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Adam's Universe: Touch Not the Cat

Chapter Text

"Madison Square," Methos told the cab driver.

"What? Not Broadway?"

"Broadway?"

"Aren't we going to see 'Cats?' I thought we were going to see the show?"

Methos lounged against the door of the cab. "MacLeod, we're going to see *the* cats. The International Cat Show." He grinned. "And 'Cat's' closed, MacLeod. There's another big ticket now."

"Methos, seriously. A cat show?"

Methos pointed toward the marquee.

"You weren't kidding."

"No, of course not." Methos thoroughly enjoyed having MacLeod just a slight bit off-balance. He was smiling as he paid their entry and went into the hall.

MacLeod looked around. "So, what do we do now?"

"We look." Methos glanced over at his lover.

"Oh?" The Highlander was immediately suspicious. "And what are we looking for?"

Methos shrugged. "Just looking. Come on." He started down one of the rows lined with fancifully decorated cages.

Tense at first, the longer they walked the more relaxed MacLeod got. He thought it was silly, but a harmless past time. Maybe Methos didn't have an ulterior motive--this time. He turned to make a comment...

"Oh, no," he sighed. Methos was making straight for...

"Is that a cat?"

"Of course it's a cat!" The words were uttered by several people besides Methos.

"They're Sphynx," Methos muttered. "I've never seen one before. Only heard about them."

MacLeod recognized the tone, the look. "No Methos. No cats."

"I know." The older immortal sighed. The idea of a jet-set immortal with a cat It was easier to take a sword across international borders than a pet. He went over to one of the cages. It was a compulsion. He couldn't help himself. He was simply drawn to the exotic look of the hairless breed.

"Could I...?"

The lady breeder turned and looked up, and up, at the tall young man. "Oh. Yes. Definitely." She smiled. Then handed him a bottle of hand sanitizer.

She turned to one of her decorated cages and brought out a young female cat. She was mostly white, with black markings and large green eyes. The woman put the cat into Methos' arms.

"Her name is Cindy, and this is her very first show."

Methos was...enthralled. The cat was a real beauty. And so fragile looking. But strong. Much stronger than he'd anticipated. It flashed into the immortal's head--like a sword sheathed in velvet. "Cindy," he whispered. And the cat looked up into his eyes. She stretched up in his arms and put her paws on his chest. And delicately rubbed her head along his jaw.

"They have a unique personality," the breeder was saying. "Very people oriented."

She turned back to Methos and Cindy. The cat was nuzzling his neck and delicately kneading his shoulders. It looked like she was hugging him.

And Methos... He looked at his lover. Then he very deliberately and carefully handed Cindy back to the woman.

"Um. Thanks."

The woman looked at him. She knew the look. She handed him a card. "If you ever..."

Methos nodded. "Thanks. But I don't think so." But he took the card anyway.

He walked away quickly. And MacLeod had to hurry to catch up to him.
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Methos was sprawled on the couch. MacLeod lounged in front of the fireplace. They hadn't spoken much since arriving home.

"Want to watch TV?" MacLeod sat up and looked over at Methos.

"Um." Without looking up Methos turned another page in his novel.

"Movie." The Scot started crawling toward the couch.

"Un uh." Just a bare shake of the head.

"Bed?" MacLeod leaned over and took the book out of Methos' hands.

"Ah!"

MacLeod laughed as he got to his feet and pulled his lover up with him.
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"Methos?"

"Um?"

"What was it,about the cat? You looked..."

Methos turned so he could gaze at his lover. "You didn't hold her, Mac. You just don't know. All warm, velvet soft skin. That slides over hard muscles." He ran his hands over the Scot's chest.

"She reminded me of...you."
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Sunday morning. Methos decided he wasn't getting out of bed unless someone forced him. And there was only one person who could do that.

Still. He reached across the bed and found nothing!

"MacLeod?" His shout echoed loud in their loft. Then he felt the presence of his lover.

"Did you go out for breakfast? I hope you got something besides healthy crap. You know, something I might like."

Methos lounged back among the pillows. Maybe he could get MacLeod to feed him breakfast in bed.

"Well, Methos, I think I got something you might like."

The Highlander reached the sleeping alcove and dropped a small brown bag on the bed, then sat beside his lover. "Go ahead, open it."

Methos smiled and sat up. He opened the bag and found a plastic bag inside. A bag full of... "Mac! What is this, did you go out and buy pot!"

MacLeod started laughing. "Hardly, Methos. It's catnip."

"Catnip?"

"Yeah, I thought she might like it."

He opened his coat to reveal a peacefully sleeping ball of white and black body, legs, tail, and ears.

"Duncan."

"Methos?"

"I love you."

"I know."

"Now, give me my cat!"

 

Continued...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

SUNDAY...

Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod was not born in a time when cats were popular. He'd never had one as a pet. Had in fact, barely tolerated the ship's cats some sea captains insisted on keeping.

And he still couldn't believe he'd gone out and spent good money to buy a cat.

But Methos' face when he'd handed her over. Well, yeah, he thought, that had been worth $3000.

MacLeod grinned, remembering how Methos and his cat had looked together. Whoever would have thought a naked cat could be so, well, he wasn't sure what it was. Otherworldly? Magical? Yeah. That had been a magical moment.

And the shopping spree later in the evening. To the Pet Warehouse. MacLeod laughed out loud when he thought about the amount of money Methos had shelled out in the place. Yeah, well, it was all worth it.

He looked over at his lover. Him and the cat. Curled up asleep together on the couch. Her head tucked under his chin. His hand covering her body. One paw resting on his neck. And her tail wrapped most possessively around his wrist. MacLeod leaned over the back of the couch and brushed a stray lock of hair into place.

"Love," he whispered softly, "ready to come to bed?"

Methos opened his eyes and looked up at MacLeod. The cat, Cindy, did the same. Two sets of green-gold eyes looked up at the Scot.

Smiling, the older immortal scooped up the cat and snuggled with her briefly before putting her down on the floor. He reached out a hand to allow his lover to haul him up. "I guess we should. It's been a long day. And I have to be up early."

Methos shook his head. "I can't believe I let you talk me into taking that job."

"You were dying to take it. Guest lecturer..."

"Yes, but they didn't tell me about the blasted eight-on-Monday-morning staff meetings!"

MacLeod laughed. "Well, put the cat out for the night and come to bed, then."

"That's not funny, MacLeod."

"Funny?" The Scot frowned.

"'Put the cat out?!'" Methos shook his head. "Not a chance."

MacLeod studied the set expression on his lover's face. He didn't want to argue. But even more, he didn't want the cat in his bed.

"Methos, wouldn't it be better if you put her in the bathroom. So she won't be roaming..." He trailed off. Methos was giving him that look.

The Highlander knew he only had two choices. And one of the alternatives was unthinkable.

 

MONDAY...

MacLeod's first appointment wasn't until one. A late lunch with a contractor. He'd gotten up with Methos, and in the usual whirlwind that was getting his lover off to work on time, he'd forgotten about the cat.

Until the men arrived at eleven to deliver the 'stuff.'

MacLeod dressed hurriedly as someone leaned on the doorbell. "Coming," he shouted four times into the intercom before they stopped. He keyed in the code that sent the elevator down, then looked for the cat.

"Here kitty, kitty. Come on, kitty. Damn you, cat!" The Scot got down on all fours and started looked under the furniture.

He heard the elevator stop, and got up and went to lift the gate. The service elevator was piled high and there were six men.

"My God! You've got to be kidding..."

The man in charge grinned as he handed over the delivery manifest. He'd see this kind of reaction before. "Thought a cat would be a great little present?"

MacLeod nodded dumbly as he looked at the bottom-line figure. And he groaned at the 'bill to' name.

The man nodded. "Hey, gotta keep the wife happy," he said cheerfully. He turned and began directing his crew on the set up of--everything...

"Not...wife..." The Scot mumbled.
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MacLeod hated to be late. He practically ran out of the loft at quarter to one, got to the restaurant right on time--then had to wait while his lunch partner was stuck in traffic.

Then it turned out the man was an idiot. And wasted almost two hours of the Highlander's time. Still grumbling about people who wanted Imperial China on an Outer Mongolian budget, the Scot rushed to the market for steaks and then back to the loft.

Methos would be home shortly after five, and MacLeod had promised to grill since it was his night to cook. It was just about then that he realized he hadn't seen the cat. Not since she'd had coffee with Methos. He shook his head. Yeah. She'd helped herself right out of his cup and he'd let her.

"Leave off, Mac. She was a goddess in Egypt." Then he'd laughed.

"Here kitty, kitty." MacLeod moved to the center of the loft. "Kitty?"

An hour later and Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod had to admit defeat. There was no cat in the loft. He'd called the delivery people. He'd called the SPCA. He'd called the building manager. He'd even called Joe.

He'd tried every trick imaginable. Rattled food dishes. Run the can opener. Put out fresh food. Checked drawers, cabinets, closets. Under furniture. He'd even checked the fireplace.

MacLeod was sitting on the couch, in the dusk, when the door opened. He heard the thunk, thunk as Methos put down briefcase and laptop. The jingling of keys into the bowl beside the door. The sound of a sword being stuck in the umbrella stand.

"Mac?"

"Methos. I have to tell you..."

"No, I have to tell you, Duncan! She was a huge success. Such a success, I might add, she's been invited to come back every day!"

"She? Who?" The Scot was wracking his brain trying to figure out who Methos was talking about.

"Cindy, of course. She was a perfect angel. Made nice with the department head, entertained the Dean." Methos laughed as he carried the cat over to the couch and dropped her on MacLeod's lap.

"So, how was your day?"

 

Continued...

Chapter Text

TUESDAY...

Methos had cooked the steaks MacLeod had never got around to grilling the night before. 'Just meat and potatoes,' he'd said. Then served up a meal worthy of a 'Food Network' special.

"What's the occasion, Methos?"

"Don't need an occasion. Just because." He'd shrugged and smiled at the man he loved.

Now he was crashed on the sofa with Cindy, ready to watch a movie. "Going to come, Mac?"

The Highlander looked over at Methos from his work area. Now, wasn't that a loaded question. "Maybe later, I'm in the middle of something." He went back to his typing.

Phhbbbtttt!

"Methos?"

"Hm?"

"What was that?"

"A kiss." Phhbbbtttt! "See. Cindy like me to blow kisses on her belly." Phhbbbtttt!

"Oh my God," MacLeod breathed quietly.

"Methos. That's..." The Highlander had no words to express what he was thinking.

Except that he was beginning to feel jealous of the cat.

"Look of those paws, Duncan. Have you ever seen anything like them." Methos held up a delicate looking paw and Cindy automatically flexed. "Those aren't toes, are they, Cindy? No, they're not. She's got fingers, Mac."

Methos propped the cat against his shoulder, and she stared at MacLeod. Then she rubbed her head on Methos' ear, and began to purr and knead his shoulder. He reached up to rub her head and ears, and the eyes slowly,
slowly closed.

MacLeod shifted in his chair. He was getting turned on watching Methos pet the cat.

He humphed to himself, and stared at the keyboard. He looked up.

Cindy was standing on Methos shoulder now, and the man was...

"Methos, are you giving the cat a...a massage?"

"Of course, Duncan. You like massages, don't you? I know I do."

"But, A cat?"

"Sure."

MacLeod was determined to finish his report. He had to make a conscious effort, but he finally got his mind off his lover and his lover's cat.

 

WEDNESDAY...

The clock on the computer showed that it was midnight. MacLeod got up from behind his desk and winced as he stretched. He'd been sitting for four hours. But at least he was done.

He looked around the darkened loft. Methos was already abed. He could just
see the lean frame sprawled on their bed through the drapes. He grinned.
Methos, the Eighth Wonder of the Ancient World.

He sighed, and shook his head. What made him, Duncan MacLeod, so special?
Why, out of the all the people in the world--mortal or immortal--had Methos chosen him. He grinned. They'd danced around each other for a while. And then there'd been the awful/wondrous/heartbreaking months Methos had spent with Alexa.

Alexa. He wondered how much Methos' affair with her had been a defense against their growing closeness.

The Highlander thought again of that bittersweet time in Paris. And the fiasco with the Watchers. Almost losing Joe.

How he'd finally found passion--and love. Love. With Methos.

Smiling, he crossed to the sleeping alcove. Then he heard quiet whisperings and he realized his lover was awake. Awake and talking to the cat! He stretched out a hand to pull back the drape when he heard 'Duncan.' He moved closer and saw that Methos was gently stroking Cindy.

And the cat was turned on her side with her belly exposed, her front paws under her chin. Gazing up at Methos in rapt attention.

"...and everyone that knew her said she was good, and kind, and sweet, and talented. And Tessa loved Duncan very much. Maybe even more than I do..."

"Methos."

"Duncan?" The older immortal sat up as his lover came to sit beside him. He pulled the Scot close and kissed his soft lips gently. He wanted gentle tonight. He needed gentle. He put his hands under MacLeod's tee shirt and skimmed it off in one movement.

Then he began his tender seduction. And for a long while it was enough for both of them. But finally, MacLeod rose and finished undressing.

"God, Duncan, you are beautiful. The most beautiful man in the world."

"That you've met, or that you've slept with?" The Scot smiled as he returned to Methos' side.

"Neither? Both? You know I don't kiss and tell." He smiled at the old joke between them.

MacLeod grinned, and kissed Methos again. But now he wanted more. He
trailed sensuous, sweet, tender, melting kisses down his lover's body. At the first touch of his lips on Methos' cock he felt the older immortal move. He knew Methos wanted to watch. And he wanted him to watch.

He inhaled the scent of his lover. Methos smelled of the sea, and Highland forests after the rain. It was primordial. Exotic. Erotic. Intoxicating.

Methos stifled a groan as the luscious mouth took him in. His hands clutched at the bedding. It was too much. Too little. He wanted, needed...

...MacLeod knew it was time for more when he felt his lover's hands in his hair. He looked up, and stared into Methos glittering eyes. Without speaking the Scot rose up and reached for the lubrication and popped the top. Methos settled himself against the pillows.

The first touch of the gel was cool on the head of Methos' cock. But it warmed quickly as MacLeod spread on a generous amount. Methos reach for the tube, but the Highlander snapped closed the top and tossed it back into the drawer.

Methos smiled to himself. So, it was one of those nights. MacLeod was going to be in complete control. Well, almost.

The Highlander rose up to straddle Methos' hips, and then with deliberate slowness impaled himself on Methos' erection. By the time he was filled, both men were panting and on the verge of losing all control.

"Duncan! Don't!" Methos gripped MacLeod's hips frantically as his lover rocked back and forth on him.

"Yes, now. Now!" Duncan shouted as he started to come, as Methos pulled him down, and thrust into him at the same time.

As the lovers lay cradled in each others arms, Cindy moved off the Scot's pillow and padded into the kitchen.

Sometime later MacLeod woke to the sound of hooves pounding across the loft's hardwood floor.

Instantly awake, he reached for his katana. "What the bloody hell?"

"The pitter-patter of tiny feet," Methos mumbled. "Cindy wants somebody to go chase her."

"What?"

Methos rolled over. "You heard me. She wants to play chase."

"And how do you know that?"

"Um, 'cause we do it while I'm at work?"

"Oh." MacLeod couldn't think of a single other thing to say for several moments. "Well, can you make her stop?"

"Cindy," Methos called. "Come to bed." A moment later the cat jumped up on the end of the bed and strolled over them. After surveying the situation she carefully insinuated herself between their shoulders. Then she arranged her body so her head was resting under Methos' chin. But the green-gold eyes were on MacLeod's face.

MacLeod looked back at her. Wondered what she thought.

A moment later he got his answer when she stretched up to lick the corner of his mouth.

"What was that?"

"Kitty-kiss. She loves you, Duncan."

 

Continued...

Chapter Text


THURSDAY MORNING...

The phone rang and MacLeod groaned. "Methos," he said as soon as he picked up.

"How'd you guess?"

"God Methos, this is the third time you've called and it's not even ten."

"Oh."

MacLeod waited. Silence. "Okay, fine. Just a minute..." He found the cat and held the handset out. He shook his head. I can't believe this, he thought. He's talking to the cat over the phone.

"Mac? Mac! You can hang up now!"

The Scot held the phone to his ear. And heard the dial tone. He looked at the cat. "Have a nice conversation?"

Cindy looked at him with her stunning green-gold eyes. Her eloquent, naked tail curled into a definite question mark. Her mouth opened and the tiniest *mieu* came out.

"Yeah, right. That's what I thought."

 

MIDMORNING...

MacLeod came limping in from his run to find four rambling messages on the answering machine. All from Methos. All for Cindy. "Bastard."

The cat obviously heard Methos' voice, and walked over to MacLeod. Then followed him into the bath. Jumped up on the side of the tub and watched it fill. "What do you want," he asked her. "Go on. Scat. Didn't Methos tell you cat's don't like water?" He reached over and turned off the tap.

"Get." He pushed Cindy off the edge of the tub and gingerly eased himself into the warm water. The cramp in his thigh was already beginning to ease. His quickening alone would have taken care of it. But he did relish baths. He closed his eyes and leaned back.

*snort*

MacLeod opened one eye when he felt warm breath on his cheek. And found himself face to face with green-gold cat eyes. Then before he could move Cindy stepped onto his shoulder and walked down his torso and onto his leg. Then she jumped into the water at his feet and made patting motions at his toes.

"Well, I'll be damned."

 

NOON...

"Don't even bother to beg," MacLeod told Methos' cat as he rummaged through the refrigerator. And came up with a collection of little containers. Pasta salad, poached salmon, steamed carrots, sauteed green beans. More than enough for a nice lunch.

After making a salad, he heated what he wanted and went to the dining table.

Cindy followed and sat next to his chair. She gazed up at him. He ignored her.

After a few bites he glanced down at her. "Oh my God," he breathed. Cindy was sitting up on her haunches. "You look like a naked meerkat," he pronounced. "Okay, for that you can have a treat." MacLeod broke off a piece of salmon and held it out.

Cindy sniffed the offering and backed off. Then she sat and looked up at him again. *Mieu*.

"Madam doesn't eat fish? Oh, pardon. Mademoiselle."

"Okay, how about this?"

