JiM :: After Archangel

Title: After Archangel

Author: JiM

Author's E-mail: [email protected]

Author's URL: http://www.geocities.com/coffeeslash/jim

Fandom: Highlander

Category: Slash

Pairing: Joe Dawson/Methos

Warning: This is NC-17 slash featuring JD/Methos—that means two guys getting sticky. If you are under legal age, or if this is not your cup of tea, please go somewhere you would rather be.

Disclaimer: I don't own these characters; P/D, Gaumont, and Rysher do—I just borrowed them and promise not to return them all sticky. Please don't sue me unless you really want my 3-year old collection of 'New Yorker' magazines. This is a work of speculative fiction and not intended as copyright infringement.

Feedback: All constructive feedback will be passed on to the author and appreciated. All flames will be giggled over and added to our "Spam-Wrath of God" list.

Archive: Ask first.

Author's note: This story grew out of the last scene in "Archangel" (hereafter referred to as THEYDIDWHAT?!!!) and is an obvious attempt at self-therapy and a way of coping with rerun Hell. Hope you like it.

The harsh sound of a man's sobbing was the only sound in the cavernous gloom. Methos continued to hold Joe, staring fixedly at the body of MacLeod's student. Lying next to it was MacLeod's sword. He had left it, after Methos had refused to take his head. After MacLeod had killed Richie.

Only one thought ran through Methos' head—'This should not have happened. I should have stopped this.' A small, cynical voice in his head replied 'And how could you have prevented it?', but he didn't listen. 'I was supposed to guard him, help him. And now this.' The cacophony of self-blame rose in his head until Methos was certain that he would go mad. And that would help no one. He pushed his grief down deep and coldly considered his options. He made his decision; the man beside him needed him now. Tomorrow was time enough for MacLeod.

After a time he realized that Joe had quieted and said, "Joe? We've got to get out of here. Someone is bound to have noticed the fireworks."

Joe nodded and straightened, wiping a hand over his face. "Can't we…?" he asked plaintively, waving a hand at the pitiful figure before them.

Methos shook his head, as Joe had known he would. There was nothing to be done. Let the Surete wonder why the freshly-murdered body of a man they'd thought dead two years ago was lying at the old Track.

But Methos knelt and laid his hand on Richie's chest for a moment, silently vowing…what? Even he didn't know. Revenge? Retribution? It was all worthless—5,000 years of history had taught him that.

"Goodbye," he whispered. "I'm sorry. You deserved better."

"They all do," Joe's voice grated.

Which brought Methos' attention back to his other main concern right now. The Watcher was perilously close to the breaking point. The past few days of worry and tension had taxed him, but Methos was afraid that this tragedy would break him. He picked up MacLeod's sword, then put an arm around Joe's shoulder and started walking them out of that hellhole.

"We should go after MacLeod," Joe said in a flat tone.

"No, we shouldn't. Joe, you saw him. He's mad. D'you think he ever would have done that in his right mind?"

"Could it be another Dark Quickening?" Joe was struggling to return to being an objective Watcher, but Methos heard the despair behind his words. This was MacLeod they were talking about—a man he loved like no other, a man he had sacrificed for like no other.

"No, Joe. It's not a Dark Quickening. It's not possible, after the Spring." They had reached the car. He put Joe in, got in and got them out of there, thankful that they hadn't been seen.

He got Joe up to his flat, above the bar, which had closed for the night. Looking at him in the light of the living room, Methos felt his concern growing. The Watcher had been silent and withdrawn during the drive. What was there to say? But now his face had a pale, fixed look that chilled the Immortal. Gently, Methos got him out of his overcoat, putting it, his own and MacLeod's sword on a chair by the door.

"Joe, sit down. I'll get you a drink." Joe sat on the couch. When Methos returned, he mechanically accepted the generous glass of Scotch and poured it straight back, holding out the empty glass to be refilled. When he had drunk that, Methos put the cork back in the bottle put it away with an uncompromising expression on his face.

