chelle

Highlander

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Eat Your Heart Out, Ernest Hemingway

chelle

Title: Eat Your Heart Out, Ernest Hemingway

Authors: chelle and monmit

chelle's email: chelle@slashcity.org

chelle's URL: http://chelle.slashcity.org/

Fandom: Highlander

Category: Slash

Pairing: Duncan/Methos

Archive: Ask first

Archive: Ask first

This story was co-written with my SO. It's how the Kalas arc would have ended if we'd written it. There are two things you need to know before reading the story. The first is that Fitz wasn't in Paris when Duncan arrived there in "Star-Crossed." Thus, he never fought Kalas and is still happily alive. The second is that after the events in "Methos" Methos stuck around and Duncan kept his secret. As always, I want to thank Kamil for her encouragement and laughing when I forced her to listen to the thing over the phone.

Immortal presence hit him. Abandoning his dinner preparations, Duncan reached for his katana.

"It's just me, MacLeod," a familiar voice called.

Setting the sword aside, Duncan resumed chopping. A moment later Fitz walked in.

"Smells good, what are you cooking?" Fitz asked, continuing into the barge's small kitchen.

"Dinner, and no, you're not invited."

Snagging a piece from a bowl of carefully diced bell peppers, Fitz popped it into his mouth. "Why not?"

"Because you talk with your mouth full."

"I do not."

"You just did."

"So, who's coming to dinner?" Fitz asked, reaching for the open bottle of wine on the counter.

Duncan slapped his hand away. "It needs to breathe."

Fitz looked around the barge. Duncan knew how the place looked. It was spotless and Fitz would undoubtedly assume that the two books sitting, seemingly forgotten, on the edge of the coffee table had been left there to make an impression. The table was set for two. There were no candles or flowers, nothing overtly romantic, but it still looked elegant, classy. "So, who is she?" Fitz asked.

"A friend. No one you know."

"A friend, huh? You never make this much this fuzz when I come to dinner. What's she li—" Fitz stopped abruptly. "She's one of us?"

Duncan ignored him and went to the door. Opening it, he smiled invitingly at the man on the other side. "Adam, come in, please."

His guest held out a bakery box. "I brought desert."

"Thank you." Accepting the box, Duncan gestured toward the kitchen. "Adam Pierson, meet Hugh Fitzcairn."

***

Fitz kept his eyes on the new arrival as he stepped forward with his hand extended. For some reason he had the distinct impression that Mac would strangle him if he wasn't polite.

"Nice to meet you," Adam said as they clasped hands. Fitz couldn't quite place the accent.

"Same here," he answered, studying Mac's guest. Adam was about Mac's height, but with a more slender build. The face was young, but the eyes told a different story entirely. He wondered how long Mac had known this man. "Although I must say MacLeod's never mentioned you before."

"Not surprising, as we've only just met." Adam shrugged out of his long coat and handed it to Mac.

"Fitz was just leaving," Duncan said, hanging up the coat.

No I wasn't, Fitz thought, or at least I'm not now. "I was kind of hoping you'd invite me to stay." Mac couldn't refuse such an open request without looking petty.

Mac shot him a murderous glare. "Fine, you can finish the salad." Turning his attention to Adam, Mac asked, "Would you like something to drink?"

"Beer, if you have it."

Mac went to the refrigerator and pulled out two bottles of a German brew Fitz recognized. He'd introduced Mac to it on his last visit to Paris. Returning, Mac handed one bottle to Adam and kept the other for himself.

Fitz cleared his throat.

"Finish the salad, Fitz. Unless you've changed your mind about staying?"

Not bothering to answer, Fitz returned to the kitchen. Grabbing the lettuce sitting on the counter, he began to tear it into pieces. Duncan was acting almost like he'd cut in on a date, not dinner with a friend. Date, he turned the thought over. It couldn't be. He looked over at the couch where the two men were engaged in conversation. Adam was slouched down in the couch, and Duncan was sitting close to him, closer than he ever sat to Fitz. In fact, Duncan was practically leaning over him and he was gazing at Adam with rapt attention. Fitz had seen his friend infatuated enough times to know that look. If he hadn't seen it with his own eyes, he wouldn't have believed it. Duncan MacLeod of the clan MacLeod, one of the few men Fitz knew who was almost successful with women as Fitz himself was, wanted a man.

Although, Fitz had to admit, as Adam smiled in response to something Mac had said, he was kind of cute, in an offbeat sort of way.

Fitz smiled to himself. Tonight was going to be fun.

***

Duncan's stomach tightened as they sat down to dinner. Fitz had that look in his eye; the one he always got when he was about to cause trouble. Fortunately, he remained quiet as the food was passed around.

Duncan watched as Methos took a bite of his quail. He smiled at Duncan. "It's good."

"Thank you," Duncan answered, completely unaware of how soft his voice was.

"It really isn't bad, MacLeod," Fitz said. "Although a touch more pepper wouldn't have hurt."

Duncan glanced at his friend, his irritation firmly under control. "I'll remember that next time."

"I taught him how to cook, you know," Fitz said to Methos. "Before we met the only things he could make were baked beans and haggis." Fitz shook his head. "Haggis, only the Scots."

"What about the English and their blood sausage? Now there's an appetizing dish," Duncan sneered. He couldn't help it. Fitz was the only person he knew who could thoroughly annoy him in twenty words or less.

"There's no need to get defensive, MacLeod."

"I'm not."

"Yes, you are. You get defensive every time someone criticizes the Scots." Fitz smiled at Methos, as though trying to draw him into the game.

"I do not." Duncan replied automatically, regretting the words instantly.

"Yes, you do."

Glancing at Methos and seeing the amused curl of his lips, Duncan bit back the reply he'd been about to make. He would not play Fitz's childish games in front of Methos. That was all there was to it. Gritting his teeth, he changed the subject.

***

Duncan watched as Methos rose and carried his plate to the counter. He was so graceful, even just crossing Duncan's small kitchen area with dirty dishes in his hands. Catching sight of Fitz's knowing grin, Duncan spoke, "Fitz'll do the dishes."

"Me?" came the predictable protest. "I made dinner."

"You made a salad."

"I'm a guest."

"Who invited himself."

"You're the one who made a career out of washing dishes."

"I did not make a career out of it, and I wouldn't have had to do them in the first place if it wasn't for you."

"For me? My wallet was stolen, too."

"But you didn't have to do dishes." Duncan glanced up as Methos slid back into his chair.

"They had other chores for me," Fitz said, sounding smug.

"Uh-huh." Duncan's tone indicated clearly what he thought of that claim.

"It's your own fault. What was it you said? 'They're prostitutes, Fitz. You don't have to court them.' If you'd taken your time, maybe shown a little…"

Choking sounds drew Duncan's attention to Methos, who was struggling to swallow his wine.

Fitz continued on, seemingly oblivious to the distress of his audience. "'Just take one and go,' you said. 'We don't have all night.' Sometimes I wonder how you ever manage to hang onto a woman."

