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And Hades Followed Him

by C.M. Decarnin

Part 5


There weren't that many left in the dojo by eight, and Richie was giving him quite a workout with the wooden swords, since Mac was so late. He was glad of the distraction when the boy offered to spar with him, not wanting to dwell on what Cassandra might be telling MacLeod. Or doing to him. He quashed that instantly. She valued MacLeod, would not harm him....

Richie had learned to defend himself in a strong, slash-and-burn kind of way under MacLeod's tutelage, nothing Methos should not have been able to swat aside in his prime. But he was finding he was just a touch, just a shade, just a few centuries out of practice, and the kid was keeping him hopping. That would decidedly have to be seen to. With MacLeod at his side, he was back in the Game with a vengeance. His first and still favorite fencing gambit -- running and hiding -- was not going to work ever again.

The Presence struck him midway through a swing. Richie lowered his sword, and Methos turned in time to see Duncan MacLeod storming in the doors of the dojo toward him, face and body looking -- absolutely furious -- Reflex made him bring up the sword between them, but when he saw what he had done he dropped it as if it were a serpent. He had time for an instant's regret as he heard it clatter, and to think "Oh well, it was only wood anyway," and "He's going to kill me in front of witnesses --" before the first blow struck and demolished him to the ground. Hauled up by ripping clothing, he couldn't even get his balance; a huge, swinging backhand straight to his face knocked him down again. Through the stars and the ringing in his head, a roar, "Ge' up an' figh' like a man, ye le''le shi'e!", the Scots so thick all dental consonants were blasted into oblivion. He was pulled up and shaken so he felt his neck might snap.

"Di' ye think I woul'n' find out, ye lyin' scu'?" Methos didn't think anything, had no room for memory nor foreboding, even a wildly keening grief kept at a far distance from him, there was only the present and its physicality, like being sucked into a tornado. He crashed into a wall, and again, and again as Duncan battered him toward the door of the tiny locker- room. Before shoving him through it MacLeod turned and bellowed, "The dojo is closed!" to the open-mouthed frozen onlookers. No help -- not one of them but had taken on MacLeod in practice and knew full well the power of the man when calm and at ease. It was clear at a glance that interfering with him in his wrath was the furthest thing from their minds. A glance was all he got.


MacLeod stopped and looked back, his long coat swinging around him. "Stay out of this, Richie!" He threw Methos up against a stack of rolled mats and slammed the door.

Methos's hands flew up defensively. "Don't kill me, MacLeod!" he blurted.

"Why not?" He pushed close, aggressively, and Methos's body began trembling, slanted back against the unyielding mats. "What gives a thing like you the righ' to live? You couldn't kill Kronos because he was your brother, you couldn't judge Kronos without judging yourself -- I should have known what a load of crap that was!" He caught Methos's jaw in his hand. "I made a mistake with you, didn't I? When I asked if you saw it in me, the thing that could make you come, I asked if you saw it the first day we met. If that was why you fell in love with me. I should have asked something different, shouldn't I?"

He knows.

He was so close Methos was breathing in his expelled breath, sweet with hidden dark essences.

Oh god, he knows. He knows.

"I should have asked if you saw it in me later. After you maneuvered me into taking Kronos's Quickening!" He pushed Methos's head back. "Did you see it in me then?" He released his grip and just let one finger fall slowly down the side of Methos's neck. He held Methos's eyes, voice quiet with deadly promise. "Did you?"

Methos swallowed. He felt MacLeod's fingers moving across his throat. Delay. If MacLeod's temper once cooled --

Then the big hands were around his neck.

"Answer me!"

He felt as though every inch of his body were covered with MacLeod's, though the only actual touch was at his throat, where the hands tightened... started to squeeze --

"Yes." Neither of them moved. Would he kill him for this admission? He didn't want to die. Though it might be such peace... "I saw it."

"Just as you'd planned."

After the Quickening. Both of them on their knees. And MacLeod had come to him. With such a look of wonder and incomprehension in his eyes. And helped him up. And at his touch Methos had shrunk away in horror: Kronos! He could feel, shimmering across the Highlander's Presence, across his own, and between them, the voltage of his mad, mutilated Brother. MacLeod seemed oblivious. In his brown eyes was bewilderment, pain, uncertainty -- aftermath of any Quickening -- and the need to close with Methos, understand his acts and the wild double lightnings. And gratitude. Methos had stumbled back, and, shaking his head mutely, swept up his sword and fled the submarine base.

He had felt Kronos. Not a dead essence, but a living, conscious entity between them. In the Quickening, that had been what had reached out toward him with the power of a thousand years of desire and need and knowledge, a thousand years of lusts sated on his body, of strength bowed to, of brilliance met with equal fire if not equal force. In the spiral lightning Kronos had taken him one last time and forever, sunk a spear of himself deep into the core of Methos's being, never to withdraw, but to be absorbed along with Silas's Quickening.

The awareness had died away till MacLeod, who now owned the much greater share of Kronos's Quickening, had come to him, and the wild link between them had incandesced with the very essence of Kronos's shining, crippled soul.

Mac had seemed to feel nothing, amid the turmoil of post-Quickening sensation. But Methos had looked at him and seen. MacLeod had changed. In him now like a thunderstorm of light and darkness scintillated the thing Methos knew only as force, that made his blood run hot and icy and his breath come shallow. His cock stretched and shuddered.

But he saw also what had not changed.

The complete, utter, and innocent lack of desire.

Fresh from the throes of the Quickening, when, if ever, MacLeod should be overflowing with volcanic need --

-- Methos looked in his eyes and saw nothing.

He had created the man who could fulfill him.

He had manipulated the Immortal he loved into taking inside himself the insane force of four millennia of sociopathic night.

He had betrayed MacLeod to make him his ideal mate.

It had worked perfectly.


Duncan MacLeod didn't want him.

He had turned and fled....

Mac's hands were around his throat. The brown eyes seeing Immortal memory on him.

"Yes," Methos said, infiltrated with the despairing bitterness of that night. "Just as I'd planned."

"And did you never think what it might do to me?"

The words scorched his soul. He had thought of nothing else, for days, weeks, until Mac had appeared in his doorway, asking for his past. The volatility of a soul that old -- it was utterly unpredictable, it seemed, and though Methos had known it would not assimilate as seamlessly as a normal Quickening, nothing had prepared him for the fact that it had not, apparently, assimilated at all. It had corruscated between them and formed this link, through which MacLeod was learning to read him with frightening accuracy, and in the grip of which the gentle Highlander had become a sexual potentate, master to Methos's eternal slave, the sadist who would not hesitate to fulfill his most terrifying dreams.

But in that first twenty-four hours after the Quickening it had not seemed to impact on MacLeod at all, and Methos had walked away from their short meeting the next day in the knowledge of great failure.

Only later had the guilt come. He thrashed through a nightmare time of beginning to understand what he had done, anguish that his one hope had failed and horror that he might have succeeded, could have changed MacLeod out of all recognition, destroyed him, degraded him, as no one else had succeeded in doing in four hundred years. Longing still tearing hot fissures in his heart, and terror at the very thought of possibly having gotten his heart's desire rolling like icy lava over his thoughts. He shook, and froze, and tore apart like a world in formation, obsessively calling Joe to hear that the Highlander was all right, though never actually able to form the question. When they had flown back to Seacouver, Methos had been on the next plane.