The carrot was vigorously shaken and it's 'neck' broken before it was devoured. Cindy sat and waited.

The green beans, pasta, and salad were all dispatched as swiftly and neatly as the carrot.

So was the cantaloupe the Scot had for dessert.

 

EARLY AFTERNOON...

MacLeod had shut the phones off and turned down the volume on the answering machine. He had two proposals to write and Methos was driving him absolutely nuts. Over the cat.

Well, he had to admit she was kinda cute. In a strange, exotic, alien way. She got cuter the more he watched her as she played. Like now. She had a fuzzy yarn ball and she'd found she could pick it up with her claws and toss it around.

Or the furry fake mice. She'd spent a full hour batting one around on the hardwood floor. Or carrying it, dangling by the tail. He'd begun to think she was doing her best to entertain him.

But he had to work. MacLeod settled in front of his computer. Cindy jumped up on the arm of his chair and sat. Then she stood up and put a paw on his shoulder.

"No," he said. "Be still or get down."

*Mieu*, she replied. She stretched further and brushed his jaw with her head. She started purring. Then Cindy delicately stepped onto his chest and got ready to settle down for a nap.

"You silly cat. Just like Methos. But I can't type with you there." He plucked her off his chest and put her on the floor.

He barely got settled before she was back. After the tenth time he gave up and settled her so he could type one-handed.

 

LATE AFTERNOON...

Popcorn. She was begging for popcorn. MacLeod was having a great time tossing it to her so she could hunt the kernels down and kill them. And damn, she was eating every bit, too.

And now that he really looked at the thing Methos had bought for her to play in, he had to admit it was interesting. It was a rambling cat tree made from real trees. The branches ending in carpeted platforms.

It wasn't nearly as hideous as he'd first thought. And Cindy certainly loved it. Right now she was in one of the hidey-holes.

MacLeod carried the empty popcorn bowl into the loft's galley and decided to start dinner. As soon as he opened the refrigerator and started putting food on the island, Cindy appeared. She jumped up on a barstool and much to MacLeod's amazement watched the whole process. And never once tried to get into anything.

He had just opened the wine when Cindy suddenly flew off her stool and went racing to the door. She skidded to a stop just shy of the door that suddenly swung open to reveal an extremely irate ancient immortal.

"Damn, Methos, she knew you were here before I did."

Methos dropped everything and kicked the door shut as Cindy leaped at his chest. He caught her to him. He kissed the top of Cindy's smooth head and she gave him a kitty-kiss.

The Highlander stood in the galley looking at the pair. "What? No greeting for me?"

"Yeah, well, she didn't turn off the phones? Now, did she?"

"Come on, Methos. You were obsessing..."

Methos just looked at his lover. He carried Cindy over to the tree and she climbed onto the highest platform and looked down at the men.

"I think I have a right too. I got a call this morning. Someone broke into the cattery. They stole her parents. The breeder thinks it's because of the bloodline."

"You've got to be kidding, Methos. They're cats."

"It's a rare bloodline, Mac. She's one of only thirty. In the world. And one of only ten that's able to breed."

The two men looked up at the cat. Cindy blinked her green-gold eyes at them.

*Mieu*

 

Continued...

Chapter Text

"So, Methos, have you heard anything more about the catnappings?"

In the last month, Dr. Adam Pierson had learned that over a hundred cats had been reported missing in the Northeast. And all of them of the rarest Sphynx bloodlines.

"Only that it's systematic. And the thefts are always right after a major show. And whoever is doing the kidnapping is able to identify the exact cat they want without a problem."

"And the authorities are less than useless." He sighed. "I understand it, Mac. I really do. To them they're 'just cats.'" He looked down and caressed the bulge under his sweater that was the sleeping feline.

MacLeod grinned. The first time he'd seen Methos sprawled on the couch like that. He'd immediately thought of that Schwarzenegger movie. The one where Arnold was pregnant. It was a silly fantasy. Imagine. Methos pregnant. Nine months without alcohol or caffeine? MacLeod shivered.

He moved next to his lover and shoved his legs off the couch. "Make room, old man." He made himself comfortable with his head in Methos' lap.

"Well, you don't show her. So how would anyone know."

"Her picture and my name were on the cattery website. It was up over a week before they remembered it was there. And I've been rather vocal about the whole situation. I wouldn't be that hard to track down, Mac."

"You're worried."

"Yeah. I guess I am. And I don't know what to do. I'd take her everywhere with me, but that's not possible. And leaving her here alone..."

"God, Mac! This is so stupid!"
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Dr. Pierson was the most popular guest lecturer New York College had had since... Well, since anyone could remember.

There were whispered comments about a renaissance in both the history and literature departments.

And more than a few of the students (and faculty members) had gone to great lengths to attract his attention. Until Duncan MacLeod had showed up at his office one noon. With a picnic basket and blanket in hand.

Word had swept the campus like wildfire. When MacLeod left two hours later, the corridor had been packed. Mary, Dr. Pierson's secretary, had just grinned. And eventually the Board of Directors had shrugged and gone back to arguing exactly how the Alexa Bond Endowment was going to be split up.

So, Methos had no real reason to suspect anything when a student approached him. Still. He was going home later than usual, and he was restless waiting for a taxi. He eyed the girl. Wasn't Goth passe'? Or was it coming back? The girl's makeup and hair and garb practically screamed disguise.

"Dr. Pierson," she gushed. "I can't wait to take your class next semester. My boyfriend just raves about it!"

"Yeah, glad he likes it." He shifted uneasily. Cindy stuck her head inside his coat.

"Oooh! Your cat! Can I hold her?"

"Um. I'm afraid that'll have to wait for another day. There's my cab..." Methos looked around and realized for the first time there was no one near.

The girl stepped closer. "Sorry, Dr. Pierson. This is my cab. Just give her to me and things will be fine."

"And if I don't hand her over?"

There was a 'snick' that Methos recognized. Switchblade.

"Dr. Pierson, I promise she'll be well taken care of with us. Treated like a queen," she snickered. She reached for the cat and pried her out of Methos arms. Then she ran to the cab, jumped in, and it pulled away.

The person behind him laughed softly. "Now, I* get what's left."

Methos' last thought as the knife slid home into his heart was that whoever the guy was, he was good.
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MacLeod felt sorry for the officers, Damler and Zane, who'd come to take Methos' statement. They were clearly out of their element.

"So, someone took your...cat?"

"Yes. Her name is Cindy, and she's a special cat."

"Uh huh."

MacLeod put his hand on his lover's shoulder. Then he went over to his desk.

"Look, officer, here's a photo, a description and a flyer."

Damler, the older of the pair, looked the material over and frowned. "Why'd anybody want anything that ugly..."

MacLeod made a fast grab at the back of Methos' sweater and hauled him onto the couch.

The man shrugged. "So, was anything else stolen?"

Methos seethed. MacLeod answered. "Briefcase, coat, laptop, cell, wallet, keys, watch, ring." He didn't add gun, knife and sword.

"We've already taken care of most of it." He gestured toward the man from the security company.

The younger officer, Zane, nodded and made a last note. "Mr. MacLeod, Dr. Pierson. I wish there was something encouraging I could say." He shrugged. "If we hear anything..."
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MacLeod woke in the early morning and reached for Methos. But the bed was cold. He sat up, his eyes immediately going to the figure across the loft.

Moonlight, almost as bright as day, bathed Methos where he stood before the huge windows. All the cliches ran through the Highlander's mind. But it was true. He was beautiful as a statue.

MacLeod went to stand behind his lover, but he didn't touch him.

Methos picked up Cindy's favorite toy. "What's going on, Duncan? Why would they be willing to kill to get her?"

"I don't know. But we're going to find out."

 

Continued...

Chapter Text

There was a general uproar the next day when Dr. Pierson arrived at the college. News of the 'mugging' and the theft of Cindy had reached administration level by noon.

The phone constantly rang, there were over a hundred emails for him to read, a stack of fax.

It seemed like everyone on campus thought they had to commiserate with him. And quite a few decided to do it in person. As if on cue there was a knock on the door.

Knowing that he had the sympathy of students and faculty was one thing. But god, this was getting ridiculous, he thought. He ignored the knock.

"Dr. Pierson?" The voice was female, and not one he recognized. "Your secretary says you're in here, sir." The 'sir' gave it away. This was official.

Bowing to the inevitable, Methos went and unlocked the door. "All right, this better be..." And found himself addressing the ID of an FBI agent. He peered around at, "Agent Scully. Won't you come in?" He shook hands and gestured toward his couch.

"Thank you." The woman sat and smoothed her skirt over her knees. "I suppose you're wondering why the FBI is involved in a mugging."

"I would say that's a bit of an understatement."

The woman glanced down at her hands, then looked up into the man's eyes. Mulder has got to meet this guy, she thought. "Yes, sir. Um," she cleared her throat.

"Have you ever heard of the Cult of Bast?" She noted the man's slight stiffening. "I see you have. Do you know anything about it?"

"Last I heard, it was put down--outlawed--in the 1930s." Damn straight, he thought.

"Yes, sir, it was..."

"But?"

"It appears they're back in business."

"This is unbelievable. You can't be serious." Methos got up and began to pace. He had to get out of the office. He had to get home. MacLeod had to hear this too.
+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

"Coffee, Agent Scully...?"

"Call me Dana, please, sir."

"Only if you call me Adam. And lose the 'sir?'"

"And call me Duncan."

"All right. Adam, Duncan."

There were smiles all around. Methos poured coffee for them all. He noticed that the young woman was studying the loft. He decided to put her out of her misery.

"Yes, Dana, Mac's my lover."

"Oh." She colored prettily when she blushed.

"It's okay, Dana. We get that reaction a lot," MacLeod laughed.

"Yes, s... Duncan. I guess you probably do." She looked from one man to the other. Damn.

"Well, back to business, eh?" She put her cup down on the coffee table.

"Two years ago a new tomb opened. At one of the KV sites. There were some inconsistencies."

She looked over at Adam. He had that look again.

"Since then there have been a number of deaths attributed to a disease that's been designated KV13."

Adam jumped up, startling both Scully and MacLeod. "And what does any of this have to do with my cat being stolen." Damn. Shit. Fuck. He'd gone through the ringer the last time this happened. He went over to the bar and poured himself a healthy three fingers of tequila.

Scully pinked up again. "Well..." She sighed deeply. "I'd prefer you hear this from my partner. He could explain it better, I'm sure..." Then she
glanced at Pierson. Something was going on. Mulder, damn, where are you, she though.

"Do you believe in reincarnation?"

Adam knocked back the tequila, glanced over at MacLeod. "Yeah, I do happen to believe in reincarnation. Again, what does that have to do with my cat?"

Before Scully could answer, the intercom started to buzz.

"Hello. Um," then a sound of paper rustling. "Hello? I'm looking for a Dr. Pierson. Adam Pierson? This is Fox Mulder."

"Thank God, that's my partner." Lifesaver, Dana thought.

 

Continued...

Chapter Text

MacLeod moved faster than Methos and buzzed the man in. Methos went to stand near the window where Cindy would sun herself. He picked up her fuzzy pillow. It still smelled of her unique scent, and he held it to his chest.

"Agent Mulder..." The Scot made the introductions, offered coffee, acted the perfect host. Noticed how the man was sizing up the situation. "Adam and I are lovers, yes."

"Um. Okay." Mulder took the seat next to his partner. "So, has Scully filled you in? No?"

"We got this case via Interpol. And they want to keep it quiet. But unless we get a break. And I mean a huge break..."

"Just tell me what this has to do with my cat," Methos interjected.

MacLeod got up and went over to Methos. He made him put the pillow down and come over to the sitting area. But his lover wouldn't be contained, and paced around behind the sofa.

"There have been a number of deaths in the Valley of the Kings. At first they were attributed to natural causes. Until it was discovered they all had claw marks on their bodies."

"I think you know, Adam... Something about..."

"The Cult of Bast. Yes. So, it's resurfaced after almost 70 years." Methos mumbled something that none of them could understand. "They were vicious. I can understand part of it, of course. The Anglos were stealing Egyptian antiquities," Methos shrugged. "Even Flinders..." He shook his head. Flinders Petrie, one of the greatest Egyptologists, had helped himself to some of the smaller, but more spectacular finds.

"What happened two years ago. Dana mentioned something starting then. A new tomb was opened?"

"Reopened. There was evidence that it'd been used as recently as, um, seventy years ago. Right about the time the Egyptian government executed the last members of the cult. I, ah, believe they were...beheaded."

Methos stopped pacing and went back to the windows.

"What do you want to know about the bastards, Fox?"

Mulder had the good grace to look embarrassed Scully looked at him and rolled her eyes. Why did he always do this to her? Keep her outside? "Mulder, what is it?"

"Adam?" MacLeod had that nauseous feeling he got when Methos was about to tell him something he really didn't want to hear.

"I had a, um, relative who was working on the Tanis dig about that time. There were some--important--relics that disappeared. It drove the Bastians over the edge." He shrugged. "I have my cousin's journals."

Methos finally decided to sit, and sprawled into the corner of the couch opposite MacLeod. "Their leader was a man named Kalormas." He shot a significant look at the Highlander.

Mulder nodded and took up the story. "Kalormas was enamored of Egypt. Fancied himself a priest of Bast. From about 1900 until he died in the late 30's, he and his cult were responsible for deaths among archaeologists, guides, diggers, even some of the patrons."

"Yes. He was particularly fond of poison." Methos flinched. A particularly nasty poison. He remembered. He remembered Kalormas flinging the cat at him. The frightened animal's poisoned claws ripping into his flesh...

Methos' friends had killed Kalormas. Cut him down with rifle fire. But without his guidance, they'd simply bundled the corpse into a small tomb and brought down rubble to cover it again. And by the time he had revived, they were on the way to Alexandria.

"The Egyptians believe it's Kalormas' grandson who's restarted the cult."

"And you'd like me to help."

"You are obviously the expert," Scully acknowledged.

There was a long pause as the two agents and his lover watched Adam/Methos.

"All right. But, I want to know--what has all this got to do with my cat?"

Mulder leaned forward, and his eyes gleamed. "Now, this is the strange part..." Scully sighed and looked away. "...this thing with the cat has nothing to do with you at all."

"You mean it's totally random?" MacLeod asked.

"Not exactly. You see, Kalormas had a cat..."

Methos sat up. "Yes. An Abyssinian. A tom. Ptolemy. Kalormas was convinced the cat was his familiar. That he helped him conjure Bast."

"That's it." Mulder nodded. "The cat ended up in Paris, living with..."

"God, no!"

"The Delanceys. You know the name?"

"Cindy's pedigree. Delancey Nefertiti is all over it. They used Ptolemy to develop that particular Sphynx bloodline."

"I knew the name sounded familiar."

Mulder nodded. "We think Kalormas is trying to reincarnate Ptolemy. The Abyssinian line is very weak, of course."

Methos nodded. "While the Sphynx has been concentrated."

"All right, Dana, Fox, where do we go to sign up?"

 

Continued...

Chapter Text

MacLeod and Mulder made arrangements while Methos packed and Scully helped.

Her eyes widened imperceptibly when she saw him unload and check his pistol. Something gave her away, and Methos turned. Held it out to her grip first. "What do you think?"

"Beautiful," she breathed. Then wondered how he knew she was fascinated by guns. "It's so light. How accurate?"

"Very," Methos said with a smile. "If we weren't in a hurry..." He shrugged.

Scully reluctantly handed the pistol over. "I presume you have..."

"All the documents I could possibly need. Yes. If nothing else, I'm thorough. Mac swears I'm obsessed." Actually, MacLeod called him 'anal retentive,' but that had nothing to do with paperwork.

Methos looked over at the man he loved and smiled. Scully followed his gaze, and noticed that MacLeod was smiling back. And then she noticed that Mulder was staring at them. How--odd.

Shaking her head just a bit, Scully helped Pierson carry the two bags to the door. MacLeod made one final call.

"Ready," he told the others. "We've got the next flight out." He turned to Methos. "First Class."

"Right," Mulder nodded. "We'll drive you. Government car."
+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

First class was half-empty. And most of the passengers were asleep. "Methos, are you awake?" MacLeod's voice was low, and he leaned close to his lover.

"You knew I was." He smiled, and turned to look at the Scot. Then he saw the look on Mac's face.

"Duncan?"

"Time for the truth, old man. That was a pretty tale you told those nice young mortals..."

"And you, my love, are neither," Methos said softly. "All right. You should know what we're up against..."
+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

Cairo, Egypt. Hot, dusty, dirty. No matter the time of day or night.

MacLeod dumped their bags in the back of the nondescript truck they'd rented. With Methos behind the wheel, they left the airport in the rising dawn and headed toward the desert.

"Are you sure you know where we're going?"

Methos looked over at MacLeod. "Oh, puh-leese."

The Scot began to laugh. "Okay, just checking. But I thought we were meeting this guy at the hotel." MacLeod shrugged, once again Methos was leaving out the details. "You think he might know...?"

"I'm sure he'll know. You might say he's made a name for himself recovering antiquities. He'll know who's working where. And then we'll know who the Bastians are targeting."

The Highlander looked out of the truck's window at the crowded, narrow streets. Vendors were selling all sorts of goods. Young boys ran up to the window. MacLeod shook his head and laughed and joked with them. Much to their surprise.

Methos grinned despite himself. If things weren't so serious he could almost be convinced they were on vacation. A second honeymoon, even. He hadn't been in Egypt in a long time.

Hadn't even considered it since...

"I'm sorry, Methos."

The oldest immortal snorted. "How in hell did you know what I was thinking, Mac?" He glanced at his lover and shook his head. Then he went back to watching the road.

"Am I that obvious?"

"No. It's just...I was thinking about her too. Alexa was special. There was something, I don't know, ethereal about her." Alexa had brought out the protectiveness in everyone who knew her.

"Did you ever wonder why, MacLeod? Why I fell so hard for her?"

The Highlander turned in the seat so he could study Methos' profile. "Yeah, I did. She didn't seem...quite..."

"My type?" Methos nodded. "True enough." He drove on in silence for a little longer. "But she was Adam Pierson's type."

"I didn't even know she was sick when I first met her, you know," he said softly. "And honestly, I can't say it would have made a difference if I had."

