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 June 1999.

Author's Notes - This is the final part of the "First Impressions" series. Two songs inspired the story - "I Was So Lucky" and "Salvation" - both by Roxette. The lyrics below are used without permission.

It was late. Most of the barge lay in shadowed darkness. Only a few stray shafts of moonlight pierced the gloom. One such beam cast a faint wash of illumination over the bed on its raised dais. The silver light bathed two figures in its cool glow.

One of the two lay prone, unmoving except for the steady rhythm of his breathing. Duncan MacLeod was fast asleep. His head was turned to one side on the pillow, revealing his strong profile, now relaxed as he slept. His long, dark hair was free of its usual constraining clasp. It spread across the pillow in disarray, strands of it silvered by the moonlight.

That Duncan slept so deeply was due in no small part to the other figure in the bed. Only a little earlier, they had made love to one another with a passionate intensity that had left both of them pleasantly sated. But while sleep had quickly claimed Duncan in the warm aftermath, it still eluded his lover. As contented as his body was, Methos found his mind refused to rest.

Not wanting to disturb Duncan by getting up and moving about the darkened barge, Methos had instead remained in the wide bed. He didn't really want to forego the enticing warmth of the covers for the chill of the cabin anyway. Still, he had wanted to create a little space between them. Duncan's body heat drew him like a lure and Methos felt the need to resist that particular temptation.

For now, Methos was sitting with his knees drawn up to his chest. His folded arms rested on top of them and provided a convenient resting place for his chin. From this vantage point Methos could watch Duncan sleep, but still feel as if he had some kind of defence against the subtle pull the Highlander seemed to exert on him.

It's no secret I've been waiting, but I didn't expect this
Nothing will remain, nothing stays the same after you came
It's no secret I've been starving, I never felt anything for years
I sat up all night just to watch your smile when you're sleeping
I was so lucky you came by and turned a different corner
I could've been somewhere else, you could've passed by, 
   could've passed by

Methos hadn't felt this vulnerable around another person in a very long time. Indeed, if he were honest, he hadn't really felt at all for so long. It made dealing with the emotions Duncan provoked in him now doubly difficult. Methos had kept his heart, together with his true identity, locked away for nearly two centuries. But Duncan MacLeod had changed all the rules of Methos' own personal game the moment he walked into Adam Pierson's apartment in Paris and found not a young Watcher researcher, but the oldest Immortal.

As always, once the dust from that first encounter settled, Methos' initial instinct had been to run, at the earliest possible opportunity. With his cover compromised Methos decided to disappear, before he could be drawn even further back into the Game than he had been already. And that was precisely what he had done, just as soon as he was sure Duncan was safe from Kalas' machinations. However, he hadn't gone far, nor for very long, this time.

Driven by impulses which had surprised him, Methos had contacted Joe Dawson - and found in him an unexpected ally. It seemed Joe was content for Methos to remain a myth as far as the rest of the Watchers were concerned and so Adam Pierson had come back out of hiding. Soon after that Methos had found himself, close on Joe's heels, walking back into Duncan MacLeod's life. The easy acceptance he had found there had eventually convinced the elusive Immortal to stick around once the fiasco with Kalas and the Watcher database was finally resolved.

It hadn't happened overnight, but once Amanda had moved on again to pastures new, Methos had found himself spending more and more time in Duncan's company. It had proved to be a unique experience for him, being around a fellow Immortal who treated him as a friend and equal, but had no designs on his millenia old Quickening. Indeed, Duncan seemed as genuinely pleased to have Methos around as he was to be there.

Increasingly often Methos found himself staying overnight at the barge, then for two or maybe three days at a time, until the place began to feel like home. As a result, very gradually, layer by layer, Methos had begun to let his guard down when he was with the Highlander. Fragile at first, trust grew between them, until the day Methos realised just how thoroughly Duncan had got under his skin.

Afraid of the complexity of his new feelings for the Highlander - and equally unsure of Duncan's reaction if he were to learn of them - Methos had been ready to run again. In the end, though, Duncan hadn't given him the chance to do so.

Duncan had come back to the barge in time to surprise Methos as he hurriedly stuffed his belongings into his duffel. Unable to get a straight answer from the old Immortal as to why he was leaving so precipitately, Duncan had taken an intuitive leap and come to his own conclusions. Testing his theory, he had pulled Methos into his arms and proceeded to kiss him soundly.

The unexpectedness of the kiss, and the delight of learning that the growing attraction between them went both ways, had caught Methos off guard for just long enough. Before he could think to protest, Methos had been manoeuvred into bed and out of his clothes. The bout of lovemaking that had ensued had quickly driven all thought of leaving from Methos' mind.