MacLeod was reading his eyes, his expression.

The slides between reality and demanding eidetic memory were unmanning him, he was losing control of what he allowed MacLeod to see, to know... though maybe there was no controlling that any longer. Another unforeseen side-effect of his exquisite selfishness.

"I betrayed you," he whispered, tranced, like a snake hypnotized by the eyes of its intended prey. "I wanted you."

The hands around his throat caressed, MacLeod's body leaned against him, and he felt each spot the tensed muscles touched combust with soft fire like fuel-soaked rags. His cock rolled up against the Highlander's hard groin, the flag of his surrender.

"Aye." It was not even a whisper. "Ye betrayed me for lust. And ye don't even know what real lust is. I'm going to teach you. And you're going to learn." He felt MacLeod's lips touch his face, beside his mouth, in one soft Judas-kiss. He felt hot breath on his neck. "You wanted me...? I hope you like what you're about to get."

Oh god. At the touch of their bodies together, the link was transforming MacLeod's rage into... the hard punishments Kronos exacted on his lover's body -- the drawing out of lasciviousness into prolonged sadism that broke all barriers, opened Methos to the molten touch of another on his soul. It was Kronos's way and it crackled like strange healing in the synapses between their bodies. But in that instant he knew: if Duncan became Kronos, Methos would beg for death. It would be the final obscenity, the last, unfaceable horror of his life, to have transmuted the greatest purity he had ever known into... that. To lose MacLeod to indifference, to incompatibility, to a just rage, he would bear, though he did not know quite how. But to lose what MacLeod was; to lose the very thing he had coveted, and see it devoured by what Kronos had been -- that, no; he would not bear. And in dying there was a blessed chance he might release MacLeod, that lacking the other pole of the link, Kronos would sink into oblivion, a normal Quickening relinquishing its power to the conqueror.

His heart put up a last desperate rear-guard action against the magnetism that had already routed body and mind. "No. Mac. This isn't you."

A deadly smile. "It is now."

Methos couldn't know if it was his heart's anguish or his body's need that cried out as MacLeod's loins crushed tight to him. Desperately he forced himself to meet MacLeod's eyes. "Whatever you do to me is with my consent. I want it."

The spectre of that smile again. "We'll see about that."

There came a hard knocking on the door. "Mac!" Richie opened it. He held out his hand as MacLeod turned angrily. "Mac, the guys -- all their stuff is in here."

"Tell them to come back for it later."

"Mac, it's car keys, wallets. All their clothes --"

MacLeod grabbed Methos by both arms and threw him at the door. Richie instinctively dodged out of the way as Methos crashed into the jamb, grabbing to keep from falling. MacLeod was on him again, hauling him painfully by one arm. He ran him to the elevator and smashed him face-first into the grille.

Behind them Richie was hustling the others into the locker-room.

He felt MacLeod's hand sliding between his buttocks. And heard him murmur, "I figure there's only one way I'd ever get rid of this thing you did to me, ever stop wanting to fuck you, and that's to take your head. So I think you'd better keep me happy, don't you?"

"MacLeod," he whispered. But the hand sliding between his thighs seemed to paralyze his speech centers. His face hurt, and the arm twisted behind his back hurt if he even breathed. Fingers slid forward under his balls and curled up around them as if they owned them. His arousal shuddered hard through him.

"So how far back did it go? Did you lure him to Seacouver to fight me?"

"No!" The question shocked through his surrendering fall into the closeness and violence of MacLeod. It had been on the plane, trapped over the Arctic in Kronos's custody, as he had thought out so much else in his plan. He'd worried that MacLeod might not be able to absorb the enormous power of the Horseman's ancient Quickening. Methos knew too well the brutality with which an old soul ravaged a young one, the chances that the victor's exultancy would be swallowed by the roar of the vanquished; that compulsions might be laid on the child's very being, by the Quickening of the defeated adult. Was it too much of a risk, ought he after all to take the desperate chance himself, despite the much greater odds of MacLeod being able to outfight Kronos? Because if the wanton four-thousand-year-old essence entered MacLeod full-bore --

It was then that it struck, with a horrible, wonderful crawling thrill through every nerve of him.

Involuntarily he had looked over at Kronos, to find the obsessive eyes upon him, lit with all the old jaunty certainty of ownership. Kronos deliberately licked his lips at him, letting him know without words exactly what lay in store as soon as they got off this jet. No fear that Kronos's focus had changed in three thousand years. And Methos felt himself respond... Despite everything, despite his own changes, despite his intent to destroy this man -- his bones turned to jelly, thought dissolved in lust. He absorbed Kronos's perfect body through his pores, felt the leather jacket press his nakedness, the leather boot nudge into his crotch, the hands immobilize his head as he knelt -- Swirling through him the anticipation and fear of certain completion, as he had not known it in so long... Not a fiber of his body or soul but knew Kronos could do it to him, wanted it, and shrank from the control. No, not the control, he could deal with that, god knew. He shrank from his own temptation. To joy, to freedom, to power... to orgasm. To fall under Kronos's reign for another thousand years just to have that body, to let that soul do what it did to him. The rest of the world could hang, except --

Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod.

His Boy Scout. His perfect knight. Who, if he took into himself all the lust for Methos that Kronos seemed to have been born with... His body chilled and flushed hot. If MacLeod could have in his eyes that look of possession when his gaze fell on Methos... If MacLeod could touch him meaning to take and assault him as Kronos meant to do...

He could be sure that Kronos would be filled with him, revelling in the renewal of his ownership, scented all over with his slave's sticky joy, still feeling Methos's tongue on the soles of his feet even as Duncan's katana made its final slice through his neck.

Then Duncan would take all that...

Kronos would have Methos whether he acquiesced or not. That had not changed, either, in three thousand years.

But however it started, it would end with Methos sobbing with gratitude, kissing the foot pressed hard over his mouth, once more a subject to his rutting king, love-slave to hard- thrusting cock and cruel hands.

MacLeod must be the one to take Kronos's Quickening. No one else.

MacLeod, to be invested with the mantle of Kronos's lust.


MacLeod breathed fire into Methos's left ear. "What a slut you are! You're unbelievable." The fingers that had curled around his balls paddled up against his straight-boled cock. A whimpering cry escaped him. "You want it. You know I'm going to make it hurt, you know I'm going to make you beg me to stop, and you still want it. Don't you?" The fingers curled again around his sac, and pulled back. "Answer me!" They started to squeeze.

"Yes!" The fingers stroked the captive balls and he writhed against the grille of the lift. "MacLeod!"

MacLeod's hand pulled away. The men were coming out of the locker-room, making for the exit without dawdling, but there were bound to be curious looks. He felt MacLeod grab the rags of his shirt and he was pulled around in front, where everyone would be able to see both his abjection and his state of arousal. Rebelling without thought, he whirled, shooting Mac an outraged look, and struggled to be loose from his iron grip. He went down, and MacLeod hauled him up and pushed his back to the wall. The customers had all gone. Richie approached hesitantly.