"Not gonna let me get drunk, huh, Methos?" The twisted grin on Joe's face held no humor and it pained him to see it.

"Not tonight, Joe. I'm going to need you with a clear head in the morning, so we can figure out what the next step is going to be."

"Damn it, I need something to block it out for a while." Joe's voice dwindled away and he put his head in his hands.

Methos walked over to him and placed his hands on the slumped shoulders. "Sleep. Come on," he gently urged the other man up and into the bedroom.

"I don't think I can."

"I'll help you," he promised and gently began undressing him. Joe's passivity was worrying him. He knew from previous hard experience that the Watcher was not the type of man to let anyone do for him what he could do for himself.

During Joe's recovery from being shot by Galati, Methos had had the dubious pleasure of nursing the man back to health. He was convinced that Joe had survived through sheer stubbornness and will; Methos attributed his subsequent rapid recovery to uncompromising pigheadedness. And now he was allowing himself to be undressed like a tired child. No—more like someone in a daze.

He pulled off Joe's sweater, then his shirt. When he reached for Joe's belt buckle, his hands were swatted away. After watching Joe fumble for a minute, Methos gently and firmly took Joe's hands and put them by his sides. Then he finished unclasping the belt and the trousers and made Joe sit down on the bed. Sliding them down Joe's hips, he waited for him to lift himself on his arms, then slid them the rest of the way off. He unstrapped the prostheses and left them in the legs of the pants, ready for morning.

Methos left him his boxers and undershirt, uncertain of how the man preferred to sleep. Without a word, Joe slid under the covers, lay on his back and put an arm over his face.

Methos gathered the discarded clothes and laid them over a chair. When he turned back to shut off the light he realized that Joe was trembling violently.

"Joe?" Methos' voice was warm with concern. "What is it?"

"N-n-nothing," he forced past chattering teeth. "Just got a bit of a chill, I guess."

Methos wasn't buying it. He pulled Joe's arm away from his face and took a close look at his friend. Then he swore softly. The Watcher's face was pale and his pupils were dilated. When Methos laid a hand on his brow, then chest, Joe's skin felt icy.

"Damn. You're in shock. And I gave you alcohol! Some doctor I am."

"I figured it was a Victorian cure," Joe joked weakly, then trembled so violently that Methos thought he was convulsing. "Wait here," he said over his shoulder as he left the room.

He came back carrying a glass of orange juice.

"Drink this; it'll help."

Joe struggled to sit up, then took the glass from him. Joe's hand was trembling so much that Methos sat beside him, an arm around his shoulder, then helped him guide the glass to his lips. When he had drained it, Methos set it beside the bed, then got up and began undressing. He stripped down to his boxers, then slipped into bed next to his friend.

"What the—" Joe stuttered.

"Come on, Joe. Let's warm you up. This is the fastest way and it's the approved Boy Scout method. I read it in the handbook." Methos slid an arm under Joe's head. He draped his other arm across the Watcher's broad chest and pulled him firmly against his own body. Joe resisted for a moment, then relaxed into the Immortal's warmth with a soft sound. He lay on his back, eyes shut, shivering; his head was pillowed on Methos' arm and he was unconsciously gripping the arm Methos had laid across his chest.

Gradually Joe's trembling eased. Methos watched his face carefully, wondering what was going on behind the closed eyes. As if in answer to his unspoken thought, Joe sighed deeply, opened his eyes and said quietly,

"Nothing helps. All I can see is Richie—"

Methos stopped him with gentle fingers against his lips. "Shhh." The hazel eyes fixed on his were luminous with grief. Without thinking, Methos tightened his arm, pulling Joe onto his side, gathering him closer. He gently kissed the broad forehead, tenderly brushing the silver hair out of the way with those long, cool fingers.

"Now it's time to sleep, Joe."

Joe shook his head, eyes wild.