Methos shook himself, and glanced at MacLeod again.

"So, when was the last time you were in Egypt?"
+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

Several hours, two pit stops, and more bad roads then they cared to think about later, they knew they were nearing the dig.

Methos pulled up to the roadblock and stopped. The Egyptian guards weren't particularly impressed with the American paperwork. But when they got to the fax from the dig leader everything changed.

"Ah, Dr. Pierson! Why didn't you say you were a friend of his!" The men passed them through. And waved into the dust trail as the truck rumbled and bounced out of sight.

Soon Methos and MacLeod saw men carrying shovels and spades. And others moving scaffolding and knew they were almost at their destination.

"Ah, brings back memories, MacLeod," Methos grinned as he pulled the truck between a couple of other vehicles parked next to a large tent. He jumped out and started off. Then turned back. "Come on, Duncan!"

But before he got to the tent there was another shout.

"Pierson?! About damn time you showed up. What the hell took you so long?!"

Then the shouter appeared and Methos stopped.

"Well, Jones,you might have called me in sooner!"

The two men started laughing, then tried to outdo each other in bearhugging.

MacLeod stopped and regarded them.

Methos turned. "MacLeod! Come and meet Hank. Dr. Henry Jones, Jr. Archaeologist, professor, adventurer, and sometimes scoundrel."

 

Continued...

Chapter Text

There had been something...he didn't know, wasn't sure...

Fuck it, he damn well did know...

Something sublimely sexy about Dr. Adam Pierson. And his, oh, 'let's-be-so-civilized lover.' Duncan MacLeod. With that accent that was just enough to torment. A lady-killer accent.

Except in this case the one being killed was Fox Mulder.

He got up out of his bed--naked--and padded over to the little fridge in his hotel room. One beer left. He twisted off the top and scored into the wastebasket.

His heated hand on the bottle's cold neck sent silvery beads of condensation cascading down like... Oh, what he thought. He brought the bottle to his lips and caught one drop on the tip of his tongue.

Mulder realized he was staring at the bottle. And his free hand had dropped to his groin and he was fondling himself.

"Fuck, Mulder! Get a hold of yourself," he said aloud. He looked down. "Well, look, already taking your own advice. Good man!"

He shook his head and silently drained the beer. Enough indulgence for tonight. He was already tired. It was late. They'd have a long drive in the morning. Mulder climbed between the cool sheets and arranged himself to sleep.
+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

The phone call from Dr. Pierson came as a shock--and a delightful surprise. They had to see him. Pierson and MacLeod both needed to see him, Fox, before their flight left for Alexandria.

Yes, Mulder could do that. At the loft?

No time. At the airport. Fine.

Scribble a note to Scully. Wouldn't want her to worry.

Damn, but he was worried. Pierson was the best lead to solve this case. The best? Um, yeah, the best...

He was a dizzying whirlwind as he rushed into the terminal. Badge out, coattails flying, practically running to meet his...

Lovers. Fuck. They were lovers! Pierson and MacLeod...

Where did that come from?

Mulder came to a halt at the international counter.

The young woman was suitably impressed by his credentials. She smiled and directed him to the first class lounge. Of course. He opened the door and peeked in. Hm. Much nicer than any airport lounge he had ever been in.

And the room appeared to be empty.

He groaned at the thought that he had somehow missed them.

Then he heard an echoing groan. And a head appeared over the back of the room's sofa.

"Fox." It was MacLeod. Another, disembodied voice, "Fox?"

"Come on over. We're having a little bon voyage party!" A disembodied half-laugh, half-giggle sounded from the depths of the sofa...

Mulder slowly moved forward. His feet barely moved. It was like his shoes and the carpet had suddenly become Velcro

"What's taking so long? Come on over here, Fox. We have something to show you."

"You mean, like 'show and tell?'"

"Yeah, just like that."

Mulder froze as MacLeod stood up. A rampantly naked MacLeod. Followed by an equally naked--Oh my God--Pierson.

"Eeep?"

"Yes?"

"Urk?"

"Definitely," Pierson replied with a nod. "This is what you wanted, isn't it, Fox?"

By now the two men had reached Mulder and his clothes flew off and hands were everywhere and mouths and...

He somehow managed to pull away from them for a moment. From the searing kisses that threatened to steal his breath.

"Please! Public place."

"Hm. We should get on with this, then, shouldn't we?"

Mulder was lifted easily, and laid down on the plush carpet. He moaned at the first touch of a mouth on his cock. And groaned when the fingers caressing his chest moved to his nipples. He reached out and pulled Adam to him, and kissed him hungrily until those green-gold eyes closed and...

MacLeod left off the teasing and swallowed him whole.

Yelping in delight/pleasure/agony and writhing under the double onslaught, he arched up. His hands sought blindly and found MacLeod's hair. An anchor. But not for long.

He felt himself being turned and lifted and hands on his ass were opening him. Touching him. Fingers massaged his balls. Probed. Once. Twice. Then he felt hot wetness as Duncan...

Mulder opened his mouth to protest--or did he?--but found a weeping cock waiting. He looked up at Pierson...for a single second...and his protest died as he hungrily sucked.

Then MacLeod was inside him, and it was everything, everything he wanted it to be!

He was filled, mouth and ass, and MacLeod's hands were jacking him...

They were pounding into him, building a fire...bonfire...conflagration...inferno! He was coming, and they were pounding, pounding, pounding...
+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

"Mulder! You open this God damned door right now! Mulder! Are you okay? If you don't open this door..."

A crack appeared, and a haggard Mulder peered out.

"Wha...?"

"Christ, Mulder, you look like hell." Dana Scully eyed her partner. "You were shouting..."

Yeah, he bet he had been... "A dream, Scully. That's all it was. A dream. Night..."

 

 

If (this writer has) offended.
Think but this and all is mended,
That you have but slumber'd here
While these visions did appear.

A Midsummer Night's Dream--Shakespeare

 

Continued...

Chapter Text

The hum of Hank's presence droned in MacLeod's consciousness. Well. Funny. Methos somehow managed to forget to tell him the man was an immortal. The Scot followed behind the pair.

How long had they known each other. When and where had they met. God, they were hanging all over each other.

Then, Hank looked back over Methos' shoulder. "Come on, Duncan. Supper's almost ready. Barbecued goat!" The man laughed as he waited for the Scot to catch up.
+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

They stayed up late, sitting around the portable picnic table outside Hank's tent. The chugging of the generators effectively drowned out their conversation to casual listeners' ears. Except for their intermittent shouts and laughter.

The Highlander finished off another of Hank's excellent brews, and smiled at the fourth member of the party. Grace Adler was a delightful surprise.

"Okay, Adam's told you how we met, how did you two meet?" He looked over at the petite redhead again. Struck by how much she reminded him of Debra Campbell. Except for the bright green eyes. And the dreadlocks He shook his head.

"Go ahead, Grace, tell him." Hank got up and went over to the refrigerator and came back with more beer.

"Oh, right, make me tell. I bet 'cause you can't remember..." She winked at Methos and MacLeod. Then she went on.

"It was at a design symposium in Chicago. I'd entered an Egyptian fantasy room in the competition. He showed up and started lecturing. Telling everybody how wrong the whole thing was. I was pretty pissed..."

"Don't think pissed is exactly the right word. She whacked me a good one on the back of the head" He ducked away when she raised her hand, then gave her a quick kiss.

Grace giggled, and leaned over to rub the beleaguered spot. "That's when he turned around and...well..." She stopped talking and smiled. Licked her lips slowly. Hank couldn't take his eyes off her mouth.

Methos plunked down his empty beer bottle. "Uh, yeah, we've had a long day. Real long day." He grabbed MacLeod's hand and pulled him up off the bench. Without a backwards glance at Hank and Grace he hauled his lover into their tent.

He had the door zipped up, and himself and MacLeod zipped down before the Scot got his bearings in the dark.

Methos efficiently tripped his lover, and they landed with an 'oof' on the airbed. "Gods, Mac, I've been wanting you for hours," Methos breathed into his lover's ear between nibbles.

"So, why'd you wait so long?" MacLeod hissed and tilted his head so Methos could suck on his neck. "I mean, it's not like they don't know."

"Sure. But I thought we should be polite. Our first night here."

"Hm. Whatever you say." The Scot rolled to his side suddenly, and put his hand on Methos' chest. He could feel the nipples were already hard as he ran his callused palm over them. And that wasn't all of Methos that was hard.

He leaned forward to kiss his lover, but all of a sudden the other man was rolling off the bed.

"Methos?" Zipping noises. "Methos, what are you...?

More zipping, and rustling noises. "Lube, Mac. Can't find... Ah!"

Methos flopped back onto the airbed and brandished the tube. Popped the top. "So, what's your pleasure, Mac?"

MacLeod lay there for a long moment. It'd been a while since he'd seen this particular Methos. He wondered--almost suspiciously--what had brought him out. Then he gave up thinking and decided to just enjoy himself.

"I think..."

"Yes?"

"I think I want to fuck you, Methos."

"Ah, good choice!" The old immortal sprawled invitingly.

"But first, I want to make love to you, Methos."

Smiling at his lover's sigh, MacLeod lowered his head for the night's first taste of the lips he loved so well.
+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

The man answered his chirping phone.

"What? Damnation!" Idiots. Couldn't do a simple job without doing murder...?

"No, I do not want to know. Definitely not."

"Just bring her to Alexandria."

"No, not commercial!" Idiots, he thought again. "My jet will be there in the morning."

He hung up without another word. But then he smiled. He reached out and caressed the smooth head of the dark-skinned Sphynx tom in his lap.

"Soon, Onyx. Soon your bride will be here. Then you'll make my Ptolemy for me."

"But we need to find a new name for her. Something more--regal? Eh, boy? What kind of a name is 'Cindy' for the mother of a royal line?"
+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

MacLeod yawned. Then Methos.

Grace did her best to smother one. Hank laughed.

"I'd suggest we all go back to bed--but I doubt that would do us any good."

"You," Grace squealed. Then she tickled Hank's side.

Methos looked at his lover and gave him a weary-but-happy smile. It had been a wonderful night. And morning.

"As pleasant an idea as that is," Methos sighed and opened his laptop, "this isn't a vacation."

That statement definitely dampened the atmosphere.

Hank nodded. "Yeah. Come on, I'll show you the information we've got..." He took them into his office. A tent that housed the team's computers, site maps, a scale drawing of the tomb they were working in, and photographs of the interior.

"This is some setup you have here," the Scot said as he looked around.

Hank had gone over to his computer. "Thanks. Everything in here is on a separate gennie--with a backup. And all the information for the day is sent to Cairo and New York. We burn a disc and that gets locked away overnight."

"Ah, this is where I take off, guys." Grace gave Methos and MacLeod a hug and kiss. "The pots are coming out of the oven today," she said happily. "Bye!" And with a wave she was gone.

"Hank?"

Jones didn't bother to look up. "Village women. Make pots. Grace agents them. They're all making a bundle."

"Ah, here." The printer hummed to life.

"Dana said there's been unexplained deaths the past two years..."

Hank snorted. "Shows how much they know." He shook his head. "More like five years."

"But the tomb was just rediscovered two years ago?"

Hank shook his head. "That's when they realized it had been tampered with." He leaned back in his chair. "I guess we didn't get all the bastards back in '37, Adam."

 

Continued...

Chapter Text

FLASHBACK EGYPT, 1925...

"How did you know this was here?" Hank Jones--Henry Jones, Jr.--held a flashlight while Adam Pierson and a digger carefully pushed away the last of the rubble blocking the corridor.

Pierson shrugged. "Lucky guess?" What was he supposed to say. 'Look, Hank, I was one of the guys who helped design and decorate this tomb?' Despite the fact that the young grad student was a preimmortal, he wasn't about to reveal that to him.

Or his true identity. Methos, the 5000 year old man.

"And you think this is the tomb of..."

"Senset. High priest of Bast." Methos pointed to a series of hieroglyphs. "He was responsible for a resurgence of popularity in the cult after Tut's reign. And a braggart, too."

Sallah played his flashlight over the paintings. "Pretty."

It didn't take long for word to get out about the find. Or to attract the attention of a certain Egyptian immortal--Kalormas.

The man and his entourage showed up at the dig within the week. Kalormas demanded immediate access to the tomb, insisting that Senset was his ancestor. A claim that was absolutely ridiculous.

Kalormas stared at the immortal he had known as Menoptah. And at the preimmortal child with him.

Methos stepped forward. "Adam Pierson." He bowed, and introduced his companion. "Henry Jones."

"I take it you're here to see the tomb?"

"No. It seems I'm here to see you."

 

PRESENT...

Methos got up and went over to the refrigerator and got out three bottles of water and handed them out.

"What happened?" MacLeod knew that Methos was troubled.

Hank took up the story.

"Kalormas demanded that all digging stop. Egypt for the Egyptians. The return of all stolen artifacts."

"There was no reasoning with him, of course," Methos added.

"He made some veiled threats, promised to 'take care of things' as he had in the past. Of course, we had no idea what he meant. Then."

 

FLASHBACK EGYPT, 1937

Dr. Henry Jones, Jr., team leader in the Valley of the Kings, greeted his old friend Adam Pierson.

"Well, you haven't changed."

"No, but you have. Doctor Jones!"

The other man laughed. "Surprised, are you? Me too!"

"So, Adam, what brings you here?"

"Kalormas. And his Bastians. They're killing, Hank."

"What do you mean?" There'd been a number of deaths in the archaeological
community recently. Mostly older men. All deaths ruled to be from natural
causes.

Methos saw the man's confusion. "You remember all the bizarre deaths after Carter opened Tut's tomb? And how they just seemed to stop?" He gave his friend a significant look. "Well, the same sort of thing has been happening all along. Just not as often, and not here in Egypt."

"How many?"

Methos looked over at Hank and grimaced. "In the past 12 years. Over one hundred that we know of."

"And you're sure it's--poison?"

 

PRESENT...

MacLeod looked at the two men. "I remember reading and hearing about that. But they've found out it was bacteria. Mold. From the foodstuff left in the tombs."

"Yes." Methos nodded. "Some of the deaths. But there were a lot that we never realized were connected. Accountants, museum officials, people who did nothing more than drive a van that delivered artifacts. People who'd never come into contact with a mummy. Who'd never been to Egypt. They were murdered for doing their job."

The Highlander thought about that for a moment. "What happened in '37?"

"A lot of people were doing research into a lot of different diseases. And all of a sudden this strange killer disease started to show up. I recognized what no one else did. The Egyptian connection."

MacLeod looked at Methos. Interesting. So, he'd been involved in the medical field back then. "What did you do then?"

"We got in touch with an old friend. Reginald Ramsey..."

"'The' Ramsey?" MacLeod seemed quite impressed.

Hank smiled. "The very one. Adam called him. He came down with his wife, Julie. And their friend Savarell."

Methos continued. "Ramsey convinced the Egyptian Ministry that Kalormas and the Bastians were a threat. Gave us the go-ahead to clear them out. Fortunately we found out they were about to strike directly at the government."

Hank nodded. "Treason carried a stiff penalty. Beheading."

"But, Kalormas?"

"The bastard put up one hell of a fight. Killed Adam. But we managed to get him. Of course we didn't know what he was. So we dumped him into a ruined tomb. Pulled half a hillside over him, and headed to Alexandria."

"And by the time I revived..." Methos shrugged. "I didn't want to cause a scene."

"Except that now he's on the loose."

"Yes." Hank sighed. "Two grad students used the ground imaging program and found the buried tomb. Wanted to surprise us, and dug it open."

Jones looked out at the group of young people gathered under the dining canopy having lunch.

"They were lucky they didn't manage to get in the tomb that day. But they'd moved enough rock that Kalormas got out."

"A month later the requests to shut us down started. And this time if there's enough public support. It could happen."

Methos had been working with his laptop for the last few minutes. "Did you know about the murders, Hank?"

"No. I hadn't heard anything until the CDC got in touch with the Egyptians. There've been four suspicious deaths. Except nobody thought they were suspicious until someone pointed out all of them had been bitten or scratched by a cat a couple of days earlier."

MacLeod nodded. "Scully. She told us."

"FBI? Yep." Hank got up and moved behind Methos to peer at the computer screen. "What the hell is that," he almost shouted.

"Holy shit!"

"It's the Bastians website." Methos clicked onto another page. "And here's their 'hit list.' Congratulations, Jones. You've made the top ten.' And you notice the, ah, suggested punishment for blasphemy and sacrilege and desecration?"

The Scot suddenly spoke up. "Let me guess. Beheading?"

"Give the man a prize," Methos said quietly.

 

Continued...

Chapter Text

The man opened the pet carrier and sighed. She was a beauty. He'd known she would be.

But, she was so young. He was sure... He closed his eyes and thought for a moment. No, this was the female from the last litter. The only female from the litter. And the only unspayed female of this particular line.

She was just five months old.

Well, what was another half a year in the scheme of things. At least for him.

Kalormas extended his hand to the young cat.

Cindy looked at him, and blinked. She was very unhappy. She missed her men. Her tree. Her loft. Her fuzzy pillow in the sun. Her toys.

She hissed at the hand that reached for her and warned this--person--off!

And, oh!, she could smell another cat! She hissed again.

"Well," Kalormas said with a laugh. "Come here, Onyx and meet..."

"Akela. Yes, I think that will be a fitting name." He laughed.
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"Yes, thank you. I can hold for Lord Savarell."

"You think he'll want to get involved? He must be..." MacLeod started figuring. "He wasn't a young man in '37. And it's been over sixty years. And..." He looked from Methos, to Hank, and back.

"He's an immortal."

The other two men nodded. Then they glanced at each other. Then at MacLeod.

"So are Ramsey and Julie," Hank said quietly.

Methos glanced at Hank, then walked off with the phone.

"They're a different kind of immortal, though. Ramsey--well, you know how secretive any immortal is." The younger man shrugged. "Don't ask, don't tell. Like with Adam."

Jones smiled at the Scot. "I know he hides things. That he's much older than he lets on. Hell, Duncan, even I can get a clue when he starts muttering in dead Sumerian dialects in his sleep. Especially when he's under stress."