"Guys. You think maybe we can just sit down and talk about this --?"

MacLeod didn't look at him. Methos spoke, trying to control the shake in his voice. "We'll settle this. You go on home."

The blue eyes met his doubtfully. "Mac?"

MacLeod just stood silent, looking into Methos's eyes. Methos's face flamed. If MacLeod moved even a few inches, Richie would see...

"Go lock the street door," MacLeod finally said quietly. "Put up the "closed" sign." The boy turned away. "Richie." There was a prolonged silence. Richie stood waiting, as the Highlander's eyes flicked back and forth across Methos's face. Slowly, holding Methos's eyes, he said, "Then come back here."

Methos felt a cloak of superficial calm settle over his features and relax the stiffness in his arms. And at that age-old signal he began a slow struggle with real panic. As Richie left to obey, he leaned, relaxed, against the wall. "If you're not careful you're going to destroy a kid's illusions about the wise old Immortal and the lily-pure Highlander. I hardly think he's equipped to understand your new dating practices."

MacLeod smiled slightly, frighteningly, never taking his eyes off Methos. "Richie spent years on the street. You'd be surprised what he understands."

And the ancient mechanisms readied for battle, escape at any price, visualizing himself going through MacLeod like a hot knife through tallow, like an arrow through water, light through air --

But he didn't want to hurt Duncan....

He wanted...

...he wanted....

...to submit... to feel Duncan hold him...

...possess him... his arms around him... his lion-maned head nuzzling into his neck and face, his breath hot, hands adhesive, pressing him to the hot overwhelming body... surrounding him until he felt the faint edges of himself disappear, till finally all that would be left would be a long core of hot-gold consciousness, with neither guilt nor care, a bar of molten glow in the furnace of MacLeod's desire, to be shaped as he willed, bent, beaten, tempered, like the heart of a great sword, for his use.

But the Highlander didn't want him willing. He was angry, wanted to find a way to hurt him, make him fight possession. Then the feel of Methos struggling in his arms would inflame him...

Methos understood that sequence too well.

MacLeod sought a way to make his lover rebel.

It had been Kronos's great delight, to find how Methos recoiled, time and again, from being watched, a punishment that never lost its fearfulness. At an infraction, especially any show of independence, he had only to summon a slave, or one of the other Horsemen, to look on as he subdued his screaming half-wild lover. Thus Silas had learned early where the childlike new Horseman's bruises and wounds originated, and had been kind, treating him as he would an injured animal... not understanding, but accepting as the way things were, that Methos found his deepest pleasure in being hurt by Kronos. Methos had gone, sometimes in those early days, to curl up against the refuge of Silas, as he endlessly cleaned and mended tack or worked on his animal cages, in wordless asylum from the loneliness of loving Kronos.

Centuries later it had been he who routinely stood up for Silas. Many things had changed.

Some had not.

Methos still hated being displayed. He would be mortified if Duncan exposed his arousal to Richie, and the Highlander would surely come to regret revealing any hint of his own... fling... with the Oldest.

He tried to calm himself truly, as he had learned and re-learned over almost a thousand-year span in India and Tibet. But a wave of such anguished loss swept him, as soon as he turned his attention inward, that it saturated and dissolved his concentration and flooded him with grief. He fled uncontrollably back to the immediacy of MacLeod's rage rather than face the wasteland of self without MacLeod. Whatever happened tonight, MacLeod would never trust him or care for him again. His wish must be only to ameliorate the violence, ease what would be the Highlander's final memory of him, but the very loss had robbed him of the strength to withdraw, to cool with his own indifference the embers that flared between them. Whatever Duncan would do to him, he would do, and Methos could not stop him.

He opened his eyes to find MacLeod waiting for him with that deadly smile. "Having a little trouble reaching nirvana, are we?"

Methos said calmly, "I never attained enlightenment. Gautama Buddha told me it was because I was too afraid to experience death."

He saw a flicker of something in the half-lidded irises. Richie had come back through the doors from the hall. MacLeod said over his shoulder, "Lock the alley door. Then get me some rope."

Methos let his eyes roll to the side. He crossed his arms. "Really, MacLeod --"

He never saw the backhand that split his mouth open and spun him into the wall. Methos tried to cover his face, from the pain, but Duncan grabbed him and smacked him up into the wall. "Shut up," he spat. "You speak when I tell you to, otherwise you just keep your lying mouth shut!"

Like a wind turning over the ground, picking up speed, lifting dust and leaves, the storm of his feelings whirled through Methos too fast for one emotion to fix on him and direct his actions. Desire to escape, the need to stay, love for MacLeod, guilt, fear, humiliation, sorrow, anger, lust, the hunger to atone, the gulf of not knowing what to do. He wanted to submit, let Duncan's fury beat itself out on him, tell him that it was all right, that he knew he deserved whatever wrath broke on him, that he was sorry... But Duncan was not Kronos. He would bitterly regret any perverted act committed in anger. Submission to this might not be the best idea, for Duncan's own sake. And if Duncan tied him, once helpless he would no longer have a choice. And might MacLeod after all decide being done with it all by taking Methos's head was the only solution? Any minute he might let slip his intentions in front of Richie, an admission that could never be taken back. And if he saw what MacLeod intended, might Richie try to stop him? He would surely assume the Highlander was not in his right mind. If they fought, if MacLeod hurt his student because of Methos -- though he was already obviously beyond forgiveness, even without that. The pain and the sorrow slashed through him, and whirled on.

Richie had come back, trailing a handful of jumpropes. Methos heard him say, "Mac, I really don't know if this is a good idea."

He raised his blood-smeared face to see MacLeod taking the ropes. He mumbled through swollen lips directly to Richie, "Get out of here. Let him get it out of his system."

MacLeod slapped him with all the power of his body behind it, making him stumble and go to his hands and knees.

"Mac..." There was a new undertone of doubt and protest in the boy's voice.

"I want you to see what he is." The velvet voice was bitter. "And what he's made me. Watch what happens. It won't be what you expect." From the floor, Methos looked in disbelief up into the contemptuous brown eyes. "It will teach you something about trusting other Immortals."

Methos half reached to him. "MacLeod!"

From the swathes of the greatcoat the long katana swept out, and the flat of it was at the side of his throat, caressing gently. After a moment Methos closed his eyes, and slowly turned his head more toward the blade.

"Aye," MacLeod breathed. He turned and carefully handed the katana to Richie. "Get his sword. And yours. Lock them all in the cabinet in the office. Then lock the office door."

Richie let out a held breath, and walked over to where Methos's coat lay over a bench. Duncan put his hand on Methos's head and roughed the hair back. There was no trace of mercy in his eyes. "You understand?" He swayed a little, the musk of effort and excitation floating out from the folds of his open coat, quivering Methos's nostrils delicately. The muscles of MacLeod's face were still tight with judgement, but his eyes smoldered and his skin heated with intent so erotic it crept over Methos's flesh, under his clothing. "I want him to see how you squirm on it."

