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Slash and Yaoi Fiction
Title: Eyes
Author: Juxian Tang
Fandom: Highlander
Pairing: M/o
Rating: NC-17
Status: complete
Archive: yes
Feedback: juxiantang@hotmail.com
URL: http://juxian.slashcity.net
Spoilers and timing: some time after Not To Be
Disclaimer: They are not mine and you know whose they are! No infringement of copyright is intended.
Warning: rape, extreme torture
Summary: How much can Methos really take?
Additional warning: this story contains rape and extreme torture. Please don't read it if you are going to be distressed. I mean it!


This story is for Blue

He came back with a familiar jolt that arched his chest and made his head fall back. The movement was so restricted that became barely perceptible. His limbs were stretched so wide apart and the cuffs on them so tight that he hardly could move an inch. He slumped exhaustedly, feeling the warm trickles of blood tracing his skin on his wrists under the irons. There was almost no pain. This kind of pain was imperceptible compared to the agony that he felt before escaping to death last time. And now he was back and everything had to start again. He knew it; there was nothing he could do with it.

He sensed the movement - and even though he expected it and had to be ready, his heart still sank. Why now? Why so soon? Did he really ask? He had to know better. He had to learn to seal himself from pain, from fear - how didn't he come to develop this most necessary ability for all his life - not that he didn't have enough time for it? Well, perhaps once he had been able to do it - he didn't remember exactly. But years, hundreds years, passed since he needed it - and he lost it. Maybe, it wouldn't work anyway - because the man who prepared to start everything all over again was so skilled and enthusiastic that it was impossible to fight him this way.

There were so many ways to hurt - he didn't have protection against all of them. He could switch off his mind from wearing-out cold - or from the thirst that made his lips cracked and raw. What was constant could be got used to. But not the outbursts of pain that came inevitably but unexpectedly, always different but always high-pitched agony.

He felt the icy sharpness of the knife against his forearm - and a short nick that was not pain itself but the foreplay, the obligatory detail before the start. As always, the penetration of the thin tube into his vein made him sick - and the man noticed it, nothing escaped his eyes. The in and out motions of the tube were almost a parody of fucking - until he started tossing his head from side to side in torment. He didn't make a sound, pressing his lips until they felt numb - but his breath became labored - and the man got satisfied briefly with his victory in this tiny struggle, just one step in their everyday sessions, every day in the unnumbered string of days.

The man fixed the tube carefully before belting him on his face twice. The blows were stunning rather than stinging and he let his head dangle. It was a small thing, too, easy to ignore. Then there were fingers digging into his eyes, raising his lids forcibly, rudely. The light was above him, as he knew it would be. It hurt to look at the light, even though it seemed to be not so blinding as before. Not because it was dimmed actually - but because of how he saw it. In fact, he couldn't even see the lamp any more, just the cloudy ball of bright. The same as the face of the man when he leant over him was a shape of darkness.

"Welcome back to the party," the voice hissed over him. Surely. He was always back. He listened to the small purling sound his blood made running through the tube and wondered how long it was going to take this time until his body would lose enough blood to give up and let him go again. And how much time it was going to be for the man to do what he wanted. Always too much, it was.

The dark oval of the face plunged down to him, the lips covering his lips, the tongue tasting blood in his mouth - while the hand slid smoothly towards his groin, so warm on his icy skin, the palm cupping around his balls. It could almost stand for a caress - but he knew it never continued to be a caress long enough to mess up his mind. The man didn't go after it - he had lots of means and lots of time at his disposal to mess up his mind without the classic alternation of cruel and kind.

He made a distressed sound when the hand around his genitals clenched and turned, the twist so savage that something seemed to give way there. It could cripple anyone else - but not him, of course. That was the thing about him that the man had to find delightful: that he could repeat it on him as many times as he wished - and even when he died, it was not for long.

The same agonizing jerk of his genitals was the first thing he felt when he came round in this position on the concrete floor in the secluded basement for the first time. The man had hurt him before that, killing him twice - but somehow this moment was what marked for him the passage to the nether world where he had been since then. He would call it hell - but he never exactly believed it hell. What was the point of it when it was so easy and possible to make suffer alive? One thing did match, however - the endlessness. There was no any stop to it - and no anything he could do to stop it. No escape.

He even didn't know how many days passed since that evening. It was the evening when Mac had his tickets to the opera - and they parted some hours ago; coolly and lightly, as usual. It seemed that they felt easier when parting than when meeting, it came to his mind then - and how long was it going to take for their relief of not seeing each other to become so apparent that it wouldn't be worth straining? An unpleasant thought - and, maybe, because of it he was at this bar looking at the bottle of beer in front of him as if it was the only thing he wanted to see in the world.

