Ol' Green Eyes is Back
"I can't believe you're jealous."
"I'm not jealous." Duncan stared moodily at the chessboard.
Methos sprawled in the corner of the couch and watched Duncan pick up a rook and put it back down again on the board. The tension in Duncan's body made Methos ache to touch him, but he didn't.
"It was a long time ago," he said.
"Was it," Duncan said in a flat voice.
"Yes," said Methos simply. He wasn't going to argue. If MacLeod didn't believe him then... he didn't. Methos had fought too many of his own battles with the green-eyed monster, enough to know that jealousy paid no mind to logic, or reason, or common sense.
Duncan put the rook down on the board. He picked it up.
"We've both had a lot of lovers," Methos said, trying logic.
"Both of us," Methos said, trying reason.
Duncan rose from the couch and stalked across the room. He stood staring out the window.
Methos watched him from the couch, a slight narrowing of his eyes the only hint that his relaxed rag-doll pose was anything but what it seemed.
Duncan gave a short laugh. "Well, old man, I don't hold a patch on your record."
Good thrust, Highlander, Methos thought. Straight through the heart. "So, that's what this is about? My forty-six century head start in the Most Nookie Competition?" Oh, good going, put a bit of a sneer into it, while we're at it. Brilliant
"Damn it, Methos, you -- Forget it," Duncan said to the window. Methos's own muscles hurt watching the tension bunch up Duncan's shoulders.
"Come on, MacLeod, show some common sense."
Duncan turned away from the window. "I'm going down to the dojo." He grabbed his coat and headed for the lift. Methos watched him go, and sighed. He was older than dirt, but he still lost lovers' quarrels.
Methos sat at the counter trying to eat lemon chicken. It tasted like day-old oatmeal. Duncan was reading, or pretending to. Methos had been watching him covertly and he hadn't turned a page in twenty minutes. Irritably, Methos scraped the chair back and picked up his plate. He was tempted to smash it on the floor, but contented himself with banging it into the sink as hard has he could without actually breaking it, and clattering the silverware in after it.
Duncan didn't look up.
Exasperated, Methos strode across the room and pulled the book from Duncan's hands. Childe Harold's Pilgrimage
"God, MacLeod, you've really gone off the deep end." He threw it down. Not as satisfying as smashing a plate, but the book did make a gratifyingly loud thump as it hit the floor.
"That's a valuable edition," Duncan said.
Methos kicked it sideways.
Duncan put his face in his hands and rubbed his temples.
"There was nothing to do but what you did. Accept it," Methos said. "I have."
"He was your lover!" Duncan almost shouted the words.
"A long, long time ago," Methos said quietly.
Duncan stood up suddenly and began to pace the room. He stopped in front of the book on the floor. "I can't read it anymore," he said tightly.
Methos took a step toward him. "You will. Just give the man to the past. The poetry can take care of itself."
Duncan shook his head. "It's not that-- You were right, sometimes the man is not as strong as the music. But it's not that."
Duncan stooped and picked up the book. Opening it, he offered it to Methos. "Will I find you here?"
Methos took the book from Duncan's hands and closed it gently. "Maybe."
"Maybe." Duncan looked away. A muscle in his jaw twitched.
Methos touched his shoulder. "Duncan, stop."
"I can't... I..." he raised his hands helplessly. "And where else will I find you, Methos?"
For a moment, Methos stood very still, holding the book loosely in his hands. Then he let out his breath in a frustrated sigh. Pulling Duncan by the arm, he steered him over to the well-filled bookcase.
"Let's just see, shall we?" Scanning the shelves, his eyes lit on a title. "Ah, here we are." He pulled down a book and handed it to Duncan. Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus.
Duncan stared at the book, then at Methos.
Methos tilted his head, smiling a little. "You see? My sexual charisma isn't the only thing people have found fascinating about me over the centuries. Mary was quite taken by the central... tragedy of my existence." His tone was light, but Duncan's lips thinned.
"Or, here -- this one," Methos pulled down a thick volume of The Decameron. "Is my story here? And is any of it true?" Let him work on that one for a while, Methos thought.
Duncan did look rather stunned. And a little intrigued.
