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Slash and Yaoi Fiction
Title: Blind Date
Author: Juxian Tang
Fandom: Highlander
Pairing: Methos/Kronos
Rating: NC-17
Status: complete
Archive: yes
Feedback: juxiantang@hotmail.com
URL: http://juxian.slashcity.net
Disclaimer: No infringement of copyright is intended.
Warning: rape, mistreatment
Summary: Methos Roman officer meets Kronos who didn't change his old ways.
Timing: set about 200-250 AD


The ground was grey and hard as stone, with rare patches of last year grass, withered and clotted. He moved his eyes up and the sky was grey, too, dull shade-less color, the clouds thick and swollen with forthcoming rain. Or snow, he thought, it was cold enough to start snowing. He wrapped the fur cloak tighter around himself. He was chilled after washing but it felt good to change his bloodied sweaty clothes to the fresh ones.

Sounds and smells of the camp rolled on him in waves - the usual constant murmur and sharp astringent smell of a big assembly of people, smoke of burning fires, damp moldy wood. He didn't want to smell it; he stood on the precipice above the river hoping that its cool sobering breath would reach him - but it didn't, brought away with the wind. The rippled yellow-grey water was laced with white foam but the splash far under his feet was so soft and messy that he could barely discern it.

Bleak. He might have wanted to go to his tent - and there would be a charcoal full of red glowing embers in it, warmth and privacy. He would write the dispatch - he knew he had to do it, anyway - and it was not that he had nothing to report. The day was a successful one; another band of barbarians scattered to dust. They had wiped off most of them and those few who stayed alive had to die badly enough to serve an example for other enemies of the mighty Rome. Maybe, cold will be merciful for them, he thought, and they will not last till the morning.

He knew the governor expected the news. The guy would be pleased with him - as usually. Not that it would mean any award - most likely just an order to advance farther to the North. The Empire was insatiable in expanding its borders; it already claimed more than it could handle. He was not going to question the reasonability of the orders, however, the same as he was not going to expect the appreciation of his achievements. He just didn't care.

Couldn't make himself care. He recognized too well this numb indifference that had been seizing him for a few last years. He wished he could do anything about it; he would hate it if hatred were not too strong a feeling for him now. He would welcome hatred - or fear - or even despair. But he had enough experience to know that it wouldn't end up this easy. The veil of grey would cover his mind slowly and thickly - just like this sky was covered with the clouds with no gleam left. Then something would snap in his mind - and he would lose it all in all, for years and years, until he would come back to himself, somewhere on the other end of the world, having nothing in his memory to write in his diary about this time.

Not that it would be such a bad thing - to lose some of this time when there is so much of it.

You are pathetic, a voice whispered to him softly - quiet, ironic voice, cold regardless what it was saying - that lodged somewhere inside him since about the time when he realized the approaching numbness. He admitted what the voice said with a little nod and a short crooked smile appeared on his lips. He tucked his chin in the soft fur collar of his cloak. A blow of wind, especially sharp, pushed him in his back aggressively, driving him to the verge of the cliff and he braced himself against it, hunching his shoulders.

If it is going to be the North, his people might start grumbling, Methos thought distantly. Spring delayed this year, even for this land. He had been there before, he was not sure when - but he remembered it could have its sunny days, too, the shrunken grass jolly-green and small bright flowers, white and red, spattered everywhere.

For now all red he had seen lately was blood. The lifeless bodies laying the ground, grey clumsy shapes that seemed to have nothing to do with the swift, angry people that clashed their weapons in the battle.

What a waste, he thought half-heartedly. But the truth was that dead or alive, his people or the enemies - he felt almost nothing. Soon it would be nothing at all. He balanced on the edge of the cliff, small pebbles rattling down from under his feet until the water absorbed them with tiny splashes. He wouldn't have to make even half a step, he knew.

Only it won't kill you, the voice informed him.

I know.

Once the day would come when he didn't care about it or forgot about it - and then he wouldn't stop. But not yet.

I am not mad enough yet.

Methos' fingers buried in the warm silky fur, tugging the cloak closer around himself as he stepped away from the edge and turned around to face a young man coming up from the campsite.

Cassius, his right hand man. Fervent, smart, deferential and knowing very well on which side his bread was buttered.

He stopped in a few steps from Methos and reported, slightly out of breath:

"It is about the leader of the band. He..."

"I thought he was dead," he interrupted, a feeling of foreboding descending on him even before Cassius continued.

"He had been, Centurion. Aper stabbed him right through his heart. But afterwards he went to retrieve his sword and the man came round. He revived, I mean."

Oh no. Not that! His face had rippled in annoyance before he could control it. It was not that; he people must have been mistaken.

"He killed Aper," Cassius continued, every word sledge-hammering the little hope that was left; no, not hope - but unreasonable want. "Our men turned out to be near, so, they finished him off again."

"So what? Did he?.."