Just at that moment a torrent of the aforementioned dialect reached their ears. It went on for quite a while, then trailed off. Methos stormed back toward his friends, but brushed past them to go into the tent.

MacLeod followed warily. Jones even more so.

"Adam?"

"Ramsey and Julie are in Alexandria. They've seen Kalormas. He's playing up the priest of Bast big time. He has Cindy, Duncan." Methos searched the table for something breakable. Not finding anything, he began to pace.

"Kidnapping?" Hank brightened. "Well, at least that's something to..."

MacLeod shook his head. "Cindy's a cat."

"My cat." Methos said sharply. "Remember Ptolemy? She's a descendant."

"Sweet mother," Hank sighed. "He was always going on about that cat being his familiar. How he was going to help him raise Bast to chase out the Anglos and the despoilers of Egypt."

MacLeod settled into a camp chair. "The theory is that he's trying to reincarnate Ptolemy. He's still trying to raise Bast."

"And he has a new viral agent he's using to kill." Methos sprawled into a chair beside the Scot. "Ramsey and Julie confirmed it with the CDC. One of their people was a victim.

"Elliott asked that we stay put for a day. So they can get here. And then we can put their plan into action."

"Plan?"

"What plan?" MacLeod asked curiously.

"To get Bast on our side, of course."
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"Methos." MacLeod whispered his lover's name softly.

"Duncan?"

"There wasn't time to talk before..."

"I know."

MacLeod felt the airbed shift as Methos sat up and turned on a tiny lamp. One that gave no more illumination than a small candle. But was enough for them to see each other's faces.

"What is it, Highlander? Why that look?"

The Scot shrugged. "I don't... I guess it's because I forget about your life before..."

Neither man said anything for a long time.

"You mean, before we became us? Is that it?"

"Yeah. I've only been alive for a twelfth of your life. Not to mention you have access to my Chronicles. There's so much, Methos. And not just--you know."

"I know, Duncan." Methos sighed. If only they could forget the rocky road they'd traveled in the beginning.

Another drawn out pause.

"So, do you really believe they can..." MacLeod stopped.

He'd wanted to question Methos and Hank about the plan but Grace had come back for lunch and spent a couple of hours rhapsodizing over the latest batch of ceramics.

Then a couple of minor Ministry officials had come to see the site. Then it was dinnertime, and the students had clamored for stories from Adam and Hank.

And that had brought up a whole new set of questions the Highlander wanted to ask about. Ramsey and his wife and their friend were all a different kind of immortal? So, he asked and Methos told him what he could.

"Yes, that trio has more tricks than a hundred Amandas." Methos searched his lover's face.

"There's something else, isn't there?"

"Hank?"

Methos smiled. He'd wondered when that would come up.

"MacLeod, can you think of anyone who'd be a better poster boy for het sex than Hank Jones?"

The Scot snorted. "I seem to remember you saying that to me not that long ago!"

"Oh, right," Methos said innocently. He lay back on his pillows and wiggled until he was comfortable.

"So?"

"So what?"

"How does he know you talk in your sleep?" MacLeod leaned on one elbow and put his other hand on his lover's stomach.

"God, Mac, the same way you know. And Joe, and I'm sure Amanda knows. I talk, you listen," Methos whispered vehemently.

Joe? Oh, yeah. 'Adam' had crashed at his apartment a few times.

"Amanda? You and Amanda?"

"Yeah, MacLeod. And more than once..."

"More..."

"All those nights we spent wondering if you'd manage to keep your head. So, we fell asleep sometimes. And I'd say those were pretty stressful times."

"You cared that much. Even before..."

Now it was Methos' turn to look away, embarrassed. "Even before I met you, Mac. Did you ever wonder why I didn't run away when Joe called and told me you were coming to see Adam Pierson?"

"That's sweet, Methos." MacLeod leaned down to kiss the old immortal.

"Sweet?! I'll give you sweet!" Methos leaned up to hang his arms around his lover's shoulders. "Hm. How sweet do you want it, Duncan?" He placed a delicate kiss just beside the full mouth. "What about this?" The next kiss was on the temple.

Then he loosened his grip and sank back on the airbed.

MacLeod followed, and growled low in his throat as he touched Methos lips with his. Sweet. Yes, Methos was sweet. But kisses weren't enough. Not now. He sucked tenderly on Methos tongue, then slipped down his lover's body.

Methos gripped the covers and tried to be still. He wanted Duncan. He wanted Duncan to be in control. He needed Duncan to be in control.

The feel of his lover's mouth and tongue and hands on his body were perfect. Just the right pressure. Just long enough to make him frantic without desensitizing. And Duncan was always changing things, there was nothing commonplace about their lovemaking.

MacLeod looked into the passion suffused face of his lover and smiled. He reached up and brushed back his hair. Touched his face softly with his callused hand. Methos moaned, and Duncan smiled.

"Look at me. Watch me, old man," he urged.

Methos struggled to rise and lean on his elbows. To obey MacLeod.

Duncan watched, then kneeling between his lover's thighs, he took Methos' erection in his hands.

"You are so beautiful, Methos. So beautiful." He peeled back the foreskin and ran a finger up the underside from balls to tip. "See? And so sensitive, too."

"God, Duncan, don't..." Methos jumped when MacLeod took the head in his mouth and sucked.

"What do you want, Methos. Just tell me..."

"Fuck."

As MacLeod watched, Methos' eyes dilated and he slowly leaned his head back. MacLeod nodded. He knew...

Bending down, he swallowed his lover's cock and felt him surge again. But a moment later he was up again and turning Methos onto his knees.

"Yes, Duncan, do it," he sighed. Then he felt the slick lube as his lover reached a finger into his body. "More. Yes." He leaned against the insistent pressure and just barely managed to muffle a cry as Duncan stimulated his prostate.

"Ready?"

Methos nodded, knowing he was past coherent speech. Then he grunted as his lover pushed into him. The burn started, but he instantly relaxed and...

Duncan pushed in, seating himself fully in Methos' body. "Ah, so good. So sweet."

He pulled out half way, then pushed back in hard and fast. And was rewarded when Methos ground back against him.

"Like that, Duncan. Fuck me like that."
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Duncan climbed into bed after cleaning them both up. He pulled Methos into his embrace, and rested against his lover's smooth back.

At least he's stopped sobbing, MacLeod thought.

Not that he hadn't been surprised. Not when Methos had initiated their lovemaking as he had. He'd known the breakdown was coming. And that Methos didn't like for him to see him so emotional.

So he held his lover, and stroked him, and silently kept watch as the tearstained face relaxed into sleep.

It was enough that Methos allowed this much.

 

Continued...

Chapter Text

Methos looked up from his laptop and put down his coffee mug.

"That...that's a fucking helicopter," he shouted, and ran out of the office tent.

"Calm down, Adam, I knew they were coming."

Methos glared at Hank. Then he looked up and shaded his eyes as they watched the flying machine land. Ramsey had always been intrigued by technology. He'd had a fleet of planes in the 30s.

He couldn't believe he was so excited to see his old friend. And to introduce him to MacLeod.

The rotors hadn't even stopped spinning when Methos ran to the door. His quickening instinctively understood the potential danger. It gibbered and screamed at him, and did it's best to trigger his flight response. But he
managed to beat it back. Subdue it.

And his reward was the sight of the lovely Julie Stratford-Ramsey.

"Adam," she exclaimed. "Henry told us you had gotten involved in this mess." She made him lean down so she could kiss his lips. "And who is that exquisite creature glaring at us," she whispered in his ear.

"That is Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod."

"Ah." She nodded at the Scot and waved and smiled. "He is like you and Hank, eh?"

"Yes." Methos had learned long ago that he couldn't sense any of the other immortal races. But Ramses, Julie and Elliott could.

"And does he know..."

"What I was, and who I am? Yes."

"Good." Julie gave him another kiss.

"Get the hell out of the way of an old man," a voice from inside the helicopter growled.

"Elliott," Methos growled back. "What do you want, someone to carry you?"

"Would you be so kind, darling boy?"

Oh, shit, Methos thought. MacLeod already believed he'd slept with Hank. And no doubt Julie was even now being added to the list. He grinned. Wait until he sees Ramsey. And Elliott.

"I presume the makeup sex is fantastic, my boy?"

"Elliott, you're going to get me in so much trouble."
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Reginald Ramsey--Ramses. The Ramesses II. Owner of KV7, father of the 54 found in KV5. Tall, dark, imposing. Every inch a king...

...Was having a beer with the guys and telling off-color jokes in Latin.

The students who were well versed in Latin were dazzled. Grace and the less fortunate students were bored and grabbed a truck and went into town.

After a while Hank, Methos, MacLeod, Ramses, Elliott and Julie retired to Hank's tent.

"You have a plan, Ramses?" Hank was at the table directly across from Julie, and she kicked him.

"Ow! That hurt!"

"You deserved it," Methos and Ramses said at the same time. Then they both laughed.

MacLeod looked over at Lord Savarell. The older-looking man smiled and shrugged. "Julie is of a more devious nature."

"All right, Julie has a plan. And it is?"

"Simple. We get to Bast before he does."

The Highlander shook his head. "You're talking about her like...like she's real."

"She is," Julie said.

"Right. An ancient Egyptian goddess is alive and well and living in..."

The others all looked pointedly at Methos. He turned to his lover and put his hand on MacLeod's.

"Ah. Seacouver, MacLeod. She's living in Seacouver."
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"Joe. Joe. If you're there, pick up. It's Adam, Joe. Joe!"

"Whoreson," Joe Dawson swore. He looked at the clock. Six-thirty Sunday morning. And he'd just gotten to bed.

"Adam, this better be..."

"Joe, I don't have time to explain. We're on our way. We'll be there in..." Joe heard the sound of muffled voices. "...three hours. We need you Joe. Life or death. We'll meet you at your apartment."

"Adam! What the..."

Dial tone.

"Shit!"

Dawson didn't even try to sleep. Instead he got up and started going through his Watcher-account email. Looking for signs of trouble. 'Life or death,' Methos had said. He felt a chill tingle along his spine.
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"Little...!" Kalormas was tired of playing games with the cat. He'd been so confident that he'd win her over. And now it looked like...

"Onyx!" The immortal stared at the two piles beside the fancy electric litter box. Two piles!

He shouted for a maid to come and take care of the mess, then he went looking for the cats. In earnest.

Yes, it would be impressive to have the beasts with him at meetings and rituals. But it wasn't really them he needed. Just their genetic material.

Cindy slinked behind the couch and Onyx followed. When he went out the door she waited. Heard the maid's footsteps, smelled her scent. As soon as the door was cracked she was out and into the garden courtyard without being seen. Onyx hot on her heels.
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"Are you people out of your minds? Really, I'd like to know." Dawson looked around at the two men--okay, immortals--he trusted with his very life.

Julie smiled at him, and went to kneel beside his chair. "Mr. Dawson, if there was another way I assure you we would be doing it."

"But she's where she wants to be." Dawson had called and spoken personally to the director of the Motherhouse. She's happy and safe there. No one bothers her. It's a perfect..."

"Sanctuary," Methos said caustically.

Joe started. He looked at each of his guests. "All right. What do you need?"

"A driver, Joe. Just someone local who knows the area." MacLeod suddenly felt better, knowing that Dawson was in on the caper. Crap. Caper. Now he was starting to sound like Amanda.
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She felt an itch at the base of her spine, and soothed it. Deepening her meditation, she moved onto the plane where the vegetable life of earth would sometimes speak.

She smiled.

Tonight the earth around her was happy. There had been a cooling rain. The garden was quiet. The rowdy weeds had just been removed.

All was well. She moved to the next plane.

The insects tumbling and burrowing and flying made a gentle music. Hm. She must tell the beekeeper that there were full combs in the beehives.

*Venerable?*

The woman froze.

*Venerable?*

*Please, we must see you. Talk to you.*

The woman sighed. She rose from lotus position, and dressed warmly. She left a short note on her pillow, and slipped out the window. Then she walked unerringly to the waiting car.

She tapped on the window and startled them all. Then the door flew open and one of the men literally fell out at her feet.

"Methos?"

 

Continued...

Chapter Text

"Methos?"

"Yes, ma'am?" Methos got out of the car and closed the door before anyone else could follow him.

"Don't call me that, child."

"Then don't call me child, or Methos. I'm Adam."

"But I'm no madam."

"You've been watching old movies again," Methos said suspiciously.

The woman's laughter was like a chiming bell.

"Adam," she stressed the name, "there's TV even in Tibet. I've learned all manner of interesting things. Did you know..."

"Probably. We need to go. Come on."

He opened the door, and realized they would have to rearrange the seating.

Joe just shook his head. Methos always had a plan, but it sure didn't look that way tonight. Something had the old man in a tizzy.

Julie slid next to Joe. Then Elliott got in beside her. The unnamed woman got into the back between Duncan and Methos.

"All right, let's go, Joe. Straight to the airport."

"Yeah, you should probably get out of Dodge."

"'Gunsmoke,'" the woman said quietly.

Joe laughed. "I was a 'Bonanza' man, myself."

"Oh, yes. Ben and the boys." She sighed. "There hasn't been a really successful western in a while. Though, it did seem that 'Dr. Quinn'..."

There were muffled sounds coming from the other passengers. Noises that sounded suspiciously like laughter.

"What?"

Elliott burst into a full out laugh. "I'd forgotten how delightful it is to hear your enthusiasm, love."

"Thank you, Elliott." The woman smiled. Then she nudged Methos. "And you've made me forget my manners. Introduce me to your friends?"

"Of course. The greybeard driving is Joe Dawson. A Watcher."

"Yes, I've seen his file. A pleasure to meet you, Mr. Dawson. Perhaps I can hear you sing live one of these days?"

Methos looked over the woman's head. "And this is..."

She raised her hand. "Ah, there's only one person this could be. Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod. Me... My, Adam, you certainly know how to choose them."

She held the Highlander's gaze for a second. Except that to MacLeod it seemed to last an eternity. She seemed familiar, and fearsome, motherly, and deadly at the same time. He was afraid! Really afraid! But he wasn't sure exactly why.

Then she smiled again and put her right hand in MacLeod's.

Methos took her left, and she smiled at him. Nodded.

"Mac...and you too Joe... This is Mayleet. When I first met her, she'd been a living goddess for over a millennia."

Joe glanced in the rearview mirror. Mayleet smiled at him.
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Ramses and Hank had gone to Alexandria as soon as the others left for Seacouver. They wanted to get someone into the Bastians, and knew that neither of them would pass as a native.

"I know someone..."

"As do I." Ramses pulled out his cell phone faster than Hank could, and dialed.

Hank sighed. Once a total despot...

He listened to Ramses half of the conversation.

"Hm. So, you know about these...people...already?"

"Ah, very good! The next full moon?" Ramses looked at Hank. Nodded when Hank held up two fingers.

"We can be ready."

There was a long pause. "Yes, I know where that is."

Ramses hung up and put the phone back in his pocket. "Let's go. Nasser wants to meet us. He knows where Kalormas is living."

"Good. I have an idea..."
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Joe had been first placated, then charmed by Mayleet.

"I promise, Joe Dawson, as soon as this mess is over I'm coming back to Seacouver. I'll call and you can come and pick me up from the airport."

The three immortals who knew the woman were surprised.

"Venerable, I thought you were going back..."

"No, Julie, I've learned all I can from them." And that was that. Mayleet looked over at Elliott. "Stop it, old man. Joe is--different. Even from other Watchers, he is different. I like him."

A voice suddenly announced that they were being cleared for takeoff. And they hurried to settle.

"That was fast," Duncan commented.

The copilot looked over at the Scot. "Yes, sir, it is. Someone's pulled some strings and bumped us to the head of the line," she commented as she passed through the cabin.

MacLeod thought about that. He had quite a few things to think about. He hadn't said much since Mayleet had joined the group. He felt unsettled. Like there was something going on. Like he had been left out. And he
wasn't used to being on the outside. He wondered if this was how Methos felt in his circle of friends.

He looked up and saw that Mayleet was looking at him. She was frowning.

Then she turned and touched Methos' hand to get his attention.

Methos bent his head close to listen to the woman, and Duncan knew with utmost certainty...

Whoa. The Highlander closed his eyes and took a deep breath. Breathe, just breathe, he told himself. You know Methos has been married sixth-eight times. To women.

And he'd know Alexa, for God's sake. But the tiny voice in his head had convinced him that Methos' affair with Alexa had been different. Alexa had been dying.

But this woman... He opened his eyes and saw they were still talking. In intimate conversation. And then Methos reached up to brush back a lock of her hair.

The Highlander shot up from his seat and excused himself abruptly.

Methos looked up as his lover passed, but when MacLeod didn't speak he turned back to Mayleet.
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Kalormas' place was a recently refurbished Mameluke palace.

It housed a fabulous display of Egyptian artifacts and replica furniture. It was draped in rich fabrics and fabulous rugs covered the marble floors. The garden was replete with the required caged parrots and monkeys. And a large cascading fountain was home to a number of koi.

The several maidservants were being kept busy inside the house. A constant stream of visitors held their attention. They ignored the garden.

The son of one of them came to feed and water the animals twice a day. But he had no time to spend in leisure.

Unlike the cats. Cindy lay on the sun-warmed tile pathway and watched dragonflies dancing on the breeze. Her tail flicked slowly, and an ear was canted to catch the sounds of Onyx sneaking up on her.

Just as he was about to pounce she jumped up and smacked him resoundingly on the rump as she ran past.

A lively game of chase occupied them for a full fifteen minutes before it was time for another nap.

This time Cindy allowed Onyx to curl up with her. It wasn't as good as sleeping with her men, but at least she had company.


Continued...

Chapter Text

A much calmer Duncan MacLeod reentered the lounge. And found it empty except for Methos who was propped on the couch and flipping through a 'People.'

"Where is everyone?"

"Bedroom. There's an empty bunk," Methos replied without looking up.

"No, I'm fine." The Scot sat across from Methos and watched him. He listened to the music playing softly in the background. He could almost, but not quite, identify it.

"It's the soundtrack from *that* TV show," Methos said suddenly. "Ramses thinks it's funny."

"TV show?" MacLeod walked over and turned the volume up a bit. "Queen, right. I recognize it now."