"No," Methos whispered.

"First I'm going to beat the crap out of you, and let him see how you crawl back."

"No." Shaking, panic claws seizing through him.

"Then I'll let him see just what it is you're beggin' for."


"Oh yes. And it's going to own your ass." MacLeod drew a slightly labored breath. "And you'll spread for it."

In front of the brat student.

Inside Methos a wall solidified. A wall of adamant.

He leaped like a cat around MacLeod's swiping arm and darted for the door.

He felt one hand hit his back and then a huge weight slammed him to the floor. He bucked and fought and twisted without plan or thought and got free enough to scramble again for the door. A hand closed over the instep of his sneaker and he crashed down. He kicked hard and heard vicious cursing as he made it again to his feet. He hit the glass-windowed doors running.

Richie had dead-bolted them into the floor.

Methos rebounded hard, but without pause whirled toward the alley door. MacLeod smacked him from the side in a flying tackle that knocked the air out of his lungs. A fist that felt like it had been falling for miles smashed his face, and blood flew. As he gasped for air that wouldn't come he saw MacLeod's teeth show. Still fighting for a first breath he was dragged fast across the floor and felt MacLeod bind a rope around and around his legs and yank it tight like a calf-roper.

Methos's first successful breath was wasted in a scream of panic outrage. Then he aimed an ambitious kick with both feet straight at MacLeod's head, flinging his whole body up off the floor. He felt the legs caught and MacLeod flipped him onto his face, crunched down on him and captured one clawing hand. He tied it to the feet. He paused for breath while Methos squalled and fought under him. Then he dragged Methos by his free arm over to the closed elevator. Whipping the middle of a rope around the flailing wrist, he lashed it to a horizontal bar of the grille, wrapping and knotting in a diamond pattern up past Methos's elbow before tying it off. A rope from feet to the grille, and he unknotted the left arm and hauled it as far left as it would go before rapidly lashing it in the same diamond pattern. Methos was left heaving and struggling, on his knees, facing MacLeod, arms stretched wide, spewing obscenities in a language he thought he had forgotten. The grille rattled against his shoulders but wouldn't break. The last rags of his loose pullover had been torn off in the battle, all that was between him and the bars was his undershirt.

MacLeod walked to a bench and came back with a sweat-towel which he stuffed into Methos's mouth and tied round with another rope. Methos was silenced abruptly and worked to keep from choking.

MacLeod looked down at him as he fought for enough air. "Now that's a pretty package," he crooned. He went to one knee. "But I bet I can make it prettier." He laid a hand on Methos's belly and slid the loose t-shirt up. After a moment, he put his other hand slowly onto the bare skin. A thumb stroked down, and went under the waistband of the jeans. The bunched shirt slid up, across Methos's nipples. MacLeod's fingertip touched one. Methos's head slowly went back and his eyes closed. "Sur-pri-ise," MacLeod said in a very light sing-song. No. No. No.

MacLeod walked away. Methos's eyes flew open. He was in time to see the long black coat disappear into the locker-room. He looked around. Richie was propped against the wall to the left of the office, and met his eyes. Methos jerked at his bonds and spoke urgently through the gag. Richie looked back, and then looked to the locker-room.

MacLeod came out carrying coils of rope. He stretched two of them on the floor and dragged a heavy mat over them, so that ends stuck out at either side.

Methos swallowed.

MacLeod next went to the leather vaulting horse and fixed two ropes to its support post.

Then he lowered the punching bag, unhooked it, and let it fall to the floor.

Finally he doubled lengths of rope in his hand, pulled out a knife from his pocket, and opened a blade. He cut the loops of the doubled rope, at both ends, till he had a handful of four-foot lengths. He put away the knife.

He hadn't so much as glanced at Methos, but Methos's eyes were rivetted on him. He still had on his long coat, all his outdoor clothing. At last he turned. Staring straight into Methos's eyes, he reached up and slowly pulled the Celtic hair-tie from his ponytail, letting the long hair fall forward over his shoulders. Then he slid the tie over one end of the rope lengths, leaving the ropes dangling loose at the other end.

He walked over to Methos and looked down at him. Casually he tossed the bundle of rope- ends onto Methos's crotch.

It slithered down to the floor between his legs.

MacLeod knelt in front of him. He put his hands on Methos's thighs, and ran them up till the thumbs touched at the crotch. He ran both thumbs up over the taut balls and the standing cock under the tough denim. Then he grasped the bottom of the white t-shirt with both fists and ripped it apart to the throat.

He tore it back over each shoulder, leaving the little white collar of knitted trim intact.

"Very fetching," he whispered, leaning close. Methos felt the hot breath on his neck. Some of the flinging panic focussed. MacLeod's hands held his shoulders, then moved, and the fingers drifted lightly into and down the hollows of his armpits. Despite any intentions Methos's hips slid forward and his knees spread. His face turned away. "There now," MacLeod murmurred. "That wasn't so hard, was it."

Methos wanted to fight, but his body was betraying him, as it always had, as it always would. Two tears leaked out from under his eyelids, ran down his cheeks and fell.

MacLeod's broad tongue flattened against his face and scraped upward. Then his fingers turned Methos's chin and he repeated the long lick on the other side.

"I don't want to see any more of these tears, Methos. Because that would imply I'm being mean to you, and I'm not, am I? You deserve everything you get. You were born deserving it. Weren't you."

MacLeod took hold of the jeans and unfastened them.

He could feel every tooth of the zipper as it slid down over his cock.

A moan formed in his throat.

"You're ready. You're so ready." MacLeod's hands went under the jeans and back behind the hips, cupping Methos through thin cotton shorts, stroking, pushing the jeans down. "You want it. You want it a lot.

"But not nearly as much as you're going to want it when I'm done with you. We haven't even got started yet. You know that, don't you.

"You're not ready to crawl to me. I can still feel the fight in you. There's some things you can't lie to me about, Methos. How does it feel to know that? And now you've lied to me for the last time."

MacLeod's hands went under the waistband of the shorts in back and felt of the bare skin. He pushed the clothing down as far as it would go, and his hands took possession of Methos's silken derriere. He pulled the hips forward slowly, further, and further, till Methos was arched out from the grille, his pants around his knees.

"Stay there."

MacLeod moved around to his left side. He took off Methos's shoes, and patiently worked the jeans leg and undershorts under Methos's knee. Then he went around and did the same thing on the other side. Methos felt him untying the ankle ropes. The arms were still tied but it might be possible with some sort of tremendous kick --

MacLeod's hand ran up over his butt, around the side of the hip and down the joint of the thigh in front, and brushed up over his genitals.

The sounds Methos made were unwilled. It was as if Duncan's fingers strummed his vocal cords directly, sending forth the calls of wordless need. He reached and arched for the gentle fingers, hardly noticing as Duncan eased jeans and underwear off over his stockinged feet. It was a madness to make the hand touch harder, but it wouldn't.

Then it was gone.

He almost screamed, and thrust forward, hunting. Then he felt Duncan's hands behind him, tearing a rent up the remains of his t-shirt till it was in two pieces, only attached to him by the short sleeves. He tore each piece again up the center, leaving dangling strips.

