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"I'd rather not."

"Oh," MacLeod says, looking sucker-punched. Methos's expression doesn't change, though part of him does feel sympathetic -- it's not the best news Mac's heard all day, of course. But it doesn't seem like it should lead to that look, either. "Why...?"

Methos waves his hand, shakes his head, does everything he can to ward off the question. "Never mind about why, all right? Just... I'd rather not."

"Is it because you've been on top? You don't want to switch roles now?" MacLeod asks, and Methos sighs. Dog with a bone, he thinks.

"Yeah," he says. "That's it."

"You have to be kidding. Me?" Amanda slams down her cosmopolitan like it's a shot, and her eyes don't even water. "No thanks. I don't want to get between you and our resident Boy Scout -- he has enough reasons to be irritated with me."

"He doesn't need to know."

"Like you can keep a secret from him?" she asks. His gaze stays level, and she sighs and shakes her head. "Okay... like I can keep a secret?"

"I'm sure you've kept lots of secrets from him over the years. And yes. You."


"Because I know you can do it."

Amanda stares at him. "That's... in my files...?" she asks weakly.

"No, it's not, but--" I can smell it on you just isn't very tactful, so he looks for another way to put it. "It's the vibe I read from you."

"Well, that's grand. I don't read submissive from you. Not only that, I don't even read 'attracted to Amanda' from you, so why do you want to bottom for me all of a sudden?"

"Because I trust you."

"Please." She narrows her eyes at him.

"Because I trust you just enough... and not much further than that."

Her eyes lower to the table's surface, and she nods, lips pursed.

"Okay," she says, finally. "Wednesday night at eight, my apartment, wear something expendable and bring a change of clothes. What kind of limits are we playing with?"

"Don't take my head."

"That leaves a lot of ground."

"I want a lot of ground."

One eyebrow tilts up, and she smirks at him. His stomach does a slow roll.

I trust you just enough... and not much further than that. That about describes it.

This could work.

He comes to her door in a faded white t-shirt and paint-spattered jeans that are worn through at the knees and thighs. Amanda, by contrast, is in a skintight leather jumpsuit, with zippers in appropriate areas. He has a feeling MacLeod's seen her this way before, and not for the first time, he wonders what the hell MacLeod's doing pushing her away so often.

She nods and holds the door open. "In. Don't speak. Keep your eyes on the ground or closed."

He nods, and steps inside. Spider to the fly, he thinks, eyes glancing over her on their way to the ground. Her lips and nails are the same shade of red. He's wondering how sharp those nails are. It's enough to get him hard, but then he came here hard; right now it isn't taking much. I do want this.

Amanda's hands come up into view. She's holding a leather collar, one that buckles. It's already got a leash attached. He swallows but lets her put it on him, and just like that his mind's in the right place. He exhales and follows her, leash pulled tight as she draws him through her living room, down a hallway, up a staircase and into her attic.

She's more serious about this than he thought; she has a cross, good lighting, a sling in the corner, things he doesn't have time to identify because she's letting that leash go and striking him across the face.

"Eyes down, bitch. Don't make me say it again."

He can feel blood rushing to his cheeks. Bitch isn't what he was expecting to hear, but he deserves it, and he can only imagine how much it's pleasing her to say it. He keeps his eyes on the floor as she leads him to the cross, and the first thing she does is hook his collar to the cross so he's held tight by the throat.

Mortals can't play like this, he thinks, and he feels warm all over from it. She means it, what they're doing here tonight; she's not going to hold back on him.

She cuffs his wrists, too. She gets his loafers off and cuffs his ankles. He's expecting a knife -- lots of people would go for a knife now -- but instead she uses scissors, cutting his clothes off neatly and methodically. It's slow enough to drive up the anticipation, and like everything else tonight, it feels deliberate. Not messy. Everyone underestimates Amanda; they don't think she can be serious for more than two minutes at a stretch. Methos is hoping for more than two minutes, a lot more than two minutes.

And he isn't disappointed. She disappears just long enough to get something out of a drawer; he can hear it open and close, and then she's back and the scent of leather is thick in the air. She drapes soft tails over his arm; a flogger, nice soft suede. He lets out a breath as she drags those tails over his arms and shoulders.

"Do you like it when it hurts?" she whispers.

It would have been easier if she'd just opened up, started hurting him. He draws in a slow breath, clenches his fists and relaxes them.


She doesn't start easy. Maybe she does with other people, but not with Methos. Her early strokes are heavy, and he jerks forward, flattens himself across the cross and groans with every one of them. She doesn't hit any harder, though, not even after ten... twenty... forty. What she does instead is speed up. Soon it's a heavy stroke, one shoulder, then the other, just about as fast as she can swing the damned flogger, and somewhere along the line he loses it and starts yelling, noises, not words.

The last one's an unexpected swipe at his ass, and he jerks. She laughs and rakes her fingernails down his shoulder.

"Good boy," she murmurs. Her nails tickle across the back of his neck, making him squirm. He must be leaking all over her nice shiny cross. It probably happens all the time. Maybe Mac's been where he is right now and--

Stoplight. Not going there right now.

"Stop it." She tangles her fingers into his hair and pulls. "Don't get distracted now."

"No," he breathes, "sorry."

"You're two steps away from wasting an evening for both of us. Stop thinking."

He swallows, nods as best he can between her grip and the collar. She's right. He's thinking far too much.

"You never get this, do you? Pain until you're satisfied." She sighs, loosens her grip on his hair; runs her fingers through it. "I'm not going to break you -- I'm not dumb enough to think I could -- but I want you getting your money's worth out of the night. And I know you want that, too, so just be for now, Methos." She pulls back, draws the flogger across his shoulders again. "Be body--" Light smack. "Muscle." A little harder. "Flesh and blood." And a hard smack now, the kind that promises more to come. "And nothing more."

