FATE'S TEMPTATION 

by

Angelise

Copyright August 1999 

Sequel to One Loss of Heart

The daylight bid its fond farewell to the world as the sun slowly began its descent on the horizon. The light blues deepened quickly as the blazing yellow ball turned orange and then almost red as it continued to drop out of sight. It left a yellow band across the skyline, which was mirrored in the depths of the lake. The yellow transmuted itself into orange as the deep blues above turned to purple. 

A crescent moon emerged as a soft blackness descended over the lake. The wail of a lone owl ushered in the fall of darkness that gently settled upon the solitary island. Nature's nightly performance was witnessed by two who embraced the night, thankful to Life for the gift of one more day shared together. 

Methos breathed in deeply of the moist night air as he gazed across the lake, watching the moon's glow cast a silver reflection over the dark waters. He began to move the wooden rocker in a quiet rhythm, taking care not to waken the young woman he held close to his heart. The light from inside the cabin prevented the encroaching shadows from overtaking the porch; instead it bathed the two figures in a warm protective radiance. 

The Ancient Immortal tenderly brushed away the feather soft bangs that had fallen across Megan's face. He bent his head and whispered a delicate kiss against her lips. The light touch prompted her to seek a deeper contact, tightening her arms around him and burrowing her face further into the warmth of his body. 

Methos lightly stroked his hand over her hair; he mourned the loss of its length. Before the chemo treatments had begun, Megan had elected to have her hair styled in a short cut. 'It's gonna fall out anyway. Why not fall out short?' was her explanation. Even now with only four weeks of treatment given, her beautiful hair was losing the battle with the powerful chemicals that assaulted her body. 

He wearily leaned his head against the rocker's back and closed his eyes, trying to shut out the image of the frail creature he held in his arms. It was indeed a battle Megan was fighting. And she fought valiantly with the undaunting courage of a warrior. Her spirit refused to give up; yet her body was not that strong or brave. It betrayed her heart with each new treatment, surrendering to the overwhelming sickness. He watched helplessly as her body was slowly ravaged by the chemo and radiation regimen inflicted on her in hopes of saving her life. 

Methos opened his eyes and gazed down at Megan, taking in her fragile beauty. His hand, laying tentatively against her breast, sought out the beat of her heart. Its strong rhythm comforted him, easing the tenacious grip of fear on his soul. A ghost of touch caressed her pale cheek; the warmth of her skin invaded his and wrapped itself around the chill in his heart. He was so afraid of losing her, especially now. He had thought her lost forever, gone from his life, never to be found. And now Fate was once again trying her best to snatch this moment of happiness from him. Alexa's death had brought him emotionally to his knees. He would not sacrifice Megan; he refused. He would deny Death's claim on this woman he loved. 

Closing his eyes again, Methos surrendered to the tranquil serenity of the night. He slowed his breathing, demanding that his body relax, to free itself of tension and anxiety. His mind brought forth images of his lover, Duncan MacLeod. He missed his Highlander. He longed to gaze into those deep brown eyes that could sparkle with laughter or darken with brooding. He missed the low baritone that could stir him to desire or anger him beyond tolerance with one word. He ached to be held close to that powerful body. The ghost of a smile spirited across Methos' lips. Hell, he even missed the fighting, verbal and physical. 

Methos groaned softly as long denied desire for his lover engulfed him. They had been apart four weeks with only long distant telephone calls easing the separation. Megan had returned home to Louisiana for medical treatment. When she had finally decided to go through with the chemo, Methos insisted on being there with her. So here they were, living in Megan's hideaway, a cabin she had purchased in the last year. It was her sanctuary, a place to which she could escape, a quiet haven free from the craziness of her music career. 

Unforeseen events had prevented Mac from visiting. First, the dean of his department at the University had been hospitalized with a heart attack and Mac had been asked to temporarily fill the position. Then Anne was called out of the country on a medical relief emergency and the Highlander had agreed to take care of Mary. And to top it all, Joe had come down with pneumonia. Ritchie had offered to take over the responsibility of the bar, but the Watcher wanted Mac to keep an eye on the young immortal, making sure the kid did not get into trouble. 

The two lovers spoke to each other almost every day. But as time passed, the frustration of being apart was becoming increasing difficult to endure. And to be honest, the old man realized he was going through a sexual withdrawal. Even after a year together, Methos was still strongly addicted to the hot, mind-blowing sex he shared with his Highlander. There were days when he could not keep his hands off of Mac. 

