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Begin Again

where the flames mingle

and the wings meet, when we gain
the arc of perfection,

we are satisfied, we are happy
we begin again


Many thanks to Nita, Zoe, and Merry for betaing! All feedback welcome.

Set shortly after "To Be/Not To Be"

The fire muttered smokily to itself. On the edge of sleep, Duncan slouched deep in the couch, half-listening to the ripples slapping softly against the sides of the barge. The better part of a bottle of scotch warmed his belly. Methos sprawled next to him and over him, head propped on the arm of the couch, hands balancing a beer bottle on his chest. Duncan's hands rested on the long legs flung across his own, their warm weight pressing him into the cushions.

Empty bottles stood on the coffee table around a stack of playing cards, relics of another comfortable night. He wondered drowsily what day of the week it was, then counted back to the day Amanda had left and decided it was Wednesday. "Is it Wednesday?"

"Thursday," Methos said. "Or rather Friday by now."

He frowned, trying to figure out where he'd lost a day, then shrugged and polished off his drink. It didn't much matter. He set down the glass and let his head fall back against the sofa. He supposed he should get himself to bed and let Methos have the couch, but he felt warm and relaxed and completely disinclined to move.

Cool fingers suddenly closed on his wrist. Surprised, he stilled and realized only then that his hands had been moving. His fingers, spread over the muscled length of Methos' thigh, went hot. Hazel eyes met his and didn't spare him for a long, scarlet moment. Then the wry mouth quirked, and Methos let go of him and lay back down. "MacLeod, if you're not ready for the party, don't send out invitations." He tilted up the bottle.

Not missing the mockery in his tone, Duncan sat up a little and glared at him. "And what if I am ready?"

The bottle was set aside with a clink, and Methos turned on him again, eyes glittering with something other than firelight. "Are you?"

He flushed, suddenly wide awake. "Maybe," he said defensively.

Laughing softly, Methos swung his legs over and got up, reaching for his coat, his eyes clear hazel again. "Go to bed, Highlander." He picked up the bottle of scotch and sloshed the last two fingers of liquor around in front of Duncan's eyes. "And go easier next time."

Duncan looked up at him, past the bottle, at the cool, smiling mouth, and then his hands were settling into the short-cropped black hair and he was tasting beer and salt and the nameless flavor of another man's mouth. But after all, there was nothing alien about it, nothing truly unfamiliar, and he relaxed, sure that he was indeed ready, that this would be no harder than any other sexual encounter. His hands and lips softened the kiss into tenderness.

The only warning he had was the thud as the bottle of scotch hit the floor, then his legs went out from under him. He fell into the couch with a strong hand gripping the back of his neck, a thigh pressed hard between his own. Methos pushed him flat and held him down against the cushions, the strength of that slender body surprising as always. Duncan stared up, his hips jerking involuntarily as Methos shifted and an unmistakable hardness pressed against his groin.

"I'm not a woman or a sheep, MacLeod." Methos' face was inches away, unsmiling now.

"I'd noticed." He'd meant the words to be light, but his voice came out husky, turned them into innuendo. The gold-green eyes above him flared, and Methos took his mouth hard, teeth and lips and tongue almost savage. Flailing, his hands dug into the cushions for purchase. Methos bit his lower lip until it stung, licked the marks with quick flickers of tongue that maddened and soothed only enough to leave him even more sensitive for the next bite. Duncan panted hoarsely for breath, and Methos' tongue plunged into his open mouth, the thin lips velvet against his skin. Methos stroked the inside of his teeth, pursued his tongue deeper into his mouth, into a tangle of wet heat.

Feeling like there was nothing in the world but that skillful mouth, Duncan jerked and almost came as his cock was seized through his pants; a quick, crude squeeze that brought all the rest of his body to clamoring arousal. He groaned against Methos' mouth, then groaned again as the lips pulled away, his head lifting from the couch as he tried to follow.

Methos pushed him back down. "Open your pants, MacLeod," he ordered. "Then open mine."

His eyes locked with Methos', Duncan unclenched his hands from the couch and reached down into the warmth between their bodies, fumbling with the buttons and zippers. He had to lift his hips to slide his briefs down, and the motion pressed him against the hard length of Methos' cock, only the thin layer of a pair of boxers between them. His cock twitched involuntarily, and Duncan's hands hesitated on the waistband of the boxers.