"Oh yes, he did."

There was some special scrutiny in Cassius' eyes and Methos thought he could guess its reason. The young man was the one who had chanced to see him get a spear in his side in one of the fights. It hadn't been a mortal wound and there'd been nothing he could do; so, he'd just let it go and hoped the young man would simply think he'd been mistaken. Whatever Cassius did think, he never discussed it - but since then Methos felt his wistful eyes on himself quite often.

Smart. Too smart for his own good, wasn't he?

"We tied him to the posts," Cassius said, "but it is difficult to keep him like this. He manages to pull his hands through the ropes."

Right. Broken bones or dislocated thumbs wouldn't stop him. Methos felt sick with irritation. Why did it have to be such a nuisance? An Immortal; exactly what lacked to make his day.

Not that it had been a total surprise for him, he had to admit. Once during the fight he had felt this unsteady shallow noise in his head indicating the closeness of another one - but it was gone in a moment and he preferred to forget it almost instantly.

It had been years since he had met the one of his kind. And the truth was he had no desire to meet them. One might think an Immortal would be deft enough to slink away from among dead, he thought petulantly. He knew it didn't always come off like this, of course; there were times when he didn't manage to do it, too.

Well, he just would have to deal with this problem, he resolved with a sigh.

"Let's see this quirk of nature," he smiled faintly, following Cassius to the camp.

Most of his people had to be in the tents now, due to cold - or around the rippled fires, the flame flattened to the ground by the wind. There were pots on some of the hearths, the smell of broth, whether it was edible or not, making him feel dizzy. They walked along Via Praetoria to the headquarters - and he only sighed when the buzz flooded him.

As if he could ever doubt it would be like this. He came out to the clear place - and at the next moment his heart missed a beat.

He didn't gasp, didn't make a sound - but it was only because his breath failed him. His mind didn't let him down, however. He stepped back abruptly, getting behind the tent, putting a barrier between himself and what he saw.

It was just a glimpse he had. A kneeling man, his arms stretched wide and tied to the wooden posts. Even in this position there was one of the soldiers having his dagger at the man's throat - and another one holding the captive's head down by his hair as he struggled wildly against his bonds. It was this grip that prevented him from seeing Methos - and Methos felt thankful for the man's wildness that made it necessary.

He had to feel the buzz, however - the same well as Methos felt it - and the thought of the man's frustration - another one approaching, his inability to defend himself - was a creepy one, despite everything. Despite what Methos feel about him.

His heart was a caged bird knocking against his ribs - and for once he felt the freezy air was too stiff to breathe. He stood with his back pressed to the flimsy wall of the tent, knowing that Cassius eyed him in bewilderment and incomprehension and still unable to do anything.

Damn it! Damn it, brother, why does it have to be you?!

He exhaled slowly as if his body needed to be reminded how to perform its simplest tasks and unhooked his whitened fingers from the collar of the cloak.


He had to think; he had to find the way out. If only there were no this frightening numbness in his mind, this emptiness that ground him into complete disability.

Kronos. He shook his head. He wished he could do away with it by simple negation; he wished he could pray to gods to make it never happen. But the thing was that it had already happened - and no god could unmake it.

The world was too small for them two never to meet again, wasn't it?

He felt like falling when he raised his eyes on Cassius at last - and his voice was a mere rustle - but at least it was something, it was better than nothing:

"Kill him."

"But he..." he knew what Cassius meant - what's the point if he would heal - and he repeated more stressfully:

"Kill him. Stab him, break his neck, whatever. I want him dead for now."

This time Cassius nodded. He must have thought the Centurion wanted to see the miracle of revival himself. A few moments passed before Methos heard a short furious cry and when it stopped short, he knew his bidding was done. Then he came from behind the tent.

His people's chapped faces were grim as they watched him approaching - but at the same time there was some relief in their gazes. They had to be mystified with what they had on their hands - and they had a faint hope that, maybe, he would tell them what to do with it.

Pity to disappoint them, he thought caustically, coming up slowly to the limp body hanging on its wrists. The dagger was still thrust in Kronos' chest, hilt deep, and he saw a long trace of blood soaked into Kronos' barbaric clothes.

There were other marks on him, too, not healed completely yet.

"We tried to burn him," one of the soldiers explained with a shrug. "He heals it, too. Everything."

He saw with his peripheral sight that Cassius nodded grimly. He didn't look at him, however; he felt unable to look away from the man's dead body between the posts. Kronos still had his hair long, he thought with a sparkle of amazement. His face was clean-shaven enough - and there was no war paint on it; the scar was the only line marking it. There was blood on his face, too, a few trickles from his nose and mouth, coagulating quickly.

He felt such a fit of rage suddenly as he thought he was not able to feel any more. He wanted to hit this face, to make Kronos bleed again, to make him unrecognizable. To make his eyes swollen shut so that he wouldn't have to look in them when Kronos would come back.

