed to accept Methos’ need to be more independent although he’d insisted on having the damn monitor on all night. Methos had agreed after he heard a rustling outside of his door and realized that Mac had spent the night in a chair. Jesus, the man was insufferable. But he couldn’t help the warmth that spread through his chest at the Highlander’s caring...even if it was driven by pity.
He needed to be out on his own...somewhere warm, he joked to himself. As he’d told the Highlander and Joe, he just needed time. Time to get everything settled. He hoped Mac would accept that. And, when he was ready, he would come back. But he would do that as a man, on his own two feet.
He sighed as he felt the muscles beginning to cramp in his lower back. With a shrug and a twist to ease them a bit, he forced himself to make one more lap around the room. Then, after his shower, he would continue exercising his small muscle groups. Soon, he thought, he’d be able to hold his sword. It was something that he desperately needed to be able to do. He was already keeping it at his side because to be without it was nearly unbearable.
Mac watched Methos out of the corner of his eye. Although it was obvious the muscles in his hands were aching from overuse, he refused any help with the steak he insisted on having for dinner tonight.
“I’m so fucking tired of baby food, Mac! Can’t we have something more substantial like steak or a roast?” Mac had given into the pleading in the beloved eyes. Truth be told, he was rather tired of soft foods as well. The steak, baked potato and salad were delicious but he was torn. He ate slowly so as not to highlight the difficulty Methos was having cutting his food, but he still wanted to help cut it up…and into smaller pieces than what Methos was currently able to accomplish. Still, he couldn’t help but relish the sight of the hazel eyes closing in complete pleasure at chewing a mouthful of succulent steak.
Overall, he was truly amazed at how quickly Methos was regaining weight and muscle mass and wondered if that, too, was due to his friend’s age…another facet of the miraculous healing they experienced as immortals. He briefly wondered how often Methos had had to go through this and then shoved that thought out of his mind. Whatever happened in the past was over. The hurts, the hate, the death…and yes, even the loves of his past were gone. What only mattered was here and now and who Methos was today. So maybe he was learning something from Methos yet again…
Mac blocked the downward swing, felt the strength behind it and gloried in his friend’s return…as long as said friend didn’t push this sparring session as he did the day before. Mac still couldn’t figure out just how Methos had managed to get him open long enough to slice across his femoral artery so neatly. He’d bled to death just grateful that his cock hadn’t been cut off. When he’d revived, Methos had laughed off his complaint saying he had far too many uses for such a fine appendage to waste it so. That evening, for the first time in well over two years, Methos showed to what use he could put said appendage.
Mac had thinking been about that comment all afternoon. It was the first flirtatious thing either of them had said in a very long time. And Mac knew that it was because of him. His inability to deal with the Horsemen revelation had completely derailed their budding relationship. His behavior towards Methos during that time and especially afterwards still shamed him.
But that comment today had been so reminiscent of the light flirting he and Methos had incorporated into their bantering back when their intimacy was new, that it brought an ache to his heart. Was Methos telling him he was open to returning to that deeper level in their relationship that they had just begun to explore? Mac hoped with all his heart that it was so.
It was after a round of weight lifting. Methos was on the weight bench pressing some weights while Mac spotted for him. There was something about that position. By just lifting his eyes slightly, Methos could just see the slight protrusion of Mac’s genitals against his sweat pants. The more he looked, the harder it became to concentrate on the weight balanced over his chest.
Mac’s reminder did nothing for his lifting technique. Instead Methos found himself glancing back to Mac’s crotch again causing the weights in his arms to waver. He wasn’t quite sure when Mac finally realized what the problem was until he noted the bulge begin to grow larger. The sight was so mesmerizing from his present angle that the bar began to waver even more.
“Okay! That’s enough!” Mac gasped as he reached out to take the bar and put it back on the rests. “Methos, what’s the matter with you! You could have dropped that weight right onto your chest!”
“Come on, Mac, you know you wouldn’t have let that happen.” Methos leaned his head back a bit more for a better look. Yup, definitely larger, and Mac was starting to splutter. Mmmm, wish this bench was just a bit taller and I’d be able to… Methos reached out with one hand and gently caressed the now substantially larger bulge in Mac’s sweatpants. Mac began to moan which Methos took to be a very good thing. With a swift move, Methos stood up next to the weight bench, inches away from Mac but separated by the bar. Grabbing the sweat-soaked t-shirt Mac was wearing; Methos pulled him forward into a hard kiss. Mac tasted salty and sweet as Methos dragged is lips across the stubbled chin.