Methos looked at him, shook his head. MacLeod didn't get the joke.

The Scot walked back over to his chair, but he didn't sit. He just hovered, and it made Methos want to throw something at him. He tried to ignore him. It didn't work.

"God. MacLeod." Methos looked up at his lover and tossed the magazine aside. Why don't you just ask, and get it over with."

The Scot considered playing dumb--for all of about three seconds.

"Have you ever slept with Mayleet?"

"Yes."

"Oh." For some reason MacLeod had expected Methos to dissemble.

"You have another question, Mac? Go ahead and ask." Methos moved and his propped position became a full sprawl. "I seem to be in the mood for...confessing, he said quietly.

"Confessing?" MacLeod leaned back in his chair and relaxed.

"Go ahead, Mac. Ask me anything." The voice was low and gentle. Calm. Too calm. Methos exerted every ounce of control he had not to... He smiled at MacLeod. "I know you want to..."

"All right. Were you lovers?"

"You just asked if we slept together, MacLeod." Methos went on before the Scot could speak. "Of course we were. We were immortals alone. We understood each other in ways no mere mortal can. I need a drink," he muttered.

Methos got up and went to the bar. He poured tequila for himself and scotch for MacLeod.

"How long?"

"Were we together, or how long ago?"

"Yes."

Methos sighed and put the glass aside without drinking. Took up his sprawl again. "I guess a couple hundred years the first time." He looked at his lover. "The world was a lot smaller in those days, Mac. You have no idea. Not really."

"It's not hard to lose track of time when you're the consort of a goddess." He grinned. "Even better than being the king."

"You said 'first time?'"

"Yes. I always seemed to know where to find her. When I needed a break. After some disaster or another..."

"After the...Horsemen...?"

Methos picked up his drink and knocked it back. "Of course."

"And the people always believed she was a goddess?"

"No." Methos shook his head. "Sometimes she'd been accepted as a wise woman. Or a priestess. A healer. A prophetess and seer. But she never stayed long in those places."

"And this Kalormas, does he really believe she's Bast?"

"Not that we know of. He found a temple in what used to be Nubia. Realized the goddess had to have been an immortal. Kalormas was trying to draw Mayleet out so he could take her head."

"And now?"

"He knows there are other immortals protecting her, Mac."

"And he...he knows about...Methos?"

"Good guess, Mac." Methos smiled. "Yes. He's hunting more than Mayleet now."

"But, how?" MacLeod got out of the chair and went over to the couch. He pushed Methos' feet aside and pulled him close. "Why didn't you say?"

"Because I knew how you would react to her, MacLeod. As soon as I saw the way you reacted to Hank, of all people."

The Highlander had the decency to blush at that. "Yeah, well," he mumbled.

"What was that, Mac?"

"Sorry. I'm sorry, Methos. I guess I keep forgetting you don't really need me. You survived 5000 years before I came along and..."

"And made me happier than I've ever been. Well, happier than I can remember." Methos leaned against his lover and pushed him prone on the little couch. "I love you, Duncan. I want you and no one else. I have no plans to leave--unless you send me away."

"Never!"

"Good." Methos smiled, and leaned in for a confirming kiss. Which turned into reconfirming kisses. And soon enough clothes were loosened and hands were groping their way inside shirts and jeans.

"Shit."

"Damn, there's not enough room."

"It's bigger than a first class airline seat."

"And people claim to do this on roller coasters?"

"They've got photos."

"Well, not me!"

"Have I ever asked...?"

"Not yet..."

"Here, let me..."

"Oh, fuck, yes...!"

"Shhh. You want them coming out here now?!"

"I don't fucking care, Methos. Do that...ah!...again..."

"As you wish..."
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"Mayleet?"

"Julie?"

"How long have you known Adam?"

The ancient woman rolled over so she could look at her friend. "A very long time. That isn't for me to say."

There was a long pause, then Julie spoke again. "But, you and Adam--you were together, weren't you?"

"Yes. From time to time."

"And now he's with Duncan."

"As he was with Elliott just a few decades ago."

"And that doesn't...?" Julie sighed. "If Ramses..."

Mayleet laughed. "Ramses is incomparable. As is Adam. As are you and I. All our paths have had such devious turnings."

Mayleet shook her head. "No, Julie, I could no more hold Adam now, than I could a year ago. Or seven decades ago. Or four millennia ago.

"No matter what I wished, I've always known he wasn't mine." Even though I will love him until I die.

"Elliott, do you love Adam?"

"Julie! What kind of question is that for a proper..."

"Stuff it, old man." Julie started to laugh. "I knew about you and Father way back then, remember?"

"Um. Well, there is some slight resemblance between Adam and Lawrence. Perhaps that was the initial attraction." The man sighed. "Let's just say I'm exceedingly fond of him."

They were all quiet, then, thinking their solitary thoughts when they heard...

...Noises from the lounge.

Elliott snorted, and pulled a pillow over his head.

Julie sat up, and then got out of the bunk.

"What are they..." She actually had her hand on the door handle.

"Julie! Get away from there." Mayleet was grinning at her young friend. "They're doing what we left them alone to do."

"Make up sex, Julie. Incredible make up sex," Elliott declared from beneath his pillow.

"Especially if Adam took my advice. Poor boy. I thought he was going to lose it when I just suggested..."
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"Ohmygodohmygodohmygodohmygodohmygodohmygod...Oh. My. God!"

"Yes!!!"
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The captain was immediately aware that something was wrong, and turned to the copilot. "What was...that? Turbulence? Are the passengers...?"

"Um," the grinning woman said after a quick check of the lounge monitor. "Bill, that was the passengers. But I don't think you have to worry about it any more..."

"For a while at least."

 

Continued...

Chapter Text

Ramses and Hank were waiting at the airport and greeted Mayleet exuberantly.

"But where is your Grace, Hank?" The ancient immortal woman looked around.

"She's gone home, Venerable. We have enough mortals involved in this."

"I understand. Perhaps another time."

Ramses gathered them all up and escorted them to a larger helicopter than the last one they'd seen. Then he and Hank got in and readied the craft for takeoff.

"We're going straight to Alexandria," Hank told them. "We packed all your stuff," he told MacLeod and Methos. "Oh, and Grace said for me to tell you, 'you have good taste.' She said you'd understand?"

The two men looked at each other. Confused. Then MacLeod nearly choked. "She, ah, packed for us?"

"Yep."

"Then I understand." He leaned over and whispered to Methos. They looked at each other foolishly. Then Methos took his lover's hand and held it tightly.

Julie and Mayleet smiled at them, and Elliott rolled his eyes.

"All right. No one else is going to say it. Care to share the joke?"

"No," they both exclaimed at once. Then they started laughing again.
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"Where are we going?" Mayleet looked out of the limo's tinted window.

"The Sheraton," Ramses replied. "I booked two suites."

"Ramses! That's a five-star hotel. We must look..."

"Stunning as ever, darling Julie," Elliott exclaimed. And all the men agreed.

"Bull shit," Mayleet said. "You look just like the rest of us. Like we've been in the same clothes for two days. Slept in those clothes for two days. And we could all do with a nice bath."

"And food," Duncan admitted.

"Coffee. No, hot chocolate. No, coffee and hot chocolate," Methos decided.

"New clothes. I have nothing to wear." Mayleet had left Seacouver with nothing but what she was wearing.

"Then you will be glad to know there are several boutiques at the hotel."

"Ah, Ramses, does that mean you're treating me to a shopping trip?"

"Of course, Venerable. Anything any of you need," the man said expansively.

Methos looked skeptical. "Somehow, I have a feeling we're going to pay for his magnanimity."

Hank heard the comment and laughed.

"How well you know him," he said.

"So, what's the plan, o great leader?"

"Methos, you of all people know I wouldn't begin to make plans without you."

"Which translated means..."

"We're making this up as we go," chimed the chorus.
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MacLeod looked around the parlor of the suite he and Methos were sharing with Mayleet.

Venerable. They all called her that. And now he thought about the word as he watched her move around the room. There was definitely something about her.

"You want to know how old I am, don't you, Highlander?" She asked the question softly, without turning away from the floral bouquet she was busily tearing apart.

"I do--Venerable."

A soft snort greeted the name. "Don't you start that too. I'll never forgive Methos for that." She laughed. "Though the truth is that's the name most mortals know me by." She frowned. "Knew. Few mortals know of me now."

She shook herself and turned and looked at MacLeod. "I am 5300 years old. And as Methos said, I had been as a living goddess to my people for over a
millennia."

"So, you were Bast?"

"Oh, no, nothing quite as refined as that." She crossed the room to sit beside the Scot on the sofa. "I'd say more of an earth mother, archetype. Isn't that the right term, Methos."

"Yes. As civilizations advanced they started having specialized deities."

"Yes, and as interesting as all of this is," Elliott said from the doorway, "we have less than 24 hours to stop Kalormas."

"What? What was that?"

Ramses, Julie and Hank came in behind Elliott.

"Nasser just came from Kalormas' palace. Some hotshot FBI agents figured out that Kalormas paid a lot of money to a certain research agency for some hot virus. They showed up and Kalormas has them at his temple.'"

MacLeod groaned. "Where's this Nasser?"

"My suite...why?"

MacLeod jumped up, and the others followed.

"Did you see the Americans? Was one a tall man, dark hair and eyes..."

"And a little red-haired woman? Yes! How did you know" Nasser nodded in surprise.

"Mulder and Scully," Methos said.

"Yes, yes! Those were the names they used," Nasser confirmed.

"Son of a bitch."

"All right, Nasser. Tell us what else you heard," Methos urged the young man.

"They took the Americans. And then they said they would use their blood to draw the goddess to the ritual."

"And when they had the goddess and her consort, then Kalormas would be strong enough to cleanse Egypt of the Anglos."

"Then all the men left the house. But I could not follow, so I don't know where they went." Nasser looked at them, and shrugged.

"But, I know it will all come out right. I have seen the goddess and her consort!"

Mayleet looked at the young man. "What did they look like?"

"Ah," he smiled. "They were in cat form. So beautiful. Shining white, she was. With black on her head like a little cap. And he, all black. They sat and watched me and held me with their green eyes. I've never seen the like."

"And what makes you so sure they weren't just cats?"

Nasser grinned happily. "Because they were as smooth as you, Lady. And smoother than you," he said as he beamed at MacLeod.

 

Continued...

Chapter Text

"I can't believe I let you talk me into this. Again. When will I ever learn my lesson."

"When you're dead?"

"What? Did you say something, Mulder?"

"No, Scully, didn't say a thing. But, um, I don't guess you have a lock pick on you?"

The woman didn't even bother to answer.

"No. I guess you don't." Mulder gave another futile tug on the handcuffs. "Guess we'll have to wait for the Cavalry to ride in. Or a knight on a white horse."

"What, Mulder? You know, I really hate when you do that.

Mulder closed his eyes and hummed as he pictured his knights...
+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

"Get out of the way MacLeod."

The Scot almost shivered from the iciness of his lover's tone. "You can't go, Methos." The Highlander looked around at the others, silently begging for support.

"What's going on," Ramses asked.

"I'm going to get my cat."

"No you're not."

Methos stopped, and stood still. Then he shrugged and seemed to wilt.

MacLeod sighed, and was caught off guard when Methos pushed past him. But he grabbed his duster, and swung him off balance. The old immortal bounced off the door frame and back into MacLeod's arms.

Methos thought about struggling, then decided against it. Not with an audience.

Mayleet crossed the room to the two men. She put a hand on each chest. "Stop this. You're behaving worse than children.

"Methos, my love, what is this about a cat? And how do you know it's your cat?"

"Descendant of Kalormas' Ptolemy. You know the old story."

"Yes, his familiar." She sighed. "Kalormas always was a fool."

"It has to be Cindy. She's a Sphynx." Methos pulled out a photo.

Mayleet studied the picture. "Oh, yes. They used to be called Canadian Hairless. She is a lovely girl, Methos."

She handed him back the photo. "But, mortals--human mortals--come first, Methos." She took his arm and led him into the dining area. Pushed him into a chair. "And first, we need a plan."

"Between the seven of us we can come up with something," Hank said confidently.

"Well, first we need to find out where this temple is." Julie came in and handed Methos his laptop. Set up her own. Hank nodded, and went to his retrieve his machine.

"Yes. And I think I know how. Someone bring me a map of Alexandria, please?" Mayleet took the seat on Methos' left, and beckoned to MacLeod to take the one on her left.

Elliott spread out a brochure that had a fairly detailed map of the city. Mayleet looked at it, then turned to the Highlander. "Observe. And record"

The ancient woman closed her eyes and held her finger over the glossy page.
+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

Hours later the Highlander was still shaking his head. "How did she do that, Methos? She just put her finger right on the spot."

"Magic, MacLeod." The old man said softly. He was looking out over the sea from their terrace.

"Yeah." He still couldn't believe...

"Mac, with all you've been through, do you still find it so hard to trust what you see?"

"No. And yes. I believe. I just don't know..."

"That you should?" Methos nodded. "I guess it was easier when I was young." He noticed the look the Highlander was giving him. "Okay, relatively young, say a thousand or so.

"Everyone believes in science these days." Methos had closed his eyes and there was such a look on his face. MacLeod thought he was in pain at first.

"What is it, Methos?"

The ancient immortal man shrugged. Then he turned to the man he loved and put his arms around him. Leaned his chin on MacLeod's shoulder.

"Magic, Duncan. I always thought I wanted to see magic again. Feel it. Be part of it. It's been such a long time. And now..."

"The witching hour is at hand..." Elliott had come out behind than, and heard Methos' words.

"Well, in nine hours, anyway. But the moon rises before that. And we need to have everyone and everything in place."

Methos drew away from MacLeod, but took his hand and they followed Elliott back into the suite's living room.

'Wow!" Both the men were amazed at the room's transformation. More computers, and telecommunications setups had been brought in. Men and women in dark, conservative dress were hard at work. Ramses and Julie were manning a phone each, and Hank coordinated the information they were giving him.

"Last time I saw anything like this was in Paris." MacLeod looked over at Methos. He was thinking of the ordered chaos that had been Watcher Headquarters when Kalas had been threatening the existence of Immortals and
Watchers alike.

"Right. There was quite a manhunt for Kalas, wasn't there," Hank said suddenly. "Didn't you help the police put him away, Adam?"

"First time. Yes."

"That's right! Then someone broke him out and he went on quite a little spree."

The Highlander decided it was time to change the topic of conversation.

"Ramses, want to fill us in on our part of the operation?"

Mayleet walked out of the room adjoining Methos and Duncan's.

"You haven't heard? You get to baby-sit me!" She didn't look, or sound, very happy.
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Cindy was drinking from the fountain when the breeze shifted and the spray misted over her. She jumped and ran, and rolled in the grass. It was one thing to take a bath with her men--in lovely warm water--knowing there would be fluffy towels and cuddling to follow.

Cold showers were--intolerable!

And she was already uneasy. Something was different. Changing. Many humans had been in the house. They smelled bad. They carried things that smelled even worse.

She chose a sunny spot, and concentrated.

Onyx gave up worrying a large green scarab beetle along the path. He couldn't resist the sight of the queen warming herself. Her absolute stillness begged...

He walked over and sat down. And stared at her.

Cindy stared back.

Onyx pounced without warning and during the ensuing tussle Cindy bit his ear. Hard!

The tom screamed and fled to the safety of the other side of the garden.

Cindy sneezed delicately, licked her muzzle, and went back to sunning herself. And concentrating...
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"You're sure they know? They have all the information? Time, place, everything?"

Kalormas was livid. Somehow. Somehow his enemies had found out about his plans for the evening's entertainment. Something else that had gone wrong.

First, the stupid women had allowed the cats--the so very precious parents of his Ptolemy-to-be--escape.

Then the Americans had shown up. And his guards had panicked and taken them. Oh, and lest he forget, not just any Americans.

FBI agents! Well, after tonight it wouldn't matter anyway.

Kalormas smiled. He'd spent a nightmarish six decades in a tomb because of people like these. They had ruined the work of a century and a half.

And now... Well, he would be waiting for them. Ramsey and his wife. Savarell. Jones. Pierson.

Ah, yes. Pierson who had been Menoptah. Older than Kalormas. When he took his and Jones, and MacLeod's quickenings...combined with that of the Eldest
of All!

The evil immortal turned back to the man and smiled.

"Sir, do you want us to take them out?"

"No. No, of course not. I want nothing changed at the site. Let them come. We will be waiting. And then you will see..." The immortal's dark eyes glistened like obsidian.

"There will be a new god in Egypt tonight!"

 

Continued...

Chapter Text

CHIRP...CHIRP...CHIRP...

"Dawson."

"Joe, David here. I head about the situation in Egypt." The man's voice was low, cultured, and very British.

"No shit, David! Glad to hear you're still alive, buddy."

There was a pause before the other man spoke. "Well, since I resigned... I... I changed, Joe."

Joe was surprised and intrigued. He'd never heard his old friend, David Talbot, Talamasca Watcher, so insecure?

"David..."

"Look, Joe, do you trust me?"

The Watcher snorted, and he heard David's laughter.

"Joe, your friends need you. In Alexandria. There's a flight leaving Seacouver for New York in an hour. Then another to Paris, and a short flight to Alexandria. First class all the way..."
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"Excuse me, sir," the steward said softly. "Could you rise so this gentleman..."

Dawson looked up and for just a second he was positive he was seeing things. Had to be. There was no way in hell he was believing this.

Pulling himself up carefully, he moved into the aisle to allow the man to take the window seat. When they were settled again the steward inquired after their comfort.

"Water."

"Rum and Coke."

The Watcher looked over at his companion.

"What is it, Mr. Dawson. Do you think I only drink scotch."

"No, Mr. Nash, I believe I know better than that..."
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Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod. That's what he was thinking. Boy scout. Just waiting to rush into situations that endangered his head--and Methos' heart. Sitting over there in that chair pretending to read. Except he hadn't turned a page in an hour.

Methos looked over at the brooding Scot. Ha, he didn't like being left behind either.

But then, Mayleet wasn't acting much better. She'd been standing on the terrace for the last half hour. Methos got up off the sofa and went out too. The ancient woman acknowledged his presence with a slight sigh. And as Methos came to stand behind her, not touching, she automatically moved back against him.

