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Standing Still


Title: Standing Still

Author: chelle

Author's email:

Author's URL:

Fandom: Highlander

Category: Slash

Pairing: Duncan/Methos

Archive: Ask first

Rating: NC-17

AN: Thank you to Solo for taking the time to play fix chelle's grammatical errors. Although I still like the idea of Methos and the guerilla. Methos, Latin America, a handsome revolutionary. It has potential. Thank you to Kamil, for hand-holding, encouragement, and listening to me babble. Not to mention inspiring me. Thank you to Steven for the musical observations, and because everyone should have a best friend who knows where to find the really good General Tso's. Title courtesy of Steve Earle: "…for me, for now, transcendence is about being still enough long enough to know when it's time to move on. Fuck me." Liner notes for Transcendental Blues

October 23, 2003

Methos studied the man on the other end of the couch. Duncan had shown up on his doorstep that morning, asking if Methos wanted to have breakfast with him. Other activities had followed, a walk through the park, a Monty Python double feature. They'd made dinner together at Methos' and now here they were, on opposite ends of Methos' couch. It was, Methos decided, time they talked about the reason for Duncan's visit. "Thinking about Tessa?" he asked gently.

Duncan glanced at him, surprise on his face. "How did you know?"

"I know what today is," Methos answered, still gentle. The tenth anniversary of her death.

"I still miss her. I know I should be over it, but I'm not."

"Over it? The death of those we love isn't something we get over, Duncan. It's something we endure. In time, we find new loves, and the losses become a little less sharp, but we don't get over it."

Duncan nodded slightly, and swirled the brandy in his glass.

"Tell me about her."

Duncan was quiet for a long moment, and he took a drink before speaking. "She was strong, but it was a quiet strength, like yours."

Methos warmed at the compliment, but said nothing.

"She was stubborn, too."

"More than you?"

"I think so." Duncan smiled. "She never let me get away with anything. Whenever I was being self-pitying, or self-indulgent, or just plain obtuse she called me on it."

"Good thing to have in a partner."

"Yeah. It's funny, but more than anyone else I've ever loved, she was my partner." His expression turned distant. "I miss her, her presence, her scent, the way she felt in my arms. Her kisses. Tessa kissed like she sculpted, with her whole being."

"I'd like to have known her."

"I wouldn't have let you kiss her."

Methos smiled softly. "No, I'm sure you wouldn't have."

"She'd have liked you, eventually."


"She could be a little possessive sometimes, and you were pretty flirtatious when we first met."

Methos shook his head. "I was not. You were."

"What do you call sprawling in my bed?"

"Getting comfortable. What do you call painting my nose?"

"Flirting. But I couldn't help it, you were being so serious."

They lapsed into silence, and Methos studied his friend, wondering what he was thinking.

"When did we stop flirting?" Duncan asked, the question not at all what Methos was expecting.

"After Bordeaux."

Duncan nodded, and another few minutes passed in silence. "Methos, are you sorry we never…"

"No," Methos answered without hesitation.

"How come?"

"Your friendship is the most valuable relationship I have. I wouldn't trade it for anything."

"You're important to me, too."

Methos smiled again, broader this time. "Tell me more about Tessa."


The fire had burned down, and Duncan had drifted off to sleep, although Methos suspected there were more stories to be shared. Another night. He rose from the couch and glanced down at Duncan's face. His mouth was open. Methos had never understood why writers liked to wax poetic about how people looked while asleep. Sleeping people could be surprisingly unattractive. Duncan wasn't unattractive, but then he never was.

Methos took a blanket from a narrow closet in the hall and spread it over Duncan. Unable to resist the urge, he pressed his lips to Duncan's forehead. "Sleep well," he whispered.


Methos awoke to the smell of pancakes. He inhaled deeply, banana pancakes and coffee. He pulled on a t-shirt and headed for the kitchen.

Duncan was standing in front of the stove; his hair was damp, and he had a towel wrapped around his waist. He smiled. "Good morning. I was beginning to think you were going to sleep through breakfast."