I can barely remember my past
Everything seems to disappear so fast
But I recall being jealous and alone
Gazing at the dreams going by
I started my life when you knocked on the door
Found something inside I didn't dare to ignore

That fateful afternoon had been several weeks ago now. And here he still was, Methos thought, barely able to believe it, in Duncan's life and in his bed. How could his existence have changed so much in such a short space of time? Would he wake up soon and find it had all been a dream? Five thousand years and he still wasn't prepared for the impact this one man had had on his life!

Looking back on the events which had brought him to this place, Methos supposed he should be grateful to Kalas. Truthfully, he hated the other Immortal for causing the deaths of the Salzers, and for the pain he had undoubtedly brought Duncan by taking the head of his old friend Hugh Fitzcairn. Yet, but for Kalas, who knew when, or even if, the fates might have led Duncan MacLeod to his doorstep. Methos wondered if it was selfish of him to be glad the Highlander was with him now.

Yes, Kalas had cost far too many innocent people their lives, but in a very real sense Methos owed his current happiness to him. Would he want his old existence back? To be simply Adam Pierson again? Not to have Duncan in his life? No. Methos knew he would be lying if he claimed otherwise. He regretted the deaths, but not the one bright thing which had grown out of them.

In truth, Methos knew Duncan had been his salvation. He had been adrift before he met the Highlander; he had lost himself. As he had once told Duncan, he had no longer had the fire which kept him alive for so long, and it was perhaps only his innate stubbornness which continued to drive him to survive. Still, he had spent so much time in hiding, submerging his real identity beneath false life after false life, that even he had come to look upon Methos as something of a myth.

Were it not for his journal and the sense of a tangible reality the ancient languages written there gave to them, Methos might have been tempted to let go of the memories of the preceding five thousand years. It would have been easy enough, the old Immortal acknowledged, to let them slip into the realm of dreams. After all, without the impetus of the written word to keep it fresh in his mind, he had already lost to forgetfulness the time before his Immortality. And there were certainly plenty of things in his past that Methos wished he could erase from existence, paint over the memories and simply pretend they had never happened. Without a doubt, being Adam Pierson was a good deal less complicated than being Methos, he thought with a sigh.

But then Duncan had walked into his life and with a single word disrupted his quiet, undemanding lifestyle. Duncan had seen straight past the Adam facade, seen Methos hiding underneath and spoken that long abandoned name aloud. It had been like waking up from a centuries long sleep.

Methos looked down at the silently sleeping form beside him. He should have hated Duncan for doing that to him. Without asking his permission the Highlander had dragged him out of the safe little cocoon his life had become and thrown him slap bang back into the middle of the Game - a rude awakening, indeed. One that had seen him fighting for his life soon after, his ancient Quickening become exactly the kind of prize he had tried for so long to avoid making it.

Even now, with the benefit of hindsight, Methos couldn't believe that his response to the challenge from Kalas had been to actually offer Duncan his head. It had just been so out of character for him to do something like that. Methos shivered involuntarily, remembering the kiss of cold steel against the damp skin of his throat. The sense memory of that moment was forever etched into his brain - it was perhaps the most terrifying experience of his entire life. To have allowed anyone that kind of power over himself willingly! He must have been insane - or already hopelessly in love with Duncan. Maybe it had been a little of both...

At any rate, Methos thought with relief, at least he'd had the good sense to pick the most honourable Immortal around to make his grand gesture to. He wasn't sure that there was another of their kind who would have refused that offer; who could have resisted the lure of his five thousand year old Quickening the way Duncan had. Oh yes, Methos had been very lucky in his choice, in so many ways.
Methos smiled. Yes, every day he and Duncan remained together he realised anew that, for once in his long life, the fates had been kind to him. Methos let his eyes caress the strong body lying at his side. He admired the way the silvery light accentuated the outlines of the muscles in Duncan's arms and shoulders, the tantalising curves of his backside.

Life was currently very sweet, Methos decided. He didn't know how long this uncomplicated pleasure in simply being together could last, but while it did Methos intended to hold on to it with both hands and not let go. Somehow Duncan managed to bring out the best in him, to wake instincts in him that had slept for too long. It was good to feel passion and fire again.