Well, he knew it was possible to live having Mac in his life as a former friend turned an acquaintance. It would be even possible to live without Mac at all. But he also knew, no matter how peevish this thought made him, that he missed what was gone between them. He missed Mac's expectations, taking for granted that he would participate in Mac's crazy projects, his annoyance when he supposed that Methos failed him in something and his indulging irony towards his lesser flaws - everything that made Mac caring, made him warm.

He wished he could do something - wished there was something to do. But the things like that - oh he wouldn't even be able to pin them with the words, still less to mend.

He had the second bottle when somebody walked past his place and dropped something in front of him. It happened so quickly that when he looked back to see who it was, there was not even a shadow moving, everybody in the bar apparently into their own business. He looked at the thing lying on the warm polished wood in front of him, realizing slowly what it was.

Mac's hair clip. The diamond-shaped one, heavy silver - he knew it very well, okay, he knew all his clips, there was time when he used to dig through them in Mac's inlaid box occasionally when being on the barge - amused with Mac's taste. This one was clicked around a piece of paper - he unfolded it, blue ink letters on white. "I have him."

He was stunned. The feeling was so overwhelming that he was not quite himself. He got up without thinking, glanced around, hoping absurdly that he would see the one who sent it - and that it would turn out to be an innocent joke. He even didn't recall for how long Mac didn't wear his hair long any more.

He walked out of the bar hastily, to the telephone box, dialed Mac's number. The answering machine switched on as he stared painfully at his watch, trying to figure out the time. Too late for the opera, right?

"Mac," he let his voice sound as worried as he felt, "Mac, come on, take it!"

And that was when he heard a short clap - and a sting in his chest made him gasp. With somehow amazed eyes he looked at the neat hole in the glass wall of the box, knowing what it meant, knowing what the hot pain spreading in his chest meant - but already unable to do anything. The bullet went right into his heart and his feet let him down at the same time when his eyes glazed.

The shot was lethal but easy to heal and he was back at the moment when his body was heaved into the truck of the car. The one who had shot him was ready to it. Methos saw the flick of the knife even before he could see the face - and now it was worse, blood filling his mouth as the blade shredded his lung. There was only one thought before he died - he didn't feel the buzz. Whoever it was - it was not an Immortal.

Mac... There were not many bright things since then - but one thing he certainly appreciated. "I have him" was a lie. Perhaps it was used to lure him out of the bar - but he rather thought that it was just one more twist of sadistic mind of his captor. The man was artistic in using the things - big things, small things, pain, threat, fear - everything worked. Perhaps it had been done purely to enjoy his wild look when he had got this note.

And while the man didn't have Mac, he had Methos all right, didn't he?

He probably left the knife in the wound for a while - in any case, this time Methos revived only when everything was in order. There was the familiar searing pain in his chest as the air filled his lungs - and he jerked, coughing and gasping for breath. The revival was never painless - but this time it changed with an immediate shot of pain that passed through him - new pain, not the residual one - from his groin. Bad enough to make him hiss and thrash.

The hand mauling his genitals didn't let him go, squeezing stronger, wrenching and pulling - the pain hot as fire - until he felt something tearing there with a new splash of liquid flame.

"No, no, not yet!" the voice over him spoke tonelessly. He was backhanded on his face, slowly but heavily, after his eyes had rolled up. "I didn't even start!"

This voice. He came to know it so well - it's expressionless, robot-like sound, unrevealing anything of the hatred the man had to have boiling inside him. The voice that was so inhumanly tranquil that it seemed to sound right in his brain.

When his vision cleared he saw the dirty ceiling above him - the white bright lamp - the sight that didn't change for him since then even for a moment - however, now he couldn't see the ceiling itself, only the lamp: it didn't improve his sight what the man was making to his eyes. Nothing changed since then: at that moment the man set the pattern, letting Methos know how everything was going to be, even though he was yet to realize it.

His arms and legs were pinned to the floor with thick iron rings - pulled apart so tightly that his muscles trembled with tension. Cold hard concrete under him. The man undressed him - he gasped when realizing it and raised his head excruciatingly, trying to look at himself. He could see blood smeared on his chest where he had been shot and stabbed. And at the same moment a fist broke on his face.

"What do you want to see? You will see when I want it."

It felt as if his nose was smashed and blood filled his mouth slowly, tasting brackish. The palm was gone from his throbbing balls and both hands lay around his head, the thumbs digging into his temples. It was when he saw the face for the first time. The face he had never seen before.