Methos shook his head mentally; he missed making love with his Scottish Warrior. And those cold showers he found himself now taking every night were not solving the problem. In fact, just thinking about his lover was causing an unwanted reaction in his lower body. 

Methos shifted in the rocker trying to relieve the sudden tightness of his jeans. His movements, even as subtle as they were, woke Megan. Sleepy eyes soon opened wide as her mind and her body registered the unmistakable change in the body holding her. She laughed softly as she slowly unfolded herself and stood up. 

'I feel that your thoughts are focused on Duncan.' 

The Ancient Immortal reached out a hand and steadied the body that trembled with fatigue. Megan smiled, accepting his support as they made their way inside. He eased her down on the couch before sprawling beside her. 

'I miss him. Gods, do I miss him.' 

Methos rubbed his hands across his face. He knew his body was radiating with sexual tension; he couldn't deny it. Tonight's shower better be damn cold or he would never be able to sleep. 

He grimaced; sleep was a joke. His dreams of the Highlander tortured him nightly. These last few mornings found him exhausted, tangled in the sheets, his body taut with a desire too long denied. He pushed his body deeper into the cushions of the couch trying desperately to relax. Closing his eyes, he allowed a pathetic moan to escape. 

A small graceful hand quietly touched the Ancient Immortal and began to softly stroke his face, his neck. Tender caresses moved down his arms and across his chest. The delicate contact on his body began to soothe and quiet the fine tremors. A sigh buried deep was released as tightly drawn muscles loosened. Warm fingers moved to link with his as lips traced the slender masculine hands. A breath floated across his face, gentling the intensity of his features. 

'I'm so sorry,' Megan whispered in his ear. 

His eyes flew open and he stared into brown eyes full of compassion. 'Sorry? Why are you sorry?' 

She bowed her head, her words almost too low to be heard. 'I'm sorry for taking you away from Duncan.' 

Methos hugged the frail woman to him. 'You have nothing to be sorry for. I am here with you because I want to be. There's no way in hell I'd let you go through this alone.' He settled Megan on his lap and kissed her forehead. 

'And you did not take me away from Mac. He knows how I feel about you and if he could be here himself, he would. So quit brooding about this.' 

He smiled down at her. 'I swear, you and Mac have made brooding a fine art.' 

Megan shifted slightly and the tiny movement caused Methos to suck in a tortured hiss through clenched teeth. He gripped her hips tightly, holding her body still. He took several deep ragged breaths before speaking. 

'Don't move or else I'm going to embarrass the hell out of us both.' 

Megan froze, not even daring to breathe. She could sense how close to the edge her friend was. His face was covered by a fine sheen of perspiration. The comfort and relaxation her touch had afforded him only moments ago had been negated by one innocent move of her body. She felt the trembling of his arms as they tightened around her. Tears filled her eyes as she watched him struggle to regain control over his rebellious body. She hid her face against his throat, knowing he would feel the wetness of her tears. 

'God, Adam. I'm so sorry. You're suffering and its all my fault.' She cried out, her voice betraying the anguish she felt. 

'Damn this disease!' Throwing herself off the couch and away from the arms that reached out to reclaim her, she stumbled to the bedroom, slamming the door with a force that shook the whole room. 

The Ancient Immortal moved quickly to stand in front of the closed door. 'Megan!' He tried the doorknob; not surprised to find it locked. 'Let me in Megan!' 

He could hear her muffled cries and his heart broke. 'Please.' He pressed his ear against the wood, listening. Silence. He looked down at the floor and saw the bedroom light go off. Slamming his fists against the doorjamb, he pushed himself away with barely concealed violence. 

'Damn! Damn, damn, damn.' He moved into his room and flung himself down on the bed. 'Damn it all to hell.' Methos spent the next few moments cursing at Fate in every language he could remember. 

An hour later, a very cold waterlogged but still very much aroused Immortal exited the bathroom. He removed the towel from around his waist and climbed under the sheets. Even the light touch of the cotton linens was almost more than his naked body could tolerate. Methos drew in an agonized breath; he felt so raw, his nerves, his body screaming for release. 

