Author's Note: Takes place sometime between Keane episode and Archangel (which never happens in this universe).

Author's Note: If Hunted was my story where Methos is the existentialist hero, Nietszche's ubermensch,, then this is the opposite. This is the story where everyone is a product of their environment, trained in some way by the circumstances in which they grew up. Like anthropologists are always searching for the environment under which humans evolved as if it would illuminate the natural state of humans.

Duncan did not understand Methos. This was not the first time he had had that thought, in fact, most of the time that thought didn't even bother him. How could Duncan imagine the environment under which Methos would have grown up? How could anyone understand living that long? No, the Highlander had long ago accepted that he didn't understand Methos.

Since they had become lovers, the amount of things about the ancient immortal that Duncan didn't understand had increased exponentially. Their relationship had begun fairly innocuously about a month ago. After two years of highs and lows and anticipation, Duncan had just kissed the other man.

They had gone back to the loft after Joe's bar had closed. Duncan was standing by the bar fixing them both a drink, another one. Methos had been standing too, gesturing wildly with his hands as the ancient immortal was wont to do when making some point. Duncan could not even remember what they had been talking about, but Methos had looked so…adorable, he was so passionate about whatever the topic was, bright-eyed and flushed with gently parted lips and so Duncan had kissed him.

They had of course tumbled into bed then with the swiftness of long-denied desire. But they were taking the relationship slowly. Duncan thought that it was because they both knew that this had the possibility of becoming more than just a fling, more than an on-again, off-again romance. Still they spent more nights together than not.

Besides the sex though, things had changed remarkably little. Duncan realized then how much time they already spent together: movies and museums and dinner and Joe's and chess and just time being in each other's company. Things had changed so little that they hadn't even gotten around to telling Joe yet.

Duncan wanted to wait until he had nailed down just exactly what kind of relationship he and Methos had. And Methos…well the older immortal hadn't mentioned a thing about telling other people in typical paranoid form.

But now that he knew Methos in the biblical sense, Duncan discovered some things that he wanted, needed to understand about his lover.

Oh, their sex life was great. Methos was great in bed as one might expect of someone who has had 5000 years to practice. But despite that, the ancient immortal was oddly distant during sex, emotionally.

Methos seemed uncomfortable receiving pleasure in bed, tense and tight, and always turning the tables to pleasure Duncan instead. The ancient immortal didn't even like being looked at and admired; he was always turning his face away into the pillow, covering himself anytime they weren't actively engaged in sex. And Methos never seemed as distant as he did when Duncan was inside him.

It was Duncan's preference to be on top. It wasn't like he always had to be but Methos brought out oddly protective instincts in him. The ancient immortal could certainly take care of himself but Duncan got the feeling that the old man hadn't often been taken care of in five thousand years. Duncan believed that was why Methos always came to him, always camped out in his living space, stole his beer.

And Duncan enjoyed taking care of his lovers, of Methos, caressing him inside and out. But Methos didn't seem to enjoy it; he seemingly only did it for Duncan, using five thousand years of skill to bring the Highlander to the heights of ecstasy.

Course Methos hadn't seemed to enjoy being on top any more than being on bottom. And either way Methos was oddly quiet. Duncan wouldn't even know that Methos had an orgasm if he didn't feel the wetness.

So Duncan had devised a plan, a game, to introduce a little bdsm into their sex life. Once he had that long lean body tied to the bed, Methos would be forced to give into pleasure, forced to reveal what made the ancient man lose control. It would be good for Methos to relinquish control a little. Things however, did not go as planned.

Duncan had, as a gesture of goodwill, of trust, volunteered to be 'sub' first. These kinds of games were actually the Scot's favorite and he loved to be submissive to a strong male. He wasn't into humiliation or heavy pain or anything but he did like the feeling of being dominated occasionally.

And Methos was good. Duncan tried not to think too much about why Methos was so good at it. He wasn't going to sabotage this relationship by pretending the Horsemen didn't happen, but he wouldn't dwell on it either. And neither would Duncan deny himself something he found exciting just because of the long-forgotten past. Methos was who he was, the past was the past, and it had made Methos the strong fragile conundrum that the Highlander was falling in love with.

So Duncan had thoroughly enjoyed himself. Methos had the most amazing and powerful voice, telling the younger man how beautiful he was as the ancient had undressed him, making him feel cherished.