Methos managed to swallow his wine at last and was immediately convulsed with laughter.

Still, Fitz droned on. "You're such a barbarian, MacLeod. If it weren't for me, you'd have no sophistication at all."

I can't kill him, Duncan told himself, at least not while Methos is here. He glanced from Fitz, who was continuing his monologue, to Methos who was clutching his sides. There was only one thing he could do-serve dessert.

***

Fitz stood on the corner, looking down the street. He glanced at his watch. Duncan was late, not unusual. The man hadn't even learned to tell time until he was 125. Of course, there was always the possibility that Duncan might have gotten sidetracked the night before and forgotten that they were meeting today. Fitz smiled at the thought of all the teasing he could do if that were the case. But no, Duncan hadn't forgotten. He was striding purposefully toward Fitz. Fitz sucked on his pipe and watched his friend's approach.

After exchanging the usual greetings they fell easily into step, without bothering to agree on a direction. They'd only gone three steps when Fitz's curiosity got the best of him. "So," he said, "how was your date?"

"It wasn't a date," Duncan replied, and Fitz couldn't help but smile at the slight tinge of exasperation already coloring his friend's voice.

"It wasn't? Where'd you go?"

"We had dinner at Maurice's and then we went to see A Night at the Opera."

"Dinner and a movie, certainly sounds like a date to me, MacLeod."

"No, it was dinner and a movie, with a friend," Duncan said, carefully enunciating each word.

"A friend, huh? Did you kiss him?"

"Fitz!"

"What?" Fitz asked, pleased at how innocent he managed to sound.

"It was just dinner." There was a note of resignation in Mac's voice.

"And a movie," Fitz added brightly, "with a friend."

"Exactly."

"So, did you kiss him?"

"I wouldn't tell you if I did."

"You did kiss him."

"No, I didn't."

"I thought you weren't going to tell me."

"I didn't."

"Yes, you did. You said you didn't kiss him." Fitz paused to puff on his almost forgotten pipe. "What are you waiting for anyway?"

"Nothing."

"You do want to kiss him."

"I didn't say that."

"Yes, you did."

Shaking his head, Duncan increased his pace, leaving Fitz a couple of feet behind him, and Fitz had to run to catch up. "Why haven't you kissed him?" he asked, once again at Mac's side.

"He's a friend."

"I'm a friend. You—"

Duncan stopped and turned to glare at him. "Don't you dare mention Vienna." Then he resumed walking, leaving Fitz behind once again.

"I still think you should kiss him," Fitz called after him, before racing to catch up.

Falling into step beside Mac, Fitz decided to let the subject drop, for the moment, and they walked an entire block in silence. Fitz puffed contentedly on his pipe, and Duncan looked in the shop windows. Suddenly, Duncan stopped. Fitz turned to look in the window, wondering what had captured Duncan's attention.

"I'll just be a minute." Duncan disappeared into the store.

Fitz stared at the door, trying to decide if he should follow his friend. It was an easy decision.

It was a stationer's shop and Mac was standing in front of a display of blank books, holding a small brown leather one. He glanced at Fitz, and then carried the book to the register. Fitz waited until they were outside before commenting. "Keeping a diary, MacLeod?"

"It's a gift."

Fitz had suspected as much. "For who?"

"None of your business."

"It's for Adam, isn't it?"

Duncan didn't answer.

Fitz smiled. "You're courting him."

"I am not," Duncan insisted.

"Dates, presents, sounds like courting to me."

"It wasn't a date."

"It was just dinner and a movie, with a friend."

"Exactly."

"How old is he?"

"Who?"

"Adam. If you're not courting him, it must be his birthday."

"It's not his birthday."

"So you are courting him."

Duncan hung his head, shaking it slowly from side to side.

***

Duncan was almost home when he sensed it, presence, coming from the barge. He ran through the list of possible visitors in his head. It was a long list. Maybe Joe was right and his place really was an Immortal Grand Central. Resting his hand on the katana's hilt, he started up the ramp.

A familiar voice greeted him as soon as he opened the door. "Hey, Mac."

"Richie." Duncan let go of the katana. "I thought you were off playing Speed Racer."

"He drove a car. I drive a motorcycle."

"Sorry." Duncan grinned.

"Anything interesting happen while I was gone?"

"Fitz is in town."

"Cool"

"I'm meeting him later. You can come along if you like."

***

"Fitz!" Richie called, pressing through the crowd.

"Red." Fitz slapped him on the back. "Thought you were off playing Speed Buggy."

Richie shook his head. "I was, but I blew the qualifying round for this weekend's race, so I thought I'd see what kind of trouble I could get into here."

"Good plan."

"I thought so."

The feel of another Immortal drew the attention of all three men to the door. The man in the doorway looked around the room, visibly relaxing when he caught sight of them. Out of the corner of his eye, Richie saw Mac smile. The newcomer smiled back. He was obviously a friend, and Richie relaxed, letting go of the tension the presence of an unknown Immortal inevitably created. Then he remembered how meeting Mac's friends usually turned out.

"Adam," Mac said to the approaching man.

"MacLeod." The two men exchanged another smile.

Richie glanced at Fitz who lifted his eyes upward and shook his head slightly.

"Richie, this is Adam."

"Adam, Richie Ryan."

Adam extended his hand, and Richie took it. He had a firm, dry handshake.

"MacLeod speaks highly of you."

Richie beamed. "Thanks, Mac."

"Adam," Fitz said, "MacLeod says you two had a good time last night."

"The movie wasn't bad, and the company was tolerable."

Fitz grinned. "Tolerable, huh? You sound like one of his lady friends."

Adam laughed and signaled the bartender.

***

They were unable to get a table in the crowded bar, but Fitz held onto his stool and Adam managed to finagle the one beside it. Richie stood between them with Mac on Adam's other side. Richie divided his attention between the band and his companions.

A group of women entered and Richie nudged Fitz with his elbow. Fitz followed his gaze and smiled. Richie looked at Mac, hoping to draw his attention to the group. Women liked Mac and when they struck out with him…

Mac, however, was watching Adam.

Richie stared, incredulous, as one of the women approached the bar and leaned against it, right next to Mac, and he didn't notice. Instead, he chuckled at something Adam had said and edged closer to him, allowing the woman more room.

Richie turned to Fitz, who shrugged. "They're courting."

"Courting?"

"Movies, dinner, presents, seduction."

"Seduction?" He looked back at Mac and Adam. Watching them, he wondered who was seducing whom.

***

Methos was lounging on Duncan's couch, watching as Duncan stirred the fire. They'd had a quiet dinner, a relaxed, meandering conversation, and now Methos was on his couch, waiting for him.

Duncan wished there was some way he could still the butterflies in his stomach.

Not looking at Methos, he went to his desk and picked up the present he'd bought the day before. He'd wrapped it twice. After the first time he'd decided that wrapping it made too big a deal out of it and unwrapped it. But it didn't look much like a present without the wrapping so he'd wrapped it again. Taking a deep breath, he went to sit beside Methos.