"He does stay dead when the dagger is in him," somebody noticed. "For how long?"

Depends on the surroundings, his mind voice answered - but not aloud, of course. For as long as it would take for it to come out itself. But even it would be enough if he started running away now, putting as much distance between them as possible.


Yes I am, he answered the voice. There is nothing else I can do.

But, maybe, there is something.

"How about breaking his arms?" Cassius asked thoughtfully. "It will disable him enough so that we can interrogate him."

No, it was not that. He shook his head and at the next moment a tart whiff reached him. The fire - the boiling pot on it - black thick liquid. Resin. For torches and for tonight executions; a brief image of terrifying death flickered in front of his eyes. It would kill any man. But it wouldn't kill Kronos.

Or, at least, he would come back.

He turned to his people abruptly, his voice halting but clear enough:

"Cover his eyes with resin."

For a moment there was silence among them - and he continued evenly:

"He won't be much of a threat when blind. Then you interrogate him," he added to Cassius.

The young man's intent gaze lit up suddenly, as if some revelation descended on him.

"So, it is his eyes," he muttered and Methos felt almost hysterical laughter boiling inside him. Yes, his eyes. No, it's not what you think it is, Cassius.

He turned around and walked away, seeing briefly how someone pulled the knife from Kronos' chest. They might have wanted to do it while he still was dead - but they didn't, apparently. He was out of sight but not out of reach of the buzz when he felt it changing, indicating that Kronos was back. Suddenly he heard the man's voice, harsh, furious, taking him over on his way:

"Where are you? I want to see you!"

He shivered so badly that it made him sway. A moment later he understood Kronos didn't mean him - he just addressed an Immortal that had to be around. And at the next moment he heard a scream, so horrible that for a moment his heart stopped - and he stood stone still for a little while, waiting for it to repeat or he didn't know what for. The scream was the only one - Kronos had to be dead again.

For now.

* * *

Signing his name in the bottom of the dispatch, Methos folded the paper carefully and dripped some wax on it. He stamped it with his signet ring - and then his hands lay tiredly on the camping table as if the meagre effort he needed to write the letter exhausted him. He closed his eyes briefly but opened them almost at once; the darkness that surrounded him made him feel sick.

The messenger waited outside his tent and he wrapped himself in the cloak even for a brief coming out. The man nodded shortly, accepting the letter, and walked away without another word, leaving him to stand at the tent alone. This one was fast; as if it mattered whether the governor would receive it tomorrow or in two days.

Grey evening was thickening around him; the edge of the cliff was almost imperceptible in dusk while the camp around was lit brightly with sick orange flames. He stood listening to the dull cacophony of noises coming everywhere. The best part of the soldiers were dead drunk by now; well, they could have it, they were the victors, after all.

A while ago, still at the broad light, Cassius had come to him to tell that the interrogation had given nothing. He hadn't expected it to. They were going to find out from Kronos whether there were other groups of barbarians around there - and he was pretty sure Kronos wouldn't give them the pleasure of confirming or negating the information they had.

Not out of loyalty to his possible accomplices; rather out of spite.

He knew his brother enough, didn't he? Cassius continued to hover around after finishing the report, his eyes expectant on Methos as if he wanted to ask something. He felt unreasonably exasperated.


"Shall we continue, sir? What shall we do with him?"

So, you didn't figure it out yet, he thought scornfully. I would suppose you did, taking into account all these sounds you had made my brother make. He let his anger out, unable and unwilling to fight it.

"Why do you ask me? Do you think I have all the answers? Do with him whatever you want. Tell them to do whatever they want."

He dropped on his back on the bedding, after Cassius had left, and rocked slightly until he felt physically sick. He was pressing his fingers to his ears violently, trying to hear nothing but the roaring against his eardrums. He did hear, of course. All these sounds of the camp, they seeped through everything - the voices, the screams, the laughter. It was driving him mad. He wished he could cover his eyes and nose, too, to get rid of seeing and smelling - but it was impossible.

The camp was around him. It was inside him - and even being deaf and blind wouldn't help him.

Blind. All of a sudden he felt his mouth fill with bile - and he had to come out to spit it and to wash his mouth. What? Can't you handle what you paid for, he scolded himself.

He could. The thing was that he could - and, maybe, it was what scared him most of all.

It was Kronos' fault, he thought passionately. Couldn't his brother find anything better for two hundred years than to follow the old ways? After all, he, Methos, did change.

On the other side but doing the same, he heard a voice in his head suddenly - and now it was not his own, the one he got almost used to. This one was bright and malicious and full of jolly wildness and he even didn't need to recognize it. He knew whose it was.

After all, it had never left him for long enough.

No, brother, not the same. Cleaning the world from the riff-raff like you. Because that's what you are, Kronos, he mocked desperately, if you can't think of anything else but knocking together a bunch of dirty Huns to ravage unprotected villages? Is coming like plague over them and leaving them dull and empty everything that makes you happy?