In precaution he knotted the rope of Methos's gag tight to the grille. Then he untied his arms, and brought them around front. Leaving the sleeves on the upper arms, he tied the t- shirt strips firmly around them, just above the elbow; and with the leftover ends, tightly tied each opposite wrist, so Methos's arms were crossed, immovably fastened together.

MacLeod leaned in against him, reaching back. His hands rubbed over Methos's buttocks and thighs, up his back, untied the gag rope from the grille, rubbed down his arms, then along his waist and flanks. Methos pressed into him, answering the blessed hands on his body, in movements of thankfulness. His face nudged against MacLeod's, asking for the gag to be removed. A hand came up and pressed his head into MacLeod's shoulder in refusal. Methos submitted. One big hand stroked and pressed his buttocks.

"Are you ready to be taken?"

Methos pressed closer. One broad finger moved between his buttocks. He hurried to spread his knees further apart, and rubbed up against MacLeod as well as he could while trying simultaneously to push back against the two questing hands, especially that one slowly stroking finger.

"All right," MacLeod breathed in his ear. "All right. Will you crawl on your knees for it?" Methos nodded. "All right. All right." Softly MacLeod pulled away and took his arms. "There's just one more thing you have to do first." Methos's body was still reaching for him. MacLeod turned him to the right.

"Just go over there on your knees and show Richie how hot you are."

Methos's eyes flew open. He crouched down, muscles locking hard as iron under MacLeod's hands, like the body of an animal that won't be held.

He had forgotten Richie!

Witness to his shame, threat from without, unknown terror -- or all too known. The boy stood there against the wall, watching him quietly, cheeks slightly flushed. Blushing with the shame Methos should have felt.

Or worse.

MacLeod wouldn't.

But he knew humans, especially Immortals, too well.

They would do anything.

Would MacLeod give him to this boy?

To watch him raped? To get his full revenge? Disdaining his touch, as too unworthy, and bending him to this brat instead?

Why else was he here?

The low cat-growl that had started in his deepest thorax rose ominously in pitch. Methos thrashed free of MacLeod, sprang to his feet and ran.

He had forgotten his socks were still on. Tractionless on the hardwood, his feet flew out, and he cracked down, unable to stop his fall with his bound arms. MacLeod was on him.

He was dragged up from behind, as far as his knees, and twisted to face Richie.

"Show him!" MacLeod sounded half insane. "Show him what you are!" Methos threw himself wildly, backward, forward, to the sides, but MacLeod's arms were hard around him, his head hard over Methos's shoulder to be safe from a butting skull. Methos had to stop, heaving to get breath past the constricting gag, but his body remained steel, wrapped in MacLeod's. "Animal!" MacLeod panted. "Animal -- you'll be trained before this day is done! I'll break you to me or I'll kill you, I swear it!"

He jumped up and dragged Methos to the felled punching bag. He threw him down on his back, rolled the heavy bag on top of him, bestrode it, and from that safe vantage point, cut away the t-shirt bindings and replaced them with loop after loop of rope around each of Methos's wrists, a doubled length between then. Methos had turned blue by the time he rolled the bag off and strung him up to the bag's ceiling rope, anchoring his feet with a rope under the bag's weight on the floor to keep him from spinning. Methos felt him reach up finally and remove the gag. Breathing freely was such a luxury that he hung gasping in the air without noticing MacLeod had gone until he returned and stood in front of him, holding the bundle of rope-ends he had made earlier.

He stood there, thoughtfully tying a knot into the tip of each loose end, before he finally spoke.

"Fifty strokes," he said.

From such an arm -- "Fifty will kill me," Methos blurted.

A peculiar look flickered in MacLeod's dark eyes before they went cold. "Not a problem," he said and turned away.

Then he turned back, considering. "I'll tell you what. I don't like your screeching. I'll divide it into two sets of twenty-five. If you don't scream through the first twenty-five, I'll stop."

Methos barely had a chance to brace himself before MacLeod took a stance off to his left and let fly. Fire scored his calves just over the ankles. The second stroke landed just above the first, the third a bit higher. MacLeod meant to stripe him like a professional. Methos's teeth were already sunk in his lip to keep him from crying out at the sheer force of MacLeod's blows. His mind was falling -- back -- back -- to Riyadh -- to the Inquisition -- to the Carpathos -- the galleys -- Egypt -- Persia -- the Horsemen's camp --

-- the day after he had let Cassandra escape --

He fled, MacLeod's voice calling him back, noting aloud the count. "Ten!" His lower body was fire, his wrists and shoulder-joints blazed with answering pain. He could stand it no longer -- The hiss of the ropes through the air stopped, he heard a step, and MacLeod's hand ran down his butt and thigh through streaks of flame. He jerked and writhed to keep from screaming. The fiery caresses pressed harder.

MacLeod moved around to his front, the whip hung carelessly over his shoulder, and reached behind Methos to stroke with both hands, pulling their bodies close. Methos opened his eyes to look pleadingly at MacLeod, but the Highlander's eyes were closing, he was breathing heavily through parted lips at the writhing of Methos against his body.

At the sight of him, oblivious to anything but Methos in his arms, the front of Methos's body heated, the warmth permeated his consciousness, and his cock hardened and rose, warm with want. He could give MacLeod this, if he needed it, he could give MacLeod anything, it was his destiny, his training, he had been born to give MacLeod this love --

The feel of the cock against him had made MacLeod look down, and he stood back, breathing hard, then turned away with a sound like a snarl. Rope hissed again through the air.

"Eleven! --"

The fire leaped up his back, even onto his arms, and at the twentieth stroke MacLeod paused again, but only briefly, before he whirled around in a full circle and whipped Methos across the ass with tripled force. No no no no no no no --! The next whirl had already started and the whip landed in the same place. I love you --! Don't --! Blood ran down his leg and the whip whirled and slashed, and whirled and slashed.


Methos's whole awareness was flared red with pain, one more, one more, he could stand one more, it would be over, oh god where was the healing -- The seconds dragged on like individual eternities as he hung, anticipating the last layer of fire that would free him from this red --

And suddenly MacLeod lunged a step closer, whirled, and the rope-ends, reaching out past his ass, whipped round the Oldest's hip and lashed full onto his genitals.

The scream was outside him, his body leaped like the whip itself, tore its anchor loose from the weight-bag and jack-knifed, screams rising; he flip-flopped like a hooked salmon but the agony was everywhere, inescapably in him, up through his guts like a spear, down through his legs as if his bones had turned to acid, each instant its own blossom of pure white torture where his naked love had shown. His muscles lost the strength to lift him but the pain lessened not a bit. He felt the rope lowering him till his feet could just touch the floor. He made running-in-place steps with the agony, twisted and wrenched, and the pain screamed on.

Finally he just hung. He could no longer scream nor move.

He felt MacLeod holding him from behind, and could do nothing against the flames everywhere. One hand brushed his bleeding cock, and breath rushed out of him. MacLeod whispered, "Was this what you wanted?" MacLeod's loins pushed at him, and rubbed, before he pulled away with a rustle of clothing, that seemed to echo the whispered question.