"This is for you." Duncan held out the book.

Methos looked at the package and then at Duncan's face.

"I saw it, and, well, it reminded me of you."

Unwrapping it, Methos turned the soft leather book over and over in his hands. "I can't remember the last time someone gave me a gift, just because." He captured Duncan's eyes with his. "Thank you."

The warmth in Methos' voice made Duncan's heart pound. "You're welcome."

Methos was lifting a hand toward his cheek, and Duncan forgot to breathe as he watched it in his peripheral vision, coming oh-so-slowly toward him. Contact, and Methos was guiding Duncan's face toward his own. Their lips met. It was just a soft brush, a whisper of connection. Duncan didn't pull back when Methos released him, instead he leaned closer. Methos' lips were warm and firm, and Duncan's eyes drifted shut as he savored them.

It was Methos who broke the kiss, pulling back slightly. Duncan shook his head. "Fitz was actually right."

Methos' expression turned curious.

"We were courting."

"Yes, we were," Methos answered, reaching for him. He shifted so that he was leaning back and pulled Duncan down with him.

"We aren't now?"

"We still are, but give it an hour, maybe two, and we'll definitely be done with the courting part."

"Damn, I didn't get any courting gifts."

"I'll make it up to you," Methos promised, and Duncan had no doubt that he would.

***

Mac leaned back against the cabin, looking out at the river, savoring the quiet. There was nothing quite like waking up with a new lover, especially a lover as tantalizing as Methos. Thoughts of precisely how tantalizing Methos was stopped abruptly at the feel of another Immortal. Surreptitiously, he glanced around the corner of the cabin at the quay. Spotting Fitz, he suppressed a small groan and quickly moved to head him off.

He considered meeting Fitz on the quay, but decided that would simply pique his friend's curiosity. Instead, he positioned himself at the top of the ramp leading onto the barge, cursing under his breath the entire time.

"MacLeod," Fitz called, smiling up at him.

"Fitz, what brings you by?" he asked as his friend started up the ramp.

"Scones."

"What?"

"Scones," Fitz repeated, stopping in front of Duncan and holding out a plate. "I made scones."

"Oh."

"They're bilberry."

"Blueberry," Duncan replied automatically.

"Bilberry," Fitz said, moving to the right to step past Duncan.

Duncan shifted to the side, blocking Fitz's entrance to the barge. "Blueberry."

Fitz stepped to the left. "Bilberry."

"Blueberry," Duncan insisted, moving once again to the other side.

"Do you want to dance, MacLeod?"

"What?"

"Dance. I always thought you preferred katas in the morning, but…"

"What are you talking about?"

"You, me, moving back and forth."

"What?"

"I move, you move, I move, you move. Getting the picture?"

Duncan shook his head. "I don't know what you're talking about."

"Have you had any coffee?"

"No."

"I'll make some, and then explain it to you again, slowly." Fitz shifted subtly to the left.

Duncan stepped in front of him. "You don't need to do that."

"What? Explain it to you?"

"Explain what to me?"

"The dancing."

"What dancing?"

"You. You're trying to dance with me."

"I was?"

"It certainly seemed like it."

"Why would I want to do that?"

"We've…"

Duncan held up his hand. "I thought we agreed never to mention it again."

"Oh, right." Fitz paused, clearly puzzled. "Mention what?"

"Barcelona!"

"Oh, that."

"Exactly."

"Mac."

"Yeah?"

"I can't make coffee if you won't let me by."

Duncan stepped aside, remembering too late that he didn't want Fitz to make coffee. Fitz was already part way to the cabin's entrance. "Fitz!" Duncan called. "I don't want coffee."

"I'll make tea."

"I don't have any. Why don't you go buy some?"

"Barbarian. How can you not have tea?"

"Not everyone has tea."

"Everyone civilized has tea."

Duncan opened his mouth, but no words came out. He closed it again, stumped.

The door opened, and Methos stepped out onto the deck. He was wearing jeans and a white sweater. Stopping in front of Fitz, he held up a tea bag, dangling it by the string. "Tea," he said, letting it drop to the deck. "I'll call you," he added to Duncan as he walked past and down the ramp.

Duncan watched him go. No one wore jeans quite like Methos, and that sweater…Wait a minute. That was his sweater, his favorite sweater.

"Lipton!" Fitz called at Methos' back. Duncan glanced at him. Fitz was holding the tea bag. "Lipton isn't tea."

"Come on," Duncan said, starting toward the door, "I need some coffee."

***

"Was it good?" Fitz asked as he followed Duncan into the barge's small galley.

"Was what good?" Duncan answered, without bothering to turn and glare at Fitz. He knew it wouldn't do any good.

"You know, was it good?"

"Was what good?"

"The sex, MacLeod."

"What makes you think we had sex?"

Fitz looked slowly around the room, and Duncan followed his gaze from the couch with the cushions still asunder to the trail of clothes leading to the obviously much-used bed. Fitz's gaze came to rest on Duncan, his expression an unpleasant cross between a leer and a smirk.

"All right, we had sex," Duncan admitted.

"Looks more to me like dinner and a movie…with a friend."

"Very funny." Duncan resisted the urge to slap his friend on the back of the head. Instead, he reached into the cupboard and pulled down two mugs.

"So, was it good?" Fitz was grinning.

"Fitz! I told you. It's none of your business." Duncan put on his most serious expression. "Duncan MacLeod of the clan MacLeod does not kiss and tell."

"Since when?"

"Since…well…since…"

Fitz's grin grew.

"Right now," Duncan said, shoving a mug of coffee into Fitz's hands and pushing past him to sit at the small table.

Fitz joined him, setting the plate of scones between them.

Duncan took one. It wasn't bad, he thought as he chewed slowly.

"What do you think? Will my bilberry scones be a hit?" Fitz said, taking a bite himself.

"Blueberry."

"Bilberry."

"Blue—"

"Bil—"

"We're not doing this again."

"Daft Scottish lout," Fitz muttered.

"Stupid, bloody Englishman," Duncan muttered back.

"So," Fitz said as he finished his scone, "was it good?"

"I already told you. I'm not telling you."

"Not that. The scone."

"Oh. The scone was good."

"And the other?"

"What other?"

"You know."

"I know what?"

"Don't be thick-headed, MacLeod."

"I'm not telling you."

"So it wasn't good."

"I didn't say that."

"So it was good."

"I didn't say that, either."

"What are you saying? Do you even know?"

Duncan couldn't help it. He smiled. "It was good."

"Were you on the top or the bottom?"

"Fitz!"

"Come on, laddie, curious minds and all that." Fitz took another scone and waved it in the air as he spoke.

"I'm not telling you," Duncan growled.

"I'm just curious," Fitz said, as innocently as if he'd asked what Duncan thought of the weather. "If it were me, I'd tell you."

"I wouldn't ask."

Fitz laughed.

"I wouldn't," Duncan protested, "I'd allow you some privacy."