Come on, Methos, since when you care a shit about unprotected villages?

This time Methos even couldn't say whether it was his brother's voice or his own. He hit his fist on the bedding in an outburst of rage, overturning the candle - and only this drew him out of his folly state, making him pat the spreading flame with his bare hands.

Your burns heal, too, he thought bitterly, looking at his blistered palms becoming smooth and pale-pink again. If your soldiers could see it.

But this little activity played a positive role for him. At least he had found enough will to sit up and write the stupid dispatch to the stupid governor. He never liked the guy; well, to be honest, the governor never liked Methos, too.

And who likes you?

"Shh," he whispered to the voice aloud.

Twilight became navy-blue for the time he stood outside the tent, huddling in the cloak. The night was almost there. The camp was still alive, its activities in full swing but in the best case nobody would bother him till the morning, he knew. He could go back to his tent, dig into the fur covers and stay there, surrounded by the darkness. He could even tie a black silk band over his eyes if he wanted.

He laughed - dryly, almost insanely - and covered his mouth with his hand to shush it. Not funny any more.

He had to see it, he thought soberly. Wasn't it the reason why he thought it of, after all? So that he could come and see. He started walking slowly towards the center of the camp and for once his fingers didn't clasp the cloak feverishly; he barely felt cold any more.

The buzz reached him expectedly but this time it didn't make him slow down. He knew he had nothing to be afraid of, didn't he?

The place in front of the headquarters was lit brightly enough and the shadows of the people were long and black, dancing on the ground and on the slanting walls of the tents. He was not surprised to see what was happening there; a by-line of any wartime - he had seen enough of it before, had been on both ends of it.

It was Kronos' face that shocked him stiff. Methos was the one whose bright idea was - but it turned out suddenly that he had no notion how it would look like. Now he did. Resin that had been liquid when it had been poured, thickened and dried now, becoming a hard layer of black over Kronos' eyes. It was a mask - a wide black mask eating into his eye-sockets and over his temples, over the bridge of his nose, hiding almost all the scar under its glistening surface. It made Kronos' face barely recognizable, looking so strange that Methos couldn't find the right word for it.

Ugly... no, it was not ugly. But it made him look inhuman - like a creature from the nether world, maybe.

Is it what I seem to you, brother?

They still had Kronos spread between the posts and Methos could see that the ropes around the man's raw swollen wrists became dark-red, soaked with blood. There was one of the soldiers kneeling behind Kronos, thrusting his hips forward, murmuring something under his nose in cadence with his movements, part of his words curses, part - unbelievably but understandably - endearments.

Methos had known it would turn out this way. Interrogation, especially in its violent variation, usually made them horny. Not that it was only about sex, of course; Kronos must have pissed them off enough, after all.

The man who was fucking him groaned deeply, approaching his orgasm - but it was not the pain of a battering cock that made Kronos thrash anxiously in his bonds. He couldn't see but the way he turned his head was as if he still hoped to see - or couldn't stop himself from it.

Suddenly Methos understood it. His own buzz had died away as soon as he had seen Kronos - but for the man it never stopped. A constant tormenting presence in his head, warning him about the other one even though he was totally unable to do anything about it.

He felt his heart sinking softly. He hadn't thought about it when he had done it to Kronos. At this moment the man's bloodied, disfigured face distorted in a grimace of despair that could be recognized even under the coating of black. Kronos tossed his head back and let out a growl that had nothing to do with physical pain he had to feel.

"Centurion," suddenly he was noticed. The soldier froze, already in the throes of his orgasm, pumping his seed up to Kronos' ass - and then he got up as quickly as he could, flushing deeply, tucking his spent cock in.

They must have thought he would disapprove it. He didn't and he wouldn't. He used to be philosophical about the abuse of captives. Better them than some innocent peasant girl. He almost spoke up comforting them - and bit his lip in the last moment. Voice! His voice would give him away - and what would his careful arrangements be worth then? He waved his hand slightly.

How do you like it, brother - to be... on receiving end, he thought maliciously when another man entered Kronos' ass. Gloating was like a dark wave washing him. Yeah, that was the position he had never seen Kronos in before. His brother's teeth were bare and he was breathing hard with his mouth, sharp shuddering intakes with every violent thrust of the man that fucked him.

Methos could imagine how it felt without straining his mind. He had known it - he didn't remember the place or the time but the memories were clear enough. Only a few first man to make any difference in sensations; then just constant, agonizing burning, every thrust like a flash of pain slicing through, blood and sperm not soothing it any more.

He could remember how his own body had twitched the same way as Kronos' did now - small involuntary movements as it tried to escape the pain. He knew that the man even didn't realize how wet and sob-like his breath was, still less could stop it.

