10th September 1999
Disclaimer: Obviously these characters and concepts don't belong to me or I'd be a richer person than I am, Rysher: Panzer/Davis have that honour I believe. No profit is made and no harm is meant.
Rated: PG-13 for implied m/m sex
Notes: An AU version of the episode 'Methos' that sprung from the offhand comment that if *I'd* been Duncan things would have gone a *little* differently ;-) Thanks to Karen for the conversation that led to this and the prompting to get it finished.
Duncan MacLeod was confused.
Here was an Immortal, who could undoubtedly sense his Presence, yet singularly failed to react as he would have expected. The man obviously wasn't Kalas and he was sitting in Adam Pierson's home like he belonged there. The obvious conclusion was that Adam Pierson, researcher for the Methos Chronicles, was Immortal. The man twisted 'round to face his visitor, still making no move towards a weapon or even a defensive stance.
"Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod."
The voice was soft and low, an odd contrast to the almost harsh features; the tone was almost one of wonder and Duncan felt little shivers ripple down his spine. Then the seated figure picked up one of the cans lying by his side and tossed it to the stunned Highlander.
"Have a beer. Mi casa es su casa."
Duncan caught the can easily and looked at it, then back at the seated Immortal. His mind was spinning out of control, leaping from instinct to assumption to conclusion at an astonishing rate.
Green eyes warmed and lips quirked in the hint of a smile as Methos, World's Oldest Immortal, bowed his head ever so slightly in acknowledgement. Duncan was paralysed, frozen, as every drop of blood seemed to rush downward and he was suddenly so hard it hurt. God. What *was* this? *Who* was this that so little could affect him so strongly? And why was he even asking himself these questions when his body was telling him in no uncertain terms exactly what it would prefer to be doing instead. The Highlander was frozen in place as the internal war waged between lust at first sight and the voice of reason. Reason was at a disadvantage though; vital oxygen-bearing blood was rapidly deserting its duty of keeping his brain functioning and was instead lending its weight to a rather lower portion of his anatomy. Duncan shrugged inside his suddenly too-confining clothing and abandoned his attempts at spin control on the abrupt twist his life had taken.
He watched as the slender figure rose to his feet from his sprawl at the foot of the bed and felt himself tense at the grace inherent in the surprisingly tall man and the hint of well-defined muscles revealed by the stretch of the grey t-shirt. Duncan raised his eyes from their appraisal to meet green eyes twinkling with some secret amusement, as if Methos knew exactly what was going through Duncan's head. Methos' lips twitched slightly and that was it. Almost before he realised what he was doing, Duncan was moving forward, discarding the katana with little regard for its safety. The Eldest Immortal only had time for one startled exclamation as he was swiftly and effectively tackled to the bed.
There was an outrush of breath and the body in his arms twisted slightly as they fell and then they were crashing to the bed, sending the sheets flying up with the impact. Through the rush of blood in his ears Duncan was vaguely aware of breathless laughter. He tried to right himself somewhat, but the tangle of long limbs and sheets proved his undoing and the two Immortals, plus all of the bedclothes slid onto the floor with a thud.
"So this is the famed MacLeod seduction technique, I had wondered."
The voice was rich with good humour and Duncan managed to extricate himself from the sheets sufficiently to see its owner. Methos was grinning broadly, green eyes crinkling, and he seemed not at all bothered to have the Highlander's not-inconsiderable weight resting on him. Duncan found himself grinning in response.
"Well, normally I offer a drink first, but you beat me to it."
The smile deepened. "Ah, right." Methos shifted a little beneath him and the movement sent a flurry of little sparks through Duncan's nervous system. "So, purely out of interest, what happens after the drink?"
Duncan didn't bother to answer that, but leaned in to take Methos' mouth in a kiss that rapidly went from tentative to scorching. It was impossibly difficult to pull away; lips, teeth and tongues fought for greater access and taste of their opposites. After a long oxygen-free minute Duncan had to break away or pass out. He drew in a deep, gasping breath, pleased to see the results of his efforts in the darkened eyes and bruised lips of his partner. He also noted that somehow during the exchange Methos had managed to insinuate both hands up under Duncan's shirt and long fingers were gently stroking the skin of his back. Duncan quirked a smile at his soon-to-be lover and shifted his weight slightly to bring their groins into contact. Even through the layers of clothing, he could feel the heat emanating from the man beneath him; he ground his hips suggestively and was ridiculously pleased to feel Methos arching helplessly against him, so he did it again.