Slowly Methos slid his hands across Mac’s t-shirt, pausing over the hard nubs blatantly on display through the wet cloth. Rubbing the little nubs firmly made Mac groan deeply into his mouth. Methos decided he needed more.
With a hand in the center of Mac’s chest Methos pushed Mac backwards and quickly stepped around the bar that had separated them. Reaching out again he grabbed Mac for another kiss, pleased that Mac hadn’t yet tried to take over. Mac had done too much for him, it was time to do something for Mac. Pushing Mac down onto the mats Methos slid his body until he was hovering directly over him. He bent down for a kiss, sliding his lips back and forth over the luscious mouth before diving in to again taste the Highland sweetness.
Methos seemed to have discovered an untapped reserve of energy because he never stopped tasting and licking Mac. The t-shirt was sent flying and Methos latched onto the dark, tight nub of Mac’s breast.
Mac moaned as he brought his hands up under Methos’ t-shirt to stroke the firm back although he was still saddened by the amount of bone he felt through the silky skin. And though Mac was more than content to let Methos take the lead, he didn’t want him to overtire himself.
“Methos, are you sure…”
“Shhhh, relax. Everything is about to get a whole lot better…”
And Methos proved just that as he pushed the sweatpants Mac was wearing down over his hips. Mac lifted his hips to help and then helped Methos pull his own clothes off. Methos returned to his taste-fest as he made his way down Mac’s firm belly, pausing briefly to explore the small dip of his navel and then moved down. The moment his mouth slipped over Mac’s cock Mac bucked and nearly threw Methos off, but Methos held on and began his worship of the appendage he considered so very fine.
Methos could feel the ache deep in his belly. Gods, he was hard. He thought about the heat of sinking into Mac’s body and his cock jumped at the idea but they had no lube and he wouldn’t hurt Mac. Not for anything. So instead he brought his hand to his mouth and quickly laved his fingers before returning to lick and suck Mac’s balls, breathing in the intense musky scent while tasting the salty sweat. Methos stretched himself as much as he could as he laved Mac’s cock again, savoring the bittersweet essence and getting Mac as wet as possible.
With a quick move that actually startled Mac, Methos positioned himself and began to guide Mac’s cock into himself.
“Jesus, Methos…you’ll hurt yourself…!” Mac held onto the thin hips,
“No, Mac…I need this. I need to feel it all.” Sliding down a bit more, Methos hissed at the painful stretching. “This is real, this is life!”
With a bit more pressure Mac was fully seated inside of Methos. The incredible tightness, the fierce heat…it was pleasure beyond imagining. And the belief that he’d never feel this deep pleasure and intense love again brought tears to Mac’s eyes. It was all so much. “Methos,” he groaned.
“Yes, Mac,” Methos had his own head thrown back at the pleasure of being filled with the Highlander. Mac’s deep voice sent a shiver down his back. He leaned forward to look into the dark wells he loved so much. “This is real.” He curled over to claim Mac’s mouth in a bruising kiss.
Mac wondered at Methos’ repetition of that phrase. He remembered what Garrick and Ahriman had done to him, remembered the horror of being lost, unable to tell reality from dreams. Well, that was over…over for him and over for Methos.
“Yes, Methos, this is real, so move, damnit.”
The old man’s deep chuckle brought warmth back to a chest momentarily frozen by those brief memories. And then Methos began to move…
Mac swung around and blocked another swing. Sweat poured into his eyes and fatigue made his arms feel heavy. Methos, fatigue obvious in his moves as well, backed away but still held his sword up, an implacable look in the tawny eyes. As one, both men rushed together, swords held high. They locked blades at the hilt, breathing heavy but neither man giving ground. Mac couldn’t believe the strength his friend displayed, all of this on top of a ten-mile run. Mac looked into the green/gold eyes and caught the flash of humor there just before he felt a leg catch his own just behind his left knee. Damnit! He shouldn’t have let his mind wander, he told himself as he rubbed his now sore backside. He stayed on the floor for a moment as he watched Methos catch his breath, watched as that finely muscled chest heaved up and down with each deeply drawn breath. Methos had his sword at his neck as he moved to the right and kicked the katana away. Duncan’s breath stilled. Methos’ face was unreadable, but his eyes had darkened. Mac felt a curl of desire deep in his groin. Methos kept the tip of the broadsword pointing at his throat as he stepped closer, moving until he was standing in between Mac’s splayed legs. Slowly he knelt and then casually tossed aside his broadsword all the while eyeing Mac’s prone form.