"How? Richie is dead, MacLeod is mad, or we were wrong and there really is a demon walking around Paris—" He had Methos' arm in a desperate, painful grip. "I have never wanted to give up as much as I do right now, Methos. Not since I lost my legs. I learned to live with that. But this—" He broke off as harsh sobs tried to tear their way out of him again; he fought them down.

Watching him struggle, Methos realized how tenuous his own hold was, how close to despair and madness he was himself.

MacLeod was his friend, his brother and his best hope for the Game. In some way, MacLeod had come to mean salvation for Methos, some kind of penance for his whole twisted past. What sense was there in this madness? What purpose for him any longer? MacLeod had been the best and he was gone—not dead, but more truly gone than that. No longer himself, no longer a protector, but the murderer of one he had cherished.

Suddenly, the wave of blackest despair that rose threatened to swallow him whole. And Methos knew that drowning place. He had awakened from it one century to find himself Death on a Pale Horse.

"I will not go back," he vowed through gritted teeth, hardly realizing he had spoken aloud. Joe's shocked eyes met his an instant before Methos pulled him in and kissed him fiercely.

Joe resisted a moment, but it was futile. The Immortal's tongue demanded entry and could not be denied. The heat and taste of the mortal man's mouth was hope and life to Methos. The silky warmth found under his tongue, the scratch of Joe's beard on his face, the brush of his tongue as he finally kissed Methos back—they all lit the fire that drove back the darkness. It shocked along his nerves and demanded quenching.

Methos' fingers clenched in Joe's hair, imprisoning him, while he wrenched himself away from the other man's mouth. He leaned his forehead against Joe's; they were both panting, struggling for some control.

"Joe—sorry—," Methos gasped, "I need—"

"I know," Joe said and kissed him again. One strong hand came up and gently unclasped Methos' fingers from their painful grip in his hair. Their entangled hands came to rest between their chests.

Methos' head was swimming. This was madness, desperation, longing, grief. This was Dawson, the remote, rational part of his brain informed him and was entirely ignored. The sheer taste of him was intoxicating; citrus, Scotch, and an underlying sweetness that was the man himself. Methos nipped along his lower lip, teasing with the tip of his tongue, making Joe moan and meet him with his own tongue.

The older man pulled his hand free and skimmed down Joe's chest, exploring the solid muscle he had only suspected before. Slipping his hand beneath the undershirt Joe still wore, Methos ran his fingers back up through Joe's chest hair, pulling the shirt off as he went. He found himself desperate for the touch of skin on skin, roughly breaking their kiss to yank the shirt away. As he threw it aside, he rolled on top of Dawson, gasping as he felt the caress of calloused fingers down his bare back. He arched and their groins came in contact for the first time.

The shock was nearly electric and they both groaned. Dawson's strong arms tightened, clutching Methos more tightly to him. His own arousal was a surprise; he ached, he burned as if he were a teenager again. He had never wanted another man like this, not with this reckless hunger. His hands explored the long strong muscles of Methos' back, cupped his firm buttocks, delighting in their hardness. His skin was like warm silk, its touch addictive.

The Immortal's erection was rubbing against his own, through the thin cotton of their last remaining clothing. Methos' breath was hot in his ear, then he felt his mouth gliding down the side of his throat, nipping, kissing, sucking; Joe found himself writhing. A hard bite on his shoulder made him gasp and Methos kissed the spot gently, apologetically, then continued his rampage down the Watcher's chest.

He reverently kissed the starburst scars left from the bullets. So fragile, this mortal, yet so tough.

He slid down Joe's body, resting between Joe's thighs, his smooth stomach caressing the Watcher's straining erection with each ragged breath. Brushing his lips through the salt and pepper hair on Joe's chest, Methos found first one, then the other nipple, teasing them into hardness with his tongue.

The sensation went straight to Joe's cock, and he gripped Methos' shoulders roughly, gasping, "Please—," although he didn't know what he was asking for, just that he needed more.