"Sure you would. Just like that time in Lisbon."

"They were twins."

Fitz grinned triumphantly. "And Adam's—"

"Not a twin," Duncan said, cutting his friend off.

"I'm curious."

"So find a nice young man and try it yourself."

"I couldn't do that."

"Why not?"

"I'm straight."

"So am I."

"No, you're not."

"I am…" Duncan stopped, realizing the futility of arguing that he was straight when he'd spent the previous night having sex with another man. "If you're straight, why do you want to know?"

"Curiosity."

"If men don't interest you, why are you curious?"

"Sex, MacLeod, sex interests me."

"So find yourself—"

"We've already discussed that. Although…"

Duncan's eyes narrowed.

"Adam's—" Fitz said, letting his voice taper off.

"Mine," Duncan all but growled.

"Really?"

"Yes, really. Now drop it, Fitz."

"You still haven't answered my question."

"Which question might that be?"

"Top or bottom?"

"Fitz!"

"Lisbon, MacLeod."

"What about it?"

"I answered your questions. In detail."

"That was different."

"How?"

"I was a journalist."

"Lucky for you they didn't print the story."

"It was well-written, though," Duncan said, a small smile curling his lips.

"I thought it was a bit purple."

"They were twins."

"Yes, I know. I was there."

Duncan shook his head and reached for another scone. Fitz might be a pain in the ass, but he could cook.

"Now, about Adam—"

"Drop it, Fitz."

***

Duncan had managed to get rid of Fitz after another hour and a half of interrogation, and he'd left without a clue as to what Methos and Duncan had actually done. Duncan was rather proud of that. He'd just finished cleaning up the mess from the night before, humming softly as he put fresh sheets on the bed, when the phone rang.

"MacLeod."

"Duncan. It's me."

Duncan felt a smile spread slowly across his face. "Methos."

"I was wondering if you had any plans for tonight."

"Actually, I have this friend I was hoping to seduce."

"Who? Fitzcairn?"

"God, no. You wouldn't believe the third degree he gave me. Wanted to know what we'd done, if it was good. He's impossible."

"You didn't tell him anything?"

"No," Duncan said proudly, "I didn't."

"Why not? Wasn't I any good?"

Duncan smiled. "You were amazing, and you know it. If I told Fitz that, you'd never get any peace." Methos chuckled. "Besides, he's terrible at sharing," Duncan added.

"Oh, really?"

"Remind to tell you about Lisbon some time."

"Was it as much fun as Barcelona?"

"I'm sure Fitz thinks so." Duncan didn't want to discuss Fitz. "I changed the sheets," he said, certain Methos wouldn't object to the change in topic.

Methos chuckled. "Is that an invitation?"

"What would you like for dinner?"

"Are we eating it on the sheets?"

"We can."

"Clean sheets. How could I refuse? Shall I come by around six?"

"Sure, anytime, I'll be home."

***

The sensation of Immortal presence brought Duncan awake instantly. Letting go of Methos, he stumbled from the bed and reached for his katana. In his peripheral vision, he saw Methos pick up his broadsword. He'd just adopted a fighting stance when the door opened.

"Morning, Mac." Richie's gaze moved from Mac to Methos and back. He grinned. "Fitz was right. You were courting."

"Why does everyone keep saying that?" Methos muttered, walking past Duncan to the bathroom. Just before the door closed, he stuck his head back out. "Morning, Richie." The door closed, and then opened again. "You know, MacLeod, this wouldn't happen if you had rooms."

"You don't have rooms."

"No, but I don't have friends either."

The door closed soundly this time, and after a moment Duncan heard the shower start. Abruptly, Duncan realized that he was standing in front of his bed, completely naked, with a sword in his hands. He set the sword aside and began searching for his robe amidst the wreckage of the bed. Without looking, he knew Richie was watching him and grinning. Glancing up, he suggested Richie make himself useful and put some coffee on. Richie smirked, but he did as he was asked. Finding a bit of his robe under the blanket that only partially covered the bed, he pulled it out.

Richie was holding a scone in his mouth while measuring grounds when Duncan arrived in the kitchen. Not saying a word, Duncan began to fill the coffee pot.

Richie took the scone from his mouth. "Mmm. Good. Blueberry."

"Bilberry."

"What?'

"Never mind."

"Did you make 'em?"

"No, Fitz did." Duncan poured the water into the coffee pot and pushed the power button.

Richie opened the fridge and began looking through it, still holding the half-eaten scone. "I got to hand it you, Mac. You always get the good-looking ones."

"This doesn't bother you?" Clearly it didn't bother him in the slightest, but Duncan thought it should, somehow.

"Why should it? I mean, you're four-hundred-years-old. That's plenty of time to experiment. Hell, I've experimented, and I'm only a couple of decades."

You have, Duncan wanted to say, but he stopped the words just in time. "Fitz is eight-hundred and he hasn't," Duncan said instead, wanting to say something.

"Fitz is weird, off the curve." Richie poured himself a glass of milk and opened the fridge again.

"The curve?" Duncan picked up a scone.

"The bell curve. You know how on most things any population will form a bell curve, with most people in the middle and a few on either end? Fitz is at the end of the curve, exclusively straight, not in the middle, not bi like you and I."

Bi. Duncan swallowed his scone. It wasn't as moist as the one he'd eaten yesterday. Probably dried out some overnight. Bi, he was bisexual. The thought wasn't as weird as he'd thought it would be. Duncan MacLeod, bisexual boy scout. He giggled.

"Must've been pretty amazing," Richie said.

"What?" Duncan asked, startled from his thoughts.

"Last night, if it left you giggling."

Duncan smiled, but he didn't answer.

***

Presence brought Duncan awake. He groaned and looked over at his lover.

"Did anyone ever tell you you have too many friends?"

Sighing, Duncan rolled from the bed and picked up his katana. A moment later the door opened. "Amanda."

"Good morning, Mac." Amanda came down the steps into the barge. She smiled at him, her gaze sliding appreciatively over him before settling pointedly on the bed.

"This isn't a good time," Duncan said.

"I can see that." There was just a hint of ice in Amanda's voice.

Duncan followed her gaze. Methos' head was barely visible, and he doubted Amanda could see Methos clearly enough to identify him. He put down the katana and went to her. Taking hold of her arm, he turned her away from the bed. "Why don't you come back in an hour or so," he said quietly, "and we'll talk."

Before she could answer, Methos pushed aside the covers and sat up. "There's no need."

Amanda turned around. "Ben?"

Methos smiled. "It's Adam, now."

"Adam," she repeated, glancing at Mac.

He fought back a blush. There was no reason to be embarrassed. None. Just because his sometime female lover had caught him in flagrante with his new male lover, and knew him…"You two know each other?"

"Obviously," Amanda said, not taking her eyes from Methos' chest.

"If you don't mind…" Methos said, making a gesture indicating they should turn around.

"I don't," Amanda answered.

Duncan took hold of her shoulders and turned her so that her back was to Methos.

"Mac," she protested.