"But trust me, MacLeod. You can read poetry without worrying about me lurking between the lines. Yeats, Neruda and e.e. cummings were all safe from me. Did you really think that I've shagged everyone famous, fucking my way through history like some randy Forrest Gump?"
Duncan busied himself with returning the books to the shelf, but Methos thought he heard a small snort.
"You may be but a callow youth compared to me, but you know how it works. Most of the people I've slept with have been humble, lowly, ordinary people. Sixty-eight wives, MacLeod! And even I can't name them all. As for the rest -- lovers, whores, johns, supplicants -- that's where you'll 'find' me, among the forgotten."
Duncan was silent.
"And even the more well-bred -- or at least high-born -- people I've 'known' in the Biblical sense are pretty obscure nowadays, which would piss most of them off. Their names are far from household words, if they're remembered at all. I didn't fuck Rembrandt or Socrates or Napoleon or Virginia Woolf."
"That's a ... relief, I suppose," Duncan said. There was the hint of a smile on his face.
Methos put the memory of Shakespeare's best bed firmly out of his mind.
"Of course, I have done a lot of fucking in my over-long life," Methos continued. Perversely, now that Duncan seemed to have relaxed, he couldn't resist twisting the knife a bit. "Actresses, adventuresses and aviatrixes," he began in a sing-song voice. "Butchers, bakers and candlestick-makers. Cab drivers and chorus girls, drayers and duchesses..."
"Are we going through the whole alphabet?" Duncan folded his arms across his chest. Methos couldn't tell if the edge in Duncan's voice was irritation or amusement. He pressed on.
"...Engineers, fishermen, gun-molls, hog-farmers... Highlanders." He looked sideways at Duncan to see how he took that last.
Duncan's lips twitched at the corners. "Please, continue your bragging," he said.
"Where was I? Innkeepers, jugglers, knights... hmm...lawyers, milkmen and nurses. Prostitutes. Oh, yes, temple prostitutes. I was a temple prostitute. When I was a temple prostitute I fucked everyone within a fifty-mile radius."
Duncan closed his eyes.
Methos counted off on his fingers. "A minor queen or two, riverboat captains, seamstresses, tap dancers, undertakers, village idiots. I was a village idiot. Listen, MacLeod, being a village idiot is no bed of roses, let me tell you. When you're the village idiot everybody thinks they own a piece of your ass."
"You were never a village idiot," Duncan said, unable to keep from smiling.
"I might have been. I might have wanted a change of pace."
"Are you through?"
"I think so. There's whores, and after that it's all hard letters."
"Yes. It's all right."
Duncan sighed. Methos opened his arms, and Duncan moved into his embrace. The green-eyed monster was vanquished. For a time.
Well, his mood is definitely improved, Methos thought, as he tried in vain to push the other man away. From inconsolable to -- insatiable?
"MacLeod, I have to get in a breath now and again. My brain has a regrettable addiction to oxygen." He shoved at Duncan, who just mashed him harder against the wall.
"Bed -- now," Duncan said urgently, his lips against Methos's throat.
Methos rolled his eyes. "But we're so comfortable here."
He let Duncan push him down on the bed, let Duncan press a knee between his legs to spread them apart, let Duncan grind his hips against him in impatient abandon. Duncan ran his hands down Methos's arms and pinned his wrists to the bed, and kissed him -- not so much kissed him as devoured him, leaving both of them panting and breathless.
When Duncan let go of his wrists to pull at Methos's clothes, Methos clumsily started to unbutton Duncan's shirt, his fingers unaccountably shaky and fumbling, but Duncan brushed his hands away and simply pulled the shirt apart, sending buttons flying. He pushed Methos on his back and straddled him, working Methos's belt free of its buckle, pulling his pants open. He let one hand rest on Methos's cock for a moment, making him draw in his breath, then ran both his hands up under Methos's sweater, making him let it out again in a rush.
"This sweater is--" he began, but Duncan was already pulling it over his head, and then down over Methos's arms. Raising up a little and turning Methos roughly on his side, he twisted the sleeves into a knot, pinning Methos's arms behind him.