Kronos stopped turning his head from side to side, probably resigned - or, rather, exhausted. He didn't look up even when a shrilling scream reached them from where his accomplices were put to death.

He was lucky enough he was not dying, wasn't he?

In an unexpected seizure of feverish jealousy Methos suddenly wondered if Kronos cared for any of these mortals so much as he cared for his brothers once.

And you, Methos?

No, I don't. For a mortal or an Immortal. For so long. It was so undeniable that there was no shame in admitting it.

It spares you disappointment, doesn't it, brother?

Kronos' voice in his mind was steady, amused slightly - but in reality it wouldn't sound like this. They ceased fucking him for a while now - for the sake of more brutal entertainment. He listened to Kronos' screams in a half-dazed state, not sure for a moment what was real. But, of course, he knew what was real. Kronos' shrieks of pain - and the smell of burning flesh and the flame hissing angrily as the torch was brought to the man's chest.

"Fuck him, fuck him with it!" Methos heard a voice of one of his soldiers and the exultation of it made him wince the same as the deliberate cruelty of the idea.

Who's speaking about cruel, brother?

Kronos was dead at the moment when his voice sounded in Methos' head. This thing did kill him - he arched away from the smoldering wood that entered him and his scream was ragged, choking quickly. But then he stopped convulsing and his head flopped down as he hanged limply on his broken wrists.

Methos saw the dark patch of soaked ground between Kronos' knees and knew what it was. The man's bladder let him down. He thought he might have reveled in this sight, the thought of Kronos losing control so totally could be delightful - only he didn't. He felt so empty instead.

He stayed until Kronos was back, it didn't take so much time, after all. His people kicked the man in the groin and kidneys, trying to elicit more reaction from him. Suddenly he heard Kronos muttering something half-coherently under his breath. Perhaps it was his prayers, he thought, Kronos had his gods to pray, at least when the things got too much for him.

But somehow he knew it was not the names of gods Kronos was repeating to himself.

Then they broke his jaw to be able to fuck his mouth and he couldn't speak any more. Methos turned around and walked back to his tent. The embers still smoldered in the charcoal and it was stiffly, sickly warm inside. He fell face down on the covers and slept.

* * *

It must have been hours since he fell asleep - but the night had still long to go. He sat up in the darkness, listening to the wind that howled thinly outside. It seemed to be the only sound he could hear: the camp passed to rest eventually.

His hands and face were sweaty but his lips felt parched. He groped for the vessel, nearly overturning it. The water was warm and he drank all of it, hunched around the vessel on his lap. Then he tossed his head back and groaned; the same groan of torment as his brother had made when Methos' buzz had haunted him.

Damn you, Kronos, what do you want from me?

Don't ask what I want from you. Ask what you want from me. The reply was cool and friendly, as if nothing had happened, as if nothing had been done to Kronos by his, Methos', will.

Why? Why did it have to befall him? He had put it all behind himself, had been on the run for years to get away from Kronos, from his past.

From yourself, an inescapable voice added almost mildly.

He got on his feet abruptly.

Well, if that's what you want... what I want... He yanked the tent flap away and was startled with the coldness of the night. For a short moment he felt disoriented, the dying fires of the camp were so dim. He walked along the quiet street silently, knowing by the faint sensation as he approached the posts that Kronos was dead.

Here, in the center of the camp, other sounds could be heard. The deep snorting of the soldiers, the restless watch on the fortitude wall - and unceasing groans of crucified Huns. The crosses were erected in the auxiliary part of the camp, near to the latrines. There was no enough wood around, so, only five crosses had been made.

All the crucified were alive; the barbarians had to be more resistant to cold than Romans would be, Methos thought briefly. He hesitated for several moments and then walked towards the crosses, gripping his sword tighter.

They were conscious, knowing what he was going to do - but making no sound as his sword entered their flesh. The blade and even the hilt became slick with blood by the time he finished and he had tried to clean it on the grass before returning for Kronos - but ineffectively. A trickle of blood, already thick and lazy, crawled inside his sleeve when he raised his sword to cut through Kronos' ropes.

It was when one of the soldiers emerged the tent suddenly, his puffy eyes staring at Methos in incomprehension.

"Sleep," Methos ordered firmly. "I take care of it."

He stayed still for a few moments, waiting for the soldier to settle down, and then leant over the pale form of Kronos' body at his feet.

He might have used some help, he thought, hoisting the man over his shoulder. Fuck, brother, why do you need to be so heavy? His walk was unsteady as he reached the tent with his burden - but he did it.

Kronos' body was a strange pattern of shadows and gleaming white in the darkness. Icy cold. He had felt it while carrying him but then he was too busy to pay attention - and now it stunned him with new force. There was the smell, too - coppery tang of blood and sickening one of burnt flesh and more - piss and sperm. His throat contracted: a physical reaction but also the one that went from his mind.