Methos smiled again, a full, amused curving that crinkled the corners of his eyes. He bent down, and Duncan inhaled, shivers running down his back, as Methos blew lightly into his ear. "You're doing so well, Mac," the silky voice murmured against his earlobe, mocking. "Don't stop now."

Duncan bit his lip and slid the boxers down, deliberately running his hands over the tight muscles of Methos' ass as he did. Methos laughed softly in his ear as if he'd expected just that, and Duncan's hands stilled long enough for Methos to prop himself up on hands and knees. A faint flush darkened the skin along Methos' collarbone, and the lips that had just been wreaking havoc on him were wet, parted just enough to let Duncan see the moist dark cavern behind them. Duncan thought suddenly of those lips wrapped around his cock and closed his eyes--whether to savor the image or to shut it out, he couldn't admit even to himself.

Duncan opened them to find Methos looking down at him with that maddening smile. "Hmm. What do you want, MacLeod?" Methos whispered softly, leaning down. He licked his lips slowly, running his tongue over them until they gleamed in the yellow light. Duncan could only stare at them, mesmerized. Methos shifted, easing down the couch. His mouth was so close Duncan could feel warm breath on his aching cock.

"Methos." Duncan swallowed, his mouth suddenly parched and dry, and tried again. "Methos, please."

"Is this what you want, Duncan?" Almost there, almost... Duncan gave a wordless groan and pushed his hips up, trying to invite and demand at the same time.

"Dammit, Methos, you know what I want!"

"Tell me, Duncan." The voice was implacable.

"I want... I want you to..."

"You want me to use my mouth on you, Duncan?" Each word breathed over his skin like a caress.

"Yes!" Duncan reached out for Methos' head, tried to push him down, restraint forgotten.

"Ah-ah-ah." Methos caught his wrists, sitting up. "You haven't asked me what I want yet, MacLeod."

Panting, Duncan pushed himself up on one elbow, trying not to look down at his cock, at Methos', so close together, both flushed and already slick. "What do you want?" he asked, pretending his voice wasn't thick with scotch and desire.

Quick as thought, Methos lunged forward, and Duncan fell back against the pillows again, his legs pressed apart by Methos' weight between them, his cock blissfully trapped between their bodies, rubbing against the trail of soft hair running down Methos' belly. Methos' cock radiated heat against his balls, and Duncan tensed, the rest of his mild alcoholic haze evaporating like mist before the sun. He struggled to keep breathing evenly.

"What do you think I want?" Methos said, pressing forward. His cock slid lower, into the warmth between Duncan's buttocks, riding back and forth with the deliberate shift of his hips.

It felt good. Duncan went from tense to rigid. Fumbling around half-drunk with a friend was one thing. Letting someone take him--

His thoughts must have shown on his face, because Methos smirked and rolled off him. Off-balance, Duncan scrabbled to keep from falling off the sofa while the other Immortal pulled his clothes back together with insulting ease. "What are you doing?" Duncan demanded.

"Leaving, MacLeod," came the unruffled answer. "I'll see you around."

"What?!" Indignant, Duncan stood up, pants tangled around his ankles. "You're just going to leave? What the hell--Methos!" The other man was already halfway to the door. Kicking his legs free of the clothing, Duncan lunged after him and spun him around, only to freeze as the cold edge of the small second sword Methos carried was pressed to his throat.

"That's taking it a bit too far, don't you think?" Duncan said uneasily, trying to lean away from the blade.

"What did you think was going to happen here, MacLeod?" Methos backed him into the room. "Did you expect me to roll over and play Amanda substitute for you?" The couch hit the backs of Duncan's knees. Methos pressed him back until Duncan fell over the arm and went sprawling over the cushions, the sword-tip chasing the hollow of his throat.

"I warned you," Methos continued, his voice like winter. "You're not some teenager in the back seat of a car¾ if you wanted to play blushing virgin, you had no business jumping on me." He pushed off the couch, the blade vanishing into his coat, and raked Duncan's prone form with scornful eyes. "I've got better things to do than play cheerleader for your first attempts at sexual experimentation. So yes, I'm leaving."

He turned to go. No longer pinned by his gaze, Duncan scrambled up, struggling for self-control. "Methos," he said, trying to put an apology in his tone. "Methos, wait."

Methos turned back, one of those sarcastic eyebrows lifted, and Duncan looked away. "I wasn't trying to--" His voice trailed off.

Methos sighed, and some of the chilliness faded from his posture. "Forget it, MacLeod. You've gone four centuries without ever wandering off the straight and narrow. I should have known better than to--" he broke off and shook his head. "Go to sleep, Duncan. I'll be at Joe's place tomorrow."