"Amanda," he mocked. Looking over her shoulder he watched as Methos slid into jeans and pulled on a sweater. It wasn't as much fun as watching Methos undress and a lot less fun than undressing him. Suddenly aware that he was completely naked, Duncan let go of Amanda and returned to the bed to search for his robe. Methos handed it to him as he walked past. "Thanks."

"You're welcome," Methos said, voice low, just before he closed the bathroom door.

Just once, Duncan thought, he wanted a quiet, relaxed, private morning after. He went to the barge's small galley, where Amanda was just starting the coffeemaker. She had a scone in her hand.

"Bit stale," she said.

"They're two days old."

"Bilberry?"

"Blueberry. Fitz made them."

"Has he been spending the night, too?"

"Very funny."

"So when did all of this happen?" Amanda gestured with the scone.

"When did what happen?" If Duncan were honest with himself, he'd have to admit that sometimes he enjoyed being deliberately obtuse with his friends.

Amanda glared at him, but asked again anyway. "When did you become so willing to experiment?"

"I've always been willing to experiment, Amanda. I doubt we'd have lasted this long if I wasn't." Duncan knew he looked smug, but he couldn't help it. "Besides, you don't know everything about me."

Amanda didn't bite. Instead she said, "Ben is—" Methos re-entered the room and Amanda stopped.

"I'm gonna head out," Methos said.

Duncan joined him at the door, where Methos was putting on his coat. "Dinner?"

Methos smiled; it was the soft, almost gentle smile that Duncan was convinced was only for him. "Sure." Methos glanced at Amanda. "How about my place this time? Around seven?"

"I'll be there." Duncan leaned in for a quick kiss, but when Methos prolonged it, Duncan let him.

"Bye," Methos said softly. Then he was up the stairs and gone.

Duncan looked after him for a minute and then turned back to Amanda. She was looking at him speculatively. Feeling exposed, Duncan tightened his robe.

"You two look good together."

"Forget it."

"Maybe you should ask him first."

Duncan shook his head. "Why are you here, Amanda?"

"I—" She turned and began pouring coffee for them both.

Duncan recognized the tone, the evasive expression. Placing a hand on her shoulder, he turned her to face him. "What's happened?"

Amanda couldn't meet his eyes. "It's Kalas."

"What about him? He's in jail."

"Not anymore. I broke him out."

"You what!?"

***

"Fitz!" Amanda yelled, pounding on the door. "Fitz!" A loud thump caused her to pause. It was followed by a series of expletives.

The door opened to reveal a naked Fitz holding a bright blue hand towel in front of him. The towel tented in a way that concealed nothing. "Amanda. What do you want?" Fitz demanded in a slightly pained voice.

"I need your help."

"Don't worry. I'm sure the novelty will wear off eventually." He closed the door with more force than Amanda felt was warranted.

"Fitz!" She resumed pounding—harder this time.

Fitz opened the door again. The towel was drooping a bit. "What on Earth do you want?"

"It's Mac."

"Isn't it always?" Fitz shut the door.

"Fitz!" Amanda's voice was becoming shrill.

Fitz opened the door, the towel now hanging sadly at his groin. "You never could take a hint," he said.

Recognizing victory when she saw it, Amanda pushed past Fitz and into his apartment. She turned, catching sight of plump pale buttocks just before he turned to face her.

"What is it?" he asked, his bared teeth belying the resignation in his voice.

"Kalas."

"Who?"

Reaching around, Amanda slapped him on the back of the head. "Pay attention," she growled. "Kalas is out."

"Already? The damn French have yet to meet a criminal they couldn't parole. Just look at Napoleon."

"He died in prison. You were there."

"I was?"

Amanda sighed. "What was her name?"

"Jean Marie. She was the maid."

Amanda rolled her eyes.

"And she had the most wonderful…" Fitz trailed off as two women emerged from the bedroom.

Amanda took in the long dark hair, the brown eyes, the matching dimples. "Twins," she observed with a sideways glance at Fitz. "How adventurous of you."

"Girls, this is my old friend Amanda," he said, taking sideways steps along their path. He rested a hand on the arm of one of the women. "Amanda, this is Petra." His brow wrinkled. "Or is it Pauline?"

"I'm Petra," the woman his hand was on said, leaning down to kiss his cheek.

Her sister was almost to the door.

"Pauline," Fitz called, moving toward her. "Where are you going?"

"I have a lecture to give," she said with a smile. Stepping close, she kissed Fitz's other cheek.

"And I have a meeting," Petra added, moving past Fitz to the door.

"I don't get it," Amanda muttered, shaking her head. "I just don't get it."

"He's so cute," Petra explained.

"And eager," Pauline added, ruffling Fitz's hair.

"Like a puppy," they chorused.

Fitz's jaw dropped. His face was as droopy as his towel. "A puppy," he repeated. The two women left while Fitz's jaw was still on the floor. "A puppy?"

"Time to get dressed, Rover," Amanda said.

"I didn't say I'd help you."

"You help me and this stays between us," she paused, "Lassie."

"Lassie was a girl."

Amanda smiled and crossed her arms.

Muttering to himself, Fitz started toward the bedroom door.

***

Fitz fumbled with the lock picks, dropping them, again. He cursed, again. Shaking them to remove the excess water, he started on the lock, again.

Amanda was rubbing her arms, bouncing slightly in an effort to keep warm.

"Will you stop squishing? I can't concentrate with your incessant squishing."

"Then let me do it." Amanda held out her hand.

"I can do it. I've been breaking into this barge for a hundred years."

"That was before I started stealing his credit cards."

Straightening, Fitz handed her the lock picks. Seconds later, he heard an audible click and the door swung open.

Fitz dashed inside, going straight to the fireplace. He looked from one side to the other, trying to find firewood.

"Fitz," Amanda said slowly, "it's fake."

"Well, that's bloody stupid. Why would anyone have a fake fireplace?"

"Think about it. I'm sure it'll come to you," Amanda answered, moving casually toward the bathroom.

He thought for a moment. "Oh…oh, yeah," he said just as Amanda closed the door firmly behind her.

***

Fitz danced around the edges of the cold spray, cursing Amanda. She could have left him some hot water. After all, it was her fault he was wet, and cold, and smelly. Surely Mac had some soap somewhere. She couldn't have used all of that, too.

He picked up one of the bottles cluttering the shelf at the back of the small shower stall. Shower gel. Lilac shower gel. He shook his head. One man and it had already begun.

He poured some into his hand. It was better than smelling like the Seine. Marginally.

***

Clutching a hand towel in front of him, Fitz stepped out of the bathroom. "Couldn't you at least have left me a towel?" he grated, shivering.

"There was only one," Amanda answered over he shoulder. Bending down, she began to rifle through MacLeod's closet. She was wearing Mac's favorite white sweater—Adam must've returned it—and nothing else.

Fitz felt his towel begin to stir. Maybe the day wouldn't be a complete loss after all. "What are you looking for?"

"Sheets."

"Sheets? What for?"