MacLeod let him down, catching him and lowering him onto his lap where he sat on the punching bag. The pain of his own weight on his ass warred for supremacy with the pain of his groin, and he jerked and twitched between them. MacLeod's arms touching him brought waves of their own pain, till he felt wrapped in sheets of fire.

Where was the healing, where was the healing --

Methos sweated and shivered with pain, huddling closer to Mac's chest to escape the searing hands on his wounds. He hid his face against Mac's shoulder. The only sounds he made were tiny.

MacLeod rocked him, musing. "Strange, isn't it, how the healing's so much faster with the mortal wounds, or cuts and stabs and bullets, than it is with these, that barely break the skin. Apparently it isn't the level of pain that triggers it at all."

At last he felt a slight, electric tingling. Too little, much, much too slow.

MacLeod sensed it. "There you go," he murmurred. "Better now." Then he added, softly, "Too bad you screamed."

Voiceless, Methos clutched onto MacLeod's sweater, his greatcoat, in supplication.

"Well," MacLeod relented. "That was getting a bit boring. Kneel then."

Hardly able to believe his reprieve, Methos got painfully down onto his knees.

"Hold your hands out." Methos complied. Slowly MacLeod dragged the rope-ends across the upturned palms. There were flecks of blood on the strands. "Kiss the whip."

Methos looked up, startled. MacLeod had not bothered to rise from his careless seat on the punching bag. He raised his eyebrows. "Unless you'd rather be strung up again."

Hastily Methos bent and laid his lips on the ropes.


Kronos would never have done such a thing.

The Horseman was no man of ceremony, had no ritual; the only thing he had ever decreed reverence for was himself. He knew only cruelty, and his will.

And Methos had fetishized but one object, in his whole long life.

He had no time to wonder where the classic line had come from. MacLeod lifted him to his feet and made him walk to the vaulting horse and lie face-down on it, tying his arms tightly around it. His ankles were trussed up so the soles of his feet stuck out past the end of the horse. He heard Mac walk away, all the way across the dojo, into the locker-room. He could hear him move, pick up things. Then the footsteps were coming back. MacLeod set the items on the floor, in Methos's range of vision.

A bottle of massage oil.

Two wide web belts, the kind used for moving heavy appliances.

A black leather glove.

And a long, thin, whippy length of cane, no thicker around than a pencil.

Methos jerked. His breath began laboring.

His eyes rivetted on the cane. It was an implement he had known intimately for a long, long time, had hoped never to see again. He jerked violently on his bonds, but it was far too late. He was helpless.

"You see?" MacLeod whispered near his ear. "There's still way too much fight in you, old man." His palm ran over Methos's back, bringing his fading stripes to scorching life again everywhere he touched. "You have to be made obedient. You need to learn to fear me, Methos, more than you fear the pain I bring you, to submit completely to me. You're still resisting me. You need to be hurt more. I'll whip you till you can't even scream. Before I fuck you."

MacLeod wrapped the first web belt around the vaulting horse and Methos's upper ribcage, cinching it so tight Methos could hardly breathe. The second cinched hard just under his waist.

"MacLeod --" It was hard getting breath enough to speak. "MacLeod I'm sorry!"

"Sorry?" MacLeod squatted down to look him in the face. "You're sorry?"


"What are you sorry for exactly?" His broad hand rubbed along Methos's back and shoulder.

"I'm sorry I exposed you to Kronos."

"I bet you are." It was a lethal purr.

"I'm sorry. I'm sorry." He couldn't think what he needed to say, what he really felt, couldn't touch his own feelings, because --

"You're afraid. You know this kind of fear, where nothing will help you, nothing will save you... you know what's coming and fear is killing you, or you wish it would. No way you can escape what's coming to you." He had leaned so close he was speaking almost against Methos's skin.

"Please don't whip me. Please, Duncan."

"Oh it's "please" now is it? Well what can you offer me, Methos? What can you give me that will be better than taking that cane to your hot little ass?" He waited. "Nothing?"

"Sex," Methos panted. "I can give you the best sex you ever had --"

Duncan's hand closed over his mouth. He breathed close. "Oh, I plan to get that, Adam dear. I'm hard and I'm going to take it out on your ass. As soon as I get you hot as I want it."

Methos's mind ran from corner to corner in what seemed a very small room.

"Nothing else?" MacLeod rocked back on his heels. "That's all you have to offer me?"

Corner -- Corner -- Corner -- "Please! Please don't, please --!" MacLeod picked up the cane and rose, and put one hand on Methos.

"Be quiet."

He caressed him, the naked buttocks that flinched under his hand, barely healed from the rope's-end, and stroked one finger up the center of each delicate sole of his feet through the soft socks. Methos wailed at that touch, fearing what it presaged. MacLeod's hand stroked his thigh, ruminatively, then up his side and over Methos's mouth.

"I said be quiet."

Methos felt the Highlander's hand on the back of his neck, stroking gently, just an inch or two and then back, and after a few moments just resting there, warm. The touch was so intimate, it seemed to be telling him something, deeper than words, as if the love for him the Highlander had felt still tied them, on that level, no matter what storms of rage laid waste the life above. He could hold that one touch close in his heart, and know that MacLeod's love had never been proved so real, as now when it had all transformed to hate.

Then MacLeod stepped back, and there was a long stillness. No pleading had worked. The pathetic inventory of his only possession for bribery -- the one thing MacLeod so patently already owned. No struggle could free him. No inner tranquility to help him endure. Fear lay in him, white and horrible.

He heard the rustle of MacLeod's greatcoat, and there, the vicious roaring hum of the cane through the air, and fire streaked his body, deeper, sharper, biting far more painfully than any rope-end. He groaned.

"One," said Duncan.

Methos lay under the whipping helplessly, the skin of his ass flaying, muscles torn from useless fighting, throat raw. His shoulders and waist took a couple of burning stripes, but it was his ass the whipping tore at. He heard nothing of the count any more, he was in too much pain to hear. Suddenly the rushing of the cane was silent.

MacLeod came and lowered to one knee beside him. Fingers stroked his cheek. His eyes opened. He saw MacLeod reach down and put on the black leather glove. He poured the massage oil into the palm of the glove. Then he rose and Methos felt his hand on the shoulder wounds, then the waist... but it was the glove that touched his ass, between the cheeks, pushing in and pouring the oil down the fingers over his opening. The fingers moved around in the pain, smearing the oil, and then one pushed and took him.

The gloved finger twisted and slid as far as it could go. It pulled out, more oil poured, and two fingers brusquely pushed in together. He felt the two scissoring back and forth inside him, then they turned and he groaned. It was no gentle easing of the opening, but simply oiling and assessment, priming it for more potent use.

The exploration went on, and with fingers deep in him MacLeod ran his gloved thumb over Methos's balls.

The sensation buried in the heart of such agony transmuted the fire to another suffering. His penis hardened, and MacLeod leaned on the hand that had him, fucking him deep, rolling hard on the testicles. Methos bucked and strove into the horse, not enough movement possible to help his need, pain overwhelming him again. MacLeod withdrew.