Staring into the darkness, his eyes focused on the far wall and the pictures that hung there. Moonlight fell across certain photos, one of which was of Mac and himself. Megan had caught them asleep on the couch; he in his usual sprawl with Mac stretched out beside him, the younger immortal's head cradled in his lap. Happy contentment evident in their faces. Methos gazed at Mac's image. Dressed only in jeans, the Highlander was pure perfection, broad muscular chest with thick black hair curling down below to his lean waist. 

Methos closed his eyes as if the mere action of shutting out Mac's image would help him drive out the memories of them together. And yet the more he thought about the Highlander, the more aroused he got until his body had him stretched unbearably on the torture rack. 

The Ancient Immortal moved restlessly across the bed, stifling a groan. The desire for Mac had become so intense, Methos found himself struggling to breathe. He cursed out loud and flipped himself over on his stomach. Burying his face in the pillow's softness, he ground his erection deep into the firmness of the mattress. 

Biting down hard on his lower lip, tasting blood, Methos again fought to slow his breathing. Pain radiated from his body as overwhelming desire burned, setting every nerve on fire. All control evaporated when a hand touched him, slowly tracing a warm caress from his neck down his back before turning him over. Eyes closed, his mind exploded with erotic images of his Scottish Warrior as a soothing night breeze cooled his fevered body. 

He whispered into the silence of the night, 'Duncan.' 

Tears fell as Methos opened his eyes and beheld his shadow lover, waiting in the darkness. A promise floated through the quiet, wrapping around his heart, his soul, his body. 

'You are loved. Remember.' 

Trembling hands found him, touched him. A divine fantasy overtook the Ancient Immortal as desire shattered his grip on reality. 'Highlander.' 

As light as a butterfly's wings, a simple touch feathers across my lips, silencing my cries. His warm hand brushes my cheek, tracing the contours of my features before smoothing the ridge of my brow. Firm and gentle, he soothes the straining muscles and tendons of my throat, pressing lightly against the pounding pulse there. I surrender to the heat of those hands as they continue to caress my body. Reaching up, I tangle my hands in his hair, attempting to pull him closer as I seek to capture his lips. A faint 'no' whispers across my closed eyes as my body is pressed firmly down on the bed. I yield to my lover's unspoken request. 

His warm mouth touches me and my body is electrified, arching off the mattress. I grasp his arms tightly, anchoring myself to his strength. A soft moan fractures the absolute quiet, all movement ceasing. Fingers force my hands to release their brutal grip as a ragged breath warms my face. 'No. Please.' Groaning low, I remove my hands, stretching my arms back, violently clenching at the sheets. 

His mouth returns hesitantly to my body. Moist kisses wander across my chest and my throat. Feather light touches of his tongue warm the sensitive area behind my ears. A gentle current of air drifts across my face, cooling the trails of moisture, sensitizing the flesh. Teeth nip at hard muscles, drawing forth sharp exquisite bursts of pleasure. Silky wet heat brushes over a hardened nipple. A lightening quick bite of the tender flesh and I am sobbing, my whole body trembling wildly. 

One hand rebels and reaches up to grasp my lover by the neck. Demanding a physical closeness, I cover his lips with mine in a deep, hungry and stormy exploration of mouths. My hand releases its hold and moves to capture a shoulder, digging hard into the flesh. My hips thrust up into emptiness as I tear my mouth away from his intoxicating kiss and sink my teeth into the tender skin of his neck, biting down cruelly, marking him as my possession. His scream and the painfully sweet ache of my arousal splinters my soul. 

Agony destroys me as he rips his body away; all touch, all warmth gone. The sudden stillness piercing straight through to my heart as my prayer echoes in the darkness, 'Please. Touch me.' 

My plea lies suspended in the heaviness of the night air, the silence magnifying every word. Harsh ragged gasps for air fracture the overpowering quiet that has invaded the room. I open my eyes to total darkness, searching desperately for my lover. A dark shadow moves across the wall, seeking escape from the blackness. Words of anguish sear my throat as I unashamedly beg. 

'Don't leave. I need you.' 

My cry halts all movement. I lean across the bed, stretching out a hand, fingers brushing against a trembling hand which tightens into a fist at my touch. 

'I love you. Please.' 