The cold grey eyes stared in his only for a moment before the man leant to his face and kissed him on his lips roughly, the tongue invading his mouth impudently. The man held his face tightly enough not to let Methos move at all, still less to turn away - and at the first moment the kiss was so unexpected that he didn't think about turning away. He tried to push the other's tongue from his mouth, however - and the man didn't fight him. He stopped kissing and bit his lips instead.

It was a full-force bite, not threatening but injuring and Methos made a painful sound when the teeth crashed the tissue of his lower lip, cutting it savagely until there was so much blood drawn that it trickled on his chin. The man raised his head and spat some of this blood on his face.

"You'll die here, bitch," the words were hateful, the voice was measured as always. "But before that you'll die times and times again."

Methos felt the man pulling up and getting between his spread legs. The man's mouth was smeared in red but he didn't appear to notice it. There was this deadly concentration in his face, the one that kept there through everything he was doing - the one Methos was going to see for so long, to know it was there even now, when he couldn't see it.

He was strung so tightly on the floor that the man had to be uncomfortable when sticking the hand under his balls. His ass-checks were pressed to the floor and the man's hand sought for the opening in annoyance. He found it eventually - Methos was tense long before it, knowing what was going to happen and trying to keep shut. He felt the finger stabbing against his anus, trying to get in - and even though there was possibly more pain when he resisted than if he yielded, he hated the idea of letting it in.

For God's sake, what was going on? A complete stranger shot him and cuffed him and beat him and now was going to rape him - and he even couldn't pin this face to anything, couldn't find any reason, any justification to what was happening, to the hatred this man was spilling on him.

Would it be easier if he knew? Hardly - but like that it made him so unsure and befuddled - his mind jumped in different directions while the fingers at his opening were tearing him, trying to enter. He couldn't keep the man out, of course, the fingers were stronger and more insistent than his clenching muscles - besides, blood made them slick - and the man didn't care how much blood he was drawing. In fact, the more was probably the better for him.

Methos felt a finger penetrating him and he couldn't tighten again the same as before. It felt bad - burning and twisting inside him. It had been several years since he had sex this way and his body was not adjusted to the invasion at all. He tossed his head back, clenching his teeth when the second finger was added. He tried to breathe through his nose - slowly, quietly - but it didn't help much, he still could hear rather noisy sound of his broken breath.

Soon there was enough blood to make the fingers go smoother - and as the man continued to finger-fuck him, he managed to relax enough to speak:

"You don't have to do it. We can come to an agreement."

The fingers were yanked out of him immediately - but he didn't have time to feel relief. He saw the man grabbing something from the floor and at the next moment a heavy iron rod broke on his face. He heard the bone crashing, knowing that his jaw was broken. The pain made him see red but the voice came through the mist all the same.

"Don't speak. Don't ever speak. Remember it."

The hand grabbed his broken jaw and moved it cruelly, making him shriek when the shattered fragments grated against each other.

"I don't want to hear you speaking," the man repeated as if to make him learn the lesson better. It was when he got to know real fear. That he could need this lesson. That he was going to be there long enough to need it.

He always knew about pain that it was easy to forget. For one thing, it made every new pain of dying sharp and stunning as if it had never been experienced. For the other thing, it made him overlook that dying, being dead, was not the worst sometimes. When he had felt the bullet tearing through his heart, he had been afraid of never getting back, having his head off. And when it turned out that he had kept it, that the man, being mortal, probably was not interested in beheading him at all - he was elated.

Now he had second thoughts about it.

As his jaw was healing, the man adjusted himself between his legs again, the sound of zipper going down unmistakable and sickening. Methos' position was not in the most convenient for penetration - but the man didn't seem to care. He lay down on him, the heavy cock pushing bluntly under his balls. He shoved with such fierceness that had to hurt himself significantly - and Methos felt his tissues didn't stand, tearing and letting go. He pulled his arms wildly, convulsing with pain. But the cuffs fitted perfectly, clasped very tightly around his wrists - and his jerks only caused them to bleed.

The head of the cock inside him was pushing farther, gaining the entrance, stretching him. It felt so hot that it seemed to be sizzling, his torn anus agonizingly painful. The man grounded his hips over him, again and again, getting deeper inch by inch - Methos could hardly believe anybody could be so long. Deceptive feeling, of course, the man was not longer or thicker than anybody else - but he couldn't help feeling it. Pain was shooting through his half-healed jaw as he gritted his teeth desperately, trying not to cry out.