The oldest Immortal did know, though. "Patience, Joe. Soon," he promised, dark eyes meeting dazed hazel. He bent his head and began licking fiery trails downwards, following the arrow of fine hair. When he got to the waistband of Joe's shorts, Methos gave a grunt of annoyance and pulled them off in one rapid movement, throwing the garment away impatiently. Joe's cock sprung free, begging for attention, head already seeping pre-ejaculate.

But Methos wasn't done with his exploration yet. The longer he drew this out, the longer until they had to face the darkness again.

He kissed a curving line from one hip to the other, lips barely touching the darkly curling hair, Joe's erection trapped beneath his throat. When Methos bit his hip, Joe twisted, breathing, "Adam!", the name by which he had first met this man. Smiling at that, his tormentor soothed him, caressing his thighs with gentle hands.

He noted the callouses left by the prostheses, drew his fingers along the scar-line of each stump, then kissed his way back up the inner thighs, making the man beneath him tense and wrap his fingers in the velvety black hair.

Methos gave in to Joe's silent urging and wrapped one hand around the mortal's straining cock. He stroked it, loving its silken hardness, the musky clean scent that was Joe's own, the way it jerked and danced beneath his touch.

Slowly, moving deliberately, Methos swirled his tongue across the purple head, relishing his first taste, then opened his mouth and took him deep inside. Joe arched his hips off the bed with gasp and his lover grinned with satisfaction. Methos began the torment in earnest, sucking, licking, nibbling and teasing his way up and down the shaft, feeling it grow even harder beneath his ministrations.

Joe felt those long, warm fingers fondling his balls and moaned. He was drowning in the wave of sensations that Methos was causing. Too long, it had been too long since he had felt this simple animal pleasure of being alive. He had to consciously unlock his fingers from what must have been a painful grip on Methos' hair and instead he cupped the Immortal's face, wondering at the angular shape of his jaw, the scrape of beard against his palms.

Methos was delighted with the impossibly tender skin he had found behind the sac; when he lapped at it, he was rewarded with a sob of pure need from the Watcher. Enough—it was time to bring him release.

He returned to his assault on the younger man's cock. This time, he sucked hard, swirling his tongue up and down the shaft. He scraped his teeth gently on the underside of the head and relished Joe's whimper when he reached up to pinch one nipple.

The mortal couldn't withstand this all-out attack on his senses very long. Joe felt himself drawn to the very edge. Looking down at Methos' dark head moving over him, his elegant mouth distended around his organ, the world exploded darkly and he shouted his release.

Methos welcomed the warm cream that spilled into his mouth. This was the taste of life itself—bitter, but something he craved. He swallowed again and again, his head still cradled in Joe's large hands. When at last Joe's shudders had ceased, Methos gave him one last, loving caress with his tongue, then slid up to kiss the panting mortal.

Joe tasted himself in Methos' kiss and felt an unexpected jolt of desire shoot through him again. He felt the Immortal's erection pressing into his thigh and he reached down to wrap his hand around it. He grinned when Methos gasped into his mouth—it was good to know that he wasn't the only one whose senses could be overwhelmed so easily. Joe stroked its satiny length, marveling how similar and yet how different it felt from his own. But there was more he wanted to know about Methos' body first. He released Methos' cock and began caressing him, drawing his hand in long, slow strokes from throat to waist.

Methos buried his face in Joe's neck and gave himself up to the mortal's exploration. The musician's sensitive hands cataloged the curve of Methos' collar-bone, and the long angle of the throat. Those calloused fingers found a nipple and began playing with it.

At his gasp, Methos felt an evil chuckle rumbling through his lover's chest. The fingers were replaced by a bearded mouth, hot and wet and demanding. Then Joe backed off and lightly rubbed his chin against the hardened nub, his wiry beard teasing Methos' over-sensitive flesh. The Immortal groaned and his body arched into Joe's arms as he transferred his attention to the other nipple.

