When Cupids Go Bad
Duncan leaned against the iron gate as he rode the lift up from the dojo. He was bone-tired. All he wanted to do was eat and fall into bed. Methos was staying with him again, and Duncan hoped he'd remembered to fix something to eat. He'd been so absorbed lately, scribbling away at something he wouldn't let Duncan see. He wondered what Methos was writing that was so damned secret. He hoped it wasn't more sonnets to co-eds.
The familiar sense of the other immortal nearby eased over him -- he'd have to watch that, not a good idea to let his guard down -- as the lift car stopped at his flat. He let his breath out in a contented sigh. No need to be on his guard tonight. For it was Methos' presence he felt, his beloved, his most cherished friend, his lover, his god, his-- Duncan raised a hand to rub his eyes. Something wasn't right. He pulled up the door of the cage.
"Meth-- oomph," he said as Methos cannoned into him, knocking him back into the lift and pressing him against the inside wall, squirming against him, kissing his lips, his cheeks, his eyes, his neck.
"Duncan, oh, Duncan," Methos breathed in his ear. "I've been so lonely, it's been so long..."
"It's been exactly three hours." Duncan spun Methos around by his shoulders and marched him firmly out of the lift.
"Three hours, or three centuries?" Methos sighed extravagantly and reached up to smooth back a stray wisp of Duncan's hair with a trembling hand. Duncan gazed at him wonderingly, dazzled by the sparkle that seemed to dance around his lover's lithe body like an aura. Methos kissed him softly, running his tongue lightly over Duncan's lower lip. Duncan felt his heart rise with love and his manhood rise with lust as Methos kissed him tenderly now, once on the lips, once on the tip of his nose, on one cheek, then the other. Duncan caught one of Methos' hands in his and circling his waist, led him across the floor in a lovers' waltz. Cheek to cheek, lips to soft lips, they danced in each other's arms as Methos hummed an old, old tune.
Once, twice, three times 'round. Parting and drawing together, hands joined and held at shoulders, they wound counter-clockwise around the glass table, Theseus and Ariadne tracing out their maze at Aphrodite's shrine. Spinning back into the center of the room, their steps grew shorter, changed rhythm, and on firecracker feet they danced a Fred and Ginger ballet of seduction and parting. Duncan spun away into a delicate but powerful arabesque, and Methos danced around him tapping out a smooth, urbane syncopated rhythm, a cool and graceful Hines to Duncan's Baryshnikov. Spinning harder, faster, Duncan busted out of the classics into jailhouse rock while Methos, yelling out an exuberant 'wop bop a lu bop', shimmy-shimmied like his sister Kate. Duncan lifted Methos over his back in a graceful somersault and Methos leaped up, twirled around and slid back through Duncan's legs. Joining hands they whirled faster and faster --
-- And suddenly Duncan broke away like the last in line in a game of crack-the-whip. His arms windmilling ungracefully, he slid full tilt into the kitchen island, slamming his hip sharply against its edge.
The pain jarred his bones. And cleared his head.
Holding onto the counter, he turned unsteadily to watch Methos, who was breakdancing across the floor.
"Methos," he breathed heavily. "Stop."
Methos spun up off the floor in a weird sinuous movement and lifted his arms gracefully for applause. Duncan saw him clearly for the first time. The scuffed loafers, the clinging jeans, the loose baggy sweater. The sparkling aura was gone.
But, the sweater.
It was pink. With a daisy on it.
Duncan grabbed Methos by the daisy and jerked him close, nose-to-nose. "Methos," he said severely. "Where did you. Get this. Thing."
Methos grinned. "Pretty, isn't it?"
Duncan snorted. "You've been on the screen too long, Methos. You're flickering."
But -- Methos was pretty in pink. He was exquisite in pink -- wrapped in a misty dream-dust of pink sweetness, casting a gentle eager quiet covetous pink spell. Duncan shook his head. The words swirling like melting taffy in his head -- where did those words come from? -- faded. But the room was filling up with candyfloss.
"What is happening?" he breathed.
Methos took both his hands in his own and swung them back and forth. "Love, Duncan, just looooove," he sang out, wiggling his hips. "Baby love, my baby love, I need you, oh how I need you..." Letting go of Duncan's hands, he slid his own down his lover's body, giving Duncan an endearingly lop-sided grin as he fell to his knees. He laid his head in Duncan's crotch as if worshipping at the altar of his love god.
Duncan gazed down into Methos' sappy smiling face and felt his mind walk away into a field of buttercups. He ruffled Methos' hair, unruly as mountain heather and as soft as a bluebird's wing.