Mac looked up into the greenish eyes he loved so well. He could see the love shining back at him as well as a substantial amount of lust. This man, this incredible man, had his heart in the palm of his hand. Mac looked at Methos from his short, sweat-soaked hair to his heaving chest and then back to the fierce desire in the lean face. This powerful warrior rising strong and whole over him was the elemental Methos and Mac gloried in his return. He felt an intense rush of emotion and gave himself over to it, raising his hips in offering.
And then he laughed. Methos had reached into his sock and pulled out a tube of lube. Yes, this was his Methos, the man with a plan. Both men quickly divested themselves of their clothing and soon Mac was moaning, his arms spread wide as he bucked his hips into the tight fist. Methos’ other hand was busily pumping three fingers in and out of his ass, fucking him, stretching him.
“Now, Methos…I need you now.”
Methos gave no answer except to run his burning gaze over the lush sweaty body lying prone before him. Wetting himself with more lube he grabbed Mac’s thighs and lifted them over his own. Leaning forward, he bent Mac in half as he captured the full lips in a deep kiss while he rubbed his cock up and down Mac’s crack.
“Please, Methos!” Mac moaned as he wiggled his hips to rub his ass against Methos. He heard Methos laugh just before pushing his thighs closer to his chest. Mac’s complaint turned into a high-pitched yelp as Methos shoved his cock deep into his ass.
Methos stilled for a moment as he lost himself in the feel of the hot, tight channel grasping him but another wiggle of the lush ass had him leaning back slightly to ease Mac’s discomfort. Slowly he began to thrust, nearly pulling out of the wet, reddened hole. He pushed back in, mesmerized at how willingly Mac’s body accepted him within its depths. He tightened one hand on the muscular thigh draped over one arm and used his other hand to pull at Mac’s cock in time with his thrusts. Every push brought forth a low moan from the man under him firing his desire to such a fevered pitch that he was soon thrusting madly, his grunts accompanied by the wordless cries of Mac’s passion. All too soon he felt a vise-like clamp around his cock as Mac came all over Methos’ hand. Still Methos pushed forward two, three times until finally he, too, went crashing over the precipice.
Sometime later when his breathing slowed, Methos opened his eyes to see the completely relaxed countenance of his friend and lover. Gods above, he’s beautiful, he thought to himself. Mac lay in complete repose despite the fact that they were both lying nude on the exercise mats of the workout room. He gazed at the still-dozing man and felt a pang go through his chest. It was time.
Methos leaned over Mac and gently fisted his hands in the long, wet hair. Leaning in he kissed those soft lips yet again, savoring their sweetness. Releasing them with a final suck and nip at the full lower lip, Methos looked up to see the dark eyes open.
Mac’s arms tightened around him as he looked back, his eyes equally intent. “You’re leaving, aren’t you?”
He’d made up his mind, but now, looking into Mac’s eyes, he second-guessed all his reasons for leaving. And yet, he knew he would still go.
“I need some time…on my own.”
Mac stroked the muscular though still lean form. He knew this moment would come and yet the thought of letting Methos walk away was almost more than he could bear. But he knew he would.
“I know, love.” He raised a hand to stroke across a well-defined cheekbone with the back of his fingers. “Thank you for telling me and not disappearing…”
“I couldn’t just leave in the night. Not after everything you’ve done. And I will come back. I swear it, Duncan.”
Mac nodded and closed his eyes again, not yet ready to relinquish the intimacy. Eventually, though, goose bumps on damp skin forced them both to stand and gather their things. They still had one night to spend together and neither of them wanted to spend it sleeping.
Methos walked into the dingy bar. He was in one of the sleazier part of London which suited his current mood quite well. He wasn’t sure why he’d stopped here. He’d had a notion to walk through one of his many warehouses but soon decided that he had neither the energy nor the interest, really, to find that manuscript from his time in China so long ago. So now he sought a drink and loud music to still the wandering thoughts in his head. Ordering whiskey, he curled himself onto a barstool in the corner so that he could drink and watch and listen and try to decide just what it was that he was feeling. All he knew was that he needed to settle his thoughts, his emotions, before being able to give of himself to the Highlander in the manner he both wanted and needed to.
He watched as a young black-clad woman walked up to the jukebox and feed in a note. After a moment some sharp beats thumped through the bar and echoed through Methos’ spine. It sounded old and soulful. His first thought was that it was an odd choice for the seemingly young woman until he started to listen to the words.
