(January 28, 2000)
Duncan lay on his stomach looking at the pale form sprawled beside him. The light of a full moon shone through the loft, and it gave him a totally different perspective on his lover. In the day, he considered him a man, a friend with a wicked wit, and a tongue as sharp as the sword he carried. But at night, especially with the moon gracing him, Duncan wasn't sure exactly who or what he lay down with. Definitely not a man, but some creature of the night which had no name, or no name that had been spoken within the last millennium or two.
He continued staring, despite that now the creature stared back, the hazel eyes glowing golden as they took the moonlight and manipulated it for their own purpose. In ancient days, people had worshipped the moon, but he knew, without a doubt, that in regards to this particular ancient, the moon was the worshipper.
"What bedevils my Highland warrior tonight?" the creature currently known as Methos asked.
An amused laugh. "Was I snoring, drooling, talking in my sleep? I certainly didn't steal the covers, because it appears we don't have any." He indicated both of their nude bodies decorating the sturdy bed.
"I was watching the moon bow at your feet."
"Yes, one of my most loyal supplicants," Methos teased, wondering what Mac was up to. The Scot usually wasn't one for waxing poetic. He could be wildly romantic, but mainly with actions, not words.
"Did the others know? The sixty-eight wives, the other lovers? Kronos? Byron?"
"Know what?" Methos asked worriedly when he realized this wasn't a game his lover was playing.
"What you really are."
"And what am I?"
Duncan shrugged. "I don't know the word. I don't even know if the word can be spoken."
The gold eyes narrowed. "Am I being accused of something?"
"No. You are what you are. There is no blame, no guilt in that. I was just wondering if it was something you were allowing me to see, or something you allowed all your lovers to see."
Methos didn't like the way the conversation was going. What the hell had happened while he slept? "You're scaring me, MacLeod," he whispered. "You know what I am-- an Immortal, like yourself."
"Would you like to take my head as proof?"
That, more than anything, convinced Duncan that he'd stumbled upon the truth. Why, after five thousand years, did Methos keep offering him his head? Why had he risked everything to come after him during the dark quickening? Because it was never a risk. Beheading Methos wouldn't kill him. There would probably be some manifestation of a quickening, of death, but it wouldn't be real. Immortal beings could die. Eternal ones couldn't, and that was what Methos was-- eternal. For some reason, probably amusement, he had donned the disguise of an Immortal and entered the world. He'd enjoyed being a puppetmaster for a very long time, then tried his hand at being a puppet-- Kronos' puppet, and Kronos had called upon the darkness inside him. By the time he'd untangled all the strings, the amount of blood staining his hands had stunned and sickened him. But for his honor, Methos would have reverted to his true heritage, and left the world of mortals and Immortals. Instead, he'd stayed, suffering the pains and heartaches of being flesh to atone for the damage he'd caused. That explained the haunted look he had in his eyes sometimes, the guilt he bravely carried through the millennia.
I'm just a guy. Don't look at me in awe. Don't think of me as a god. Don't look to me for wisdom and guidance. That's what Methos had said continuously from day one in their relationship. Because you have deemed yourself unworthy of your true station, right, Methos? You have judged yourself, and lay down the sentence of being less than who you are. For how long, my love? How long will you punish yourself? "Is loving me part of the punishment?"
Methos reached out to cup Duncan's chin in his hands. He had no idea what mad thoughts had insinuated themselves into his beloved's brain, but he knew this particular one had to be banished. "Loving you is a reward, Duncan-- an exquisite gift that I will forever cherish. Yes, you have given me pain, but it has been balanced by the pleasure of your body, your presence, your love. In this, what we are to each other, there is no punishment, Duncan...unless you think so."
He leaned into the heat of the hands holding his cheeks, and delved deep into the eyes which beckoned him, beckoned the truth from him. "I cannot say you loving me is a reward-- I have never done anything so spectacular to receive a reward so great. I have to simply write it off as one of the great, intriguing mysteries about you. As far as me loving you.... I seem to be as helpless as the moon. You exist; therefore, you are loved."
Methos gave a dry chuckle. "There have been plenty of people who didn't love me."
"By your decree, not theirs."
"Whose love turned to hate because you did not love her back." The moon shifted the light in Methos' eyes. "No, you did love her. She just didn't understand that love."
"That your love extends to my very survival? You will do anything, say anything, and sacrifice everything in order to secure my survival. Yes, Methos, I understand. I'm not comfortable with it. It is certainly not a dictum I follow, nor can I honestly say I condone it. But I accept it as part of who you are, a very large part."