Then Methos had had Duncan kneel and masturbate in front of the older immortal who was still fully clothed, seated on the couch. Duncan's hands had felt thick and blunt, not at all like the ancient's long thin fingers as they skimmed across his broad chest and down through the wiry black hair to his thick erection. And Methos' voice had instructed him the whole way, telling Duncan exactly where and when and how to touch himself…and praising the younger immortal, always praising him.

And afterwards while Duncan was still shuddering and weak from his orgasm, Methos had actually drawn the Scot over his lap and spanked him with the ancient's open hand. Duncan was half-hard now just thinking about it.

The blows had been just hard enough to sting. Then Duncan had been pushed back onto the bed, and even Duncan's expensive sheets had rubbed against Duncan's still red behind.

Methos had had Duncan prepare himself with lubricant then, Duncan balancing awkwardly on one arm as he pressed the fingers of his other hand inside his opening, Methos' voice encouraging him the whole time. Roughly, Methos had flipped Duncan onto his stomach and then pulled the Highlander up to his knees. The old man had undressed behind him, where Duncan couldn't even see him.

Methos had taken Duncan long and slow, and hard and fast by turns, bringing Duncan to the edge several times before toppling him over into the most incredible orgasm Duncan could ever remember.

Duncan had passed out almost immediately afterward, flinging his exhausted limbs on top of his smaller partner and snuggling close to Methos in bliss.

The next morning he awoke with his nose buried in the back of his lover's neck, the fine hairs there tickling him. He had breathed in deeply, the smell of Methos and sweat and sex. Involuntarily his arms had tightened, waking the old man who had stretched, sensuously rubbing Duncan's morning erection in the process.

Then Methos had turned onto his stomach, spreading his thighs. It was their morning ritual of sorts. Duncan had quickly prepared and mounted his lover, reveling in Methos' warm willing body beneath him. He would swear that the ancient man could control the muscles of the entire passage, not just the sphincter.

Yes, their morning sex was good but it only strengthened Duncan's resolve that something had to be done. Methos had come, the proof had been sticky on Duncan's hand but he had orgasmed silently again. Methos never pushed Duncan for more or harder, always swiveling his hips for Duncan's enjoyment not his own. Methos was almost mechanical about it, panting more with effort than passion.

Oh, Duncan knew that Methos cared about him. He could feel it, the old man wanted to make the younger immortal happy, enjoyed that Duncan enjoyed the sex. But nothing more.

Duncan had turned then onto his back, gathering Methos in his arms so the old man was lying on his chest as Duncan had caught his breath to speak.

"Last night was amazing. I'd love to do it again." Duncan had purred. "I'd love to see you, chained to the bed writhing in pleasure."

Unsurprising to the younger immortal, Methos had stiffened in his arms, but Duncan had just rubbed his hands down the leanly muscled back. Until Methos had rolled away a little so he could look at Duncan.

Methos' eyes were wary, cautious. Duncan had thought that that was actually a good sign. If the old man was wary, it probably meant he was afraid, and Duncan had wanted to help Methos face his fear. Duncan had kept his own face hopeful and hopefully innocent.

"I play a little differently, Duncan."

Duncan's forehead had wrinkled in confusion and so Methos had elaborated. "I'm physically heavy."

Duncan had swallowed once, lifting his hand to trail his fingertips along the ridges of Methos' face. "Whatever makes you happy."

Those beautiful changing eyes had closed at his words, shuttering the ancient's emotions away. Methos only opened them again once Duncan had removed his hands.

"I have some toys I could bring over."

So it was that last night, Duncan had found himself in the dojo, spreading out tarp below a ring in the ceiling. Methos was showering as Duncan prepared.

Duncan had stripped down to black briefs and cautiously approached the duffel bag that Methos had brought.

The first item, he brought out had been a studded paddle. Duncan had smiled at that. The smile had quickly disappeared at the following items however.

The next item had been a whip. Not the cute, playful riding crop type whip that Duncan had. This was a bull whip at least twelve feet in length with a needle like tail. Next there had been a set of wicked looking knives and then a little pointed hammer for breaking bones. At that point, Duncan had considered calling the whole thing off.

But this was for Methos, he had reminded himself. As if conjured by Duncan's thoughts, the ancient immortal had appeared then in the doorway, clad only in a towel riding low on slim hips, his skin still dewy from the shower.

At a motion of Duncan's hand, Methos had begun to move forward, dropping his eyes to the floor immediately. Duncan had stripped the towel from his ancient lover before Methos dropped gracefully to his knees.

His heart beating a little faster, Duncan had fastened a black leather collar around the long elegant neck. The older immortal had appeared this way in many of the Highlander's fantasies and reality was no less stirring. The black had made Methos' skin seem even paler, luminescent, inviting comparisons to porcelain, alabaster, marble statues of Grecian youths.

