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 February 2000.

"Methos?" Duncan MacLeod looked across the barge at his lover, a faint frown crossing his face.

"Mm?" The old Immortal glanced up from his book and his beer, though it was clear half his attention was still on them, rather than on Duncan.

"When do you celebrate your birthday?" the Highlander asked. "I don't remember you having one in all the time I've known you."

Methos' eyebrows rose and he stared at Duncan, surprised. "You know, I have no idea when I last thought about a birthday," he admitted. He smiled slightly. "Once you get to my age it all seems a bit superfluous. Besides, I really have no idea of the date in the modern calendar."

"Surely you at least remember the time of year you were born," insisted Duncan.

"Hm, it was in the spring - I think, anyway," decided Methos after a few moments' consideration. "But it was all a very long time ago, Mac."

"And that's it? That's all you can remember?" Duncan shook his head.

"Sorry," Methos shrugged his shoulders dismissively. "Like I said, it hasn't really seemed that important in a long while. I prefer to concentrate on continuing to live, to survive - not on how long I've already done it for."

"But don't you miss actually having the celebration?" Duncan persisted.

"No, I can't say I do." Methos laughed. "Why are you so fixated on this, Mac? Do you want to throw me a party or something?"

Duncan's face - which had drawn down into the beginnings of a serious pout - brightened abruptly at Methos' mention of a party. "Now there's an idea..." he mused.

Methos groaned. "Oh no, what have I done?" he grumbled good-naturedly. "A Highlander on a mission, just what I need!"

"No, I'm serious, Methos," said Duncan, his dark eyes sparkling. "Leave everything to me, I'm going to help you make up for all those birthdays you've missed out on... Just you wait and see!"

******************

When no party, or any other form of celebration, materialised over the course of the next few days Methos assumed Duncan had thought better of the idea. While he told himself he was glad of the fact, secretly Methos found he was a little disappointed. The thought that Duncan had wanted to mark his now unknown birthday in some way had actually been rather appealing. It was the kind of romantic gesture Methos could imagine Duncan making for one of his female lovers, so why not for him too?

Methos shook his head, wondering at his own foolishness. Since when had he needed grand romantic gestures? He and Duncan were happy and settled together, that was what mattered. He didn't need hearts and flowers to tell him that he was loved. Still, it would have been nice...

The old Immortal was returning to the barge after a foray to the shops. He'd been out to pick up an old book that he'd ordered in. Duncan hadn't gone with him, saying that he had errands of his own to run. As Methos approached the barge he could feel Duncan's familiar presence and he smiled as he stepped onto the deck. That, Methos told himself, was all he needed. The knowledge that he had the Highlander to come home to. It was so much more than he'd had in centuries, and probably more than he deserved.

As Methos descended the stairs into the barge it took him a moment to register that there was something strange about the light inside. When he did he pulled up short and looked around him in amazement. The barge was full of lit candles. It seemed as if every flat surface was adorned with them. And their flames danced in the air currents from the opened door, casting endlessly moving shadows.

Duncan was waiting for him, perched on the back of the couch. The Highlander watched his approach nervously, as if he were unsure of Methos' reaction.

"Mac?" Methos asked curiously. "What is this?"

"Your birthday celebration," replied Duncan. "Do you like it?"

Methos frowned. "But I thought you wanted to have a party."

"This is a party," said Duncan with a soft smile. "A very private one... only the most important people get invited."

"Oh? I didn't get an invitation," said Methos sadly.

Duncan's voice was positively seductive. "If you come over here I'll deliver it - personally."

A delighted grin plastered itself firmly on Methos' lips. Well, he'd wished for a romantic gesture, and what could be more so than this? He slid his coat off, letting it fall with a muffled thud as his hidden sword hit the floor. Then he advanced slowly on the Highlander, all contained grace and power.

"This is perfect, Mac," said Methos. "A party made for two... So, does that mean you're my present then?"

"Why, do you want to unwrap me?" teased Duncan. He looked up at the old Immortal, who had come to a halt in front of him.