I remember when, I remember, I remember when I lost my mind
There was something so pleasant about that place.
Even your emotions had an echo
In so much space
And when you're out there
Yeah, I was out of touch
But it wasn't because I didn't know enough
I just knew too much
Does that make me crazy
Does that make me crazy
Does that make me crazy
Methos gasped as the words cut through him, sharper than any blade. What was this song? Who was this person tearing his soul apart? He had no idea that it was a song that had come out while he was in his coma. Lost in the grey mists, out of touch because he did, in fact, know too much…had experienced far too much. Again he wondered if his every existence was an anomaly that was never meant to be. He suddenly feared exposing Mac to the horrendous weight of his years. He stared down into his drink, depression weighing down his head and shoulders. He needed to get out and move. Finishing his drink he left and returned to his hotel room, the echoes of the song pounding through his head. He was being ridiculous. He hadn’t even finished hearing the song because he’d become lost in his thoughts. And he wasn’t some schoolgirl to find such meaning in a song. It was utterly ridiculous. But it wasn’t because I didn’t know enough…I just knew too much. In an effort to push it out of his mind, he packed and jumped on the next flight out.
He flew to Belgium. He wanted to find one those little bars with a long menu featuring one hundred and thirty different beers. Many of them absolutely horrible, of course, but the mere act of sifting through them appealed quite strongly. He sat outside one such small bar, a tall pilsner in front of him as he watched the passersby.
The slightly off-key and heavily accented voice drew his attention out of the crowd. A young man in torn jeans and the ever-present ear buds and MP3 player was singing as he walked along.
Does that make me crazy
Does that make me crazy
Does that make me crazy
Intrigued more than annoyed, he jumped up and crossed over to the young man. It took only a moment to learn the name and artist. A short while later, he too owned an MP3 player with the same song.
Methos looked out of the window of his small home. He’d come to New Zealand at the last moment, changing his flight from his intended destination of China. There was a Buddhist monastery he’d occasionally frequent when he needed to sort his head. It was a great place for meditation and contemplation, especially since not much had changed there in the last 800 years or so. On a hunch he’d decided to come to his New Zealand getaway instead. He was a great one for following his hunches and now found himself contemplating that song yet again. He poured himself a large tumbler of whiskey as he listened, trying to gain some insight into why this song struck such deep chords.
And I hope that you are having the time of your life
But think twice, that's my only advice
Come on now, who do you, who do you, who do you, who do you think you are,
Ha ha ha bless your soul
You really think you're in control
Methos picked up his glass and stared deeply into the amber liquid, pondering that word. Control… Yes, that sometimes elusive state of being, the one for which he constantly strived. The worst times in his very long history occurred when he had no control and the quietest times were when he controlled everything around him. And yet those quiet times quickly lost their attractiveness forcing him to move on, to find new experiences. Indeed, he must be crazy.
But in time he learned one of the hardest lessons he’d ever had to learn. He learned what it was that he could control, and what it was he couldn’t, and most importantly, when to let that control go. Controlling everything is draining physically, mentally and emotionally. Being a god just isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. Worse was barely maintaining control, like that mess with the return of the Horsemen, although it certainly kept the adrenaline rushing. And although horrible, knowing you have none at all can be a bit more bearable, like when the woman you love lies dying in a hospital bed. And the purposeful loss of control? He’d only found it in one place. The only place he felt truly safe enough to let it go…when he was with Duncan.
Well, I think you're crazy
Hmm, I quite probably am.
I think you're crazy
I think you're crazy
Just like me
My heroes had the heart to Lose their lives out on a limb
And all I remember is thinking, I want to be like them
Ever since I was little, ever since I was little it looked like fun
And it's no coincidence I've come
And I can die when I'm done
Methos’ thoughts filled with Duncan Living his life like the mythical hero he is, larger than life, so sure of who he is. But it had been tempered. His experiences with a supernatural being showed him a darkness that took a monumental effort to overcome. It took time, but he did. Their very existence lent them to some extreme situations. Their lives, their immortal lives…gods above, they have to be crazy to live they way they do. And maybe that’s the point. They were all crazy. They had to be just to accept and survive the situations they found themselves in. And, most of the time, it was still a lot of fun. But above all, it was nowhere near done.
Methos no longer needed to meditate on his past. It was what it was. And if he was crazy, so be it. At least he was in good company. It was time to go home.
Maybe I'm crazy
Maybe you're crazy
Maybe we're crazy