Methos glanced at the clock on the wall. 10:15. He wondered how long Duncan had been up.

"Would you mind if I borrowed some clothes?" Duncan asked.

"'Course not. Help yourself."

"Any drawers I shouldn't peek in?"

"If I told you that, it'd be the first one you opened."

"Probably. Can you watch these for me?"

Methos moved to stand beside him at the stove.

"Flip 'em when they start to bubble."

"I know how to make pancakes." Methos held out his hand for the spatula.

Duncan gave it to him, and Methos' fingers brushed against his palm. "Thank you for last night," he said, voice softer than it had been a moment before.

"You're welcome." Methos turned to look at his friend. Duncan was close, so close they were almost touching, and the look in his eyes was not the gratitude of a friend. Before Methos quite realized it was happening, Duncan leaned forward and kissed him. The softness of Duncan's lips caught him off-guard, so did the kiss itself, gentle, tentative, and thoroughly, shockingly arousing.

Duncan's towel and his boxers made a thin barrier, and Methos felt Duncan's body respond to the kiss in the same way his had.

They parted, and Methos stared. Duncan raised a hand to Methos' lips, a ghost of a touch, and then he turned away.

Methos continued to stare after him, until the smell of burning pancakes drew his attention. Cursing under his breath, he dropped the ruined pancakes into the disposal and cleaned the pan. Picking up the bowl of remaining batter he poured it into the pan.

Duncan returned, wearing Methos' favorite sweats and a t-shirt. He stopped next to the stove. "You burned them, didn't you?"

"Yes." Methos refused to sound contrite.

Duncan chuckled and shouldered him gently aside. He held out his hand for the spatula. "You set the table. I'll do this."

Methos considered arguing, for about half a second, then he handed over the spatula. Duncan's grin made him reconsider. Shaking his head, he opened the cupboard containing the plates.


October 25, 2003

Presence snaked up his spine, and Methos pushed back from his desk, reaching for his sword. A knock on the door meant it was probably a friend. Still, he took the sword with him.

He opened the door. "Mac."

Duncan held up the bundle in his arms. "I brought back your clothes."

"So I see." Methos stepped back, making room for Duncan to enter. "Come on in. Would you like something to drink?"

"Sure." Duncan followed him into the kitchen area, placing the clothes on the counter.

"Iced tea, okay?"


Methos put the sword on the counter poured them each a glass, handing one to Duncan.

"I didn't interrupt anything, did I?" Duncan asked, leaning against the counter opposite Methos.

Methos shook his head. "I was just doing some translating for a friend."

"Anything interesting?"

"Funeral records, if you can believe it. Of such things is social history made."

"I knew there was a reason I didn't become an historian."

"There are several, I'd say."

"Why do I think I've just been insulted?"

Methos smiled. "Not an insult, just an observation."

"Probably an accurate one."

"You don't have the temperament for archival research, something, I, for one, am grateful for."

"You are?"

Methos nodded. "I'm partial to you as you are-Duncan MacLeod, man of action."

"I suppose it's better than Duncan MacLeod, Boy Scout."

"Or Duncan MacLeod, pain in the ass."

"I've never been a pain in your ass, Methos. I think I'd remember if I were."


Duncan grinned.

"So, are you staying for dinner?"

"What are you having?"

"Leftover jambalaya."

"Jambalaya? You never make anything that ambitious when I come over."

"I try to keep things simple when you come over, prepare dishes appropriate to your plebian tastes."

"I'll remember that the next time I cook for you."

"It can't get any more plebian than the lamb you served me last time."


Dinner passed as it usually did, stories interrupting the banter. Following dinner they settled onto the couch with snifters full of port and fell into a comfortable silence.