A firestorm of emotion blazes to life as my body is cradled once more by his warm gentle arms. Combing his fingers through my damp hair, he pulls me forward, soft lips tasting the tears that cover my face. Hands glide slowly over the sensitive skin of my neck and upper chest as he settles my body back on the bed, cushioning my head in his lap. Muscles quiver as his fingers wander across the smooth flatness of my abdomen. Sparkles of desire dance across my skin with each touch. Fingers stroke upward from my stomach to my chest, his nails lightly scoring an aching trail of burning over my flesh. 

The heat of his breath washes across my face as he leans down, the warm velvet of his kiss presses against my forehead. His exploring hands discover my aching nipples and bring them again to instant hardness with slow, maddening strokes. My legs tangle themselves in the sheets as my body frantically seeks release from the exquisite pressure building inside. A tidal wave of sensation crashes over me as his fingers brush whispers of touch along my hips and across the inside of my thighs. A slow teasing assault on my groin area begins as he slides his fingers into the thick mass of curled hair. 

The tranquility of the summer night is broken only by my sobbing, my moaning. Breathing is labored as I strain to remain lucid, to remain afloat in this haze of pleasure that threatens to drown me. I come off the mattress, gasping, as a hand slips between my legs, parting my thighs, reaching for that delicate skin with a feather light caress. My own hand reaches to grasp a bare shoulder, tightening convulsively, nails biting in, scraping, breaking skin. With increasing desperation, my body thrashes back and forth, my hips thrusting helplessly into the air, begging for the one touch that would shatter my world. 

'Please.' 

The answering caress is so fragile, so soft my mind cannot even comprehend the silken touch. My body explodes, launching itself into ecstasy, tumbling me over the edge into a never ending climax. The image of my beloved Highlander burns in my mind as my body struggles with the incessant spasms. A cry that seems to go on for all eternity tears through the silence as overwhelming emotions rack my body with a pleasure so hot and intense, almost painful. Bursts of color and light signal my loss of consciousness. 

Reality returns, only to be welcomed by the quiet embrace of sleep. A warm damp cloth is drawn over my trembling body with exquisite tenderness. Tendrils of pleasure float over my skin as gentle fingers quiet the faint aftershocks that my body still vibrates with. A loving kiss and warm embrace releases me into the waiting arms of slumber. My heart whispers one word as I surrender to the night. 

'Duncan.' 

The morning light of a new day played across the sleeping body of the Ancient Immortal. Warm sunshine filled the room as a mild breeze drifted through the open window. Methos' relaxed and satiated body awoke to the awareness of an immortal presence. Immediate recognition of the signature quickening had the old man smiling, halting the search for his weapon. Slowly stretching his long arms and legs, Methos opened his eyes to behold . . . a very irate and angry Highlander, whose sword was poised to strike a killing blow. 

'Tell me right now why I shouldn't kill you.' 

Methos' mind scrambled to clear itself of the fogginess of sleep. He struggled to get out of bed, only to be defeated by the sheets that were still tangled around his lower body. A callused, unyielding hand grasped him by the neck and threw him roughly back down on the bed. 

'Tell me you didn't . . .' The sword's point returned, this time piercing the skin over his heart. 

'MacLeod!' The Ancient Immortal screamed out loud, staring with disbelief at the trail of blood seeping down across his chest. 'What the fuck . . .' 

The Highlander's face hardened as he gazed down at the confused immortal. His hand moved, the sword cutting a second time into the pale flesh of his lover. 

'You heartless, selfish bastard. You don't even know what you've done.' Mac jerked open drawers, digging out clothes and throwing them at Methos. 'Get dressed. Now.' He left the stunned immortal still staring blankly at the wounds on his chest. 

Methos dressed quickly; his mind working at light speed, trying to figure out what was wrong with Mac. His violent behavior absolutely stunned the Ancient Immortal. What was it that he had done to cause such furious rage in his friend? 

For one split second, Methos considered taking his sword with him as he slowly opened the door. Cautiously, he left his bedroom and made his way into the living room. The front door had been left open; Mac stood on the steps, his sword still gripped tightly in his right hand. Methos silently walked across the porch to stand on the top step, gazing down at his lover, totally bewildered. He reached out a hand, needing to make contact with the man he loved. The Highlander's sword, its sharp edge poised inches away from Methos' neck, forestalled all gestures of welcome. 

Methos stared at Mac, incensed. 'That's the second time you've raised your sword against me with no explanation. Be careful MacLeod.' 