The man stopped at last. Methos felt the hot breath on his face and opened his pain-misted eyes to meet the stare of cold grey, cold even in arousal.

"Tight," the man remarked. "It is the last time when you are tight, bitch. I'll loosen you so much that you'll take anything up to you. You'll be so loose that you'll shit yourself without noticing it."

He drove his teeth in the corner of Methos' mouth brutally, then moved over his face biting, bruising and drawing blood, down to his neck. Methos thrashed under these bites; it hurt - but even it hurt probably less than the cock up to his ass when the man started thrusting. His weight was solid on Methos' chest and just his pelvis worked, grinding, every thrust excruciatingly deep. Methos knew he was healing only to be torn again and new blood made the strokes smoother but not less painful.

When the bites became shorter and messier and the strokes wilder, he knew it was coming to the end. Thanks God - because he was not sure how he still continued to endure it; his breath was wet labored gasps and he felt the muscles of his chest and belly contracting shakily, his limbs quivering despite his injured wrists and ankles. The man locked the teeth on his throat, making several last strokes - and then went limp over him.

Methos lay feeling blood and sperm trickle out of him around the softening cock. His face was covered with blue and purple dents of the bruises but the pain subsided slowly. The pain - not the anguish in his mind. So, that was it? Raped - and what now? It didn't gain him anything, not changed his position a bit - only worsened it, probably. He was completely helpless, cuffed - and the man over him was the same mysterious and hateful as before. And no clues to what to do.

Perhaps if he... The thought was sickening but it was probably the only thing he could try. If he tried to play willing with the man - would it help? Well, he would hardly be able to fake arousal - but to be pliant - flexible, as Amanda used to call it. The man forbade him to speak - but there was something he still could do, certainly.

He felt dizzy. He was so out of use to do these things - he had believed with all his heart he would never have to do them again. This man on him - no, it was sick, he couldn't do it! But he knew he would. He shifted slightly, ready to show his willingness - to kiss his captor if necessary. And at the same moment the man got up abruptly.

There was no trace of post-coital bliss in his eyes at all, their expressionlessness the evidence of madness itself. The limp cock was wrenched out causing some bleeding again.

"You dirty whore!" there was a scathing blow on his face. How could he know, Methos thought, he didn't even have time to try anything! "What do you hope to get like that? You'll get nothing. You think I finished with you? I didn't nearly start!"

With sudden fury his three fingers broke into Methos' bleeding, terribly vulnerable opening. They turned round and round, stretching brutally, tearing again - and even before the man continued, Methos knew what it was going to be. He bit his lip preparing himself to the rising pain - but it was not that he could really prepare himself - as the forth finger invaded him and then the thumb, the hand shredding his rectum mercilessly while the voice explained him indifferently:

"With a mortal man I would have to care not to injure him lethally. But not with you. I can wring your insides out and you'll heal it the same well as anything."

Yes, it felt like this - wringing his insides out as the fist was thrusting into him, so deep that it felt as a gut punch on every in-ward stroke, the pain as sharp as if it was a knife slashing his insides. He passed out crying, despite his efforts to seal his cries on the lacerated lips, the blackness that swept him so welcome, so blissful.

But not for long. He knew it was not for long because when he regained consciousness, the man held his face - and his hand was slick with blood, Methos' blood that still didn't have time to dry.

"You're going to hate your healing abilities, I bet," the man said, his eyes searching Methos' for something. "Think about the irony! You will dream about me killing you."

Methos found himself looking at the black round hole of the gun's muzzle. There was no silencer on it now. It touched his face, traced the line of his jaw, over his neck and chest, stopping shortly against his heart and then sliding down further.

He convulsed when the muzzle was forced into his barely healing opening.

"Here it goes," the man said pulling the trigger.

The shot still seemed to reverberate through his body when he came round later - even though the pain was gone and his destroyed insides whole again. He shivered with cold and exhaustion of death and revival. It was when he felt the small cut on his left forearm for the first time - and the tube inserted to his vein. He didn't know what it had to mean - and he raised his head tensely, trying to see.

"Interested?" the man tried to grip his hair but failed, it was just too short and he pressed on his neck, pushing Methos' head forward painfully. "Get used to this sight!"

Methos saw the thin plastic tube, red with blood running through it - he looked where this tube was going to - and was amazed to see that it was just the drain hole on the floor. It didn't make sense. At least, then.

"How long does it take for you to bleed to death?" the man asked in a matter-of-fact voice. "You don't know? We'll find out. Not so quickly, I hope."