He should have thought about it earlier. He lit up a candle and brought a pot of water; there were longer bits of ropes left around Kronos' wrists and he tied them together, fixing the man's hands in front of him. It was just for him not to hurt himself, he thought.

He dipped a rag in the water and passed it over Kronos' face, washing blood and cum from his mouth. His hand trembled slightly when he had to touch the smooth resin surface and he dealt with it as soon as he could. It was hardly possible to clean Kronos properly, not with the means he had, anyway, but he did his best, his touches over the man's chest and belly light and slow. Kronos' coldness scalded the tips of his fingers.

Methos wondered suddenly why it took so much for him to revive. It didn't, normally. Was it just that his body gave up - or was there something preventing him from reviving?

He started searching carefully and here it was, the wooden edge against his palm. He pulled it, fighting nausea, and it emerged slowly, long and sharp-ended, slick with blood. His nostrils flared in fury, he felt he would gladly stick it into something... someone.

Do you mean yourself? The voice prompted an expected answer but for some reason it didn't sound so obtrusive as before. In fact, Methos could almost believe that this time it was only his sub-consciousness speaking to him. He put the pole away deliberately quietly and wiped the rag over Kronos' torn bruised opening.

The cover was quite soaked by the time he finished and he pulled it away, spreading another under Kronos. What he touched was still cold, devastatingly cold. He pulled the fur over him, tucked it carefully so that only Kronos' head was outside. He stopped for a moment looking at the white and black face against the grey fur.

A thought came to him. He readily discarded his smeared clothes and got under the cover. Kronos' chest was marble-cold and he gasped in shock at first. He made himself stay, however, and after a few minutes it started seeming better. He snuggled against Kronos more conveniently, holding the cover like a tent over them. Kronos' dirty hair was on Methos' forehead, Kronos' rough cheek against his. He reached his hand and ran his fingers over Kronos' pubic hair, still slightly wet. The sensation was so familiar, wispy curls against the tips of his fingers, and he played with them softly, tracing the line of thin down up to Kronos' navel. The man's belly was a hollow, the ribcage high over it. He moved minutely to have his chest over Kronos' shoulder. He knew it so well, these hard muscles under smooth skin, this ultimate closeness. Come on, did these two hundred years really pass?

With a sigh Methos opened his mouth and descended it on Kronos'. The tongue that met his was immobile and he lapped on it as if his touches could elicit some warmth from it. His hand was tweaking the man's nipple absent-mindedly.

You are a lame fuck, Kronos, he thought, but I missed you.

It was when Kronos' body shook violently, indicating his coming back. Coughs racked him painfully as his lungs filled with the air again and Methos parted their mouths, watching as Kronos made a few wild motions. It must have taken some moments before Kronos recalled his position, his blindness, checked his tied hands. Then he stopped moving abruptly, laying prone and perfectly still with Methos leaning over him.

He could sense how stiff the man's body was - and in the flickering light he saw this terribly strained expression on Kronos' face, its complete blankness revealing the panic that was behind it. He knew what it was. Kronos could feel him - could sense him - knew how close he was. Could do nothing. Didn't know what to do.

He nodded shakily to himself. Kronos was stone rigid when Methos ran his fingers over his chest, very lightly, just with mere tips of them, up and down his ribcage, to the collarbones, stroking his neck.

Kronos spoke up, his voice tight and excruciatingly level:

"Who is it? Who is touching me?"

He found himself without breath to answer. The back of his hand was against Kronos' chin and suddenly Kronos' tied hands flew up and gripped his. Groping, squeezing his fingers hard, hurting him. He might break his hand, Methos thought, he had seen Kronos doing it before.

Then suddenly Kronos' voice whispered, so gently:

"Ah... It's you."

Methos felt almost awed - Kronos recognized him like this! The man's rigidity was going away, his body relaxing, and his hands rose to Methos' face, feeling it by touch - not to convince himself once more, Methos thought, but to remind himself how it felt: his lips, nose, trembling eyelids, short-cropped hair.


He clenched his teeth thinking how much Kronos understood at once. But he always had been like that, hadn't he, with his animal-like flair. He was unable to answer. And to eliminate the need to speak, to explain he leant down and covered Kronos' mouth with his again. This time there was response - eager, warm one, hard lips clamping on his possessively. Unmistakably Kronos. The hot mouth devoured his, then moved down, nuzzling over his throat.

He felt swooning. He remembered it so well: Kronos' ways, Kronos' likes, Kronos' caresses. Suddenly he couldn't understand how he had lived for two hundred years without feeling it. It was impossible, he couldn't! He felt so transcended that he had to free himself from the nibbling mouth, settle on his elbow, absorbing Kronos with his eyes.

"What are you doing?" suddenly there was uneasiness in Kronos' voice and he understood it almost at once. He had broken the touch - and when they were not touching, Kronos lost him.

Looking at you, he wanted to answer - but it would be even worse. He kept silent.