With surprising swiftness he seized the hilt of the katana, twisting the sword arm behind the Highlander's back. Tightening his grip on Mac's hand, he forced him to release the weapon. Crushing his lover's body to him, Methos' rage erupted as he shattered Mac with a devastatingly brutal kiss. 

Four very long weeks of repressed sexual hunger dominated the furious mating of lips, tongues, teeth. Methos demanded access of the Highlander's mouth, his own tongue thrusting in and hungrily tasting of that dark, wet, warm cavern. Hazel eyes darkened with a wildness as the Ancient Immortal devoured the very essence of his lover. Struggling for air, Mac could not escape the relentless power of need that emanated from Methos. The kiss became savage as both men fought to posses the other, a battle of dominance for the body and soul. 

Methos heard his lover moan and then gasp as he bit down hard on the Highlander's lower lip. The hot metallic taste of copper flooded his senses as Mac's blood washed across his tongue. Continuing in his attack on his lover, Methos released his hold on the younger man's lips only to move down, capturing the tender flesh of his throat, tearing at the skin with his teeth. The merciless grip on Mac's shoulders halted all struggles by the Highlander as he fought to escape the torturous embrace of teeth and hands. 

A loud enraged cry tore through the silence of the early morning. 'No!' 

With a formidable effort, Mac summoned all his strength to overpower the Ancient Immortal. Breaking free, the Highlander threw Methos to the ground and held him there with his knee planted firmly on the old man's upper body. His own chest heaving with the physical effort of restoring oxygen to his lungs, Mac seized Methos' wrists and forced his arms back over his head. Blood from his neck wound dripped, splattering across the face of his lover. The Highlander tightened his grip on Methos' arms, knowing he was intentionally hurting the man. It felt good to share the pain and torment he, himself, was having to endure. He still could not believe what he had found this morning when he arrived. 

Disgusted, Mac wearily stumbled away from the Ancient Immortal, reaching out to reclaim his weapon. Turning away, he stood silently as Methos pushed himself up to a sitting position. 

Methos stood, wiping the blood from his face. 'What the hell is wrong?' 

After several moments of silence, Mac turned and faced his lover, his hand still tightly wrapped around the hilt of his sword. 'Maybe that's a question you should be asking her.' He pointed to the outcropping of rocks further down the shoreline. 

Methos shaded his eyes from the sun, looking in the direction the Highlander had indicated. He could see a solitary figure curled up against one of the larger boulders. Megan. A shadow of foreboding whispered over his heart as made his way down to where she was. As he approached, Megan moved, lifting her face to the warming rays of the sun. The shawl she wore slipped, revealing a bare shoulder. A low shuddering sigh broke the quiet that surrounded her. 

Horrifying shock assaulted the Ancient Immortal, halting the rhythm of his heart. He stood there, frozen in place, struggling to breathe, fighting to remain conscious. His brain registered the image before him, burning it forever into his memory. Yet, his mind refused to acknowledge the brutal physical evidence of his violent passion. 

Megan's fragile pale skin was marred by livid bruises. The specter of a man's handprint was visible on the delicate flesh of her upper arm. Angry crimson abrasions on her shoulder and upper back branded the area where fingernails had clawed the tender skin raw. 

Hazel eyes blackened with shame when they caught sight of her neck. The savagery of that mark caused the immortal to lurch away with humiliation. After a few feet, Methos dropped to his knees in agony, closing his eyes. The light of the sun had emphasized the brutality of the wound and surrounding bruised flesh, the indentations of his teeth still visible. A tiny trail of blood had dried on the skin, a scarlet stain against the whiteness, a tainting of her innocent trust in him and his love. 

A long shadow fell over him as he knelt in the sand, his soul silently crying out with pain and sorrow. Methos sadly gazed up at Mac, noting his cold, harsh features. His eyes fell upon the blade of the katana, its edge brilliant in the bright sunlight. The Ancient Immortal surrendered, bowing his head. Tears of remorse fell upon the dry sand, as whispered words fractured the stillness of the day. 

'Cut true and swift, Highlander.' 

Silently, Mac stood still for several long moments, gazing sadly at his lover. Once again Fate had decided it was time for a solemn test of their love and their commitment. Would this goddess of destiny continue to include Megan in her schemes, constantly tempting the young woman's heart and love for the two immortals? 