He dropped the glove on the floor, and set down the oil bottle.

He gripped Methos's ankle. With the other hand he slowly pushed the sock down over the heel; he stroked lightly with a finger behind it. Under the instep... to the ball of the foot... off over the toes. MacLeod's fingers stroked the exquisitely sensitive sole, the little pads of the toes.

"No, MacLeod!" Methos cried. Unheeding, MacLeod slowly coaxed the sock off the other foot, till it too was naked to his trailing touch. He tightened the ropes, Methos pleading and protesting unavailingly. MacLeod picked up the cane.

He lashed full across both soles.

Methos's body tried to levitate.

Through the screams, the next lash fell on the wales across the butt, then the feet again. Alternating, in harsh rhythm without embellishments, MacLeod destroyed Methos with metronomically increasing agony.

When he was done there was nothing left but pain. No room remained for anything else in consciousness. Memory, fear, thought -- nothing existed but the white blast of pain.

He felt nothing else till MacLeod hauled him off the vaulting horse and onto his knees, supporting him in a strongly sexual embrace, thighs caught within MacLeod's, MacLeod's mouth moving over his shoulders and neck; when the broad hands urged his rear, his convulsive jerks forward into MacLeod seemed orgasmic, but his sex was flaccid. The universe was only pain.

"Methos." The breathy voice penetrated. Pain -- obedience. The simple balance had ruled so much of his life, it reigned again now in all its clear brilliancy, madness that he had ever let it be forgotten. It had taken the swift genius of MacLeod scant minutes to correct him, and make him, once more, what he was. He was Methos, as MacLeod said, the one who obeyed, whose love was obedience, and obedience love. The one who could deny him nothing. It was so much simpler.

MacLeod wanted sex. It was obvious in his breathing, his kisses, the hunger of his arms. His whole body dominated Methos, through the pain the sense of MacLeod's desire flickered down in him, lighting a correspondence, core-deep resonance to another, horse to the rider, love to the lover, night to the black night's master. MacLeod willed it, it was so.

How blessed, blessedly easier than to try to assert some meaningless will out of himself, some pride that wasn't even what he wanted, rather than let his will be Mac's, the Highlander's, be Duncan's, the master who rode him so exactly where he wanted to go, found the route and held him to it, spurred him past his tangled fears and now could guide him with but weight and voice, into the clear, plain run ahead.

He lay back in MacLeod's arms ready to be taken, longing to be so ridden in body. But MacLeod rested a hand on the flayed sole of his foot, and reflex flung him up against Mac's body, into his immovable strength. MacLeod liked that, and touched the other foot, sending him spasming hard into the muscular cage of his master. MacLeod reached between them and handled Methos's genitals, and he felt the thrill of his immediate engorgement clear through his soul.


The voice entwined in his name -- audible counterpart to his being's absorption in MacLeod's will. The fingers still touched his genitals, to unparalleled joy.

"Do as I told you."

He cast about. But memory had no place.

"Look at me."

He opened his eyes. MacLeod --

His mouth fell open. Dark eyes lambent with lust for him, black hair like night around chiaroscuro tones of his face, lips parted --

MacLeod was not beautiful, MacLeod was Beauty itself, a primordial force, lusting to possess him --

He was to be taken by a god.

MacLeod whispered, "Go. Show yourself to Richie."


MacLeod moved away from him, and pointed.

Without a second's thought he scurried over to Richie, balancing on his knees in front of him, displaying his flagrant erection, but with head twisted back to watch for MacLeod's every word or gesture. He heard a breath with the words "Oh god" in it, but it was not MacLeod's voice and was irrelevant.

MacLeod gestured to the mat across the floor.

Methos went toward it immediately on hands and knees. At a snap of MacLeod's fingers he stopped and looked back. MacLeod walked to the mat, bringing the cane and the oil, and set the bottle down. He came to Methos and pressed the Oldest's head against his thigh, stroking his hair, and resting his hand again on Methos's neck. This time the hand was almost trembling with desire, a signal that struck direct to Methos's lowest chakras. MacLeod must have him soon. What did he wait for? Methos dared to lay one hand on the back of the strong thigh, and looked up. He reached with his mouth slowly toward MacLeod's crotch.

MacLeod stopped him, hand moving around from his neck to hold his chin.

"Your pain is receding." It was a statement more than a question, but Methos nodded. His world held so much now, about MacLeod, besides his pain. MacLeod stepped away.

"Hold out your hands."

Methos lifted his palms and looked up at MacLeod. MacLeod's voice shook. "After I hit you, get on the mat. Lie down where I tell you."

MacLeod raised his arm high over his head, the cane roared in the air, and whipped across Methos's hands. Methos curled to the floor.

He made no sound. Brilliance of pain usurped him. Pain took the place of time. He lay in its universe.

When concepts returned, MacLeod's words were first. He pulled himself up onto his forearms, and dragged himself to the mat. A couple of blankets were folded in the center, a soft towel over them. Without needing to be told he crawled and laid himself over them, on his back, hips elevated.

MacLeod was near his feet, looking down at him, unreadable.

"You betrayed me," he said at last.

"Tell me now why you betrayed me."

Methos groped. No memory.

"You made me take Kronos's Quickening."

MacLeod stepped over him, slowly lowered himself to kneel astride Methos's thighs, the wings of the vast greatcoat settling around him. Methos's pain-limp cock once more reached for the Highlander.

"You wanted me to feel what Kronos felt for you.

"You betrayed me."

It was as if the memories only existed after MacLeod named them. He remembered. Deeds. Thoughts.


"Why did you betray me, Methos?"


"I betrayed you because I wanted you."

MacLeod's voice was a low throaty whisper. "Oh, I know you want me." He laid the length of his hand on the length of Methos's naked up-pointing organ. Then he caressed it. Methos panted and whimpered. His touch stayed the same, firm but light, as he stroked every part of the cock between his fingers and thumb, then ran his thumb down over the taut balls, along their under-rims, and back up to the tip. He kneaded gently, then harder, and Methos rose up from the hips.

Duncan laughed, low. "Oh yeah... come on... come on... give it to me." Methos's upper body was racked forward, then arched back, sinking to the floor again. Beneath him MacLeod felt the strong muscles of the thighs struggling in the floods of desire. He leaned forward, his crotch over Methos's, his hand still working the cock, the ancient Immortal unable to keep still.

MacLeod whispered into his need, "Why do you want me, Methos?"

The hand on his cock and the question were the same. "I love you." Methos gasped and lofted thighs and hips to try to touch more of MacLeod. "I love you!" The hand on his cock was his only being. "I love you --"

MacLeod left him, and he lay blind in loss. Then he felt the hands at his wrist, tying him. The other wrist. His arms were spread. MacLeod. He felt something tap his calf. He looked up. MacLeod stood beside him holding the cane, and gestured. Methos raised the limb till MacLeod could take it and clamp it under his arm. He ran the tip of the cane down Methos's inner thigh.