Methos felt the hand on his chest; he was so cold that it seemed unpleasantly hot for him - the fingers playing with his nipple. He didn't forget the prohibition to speak - but regarding his possibilities, he decided to risk. Nothing could save him from pain, he already suspected it. But asking the questions - maybe, getting answers - it could save him from the agony of unknown that his mind was in.

"Why do you do it? What did I do to you?"

He still didn't know, even now. Sometimes in what the man said there were some hints that could possibly be understood - sometimes it almost seemed to him that he got it, one more fact and he would get it. But he didn't. And as the time was going by, he felt it was more and more difficult to concentrate on thinking. Besides, the reasons of his torturer didn't matter. It mattered that it was going on and on - never stopped. Never was going to stop.

The man broke his jaw again when hearing him speak - and then used the same iron rod, heated in the fire, to burn the insides of his mouth until he choked on blood and clear liquid seeping from the burns. He was choking with screams, too, long before the man finished.

The rod... It was a simple and extremely successful means of inflicting pain, stunningly successful. Methos lost the count of times when his bones were shattered with it, when he was beaten to death with it. When he was fucked with it heated - he knew now what it was really be fucked with a red-hot rod, fresh meaning of the old metaphor.

Blood loss was making its input and he felt woozy, about to pass out. And dying was okay, he didn't mind it. It would just send him into feeling nothing.

But the man didn't let him slip away so easily. Methos saw the gun again - and it pointed at his groin when shooting. The pain was horrific, like nothing he had felt yet - he couldn't help shrieking, thrashing madly in the cuffs as the ball of fire exploded in his bottom belly.

Blood made a pool around his thighs immediately. The man knelt at him and reached his hand to the bullet entrance, where the shattered pubic bone was white in scarlet blood. Methos thought he couldn't feel it, it was beyond anything a man could feel and still be alive - but he felt it all right as the man widened the orifice with his fingers, then coated his cock with blood.

"I'll fuck you as the whore you're," he said trusting into the open wound.

He dreamed about curling; just to be able to lie on his side, pull up his legs and press his arms to his chest. This wish was haunting even when he had the chance to get just asleep, not to slide into death or oblivion. The ache in his stretched limbs was constant while the numbness of immobility in his spine and shoulders was replaced with sharp pangs of pain from time to time. He had his backside rubbed in blood against the rough concrete but his healing abilities spared him from sores.

He felt cold and rather light-headed all the time with the permanent blood loss. The tube in his vein was the most habitual sight for him, so, after a while he stopped turning his head to see at it; the more so as it became more and more difficult to see all in all.

"Do you know why I do it?" the man asked once; it was a rare case when he spoke to say something, not to let out another portion of curses, always in a flawlessly even voice. Methos looked at him questioningly, not daring to speak. He had tried to speak several times since the beginning - and every time the punishment had been more severe - so, he got it at last.

"You always heal, don't you? Every time when your blood leaks out and you die - your body re-supply it. But how does it happen? Where does this blood come from?

"I mean, it can be that because of some mutation your body has this ability to repair itself. Cuts, burns, broken bones - whatever. But where does it take something what is gone? Blood is a part of you, right? It can't re-appear unceasingly from nowhere. If I cut off your hand and press it back, you will heal. But if I cut it off and take it away - you won't grow the new one. Right?"

He started smashing Methos' kneecap with the hammer in the end of his speech and Methos didn't quite get the end about the loss of parts.

But he recalled it when the man bent to his face, gripping firmly on his hair - and he saw the screwdriver in his hand. He didn't realize at once what was going to happen but the horror already sang through him. He squirmed desperately, trying to get away, as the screwdriver was nearing to his eye.

"Open it!" the man slammed his head into the concrete. "Keep it open, you slut!"

The tip of the screwdriver approached implacably until it was forced between his eyelids. He had never experienced anything like that - the metal of the tool scraping over his socket, spooning around his eyeball and driving it out. He thrashed, breaking his wrists, and choked with scream as the man took his eye and tore off the string of the nerve that still connected it.

The dark field in his sight shocked him more than pain. He cried out incoherently and then he saw the bloodied screwdriver nearing again. He tried to turn away, as much as he could, not caring what was going to be with him for this rebellion - nothing could be worse, anyway. But the man coped with his easily, fixing his head between his knees, repeating the horrible motion of the screwdriver on his other eye.

He lay unable to stop shuddering in horror but although his consciousness failed minutely, he was sure he didn't pass out completely. He floated in the dimness - that was not black as he could expect it would be - but undetermined grey. He could feel his eyelids falling and rising over the empty sockets, already healing.