"The couch."

Fitz made a beeline for the bed and dove into it, pulling the covers up to his chin. "Enjoy it," he said.

Amanda turned. "Get out of the bed."

"No."

"Fitz."

"No."

"Come on, Rover. Down boy."

"No. You chased away the twins. Got me arrested at the opera. Started a brawl at the jazz club. Insisted on a waiter at the restaurant…"

"You get sidetracked."

Fitz continued as though he hadn't heard her. "And pushed me into the Seine."

"I did not push you," Amanda answered, her hands on her slender hips.

"I certainly didn't jump."

"Well I didn't push you. And you pulled me in," she accused.

"When you try to pull someone out of a river, you're supposed to hold onto something."

Amanda's eyes flashed.

Fitz decided to change the subject. "So where do you think MacLeod is? He's usually home by now."

"Expanding his horizons, no doubt." Amanda's voice was so cold Fitz began to shiver again.

"I take it you've met Adam."

Amanda's eyes narrowed.

"You have to admit he's kind of cute," Fitz added hastily.

"Really?" Amanda asked, crossing her arms in front of her chest in a way that was becoming far too familiar, even if it did accentuate her breasts nicely. Mac needed to buy thinner sweaters, Fitz decided.

"Sure. Just because I like women…a great deal…that doesn't mean I can't appreciate masculine beauty." Amanda's eyes narrowed almost to the point of crossing. "In a purely aesthetic way," he added hastily.

Amanda sighed.

"I'm sure the novelty will wear off soon. The razor burn'll push him away if nothing else."

"I don't think he shaves," Amanda said venomously.

"I've seen Mac shave lots…oh…never mind."

Amanda moved to the side of the bed. "Move over."

Fitz slid to the other side of the bed.

Amanda climbed in. "Don't make me have to get my sword."

He gave her his best wide-eyed innocent look.

She snorted and rolled onto her side, facing away from him.

Fitz sighed.

Amanda squirmed.

Fitz sighed, even more deeply.

Amanda reached under the covers.

His hope began to return.

Amanda held up the hand towel.

Grabbing it, Fitz tucked it hastily back under the covers.

Amanda shook her head. "I just don't get it." She turned out the light.

"Move. Your. Hand."

"What smells like almond oil?"

"I don't get it. I just don't get it."

***

A sound pulled Duncan from sleep. He listened intently for a moment. Hearing only silence, he snuggled closer to Methos and prepared to go back to sleep.

"Pierson! You home?"

Shit. He recognized that voice. He shook Methos' shoulder. "Methos, wake up," he whispered.

"I am awake."

"We have company."

"I heard."

"It's Joe."

"I heard."

"Get up."

"Why?"

"You're the one who didn't want our friends showing up."

"Not our friends, your friends."

"Adam?" Joe sounded worried, and the name was followed by the sound of Joe on the stairs.

"Methos," Duncan hissed.

"Oh, all right." Methos rolled from the bed and pulled on a pair of boxers. Leaning over, he kissed Duncan quickly. "Coming, Joe," he called as he walked toward the stairs.

Duncan listened intently. He could just see the bottom of the stairs from the bed.

"What's up, Joe?" Methos asked.

"It's Kalas." Joe's footsteps halted, and Duncan held his breath, hoping against hope that Joe wouldn't look toward the bed.

"He's out of jail, and I thought…" Joe glanced toward the bed. "I'm sorry. I didn't realize you had com—MacLeod!"

Duncan groaned, resisting the urge to pull the covers over his head.

"What the hell are you doing here?" Joe demanded.

"I should have thought that was obvious," Methos muttered, turning toward the small kitchen. "I'm gonna make coffee," he added.

Joe walked toward Duncan, stopping a couple of feet from the end of the bed. "You were supposed to protect him, not seduce him," he hissed.

"I didn't seduce him," Duncan hissed back.

"Then what are you doing in his bed?"

"He seduced me," Duncan whispered vehemently.

"I've read your chronicle, remember?"

"Exactly. So you know I don't do men…or at least I didn't."

"Brian Cullen, Jacob Gallati, Gregor—-"

"I didn't have sex with any of them!"

"Yeah, right. Tell it to someone who isn't your Watcher."

Duncan was about to answer when he saw Methos come up behind Joe. Methos held out a steaming cup. "Coffee?" he asked Joe. Joe accepted the cup, and Methos brought a second cup to the bed, holding it out to Duncan.

"Thank you," Duncan said, taking the cup. He took a sip and smiled at his lover.

Methos returned the smile. Then he bent down and began retrieving their clothes from the floor. His own t-shirt and jeans he pulled on; Duncan's landed on the bed. Dressed, Methos walked to a chest of drawers and, pulling out a pair of briefs, tossed them onto the bed. Duncan picked them up. "Thanks."

Methos shrugged. "Least I could do." He turned to Joe. "You want something to eat with that?"

"What do you have?"

"I'll have to look. I haven't been eating here much."

Duncan sighed with relief as the two men crossed to the other side of the small apartment. He quickly pulled on his clothes, rather liking the idea of wearing Methos' underwear.

***

Duncan approached the door slowly, gesturing for Methos to stay back. He pulled his katana from the folds of his coat and took hold of the doorknob with his other hand. It turned easily. He glanced at Methos, who had his sword in one hand and was flexing the fingers of his other hand around a pair of brass knuckles.

Methos nodded.

Duncan pushed open the door. He crept down the stairs, looking anxiously around the room.

Methos started toward the bathroom, stopping when Duncan gestured toward the bed with his sword. Moving cautiously, they approached the bed from opposite sides. Duncan stared, not quite registering the scene before him. Fitz was on his side, a hand curled child-like near his face. In it was Duncan's best hand towel. Amanda was on her back. Fitz's other hand rested on her breast.

Methos lowered his sword and slipped the brass knuckles back into his pocket. "Shall I get some cold water?" he whispered.

Duncan shook his head. Leaning down, he blew in Fitz's ear.

Fitz's hand tightened on Amanda's breast.

Amanda bolted awake. Grabbing Fitz's hand, she pulled it off of her and flung it back at him.

"Cold water now?" Methos asked brightly.

"Mac," Amanda said.

"Amanda."

"Mac," Fitz said, sitting up. Glancing quickly around, he pushed the hand towel back under the covers.

"Fitz."

"What are you doing here?"

"I live here."

"So why weren't you here last night when Amanda tried to drown me?"

"Unfortunately, I failed," Amanda said, pushing back the covers and exposing her long legs. She stretched, raising her arms over her head.

Methos watched her closely.

Climbing from the bed, she started toward the bathroom.

Methos turned slightly, continuing to watch. "That sweater needs to be shorter," he muttered.

"And thinner," Fitz added.

Duncan glared at the man in his bed. "What are you doing here?" He crossed his arms, causing the katana in his hand to stick out an odd angle.

"Not what you think, MacLeod. I was just trying to get warm after Amanda pushed me into the river and used all of the hot water."

The shower started.