With a gentle, reverent tug at the zipper of Duncan's fly, Methos released Duncan's straining member from its linen prison. Softly, slowly, he put his trembling lips to the exquisitely sensitive skin of Duncan's hard shaft. He ran his tongue up to the velvet head of Duncan's manroot and took it deep into his mouth. His lips and tongue roamed gently, then greedily, holding Duncan in a lover's thrall, fast in pleasure's bond, a slave to this most intimate caress. A hot pleasure, trembling and urgent, ran through Duncan's body, rising like thousands of flaming butterflies swirling up in an iridescent tornado that spun out his passion into a cerulean sky.
His hips thrust forward involuntarily as he came and Methos was pitched backwards. He sprawled on the floor and laughed, wiping his face.
"Duncan, my love, you are so passionate -- ow!" Duncan, awkwardly trying to pick Methos up off the floor, had stepped on his fingers.
Methos' face lost its dreamy look and sharpened suddenly. He looked down. "Did you get me drunk and put this on me?"
Duncan gathered Methos up in his arms, kissing his bruised fingers. "I'm sorry Methos, I'm a clumsy oaf of a Scot. Here, let me make it all better." He kissed Methos' fingers again and again, making a low cooing noise deep in his throat. Methos squirmed out of his grip and scrabbled backwards, looking up at his lover in horror, down at the inexplicable pink sweater in bemusement.
He flexed his fingers, watching the small electric flashes of the healing dance over his hand. "Duncan, I want -- I want -- ten pounds of chocolate truffles."
Feeling a bit of after-lovemaking shyness, Duncan zipped up his fly. His awkwardness, though, was gone. He reached down and hauled Methos to his feet and pulled him close in a graceful and powerful movement.
"Anything," he husked.
He ran his hands under Methos' fetching pink sweater, delighting in the feel of wiry muscles under smooth skin. His fingers touched Methos' nipples lightly and Methos gave a small gasp. Duncan's hands continued to explore, roaming over Methos' back, down past his waist, cupping his butt briefly and affectionately before moving his hands across Methos' hips to touch the manly hardness that seemed to want to burst through the fabric of his lover's jeans.
"Your turn, bunny duck," he said.
"I'm all for taking turns," Methos said, nuzzling Duncan's neck. But suddenly his smile faded and he jerked his head back. "What did you call me?" Duncan just smiled fondly and tugged at the stubborn belt buckle at Methos' waist.
Methos slapped his hand aside and backed away from Duncan's caresses. "You've never called me that before! Who is Bunny Duck?"
Duncan made a grab for him, but Methos leapt back and reached for his sword. The hilt slipped easily into his hand and he looked confused for a moment, glancing at his coat laying across a chair on the other side of the room. Then he frowned fiercely at the Highlander.
"Have you been cheating on me with some-- some-- toon?" His voice was low and dangerous. "Dabbling in watercolors, are we MacLeod?"
Duncan was perplexed and hurt. "What are you talking about?"
Methos advanced on him, brandishing the sword slowly. "You slipped, Duncan MacLeod of the Boy Scout Troop MacLeod. Oh! I should have known you were too perfect, too innocent -- Mister 'I've never done anything like this before' wet behind the ears!"
Duncan moved towards him, palms outward, placating. "Calm down, lover marshmallow."
"I am not a Rice Krispy treat!" Methos yelled. He turned away and covered his face, the sword forgotten. "How could I not see it? Me, with five thousand years and sixy-eight wives' experience. Oh Duncan MacLeod, you have surely made a fool of me."
Duncan put his arms around his disconsolate lover. "Nay, I hae not made a fool o' ye." Duncan lapsed into a broad Scots accent as he always did when overcome with emotion. "I lo' ye more 'an I lo' ma life, ye know tha'," he said, swallowing more consonants.
With a sob Methos turned into Duncan's arms, just as Duncan lowered his head to kiss him. Their heads knocked together.
They looked at each other.
"What the hell is going on?"
"Didn't you ask that before?"
"Yes. I did. But as I recall, you were be-bopping across the floor."
"Hip-hopping," Methos corrected him automatically.
Duncan snorted and rubbed his head. It tingled slightly. With a flash of insight, he knew what he had to do. Looking around, his eyes lit on a hammer lying conveniently on a table. He lunged for it and before the tingling of the healing stopped, he swung the hammer up, hitting himself squarely in the forehead where Methos' head had struck his own. He staggered slightly and shook his head.
He waited. His head hurt, but it stayed clear. No buttercups. No candyfloss.