I gave you my body, the power over me
Come on, bring out the best in me
You crashed by the gate
Captured my fate
Salvation
My eyes couldn't see
I hardly breathed
My heart was asleep
Salvation
Some will get broken others will get lucky like me meeting you
Don't pass me by

Methos let his smile widen. He wasn't the only one who had slept too long. Suddenly Methos wanted to touch that glorious body beside him and reassure himself that this was no dream. He needed to wake Duncan's fire again, to feel the Highlander's passion warming him. For all that, Methos' heart felt lighter than it had in a very long time. Fate, luck or whatever other force it was that had decreed he and Duncan should find one another was, apparently, on his side for now. So, Methos gave in to his amorous impulses. There were better things he and Duncan could be doing now besides sleeping.

Unfolding his long frame from its cramped position Methos stretched out at his lover's side. Leaning across the still form, Methos carefully brushed the wildly disordered dark, silken hair away from Duncan's face. It left him a clear path up the side of the Highlander's vulnerable neck and Methos followed it, laying a trail of soft kisses from Duncan's broad shoulder to his strong jaw.

As the kisses grew more insistent, involving teeth and tongue as well as Methos' lips, Duncan began to stir. The lazy exploration of his exposed ear by the tip of an agile tongue finally drove away the last vestiges of sleep. Duncan rolled onto his back as he blinked his eyes open. Above him he saw the familiar, sharp features of his lover, paler than ever in the moonlight. The shadowed eyes glittered with an intense desire that drew a shiver of arousal from Duncan.

"Methos...?"

"Shhh." Long fingers resting gently across his lips quieted Duncan and he accepted Methos' wish for silence.

With his lover awake and responsive to his desires Methos began to make love to Duncan with a single-minded intensity. His hands, his mouth, his whole body were focused on just one goal, bringing Duncan pleasure. And once he understood what Methos wanted from him, the Highlander lay back and enjoyed the ride.

Duncan didn't know what had woken this sudden predatory passion in Methos, but he decided he liked this new facet of his personality. There was something utterly unguarded about the old Immortal as he turned his whole attention to making Duncan lose control. The innate sensuality Methos exuded as he moved over Duncan's body literally took the Highlander's breath away.

After a long, leisurely exploration of Duncan's bared throat Methos let his hands and mouth glide lower. His fingertips trailed through the fine, dark hairs on Duncan's chest and eventually settled on the pebbled skin of his nipples. Methos circled the sensitive nubs of flesh slowly, teasing Duncan with the too soft touches. When Duncan arched up into the contact Methos pinched him sharply, drawing a startled gasp. Then Methos withdrew his fingers, replacing them with his lips. He suckled first one nipple and then the other until both were taut peaks, glistening with his saliva. Methos gave each a final rough swipe with his tongue before moving on downwards.

Duncan moaned helplessly as Methos set about subjecting his cock to the same sweet torture. Long strokes of the old Immortal's tongue along his shaft left Duncan ready to scream. A strangled cry did escape him when Methos took just the tip into his mouth, sucking until he coaxed a drop of moisture from it that he then licked delicately away. Then Methos abandoned the swollen flesh while he toyed with Duncan's balls, suckling them gently and then lapping at the sensitive skin below.

When he judged that he had held Duncan on the knife-edge of pleasure for as long as he dared without crossing the line into pain, Methos turned his attention back to the Highlander's neglected cock. In one swift movement he leaned down and engulfed Duncan's heated flesh in his hot, wet mouth. Held on the brink of completion for much too long, Duncan exploded into orgasm as the head of his cock hit the back of Methos' throat. Methos swallowed convulsively, drawing every drop of Duncan's release from him before he let the now lax cock slip from between his lips.

As Methos withdrew, Duncan felt momentarily bereft, but then his body was blanketed with the living warmth of the oldest Immortal. Duncan put his arms around Methos, holding him close as he made himself comfortable with his head on Duncan's shoulder.

"Mmm, thank you."

It seemed incongruous that Methos should be thanking him when he had just been the recipient of such intense pleasure, Duncan thought. However, the sticky evidence of Methos' own enjoyment of their encounter was drying on Duncan's skin, so he didn't feel as if he had been entirely selfish. Nevertheless...

"For what?" Duncan asked softly. He felt Methos' lips move against his neck and knew the old Immortal was smiling.

"For finding me," Methos replied simply. "I'm glad it was you."

Duncan turned his head until he could just see Methos' face by the faint glow coming through the porthole. Methos looked content. Duncan reached down and kissed his forehead lightly.

"So am I."

Methos' eyes were closing as sleep finally claimed him. "Then I suppose we were both lucky."

As Duncan took his turn to lie awake and watch while his lover slept, he wasn't inclined to disagree.

The End

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