"Oh yes," breathed Methos, one hand stealing out to caress the dark silk of Duncan's hair. It was unbound and had been brushed until it shone in the soft candlelight. "But why all the candles?" he asked curiously. "Are you trying to make me nostalgic for the good old days?"

"Well, I had thought about having a cake made and putting candles on that," Duncan explained, his lips twitching with barely suppressed amusement. "But then I realised just how big a cake you'd need for 5,000 candles, so... Ow!! Methos, no! That was a joke!" he protested as the old Immortal grabbed a good handful of his hair and hauled him up until they were nose to nose.

"Are you trying to suggest that I'm too old?" asked Methos, his eyes narrowing dangerously. "You should learn to respect my age, MacLeod, not make cheap cracks about it." He let go of Duncan and the Highlander dropped back down onto the couch, eyeing his lover uncertainly.

"I didn't mean... I - really it was just a joke," stammered Duncan. "Please, don't take offence, Methos."

"Of course it was," agreed Methos equably, and then a wicked smile curved his lips. "But I had you worried for a moment, didn't I? And you're too fond of all these ageist digs - experience is good, MacLeod, remember that."

"Yeah, well, you can be such a grouch sometimes," muttered Duncan, but inwardly he sighed with relief. He wanted tonight to be perfect and having a grumpy ancient Immortal on his hands certainly didn't qualify.

"Hm, that probably comes of being so old," smirked Methos. "So, we've established that the candles are your none too subtle homage to my age. What else is on the agenda then? Apart from the obvious," he added, leaning in to kiss Duncan sweetly on the lips.

The kiss quickly developed into a full blown seduction in its own right. Grateful that Methos wasn't angry with him, Duncan put everything into his response to the mouth covering his own. He parted his lips, inviting Methos' tongue to enter. When the old Immortal took him up on the offer Duncan sucked on the slippery invader, twining his own tongue with it in a sensual dance. Their lips pressed together hungrily and breathing rapidly became an unnecessary distraction, indeed an impossibility. Only when Duncan could feel himself becoming dangerously light-headed did he reluctantly pull back from the addictive taste of the other Immortal's mouth.

For a long moment the two men stood in silence, their foreheads resting lightly together as they gasped in much needed oxygen. Methos was the first to recover enough to move. He straightened up and cupped Duncan's cheek in one calloused palm. Methos stroked it softly, feeling the rasp of stubble against his skin.

"I like my present," Methos murmured lazily. "And I think I'll like it even better without the wrapping..." His hands moved to begin unfastening Duncan's shirt, but the Highlander stopped him.

"Hold that thought, Methos," said Duncan quickly. "If you wait just a moment I have something else for you. Why don't you go and get comfortable and I'll bring it over."

Methos followed the direction of Duncan's gaze to the bed and nodded his agreement. He stopped just long enough to tease another kiss full of infinite promise from the Highlander's lips before he went, though.

After Methos released him Duncan took another moment to gather his scattered wits. The fire of arousal burned hot in him after the old Immortal's fierce kisses and Duncan anticipated the inevitable outcome of the evening eagerly. He padded into the kitchen and quickly retrieved the items he wanted. When he made his way back to the bed Duncan found Methos had taken his instruction literally - at any rate, he certainly looked very comfortable. The old Immortal was tucked under the sheets, propped up on a couple of pillows. It was readily apparent that under cover of the bedding Methos was now naked.

"What took you so long?" asked Methos with a grin as Duncan came and perched beside him on the edge of the bed. "Oooh, champagne and chocolates, Mac - very romantic!"

Duncan looked at the grinning Immortal disapprovingly. "I thought so," he replied stiffly. "I thought you might like them."

"Oh, stop taking me so damned seriously, Mac," said Methos in exasperation. "It's a lovely gesture. I'm just not used to being on the receiving end of the whole hearts and flowers thing. That doesn't mean I don't like it, though. Come on, open the champagne and let's have a toast."

"To what?" asked Duncan, still regarding his lover with somewhat jaundiced eyes.