"And she's doing it again."

"Why did she push you into the river?" Duncan asked with weary patience.

"Why did she use all of the hot water?" Methos added.

"I don't know. You'd have to ask her."

Duncan met Methos' gaze and shook his head.

"Can I borrow some clothes?" Fitz asked.

"Why?"

"Because Amanda pushed me into the river. Weren't you listening?"

Methos began to chuckle.

Duncan gave up and walked away from the bed.

The bathroom door opened. Amanda stuck her head out. "Duncan, sweetie, would you bring me some clothes?"

"I'll do it," Methos said, a little too eagerly in Duncan's opinion.

"Hand me something, too?" Fitz asked.

Methos ignored him, taking some of the clothes Amanda kept stored at the barge to the bathroom. Duncan wondered how he'd known where they were. Returning to the armoire, he tossed Fitz a pair of jeans and a t-shirt.

"Hey, these are dirty, and no one wears a Who shirt anymore."

Ignoring Fitz's protest, he sat beside Duncan on the couch. "This has certainly been an interesting morning," he observed, voice pitched so that only Duncan could hear him.

"One of these days we will get a quiet morning together, if I have to kill every one of them," Duncan growled.

Methos chuckled. "Why, MacLeod, I'm flattered."

The amusement in his eyes made Duncan want to pounce on him and damn the audience. He leaned toward Methos…

"What are you making for breakfast?" Amanda asked, standing in front of them.

"We ate," Duncan answered, keeping his eyes on Methos. Methos, evidently knowing what was good for him, kept his on Duncan. "Get Fitz to make you something."

"Me?" Fitz entered the living area. "Cook for her?"

"Why not?" Amanda asked.

"Because you pushed me into the river!"

"You tried to take advantage of me."

All three men turned to look at her. For an instant there was absolute silence, then all three began to laugh. Ignoring Amanda's glare, Duncan shook his head. Methos grinned at him. Duncan stood. "I'll make breakfast." He started toward the galley. "Coffee or tea?"

"Coffee."

"Tea."

"Coffee."

"Tea."

Duncan put the teakettle on to boil and took out a jar of instant coffee. He'd be damned if he was going to grind beans for those two. "How do you want your eggs?"

"Poached."

"Fried."

"Poached."

"Fried."

"Waffles."

Duncan glared at Methos. Smiling impishly, Methos shrugged. Duncan's annoyance softened. He looked at Amanda and Fitz. "What'll it be?"

"Waffles," they chorused.

***

Duncan dropped the plate of waffles onto the table between Amanda and Fitz and turned away.

"Duncan, can I have some syrup?" Amanda asked sweetly, almost, but not quite, batting her eyelashes.

"And I'd like some jam, strawberry if you have it." Fitz paused. "Please."

Duncan ignored them and started back into the living room. He passed Methos, who was going into the galley. Duncan turned to watch as Methos took a brown plastic bottle shaped like a cow from the cupboard. Where had that come from, he wondered, as he watched Methos open the refrigerator and take out a can of whipped cream. He knew where the whipped cream had come from, but he hadn't thought there was any left.

Methos carried his treasures to the table, where he picked up a waffle. Holding it in one hand he squirted chocolate sauce onto it, carefully filling the squares one by one without getting too close to the edge. Next, he picked up the whipped cream. He shook it once before spraying a circular mound into the center of the waffle. Glancing at Duncan he licked a tiny bit of whipped cream from the end of his finger. Balancing his creation carefully on his fingertips, he took a bite.

Fitz was examining the plastic cow bottle. "Hot fudge waffles. I can use that."

Amanda wrinkled her nose. "That's disgusting." She snatched the bottle from Fitz with one hand and grabbed a waffle with the other.

Feeling neglected, since no one had bothered to compliment his cooking, Duncan returned to the galley. He leaned against the counter and crossed his arms. "I know I'm going to regret this, but what were you doing in the river?"

"Looking for Kalas," Fitz replied, haphazardly spraying his waffle with whipped cream.

"In the river?"

"Seems like a likely place to me," Methos said.

"Not in the river, along the river," Amanda said. "We have some sense." She glanced at Fitz. "Well, I do."

"We wouldn't have had to look at all, if you hadn't gotten him out of jail," Fitz pointed out.

"I was doing Mac a favor."

"By freeing his nastiest enemy?"

Duncan raised his hands and they fell silent.

Methos covered a second waffle with chocolate.

"You are both going to go home and lock your doors," Duncan said firmly. "I will take care of Kalas."

"MacLeod," Amanda protested.

"Now, laddie, don't be ridiculous," Fitz added.

"I can take care of Kalas," Duncan stated in a tone that brooked no opposition.

Fitz snorted.

"He's beaten you how many times?" Amanda asked.

Duncan pushed away from the counter and stepped closer to the table. "Alive isn't beaten."

"They have a point," Methos said quietly.

"I should have known you'd agree with them."

"There's no point in dying when you don't have to," Methos replied, pausing to lick some whipped cream from his upper lip. Duncan was sure he did it deliberately. "Honor is all well and good, when your opponent is honorable. Kalas isn't. And I, for one, don't relish the idea of him out there hunting."

All of Duncan's fears for his lover's safety came rushing back. "All right. What did you have in mind?"

Methos grinned. "A trap."

Fitz stood. "I'll bake the scones."

Amanda stood as well, pushing him aside. "I'll put on something slinky. MacLeod, where's my cat suit?"

"We're trying to catch Kalas, not Batman," Fitz said, pushing back.

"And you think scones'll work?" Amanda sneered.

Duncan rolled his eyes.

Methos licked chocolate syrup from his fingertips.

***

Fitz took another bite of his scone. This was the best batch yet. Maybe it was the blueberries, or had Duncan had bilberries?

He glanced around him, still unsure why they had laid their trap in a bookstore, or why Adam was the bait. From what Fitz knew, Kalas wasn't much interested in books or sex. Maybe Adam could sing.

Amanda looked fetching, even without the cat suit. Fitz sighed. He'd been so close. She and Adam were leaning on the counter, taking some quiz. He didn't know what magazine it was from, but the ethics of swallowing were being hotly debated. Surprisingly, Duncan was ignoring them, evidently absorbed in his reading. Fitz had no idea what John Preston wrote, but it had to be better than Sartre.

Fitz returned his attention to the cookbook in his lap, still unsure about the anemones.

***

Fitz had just gotten to the section on small mammals—funny, it had never occurred to him to stuff dormice with veal—when the Presence hit.

Fitz dashed toward the office, along with MacLeod and Amanda. Adam remained behind the counter, nonchalantly flipping through a magazine. Mac shut the door. Looking through the window, he shushed the other two.

Amanda and Fitz exchanged a look. "We weren't talking."

"I know."

"You are now," Duncan whispered loudly.

"So are you."

Duncan turned, glaring down at them both.

"Well, you were."

"Just keep quiet," Duncan hissed and resumed looking out of the door window.

"We were quiet."

"You were the one who was talking."