"I don't choose to tie your legs apart. Instead I'm going to stripe you here." The cane smoothed the flesh down to the joint. "It will provide more pain while I fuck you. And it will keep your thighs wide, so you won't impede me. Keep your other leg down. Don't move."

MacLeod's arm raised high and the cane struck, sank fangs of fire into tender inner flesh. It whipped again, flicking blood in its trail. Methos heaved, fighting to keep still as the lashes bit him. He rolled when MacLeod dropped his foot. It was pain. It was Mac's will. MacLeod had moved around and tapped his other leg, but Methos's muscles would not obey him. MacLeod had to lean down and pick up the ankle, clamping it under his arm as he had the other, to expose the soft flesh, and he lashed into it with doubled strength and quickness, till a perfect grille of torment branded each inner thigh, hands, feet and ass still throbbed with bitter ache to the bone, and Methos could not control his writhes and twists. Then he felt the cane laid the length of his trembling cock, rolling over it, stroking --

If MacLeod did this, he would be incapable. He would no longer be able to respond as MacLeod wanted. But if MacLeod chose this... it was his will. The cane bounced lightly on the hardening cock, traced the humps of the balls. A single stroke would pulp the vulnerable organs. Hard whipping would cause damage that would not fully regenerate for hours. MacLeod almost certainly could not know that. He looked up, struggling to hold his body still, and found the beautiful dark eyes locked on his. He gazed back. It was MacLeod's decision.

MacLeod went to one knee, and laid the cane on Methos's lips. Kiss the whip. It could signal end of punishment. Or acceptance of exquisite torture to come. He could feel MacLeod's desire, radiating off him, deepening his breathing to raggedness.

Methos opened his mouth and took the cane between his back teeth. He held MacLeod's gaze. MacLeod did nothing, only looked back at him with hot eyes.

Methos tightened his jaws, turned his head toward MacLeod, and snapped the cane in two against the grip of his molars.

For an instant MacLeod looked astonished. Then a ferocious grin spread over his face. He threw the useless twigs of cane from them.

"Something a little thicker?"

He rose in a swirl of greatcoat skirts, and stepped between Methos's naked legs. He started unfastening his trousers.

"A little harder?"

His hands pushed the fly apart and down. MacLeod pulled out a thick, weighty erection, dark, long, and hot.

"This what you had in mind?"

Methos made a sound as if he had been taken.

MacLeod fell to his knees. The greatcoat billowed and settled around the Oldest like a black pavilion, a veil falling over the white tabernacle of his body.

Ribbons of fire brushed his thighs at every touch of Mac's bunched-down trousers, his heated skin. Oil splashed. MacLeod leaned over him and between wings of pain he felt the tip of the cock nudge wide under his testicles. The width slid, side to side, slowly lowering, sliding in the oil, to the rim, and slowly, slowly over it. The head of Mac's cock was ready to enter him.

Instead, MacLeod's hand touched his cock, and Methos began to fall, through realms of sweetness and pain, colored like fire, wells of torture, lakes of brilliance, rippled all through with a rise of ecstasies, a whisper, the panting of a name, the hand on his cock teaching him holiness, the sanctity of bliss, the nameless identity of his earthly god, the dark light where pain and pleasure trembled as one.

He heard MacLeod moan simply, "Oh, I want you," the body on him moved, and the big rugged organ made its entry into him, one slow, slow push that parted him, that didn't end until MacLeod's pelvic bones dug and bruised his flesh. MacLeod still tried to bury more in him, and Methos's spread thighs clutched, then winged wide from the pain, but had to close again. The butterfly motion drove MacLeod in, in, till at last he had no recourse but to pull back, allowing him again the ecstasy of the deep, slow push and the anguish it carried into Methos. He had taken his hand off Methos's cock to get more leverage, now he leaned both palms on the whipped inner thighs to try to open him further. Methos rocked with agony but made no struggle. MacLeod's hands had the right to his pain. But MacLeod abandoned the attempt, striving just to bury himself whole, bucked, arched, again finally had to withdraw with a cry of sorrow, as if he had forgotten all knowledge of sexual thrusting in the need just to go further into Methos.

But rhythm came. Methos began to feel himself ridden, powerfully and ruthlessly, body opened, weight on him hurtful and peremptory, tied arms helpless when he felt the first bites. MacLeod's teeth sank long and hard into his shoulder, his arm, his nipple, his neck, savage marks of possession. His other nipple was bitten and not released, Methos wriggled beneath it defenselessly, made to cry aloud, suffering under the brands of a lust that had broken all control. The teeth released and as the nipple seared with trebled pain, MacLeod held him down at arm's reach and rammed his length up Methos at a blow.

Suddenly MacLeod's hand found the one shred of Methos's clothing left on him, the white band of the t-shirt collar circling his throat. With a growl he twisted it tight and pulled back, cutting off all air. Methos began to fight and to struggle blindly; MacLeod wallowed in it, rubbing on Methos's double-swollen cock, urging against his balls; immense in him, forcing deep through the flesh's contractions.

As suddenly as it had come the strangulation ceased, as if MacLeod had woken to what deadly pasture his lust was grazing on. Methos heaved in air as best he could under MacLeod's weight. He felt the hand on his face, the tongue at his mouth, and rocked to MacLeod with a breathless moan, his cock throbbing and needing, his helpless body as desperate for MacLeod's as his lungs were for air. He rocked rhythmically and a song of need sirened through his breaths, driving MacLeod to paroxysms of savagery, till all in an instant Methos lost outward awareness and his body shook convulsively. Frenziedly MacLeod forced a hand between them in time to grip Methos's cock as it jumped and cum shot. At the hot surround of his hand Methos's whole body reacted in a contraction so strong it lifted MacLeod's weight. The astounded Highlander rode the hard waves, strove into him, called out his passion, locked his arms under Methos's body and drove from the knees. Methos's love-cry rang back from the walls, shuddering at the end, the voice of orgasm, moaning out in endless waves. MacLeod's gasps counterpointed, "Yes -- yes --" and he raised up shuddering, and Methos's orgasming awareness caught the darkly-glazed half-swooning eyes locked on him, as his body opened further and further into ecstasy, washing out his arms to the fingers, which clenched and flung the wave back, arching his neck and bringing his pure voice out, aching his bones from the pelvis in waves of pain-like heat, lifting his threshold for torment to the precise infinity of his saturated pleasure- bounds, with eyes hardly able to open he saw behind the flushes of fulfillment over Mac's face, an answered purpose, exultancy in tenderness, under the still-trembling possession that rocked Methos's flesh again -- again -- MacLeod -- MacLeod -- adored him -- owned him -- shepherded him home -- had brought him -- exactly where he needed to be -- MacLeod --!

The hand took him hard again.

The blaze of loving triumph darkling through the Highlander's ecstasy said everything, Methos had no need of the kiss that took his lips in benediction; the Highlander was his -- had never been otherwise -- "Forgive me." The words were outlined against his mouth, the littlest drift of sound. This would be his, again, and again -- The bliss of his body skyrocketed a hundredfold, he arched blindly in MacLeod's close hand, and his heart cried out to heaven.

End of Part 5

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