Looking up, Mac stood witness as a solitary hawk floated effortlessly across the deep blue sky. He watched the graceful power of the bird as he began taking deep cleansing breaths, centering his spirit and quieting the torment of his heart. With exceptional care he placed the blade of his sword gently against the Ancient Immortal's neck, its sharp edge barely touching the skin. He closed his eyes and allowed the serenity of the waves quietly rippling over the shore to soothe his wounded soul. 

Methos remained on his knees before his lover, before the gods. How could he even begin to ask for forgiveness from the two people he cherished the most? A sincere prayer was offered up by the Ancient Immortal as he reached to grasp the blade at his neck. 

Please. I need these two in my life. I love them. Don't let this one moment of madness ruin everything. 

A small delicate hand covered his where it lay on the sword. A second later, a larger broader hand shielded both as the weapon was removed. The older immortal sobbed with relief as his body was enfolded into the arms of his lovers. Methos opened his eyes and gazed at the two sets of dark brown eyes that were focused on him. 

Holding the Highlander's hand tightly, he gathered Megan close, tenderly touching her neck. 'I am so sorry. You know I would never intentionally hurt you. I did not realize it was you last night. I thought I was dreaming. Why did you do it?' 

Megan covered the immortals' hands with her own, before answering. 'Your love for Duncan is so great and I know what a strain this separation has put on the two of you.' 

She placed a delicate kiss across their joined hands. 'You were hurting, Adam. I couldn't stand watching you suffer. I had to do something.' She touched her neck. 'This will heal and these bruises will fade. A small price to pay to help ease your pain.' 

Jealousy pierced deeply into the Highlander's heart as he listened to the conversation between Methos and Megan. Mac separated himself from the hold the Ancient Immortal had on him and moved to stand at the water's edge. His words drifted back to them, accusatory. 'You touched him. You made love with him.'' 

Megan stood, leaving Methos, to join the Highlander, wrapping her arms around his waist. Sensing the unleashed anger in his body, she leaned her head against his back and spoke quietly. 

'I'm sorry. I was wrong to touch him so intimately. But Duncan, I love him so much. You just can't understand how difficult this is for me. Having him so close and not being able to hold him, to touch him, to love him.' 

The Highlander remained silent, staring across the lake. Megan moved to stand in front of the immortal. Taking his head in her hands, she forced him to look at her. Megan searched those deep dark eyes for several moments before softly kissing him on the cheek. Wounded emotion darkened his features as he wrenched himself away from her gentle offering of comfort. 

'I'm so sorry. Please forgive me.' 

Sadly, Megan broke away, wading into the shallow water. ' Duncan, I'm trying to deal with this the best I can. But it's really hard. And I'd be lying if I said I wasn't tempted.' 

She stared up at the sky, watching the clouds float across the sun. 'Don't let me come between you. I would never forgive myself if I caused the two of you to break up.' Megan wiped away the tears that threatened to fall. 

The Highlander moved to stand behind Megan, closely watching the frail young woman. His eyes clouded with pain as he watched Methos pass by him, surrounding her with a gentle hug. 

Damn, there he goes again, choosing her over me. 

'I'm afraid that your continued presence in our lives will only bring heartbreak, not just to us but to you also.' 

Mac's words, though tinged with bitterness, were spoken with honesty and sincerity. 'When I saw you this morning, bearing the marks of his passion, my anger and jealousy overwhelmed me. I felt betrayed. Betrayed by him and by you.' The younger immortal felt his lover's eyes on him. The Highlander returned the gaze, stonily, daring the Ancient Immortal to speak. 

Megan started to cry. 'I'm sorry. I'm so very sorry. I never meant to hurt you.' 

'But you have hurt me. You say you understand Adam's commitment to me. Yet here again you've come between us.' Mac shoved Methos away from Megan. Gripping her arms tightly, heedless of the bruises and the pain he was causing, Mac forced the young woman to stand and face him. 

'Dammit Megan. I came here to offer you my support and to be with him, my lover. And what do I find when I arrive? The two of you together in bed!' The Highlander's voice became increasingly louder with each word. 

Tears evaporated and brown eyes flashed as Megan's anger began to smolder. 'Damn you. I said I was sorry. What else the hell do you want from me, Duncan?' 