"Hey!" he protested. Duncan just smiled and gave him another oxygen-stealing kiss. He protested again as Duncan flipped him over face down and jerked his pants over his hips down to his ankles. Going to be that way, was it? Methos put up enough of a struggle to make Duncan work for it.
Methos wasn't quite sure of Duncan's mood. On the surface he seemed playful, but on the other hand, he was holding onto Methos's shoulders hard enough to leave marks. Probably didn't even know he was doing it. Methos flinched as he felt Duncan's teeth on the back of his neck. On the other hand, maybe he did.
The pressure of Duncan's body eased off for a moment, then returned with a vengeance -- hot skin, probing fingers and slicked-up cock. Ah, God. Another change in pressure and Methos gasped as he felt Duncan's cock push into him, hard.
"Duncan, stop, wait." But Duncan wasn't at all playful now; Methos could feel his whole body clenched in a barely controlled frenzy. He pushed into Methos, pushed into him again, as Methos gulped in air and forced himself to relax, submit, open. Duncan groaned and thrust deeper, drunk with lust and the thrill of conquest over a opponent who had already surrendered. Methos buried his face in the bedclothes, his whole body moving to a pleasure that drove down through him like a deep ache. Duncan thrust one last time and Methos felt his shuddering rock him. Somebody was whimpering. Oh, Duncan.
Duncan pulled away from Methos, spent but not sated, still vibrating, still wanting. Methos rolled over helplessly onto his back.
"My hands are going to sleep," he said.
Duncan put his arms around him, and for a moment seemed to relax back into his earlier playful mood. Smiling, resting his forehead against Methos's, he reached around and undid the knot. Methos wrapped his arms around Duncan.
"Feel better?" he said.
"Not yet," Duncan slid down Methos's body, kissing his way down Methos's chest, then down further, nuzzling his belly button and making him laugh. At the first touch of Duncan's mouth on his cock, Methos almost came, but he drew on all his long centuries of experience of loving and whoring, falling into a kind of trance, almost a meditation, slowing his throbbing pulse and easing back from the sensations thrilling through him, and relinquished his body's response to Duncan's control, to Duncan's pleasure. Duncan's tongue maddened him, Duncan's soft lips -- and hard teeth -- sent bolts of painful ecstasy through him. Duncan's hands pushed him to his limit again and again, but still he held back. Until he couldn't.
"Please, please," he said through teeth clenched so tight the words were lost. Duncan looked up at him, his eyes bright and hungry, and sucking with a few hard, quick strokes, granted Methos his release. Methos bucked under Duncan's mouth, his hands tangled in Duncan's hair, and came in a hard, hot rush.
Then Duncan pulled him close, fiercely. Methos listened to Duncan's heartbeat pounding against his cheek, slowly calming into a strong, steady beat, counterpoint to his own.
Methos understood, even if Duncan did not, that the Highlander was claiming him, renewing his right of possession. Methos smiled a little. Making his indelible mark in the "Hs". Methos was content to let him. He also knew, with a secret joy, that his lover's desperate passion belonged to him, and gave Duncan over into his possession even as his own passion gave him into Duncan's. It seemed a fair bargain.
They moved apart, and lay side by side, still touching. Methos let his mind drift, savoring the feel of Duncan's skin down the length of his body. He touched one of Duncan's feet with his toes.
Duncan stirred next to him. "Methos... I'm sorry."
"Shut up," Methos said amiably.
"No, listen. It wasn't just Byron, or even the idea of you in a clinch with," his lips twisted into a wry smile, "Walt Whitman, maybe."
"But -- it's just that --" Duncan turned on his side and looked at Methos seriously. "You've lived so long, and I -- wasn't there. I wasn't a part of it."
God, those eyes, Methos thought. Could I have even lived five thousand years without those eyes? Will I be able to live with them? Fall back on trite, he thought. It's the only way.
"But you're here now."
And it worked. Duncan smiled at him, satisfied.
Methos sighed. If thou regrett'st thy youth, he thought, why live?
"So," Duncan said, as they sat companionably across from each other at a breakfast of omelets and sausage, orange juice and coffee, toast and marmalade. "Who else famous did you end up in bed with? If I may ask."