"What is it?"

"Sunset."

"Yes?"

"The moon will rise soon, Methos. I feel..."

"A disturbance in the Force?"

MacLeod's snicker alerted them that he was listening. "Only you, Methos..." He joined them on the terrace, and on impulse pushed his lover away from Mayleet and put his arm around her waist.

Mayleet turned and smiled at the Scot, and he put both arms around her. She smiled at Methos. "You've chosen very well, the two of you. Lucky..." Then she freed herself from MacLeod's embrace and disappeared.

"What?" The man stared after her, then looked at Methos.

"It's okay, Duncan. It happens sometimes. Especially..." Methos turned tear-sparked eyes on his lover. "She's still in love with a man who's been dead for over 5000 years."

"Methos. Surely, someone else...? In all this time?"

They heard the suite's phone ring, but neither moved to answer it. Then they heard Mayleet pick up. Murmuring, then she appeared in the doorway. Clearly
excited over something.

"Methos, Duncan! That was Nasser's cousin. He says Kalormas and his people have abandoned the palace." She looked at the pair. "Nasser is there. He's seen the gods again."

"We're going. Shut up MacLeod!"

"I didn't say..." He grinned at Methos. "Let's go."

"Good."

Both men turned to look at Mayleet. She knew what they were going to say.

"Did you forget you're supposed to be baby-sitting me? You stay, or we all go!"
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Every door of the palace had been left open. Inside and out. Everything of value--or rather, everything that Kalormas wanted--had been removed. Not an hour before, men had come and removed the caged birds and animals and the fish from the fountain.

Nasser stood in a heavily shadowed doorway and watched.

He saw the car cruise by, but didn't pay much attention. Until it returned a short time later and he grew suspicious. Then alarmed when it stopped and two men got out. The boy didn't know what to do! What if they were after the gods?

The men went in the front door and disappeared. He quietly followed.

"Shit, Nash, this place is abandoned."

"Looks that way. David wouldn't have sent us here unless it was important, though." Nash looked at Dawson, and nodded his head to the right.

The silver haired man nodded. Yes, he understood that someone was here. "You think we should wait here for Ramsey or Jones?"

"Ramses?" Nasser heard the 'magic' name and hurried to the strangers. "You know Ramses?"

"Yes, lad, I know him." Nash crouched down so he was eye to eye with the boy. "What do you know...?"
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Cindy looked at the black hole that led into the interior of the palace. No one had come to feed the animals today. There were no spilled bits of food left. Onyx had a voracious appetite, and had consumed every bite he could find. She was hungry, but still wary.

The tom stood beside her, and tasted the air. There was food inside the place. He could smell it.

But there was still the smell of him. And other unpleasant things.

Still, he was a cat, and a young one at that. He looked back at Cindy, then nonchalantly crossed the threshold into the hallway.

He stopped. Sniffed the crosscurrents. Food to the right. He moved off.

Cindy watched for a second. When nothing happened, she followed Onyx.
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"You said this goddess looked like a white and black cat with no fur?" Dawson sighed. "Adam's cat. The one that was stolen." He turned to Nash. "We have to find her, and get her out of here."

"Where did you say you saw her," he asked Nasser. "The garden? Show us?"

They followed the boy into the courtyard.

Meanwhile, another vehicle had pulled up behind the first. Three people got out.

"Wait! There's an immortal..." Mayleet's words stopped the men up short.

"What? Now who?"

"No one I know," Mayleet said softly. She looked disapproving when both Methos and MacLeod pulled out pistols. But she said nothing. She understood the necessity. Moving silently they entered the palace's main entrance. "That way," the woman whispered. She pointed. "Courtyard."

They moved together in the silence. Ears straining to catch the tiniest...

"Here kitty, kitty!" Joe stood next to the fountain and peered into the shadows.

"Kitty? Kitty?" Nash was crashing through the plantings trying to flush the cat into the open.

"Fuck it, Nash! You're only going to scare her!"

"Then you come over here and help!"

There was a sudden commotion inside the palace.

"Joe?"

"Adam?

"Who?!"

"Connor?"

"Duncan?"

Mayleet stood in the doorway and laughed as the four men completed their 'roll call.'

And was startled into abrupt silence when she felt a soft caress on first one ankle then the other. She looked down. "Oh..."

*Mieu*?

"Oh!" Mayleet bent down and picked up both the cats. Cindy nuzzled her ear on one side, and the black tom stuck his head into her hair on the other. Both seemed just fine.

Smiling, the ancient woman walked out into the garden.

"Adam, I think I have someone you'll be glad to see..."
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Kalormas keyed the number on the cell phone and smiled as he waited for an answer.

"Pierson."

"Ah, my old friend, Menoptah. Glad I could catch you!"

"Kalormas!"

"Yes." The evil immortal chuckled. "Who else?"

"How did you...?"

"I have them, my friend. I have them all."

 

Continued...

Chapter Text

"You have them..." The phone almost slipped from the suddenly nerveless fingers of the ancient immortal. He closed his eyes and his lips moved. Did he pray? Did he curse?

"Methos!"

MacLeod surged forward, but Nash grabbed his arm. "Not now, kinsman, let him be."

The younger Scot ground out something unintelligible, then took a step back.

Methos turned and walked away from his friends and his lover.

"All right. Now what?"

"What do you think, Menoptah? What I've always wanted. The woman. And you."

"Fine."

"Just like that?" The voice on the other end of the line sounded surprised. And suspicious. Then he laughed. "Well?"

"Yes, just like that. You let the others go. I get to see them go. Then you get what you want."

Silence.

"Well, Kalormas? Is it a deal?"

"Yes. Tonight. It has to be tonight."

"I understand. We'll be there." Methos clicked off the phone. Then he threw it against the stucco wall and the thing shattered.

He turned back to the others and shrugged. "Well, that's it, then." He walked over and took Cindy, cradled her in his arms and rubbed his face against hers. They could all hear her joyous purring. But Methos kept his head down for a long while, whispering.

"We have places to go and people to see," he said after a moment. But he still didn't look up.

Mayleet, holding the other cat, turned to Dawson and Nash, walked away and hoped they would follow. They did, but with obvious reluctance.

"Methos," MacLeod said quietly.

"Not now, Duncan..."

"Then when? What you just said sounded pretty final to me. Pretty fucking final!" The Scot could feel righteous anger building in the pit of his stomach.

"What?"

MacLeod couldn't move. Knew if he did...that it would only be to fall to his knees in front of the man he loved. To beg him not to do the unspeakable. To make him promise not to leave him... Now, or ever...

"You can't do this, Methos. You can't let him..."

"Let him what, Duncan? Kill helpless, defenseless mortals? Kill my friends? Kill you and Connor? He will, you know." Methos sighed. "He doesn't fight fair, Duncan."

Methos looked up then, straight at his lover. His eyes seemed to shift from gold to green as he silently gazed at the man. Finally he spoke. "I've offered before..."

"No." There was horror in his voice. Horror in his eyes. "Never, Methos!"
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Mulder and the young woman, Julie, were discussing the finer points of determining true poltergeist activity.

The older man, the English Lord, was busily drawing crude Egyptian-style fertility figures on the sandstone walls. And Dr. Jones--'The' Dr. Jones!--was kibitzing.

Scully shook her head and then looked over at Ramses and smiled tentatively.

"I don't suppose your getting captured was part of a plan, was it?"

Ramses threw his head back and laughed. "Agent Scully, what a delightful sense of humor." The ancient Egyptian shook his head. "No, I'm afraid not. A miscalculation on our part. We were too trusting. One of the military advisers. A high-placed advisor at that, is a Bastian."

"Oh."

"Yes, not that it makes any difference. Caught is caught."

Scully nodded. Then she looked over at Lord Savarell and Dr. Jones. They were writing dirty limericks on the cell walls.

Oh, please, don't let...

"Hey, I know a couple. Here."

Ramses laughed again as Scully cringed and groaned aloud. "Don't worry, Agent. It's just a way of easing our situation."

"Yes, I know. sir. It's just that... Well, I never got into situations like this before I met Mulder."

Crystal blue eyes sparkled as Ramses looked the woman over. He watched as Scully visibly warmed under his direct gaze.

"So, what's the plan? How do we get out of this mess?"

Ramses shrugged. "Wait for the Cavalry?"

"Fuck," Scully muttered.

"Mmm," Ramses replied softly.
+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

"Never is a really long time, MacLeod."

The old immortal smiled gently. "And I seem to remember..."

"Don't start, Methos."

"...a couple of times when you..." Methos' smile broadened.

Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod suddenly realized something.

"You son of a bitch! You never planned to go along with Kalormas, did you?"

"MacLeod! How could you think... After five thousand years..." Methos was truly stunned. He just stared at his lover. God, Duncan thought...?

"Then what was all that...just now?!"

"I was pissed, MacLeod. And I was thinking." He suddenly reached out and grabbed the lapel of the Scot's duster. Hauled him in and kissed him long and passionately.

"Remember this, Highlander. I will never leave you." He kissed him again.

"Now, come on. We have our work cut out for us tonight."

"Joe, Connor, Mayleet, let's get going." He took MacLeod's hand and started after the others.

"We have a lot to do before midnight. First we have to find horses."

"Horses, sir?" Nasser suddenly piped up from his hiding place behind a sofa. "My uncle has some very fine horses!"

"Good." Methos nodded curtly. "He looked back at the others. Well, what are you waiting for?"

 

Continued...

Chapter Text

The ruins of the ancient temple lay baking in the sun all day, and stayed relatively warm well after sundown. But midnight was approaching and there was a definite sharp chill in the air.

The blue-cloaked Bastians had been gathering since the first hour after full dark. Their numbers swelled to almost a thousand on this night. Men who had only flirted with the cult were being seduced by rumors.

The rumor that Bast had chosen Kalormas for her consort. That she would invest him with divine power. His followers would become kings under the new god's rule. That Kalormas would lead them into a new golden age. Egypt would be the center of the world again.

As the moon peeked into the roofless courtyard before the sanctuary, Kalormas' under-priests began to pass among the men with bowls of burning herbs. Herbs specially prepared for their mind and mood-altering properties. Fires were lit in pits, and more herbs sprinkled on them.

A group of musicians; drummers, pipers, and sistrum players, began ancient paean to the goddess.

There was quite a show planned for the night. And were it not so sinister, it would have been quite impressive.

Finally, the hostages were brought into the roofless hall and chained hand and foot to the massive columns. Ramses, Julie, Elliott, Hank, Scully, Mulder.

Kalormas, dressed in royal regalia and wearing a cat mask, approached the prisoners.

"I'm disappointed. As I'm sure you all are. It seems your friends have abandoned you." The evil immortal laughed behind his mask. "You will pay the ultimate price for your trust."

He held out his right hand and a wickedly sharp, totally utilitarian sword was placed there. Pacing slowly, he neared Mulder.

"Ah, the least shall be first here," he intoned. He raised the sword...

"Hold! Hold I Say!"

Kalormas turned toward the interloper. Interlopers. Except... He had to remove the mask to get a better look.

"Well. I have to say I'm surprised, Menoptah. And with the woman..." And a full dozen of his guards, too. Very good.

"We have a deal, Kalormas. Let them go."

The evil immortal grinned. "Of course." Absolutely. he would let them go. And before morning they would be his prisoners again. Or dead.

Kalormas signaled to the under-priests to let the hostages go.
+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

Duncan MacLeod looked down at himself. Then over at his kinsman and Joe Dawson. Somehow, somehow, he now appeared as one of the Bastian Guard. All three of them did. And so did the nine 'shadows' that were part of their company.

And it was more that just the shifting shadows and firelight. Or the narcotic fumes. And it was certainly more than the blue cloaks the trio was wearing.

MacLeod looked over at Dawson. There was no way anyone would ever mistake him for anything other than an Anglo.

The immortal man shook his head. What WAS that noise? It was persistent, and high-pitched. Not quite unpleasant. But then sometimes... It reminded him of something. Almost familiar. But just when he thought he had it... He shook his head again, then a movement caught his attention.

Mayleet. He smiled down at Cindy. Then over at Connor with the other cat. And Joe. He felt...

The Highlander felt his thoughts drifting. Hm. Methos. He was wearing a white burnoose and from this angle MacLeod could see his lover's profile.

Did he look like this when he rode with...? Oh. A sudden image came into the Scot's brain. Yes. Yes, he had looked just like this. He closed his eyes tightly. And now the images tumbled across the darkened screen of his mind. Methos. Kronos. Silas. Caspian. Desert. Tents. The white horse...

Cassandra...

Cassandra!

That was it. That was what niggled at him. MacLeod breathed deeply, and his head cleared suddenly and the strange sense of other presence faded. He realized Mayleet had been speaking.

He glanced again at Dawson and Connor. Both of them looked at him. As if he could answer their questions.
+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

Methos remembered how the shiver along his spine would start as soon as Mayleet began to speak. As it had the first time he heard her Voice. And every one of the other hundred thousand times he had heard it since.

For a brief moment he felt sorry for Kalormas. Well, almost.

He wished he could have warned the others what would happen. But he knew it would have freaked Duncan. And Joe.

He didn't know about the elder MacLeod. But he had a feeling the man had seen and experienced more than his Chronicle told. And his kinsman imagined.

Methos glanced around. Yes. It was working. Kalormas' trick with the psychotropic herbs was certainly effective. Yes, indeed. And it was turning out to be a bonus for them.

The most suggestible of the men were already beginning to leave. The ones who were there more out of curiosity than zeal. They would go home in a pleasant fog.

As he watched the ranks visibly thinned. Methos breathed a quiet sigh of relief. The fewer mortals involved the better.

Methos turned his attention to Mayleet now. Slowly, excruciatingly slowly, she was moving toward Kalormas. The sword he held had been drifting downward and now rested point-down on the floor. Methos exhaled slowly and began to move himself.

He glanced over at Dawson and the MacLeods. Saw the looks they were giving each other, and then they turned to him. Methos held a finger to his lips. *Silence* he thought at them.

He nodded, and inclined his head in the direction of their just-freed friends. He started moving...
+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

More than a third of the men had drifted away. The mostly innocent. They would go home to their wives, their loved ones.

Mayleet spared a glance at Methos. Nodded encouragingly.

Then she reached out to Kalormas and put her hand on his arm. She kept talking. Low, careful. Perfect, beautifully modulated speech.
+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

More of the men were disappearing. Furtively, and overtly. Some were almost running into the desert. Methos looked grim.

Second phase. The irresponsible, reckless, foolish thrill seekers. Seeing the error of their ways. Misdeeds coming back to haunt.

He looked back at the tableau of Mayleet, Kalormas and the priests. And the 'guards' just beyond.

Methos moved between Mulder and Scully. God, he felt sorry for the young mortals. Even prepared, Duncan and Joe and Connor had been affected. How much more... Mulder's face had turned a ghastly shade of grey.

He turned to face them. Could see their lips move and knew they were speaking to him. He put a hand over each of their mouths.

"Ramses..." He nodded. "Take them out before..."

Methos looked up, startled by the expressions on their faces. He turned, fear sinking it's talons into his bowels.

One of the under-priests had Mayleet by the throat, and he was talking to Kalormas.

Methos looked back to Ramses. His mouth was moving. 'Deaf,' he was saying.

"Fuck! Time for 'Plan B!'" Methos started digging the putty out of his ears...

 

Continued...

Chapter Text

"Plan 'B'? There's a Plan 'B'! You have a plan 'B'?!"

"Fuck you, Elliott," Methos growled.

"Over Duncan's dead body..."

"Christ, would you please..." Scully looked at her partner, and reached over and pinched his left bicep.

"Yow. What the hell was that for?" He hadn't shouted, and Methos was glad for that.

"Because you were listening to Mayleet," Scully said softly.

"Oh. Yeah." He glanced at the others. "So, it didn't, um, bother you?"

Julie looked at the mortal. "We knew what to expect. And Dana--Dana was affected differently."

"Son of a fucking bitch," Methos seethed. "What is this, a bloody discussion group."

"All right, Methos." Ramses looked toward the end of the hall. "What do we do now?"
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Mayleet licked her lips and tried to breathe without moving. The razor edged knife had already sliced her throat. She could feel the blood trickling down.

If she could get away. Use the Voice again. She closed her eyes and went limp, crumpling at the immortal's feet.

Kalormas looked at her. Looked at the priest. He motioned for the man to back off.

Then he shook his head. He went to one knee beside the ancient woman. He took her arm and pulled her up.

"The Voice," he said gruffly. "I never knew." A smile broadened on his face. "A useful skill."

"I've always thought so," Mayleet acknowledged quietly. "So, what now, Kalormas?"

"Now? Now I take your pretty head. What else? It's all I've wanted for a very long time."

"And after?"

"Menoptah. And the others." Kalormas stood and reached for his sword again.
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MacLeod let Cindy drop to the ground, and Connor did the same with the tom. They backed away from Mayleet and Kalormas. Dawson had already been making his way over to the others, and now Methos turned to him.

"Come on, Ramses. The Cavalry has arrived. Joe."

"Right." The Watcher awkwardly dropped the cloak he'd been wearing to reveal several automatic machine guns draped around his body.

"These look familiar," Elliott commented.

"Should. They're ours," Ramses replied. He caressed the small, powerful weapon.

"Excellent choice for this kind of operation," Scully observed as Joe handed her one of them.

Meanwhile, Methos, Hank and Ramses had been sizing up the situation.

"Mac, Connor, get rid of those cloaks," Methos advised as the other two immortals joined them.

"The odds don't look too bad, do they. Only about five to one now."

They all stared at Connor.

"Come now, we've all been in worse situations than this," the elder MacLeod chided.

"Unfortunately that's true," Methos said dryly.
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Julie and Scully looked at each other while their men argued.

Then turned their attention to the vastly different situation down at the other end of the hall. There was no arguing going on there. None at all.

Mayleet hung in the grasp of two of the priests. Her head was bowed. Her long hair covered her like a veil, and trailed to the ground.

"What's she doing," Scully suddenly asked. "What's she... Oh my God..."

Kalormas was raising the sword, and in a moment it would swing down.