Scottish wrath erupted; the pain and betrayal could no longer be contained in the Highlander's heart. He flung Megan against the silent Methos, toppling both of them to the ground. His sword flashed out; the weapon dangerously threatening, poised to strike. Poised to wound those that had the power to destroy his world, his soul. 

'WHAT THE FUCKING HELL DO I WANT?' 

His question exploded into the morning's peaceful tranquility as his words shattered the fragile friendship between mortal and immortal. 'I want you out of our lives! I will not spend the rest of my life competing with the ghost of your past love.' 

Mac's eyes filled with tears as he watched the protective embrace Methos sheltered Megan in. His sword arm trembled; the katana weighted by the overwhelming heaviness of his heart. Yet the blade remained raised, its point now aimed at the Ancient Immortal. 

'You son of a bitch. You've been playing with our feelings, with our love for you. Do you realize the torment you're putting us through? Do you even care?' 

Exhausted, the Highlander lowered his sword, the blade falling desolately to the sand as he surrendered his heart to the crushing pain. 'Aye, Methos? In your 5000 years of existence, have you ever truly cared about anyone but yourself?' 

Hesitating for several seconds, Mac turned his back on his lover and his friend, walking away; a silent, solitary immortal; struggling against the misery that threatened to consume his very soul. 

Methos stood, pulling Megan up with him. Hugging her close for a brief minute, he allowed her love to infuse its warmth into him, melting the icy grip of fear that had seized his heart upon hearing the Highlander's words. His Scottish Warrior had been utterly defeated not by a mighty opponent but by his lover's own damn selfishness. 

MacLeod was right, Methos thought; I want both my lovers in my life no matter what hurt and pain this may cause them. Yes, I want them both . . . but I need him more. He is my life; my very existence depends on him. I cannot survive without him; I don't want to survive without him. Methos knew he could not endure eternity without his Highlander's love. Living alone would be an aching emptiness his soul would never recover from. 

'Adam?' 

Methos tore his gaze away from the sight of his departing lover and looked down at Megan. Her face was wet with tears; her eyes shadowed with sorrow and confusion. The immortal pressed a gentle kiss to her forehead before releasing her. 

A ragged sob tore through Methos when he bent to pick up the fallen sword. Lying discarded and abandoned on the blade was Mac's ring. The Ancient Immortal fell to his knees as a devastating agony ripped through his body. The ring that had symbolized their love and commitment to one another had been forsaken, left behind, cruelly taunting the older immortal. 

A silent cry echoed in the stillness of his soul. Duncan! No! 

Megan knelt at his side, careful not to touch him, sensing the brittle hold the immortal had on his emotions. She watched as Adam clenched the ring in his hands, lifting it to his heart. Tears fell unheeded down his cheeks as he rocked back and forth, whispering his lover's name over and over. Adam's pain and torment at Duncan's leaving sealed her fate. She knew they would never be more than friends. 

A mournful sigh escaped her as she stood and moved away, in distance and in spirit, from the man who had once been her true love, her life. Megan prayed for heavenly guidance. Please God, give me the strength to let him go. 

'Adam.' The immortal opened his eyes, their hazel depths darkened with grief and loss. 

'Go to him. Now.' 

Staggering to his feet, Methos searched the shoreline for his lover. He took a few steps forward before hesitating, unwilling to forsake Megan to a future without his love. 

'Megan?' His voice halted her leaving. He watched as she turned back to him, keeping her head down, hiding her face from him. 'I love him. I'm nothing without him.' 

Inhaling deeply, Megan gazed out at the lake, watching as a sailboat drifted across the waves. 'I know.' She moved to leave. 

'Megan?' The loving heart of his past reached out to her. 

Her words floated back to him. 'You are loved. Remember.' 

Methos stood there, watching as she disappeared from sight. He again cursed Fate and his damn past for the pain and suffering inflicted on those he loved. Glancing down at the ring he still gripped tightly in his hand, Methos reigned in his emotions and went to do battle with a very stubborn and hurt Highlander. 

This time, the Ancient Immortal would be the one to surrender all-his love, his life, his soul. This time there would be no hiding, no running, no quitting. This time he would abandoned all his fears, all his insecurities and all his doubts. 

This time . . . Methos would love . . . eternal. 

Never the end. Only the beginning . . . of forever.

Continued in Snowfall in the Desert

Comments? angelise7@hotmail.com