Except it didn't stay that way. Methos found himself sneaking glances at his companion, wondering what Duncan was thinking. There weren't any clues in Duncan's expression. His eyes were closed, and his face was a study in concentration. Methos had offered to play Gardiner's interpretation of Beethoven's Ninth, and Duncan appeared to be listening quite closely. Either that or he was thinking about the same thing Methos was-the kiss.

Duncan opened his eyes and Methos almost flinched. Duncan didn't appear to notice; he simply smiled. "This piece always makes me think of Fitz." The corners of Duncan's mouth twitched. "He claimed the final movement was directions for performing cunnilingus."

Methos laughed. "Did he try to follow them?"

"He did, successfully, hundreds of times, or so he claimed."

"Did he have musical directions for fellatio, as well?"

Duncan shook his head. "Men weren't his thing."

"He'd have gotten over it."

"We're all bi sooner or later, is that it?"

Methos shrugged. "Human sexuality is generally pretty flexible."

"Someday his prince would come?"

Methos snorted softly and shook his head. "Something like that."

"What about you? When did your prince come, so to speak?"

"Getting a little personal, aren't you, MacLeod?" Methos said, knowing he'd answer, and knowing Duncan knew it too.


"I don't know. It's one of those things I don't remember."

"I'm sorry."

"It's all right. It was a long time ago. What about you?"

"Me?" Duncan took a sip of his port. "I did the usual adolescent experimentation. But the first time as an adult was with a man named Alexander MacDonald in," Duncan paused, "it must have been 1689."

"A soldiers in arms kind of thing, huh?"

Duncan nodded. "It wasn't love, but…"

"There was affection," Methos suggested.

"Yeah, there was."

"I'm glad. Good memories are important."

"You have some too, I hope."

"Good memories?" Methos smiled softly. "One or two."

"Tell me."

"Twelfth Century. I needed a break so I decided to pass some time in a monastery. I met a young man there, Brother Dominic. He was intensely curious, passionate about ideas. We argued constantly." Methos paused. "When we weren't making love."

"You seduced a monk."

"I did. I stayed there for forty years. After his death, well…" Methos glanced up. Duncan was gazing at him with open affection. Methos looked quickly away.

"Is that what draws you? Intelligence?"

"Among other things. I'm not immune to physical attractiveness."

"Me either."

"What attracts you?"

"Compassion. I seem to fall for a lot of doctors."

"I was a doctor," Methos answered without thinking.

"I know."

"What else?" Methos asked, wanting to direct the conversation away from himself.

"A sense of humor."

Methos nodded. "There's nothing quite as dull as someone without a sense of humor."

"Fortunately, you're not dull."

Methos flushed, and swirled the liquid in his glass. He was acutely aware of Duncan's eyes on him.

"It's getting late. I should go before I end up sleeping on your couch again." Duncan rose and gathered his coat.

Methos followed him to the door.

"Thanks for dinner."

"It was only leftovers."

"Next time I'll cook, assuming my plebian tastes won't offend you."

"They never have before."

"I'll call you." With that, Duncan was gone.

Methos wandered back into the kitchen and began putting away the dishes they'd washed together. He found himself humming, and he was unsurprised when he realized it was one of Dominic's favorite hymns.


October 27, 2003

Methos put the bottle of wine back and chose another. He studied the label, wishing Duncan had given him more details about dinner. Methos hadn't a clue what to bring, beyond red. He picked up yet another bottle, and held one in each hand, comparing. This was ridiculous. He'd had dinner at Duncan's more times than he could count. There was no reason this time should be any different. Now, if he could only convince his stomach of that.


Methos paused at the door. Should he knock? He'd never bothered with knocking before; he'd simply treated Duncan's home like his own. It was part of the game they played. A game that had become decidedly less game-like a few days ago in his kitchen.

He knocked.

Duncan opened the door and smiled, warm and inviting. Methos thrust the wine at him. Duncan accepted it, barely glancing at the label. He stepped back, gesturing for Methos to enter. Spices tickled his nose. "Smells good."

"It should be aristocratic enough for you."

Methos grinned. "We'll see."