"I'm not a tease, Methos." He swallowed. "If you want--"

"Shut up, MacLeod," Methos cut sharply through the words Duncan had started gathering. "Go to bed before you get any more clever ideas."

Embarrassed, Duncan fell back on the commonplace. "Night, then."

Methos glanced back at him from the door. "Good night," he said, a touch of sarcasm sharpening the words. And then he was gone, his presence slipping away after him.

Alone in the suddenly cold barge, Duncan lay back and stared at the ceiling, morose and frustrated and uncomfortably guilty. He'd asked things from Methos without being willing to give equal value in return. That retreat had cost Methos something, and Duncan knew that the other man hadn't deserved to pay that price.

He flung an arm over his eyes and tried not to remember the cool, cutting tone. But pushing aside memories of their confrontation left him open to other memories--memories of heat and desire, of the frighteningly pleasurable sensation of lying half-naked and warm beneath that lanky body, feeling that weight pressing between his thighs. Hard again, Duncan took a deep breath and reached down to grip his cock, trying not to remember while his hips moved and his hand stroked.

It wasn't working. His cock was on the verge of raw, the friction against his palm becoming unpleasant, and he still couldn't push himself over the edge. His free hand went groping out along the table, caught the empty beer bottle. He brought it to his mouth and licked the rim, sticky with traces of beer and Methos's mouth. The sour-sweet taste jolted him, and everything started to come together, finally--until he opened his eyes and caught his reflection in the blank television screen and stopped to wonder what the hell he was doing.

He dropped the bottle like a hot potato and hauled himself off the couch. Pacing the room did nothing except burn off the rest of the alcohol, which only made matters worse. Duncan picked up the scotch and stared glumly at the small amount left. He didn't want to be sober, but going out to get another bottle this late would be pathetic even if it were possible.

He settled for the last two gulps of liquor, then climbed into his cold, empty bed, feeling sorry for himself. Methos could have been a little more patient, he thought resentfully. It wasn't every day a man--did what? He rolled over and buried his face in the pillow, wondering what exactly he would have done if Methos had been more patient. Would he even now be lying on this bed, face down, with the other man's body pressed warm against his back... He realized his cock was getting interested and hastily cut off that train of thought.

I was just drunk, he told himself, blushing in the dark. I'm glad he left. I'm glad... "The hell I am," he said out loud, disgusted with himself. No wonder Methos had walked out. Here he was, some part of him blaming Methos for not coaxing him along, and he was still trying to pretend that he hadn't been interested.

But really, it was probably for the best that Methos had gone, he consoled himself. No matter what lust and scotch could do to open a man's mind, Duncan was sure that he'd have woken to unpleasant regrets. This way, he might spend an uncomfortable night, but it would have blown over by morning, and he'd be able to forget the whole thing.

He hoped.

* * *

The problem, Duncan thought irritably, was that nothing involving Methos seemed to work out quite the way he wanted it to.

"Arthur was a jerk," Methos, sprawled improbably over a barstool, was telling Joe. "Christian king, my arse. The only reason he didn't do something about Guinevere and Lancelot sooner than he did is that he needed her as cover for his little affair with his sister. Oh yes," he added, as Joe stared at him, "that wasn't any one-time fling. They were sleeping together for years. The archbishop had to pretend not to know about it."

Duncan listened to Methos spin out his version of Camelot with half an ear. The club had closed down several hours before, and only the three of them remained, gathered around the bar. All night, Methos had acted as though nothing had happened the evening before beyond some heavy drinking, and annoyance had crept up on Duncan's initial relief. He'd spent the day fighting the urge to drink the imported beer in his fridge, half-frightened of coming to Joe's, unable to drive the memory out of his mind¾ and Methos seemed completely unaffected. He glared down into his empty glass and filled it up again.

"Wait a second," Joe said, interrupting the continuing story. "Lancelot, Guinevere, and Mordred planned Arthur's death? Together?"

Methos nodded. "Lancelot wanted Guinevere, Guinevere wanted to avoid the stake, Mordred wanted the throne, and they all hated Arthur like poison."

"That's unbelievable." Joe shook his head. "You're serious?"

"Not at all," Methos said blandly.

"But how come--what did you just say?"

Methos was grinning broadly, his face crinkling up with amusement, and Duncan's chest squeezed tight with unexpected desire.

"You made that whole thing up!" Joe threw down the rag he'd been using to polish the bar. "I can't believe you."