The caress of that beard was maddening as it silk-scraped its way across his chest, then down his abdomen to the waistband of his shorts. Joe would light a fire with his lips, stoke it with the touch of his beard, then soothe it with his satiny tongue, only to torture him again with that beard. Methos was trembling and clutching at the sheets.

Hoping to distract him, if only for a moment, he said raggedly, "You're good at this, you know that, Joe?"

"So I've been told," Joe said with a grin. Suddenly shy, hesitating on the border of an undiscovered country, he slid back up to lie face to face with Methos. The hot, dark eyes that met his were filled with a need that he wasn't sure he could meet. Joe reached out and touched Methos' face, tracing its familiar contours with a finger. The sardonic brows, the long aquiline nose, the angular jaw and finally, the elegant lips.

As Joe's index finger slid across his bottom lip, Methos couldn't stand the sheer eroticism of this exploration any longer. He shifted slightly and captured Joe's finger in his mouth.

Joe felt the sudden hot velvet all around it and gasped. The Immortal played with his finger as if it were a small cock, the tip of his tongue flicking against the calloused pad, then sucking it hard. He scraped its length with his teeth, then brought it into the silky depths beneath his tongue. When he released it, Methos was pleased to note that his mortal lover was panting and hardening again.

But his own need was nearly blinding now. He nudged Joe's hip with his cock, silently pleading with him to finish what he had started. Shyness burnt away, Joe retraced his path down Methos' body, lips and beard and hands restoking the fires. This time, he did not stop at the waistband of Methos' boxers, but glided right into forbidden territory, his clever fingers smoothly pulling the fabric away before his mouth touched it.

The Immortal laid his hands on Joe's head, urging him toward the center of the fire. Ah, no—he was doing it again—"Oh yes," Methos hissed, as his body jerked at the silky rasp of that beard on his most sensitive flesh. Then the softness of the Watcher's open lips caressing the tip of his cock, exploring its shape and texture.

Remembering his lover's performance on his finger, Joe lightly dragged his teeth over the crown; the hands in his hair clenched. Feeling inexperienced and a little clumsy, he took the straining organ as far into his mouth as he could, caressing the underside with his tongue, trying not to gag at the unfamiliar sensation. The groan that Methos let out made Joe shiver and he redoubled his efforts.

This was power. This ability to make a strong man moan and whimper by merely kissing him—so. Joe ran his fingers through the dark, tightly curled hair, then down to cup the man's balls. They rested heavy in his hand, so like his own, yet completely alien. He gave his complete attention to them for a moment, licking and kissing, relishing their spicy scent and unique texture before Methos grated out, "Joe!"

The raw need in his voice sent another shock of desire through the younger man. He remembered something a lover had once done to him, something that had obliterated all thought. Smiling in anticipation, he took Methos' weeping cock back into his mouth, tasting his pre-ejaculate and finding it—strange, but not unpleasant.

Once he had gotten into a comfortable rhythm, Joe slid a finger down the crease of Methos' leg, following down past his balls and between his cheeks. Unconsciously, the Immortal spread his legs, giving him better access. He rested the tip of his finger, still wet with Methos' own saliva, on the ring of resilient muscle he found there, testing and remembering what his other lover had done. Ah, yes. He took the other man's cock as deeply into his mouth as he could, sucking hard, then slowly and firmly pushed his finger into that tight heat.

The slender body below him arched and his fingers dug painfully into Joe's skull. After a moment, Methos relaxed into the sensation, and Joe continued his assault. When the calloused tip of his finger found the older man's prostate, Methos' body spasmed and Joe pinned his hips to the bed with one strong arm.

As he stroked his finger across that dark, secret place again and again, Joe felt the organ in his mouth harden impossibly. The throbbing vein against his tongue warned him that Methos wouldn't be able to take much more and it excited him to be the one to push him past his limits. Joe growled in fierce pleasure at the idea and that small vibration sparked Methos' release. Light exploded behind his eyes and he came, crying out in an unknown language.