Kronos groaned in frustration, touching the resin mask on his face with the back of his palm.

"What have you done to me?" his voice was slightly angered, not pathetic. "It hurts, you know."

It well might - the pressure on his eyeballs could be killing him slowly, mounting until it would cause brain hemorrhage. Methos felt flooded with shame suddenly. The utter pointlessness of what he had done reached him at last. He had wanted Kronos not to see him, not to know that he was here - and now he let him know it himself, it was a secret no more. The taste of his stupidity was bitter and he swallowed it with effort.

But, maybe, not everything was lost, he thought suddenly. If he didn't speak to Kronos - if he managed to keep silent - then, maybe, he would be able to believe, after all, that it was not true, that nothing had happened.

He cupped his palms around Kronos' face and started kissing it slowly, all over, the part of it that was not skin but bitter resin, too.

Kronos' response was passionate, his hands flying over Methos' body, even tied wrists not handicapping him at all. Methos kissed down his chest slowly, every inch of it, and Kronos' palms lay on his nape, pressing his head down. He bit Kronos' nipples in a hard way, just as Kronos used to like it and Kronos murmured something, chuckling slowly, rubbing his chest against Methos' lips.

It was when he slid a little lower, he caught the thumping of Kronos' heartbeat - and he almost gasped with how fast and hard it was. It was not arousal - he understood it with inevitable clearness. Kronos could be fervent and excited, enjoying every bit of what they were doing. But beyond it - maybe, even beyond his own realization of it - Kronos was afraid. Of him. He knew he was in the full power of his brother.

Well, who is a coward? But the truth was that he didn't hear this voice. Voices were gone since Kronos was with him.

He felt no malicious joy. It was sadness that filled him. He kissed against the fluttering heart and moved lower. He was not going to let Kronos know he knew his secret.

He reached his hand to Kronos' semi-hard cock and pulled it to his mouth. The taste was unfamiliar at first - he hadn't managed to wash Kronos properly, after all, but as he continued to suck, the residuals of others' touches were gone and he tasted Kronos as he had always been. He touched the opening and pushed two of his fingers inside Kronos' ass. The man convulsed shortly - it must still have hurt him. But he felt Kronos relaxing again almost immediately - and then he found his prostate.

He knew Kronos' body so well, his fingers had a memory of their own, rubbing the spongy place gently, easily acquiring the familiar rhythm, matching the short thrusts of Kronos' pelvis as he pushed his now fully erect cock into Methos' mouth. The man groaned softly and Methos answered him with the same low roaring sound.

He didn't care if anybody was going to hear them. They would know, anyway. And that their Centurion spent the night fucking their captive through the ground would, maybe, add a human touch to their perception of him, would make them like him a little - because nothing else did.

He rose over Kronos, having his brother's slick heavy cock in his hand, tucking it into his opening, pushing back to accept it. For a moment he supposed he wouldn't be able to do it, the cock-head was sliding away - but then it entered, burning, stretching uncomfortably - and he pressed down, gritting his teeth, sliding on the shaft little by little.

"How tight," Kronos' voice was a whisper.

It had been a long time, brother. He rested on Kronos' thighs, the man's cock fully embedded in his rectum - and then he started moving up and down, the path getting smoother as his entrance got accustomed to the intrusion. He leant forward slightly, regulating the angle, until he felt Kronos' cock-head in him hitting the button. The pleasure was almost agonizing. His cock was twitching and trembling, upright against his belly. He had waited for it for so long! All the time when Kronos had been raped and tortured at the posts - and years, hundreds years before it.

Methos' hands danced on Kronos' chest and he bent down, almost touching the man's hair. His eyes were dry and burning, devouring Kronos' masked face.

"Oh yes, Methos, yes, good boy," Kronos chanted half-laughing in delight - and it was the same words he had used then, before. His hips pushed up with Methos' movements, faster, wilder - until he froze, his body arched and stiff. Methos contracted the walls of his rectum, squeezing his cock deliberately, milking every drop of cum from it. He was still occupied with it when his own orgasm hit him - and he splashed violently on Kronos' belly. They slumped together, out of breath, too limp to disjoin.

Methos felt languid, so lazy, stretching along Kronos' body, the afterglow of pleasure still singing through him. He couldn't resist rubbing his head against Kronos' in a cat-like manner - and Kronos turned his face to him, catching his mouth for one more kiss.

He spoke after letting Methos' lips go, his voice slightly chiding:

"Is it what you ran away from, brother? Don't you want everything back? You can have everything back. You and me together again."

Cold. Methos felt cold spreading through him, creepy, deadening, like thick layers of ice on his heart. Oh no, Kronos, shut up, for gods' sake, shut up. Kronos wouldn't. His voice continued to sound, soft, almost dreamy:

"And we can find Silas and Caspian, they will be happy to ride again."

