The characters and concept of Highlander belong to Davis/Panzer and probably some other people who aren't me. I am making no money, off them or anything else much, so there's no real point in suing me, anyway. This is rated, oh, PG-13, what the hell, for homosexual consensual sex. I could have rated it a mere TV-14 if there were violence and death, but there isn't. If you're under legal age of majority where you live, you must not read this, so please go away. If the idea of men loving men makes you gag, it's really dumb for you to read this, so please go away.
This takes place a couple of nights after Byron's death.
MacLeod didn't look up when Methos came in. The barge was lit only by the flickering firelight, that limned his features with gold and put red in his loose dark hair. Methos paused, looking at his friend and now sometime lover, briefly admiring his beauty, then sat down beside him on the couch.
"Not mourning Byron, are you?" he asked softly.
MacLeod shrugged. "Maybe. Not himself so much, as mourning your friend. I - " He shifted, turning a little towards Methos, still not looking at him. "Methos, I swear, I'll never again take a life you ask me to spare."
The statement stunned him to silence. Methos stared at him for a moment, and finally found something to say. "Duncan, I don't blame you for Byron's death."
The other man looked at him, disbelief clear in his eyes. "I took his head! How can you not blame me?"
"I warned him, you know," Methos told him. "I warned him if he didn't stay away from you, you'd kill him. He knew I wouldn't have taken the trouble if I weren't certain of it. He knew he'd die if he faced you, and he chose to fight you anyway."
MacLeod frowned. "He wasn't afraid."
"No, I'm sure he had no fear at all. He never did." Methos laid his hand gently on the other man's arm. "Duncan, my friend was ready to die. You were simply the means of his suicide. And that is the truth."
MacLeod stared at him, and Methos held his eyes for a long minute, letting him see that there was no anger there against him. Finally MacLeod looked away, and closed his eyes, and his tense shoulders sagged. "Still," he said roughly, "I meant what I said."
"No, no. Don't be foolish. You can't make a promise like that to me."
MacLeod picked up his drink. "I already did."
Methos sighed. "Fine. You can't *keep* it, then. You are incredibly moral, and I am completely amoral. You're just setting yourself up for an unresolvable dilemma, and something else to feel guilty about someday." He got up and went to the little kitchen to rummage for beer and food. His friend was silent until he returned, with two opened bottles and a bowl of chips.
Mac poured himself another drink from the bottle of Glenmorangie before him. "I'll stick with this, thanks."
"They were both for me, anyway."
"Should've known." Mac grinned briefly. "And I'm not buying that "completely amoral" business anymore. We just have different sets of rules."
Methos took a long swig of beer and put his feet up on the coffee table. "Finally figured that out, huh?"
MacLeod scowled at him and pushed his feet down. "I'm not entirely thick."
"What part of you are we talking about, now?" Methos asked, grinning broadly. Mac gave his shoulder a shove, and he snickered.
Mac turned back to his drink. "I don't know what you're talking about," he said primly. When Methos didn't respond, Mac looked at him and was surprised to find his friend's face somber. "What?"
"That promise. I'm serious. You shouldn't have made it, and I don't want it."
"Methos. Don't you get it. You... you mean a lot to me. I don't want to hurt you, ever again, not over anything."
Methos pulled one leg up onto the couch so he could face MacLeod, who was again staring intently into the amber liquid in his glass. Methos gazed at him, quiet, touched by the admission. Neither moved nor spoke, and the air between them grew heavy with the silence. Finally Methos reached out to stroke the other's soft hair back from his face, and MacLeod sighed, sounding as if he wanted to cry.
"Stop it," Methos whispered. "Stop beating on yourself. You know I could have stopped you. I didn't have to let you go kill him."
MacLeod turned his head, just slightly, towards the fingers that touched his cheek. "Why did you, then?"
"Because you were right. Byron... was not evil, but his passion always had a destructive edge to it. He was always a little mad. And he was in pain, there at the end. I couldn't help him. You couldn't let his destruction continue. What other answer was there? For any of us?"
"But you were asking me to let him live."
"Of course. How could I not? Duncan, I knew the man since his mortal days. He reminded me how to live, how to enjoy life. He was my student after - "
"Christ, you never told me he was your student!"
Methos winced at his slip. "It didn't matter anymore. Duncan, will you please listen to me for a change? You don't have to bind yourself up in impossible vows to keep from hurting me. I'm not fragile. If caring for you were not worth the risk of being hurt, I would not still be here. You know that, don't you?"
MacLeod drew a breath, as if he'd been holding it. "Yes. I know."
"All right then. I know what you are, and what it leads you to do. You know what I am, and what I'm capable of. Are you afraid of me hurting you?"
"No. Not anymore. And before you say it, I'm not asking for any grandiose vows, either."
"Ah. Good. And I didn't even have to say it." They grinned at each other. MacLeod put his glass down, took Methos' beer away and set it down, and leaned over him, bracing his arms on the sofa. They looked at each other solemnly for a moment, then Mac lowered his head, pressing his mouth against Methos' gently, asking for permission. Methos slid his arms around the bigger man and opened his mouth to the kiss. They shared the slide of tongues, the taste of whisky and beer, soft sounds of affection, forgiveness asked and received without a word.