Oh, hell, where'd he go? In his present state he could be running the streets proclaiming himself a modern incarnation of the God of Love -- and some of the old Love Gods Methos knew could get him into real trouble.
"Methos!" He started toward the lift. But the sense of him was still strong in the loft. Duncan cocked his head, listening. The sound of someone being very quiet came to his ears. The bathroom...
Duncan gripped the hammer and moved towards the door.
Locked, of course. "Methos! What are you doing in there? Come out!"
Methos didn't answer. But from the other side of the door Duncan could hear muffled giggles and a familiar hissing sound he couldn't quite place.
Oh, no. Not the chocolate thing again. Once, yes, on Valentine's day -- His breathing went a little ragged as he remembered Methos covered in chocolate --"Methos!" Duncan hammered on the door, felt a tingling on his forehead and hammered himself, not quite as hard as the last time. "Don't you dare come out of there looking like a Mars Bar!"
The door flew open suddenly and what felt like a hundred and sixty pounds of whipped cream landed on him. Staggering backwards, he dropped the hammer and tried to fend off a squirming, naked, whipped cream-covered Methos, who, though he himself as slick as a greased pig, was able to get a very good grip on Duncan, and maneuvered them in front of Duncan's big bed. With a cry of glee, he shouldered Duncan backwards on the bed and pinned him to the mattress.
Duncan struggled, feeling the tingling coming back in his forehead, and looked wildly around for a weapon, not to use on Methos, but on himself. Methos pushed up Duncan's shirt and was happily rubbing himself -- and whipped cream -- all over Duncan's chest.
Well, it had worked once. Duncan stopped struggling and let his body ease and accept Methos' gooey embrace. Methos, delighted at his conquest, gave him a big sweet sticky kiss and smiled dreamily as Duncan tenderly took his face in his hands. With a pang of guilt, Duncan yanked on Methos' ears and slammed his forehead into his own.
Methos cried out in pain and surprise and pushed away from Duncan, holding his head. "What did you do that for?"
Duncan sat up and put his own head in his hands.
"Oh, Christ," Methos said. "Here, I'll say it this time. What the fuck is going on?"
"I don't know. But pain seems to stop it."
"Oh, that's good. All we have to do is keep head-butting each other and we'll be all right, then." After a moment he said, "Am I mistaken, or did I see you hit yourself in the face with a hammer?"
Duncan spotted the hammer lying on the floor. With a sigh he got up and went to retrieve it.
"I need a shower," Methos complained.
Duncan was silent. His forehead started to tingle, and almost absently he hit himself with the hammer. But now two separate kinds of terrible pain assaulted him. First it tore across his brain like the ragged edges of a rusty sword, then it pumped through his heart like viscous cloying syrup. His vision went scarlet, then a delicate rose tint, then red again. He looked down at Methos sitting naked on his bed like a somewhat grotty creampuff. He began to feel evil.
The sappy smile had returned to Methos's face, but it started to slip as it penetrated his saccarine-fogged mind that an angry man coming at him with a weapon was not a good thing. He tensed to leap from the bed. But suddenly Duncan was upon him.
And Duncan's sword was at his throat.
"Ha' ye done this ta' me?"
"No, no, MacLeod, I--" Methos licked sweet cream from his lips. "I'm just a fooool for loooove," he sang out, despite his best effort to spit his own tongue out of his mouth.
"I should take your head, ye sappy poor excuse for a Hallmark card," Duncan said. He felt a rage start deep in his chest and seethe through his veins like molasses, hot and sticky and sweet and -- he hit himself with the hammer. He glared down at Methos. He has the soul of a romance writer, Kronos had once told him, in a dream.
No. Kronos was wrong.
But somebody did.
Duncan's head hurt. Romance wasn't just buttercups and whipped cream. The best romances -- the enduring ones, the classic stories told and retold down through the ages -- were tragedies. Stories of lovers wronged, lovers betrayed, lovers torn apart by evil deeds and ill-fated circumstances. Doomed lovers. Unlucky lovers.
Methos looked up at him, the struggle between pink goofiness and black fear warring in his face. His white throat was vulnerable and open to Duncan's sword. Perdition catch my soul, Duncan thought, but I do love thee. And when I love thee not, chaos is come again.
"Can ye give me one good reason why I shouldn't take your head?" The blade slid along the white, white skin, leaving a thin red line.
The pain seemed to prick Methos back to himself. "Yes," he said earnestly. "The quickening will bring five thousand years of treacle down upon your soul."
Duncan looked at him, and suddenly his vision cleared. No jagged red, no candyfloss pink. He laughed and withdrew his blade.
Methos handed him the hammer. "So what do we do now?"