"Fitzcairn!"

"She started it."

"I did not. Duncan did."

"I didn't say a word."

The word was yanked open. Adam glared at them, one after the other, and one by one they fell silent. The door shut with a decisive click.

"Now, you've done it, MacLeod."

The door opened. Adam stared at him. Swallowing, Fitz took a step backwards. The door closed.

"I can't believe you sleep with him."

"Amanda!"

"Well—-"

The door opened. Adam stood there, tossing a roll of duct tape into the air.

The door chimes jangled, and Adam threw the duct tape at MacLeod before firmly closing the door.

Adam reopened the door and shoved Richie into the office. The door slammed shut.

"What's up with that?" Richie asked.

The other Immortals all raised their fingers to their lips. "Shhh."

"What? It's a bookstore, not a library."

Amanda cuffed him on the back of the head. "What part of 'shh' didn't you understand?"

Richie rubbed his head. "Why are—-"

"Kalas," Duncan whispered harshly.

"He's in jail."

"No, he's not," Duncan said softly. "He's out there."

"Let me see," Fitz said, pushing his way in front of Duncan.

Duncan grabbed Fitz's shirt and pulled him back, away from the door. Amanda darted past, pressing herself against the door and looking out the window.

"Do you mind?" Duncan asked, still holding onto Fitz.

Amanda turned and lifted her finger to her lips. "Shh."

Fitz jerked himself free of Duncan's grasp and squeezed next to Amanda at the door.

"Get your hand off my ass."

"It's not on your ass."

Amanda and Fitz both turned to look at Richie, who lifted his hands up. "Sorry, I just wanted to look."

"Don't we all," Duncan said, tapping one foot on the floor.

"You can look," Amanda said. "Just look over Fitz's head."

"I'm not that short."

"I can see over your head."

"Richie can't."

"Richie's short."

"I am not."

"You're all short," Duncan said. "Now get out of my way."

"I'm not short," Amanda protested.

Duncan opened his mouth to answer, but the sound of a gunshot cut him off. Shoving Fitz and Amanda out of the way, Duncan dashed out of the door, the others trailing close behind.

***

There was no sign of Methos or Kalas, just a trail of blood on the floor. Heart pounding, Duncan followed it.

He heard the thump before he saw the body. Methos was dragging Kalas down the short flight of steps to the alley.

"What are you doing?"

"I'm not gonna cut his head off in the shop. Grab his arms, will you? They keep getting caught."

Duncan grabbed Kalas' arms and lifted. "You can't just cut his head off."

"Why not?" Methos asked, dropping Kalas' legs to the ground.

"It's not right." Duncan dropped Kalas' arms and stood between Methos and the body.

"Right?" Methos pulled a short sword from a sheath on his back. "What's right got to do with it?"

"It's not honorable."

"Neither is he," Methos said, walking around Kalas' body to the other side and lining up his sword with Kalas' neck.

"So you sink to his level?"

"Who's sinking? I'm just staying alive."

"Can we at least talk about it first?" Duncan asked, resting his hand on Methos' arm. Methos merely gazed at him. It was time to bring out the big guns. He batted his eyelashes. "Please."

"Stop batting your eyelashes at me."

"I'm not. I'm moistening my eyes." Duncan let his lower lip protrude slightly, deliberately widening his gaze. "Please."

Amanda, Fitz, and Richie were standing on the steps watching. Fitz shook his head. "Do men really fall for that?"

Amanda laughed.

Richie looked at Fitz and rolled his eyes. "Even I knew that."

Ignoring them, Duncan led Methos a couple of feet away. "It's not right. You have to give him a chance."

"Why?"

"We're men of honor."

Methos laughed. "Speak for yourself." Kalas stirred and rolled over, pushing himself up onto his knees. With barely a glance, Methos pulled out his gun and shot him. "I am a pragmatist."

Duncan stared in disbelief. "Adam."

"Nice shot," Fitz called.

Methos grinned at him. "Thanks." Sword in one hand and gun in the other, Methos started back toward Kalas.

Duncan stepped in front of him. "You can't."

"Actually, I can," Methos said, moving to the side.

Duncan stepped in front of him again. "I won't let you."

"You won't let me, MacLeod?"

Somewhat belatedly, Duncan remembered that he was talking to a five thousand year old man. Squaring his shoulders, he answered, "No, I won't," and pulled the gun from Methos' hand. He tossed it away.

"Fine," Methos muttered. Reaching into his coat, he pulled out another gun. This one was even bigger than the first. Duncan initially mistook it for a small howitzer.

"How many of those things are you carrying?" Duncan demanded.

"Enough." Methos gestured with the gun. "Now get out of my way."

"Enough for what?" Richie asked.

"Shh," Amanda said. "It's just getting good."

Fitz crept down the steps.

Suddenly, two large black vans drove up and parked, blocking both ends of the alley. Four men in dark suits emerged from each van. Two remained by the van, and two started down the alley.

"Fuck," Methos muttered. Both sword and gun disappeared into his coat.

Ignoring the Immortals, the men stopped beside Kalas. Two men picked him up while the other two watched. There appeared to be a silent argument about which van to take him to and then they started carrying him to the far end of the alley, away from Duncan and Methos.

Kalas revived with a sputter and kicked out at the man holding his legs, freeing them. "Who are you?" he rasped, looking around as the men moved closer.

Getting off of the ground, the man who had been holding Kalas' legs held up his arm, exposing a tattooed wrist. He grinned maliciously.

"Watchers." Kalas whipped his head around, looking back at Mac. "You can't let them take me."

"Why not?" Duncan asked.

"They're not part of the Game."

"You killed two of them," Duncan pointed out reasonably.

"Look at it this way," Richie added. "You'll be ahead of them on points. Unless they decide to kill you over and over again."

"MacLeod!" Kalas wrenched himself free and stood.

A shot rang out and he fell.

Duncan looked at Fitz, who was holding Methos' gun. Fitz shrugged. "What? You know I hate whining."

Methos began to laugh.

Wordlessly, the Watchers picked up the body and resumed their journey down the alley.

***

"I was beginning to think they'd never leave," Duncan said, locking the door behind his departing friends.

"Maybe you should have been less subtle."

"Usually I just leave it to Amanda." Going down the steps, Duncan wrapped his arms around Methos' waist. "You think I was subtle?"

"Extremely, the oversized yawns and the longing looks at the bed were downright stealthy."

"Good. I wouldn't want them to feel unwelcome." He paused. "As long as they don't show up before noon."

***

Amanda linked her arms through Fitz and Richie's. "Isn't it nice to see MacLeod so happy?"

Two pairs of blue eyes narrowed suspiciously.

"Really. I mean it. I think we should do something nice for them, show Mac that we accept Adam's place in his life."

"What did you have in mind?" Richie asked.

"Breakfast…in bed."

***

Amanda rolled onto her back and away from the man beneath her. Stretching, she settled in to sleep.

She still didn't get it, probably never would. Well, maybe if she liked puppies more…Nah.