"To a certain sentimental, romantic Scot," said Methos with an affectionate smile. "May he never become old and cynical!"

"I'll drink to that," muttered Duncan, but a smile tugged at his lips, taking any sting from his words.

The champagne bottle opened with a satisfying pop and Methos grabbed one of the glasses Duncan had brought over, using it to catch the spill of bubbles before they could hit the sheets. He held both glasses while Duncan filled them and surrendered one to the Highlander when he set the bottle down on the bedside table.

"Now, about that toast..." Methos began, but Duncan interrupted him.

"To us," said Duncan firmly and clinked the rim of his glass against the other Immortal's.

"To us," agreed Methos. It was a toast he could willingly drink to. They sipped their champagne in silence for a moment and then Methos asked, "Now can I unwrap my present?"

"Yeah, now would be a good time," said Duncan softly.

Methos moved the box of chocolates to safety then plucked the glass from Duncan's hand, setting it aside with his own. He sat forward and reached for the buttons on Duncan's shirt once more. His long fingers made short work of them and then Methos pushed the silky fabric off the Highlander's shoulders. Methos' hands roamed lightly over the soft warmth of Duncan's bronzed skin, slowly tracing the contours of the muscles defining his chest and arms.

"Closer, Duncan," whispered Methos huskily and Duncan shifted until mere inches separated their bodies. "Perfect..." declared the old Immortal and bent his head to lay a trail of soft bites along the line of Duncan's collarbone. When Methos reached the hollow of Duncan's throat he stopped, sucking on the warm skin until he had marked the Highlander as his own, albeit fleetingly.

Satisfied with his claim Methos moved lower. His tongue lapped at the fine, dark hairs that lightly covered Duncan's chest. He searched by touch until he found the flat discs of Duncan's nipples. With rough strokes of his tongue Methos worked at them until they formed hard, tight nubs. He feasted on the salty sweet peaks and soon had Duncan moaning helplessly with pleasure and arousal.

Methos drew back until he could see Duncan's flushed face. The dark eyes were closed and the Highlander had caught his full lower lip between his sharp white teeth. Methos smiled and leaned forward again, claiming the abused flesh for his own. He sucked the bruised lip softly, kissing Duncan until he coaxed more moans from the Highlander's throat.

Duncan relaxed and let Methos have free rein. After all, he had said he was the oldest Immortal's birthday present. Besides which, the things Methos was doing to him felt wonderful. In the end, though, Duncan let himself relax to such a degree that he had no idea how he suddenly found himself flat on his back with Methos bending over him, a smug grin gracing his lips.

"You really should pay more attention, Mac," smirked Methos, enjoying Duncan's startled expression.

Methos took advantage of the Highlander's ungainly sprawl, unfastening his trousers and hauling them off the unresisting figure. Duncan's cock was clearly outlined by the snug white briefs he wore underneath. The fabric was all but transparent, damp with pre-come. Methos leaned down and traced the hard length with long, slow strokes of his tongue. He smiled as Duncan's hips came up off the bed, begging for more of Methos' teasing mouth. Slowly the old Immortal peeled the damp material away, sliding the briefs down Duncan's well-muscled legs and then tossing them over the edge of the bed.

As the cool air of the barge caressed his naked skin Duncan shivered. Almost at once, though, the warmth of two strong hands settled on him, gliding with tantalising slowness up his calves and then his thighs. The long fingers kneaded suddenly taut muscles, but continued to ignore the one place Duncan most wanted them to touch. Then they retreated altogether. Duncan opened his eyes, ready to protest, but the sight that greeted him stole his voice completely.

Methos had straddled Duncan's thighs and was watching the Highlander intently, his hazel eyes lit with an expression compounded of deep affection and desire. The warmth of it was as tangible as the touch of his hands had been. Methos was every bit as aroused as Duncan, the slender length of his cock jutting from the patch of dark curls at his groin. The pale smoothness of Methos' skin had been washed by the warm glow of the myriad candles and, to Duncan's eyes, the old Immortal had never looked more like a creature of myth and legend - fey and beautiful.