Methos had, at that moment looked so fragile, so small and defenseless, and yet the man also looked so strong, muscular and undefeated. Duncan had both wanted to coddle the man and to dominate him.

It had been the paddle first. Duncan had Methos bend over with his hands flat on a weight bench.

At the first strike, Methos had grunted. The sound had encouraged Duncan, his next blows landing harder on the muscular buttocks. Except for that noise though, the ancient man had been silent. It was amazing to Duncan that his ministrations had made Methos erect, but the younger immortal had wanted the ancient to cry out, to lose control, to beg Duncan to take him.

So he had moved on. Methos' buttocks were an angry red as Duncan had pulled him over to the tarp by a wrist. All while Duncan bound and secured Methos' wrists over his head, the hazel eyes had stayed on the floor, reminding Duncan of his role in this 'game'.

The lash had fallen cautiously the first time, a long raised red welt appearing on the pale skin, another one forming before the first one was gone. Methos made neither sound nor movement to indicate either pain or encouragement.

Duncan found himself putting more and more of his strength behind the lash. He had wanted some kind of reaction from the ancient immortal, some kind of recognition that Methos wanted, no needed, loved Duncan as much as the Highlander loved Methos.

When the whip first broke Methos' skin, a shudder had run through the length of the older immortal's long, strained body. Duncan couldn't imagine how the man could discern the feel of blood flowing over the heated skin, covered in welts, but he had increased his efforts in response.

He didn't know for how long he had whipped Methos, but soon Duncan had found himself tired, breathing hard and splattered with blood that was not his own. Methos' beautiful back was then a sheet of blood. And still the ancient immortal had made no other movements or sounds.

Duncan couldn't take it anymore. He had unchained the other man, slowing the descent as Methos dropped to the floor. Methos' eyes were distant, not even aware of the other man, it had seemed. Duncan's own erection had died a long time ago, but Methos' cock still laid hard and heavy against the flat belly.

Duncan had swallowed Methos' erection, his only intention to bring the old man off quickly. It had taken a surprisingly long time considering how long Methos had been hard. It was the first time Duncan had brought his lover to orgasm that way. Normally Methos would deflect his attentions, either reversing their positions or rolling over and offering his backside.

Methos had recovered quickly, getting up and making his way back to the showers with surprisingly sure steps. Duncan had watched him go.

Duncan had put the old man's 'toys' back in the bag and then had rolled up the bloody tarp and stuffed it in a trash bag to be bleached at a later time.

He had joined Methos in the dojo's showers then. The ancient had solicitously washed his own blood off of Duncan without a word. And then Methos had backed the Highlander against a tiled wall and dropped to his knees.

Duncan had been surprised that he could become aroused after all that had happened but Methos was good, and perhaps Duncan had wanted to forget, to pretend everything was normal and lose himself in the wet heat of Methos' mouth.

Back upstairs, they had snuggled together in the bed; Duncan pressed firmly against Methos' back, one arm holding the ancient immortal tightly.

Duncan's thoughts had raced but Methos had slept soundly. Course Methos always slept. It must be some survival technique, to sleep whenever he could, in whatever situation. Still Duncan had always been honored that the world's oldest man slept soundly in his presence from the beginning, trusting the Highlander.

No, things had not gone as planned. And this morning, Methos had acted as usual, with nary a word about the previous night's activities. Duncan knew that he would not be able to do that to Methos again. Certainly that was not what Methos needed; the old man had seemed more distant, not less.

And he couldn't help but wonder how Methos had learned that. It was almost physically impossible to maintain an erection through severe pain, the ability something learned over a long time.

Surely Methos was just scared, as Duncan himself was. Afraid of committing to another immortal, of being with a single person perhaps for centuries. Afraid of loving another immortal and expecting centuries, only to have the Game wrench that future away. Afraid of being that vulnerable, of letting another person into every dark corner of his soul and risking rejection.

The phone interrupted Duncan's thoughts.

"MacLeod."

"Mac, is the old man there with you?" It was Joe, the bartender's voice sounding unnerved.

"No, actually he just left." Duncan wondered if the man didn't know more than he left on, after all he was a Watcher,

"Why, what's happened?"

"It's Cassandra…"

"No." Duncan swallowed heavily as the familiar weight of grief at the death of another loved one settled over him. He knew what Joe would say next so he cut the man off. "I have to call him."

Joe was still shouting at him as Duncan ended the call.