MacLeod finally raised his head, and Methos smiled up at him. Mac couldn't return it. "You were angry with me, though. That night, at Joe's. You barely spoke to me."
"Yes, I was, of course I was. He was my friend." Methos stroked his thumb over MacLeod's jaw. "But so are you. And killing is what happens between Immortals, no matter whose friends we are. What happened between you two was almost inevitable. I tried to tell you that."
"Matter and antimatter?"
"I could have walked away."
"No, you couldn't."
"For your sake."
"No. Byron would have gotten some other stupid mortal killed, and you'd have hated yourself. Then *I* would have had to kill him."
"You wouldn't've. Would you?"
"Maybe. Who knows what I'll do?" He grinned.
MacLeod chuckled. "Certainly not me." He slid off the sofa and pushed Methos' knees apart, settling between them. Methos leaned back comfortably, watching him. Mac undid his friend's jeans and freed his semi-hard cock. The older man drew in a breath at the touch, and his cock hardened more. Mac lowered his head and took him carefully into his mouth. This part of their relationship was still new, and this wasn't something MacLeod often chose to do. Methos stroked his dark head gently, appreciating the gesture, fully aware of how much it meant to his partner, to give him this, now. Methos twined his fingers with the fingers of Mac's free hand and laid his head back with a soft groan.
His anger had faded quickly into the familiar sadness of losing yet another friend, and now he needed this badly, not only the release of tension, but the comfort of this friend's intimate touch. He arched into the loving mouth, moaning without restraint. The other's hand tightened on his, and Mac made a murmur of encouragement. Methos thrust once, and when Mac didn't back off, thrust again, and again, and came with a little scream behind clenched teeth. Mac gamely swallowed it all, cleaned him up with a lick to his retreating cock, and turned to grab his glass and gulp a mouthful of whisky. Methos laughed, out of breath.
"What, I don't taste good?" he teased.
"Not as good as Glenmorangie," Mac said dryly. He sat beside Methos again, as Methos tucked himself away and closed his pants with shaking hands. Mac watched him, saw the trembling, and put his arms around him. Methos turned into the embrace, and was unable to hold back a small sob. Mac rocked him gently. "It's all right, go on and cry," he whispered. Methos buried his face in the strong shoulder and wept. Mac stroked his short hair, and continued to hold him even after he stopped crying. Methos didn't pull away.
"Mac," he whispered.
"Don't go away."
MacLeod sighed. "I thought you didn't want me to make impossible promises."
"Make it anyway."
"I won't go away, Methos. I promise." He nuzzled the short soft hair. "Okay?"
"Okay." Methos took a deep breath and sat up, wiping his face on a handy napkin. "Thank you."
"Anytime." Mac let go of him, reluctantly.
Methos looked at his friend. "Duncan, tell me one thing, and don't get mad."
"I have no right to get mad at you for anything, right now. What is it?"
"Were you jealous?"
"What do you mean?" MacLeod asked, but he had a guilty look in his eyes.
He really was a terrible liar, Methos thought. "Were you jealous of my relationship with Byron? You looked it."
"I - " Mac tried to deny it, but the older man's steady gaze wouldn't let him. "Maybe. A little. You looked so - *happy* to see him." Methos frowned. "You never looked that happy to see me," Mac finished, sounding sad, and took another gulp of liquor.
"Oh, for heaven's sake. Mac, I hadn't seen Byron in *years* - "
MacLeod held up his hands. "I know, I know! It was stupid. I'm sorry. But, Methos, that's *not* why I - "
"I mean, I would never - just because -"
"Mac, shut up. I know that. I just wondered."
Mac sighed. "Why?"
"Because it surprised me. I didn't know you felt that strongly about me."
MacLeod blinked at him. "Oh. Well. I guess... maybe I didn't either."
Methos leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees. "Do you know how you feel about me?"
"I - I'm not sure, Methos. I know that I - I care about you - a great deal - but I - I think I need time to think about it."
"No, you don't." Methos stood up. Mac followed him with his eyes, confused. "Thinking won't get you anywhere. You can think about it forever and still not know. You have to feel it."
"I do! But I don't know - "
Methos held up a hand to stop him. "Frankly, I'm too tired to deal with this right now. I'm going to sleep, in your bed unless you object. We can hash out our emotions tomorrow."
Mac heaved a sigh, half relief and half resignation. "Yeah. Sleep here; that's fine. I'd like that."
"Thanks." Methos headed for the bed, sat down long enough to kick off his shoes, and curled up like a cat, on top of the sheet but under the blanket. He was asleep almost immediately.
MacLeod stayed on the sofa, drinking, until the fire went out. Then, he made his way unsteadily to the bed and crawled in beside his friend. Methos, still blissfully asleep, snuggled up to him, and he hugged him tightly. "The more I know you, the less certain I become of anything," he whispered. Methos didn't answer, and Mac drifted off to sleep.
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