DISCLAIMER - Highlander and its characters is the copyright of Rysher and Panzer/Davis Productions and no infringement is intended. The story, such as it is, is copyright Karen Colohan November 2000.
With thanks to Margaret for betaing.
Methos felt his heart pounding in his chest as he slid backwards down the metal staircase. Silas' axe had come a little too close to his head for comfort that time, and without his sword in his hands he felt far more vulnerable than he cared to. With solid ground under his feet once more he dropped into a crouch, reaching for his blade. He froze as a familiar voice stopped him in his tracks.
It was Kronos, of course. It had only been a matter of time before he found out what his brother had done. Now he paused from his own battle, staring at him in disbelief. He might not have trusted Methos entirely after so long spent apart, but clearly he had not expected a betrayal of this magnitude. After all, hadn't Methos agreed that they should never raise a blade against one another?
Methos turned his head, glancing from Kronos to his opponent - Duncan MacLeod. The Highlander was also staring at him, all moody, dark eyes and long, dishevelled hair. There was a look of confusion on that handsome face too, but maybe also a trace of vindication. Perhaps all the bridges between them had not been burned after all. Methos could only hope... but first he and Duncan had to continue their separate fights, and win. He tried not to think what those victories would cost him.
The all-too-brief moment of calm dissolved and battle was joined again. Methos pitted himself once more against the best loved of his erstwhile brothers while MacLeod went after Kronos with renewed energy. Neither contest took long to finish after that pivotal moment when Methos and Kronos had locked glances one final time.
One last, decisive stroke and Kronos was falling, landing dead at Duncan's feet.
A moment later, across the cavernous expanse of the submarine base, Methos' backhanded swing separated Silas' head from his body.
There was a long, eerie moment of absolute silence as the victors' eyes sought one another out as they waited for the onslaught they knew must come. It seemed almost inconsequential as it began - a gentle mist rising up from the fallen to envelope Methos and then Duncan. But then the first bursts of blue lightning reached out for Duncan from Kronos' body and after a few moments it became clear that there was nothing innocuous about it at all.
Methos groaned as Silas' Quickening surrounded him with an almost tangible caress. Despite the final betrayal he could feel the love his brother had borne for him in the touch of the Quickening's energy as it entered him.
At the same time Methos was acutely aware of the battle of wills being fought as Duncan struggled to assimilate Kronos' ancient Quickening without being consumed by it. He felt pulled by the intensity of the energy that had been released by Kronos' death. It was as if his own Quickening was calling to all that was left of his brother. Yet, at the same time, Methos could feel Duncan too. It was almost as if their Quickening energies were entwined, touching, creating a single entity, pulled together by the linking thread of Kronos' Quickening.
In all his long life Methos had never experienced anything like it. But he had joined his body with both these men - Kronos and MacLeod - in love and lust. Now it seemed that the bond he had known with each of them was binding them all together and the experience was intense, erotic. Methos' groans echoed around the cavernous base as he flung his arms wide - a gesture that might have been welcome or surrender.
For a moment he felt as if hands were touching him and Methos knew he was getting hard from the ghost caresses. Duncan's cries reached his ears too, fueling the fire as the connection seemed to grow stronger.
Then it appeared that Kronos' Quickening had grown too strong for Duncan to control. An expanding spiral of blue fire reached out, away from him, seeking to physically bridge the gap between his body and Methos'. The ancient Immortal gasped, this time in shock, as the full force of his brother's Quickening poured into him, finding its home inside him.
As the last of the energy grounded itself in his flesh Methos pitched forward onto his hands and knees. He felt an orgasm of burning intensity rip through him, shaking him to the core. For a moment he lost all sense of self, swamped by the opposing personalities of Duncan and Kronos. Then, just as suddenly, he was alone in his own body and drawing in deep, shuddering breaths as grief threatened to overwhelm him.
Kronos was dead; Silas was dead...
All the joy Methos had felt as he came transmuted into pain. The first, wracking sobs shook his slender frame and he threw back his head to give voice to his anguish.
"I killed Silas! I liked Silas!" he cried wretchedly.
All at once Methos felt as if the world was collapsing in on him; his awareness narrowed down until he felt nothing beyond his own body, and then nothing at all.
Methos woke, sweating and trembling. There were still deep shudders coursing through his body. He wondered how long he'd been unconscious. The faint echoes of the Double Quickening still reverberated in his mind. After experiencing something as unique as that he wasn't surprised that his brain had finally overloaded and that he'd passed out. Nor was his continued disorientation exactly a shock.
Reaching down, Methos froze. Gods! He must have been out of it for longer than he'd thought. Instead of the cold, dank concrete he'd expected to feel under his hands there was a warm, soft mattress. Clearly he was no longer in the submarine base. So where was he? Who had got him out? The most logical explanation was that Duncan had relented and had taken him back to his hotel in Bordeaux.