Methos started laughing openly. "I can't believe you bought it! Come on, Joe. Lancelot? The name was invented by some French poet centuries after Arthur lived. And they didn't burn noblewomen, they beheaded them. I practically took the plot out of Lerner and Loewe!"

"Yeah, real funny," Joe said sourly. "Okay, that's enough." He straightened up and rubbed the small of his back. "I'm going to bed. Get out of here, you two."

"Right." Methos drained his glass and came around the bar to rinse it out. "Give me yours, MacLeod."

Duncan took a deep breath and threw back the last of his scotch, then handed the glass over.

"You can go ahead, Joe," Methos said. "I'll lock up."

"Okay, thanks. Night," Joe said, heading to the back.

"Night, Joe," Duncan said.

Leaning on the bar, Duncan watched Methos wash out the glasses, the back of his neck pale between the dark hair and the black t-shirt he wore. Dragging his eyes away, Duncan stared down at the bar, rubbing at a small, familiar stain in the dark wood, missing the comfortable sensation of deja vu that had softened his recent nights.

"He's gone, MacLeod."

"What?" Duncan looked up.

"Joe's gone," Methos said, turning off the water and reaching for a dishtowel. "So you can get the apology out of your system now."

"I wasn't planning to apologize," Duncan said, not sure exactly what he was planning to do.

Methos paused without turning, then set down the last glass and tossed the dishrag aside. "So what did you have in mind?"

"I thought maybe we could both get what we wanted. If you're still interested." Had he really just said that?

Apparently so, because Methos did turn then, and Duncan had to suffer under a long, penetrating look. The wry lips twitched, then Methos came around and picked up his trenchcoat. "My place or yours?" he asked coolly. "And I don't feel like walking home at five in the morning again, MacLeod, so keep that in mind."

A little numb from disbelief at his own actions, Duncan pulled on his jacket and cleared his throat. "My place."

They walked to the barge in silence and a fine drizzle that softened the Parisian streets into inconsistent shadows. He didn't try to tune out the low murmur of Methos' presence, letting the sensation occupy his mind. He didn't want to think anymore. The decision was made, had been made the second he'd blurted out the invitation, and now there was nothing left for it but to follow through.

He managed to keep himself under control until they were almost inside. When he reached down to unlock the door, Methos put a hand on the back of his neck, and Duncan was suddenly, breathlessly hard¾ and terrified. He fumbled with the keys and almost bolted into the safe haven of the barge the moment he had the door open.

"Leave it off." Methos' voice stopped Duncan just as he was reaching for the light switch. He stood, frozen, while the door swung shut and Methos' footsteps crossed the floor, blue light from the portholes dappling over his coat. Methos shrugged out of his coat and let it fall into the shadows on the floor, then reached out to Duncan's jacket and pushed it off over his shoulders. Duncan let his arms hang straight down so it could slide off, then stood uncertainly, waiting for Methos to make the next move.

He thought there was a hint of a smile in the shadows of the angular face, then Methos backed off and walked further into the barge. "Take off the rest of your clothes and get into bed, MacLeod," Methos said over his shoulder.

The buttonholes seemed to have shrunk since he'd put the shirt on, and the zipper on his pants had become a thing of mystery. Sitting down on the bed to take off his socks, Duncan felt the mattress shift as Methos settled down on it. Trying not to listen to the rustle of the sheets, he got jerkily to his feet and didn't look over his shoulder while he slid the briefs down over his hips. It took a moment of struggle to turn around. The cool glitter of moonlight in the hazel eyes that stroked over his body drove him hastily under the covers.

The sheets were already warm with Methos' body. Duncan took his courage in hand and edged closer to the other man. Methos didn't do anything, simply watched him, and Duncan finally leaned over and kissed him out of desperation. Methos stayed passive, letting Duncan explore his mouth, and Duncan's hands tangled into the short-cropped hair to pull him closer. The flavor was the same, the teeth still smooth and even beneath his tongue, but Duncan felt oddly unsatisfied until Methos hummed softly in the back of his throat and cupped Duncan's head in his hands.

Duncan sighed and let those hands break the kiss and tilt his head back. Warm and wet, Methos' tongue drew patterns on his throat, then wiped them away with broad strokes and quick, light kisses. Slender fingers pressed against his parted lips, and Duncan licked the faintly salty pads, sucking on their tips. They lifted away again, as Methos began to nibble at the junction of his shoulder, and settled on his nipple. Duncan groaned as two wet fingers rolled the nub between them, squeezing lightly, and Methos coiled over him, a warm heavy weight on his thighs, skin rubbing against skin.