"Fuck that shit!" Scully raised her gun...

 

Continued...

Chapter Text

"No, wait," Methos hissed. "He's going to remember this is holy ground in a second. He'll have to take her out of here."

"Holy ground? What does that have to do with anything?" Scully may have not have looked dangerous, but MacLeod was standing shoulder to shoulder with her. He could feel the waves of anger and frustration pouring off of her. He glanced at Mulder and the agent reached out and touched his partner's shoulder.

"S'okay, Scully."

But the agent wasn't easily mollified. "What does 'holy ground' have to do with anything?"

Methos, the MacLeods, Hank, and Joe shared quick glances. These two young mortals were already far into something that could get them killed. Okay, they were already FBI agents, and knew the risks of the job. But this was also a matter of immortal safety.

Methos dissembled. "Um, he can't kill the goddess on holy ground--in her own temple. It's a rule..."

They all held their breath as they stared at the scene below.

Then they heard Kalormas growl as he lowered the sword and had the two priests haul Mayleet to her feet. There was muttered discussion among the ancient woman's captors.

"What would have happened? If he had...?" Mulder looked at MacLeod, then back at Kalormas.

"Bad juju," Methos answered.

"Huh?"

"No time. Look!"

One of the priests was using his sash as a gag. Winding it firmly around Mayleet's mouth and chin. Another had tied her hands behind her back. But even so, she looked like a queen. Her crystal blue eyes flashed as she stared at Kalormas. She held herself stiffly upright.

Kalormas was gesturing and calling his men to him. Then they all turned and started out of the court.

"I don't understand," Joe said softly. "Hasn't he noticed...anything? That most of his men are gone. I swear, he looked right at us, and we're not really hidden. But he didn't say anything."

"It's a glamour, Joe." The Scot nodded. "She used the Voice. Like Cassandra and Kantos." Then he smiled. "But, she's a hell of a lot better at it."

Julie smiled. "Exactly, Duncan. As long as she's alive the glamour will hold."

"Then we'd better fucking do something," the Highlander growled.

"We are, Mac. We are." Methos threw his arm around his lover's shoulder. "Come on. We have to plan. Kalormas has to shift everything out of the temple precincts. That's going to take time..."
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Mayleet lounged on the rug they'd laid on the sand for Kalormas. She had hoped--for a brief moment--that Kalormas would forget himself. Take her head.

Yes, she would be dead. A small price to pay to be back with her love. But Kalormas would have been most spectacularly dead too! But it hadn't happened.

The ancient woman looked over at the altar that was being raised. She snickered to herself. Kalormas was totally out of his mind. And she had helped. Even now her suggestions were working in the minds of his men.

And in Kalormas' too. She noticed he kept looking furtively into the darkness beyond the guttering torches. A stiff breeze had sprung up. None of her doing, but a nice touch nonetheless.

She turned and looked to her left. Methos. She blinked to acknowledge his presence. MacLeod was with him... No, there he was. Off to her right. She stared back at Methos. She still felt MacLeod with him.

Wait. She turned to the Scot. And Methos? Oh, my. They had shared a quickening. How had she managed to miss that?!

A shout from Kalormas alerted her to the fact the preparations were complete. He stood before the altar and the priests came to drag her up, and over, then manhandle her back to her knees before the evil immortal.

"I'm going to kill you now. And then I'll hunt down and kill the rest. It won't be hard, will it? They're all still here. Thinking they can rescue you..."

Kalormas laughed. "Foolish mortals. Look around goddess," he mocked. "See how my followers stand with me! A thousand tonight. A thousand who will witness my transformation into a god! Soon there will be ten
thousand...then a million who worship me!

"I will have an army at my command. Then I'll leave this dirty, backwards country and take a greater place!"

Mayleet listened to the ranting. Well, Kalormas wasn't just evil. He was mad too. She looked around and saw that her blue-cloaked friends were slowly approaching. In a moment she would make her move and they would take Kalormas.

And this time... This time he would lose his head.

Behind her back she had already untied and unwound the sash that bound her hands. And the ends of her gag dangled freely behind her back. Another moment...

Kalormas reached for the sword and Mayleet slid her hand into the pocket of her gown. The pocket that held a dagger. She began drawing it out. Slowly. Slowly.

She was busy concentrating on her movements, and tracking the others as they approached she was unaware that she was being watched. She never saw the deaf priest until the instant before he brought the end of his dagger down. Crashing it into her skull.

She slumped to the side. Dead.
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Methos stopped. It was as if he was paralyzed. He watched as Kalormas and the others blinked away the glamour that had held them.

The evil one shouted for his men. His guards. His priests.

Methos knew they only had an instant to react. To grasp victory from an almost sure defeat.

He charged the altar, going for the sword in Kalormas hand, saw that Connor had already pulled out his sword and was whacking away at one of the priests. Then he saw his Highlander coming from the other side.

"Give her to Scully and Mulder! They can take her! Into the shrine," Methos shouted amidst the sporadic gunfire. Then he was gratified to see the two young mortals following his command.

"Now, you insane bastard, I'm coming for you!" Methos charged, but suddenly his vision was obscured by smoke. One of the guards had got his hands on some smoke bombs. Shit. Methos coughed, and kept going.

Only to find himself falling. Tumbling in the sand. He looked down to see a knife buried in his chest. "Fuck, Duncan. Another sucking chest wound," he said softly. He managed to turn on his back as frothy blood bubbled into his mouth.

"Methos!" Julie shouted as she stumbled into the prone form. Blindly, she snatched the knife from the dying immortal's chest. She fired her gun in the direction the knife had come from, and was gratified to hear a short scream.

Julie turned back, looking for the others through the quickly dissipating smoke. Thank God for the wind! She only saw her husband and their friends.

Methos was just sitting up, with the Scot's help. "Kalormas," he croaked. Where?"

They all turned when they heard the first shot fired in the temple.
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Scully and Mulder faced the enraged immortal with weapons drawn.

"Give her to me, and go. Just go." Kalormas smiled kindly. "Or stay if you like. And serve me. You're obviously intelligent beings. I could use smart
people like you when I come to power."

Scully grimaced. "Pierson was right. You are fucking nuts." She shook her head, then turned to Mulder.

And Kalormas pulled out a dagger and thrust it at the woman.

So Mulder shot him.
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The immortals and the Watcher started running for the temple. The MacLeods dragged the fuming ancient man between them. "Hurry. Save the kids..."

"We're going as fast as we can, man," Connor chided. "Unless you want the lad here to carry ye."

Methos 'humphed,' and his lover just looked at him.

"Well?"

"Just... Hurry!"

They heard another scream. Hank, Ramses, Elliott and Julie sprinted ahead, but it was already too late.

All hell broke loose.

 

Continued...

Chapter Text

Mulder had good aim. He hit Kalormas just off-center in the chest. The immortal dropped like a stone.

Scully kicked the body out of her way and went to Mayleet.

"There's a lot of blood, Mulder can you get something..." She had just touched the woman's wrist when Mayleet gave a heaving breath, and started to cough.

"Well, nice to know you're back with us. How's your head..."

"Scully! Oh. My. God. Sonofafuckingbitch!"

"Mulder?!" Scully turned just in time to see Kalormas coming at her with the dagger. A drop of blood, like a tear, was all that was left of his wound. She tried to raise her weapon, and step back at the same time, but she tripped instead, and fell against the stone altar.

Mulder raised his gun, but couldn't get a clear shot.

And then, it didn't matter.

One priest. One. A true believer. Not swayed by Kalormas blandishments. Not affected by Mayleet's glamors.

The deaf priest charged straight at Mulder, knocking him aside even as Kalormas grabbed Scully's gun.

Ran straight to the man he now knew to be a false priest. A defiler of the gods, and his homeland. He swept the sword up from his side in a blindingly fast move that sounded as a whistle. And slashed across Kalormas belly.

The immortal roared in fearful agony as his bowels threatened to spill out onto the ground. He swayed for a moment, then fell to his knees. The sword sang again and the roar was cut off abruptly by a fountain of arterial blood.

There was a thump as Kalormas' head fell to the stones. And another as the body pitched forward.
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Methos sagged between the MacLeods. "No, oh, no!"

"What is it? Is it Mayleet?" The younger Scot knew there was a connection between his lover and the other ancient immortal. "Methos..."

"Shit!" Connor suddenly let Methos go and his young kinsman found his lover fully in his arms.

"Conner, come back!"
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Ramses held tight to Julie and a quietly shaking Scully as they watched the quickening begin.

Elliott was mesmerized. As was Mulder.

"God," Elliott said to no one in particular. "What is that like?"

"Scary." Hank watched, unable to look away.

"Frightening." Connor added, panting to catch his breath after his sprint to get to the temple. "Especially when it's in a situation like this."

"Debilitating, too," Joe added. "I've seen Mac...after, you know."

They stopped talking. And just watched.

A thick plasma/vapor rose from the fallen body, and tendrils slowly snaked along the sand. Like reaching fingers that caressed the feet of the chosen immortal.

Wrapped around legs, tenderly moving up to circle waist. Chest. Neck. Head.

Soon the form was mostly obscured by the nebulous energy.

And the real light show began.
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"Don't bother about Connor, Duncan, there's nothing he can do anyway," Methos said breathlessly. "Fuck, I hate wounds like this. Especially when they don't kill me." The old man sank down to the sand.

"What's going on," MacLeod asked quietly as he knelt beside Methos. They both stared toward the ruined temple. Saw the lightning. Heard the crackling and booming. And then were nearly blinded as a sandy whirlwind swept up and around them. When it was passed the Scot brushed them both off as best he could.

"Methos? Can you walk? Do you want me to carry you?"

"No, MacLeod. Give me another minute, will you."

"Methos, do you know...?"

The ancient looked up at his lover. "Oh, yes. Kalormas is dead. And Mayleet is taking his quickening."

"But, the temple... It is holy ground! We all felt it. How could she have..."

"Mayleet didn't take his head. A mortal did. It has to be. Otherwise... Well, I don't know if the temple would still be standing."

Methos reached out a hand. "Come on, help me up, Duncan. We're going to be needed in a couple of minutes."

"Methos?"

"Mayleet. She's never taken a quickening, Duncan. Never..."

The Highlander couldn't believe what he has just heard.

"And, we have two young mortals who just got one hell of a lesson in immortal politics, wouldn't you say?

"And, you've managed to lose my cat. Again."

"Go back to the first thing you said, Methos. She's Never taken a head?"

"That's what I said."

"Then, how? How does she do...did she do...what she did?"

"If I tell you, Mac, I'd have to kill you." The old immortal was finally starting to feel sound again. He quickened his steps as he saw the quickening glow start to diminish. Sorry. I don't know.

"I may be 5000 years old, Mac. But I'm not omnipotent."

"'Just a guy?'"

"Right." Methos sighed. "There's so much we don't know. Hell, we don't even know where children of our kind come from. And who knows, Mac, there could be immortals even older that Mayleet."

They reached the temple as the last of the quickening dispersed and Methos went to the crumpled form of the ancient immortal woman.

 

Continued...

Chapter Text

Connor, Ramses, Elliott and Julie took the mortals back out of the temple. It would be sunrise soon, and they needed to get moving. Connor lent his cell phone to Ramses.

Joe nodded at the immortals and patted his pocket. "I need to make a couple of calls. Get a cleanup crew in. On the double." He walked away.

"I'm going to get a chopper in here. There won't be a problem," Ramses said softly. Then he also walked off a ways so he could talk without the mortals hearing the conversation.

Ramses was back sooner than Joe.

"How long to get it here," Connor asked. "I'm getting seriously worried about Scully." He had his arms around the woman, and could feel her violent shaking.

"Shock, do you think?" Julie asked. "Hell, I'm imm... Um, not immune to the shakes, either."

Ramses grabbed a couple of the discarded cloaks and went to wrap them around Scully.

"Just a few minutes, Dana. A very few minutes. Then we'll take you back to the hotel."

"It's the Sheraton, Dana," Elliott added. "Five stars. Ramses will treat you to a shopping spree. You too, Mulder."

The young mortal grunted. "How's the food? I'm starved."

"Mulder," Scully said in a whisper, "did you just say you're...starved?" She gave a shaky laugh. "Will wonders never cease?"
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Hank and MacLeod got Mayleet to her feet and away from the body. But there was nothing they could do about the blood. Her own and Kalormas'. It seemed to cover her head to toe. Only her face was clean. Washed clean by her tears.

"Mac," Methos whispered, "there's got to be some water around here. She can't stay like this." He tried to shift the woman in his lap so he could look around.

The Highlander nodded. "Any suggestions where we should look?"

"Not really. No. Hank?"

"They didn't give us any once we got here. But there must have been some. Maybe in the sanctuary?"

"Could you look? And you too, Mac?"

"Trying to get rid of me, old man?"

Methos looked up at his lover, and he smiled. "Yes. For a little. Please?"

"All right."

As they walked away Hank looked over at MacLeod. "Will she be okay, do you think? I mean, I've never seen anybody react quite like that to a quickening."

"Do you remember your first?"

"Sure. It wasn't that long ago. Why?"

MacLeod said nothing. He knew Hank would figure it out.
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MacLeod had sat next to Methos and held his lover's hand on the short flight to Alexandria. He wanted to do more, but Mayleet was back in Methos' lap. And both cats were in her lap.

Then there'd been the game at the hotel. The immortals doing their best to shield everyone from prying eyes. The Scot wondered how much this little spree was costing. Well, he was certain Ramses could afford it.

MacLeod got up and wandered out to the suite's terrace.

He suddenly felt abandoned. Strange. In just a couple of days he'd come to relish the companionship of Methos' friends.

But now, Hank had gone back to his dig. Mumbling something about 'crazy grad students.' Barely staying long enough for a shower and a meal. The same with Connor. Except that he'd gone off with Elliott. The old sybarite of all people.

And Scully and Mulder... MacLeod had taken a call from someone named Skinner. Who was adamant about speaking to Scully. Then not long after that call the agents were gone too.

Joe hadn't come back to the hotel at all. He'd gone home with the other Watchers. Well, he did have to be careful.

"Mac?" Methos came out onto the terrace, and the Scot turned to him with a smile.

"You look better." He held out his arms. "Smell better. I like the bathrobe too."

"I feel better." Methos stepped close and settled into his lover's embrace. "Hm. Even better!"

They stood quietly for a moment, then Methos spoke again. "Ramses and Julie are on their way to Tibet. I presume everyone else is gone too?"

"Um hm." The Scot had his nose pressed into Methos' hair. Then he kissed his ear. "So, Mayleet decided to go back to Tibet? And Julie and Ramses went with her?"

"No. She's asleep. Finally. What?" The old immortal stepped back when he felt MacLeod stiffen suddenly.

"She's here? Sleeping... In our bed? For God's sake, Methos..."

"Oh, and here comes that big green monster again! Get a clue, Duncan. I've told you..."

"Would you wait a minute! Methos! I meant you shouldn't have left her alone!" He grabbed his lover's hand and pulled him back into the suite.

"She hasn't moved, Mac. Her or the cats."

The Highlander smiled. He couldn't help himself. He had to admit that Mayleet was a very appealing woman. And now, curled on her side in the middle of the bed, the cats curled beside her...

Methos touched his arm lightly. "The other bedroom's been cleaned up. We can..."

"No, I don't think we should leave her. Look." He pointed to the tears that were slipping down Mayleet's face even in her sleep.

"Duncan?"

"It's a huge bed, Methos. More than enough room for all of us." MacLeod kicked off his shoes as he unbuttoned his shirt.

The ancient immortal shook his head and smiled. He pulled off the robe and climbed into the bed and pulled Mayleet into his arms. Then Duncan settled behind him and pulled the sheet up over all three of them.

"Okay?"

"Fine," Methos said softly. "Perfect."

"So, you like having a woman in your bed?"

"Sixty..."

"...Eight wives. I remember."

"Go to sleep, Duncan. It's been a long day!"

The Scot pressed a soft kiss on the back of Methos neck. Then he ran a caressing hand down his lover's torso.

"Mac. Keep that up and we'll have to use the other bedroom," the older immortal hissed. "Shit." He could feel both their growing erections.

"Can't help it. It's been too long. Want you, Methos."

"Want you, Mac." He took a deep breath. "You know where the lube is..."

 

Continued...

Chapter Text

MacLeod reached over and grabbed the lube while Methos turned and moved away from the sleeping woman. He couldn't believe he was even considering doing this.

Mayleet was the one who had taken the quickening. Albeit under duress.

But he and Mac. They were acting like teenagers. Fumbling against each other with rough caresses. Lips, mouths, tongues, hands and bodies. Vying in a duel of pleasure.

A duel that MacLeod seemed to have won as he began a slow slide down the old man's body.

His first stop was Methos' throat. Such an adorable throat. Five thousand years of vulnerability. All his. Worthy of his adoration. He sucked until he had made his mark, then moved on.

The older immortal writhed as his lover tortured one nipple, then the other. Back and forth until he was almost screaming with need. He clutched at MacLeod's head, but the Scot wouldn't have it. He captured the elegant hands of his partner and pinned them to his sides.

And now the Highlander was doing...other things... Things that were pushing Methos to the brink of the precipice.

"Please," the old man begged. "Please, Duncan." His voice was hoarse with passion. And need.

"Shh, Methos. Almost there..." The Scot smiled as he finally reached his prize. He nuzzled along the strongly defined thigh muscle, then took in his lover's tumescent cock. He sucked deeply, knowing he couldn't keep it up for long. Methos was already on the edge.

And shit, the old man was so fucking vocal. MacLeod disengaged.

Methos caught his lover in a frantically passionate embrace. Pulled him down on top of him. "Fuck me now, Highlander. Now!"

The Scot groaned as the old man took his mouth in an almost savage kiss. He drew back, fumbling for the lube. His hands were shaking as he coated them both.

"You're taking too long. Just do it." Methos arched off the bed in an effort to impale himself.

"Yes..." MacLeod agreed. Without further preparation he plunged into his lover's body.

Each stoke was met strongly, urgently, frantically by Methos. "Duncan. Duncan. Duncan. Duncan...Duncan...Duncan..." He repeated his lover's name like a mantra. A litany to his personal god.