In another moment of revelation, Methos realised that he was no longer dressed. In fact, he was quite naked. And the shivers he'd put down to the after-effects of the Double Quickening were in fact, he noted, due to a recent orgasm. The sticky residue of drying semen that coated his skin confirmed that as he reached a hand down to his stomach.
Methos groaned. Why couldn't he remember what had happened? Had all those Quickening energies fried his brain more thoroughly than he could have anticipated? Perhaps Duncan had brought him here and then fucked the effects of that massive and unusual Quickening out of both of them. It would certainly explain the physical evidence of his release and might also account for why he'd passed out.
As if to confirm his suspicions Methos felt the presence of another Immortal in the back of his head, familiar and reassuring. As he listened, he could hear cheerfully off-key singing that played in counterpoint to the steady beat of water running. His lover had got up to take a shower.
The water was shut off and the sense of presence grew stronger. A moment later Methos' companion appeared in the doorway. The compact, muscular figure vigorously towelling his close-cropped hair was quite unmistakable... and equally impossible.
Methos sat bolt upright and stared in shocked disbelief. He felt utterly disorientated, as if his world had begun to spin the wrong way on its axis.
"Kronos?" he ventured uncertainly.
"I only went to take a shower - I needed one after this morning's exercise, as I think do you." Kronos reached out and drew one finger through the drying mess on Methos' belly. "So, why so surprised? You were expecting someone else?" There was a note of warning behind the seemingly lighthearted words. Kronos tended to the possessive where his favourite brother was concerned.
"Yes... no... I have no idea," Methos floundered. Kronos couldn't be here; he'd seen him die, hadn't he? And what about Duncan? "I - I think I must just have had the weirdest dream," he finished lamely.
"Dream, brother?" Kronos looked at him, a trace of suspicion still in his eyes.
"Yeah," Methos laughed nervously. "I thought you were dead. Damn, it felt real. I - I dreamt that Duncan MacLeod took your head... and then we shared a Double Quickening when I took Silas' head. I..."
Methos looked up in surprise as Kronos began laughing heartily. That was hardly the reaction he'd expected from him. After all, Kronos hadn't exactly been Mac's biggest fan. He'd wanted him dead.
"What's so funny?" he asked when Kronos had quieted somewhat.
"Duncan MacLeod, you say? I never knew you had such a vivid imagination, brother," Kronos chuckled.
"It's no laughing matter..." Methos began, aggrieved.
"On the contrary," insisted Kronos, interrupting him again.
He walked around the bed to the bedside table on Methos' side. Kronos reached down and picked up the thick paperback that was lying there. He held it up, showing the cover to Methos.
As he saw the illustration adorning it, Methos looked stunned. Deep brown eyes, flowing dark hair, picture perfect... Duncan MacLeod.
"But..." he stuttered.
"I can see I shall have to be more selective about your choice of bedtime reading in future, Methos. I'm not sure I can stand the competition! No more "Blade of the MacLeods" for you." Kronos laughed again. "I can't believe you'd think I was dead at the hands of some cheap romance novel's hero - even in a dream. I never could understand your taste for these trashy things anyway."
Kronos tossed the book onto the bed beside Methos, who looked at it as if it might sprout teeth and bite him.
"Well, everyone needs a hobby." Methos shrugged as casually as he could manage, but he was still a little shaky. The dream had felt so real...
"So, brother, you have a taste for Highland barbarians, do you?" teased Kronos, trying to chivvy Methos out of his strange mood. "Perhaps I should invest in a kilt to please you. What do you think?"
Methos shuddered. "Actually, I think I prefer you in leather, Kronos. A kilt? No. It would seem I've had enough nightmares already."
Kronos laughed good-naturedly. "As you wish... Now, to more serious matters. It's time for you to get up. You still need that shower. You reek of sex, and much as I like you that way..."
"Join me?" Methos offered. He wanted to get the memory of that erotic connection to Duncan MacLeod out of his mind for once and for all.
It wasn't real! It was just a dream, he told himself sternly. All the same, a long, hard fuck, up against the wall of the shower, would be just what the doctor ordered - and Methos had no qualms about self- prescribing.
Sex and Kronos... Yes, that was a familiar equation, one Methos had spent centuries becoming intimately acquainted with. He finally felt himself relax. This was real. He stretched lazily, arching one brow in invitation as he looked up at his lover.
Kronos smiled regretfully, watching Methos' display. "Much as I'd love to indulge you, my dear brother, there's no time. We have a plane to catch this morning; Silas and Caspian will be waiting for us. Later, though..."
Methos scrambled out of bed, heading for the shower. He knew when to concede. For now he'd have to be content with the promise in Kronos' voice. "And where are we headed this time?" he asked absently.
"I thought Bordeaux," Kronos announced. "I've found a disused submarine base. It will be perfect for my plans... Methos? Methos what's wrong?"
Kronos stared at his brother in confusion, not understanding why Methos' face had suddenly turned dead white...
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