Duncan said, "We die."
We die, he thought, and the romantic tale played itself out and then, healed, they'd be... themselves. The two behind this little story would get tired of the play and move on to something else, like going out for a nice cup of cappuccino, or each other.
He hoped. Laying aside his sword, he took up his dagger. Feeling the healing start, he smacked himself with the hammer, gave Methos a dose for good measure, and explained his theory.
"Ah, youth." Methos sighed. "They should have a little more respect for their hoary elders."
"Yes. They should."
"Mucking about in other people's love stories is wrong," Methos said piously.
Something in Methos' voice made Duncan look at him sharply. Methos merely smiled.
"Do you have something to drink?"
Duncan rose and went to a cabinet. Reaching far into the back, he found a small chest. Inside was a vial. He looked at Methos and raised the hammer.
"No, I'm fine. A little wine with that, perhaps?"
Duncan went to the sideboard and poured red wine into a goblet, adding a few drops from the vial. He came back to the bed and offered the goblet.
Methos held it aloft in a toast. "Well, eyes, look your last, et cetera." He drained the goblet, and pulled Duncan down to him. Their lips met tenderly. "O true apothecary," Methos whispered. "Thy drugs are quick." Duncan closed his eyes against tears and buried his face in the soft hollow of Methos' neck, tasting salt, and bitter, and sweet. Methos sighed once, and was still.
Duncan looked into Methos' face; he looked for all the world as if he were only sleeping, which in a sense he was. But not to dream. He kissed Methos softly. "Thy lips are warm," he said, his voice shaking a little. He picked up the dagger, turned the blade towards himself. He took a deep breath and closed his eyes, whispering the old words.
"O happy dagger! This is thy sheath;
there rust, and let me die."
He plunged the knife into his heart up to the hilt, and fell slowly into his lover's still embrace.
They sat staring at the screen as the last words glowed, then faded.
"That was-- intense." Clark blinked. His hand rested lightly on the keyboard.
Lex was silent.
"How did they catch on?" Clark said. They'd been fooling around, playing the old guys for laughs, but they'd turned it all around.
Lex cocked his head slightly. "I suppose that if hundreds -- or thousands -- of years are written into your character you're nobody's fool."
Clark, almost unconsciously, laid his head on Lex's shoulder. Lex stroked his hair.
Romance, Clark thought. Was Duncan right? Did it end in tragedy? The best ones... He tensed under Lex's hands as he realized what they were doing.
The door to the barn opened. They moved apart guiltily.
"Mom," Clark said.
"You two look pretty busy up there," Martha called.
"Lex was just, uh, he was teaching me a new computer program."
Martha came up the stairs to the landing. "Well, I brought you something to keep up your strength," she said, placing a tray on Clark's desk. She winked.
"Thanks, Mom," Clark said a little uncertainly.
She smiled and turned to go. Clark and Lex watched her go down the stairs and out the door. They looked at the tray. They looked at each other.
"Was that your Mom?"
"I -- I don't know."
Lex leaned over and slid the tray towards them. On it was a large silver bowl, filled with drifts of sweet whipped cream. Lex's practiced eye automatically appraised it. "Georgian silver. That's not a piece likely to be found in a Kansas farmhouse. Unless your parents have a secret antique fetish I don't know about."
"I don't think so."
Lex slashed a finger through the whipped cream almost angrily, then gently scooped a fingerful and held it in front of Clark, as if feeding a baby bird.
Clark raised an eyebrow, then smiled and let Lex put a creamy finger in his mouth. Sweet, and warm, and hard. I wonder what it would be like, Clark thought, to let Lex --
whipped cream --
on Lex's --
Words trailed each other across the screen.
Lex put his lips close to Clark's ear. "Member?"
Clark's breath caught. "Chest?" he said weakly.
"I like member better. Or we could use different words. Depends on how romantic we want to be." A different word glowed on the screen, then faded.
Clark smiled again. Lex dipped his finger in the cream, again held it to Clark's lips.
"Let's get romantic," he said.
"Sounds dangerous to me," Clark said. "One minute it's 'How Do I Love Thee,' the next it's poison and daggers." And-- kryptonite? he thought. He swallowed.
Lex smiled. He reached across Clark to shut down the computer. Their faces were so close Clark could feel Lex's breath mingling with his own, could feel Lex's lips -- almost -- touch his.
"We'll chance it," Lex said.
End of "Taking Liberties"
The quote assaulting Duncan in the passage about pretty-in-pink Methos is from I, Mary MacLane, a fascinating, obsessive autobiography published in 1917. It assaulted me once and this is my way of exorcising it.
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