Sharp slaps on his cheeks brought him back. The man was near - and Methos turned his head towards him instinctively, as he got to be trained to do for these days - but this time he saw nothing, of course.

"Do you know where they are?" the man said - and for the first time Methos thought that there was the meaning of this expressionlessness. As if the voice belonged to some superior creature, the supreme being that had the right over his life and death and sanity itself. "In my hand. The don't hurt any more, do they? Even if I crush them in my palm, you won't feel it.

"If I return them now, they'll be okay. Even human eyes do. But if I drop them to the fire? What will you be worth then? I wonder how long it'll take until some of your kind finds you and takes your head - or, maybe, you'll find him yourself and ask to do it?"

"Please," he thought the man wanted him to plead, that this time was different from those when he was forbidden to. And the thing was that he couldn't keep silent, the anxiety was too huge to cope with it, even pain was better than it.

"Shut up, whore!" the words were rude, the tone didn't change. "I think I'll have to glue your lips together and feed you through the nose. It is such a good idea that I regret I didn't come to it earlier!"

Methos tossed his head back in anguish, a ragged wailing sound escaping his throat. He felt the thumb parting his eyelids, stroking the empty socket.

Then the man forced his eyes back. This time Methos passed out not with pain - it was bearable in comparison to what he had been through - but with the incredible sickness of the sensation. And it was good that his mind switched off - because he could lose his mind all in all at that moment.

When he was back, his eyes were where they had to be and functioning - seeing, even though dimly, and still sore but healing. They functioned in everything, even the lachrymal ducts worked. Tears trickled from the corners of his eyes and he couldn't stop them. For the first time since he had been here, he cried - he hadn't cried with pain or with despair - but now the relief did it to him.

"You can make these sounds," the man approved listening to the sobs that shook him. "It can be even useful. I am sure MacLeod would love to hear it."

Mac. He was somewhere. In the beginning, when Methos realized that it was a set-up, that Mac had never been captured, he felt euphoric with relief. Mac was safe, he didn't have to worry about him! But since then he continued to hear about Mac, the man never seemed to forget about him.

The man used to call him. Methos watched him as he walked around the basement, with the black phone pressed to his ear. Usually before dialing he told Methos to hush - and it was not the order he could disobey. Not that Methos could spoil their conversation - the most often the man even didn't say anything, apparently listening to Mac's "hallo" in silence. His face was cold as usual but also hardly perceptibly smug.

Sometimes he spoke, however. Just short phrases out of blue - he was chary of words, wasn't he? "I have him." "I still have him." "He is still alive."

Once he brought the phone to Methos, whispering urgently:

"MacLeod wants to hear you. He doesn't believe you are here. Come on, let him know. Scream for him."

He had the kettle of boiling water in his other hand - and he turned it over on Methos' crotch. Methos knew what was going to happen and was ready. When the scalding liquid hit him, the pain so keen that it seemed to pierce him to his heart, he managed to keep silent. He passed out before the revenge went down on him.

He had decided to keep silent it instinctively but when he was back, he thought about the man's words. If Mac didn't believe that he was there - it was good. Then he wouldn't do any stupid thing and get himself in the catch that the man was preparing for him. He had to keep Mac unbelieving as long as he could - as much as it depended on him.

But he supposed that later, during one of the sessions, when he was too gone to be able to refrain from screaming, the man still let Mac listen to him.

Some time after that the man brought the video camera. By then Methos' vision went down so significantly that he saw everything just as the darker and lighter shades. The light above him that had been so annoying in the beginning of his confinement was just a cloud of fluffy grey now. He had to strain his brains to figure out what the darker shape in the man's hands was until he saw the small red indicator of recording.

"Yes, it is him. Hard to recognize, right?" the camera was floating above his body. "He heals sufficiently badly now. You will be surprised, MacLeod, how long it takes him to heal just a broken wrist."

The man was in disguise - after a while Methos discerned it - a long coat, leather gloves, even his face was covered. He looked like the Invisible Man, Methos thought, and it suddenly made him giggle.

"Don't clown around," the man backhanded him, the metal clip on the glove splitting his lip. "Raise your head," he grabbed his hair - not quite successfully because of slick leather. "Look where the bird is going to fly out. Introduce yourself. Say: "Hello, Mac, it's Methos"!"

The man recorded a normal three-hour long tape - Methos saw several times as the man replaced the small camera tapes - but he couldn't be sure, there were times when he was not lucid at all. The man applied the full program to him - spared him from nothing of the usual things he repeated every day - and introduced some new, too. And because this time he didn't have his vein open, Methos couldn't escape to death so easily.