The voice was slightly breathless and full of promise. Duncan was about to repeat the motion a third time when Methos slipped his tongue out to wet swollen lips. Duncan's train of thought derailed.
An unexpected and deeply unwelcome rush of Presence intruded on Duncan's awareness, scattering the wonderful, imaginative images that he'd been considering prior to investigating Methos' amenability towards them. Identical tousled heads popped up to look over the edge of the bed towards the door and then turned to look at each other, blank incomprehension replacing lust. Methos recovered use of his faculties first.
Duncan felt lust vanish in a queasy-making surge of fear and anger and looked around for his katana. Spying the blade on the other side of the room, he struggled to free himself from the mess of bedclothes, succeeding only in further entangling himself. Methos grinned and shook his head tolerantly, then with a quick shove he extricated himself from the tangle Duncan had created and reached under the edge of the bed, pulling out a wickedly sharp broadsword. He grinned at Duncan's surprise and then dropped a kiss on his nose.
"Back in a minute."
And then Methos was moving away, all fluid grace as he climbed the stairs. Duncan watched him go, belatedly realising that the man was barefoot and that somewhere along the way he had lost the black shirt and the t-shirt he had been wearing underneath was untucked. Hardly the image of battle-readiness.
Duncan just sat, a little confused, a little wary and very horny. He wasn't quite sure what to do; this certainly hadn't happened the way he had expected. The mortal he had been intending to protect from Kalas was actually an Immortal. Not just any Immortal either, *the* Immortal, eldest of them all, who was currently out dealing with Kalas himself. Part of him insisted he should be out there helping or something, but he knew it was too late for that. His appearance now would be a distraction to both combatants and he was all too aware of how costly those could be. A small, quiet voice in the back of his mind was insisting that Methos wouldn't have lasted this long if he weren't good. Still, he couldn't have taken many heads recently or the Watchers would have found him...
Duncan wrestled with his instincts for a moment more and then got up to fetch his katana. He had just put his foot on the first step when he felt and heard the beginnings of a Quickening outside. The charged air tingled over his skin and the lights flickered as the wind howled past the outside of the building. It had to have been a huge Quickening because Duncan doubted very much that either of them would have wanted a fight right outside the apartment. So who had lost their head - Kalas? Or Methos? Duncan closed his eyes and hoped to God it hadn't been Methos, not only would it make Kalas nigh unbeatable, but to lose everything he had been promised by those ancient eyes... It didn't bear thinking about.
Long minutes passed and Duncan's certainty grew that he had failed in his mission to keep 'Adam Pierson' safe. He firmed his grip on the katana and began to climb the stairs, grimly determined that Kalas would not live beyond the aftermath of the Quickening.
He was halfway up when Presence intruded on his senses, sharp and vibrant with the freshly absorbed Quickening energy. The door began to open and he raised his sword in readiness. The sharp, green eyes and slender figure were not what he had expected to see.
"Methos?" he exclaimed incredulously.
Methos cast an annoyed look his way as he shut the door and dropped his sword into the umbrella stand. "Bloody kids! No respect for their elders and the most appalling sense of timing imaginable," he half-muttered angrily. He moved past Duncan down the stairs and Duncan followed, a little intimidated by Methos' bad temper. Methos was radiating heat and Duncan knew well what the aftermath of a Quickening was like, especially a powerful one.
Methos abruptly spun to face him and suddenly they were practically nose to nose. Duncan couldn't help his eyes straying down to confirm what he already knew. Methos' jeans looked uncomfortably tight and Duncan's flesh took the opportunity to remind him forcefully of his earlier frustrated arousal. Without thinking he pressed his open palm against the length of straining flesh caged by the rough denim and watched with relief as the anger in those marvellous eyes evaporated into an expression not dissimilar to the one he had seen before Kalas' arrival. He grinned, confidence returning rapidly, "Need a hand with that?"
"Hand?" Methos voice was breathy and strained as he struggled for control. "Hand is good." He took a deep breath and appeared to regain some semblance of control over his wayward flesh. "Although I do have a few other ideas if you're interested?"
Duncan grinned at the hopeful smile on the other's face and he shifted his hand so that his fingers could toy with the button of Methos' jeans. "Well, I don't suppose I can pass up an opportunity like this to learn from the World's Oldest Immortal..."
Duncan was rather glad he'd wrecked the bed earlier - the blankets cushioned their landing.