"I don't demand the same from you."
MacLeod smiled. "You only make one demand of those you love, Methos: live, grow stronger. Then, you mourn our failure."
"You don't have to fail, Mac."
"But I will."
"Then loneliness is my destiny?"
"I would prefer death."
"But that is not an option for you, is it?"
Methos sighed in frustration. "Where are you getting these crazy ideas from, MacLeod? Are you succumbing to the lunacy of a full moon? Has Lilith, Goddess of the Moon, seduced your thoughts, and led them astray? I'm just a male Immortal, a little older than most, but no different otherwise. If you were hoping to bed a god, I'm sorry. All you have-- is me."
"All I want-- is you." Duncan leaned in to kiss him. "Let me show you."
"No. Not now. Not until I know you're over this. I want to make sure you know you're not fucking a god. I've had enough of that to last even my considerable lifetime."
"We've used the word, but we have never fucked, Methos. Even the first time was more than just sex."
Methos grunted. "Speak for yourself, you five-year tease. I was so frustrated by then--"
"That you pulled away and asked me if I was really, really sure. If I hadn't already been in love with you, I would have fallen that moment. The lust, the desire, was secondary to the love. It has always been that way between us."
"It will always be, if I have anything to say about it," Methos vowed.
Duncan shared a meaningful glance with the moon. A true promise from Methos-- one stated with sincerity and gaining Methos nothing-- was a rare occurrence because it went against his basic tenet of "changing with the times". Once made, Methos' promises never faltered, and were completely immutable.
"Can I at least hold you?" Duncan asked.
Methos' eyes narrowed. "No funny stuff?"
"Just snuggling." One got what one could.
"Snuggling is good." Methos rolled closer, Mac's arms wrapping around him. "Have to give you something, I suppose, to keep you from going after all those pretty women who throw themselves at you, hmm?"
"I'm not going to lie to you, Methos," Duncan said, rubbing his nose against his lover's considerable one. "Those women are prettier than you are. But," he added quickly, as the body beneath him tensed, "none is more beautiful."
"Keep saying things like that, MacLeod, and you might get lucky tonight after all," Methos nearly sighed.
"I'm already lucky."
"Make love to me, Duncan."
"Make love with me, Methos," Duncan countered. The answer he received was a simple kiss-- no tongue, no swapping spit, just a deliberate brush of the lips, which left him shaking from head to toe. A sampling of the powers this creature possessed.
Much later, Duncan awakened to find the moon gone from the window, but still evident in the brightness of the night. When he was young, he remembered asking his mother why the moon rose every night. Now, he knew why. He gently untangled himself from the lithe body of his partner, and padded across the room, going up the steps leading to the roof. There, in the open doorway, he once again came face to face with the moon.
Thank you, he called silently to the silver sentinel. Thank you for the insights you've given me. Thank you for being the one faithful disciple amid a multitude of unfaithful ones. We betray, we leave, we die, and he is left alone to mourn, while you stand guardian over his tears. I wish I had your steadfastness, the power to burn as bright and as long as you. But the day will come when he will mourn me, as well. You'll be there for him that night, won't you? Hold him in your brilliant grasp. Comfort him with your presence. Make jewels of his tears. But, most of all, light his path out of the darkness. He's spent enough time there.
He shut the door, and headed back to his lover's side. "Go back to sleep, Methos. All is well."
"You were out talking with the moon, weren't you?" Methos asked, hoping this new affectation of Duncan's would soon disappear. It made him uncomfortable. "When did the two of you get so chummy?"
When we discovered we shared the same religion. "Sleep, love. The moon and I have concluded our business for a while."
"Good," Methos pouted, wrapping himself around the broad, warm body matching itself to his. "I don't like sharing."
Me, or the moon? "I love you, Methos."
"Methos, the god, or Methos, the man?"
"Just Methos. My Methos." Mac placed his head on the hairless, sculpted chest, and listened to the familiar heartbeat.
"I love you, too, my Duncan."
Methos smiled and caressed the thick, brown locks until Duncan fell into a deep sleep. Just before he joined his mate in slumber, he sent his thoughts out to the sky above. Still meddling in my business, huh? Yeah, I know you tried to warn me about Kronos, and yes, I remember what you said about Cassandra. But I don't think Mac's ready for the complete truth yet. Don't scare him away. Please?
The room brightened, then plunged into darkness as the moon sank over the horizon in preparation of the dawn.
Sleep tight, companion of mine. Methos kissed the top of Mac's head and closed his eyes. Both of you.