Mac would be repulsed to see it, he thought while being fucked, this pain so dispensable now that he practically didn't register it. Mac used to claim that he had seen devilish things in his life - but, in reality, he was just an innocent baby with his experience. He would be sick with this... sex part.

The torture part included acid - and he understood, not for the first time, that whatever had already been done to him, it hardly could prepare him to what still could be done. He barely heard his own screams when the scalding trickles of the acid crawled on his face.

In the end the man repeated his favorite trick with the eyes - and finished eventually shoving the muzzle of the gun in Methos' mouth and pulling the trigger.

The man glued the sticker on the tape where it was written: "The ultimate proof." Well, right, with this tape there was no hope any more that Mac would be able not to believe.

* * *

The colors of grey that he still could see were merging and sometimes he couldn't even say whether his eyes were open or shut. But he didn't mind. He didn't like to see the movement, the shadows changing - because it meant only one thing - that his captor was near and was preparing to do something.

He couldn't get used to his bones breaking. He might have had to - why not, to something that happened with such regularity? And he found out that if he didn't move, if he didn't move at all, the pain was even bearable. But how could he stop moving his ribs that punctured his lungs with every inhale? He couldn't stop breathing, even if he wanted it.

The man was speaking on the phone. Mac again.

"I can let him go. Do you want it? I can return him, with no additional conditions. Tomorrow... I think I won't get in time today. I'll have to cut off his tongue at first. And his nose. And his ears. And put out his eyes. And chop off his hands and feet. Then you can have him. And then you can finish him off yourself because it will be the most merciful thing to do. Agreed? No? Then wait until I decide you can have him back."

The phone was dropped on the table.

"Kill me," he didn't care any more if speaking meant more pain. Everything meant pain. Living meant it unceasingly.

He knew he would be punished - and didn't even tensed expecting it. But this time the man didn't hit him. He walked closer - close enough for Methos to feel the toes of the boots touching his ribs. The voice was almost soft when he asked:

"Are you sure?"

Yes, yes, I am! He would have said it a long time ago if he had known it could earn him death! He didn't quite believe, however, that he could get away so easily - but he desperately wanted to believe. It was such anguish to want to stop it and to be unable to do anything!

The sound of the sword unsheathing was unmistakable. So, it was the truth. He asked himself if he was afraid but he really was not. He opened his eyes wide, looking up, and even though he couldn't really see it - he saw it all the same: the sword raised over his head. The swing.

The metal blade flashed the sparkles hitting the concrete.

Ooh yes. He knew it would be like that, didn't he? He felt falling, even though it seemed that he was already so deep in the abyss that there was nowhere to fall deeper.

Only moments, maybe, minutes later he registered the sound of panting above him. The man still was in the same position, resting on the sword set against the floor. For the first time his breath was shaken - sob-like.

"Do you recognize the sword?" and his voice was shaken, too, when he spoke.

"Yes," he didn't and they both knew it.

"I loved her," the man said. "You both killed her. I will make you both pay. First you and then your friend. You will hurt until it stops hurt here," he pressed his hand to his chest. Then, with his voice changing back to expressionless, he said. "You asked me to kill you? Here you are."

The sword stabbed him in his heart. Not like that, he had the time to think, dying. And he had time to hear the thoughtful voice of the man:

"You are not ready to be returned yet."

* * *

Everything was gone. His vision was gone. His ability to feel was so shaky that he could hardly determine the pain, unsure anymore whether he felt it all the time and never felt. He even didn't want to be returned any more. Not ready? The man must have been right.

The abyss of grey was huge above and around him - and except the grey mist nothing existed there. There was something tranquil in it, something safe - to be so isolated, so undisturbed. The fall was over.

And then suddenly he started seeing Mac. The mist was between them - but he saw Mac's face the same clear as he was no longer able to see anything. He could see Mac was looking at him - frowning as if preparing himself for something - and he knew absolutely for sure that Mac was going to step into this abyss - for him.

He couldn't let it happen! To have Mac risking his life for him - it was wrong, it was such a mistake! Just too unequal exchange. Mac's life was so precious while his was already non-existing. Mac was goodness - while he was... nothing at best, badness in fact. He was a failure and a monster, a crime against life. And Mac knew it; once he had easier believed it his dream where he had to kill Methos than in reality where Methos stood by him.