Duncan closed his eyes and let the weight carry them both down, bodies sliding along the sheets. Methos' mouth never left him, lips skimming along the curve of his shoulder, back across his collarbone, breath like a caress whispering over his skin. Soft, sucking kisses traveled his body. Duncan shivered at the cold air on the flushed, tender marks they left behind and reached out to pull Methos close.

He sought Methos' mouth again with his own and clung to him, spreading his hands across the smooth back. Their tongues met, sweet and liquid, and Duncan lost himself in the sensation. He drew out the kiss, parting only long enough to gulp more breath and dive back in again, tilting his head a little differently, seeking out a new hidden corner.

Methos pulled back, and Duncan opened his eyes, reaching to follow. Strong hands pressed him down against the pillows, and he yielded to the silent command, his breath coming quicker just at the thought of what Methos might do with his surrender.

"Good," Methos hissed, bending his head to Duncan's chest. He licked the nipples, then bit down just a little, alternating between the two until they were both peaked and hard and Duncan was gasping like a racehorse. His cock lay heavy against his belly, throbbing with every glancing touch of Methos' skin. He reached down to touch himself, but Methos caught his hand and pushed it back down to the mattress.

"Please," he groaned.

"Say my name, Duncan," Methos said, his thumb running lightly along the crease of Duncan's thigh.

"Dammit, Methos! Please!" Duncan ground out, trying to get his cock under the wandering hands.

Methos laughed and prowled up the bed for another long kiss. He broke it finally and asked, "Oil?"

Duncan looked at him blankly a moment, then flushed. "There's...there's some in the drawer." Methos climbed off the bed, and Duncan lay back and stared up at the ceiling, trying not to hear the creak and slide of the nightstand drawer, the pop of a vial opening.

Coming back onto the bed, Methos paused and bent over him, his face amused in the pale blue light. "You look like a sacrificial victim, not a man about to have sex."

Welling panic forced words out of him. "Methos--I've...I've never..."

"I know, Duncan," Methos said, and his voice was briefly gentle. "Trust me." His mouth quirked, and the familiar sarcastic tone was back. "I do know what I'm doing, after all."

"What if" Duncan was silenced by a firm hand covering his lips.

"Relax, MacLeod. You will enjoy this."

That's what I'm afraid of. Duncan swallowed the reply and tried to relax, only to have Methos make it impossible. The maddening, lush warmth of his mouth stripped away all control as it moved down Duncan's body, sucking, biting. A breath ghosted over his shaft, and Duncan's hips rose involuntarily from the mattress, straining. Methos' hands closed on his hips and kept them up, then nudged a thick pillow beneath them and left Duncan's groin exposed. Duncan squeezed his eyes shut, unable to meet Methos' gaze with the cool air circling over him.

Another warm breath came--so close--sweet contrast on his cock, and then--his eyes shot open--Methos' lips--oh, tight, delicious--slid over the head--all the way down, a single smooth glide, going on forever and ever. The headboard biting into his frantic, clutching hands--Methos' hand, slick, closing on his balls, rolling them in the small sac--low humming around his shaft. The unbelievable, impossible sight of that elegant dark head bowed over him, taking him in.

"Methos--Methos!" Duncan shook all over as the muscles in Methos' throat shifted around him, squeezed him, then moaned desperately as Methos slid back off him, the head of his cock slipping out of the wet, red mouth. "Please, more, yes, Methos," he panted.

"Give me another pillow," Methos said, licking his lips. In the jolt of lust that shot through him at the sight of the pink tip of Methos' tongue, Duncan forgot to be nervous as he was raised further up, pillows tucked beneath the small of his back. "Spread your legs wider, Duncan," came the command, but it came as his cock was gripped and stroked in oil-slick fingers, and Duncan obeyed, unselfconscious with desire, the muscles of his thighs stretching pleasantly as he lay himself open.

Methos took him back in again, but only the head this time. Two fingers circled the base of his shaft as Methos suckled him, rubbing up and down, squeezing slightly in warning whenever Duncan came too close to the edge. The other hand trailed lightly over his balls, then stroked down to his opening. Duncan shivered with the urge to twitch away as the first finger rubbed lightly over him, then shivered again with unexpected pleasure. The oil was warm from Methos' hands, more silken than wet against his flesh, and sparks of pleasure danced up his spine in mockery of all his hesitation.