"You know, this didn't quite turn out the way I expected," Duncan's voice had the warm undertones of the supremely comfortable.
Methos turned onto his side to see the Highlander's face. "Yeah? Didn't quite go the way I'd planned either."
Duncan turned his head to look at the old Immortal. "Really? How did you think things were going to turn out?"
Methos flopped back onto their makeshift bed of sheets, blankets and clothing, and stared up at the ceiling. Curious, Duncan propped himself up on an elbow and looked down at the old Immortal - wondering what was going on behind those mercurial eyes. Unable to resist temptation for long though, he trailed a finger over Methos' bare chest and then dropped his head to taste the skin. Methos shivered beneath him and he felt a tension ease in the old Immortal that he hadn't realised was there.
Methos' hand came up to stroke his hair, encouraging Duncan's attentions and he began to speak. "Well, I thought I'd see what you were like first and, if you turned out to be as honourable as all your Chronicles said you were, then I was going to take shameless advantage of your protective instincts and let you deal with Kalas - simplest way all 'round."
Duncan raised his head to look at Methos not sure whether to be angry at his lover's thoughts of manipulation or to feel honoured that Methos trusted him enough to tell him. The gentle, knowing smile on his lover's lips persuaded him that, whatever he felt, anger wasn't part of it. He lowered his head to Methos' chest and listened to his heart beat.
"So," Duncan was rather curious now. "How did you plan to 'take shameless advantage of my protective instincts'?"
He couldn't see Methos' smile, but he could hear it in his voice. "Well, when Kalas turned up I was going to let him win." His chuckle forestalled Mac's protest. "Oh, don't worry, I wasn't going to let him take my head; I'm rather attached to it and want to keep it that way. I was going to let him think I couldn't beat him and then I was going to run - straight to you. I'd convince you I was desperate... probably offer you my head or some grand gesture like that. Being the Noble Highlander that you are, you'd decline the offer, go after Kalas with one more reason to kill him and this time you'd probably succeed... if not I could always call the police, claim to have witnessed Don's murder and identify Kalas. He gets arrested, you get time to practice and I'm not revealed as an Immortal. Easy."
Duncan's head ached. Easy? What sort of corkscrew of a mind must the man have to come up with that in the time between Joe calling him and Duncan arriving? Well, Duncan thought, I guess after 5,000 years he'd have to be good at plotting.
"Now..." Methos continued. "Well, Kalas is dead and there were no witnesses - I don't suppose you'd like to take credit for his unfortunate demise would you?"
Duncan met his lover's eyes and could see the faintest trace of concern in their depths - not because of Duncan, but because the revelation of Adam's secret made him uncomfortable. Which brought up another concern, if they remained lovers, and Duncan dearly hoped that they would, it would be inevitable that Methos would get dragged into his problems.
"It's not a problem," Duncan said. "We don't even need to lie, Joe'll just assume it anyway in the absence of witnesses. But there's something else..." He paused, gathering his thoughts. "Anyone associated with me is at risk, especially lovers... I mean we don't have to be, if you don't want to... but I'd like it if we could be... I mean you don't have to - I'll understand. I just thought you should know the risks."
Methos smiled tolerantly at Duncan's stumbling speech. "Duncan, I know the risks, I knew them before you arrived - I have a few entries on you in my journal and I've read your Chronicle." He met the Highlander's eyes, his own becoming serious as he continued, "I would like to remain your lover... no, I'd love to, but I have no intention of giving up my anonymity."
That said, they both lapsed into silence. Duncan had no wish to compromise Methos' cover, but he wanted them to be lovers. Methos wished the same thing, but in the present situation it was likely that one of the wishes would have to be sacrificed for the other. Duncan sighed, he would sacrifice his hopes for a relationship to keep Methos safe... and it wasn't like they never had to see each other. Well actually maybe it was like that, Watchers everywhere especially here in Paris, would make even a casual acquaintance with the Methos researcher highly suspect.
Duncan felt Methos shift and raised his head to see a smile. "What?" Duncan demanded.
"Well, the main problem is the Watchers right? Other Immortals mainly turn up at one of your two homes or it's a chance encounter, yes?"
Duncan nodded cautiously not sure where this was going. "Yeah."
Methos smile broadened into a full grin. "Tell me Duncan, have you ever been to Bora Bora?"
Duncan found himself returning the grin, "No, but I hear it's nice this time of year."