But the thing was that no matter what Mac really felt to him - he would try anyway. Even unwilling - he would try to save him at any price, put his life on the stake for it, the same as he had done it for Joe and Amanda. He would do it for any of his friends- just because this word meant for him so much, even when it was not supported by the real feeling any more. It was Mac, he wouldn't be himself if he didn't, he wouldn't just be able to live with it!

It made Methos feel despair again, made him thrash wildly, trying the cuffs that never let go. Please don't let Mac do it! If only there was something he could do. And looking up from the abyss, he suddenly knew what to do. He could turn and go away - away, from salvation, from Mac - until the mist would cover him all over and there would be nothing but this mist. Then Mac would see there was nobody to rescue - and would be safe.

The man passed the blade over his chest, drawing a long line on his ribs. He barely flinched at it. His legs and arms were like lashes, broken again, for how many times? The tube was gone from his vein - so, this time it was not going to be over soon. But for a while the man didn't do anything, just sat with him. Then he pressed his fingernail to the cut, running it up and down.

"It is still here. Such a shallow gash. You don't heal any more, do you know it? Well, you do heal, actually - still better than we mortals - but it can be said that for an Immortal you don't heal at all."

Suddenly there was a stab of hot pain in his chest - and he felt how his heart fluttered, wounded, shredded with the tip of the knife. He was ready to slip to the oblivion.

"And you don't die," the man continued plucking the knife between his ribs. "Did you notice it?"

He might. The thing was he didn't remember.

"I made it to you. I think it was this thing with blood. You lost so much of it that you lost... how do you call it? Your Quickening? No, not right. Your power. I messed up your body so much that it doesn't know what to do. You are hanging between life and death, not healing and not dying! I wonder for how long it is possible to keep you like that."

Not healing and not dying. The image from the legend. Only there was no Parsifal to come and heal him.

"Well, I guess I will have to live with my curiosity. I still have MacLeod to do the same to him. Now you are ready to be returned."

The phone buttons were clicking.

"You can come and take him."

No! He screamed his heart out but he knew he was not heard.

"Last fuck," the man was over him again, his weight heavy and making the wound on his chest ooze blood stronger. Methos didn't feel the penetration - nothing physical at all. It was his mind that was ablaze.

Not Mac! Not in his place!

"Don't fret so," the man whispered to his face. "I won't do anything worse to him than I have done to you."

The thick tongue was forced in his mouth, licking and thrusting, lapping blood with such enjoyment as if it was honey. Honey. Legends. It struck him suddenly and Methos smiled deliriously into the kiss. He knew what he could do. For once. With a wild jerk of his head he thrust forward, swallowing more of this tongue into his mouth, as much as he could - and then clenching his teeth desperately.

He felt the flesh letting go. A stunning, inhuman scream choked almost at once as blood filled his mouth with violent flow. The man thrashed on him, gasping for breath and unable to breathe, pain shock more dangerous than blood loss. Methos could feel how the man's chest expanded madly, the man's heart contacting like a punctured ball. Then it stopped.

Dead. The man collapsed on him, twice as heavy at once. But it didn't matter. Blood leaked on Methos' face from the man's open mouth. Methos turned his face away and spat the piece of flesh on the floor. Now it was okay. He could just lie - in silence - motionless - and wait.

Wait until he felt the buzz inside his head. He didn't have to see to know who it was - Mac coming in, looking around - moving so soundlessly that if Methos didn't know he was there, he wouldn't ever hear it. The man wouldn't have known. Mac was careful! It was good to know that he was going to fight, was not going to sacrifice himself blindly.

Then Mac had to see. It took moments for him to understand what was there - and suddenly his steps became loud and hasty, approaching quickly. Methos felt as the dead body was lifted from him and it was good not to feel this weight pressing on his chest any more.

He sighed. Mac looked at him. He had to see his blood-coated mouth, the piece of gory meat on the floor. Mac had to know what he had done. And he knew what Mac felt. He was glad he couldn't see Mac's expression, disbelief and disgust on his face.

Everything was over, he understood it. He lost Mac. And he couldn't even struggle against it, he just didn't have any strength left. If Mac didn't want him any more - let it be. He gave up.

He let the grey mist envelop him tighter, let it cover everything. He wrapped in this mist, curling, rolling in the ball, confined inside himself, with nothing to penetrate his solitude, his untouchable tranquility. He wouldn't suffer any more. No Mac, no pain. Unfeeling.

Unfeeling even though he could feel how the irons were unlocked on his wrists and ankles - and his broken limbs were touched hesitantly but not dared to move - and something soft covered his body, wooly and warm - but not so warm as the hand that was smoothing his hair back from his forehead in hasty, almost feverish movements.


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