The fingers stroked over him, dripping with oil, but only the droplets penetrated him, leaving him on the knife-edge of anticipation until it transmuted into actual longing, until he found himself craving a deeper touch. He shuddered and pushed back against the fingertips when they went over him again, and the soft, pleased noise Methos made around his cock almost drove him over. The hand withdrew, then one finger returned, coated even more thickly with oil, and pressed inside him.

Tension leapt into his muscles all over again at the intrusion, even though he'd provoked it, but the instinctive tightening of his body couldn't stop the slow, deliberate penetration. Then Methos went down on him completely again just as the finger moved inside him, and pleasure spiked through him in two places at once. A second finger joined the first while he was still in the grip of pleasure; they turned, pressed--and he was flying, thrusting back against them, writhing until the sheets beneath him were hot with friction.

When it all stopped at once, fingers and mouth sliding away from him, he sobbed out loud at the loss and arched, welcoming, as the weight of Methos' body came onto him, pressing his legs further apart. Then the blunt, thick strength of Methos' cock breached him, breached him and took him, sinking deep into his body as if he'd been made to sheathe its hot, living length, and he didn't recognize the sound of his own voice crying out.

There was a moment, both too long and too short, to adjust; to accept the overwhelming presence of Methos inside him and over him; to think of himself, for the first time, as a vessel, for this man, for this pleasure; to look up and see hazel eyes bright and ruthless with knowledge--and then to see those eyes darken and to brace himself in that instant of warning before Methos began to smash every defense he had against the terror and ecstasy of being possessed.

Every thrust rocked him, shook him loose from all his moorings. With a sense of unreality, he heard himself demanding, urging Methos on, harder, faster. Sweat ran off his muscles, his thighs trembling with the effort of holding himself open as Methos pounded away at him, straining to yield just a little more, to be taken just a little further. Finally, Methos grabbed his shoulders, dragged him up while falling back himself, and Duncan let his own weight impale him completely onto Methos' cock, groaned, and came.

Spent, he sighed, letting his head roll back against his shoulders, the sweet relief of relaxation washing over his muscles, mingling with the sweeter rush of afterglow. Prone beneath him, Methos watched through heavy-lidded eyes, and Duncan couldn't help giving him a drowsy, sated smile.

Methos laughed softly and rubbed his thumb gently over the slit in Duncan's oversensitized cock, making him twitch. And in that small motion, Duncan realized that Methos was still hard, and still buried deep inside him. Fresh color burning into his face, he stared down at the other Immortal, uncomfortably certain that Methos had planned this. "What...what do you want?" he managed, his voice husky, trying not to think about the richly throbbing length inside him.

A wicked smile. "Squeeze down," Methos said. Duncan hadn't thought he could get any redder. He swallowed and tried to clench the unfamiliar muscles. His reward was a low groan and the quick ripple of pleasure over Methos' face. An elemental satisfaction burned through him, and he tightened again, avidly watching for the reaction. In moments, Methos was breathing hard, his hips rocking underneath Duncan in unsteady rhythm.

Eyes still locked on Methos' face, Duncan lifted himself slightly and sank back down, his own cock jumping with arousal as Methos almost winced with pleasure, teeth clenched in his lower lip as he strained upwards. "Yes! Christ, Duncan, again!" Feverishly, Duncan fucked himself on the rigid shaft again, squeezing internally when he'd slid all the way back down, over and over. Methos' fingers dug into his hips, gripped him tight, and Duncan climaxed for the second time with the long, slow waves of Methos' orgasm pulsing inside him.

* * *

Some time later, after sheets had been changed and showers taken, Duncan curled into Methos' side and nuzzled the pale, vulnerable neck. "Mmm," Methos mumbled, petting his head. "Any regrets, MacLeod?"

"Aye," Duncan grumbled. "We could've done this yesterday."

Methos smirked. "I was betting that you'd take a week to work up to it, myself."

"Fuck you," Duncan said amiably.

Methos yawned and turned over, burying his face in the pillows. "That's for tomorrow, MacLeod. And then I'll show you how that squeezing thing's really done."

Duncan felt suddenly very awake. "You don't really expect me to go to sleep after that, Methos." He paused. "Methos?" A snore answered him. "Bastard," Duncan muttered, his head sinking back into the pillows. A car went past the barge, its headlights flashing through the portholes, and it occurred to him that tomorrow was Saturday.

...we pause to give
thanks that we rise again from death and live