The dinner did prove to be aristocratic enough, although Methos had never considered snails or fungus to be signs of a sophisticated palate. That observation was one he would save for the best possible moment, however. The familiar combination of good food, wine, and Duncan relaxed him, and Methos forgot all about his earlier nervousness. Until they were cleaning up, and Duncan brushed against him as he reached past Methos to put a platter away. Suddenly, Methos was fully aware of just how close Duncan was.

"Chess?" Duncan asked, near enough that his breath warmed Methos' cheek.

"Sure." It would give him something else to think about besides Duncan.



"Mate," Duncan answered, moving his bishop.

Methos studied the board; there wasn't any place to move his king, and no way to capture any of the pieces threatening it.

"What's on your mind?" Duncan asked.

"Nothing," Methos answered, trying to sound like it was true.

"I've never beaten you so easily before."

Methos shrugged, his eyes still on the board. "You're getting better."

"You're a lousy liar."

Methos looked up. "I wasn't concentrating."

"That was my point." Duncan shifted the table from between them, and sat beside Methos on the couch. "So, are you going to tell me, or do I have to guess?"

Methos glanced at the clock. "Look at the time. I should go." He rose and grabbed his coat from the back of chair where he'd tossed it when he arrived. "Thanks for dinner."

Brow furrowed, Duncan followed him to the door, but Methos was gone before Duncan could say another word.


Methos walked rapidly, not slowing until he could no longer sense Duncan's presence. It was stupid, panicking like that. Duncan was his friend. They were both adults. They should be able to talk about this. But Methos didn't want to talk about it, didn't want to hear Duncan list off all the perfectly rational reasons why it would be okay for them to become lovers.

He let his steps slow as he walked along the quay. Why was he assuming that Duncan would think it was a good idea to begin with? Duncan might just say, "I'm sorry, Methos. I got a little carried away. Honestly, my feelings for you are strictly ones of friendship." Methos snorted. Now there was a conversation he was anxious to have.

Presence tugged at him, and Methos cursed under his breath. He stepped into the shadows created by a nearby building and waited.

Duncan walked past, looking around, his hand on the katana's hilt.

Methos stepped out of the shadows. "What are you doing?"

Duncan turned toward him and glared. "Going for a walk. What are you doing? I thought you needed to go home before you turned into a pumpkin."

"I decided to take the scenic route."

"I thought you might."

Methos snorted.

"May I join you?"

Methos considered the question.

"I won't say a word."

Duncan's presence without conversation, he could handle that. Methos shrugged. "Sure."

The night was cool and the moonlight caught at the Seine's waves as they walked. The city's noise was unusually subdued, for which Methos was grateful. The quiet suited his mood.

They'd fallen easily into step with one another, and they walked in silence, shoulders occasionally brushing. It was comfortable, even soothing, but then being with Duncan usually was. They fit even better now than they had in the early days. They'd worn together these last few years, fitting into one another's grooves and crannies. Maybe that was why the kiss had disturbed him so much. It was a disruption, a threat to their fit.

They were crossing a bridge, and Duncan stopped mid-way to look out at the river. Methos wasn't surprised. Duncan liked water, liked to watch it, swim in it, sail on it. Water touched some part of him; it was a palliative of sorts, Methos thought.

Methos had drowned too many times to ever find water comforting.

"I'm sorry," Duncan said softly, not looking at him.

The sound startled him. "For what?" Methos asked, even though he knew.

"Scaring you."

It wasn't the answer he'd anticipated, but it probably should have been. Duncan had a habit of seeing straight through him; he'd been doing it since the moment they met. "I'm okay," Methos answered, since there was no point in denying Duncan's words.

Duncan nodded, and Methos knew the conversation could end there. Duncan wouldn't push any further, but there was something Methos needed to know. "Why did you do it?"

"I didn't really think about it. It was just…well, you looked so kissable."

"I looked kissable?" It wasn't the answer Methos had been expecting, not that he'd known what to expect. But 'you looked kissable' just seemed so simple.