It starts up again, her flogger taking him hard, strokes across his ass this time. If he were mortal, this would leave him unable to sit for days; as it is, it hurts enough that he ends up grunting. He stays standing because he has no choice; the restraints won't let him collapse. His legs are like water by the time she's through with him, and his breath is ragged when she steps up close.

He's not thinking anymore.

She digs her nails into his ass, both hands on him, and he screams.

"I could open you up," she whispers, "strap on my cock and fuck you until you beg for me. I think you'd like that."

"Nnn," he groans, which was meant to be yes, but he can't form the word.

"But that isn't what I want. And tonight's about what I want. Not just you." She chuckles. "So you don't get that from me."

He nods, disappointed but too hungry to give a damn. Whatever you want, he thinks, because she's right, he's needed this, and he's there right now. Under. Submerged. However briefly.

She licks the back of his neck. He shivers.

"Don't be too let down, though. I do want to fuck you. I just want sex I can feel."

She reaches around to the front of his throat and unfastens the clasp there, letting him loose. One cuff at a time, and he's free.

Or almost free. He's still got the collar and the leash, and she turns him around and takes hold of the leash, drags him down to his knees.

"Crawl for me."

There's a mat in the corner he hadn't noticed; she guides him over to that and rolls him onto his back. It makes him hiss -- the mat's scratchy, and his ass still hurts from the beating. His shoulders are almost fine again, though, which is a shame; pain should last longer.

Of course, that's easy to think when it's only shoulders and ass. When she digs her nails into his balls and squeezes, he reconsiders. Even a gentle squeeze chokes the breath out of him and makes him double up on himself, and she gets a hand on his chest and presses him back down. This feels like it's going on forever, even though the tight pressure probably only lasts a few seconds before she eases up. He wheezes for breath, vision practically swimming with red and gold and silver. The pain isn't hurting his erection any, though; he's still hard as stone.

He hears a zipper opening. All those tiny little teeth unlocking -- he can practically hear them coming apart one at a time. Both her hands come up and rest on his chest as she swings a leg over his hips, and he grits his teeth against the urge to move when her thighs rub up against his and her pussy's rubbing slick and hot against his cock. Fuck, and it's not just the slippery glide of it; there's a shimmering, electric feeling he can practically taste, Immortal-meets-Immortal sex at its best. Every time, it's different. Amanda's buzz is sharper than he expected. He expected something that starts out bright and fades; right now, maybe it's the way this night is going and the way she's radiating that sense of being in charge, but it's a relentless pulse of energy that makes him want to close his eyes and sink into it.

"Now look up," she murmurs. "Look at me."

It's a struggle at first; he's not ready to open his eyes. She's not having any of that, though, and she gets a hand on his leash and tugs. "Look up," she insists.

He does it. She wraps the leash around her hand once, twice, keeps the grip solid. And she moves her hips, rubs and squirms and presses 'til the angle's right and he slips inside her, gasping at the heat of it, the shock, presence-meets-presence buzz lighting him up like a neon sign in Vegas.


"Don't move," she says, but it comes out teasingly, almost laughed. It's like she can read his thoughts just then, not that they were very well concealed. "You lie still while I'm riding you."

And somehow he does it. He lies beneath her, gasping, fists clenching and unclenching, caught up in the rocking stroke-squeeze of her body wrapped tight around his cock. He keeps his eyes on her, watches the grin on her face as her pleasure gets more and more intense, and when it breaks over her in a first wave he has to hold his breath against the urge to come.

She looks winded when it's over, but pleased. "You held off," she murmurs. "Good boy."
Good, he thinks, almost preening. That doesn't last, though, because she just rocks down harder.

"Now hold off through this," she says, and she slams down on him, hard and fast, over and over, until she's screaming with her second orgasm and he's biting his lip trying not to do the same. She drops his leash and puts her hand on his chest, supporting herself when the tremors shake her and have her look like she's just about ready to collapse, and when it's over her eyes are closed and her mouth is open, and he whimpers as he realizes she's done with him.

She climbs off and kneels beside him, hand on his chest as she catches her breath and he does the same. Finally, eventually, he thinks maybe he could move.

She lets him out of the collar and zips herself back up. "You all right?" she murmurs. "Do you need anything?"

"Apart from the obvious," he rasps, "some water would be nice."

She nods and goes off to a cabinet on the other side of the room, opens it to reveal a small fridge stocked with water bottles. She does do this often -- that or she just prepared really well for him. He's not sure which idea appeals more.

The water's good. By the time he's done with it, he's thinking maybe he could take himself home.

"I'd like a shower, if you wouldn't mind," he says softly.


She shows him back downstairs and lets him take a shower in her bathroom, which is bigger than some of the apartments Adam Pierson's lived in. His pack's on a shelf when he finishes -- she must have retrieved it from the entryway for him -- and he dresses, not a hint of rawness left anywhere on his skin. No telltale marks. It isn't fair, he thinks.

But it is convenient. It would be awkward going home to MacLeod with someone else's bruises all over his skin. A slap in the face -- this is what I need from someone else, but not from you. Mac doesn't understand that, and explaining will only do so much good.

I'm safe with you. I don't do this to feel safe.

At Amanda's door, Methos hesitates. "I don't think either of us intended for this to open any doors..." he begins.

"No," she murmurs. "But I guess I'm not the only one thinking maybe we shouldn't close them, either?"

"Something like that." He bends down and kisses her cheek, and she kisses his in return. "Thank you for this, Amanda."

"Any--" She purses her lips, because it's the wrong reply, and they both know it. "Thank you, too," she says instead, and she stays in the doorway until he's gotten into his car and started the short drive home.