And when he came--they came--Methos could only clutch frantically at his lover as they were both wracked with quickening-like paroxysms.
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The Highlander woke in the still hour just before dawn. He felt--sated. Drowsy and happy and well-fucked. Oh, yeah. Very well-fucked. He smiled.

After the first frenzied lovemaking they had slept for an hour or so. Then been awakened by Mayleet screaming in a language MacLeod had never heard.

But there had been no mistaking the anguish and terror and anger in the words.

It had taken Methos a while to quiet and calm her. And in that time MacLeod came to realize that there was a deep and abiding affection between the two oldest immortals. That what they had, whatever the connection, it existed outside, besides, in addition to, the love of Duncan and Methos.

So, in the end, he and Methos had done what seemed perfectly natural. Comforted her in a most agreeable fashion.

Smiling at the memories, the Scot nuzzled Methos' neck, then gave it an experimental lick. He was rewarded when his lover shifted closer to him. The ancient man was warm and comforting in his arms. And so was the body pressed to his back.

MacLeod opened his eyes in the semi-darkened room.

He picked up the arm that was draped across his chest. Looked at the tattooed wrist. He ran a callused thumb over the symbol. Felt the velvety skin. Such a sensitive place, the inside of the wrist.

The Scot traced the tattoo over and over, then placed a gentle kiss on the mark.

"Hm, Mac?"

"Just wondering. How long?"

Mayleet smiled. MacLeod could feel her lips curving against his shoulder. "At my initiation. It was a symbol of watchfulness. To keep me safe in my journeys. Sometime--long after that--it got to be associated with the Egyptian Horus."

The ancient one sat up and leaned against the Scot's broad back. The cats, disturbed by her movement, 'huffed' at her and moved over beside Methos. Cindy, as was her right, took the spot under his chin. The tom settled against his knees.

Mayleet chuckled softly. "Cats. Strange creatures, don't you think? I had dogs for..." She stopped and thought. "Okay, a really long time."

"Never even thought of a cat as a pet until I saw them in Egypt."

"Thanks to me," Methos mumbled.

"Yes, darling boy, thanks to you," Mayleet conceded. "Sorry I woke you."

"Yes. Right. You should be," he grumped.

"Not a morning person," she whispered to MacLeod. "Never has been."

"No," the Scot agreed. "He's much better with nooners."

"Yes," Mayleet agreed. Her clear blue eyes shone with her merriment.

"You shit," Methos said loudly. "If it wouldn't be that I'd disturb the cats..."

"What?"

"I'd show you..."

"Oh, please, do!"

"Right!" The old man pushed Cindy away and the cat did her best to resist. It was a mighty struggle to see which was more stubborn. Immortal or beast. By the time it was done and Cindy was glaring at Methos from the floor, Mayleet was helpless with laughter.

"All right, you two," Mayleet said as she rolled from the bed. She grabbed the cats and headed out of the room.

"Mayleet..." The Highlander's tone caused her to stop.

"It's okay, Duncan. All settled. I'm fine." She smiled serenely at the lovers.

"Venerable?"

The ancient woman sighed at the use of that name, then laughed. "Truly, Methos. I'm fine. We'll talk later."

She elbowed the door closed behind her.
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"I smell..." Methos sat up suddenly. His stomach growled. He practically dove out of the bed, but MacLeod grabbed him and hauled him upright. He thrust a bathrobe at his lover, and shrugged into his own.

"Coffee's here," Mayleet called through the bedroom's door. Then went over to help herself from the buffet. She had just settled at the table when there was a commotion.

Methos seemed to burst into the room, and Mayleet turned to watch him. She smiled a conspiratorial smile at the Scot who followed just as eagerly.

"Brunch is served," she announced unnecessarily. "I hope you guys like what I ordered." Then she laughed as Methos brought his overflowing plate to the table.

"So, boys, what do you say we finish up here and go home?"

 

Continued...

Chapter Text

"You're kidding, right?" Methos looked at the bureaucrat. "Of course she's my cat." He looked down at Cindy, asleep on his chest.

"Dr. Pierson, you must understand this is a delicate situation. Kalormas had a huge following. Last night there was some kind of event in an abandoned temple. And this morning Kalormas--and a few of the most faithful of his men--are nowhere to be found."

"And although he was a thorn in the government's side... If I may be frank, sir." He shrugged candidly. "Well, we will still have to at least pretend we care."

"Which means you're going to be even more zealous than usual with the investigation." Methos snorted.

Cindy looked up. Then sat up and stretched before patting her man's cheek and settling back to her nap.

The Scot glanced at Methos and Mayleet as he handed the Egyptian a cup of coffee. "Mr. Armin, there are police reports about the theft. The breeder has faxed the paperwork from the sale. We even have photos of Cindy with us at our home. Ones that we took."

"Mr. MacLeod, I understand. But we found credible paperwork in Kalormas' palace that proves he legally imported that cat..." He flipped through a stack of papers. "Ah, here, a black and white female Sphynx. Named, ah, Akela..."

"What? What was the name?" Methos sat up a little straighter.

Mayleet answered. "Akela. You know. A goddess." She grinned at Methos and Duncan.

"Or a witch," Methos added. "Cute."

"And what about this one?" Mayleet motioned toward the tom who was asleep in the crook of her arm.

Another shuffling of paper. "Onyx. From a breeder in Amsterdam."

Mayleet nodded. "Onyx." She gave the cat a gentle caress that set off a round of purring. "And has anyone checked to see if he was reported stolen?"

The man looked embarrassed.

"All right." MacLeod leaned forward. "Where exactly does this put us? We're leaving this evening."

"You may go, of course, Mr. MacLeod. But the cats..." He shrugged.

"And what exactly will happen to my cat, Mr. Armin?" Methos was calm, reasonable, quiet.

The Highlander was waiting for the explosion he could feel building in his lover. Then he realized that Mayleet was seething too. And the bureaucrat had no idea.

"Quarantine. With a local veterinarian Until the matter is straightened out."

"However long that takes?"

"However long. Yes."

"Unacceptable Totally. Unacceptable." Methos looked over at Duncan, defiance clear in his green-sparked eyes. "And what if we just...leave?"

Duncan jumped up. "Adam." He looked over at the official. "Surely we can work something out..."

"Um." Mayleet had been going through both sets of papers. She held up a sheet.

"I think you might want to look at this."

She was ignored. "Excuse me." She spoke a little louder to get the attention of the men. Thank the maker she had found something to diffuse the situation.

"A trip to a vet is definitely in order. For Cindy. And we might as well take Onyx. She's been microchipped, Adam. Definite proof of ownership...!"
+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

"Well, at least we'll be on the same continent again."

Mayleet nodded, and leaned against Methos. "I'm counting on you and Duncan coming to visit. I know Joe will love to see you too."

She turned into the Highlander's arms and hugged him.

MacLeod shook his head. He wasn't sure he was ready for this. Joe Dawson--his Watcher, for God's sake--and Mayleet.

Methos thought they were adorable together.

"Duncan, you did promise to show me your island, remember?"

"I did." He looked over at his lover. "Maybe this summer. During the session break?"

"Sounds good." Methos assured him.

Just then the boarding call for Mayleet's flight was made. She looked at the two men, and hugged them both. At the same time.

"The last couple of days have certainly been full of interesting experiences," she said solemnly. "I have to say, though, there were a couple I don't think I want to repeat any time soon."

"Hm. But there were a couple I wouldn't mind repeating...a lot more often."

The ancient woman stepped back and laughed with delight at the looks on both the men's faces.

"And on that note, I will take my cat and get on the plane." She grabbed up Onyx in his carrier, gave them each a heartfelt kiss. "I'll call when I get to Joe's."

The immortal men watched her until she was almost out of sight, when she turned back and waved. And blew them each a kiss.

"How old did you say she is," Duncan murmured.

"I know," Methos said agreeably. "I think she'll be good for Joe."

"Jesus, Methos, don't remind me!"

"Come on, Duncan, you saw them together. They've got--chemistry."

"Ah, but..."

"No buts, love. Let's just wait and see, okay. Besides, we have a plane to catch too." Methos reminded MacLeod. He picked up Cindy in her carrier.

"Ready to go home?"

The Highlander looked at Methos. He wondered which one of them the old man had been talking to.
+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

"I do love first class." Methos sighed and sipped his champagne. He called the flight attendant over. "Another bottle. And bring some more of those
little cookies."

"Oh, and some strawberries," he called after the man.

"Yeah," The Scot agreed. "Strawberries are good." He finished his glass of champagne and smiled at his lover. "Good idea, Methos."

"MacLeod? You're potted," the ancient man observed. He snickered. But shut up when the steward came back with the requested items. And a little extra.

"For Cindy, Dr. Adams, Mr. MacLeod." He held out a small bowl of...

"Pate'! Phil, she adores pate'," Methos enthused. He unzipped the carrier and Cindy jumped up onto his lap. "Yes, I do love first class."

The three of them laughed together as Cindy helped herself to her snack. Then Phil went back to the rest of the passengers.

"That is one seriously nice young man," Methos said softly.

"Um hum. Good cookies. Have a strawberry," MacLeod replied. Then he stuck a nice, fat, juicy berry between his lips.

Methos grinned again as he started to lean toward the Highlander.

This was the way to travel. Good drink, good food, his cat... And the love of his life just tipsy enough to be cute. Thank god first class was almost empty.

 

Continued...

Chapter Text

"Thanks, Joe. For everything. Hank says he hasn't heard a thing about Kalormas. Not on any level. Government, religious, or personal."

"Oh, you heard from him? We got one of those too. From his girlfriend. Yes, Grace."

"He called Mayleet? Well, I didn't know they'd spent time together. In Nepal? Oh."

"Ramses and Julie ended up on Bora Bora. Something about snow in Tibet."

"Connor? Still with Elliott, I guess. Haven't heard from them except for a postcard. From Disneyland."

"Yes, you heard right. Disneyland. Anaheim. The original."

"Who knows? They might make it up to Seacouver."

"We're fine, Joe. Truly. Give me a couple of days and I'll write it all up for you. Yes, as much as I can. As much as I know. I don't always lie, Joe."

"Sometimes I dissemble."

"Night, Joe. Take care. Duncan says goodnight too."

"I will."

Methos set the receiver into it's cradle and then rolled onto his lover. He kissed the man hungrily.

The Scot finally pulled away so he could breathe. "What the hell was that all about?"

Methos grinned. "Joe. And Mayleet. She was... Um..."

MacLeod started to laugh. "Phone sex? Or rather, sex while he was on the phone?"

"In the extreme. God, Mac, I could hear her. and every once in a while I was pretty sure I was losing Joe." Methos joined his lover in laughter. "See, I told you she would be good for him."

"Yes, you did. And I'm glad." He snagged his lover and pulled him into his embrace. "And I'm glad we're home. And everyone is safe." He leaned his head on Methos' chest. Just to listen to his beating heart.

"So, are you done with your phone calls?"

"Yes. For tonight. The rest can wait. Why?"

"Because, Methos, I want some peace and quiet."

"Humph. Boring..."

"You think so?" The Scot turned his head and nipped at the nearest nipple. Then he turned his big brown eyes on his lover.

Methos groaned, and reached into the spill of dark hair. "Well, maybe not."

"Good. I want you to teach me to do that thing you did on the plane."

"Oh." The old immortal rolled onto his back and stared up into the dark.

MacLeod leaned away in surprise. "Methos, what..." He was confused. He thought Methos had enjoyed...

"Um, just thinking, Mac. That's a rather complicated technique. I don't know if I can teach it to you...just like that. It might take..."

The Scot began to grin. So, the old bastard wanted to play. Well, that was just fine with him.

"Sorry, Methos," he said softly. "If you don't think you're up to it. I mean, after all the other excitement...

"If you're too tired..." The Scot leaned over Methos and kissed his shoulder.

"Oh, it's not that. It's just that it took, oh, a millennia to get it right. Think we have that much time, Duncan?"

 

THE FOLLOWING SATURDAY...

Methos had the sangria chilling, along with the ingredients for margaritas and the obligatory beer. The salsa was whirring away in the food processor, and the chips were in baskets.

"Duncan! Will the grill be ready...?"

"Methos, you always assume the worst. Of course it's ready."

"Good, they're here." Methos buzzed their guests in, and went over to the lift to greet them. Cindy sauntered after him. As was her norm since their return, she kept close to Methos.

"Dana, Fox, glad you could make it." He greeted them each with a hearty handshake. "What can I get for you?" He held up his own glass of sangria.

Then the Scott came in from the balcony. "Great timing. I was just about to put the steaks on." He was glad to see the young mortals.

When they all had their drinks the Scot called them out to watch him cook, and Methos brought out the rest of the meal. Cindy sat on the arm of Scully's chair and helped her drink her sangria until Methos caught her at
it.

"I see your Mr. Skinner didn't do too much ass-chewing," MacLeod said with mock relief.

As a matter of fact, the Highlander had heard from a reliable source that they had both received praise from the CDC and the Egyptian government. The agents had been instrumental in putting shreds of information found at
Kalormas' abandoned palace together. And finding his real base of operation.

"Yes...Duncan." Scully bit off the 'sir' that threatened to slip out. "He went easier on us once he found out the information that sent us to Alexandria was planted by someone in Washington. Someone who had been working directly with Kalormas."

"We'll be investigating this mess... Well, until something bigger comes along," Mulder said with a sigh. He finished his beer, and Methos brought him another.

"And you know, neither of us can remember much about that night," Mulder continued. "Just bits and pieces. Like, being taken to the temple. And chained up. Then Adam and a woman coming in."

The two immortals exchanged relieved glances. Mayleet had spoken with them before they had left.

"And then some kind of ritual started. And... Well, I think I remember shooting. And a sandstorm..."

"Fireworks," Scully added suddenly. "Had to be fireworks. There wasn't any electricity out there."

Methos nodded. "Well, you two seem to remember quite a bit. Maybe you weren't affected by the herbs as much as the rest of us." He would be eternally grateful to all the gods--each and every one--that they'd had such an easy out in this situation.

The Highlander nodded. "I'm glad it all ended well. Now maybe we can get back to normal?" He turned back to the grill. And missed the looks on the three faces that were staring at him in bemusement.

 

LATER...

Methos went around the loft making sure things were off that need to be off. Checked the security system. Locked up the lift. Then he grabbed a couple of beers and went out to the balcony.

He stopped just inside the french doors and looked out at the city. But only for a moment. He much preferred the sight of Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod. The Scot was thoughtfully rubbing Cindy's head.

The old man was standing there, had been standing there for a couple of minutes, when Cindy looked up at him. MacLeod followed her gaze and smiled. He held out his hand to his lover and Methos went to join them on the double chaise.

He stretched out on his side next to MacLeod and sighed.

"What?"

"Oh, nothing. Really, Mac. Just finally winding down." He stretched. And yawned.

"It was good to see them again, wasn't it."

"Um. Yes. They're quite a team."

They were silent for a long time.

"Methos?"

"Hm?"

"Thank you."

"Mac?" Methos raised up so he could look at his lover. His lover. Sometimes he couldn't believe that they were together. After all the nightmares and sorrow and anger.

"Thank you for letting me share your life." The Highlander took a deep breath. "All this time... I don't know how you put up with me."

"Mac?" Methos sat up.

The Scot pulled him back down into his arms. "I've been so wrapped up in other crap. In my own life. When I saw you with your friends. Methos, it just hit me. All of a sudden, that you had a life...have a life of your own."

"Duncan..."

"Shh. Let me finish. Please." MacLeod unconsciously tightened his grip on his lover.

"You're a doctor, Methos." He put a finger on the ancient man's lips to still them. "I... I've been doing some checking. Why didn't you tell me you were volunteering at the free clinic? For months, Methos. I never knew?"

"Or, how about the kids reading program at the library? Or the research you've done for the human genome project? Or that you helped get the funding to revamp the homeless shelter?"

"Mac... Duncan..." Methos looked at his lover helplessly. "I've been doing stuff like that for... For a long time. Payback, MacLeod. It's just payback."

"Maybe so." The Scot was quiet for a long time.

"So, are you going to introduce me to your friends?"

"If you want." The ancient immortal didn't sound very sure.

"I do. I think it's time I stepped into Adam's universe. Don't you?"

"Well, maybe."

"So, can I actually meet the people you work with at the college?"

Methos snorted. "I think that can be arranged. After all, they let me bring Cindy..."

It took a moment for the comment to sink in. "Why you..."

Laughing, Methos rolled out of MacLeod's arms and off the chaise. Cindy jumped into the clear off the end, and the Scot went after Methos.

He tackled his lover, and carried him over his shoulder to the bed and tossed him down. Then crawled between his legs.

"Are you saying I'm your pet?"

"Maybe? You want the job?"

The Scot sat back. "Considering they way you treat that damn cat?" He laughed as Methos glared up at him. "Hell yes!" He grinned as the green sparks began to light in his lover's eyes. He leaned forward again and kissed Methos.

When they finally broke apart Methos nodded. "Well, I have to say your kisses are a little more...stimulating..." His hands explored under MacLeod's tee shirt, and the Scot reciprocated.

"And what else can I do better," the Highlander growled.

"Cook. She can't cook."

"You bastard."

"Yow! And you bite harder too!" Methos looked down at his now bare chest and the red mark of possession his lover had left. He thought about retaliation, but MacLeod's mouth was dipping lower as his jeans were slowly
being eased down his legs.

"Ah, god, Duncan." Methos clutched the Scot's head as he felt the warmth of his mouth on him. "I want you..." He felt his lover move away.

"You have me, Methos. Heart, body and soul."

"I do love you, Duncan."

"I know."

"Good, now finish what you were doing so I can have my turn."
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Cindy looked up at the full moon as it shone into her window. She knew her men were asleep. They were making different noises now.

She padded over to the bed and jumped up and walked over to her forest-man. He was laying on top of the sheets, and she settled briefly beside him. But then he rolled in his sleep, so she moved over to her desert-man.

Delicately, she nudged her way beneath the covers and settled against his chest.

Happy. She was happy. Her men were happy. Purring contentedly she closed her eyes and joined them in sleep.

 

End

Originally posted 8-29 to 10-3-01.

Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.