Duncan nodded. "You look kissable most of the time."

"But you don't…"



"Why don't I kiss you more often?" Duncan looked at him for the first time since the conversation had begun.

Methos nodded.



"Hubris. Kissing you, trying for that with you…it'd be hubris."

"I don't understand."

Duncan resumed staring at the water. "Every time I've been that happy disaster has followed."

"So you think you're trying for something you don't deserve and inviting the wrath of the Gods?"

"Something like that."

Methos squeezed Duncan's shoulder. "You deserve happiness, Duncan."

"So do you."

Methos removed his hand. "I am happy."

"You're not lonely?"

"I have you, and Joe. That's all I need."

"Then why were you scared?"

"You see through me, past the defenses, past the bullshit. You know more about me than anyone else ever has. If we were to become lovers…"

"I'd know even more."


"Let me guess. At the moment of orgasm you transform into some vile, prehistoric monster."


"Not my fault you were born before recorded history."

"Age shots are cheap, you know," Methos said, stepping away from the railing and starting back the way they had come.

"And easy," Duncan agreed, falling into step beside him.

"Kinda like you."

"I'm not sure they come any cheaper than that."


They stopped at the base of the ramp leading onto the barge. "I'm gonna head home," Methos said, gesturing vaguely in the direction of his apartment.

Duncan nodded, but he was obviously disappointed.

His disappointment tugged at Methos. He took a step closer to Duncan, into the little personal space they allowed each other. He cupped the back of Duncan's head in his hand and brought their lips together. He'd intended the kiss as a gesture, a promise of friendship and caring, and as a demonstration of his willingness to consider other possibilities. But Duncan opened to him instantly, and with so much need that Methos had to respond. His love for Duncan wouldn't let him do anything else.

Methos eased them out of the kiss and took Duncan's hand; he started up the ramp, and he'd gone a couple of steps before Duncan started to follow him.

Once inside, he pushed Duncan's coat from his shoulders, and draped it over the couch. His own followed it.

"Methos, you don't—"

Methos silenced him by pressing his fingers to Duncan's lips. "We'll talk tomorrow. Tonight, let's just be." Duncan nodded, and Methos removed his fingers. Duncan caught them and brought them back to his lips, his eyes locked on Methos'.

Methos' heart was pounding and they'd barely touched. He held his breath as Duncan released his fingers. He slid them from Duncan's lips, up along Duncan's cheek. He liked the stubble. He let his hand drift lower, to the smooth skin of Duncan's neck.

Duncan leaned forward, and they resumed kissing, learning the feel of one another's mouths with a series of soft, brief kisses that went on and on. Methos was content to let them. They shifted, embracing more fully, and Duncan's erection pressed into him. A wave of longing caused him to moan.

Duncan pressed more tightly against him, parting his lips at the same time. Methos slipped inside; he could taste the wine from dinner, but that was the only familiar flavor. The others were new, but they were good, so good. Had he been with anyone else the kiss would have become hungry, even demanding, but not with Duncan, not tonight.

Methos retreated when Duncan pushed at his tongue, and Duncan followed him, pausing just past his lips before embarking on a delicate exploration of Methos' mouth. He let the kiss take him, let it blot out everything except Duncan's tongue, and Duncan's lips, and Duncan's body against his.

They parted, and Duncan smiled. He knew exactly what effect his kiss had on Methos, but Methos found he didn't care that Duncan knew. He reached for the top button on Duncan's shirt, undoing it and pulling the fabric apart. He slid his hands along the revealed skin to the next button. The hair on Duncan's chest got thicker as he went lower, until the fourth button when it began to thin. Good thing, he was beginning to think he was making love to a gorilla. He smiled at the thought.

Duncan gave him a quizzical look.

Methos shook his head and leaned in for a brief kiss.