You don't understand anything, do you, brother? He felt he wanted to hit him, to smash his mouth with the fist to make him shut up - but instead of it he sealed his lips with a kiss.

I don't want any 'again'.

Yes you do, one of the voice was back, feather-light, ingratiating. He shook his hand at it.

He kissed Kronos senseless, until the man forgot what he was talking about. He nestled against Methos cozily, settling himself into sleep. Methos thought that in the darkness the resin layer over his eyes didn't bother him too much, there was nothing to see anyway. He wrapped his arm around Kronos and suddenly something tore in him. Tears trickled from his eyes and he was right in time to catch them with his palms, before they fell, cold and wet, on Kronos' neck.

* * *

Thin cold light was seeping through the muffled flap of the tent. He moved away from Kronos, just for a palm-width but suddenly not feeling the man's hot hard shoulder against his became a loss that weakened him. He lay for a while, staring at the grey cupola of the tent above him, accustoming himself to this separation. Preparing himself to what he was going to do.

He got up and dressed quickly. A thought came that he shouldn't have put on clean clothes, his yesterday's ones, smeared in blood, would fit perfectly. But it was too late - and he couldn't make himself really care.

He hadn't been completely noiseless when moving, of course, no matter how he tried - but it didn't wake up Kronos. Even with the ugly black mask his face seemed tranquil, his breath soft and steady. Kronos breathed through his mouth, Methos noticed suddenly, perhaps resin had got to his nasal sinuses blocking them.

He shook his head. It didn't matter, anyway. He groped for his sword and was stunned how sticky and blood-covered the hilt was, gory crust clinging to his palm in flakes. He raised the sword over Kronos' head.

A swing. An easy motion repeated enough times to make it liquid smooth. He could almost feel his body doing it, the blade going through the brief resistance - and then Kronos' Quickening would fill him - the power, the heat, the lightnings racking his body - delightful, shattering pain that would be addictive if it were not so close to dementia.

Then Kronos' strength would become his - and Kronos' cold defiance and ironic composure - and Kronos' wildness - and Kronos' calculated charms. And Kronos' tenderness - and his unfailing loyalty when he chose to be loyal - and Kronos' devotion to Silas and Caspian that Methos could never fully understand. Kronos' memories would become his - the girl he had once loved, the family he had lost, his first kill, his first death.

Kronos' voice would be his, merging with the one that existed in his head - and then, he knew, he would be free from both of them.

He craved for it. It would be bliss, he was already savoring the pre-taste of it. He could do it. A moment or two of delay were the only thing he could give to Kronos. He could strike; he knew he could.

He could not.

Agh Kronos! How was he going to go on - without him - knowing that never, never for all times, never even in two thousand years he would meet his brother again? What would he go on for then?

His shoulders hunched abruptly as if something was broken in his back - and in impotent fury he threw the sword away, the blade clanking pitifully on the ground.

This sound woke Kronos up. Methos watched helplessly as the man sat up, his blind face getting wary momentarily, his tied hands folded seemingly idly on his lap but Methos noticed how white his knuckles became. And then, in some unexplainable way, he understood that Kronos guessed what it had been. Kronos knew what he was about to do.

He stumbled out of the tent and was blinded suddenly with the brightness of the light. He couldn't believe it - there was no cloud on the sky above him - the colors of golden and blue iridescent. He hailed for his subordinates, not caring any more if Kronos would hear his voice.

"Take him, tie his ankles and tie a big stone to his feet. Then throw him to the river. We can't kill him permanently but at least he will be buried deep enough for it to be a sufficient punishment."

"Can't we kill him permanently?" there was Cassius at his side, his gaze wary and full of doubts. He thinks he knows, Methos thought smiling feebly. The killed Huns, the night the captive spent in his tent - Cassius must have thought it made sense for him. And perhaps it did make sense.

"No, we can't," he answered firmly, looking straight at the young man, daring him to argue, to challenge him. For a moment he thought Cassius would - but then he turned his eyes away, attending to Methos' orders.

Fool! He should have gone to the end once he started. And like that... Like that it seemed two of them were one too many.

Something tells me the boy won't survive the next battle, his brother's voice teased him.

His people dragged Kronos out of the tent, the rope of his wrists was cut and a new one tied his hands behind his back. He struggled but not seriously, more to keep them in form, Methos thought. On the edge of the cliff Kronos turned back, finding unmistakably where he stood among others. His teeth flashed as he smiled.

"I am going to be back, you know."

Yes, he knew. He stood with his face tilted up to the sun, the light blazing even through his lowered eyelids until its brightness itself became black - and he thought how long it would take for Kronos' body to decompose enough for the resin to come off - or would his Immortal organism dissolve the substance eventually? And how long would the rope hold him to the stone on the river ground?

How long would it take for him to start believing that their meeting had never taken place, that Kronos had been just a phantom brought by his disturbed mind for a short while and submerging into its blind darkness again.


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