Pushing aside his own desire for the moment, Duncan reached out to wrap one of his hands around the swollen length of Methos' cock. The other Immortal started at the touch, as if he hadn't been expecting it. But as Duncan began to slide his hand up and down the damp, overheated skin a sigh of pleasure escaped Methos' lips. Then, as Duncan increased the pressure of his strokes, Methos began to thrust his hips in counterpoint to the Highlander's caresses, slowly fucking the encircling palm.

Duncan watched avidly as Methos gave himself over utterly to the sensations. It was so rare to see Methos without one of his protective masks in place that Duncan treasured these few unguarded moments. As the old Immortal's eyes closed and his lips parted in response to the building pleasure Duncan wondered which of them had received the greater gift.

Methos' movements were becoming more frantic, less controlled, and Duncan knew he had to be close. Duncan brought his free hand up to steady Methos, splaying his broad palm across the small of the other Immortal's back.

The added touch was more than Methos could take. He thrust sharply into Duncan's hand one last time and then froze as his climax swept over him. He came hard, feeling the pulses of semen spill from him over Duncan's hand and onto his thighs. They seemed to take the last of Methos' strength with them. As the final waves of pleasure retreated Methos slumped forward onto his hands and knees. He could feel the soothing touch of Duncan's hands on his sweaty skin and hear the meaningless whisper of his words. It was seductive and Methos let himself be eased down to lie at Duncan's side, the Highlander's arms holding him close.

"Happy birthday, Methos," murmured Duncan softly, his lips moving against the damp spikes of the old Immortal's hair.

"That was one hell of a present," said Methos with a shaky laugh. He reached out a hand, stroking Duncan's stomach lightly and feeling the muscles flutter under his fingertips.

"You don't have to wait for your next birthday to get a repeat performance, though," said Duncan, smiling contentedly.

"Good," Methos chuckled, "I don't think I could wait that long. You're just too much of a temptation, MacLeod..." Methos' voice trailed off as his fingers encountered Duncan's still erect cock. "I think you've been holding out on me," he continued, wrapping his hand around the hard length. "I still have the best part of my treat to come - literally..." he added with a wicked grin. "Now, does this taste as good as it feels? Hm?"

Suiting actions to words Methos slid down Duncan's body until he could take the Highlander's cock into his mouth. He sucked the swollen head, lapping at the sticky pre-come coating it. Then he flicked the tip of his tongue over the sensitive slit in search of more. Duncan's gasps and moans of pleasure were all the encouragement Methos needed. Relaxing his throat he took the whole of Duncan's cock into his mouth. Methos let his teeth graze the swollen shaft as he slowly withdrew and then swallowed Duncan to the hilt once more.

It was too much for Duncan's already shaky control and he came long and hard. The salty fluid spilled down Methos' throat and he swallowed it eagerly, loving the intimate taste of the Highlander's pleasure. Methos suckled the softening cock until there was no more to be had and then carefully drew back. He kissed the lax flesh gently and then trailed more kisses up Duncan's torso and neck, until he found his way back to the soft lips.

Duncan returned the kiss with lazy pleasure, tasting himself on the old Immortal's lips and tongue. "Mmm," he sighed when their mouths finally broke apart, "still think I'm holding out on you?"

Methos grinned. "Probably, but by the time I'm done there won't be a nook or cranny left unexplored where you could hide my present."

"I thought I was your present," laughed Duncan.

"No, I've decided that you're the wrapping," announced Methos, "because that's always more fun to play with than the present itself. Hm, so where should I look next?"

Duncan smiled fondly at his lover as Methos' elegant fingers went exploring again. 5,000 years old and yet Methos still retained not only the capacity for love but, at times, an almost child-like playfulness. Duncan had no idea how he'd managed it, especially given what little the Highlander knew of Methos' past, but he was more than grateful that it was so. Silently thanking whatever deity had seen fit to bring the oldest Immortal into his life Duncan lay back to enjoy whatever else Methos had in mind for his birthday celebrations.

The End

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