He reached the top of Duncan's pants; he tugged the shirt free of them, and opened the last button. He pressed both hands fully against Duncan's abdomen and moved them upward, under the opened shirt. The softness of Duncan's skin surprised him. Methos didn't bother to think about why it was soft, or why that surprised him. He just enjoyed it.

Duncan shifted beneath his hands, removing the shirt. Then he reached for Methos' sweater, pulling it over his head. Duncan's hands stroked his back, and Methos leaned into him, his head falling onto Duncan's shoulder. There was strength in those hands, but there was need too; the same need he'd felt in the kiss they'd shared outside.

Duncan's need added to his arousal, and Methos turned his head, pressing his mouth against Duncan's neck. Duncan trembled. Methos slid his hands from Duncan's chest around to his back. They were embracing now, tightly, and Methos continued to tease Duncan's neck with his lips. Duncan tilted his head, still shaking slightly, and Methos held him even more closely, trying to provide reassurance. He stopped caressing Duncan, simply holding him until he felt the trembling ease, and then he stepped back. Again, he took Duncan's hand, this time leading him to the bed.

They stopped, and Duncan reached for the top button on Methos' jeans, opening it deftly and tugging the zipper down. Methos' breath caught as Duncan's fingers brushed against his erection, only the thin fabric of his boxers between them.

Duncan pushed at his jeans, and Methos bent over to help him. He untied his boots and tugged them off. Duncan waited until both boots and socks were off before again pushing at his clothes. Methos didn't help this time; he let Duncan shove the jeans to his ankles, and then he stepped out of them. He was still in his boxers and Duncan put his hands on Methos' buttocks and rubbed the cotton back and forth over Methos' skin. It pulled the fabric across his erection, and the combination of sensations made him shiver.

Suddenly impatient, he reached for the fastening on Duncan's pants. Duncan's shoes were easier to remove than Methos' boots, and Duncan kicked them off while Methos was still lowering his zipper. Methos didn't wait until Duncan's pants were down; he slipped his hand into them, cupping Duncan's erection through his briefs.

Duncan rested against him, his head on Methos' shoulder, and his hands on Methos' waist, and Methos continued to touch him. It was intensely erotic, touching Duncan like this.

It was Duncan who put an end to Methos' awkward stroking. He took hold of Methos' hand and raised it to his lips, kissing the palm. Then he lowered both his pants and briefs to the ground.

Methos followed the pants to the floor, his eyes settling on Duncan's feet. They were nice feet, broad with long, even toes. They did their job well, too, if the gracefulness of Duncan's movements was anything to judge by.

Duncan didn't move, evidently content to let Methos stare at his feet.

Inhaling deeply, Methos moved his eyes upward, over powerful legs. He stopped at Duncan's thighs. They were thick, clearly all muscle. Must be all those katas, and the running. He was pretty good at running himself; maybe they could-

Gentle fingers touched his cheek, and Methos looked up. Understanding was written across Duncan's face. Before Methos could panic again, Duncan's lips were on his, soft but persistent, not letting him run. Not that he wanted to be anywhere where Duncan's lips weren't.

Methos clung to those lips as Duncan pushed at his boxers, reluctantly letting go so Duncan could strip him completely.

Duncan shifted onto the bed, leaving a naked Methos to stare down at him. Duncan spread his arms. Methos climbed awkwardly onto the bed, settling next to Duncan, who turned so they were facing one another. Methos immediately sought his lips. Once he had them, he clung to them, one hand cupping the back of Duncan's head, the other on Duncan's waist.

Duncan pressed one hand to Methos' chest. It seared into him, and Methos closed his eyes, letting the connection between his lips and Duncan's end.

Duncan's hand slipped lower, and his hips shifted closer, pushing his erection into Methos'.

"Duncan," Methos breathed.

A kiss was Duncan's answer, and it led to another, and still another. Duncan's hand encircled both of their erections, stroking slowly.

Methos moaned, but it was lost in their kiss. Such a simple thing, Duncan's flesh against his, Duncan's hand caressing them both. It was everything he'd feared.