"You may. And I might answer, if you promise not to brood about it."
"I'm not going to brood."
"Right. After you finish re-reading The Decameron for the juicy bits you'll either take my head or we'll be playing twenty questions until the end of time."
Duncan grinned. "Let's play twenty questions now."
"Five questions, MacLeod." Methos held up one hand, five fingers spread out.
"All right," Duncan said, settling back in his chair. "One. That famous cook? The one who wrote up the recipe for sea anemones."
"Apicius? No. Not that I didn't want to, but he was more interested in putting on his grand feasts. Of course, his scalloped camel heels were to die for." He tucked in his thumb. Four.
Duncan sipped his coffee. "You told Joe you knew Helen of Troy."
"Don't sound so skeptical. And, as I told him, she didn't have that great a face, and it only launched a hundred ships." Methos paused, thinking. "Fifty, tops." He eyed Duncan. "You have a much prettier face, MacLeod; your five o'clock shadow isn't nearly as bristly. Put you in a dress and you could go one-on-one with Helen of Troy in the business of launching ships." He held up three fingers.
Duncan smiled and speared a piece of sausage with his fork. "I don't doubt it. Beauty has always been in the eye of the portraitist who wants to be paid for his work." He pointed the sausage at Methos. "I've heard rumors -- can't think of who spread them -- about you and the Rolling Stones."
"All true, of course, as rumors always are."
"So did you? Mick Jagger?"
"Nah. He's strictly a supermodel guy."
"Which one was it then? Charlie?"
"Why does it have to be one of them? Why not any fifty of the thousands of groupies and hangers-on?"
"Fifty, right. Ron Wood? Wait, don't tell me it was Brian --"
"No. I thought you weren't up on current music."
"It's not that current."
"Comparatively. We were just speaking of Apicius."
"So you won't tell me. It must have been Kei--"
"Bite your tongue, MacLeod!"
"That counts as more than one question," Methos said.
"You didn't answer, so it doesn't count at all. Caligula?"
"Damn right! I fucked both Caligula and Incitatus!"
"Incitatus was a horse."
"So? What's your point?"
"Now there was a fine figure of a woman. Great in bed. Had very nimble fingers. We had a little pickpocket racket going for awhile. Of course, she went respectable at the end." He sighed melodramatically. "Such a loss."
"I'm sure it was," Duncan said dryly. "So... Butch and Sundance?"
"Oh, yeah, that was a wild bunch," Methos said happily. "After every job the gang would go to Fanny Porter's sporting house and spend their hard-robbed money on wine, women and... women. Do you know what was most fun about robbing trains, MacLeod? No, you wouldn't. Must have a long chat with Amanda sometime. But the best times were when it was just Butch and Sundance. And me. And Etta. And the bicycles."
"So the movie got that part right?"
"Flawlessly. That's six, by the way."
"I don't recall seeing anyone like you in the movie."
"I am a man lost to history."
"Moll Flanders is a fictional character."
"Aren't we all, MacLeod, aren't we all."
"Some of us more than others, apparently."
Duncan's voice was light, but Methos felt a pang. He quashed it and put on his most innocent-by-god look. "Why would I lie?"
"Why would you tell the truth, more like."
"You insult my honesty, sir? Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod, draw your sword!" Methos picked up a butter knife and held it in front of him in both hands.
Duncan grinned and picked up his own knife. He lunged, sending the sugar bowl flying and silverware clanging across the surface of the counter, and Methos's weapon clattered to the floor. Duncan's butter knife was at Methos's throat.
"You are mine, old man!" cried Duncan triumphantly. Their eyes locked.
Methos smiled slowly and lifted his chin. And you, Highlander, are mine. "Isn't that what I've been telling you?"
Endnote: I wrote this after reading "Lessons in Futility: Parody of Highlander Fanfic Cliches," by Elynross and Luminosity. It began as a bit of drabble about Methos' many lovers, but grew from there. And a few other cliches crept in.
If thou regrett'st thy youth, why live? From "On This Day I Complete My Thirty-Sixth Year," George Gordon, Lord Bryon.