The pace of Duncan's stroking increased, and Methos felt as if Duncan's entire body was pleading with him. He covered Duncan's hand with his own. He'd have entwined their hands if he could have, but the position didn't allow it. Duncan spread his fingers, and Methos' fingers slipped in between them. Together they stroked, Duncan's fingers alternating with his own.

The kissing slowed as they got closer, finally ceasing altogether. Methos pressed his cheek to Duncan's, panting into his lover's ear. Duncan wasn't just seeing past his defenses; he was taking them away. Methos couldn't think, and he couldn't flee. He couldn't use words to shut Duncan out, to stop him from getting any closer. He could only lie there, letting Duncan have him. It would have been unbearable, except Duncan was there with him, as stripped bare as he was.

Unable to fight it any longer, he stopped trying to think, and the pleasure took him. Within moments they were both covered with fluid. It all drained away, the anxiety, the fear, the need. The only thing left was the warmth, the closeness…

Duncan let go of their penises, and Methos released Duncan's hand. He drew back, looking into Duncan's face.

"Thank you," Duncan whispered.

Methos nodded. He rolled onto his back, resisting the urge to embrace Duncan. He glanced down at his chest and then rose from the bed.


"I'm just going for a towel. I'll be right back."

It took only a moment to retrieve the towel, although Methos considered finding a way to make it take longer.

Duncan had turned onto his back while Methos was gone, and the sight of him, naked and disheveled, covered with evidence of their lovemaking, made Methos' heart skip. He took a step toward the bed, then another. Kneeling beside Duncan, he used the towel to clean Duncan's chest.

"You didn't turn into a monster," Duncan said quietly.

"No." Methos dropped the towel to the floor, and Duncan shifted, giving him more room.

They were lying side by side, facing one another, not touching. "Good night, Methos," Duncan said, kissing him briefly.

"Good night."

Solemnly, Duncan squeezed Methos' hand. Then he closed his eyes.

Methos stayed awake, trying to make sense of what had just happened. Not that it was that complicated. Some kissing, some touching, sex. It happened every day, to someone, somewhere. But not to him, not with Duncan. Methos rolled onto his back. Duncan had needed him, and Duncan's need had been greater than Methos' fear. No, he amended, his love for Duncan had been greater than his fear.

He should go. It couldn't be that hard. He'd killed people by the thousands. Surely, he could break one heart.

But he made no move to get up.

He'd done this to himself, he knew. Taught himself compassion, and kindness, and love. He should have known better.

At last, he slept.


When he woke, Duncan was sitting beside him, staring down at him. "I wasn't sure you'd be here."

Duncan knew him far too well. "I almost wasn't," Methos confessed.

"Why does it scare you so much?" Duncan asked, his voice gentle.

"There can be only one."

"You've had Immortal lovers before."

"Not in a long, long time."

"What about Byron?"

"He was a playmate. There's a difference."

Duncan was gazing at him, clearly expectant. Methos sat up, rubbing his eyes with one hand. "When you love an Immortal, there's an illusion of forever, of centuries, even millennia together. You share the kind of things you can never tell a mortal, and then the Game takes it all away."

Duncan was quiet for a moment, clearly considering his answer. "I know one of us will lose the other someday. But that was true before last night."

"We're lovers now."

"We were lovers before."

"You must have fucked me while I was dead, because I think I'd remember otherwise."

"We've loved each other for a long time," Duncan said firmly, daring Methos to disagree.

He couldn't disagree. It was true, so he simply nodded, not quite willing to say it aloud.

Duncan smiled, the most blinding smile Methos had ever seen. Happy Duncan was even harder to resist than needy Duncan. So Methos kissed him; Duncan pushed him onto his back and lay down on top of him. Methos considered complaining, but decided it would be easier to just wrap his arms around Duncan's shoulders and hold on. Someday, he wouldn't have this anymore, but he had it right now, and that would have to be enough, because it was all there was.