The spill of seed into his mouth was like a reward. Joe concentrated on swallowing as much of the sharp-flavored essence as he could. He continued stroking and sucking, drawing out Methos' writhing euphoria almost to the point of pain. He was stopped when Methos dragged his head away and up for a ferocious kiss. The heat and savagery of that embrace, and the trembling pressure of the Immortal's thigh against Joe's cock made him come again, gasping into Methos' mouth. He collapsed and they lay panting, sprawled together for long minutes.

Finally, Methos gently shifted Joe off of his chest and got up, staggering a little. He went to the bathroom and cleaned himself off, grinning a little at his reflection in the mirror; his eyes were wide and dazed, his mouth swollen. There was a line of raised welts from his ear, down his throat and across his chest. 'Hickies—at my age' he snorted. He looked exactly as he felt—physically sated and exhausted.

He brought a washcloth and a glass of cool water back to bed, turning out lights as he went.

Joe lay on his back, breathing deeply; Methos wondered if he were asleep. He didn't move when the Immortal sat on the bed next to him. Looking at his unguarded face, Methos saw the lines of grief, old and new, deeply etched into it. He also saw the lines left by the laughter that the man had never lost. So young, to have all that written on his countenance. Methos felt a wave of tenderness and stroked his lover's cheek with the backs of his fingers.

Joe's eyes opened and he looked directly into Methos'. And smiled. The older man hadn't even realized he was holding his breath until then; he smiled back, partly in pleasure, partly in relief. He noticed a drop of his own ejaculate in the beard at the corner of Joe's mouth. Methos scooped it up with the tip of one long finger and, eyes locked on Joe's, held it to the bearded lips. Joe's supple tongue delicately licked it off and Methos had to catch his breath at the sensation that rippled through him at that touch.

He handed Joe the glass of water and watched as he sat up and eagerly drank. Taking the washcloth, he gently cleaned his lover, paying special attention to his now-limp organ. At his touch, it spasmed and Joe gasped.

"Aftershocks," Methos quipped.

Joe nodded, face suddenly serious. "Will there be any other 'aftershocks', Methos?"

The Immortal said carefully, "There don't have to be, Joe. Tonight can just be one moment, out of time."

The hazel eyes slid away from his and down. Joe nodded and said flatly, "That's probably wisest." He reached for the covers and drew them up over himself, not looking at the man who sat beside him.

Methos cursed himself silently. Trying to be cautious, he had wounded where he had most wanted to heal. He decided to risk honesty. He reached out and took the musician's strong hand, saying,

"Or you could help me hold off the Darkness and invite me to share your bed, sometimes." Joe glanced sharply at him.

"I don't want to be wise, Joe. I want someone to touch me, to remind me that I'm alive and that the joy is still there, even when it looks blackest. You gave me that tonight." A touch of wonder crept into his voice. "You know who I was, what I am, and you still shared yourself with me."

"You're my friend, Methos." As simple as that, for this mortal man. What a gift, his friendship.

"And your sometime lover?" the Immortal prompted.

Joe nodded, then laughed, shaking his head in wonder. "Who'd have ever thought? Wait 'til MacLeod hears about this—" His laughter died as the evening's earlier events came rushing back.

Methos nodded once, then climbed over Joe and slid under the sheet next to him. "We worry about MacLeod tomorrow," he said firmly, pulling the Watcher into his arms and guiding the silver head to a comfortable position on his shoulder. With a sigh, Joe put an arm around Methos' chest and settled against him.

"Tomorrow," he agreed, as Methos gently stroked his hair, lulling him quickly toward sleep and oblivion. The Immortal reached out a long arm and turned off the light, allowing darkness to blanket the room.

But this was only the darkness of deep night and it held no special terrors for him. The real Darkness, the madness born of despair and grief, had been held off by this one mortal man who slept in his arms. Methos swore an oath, on the head of the man whose heart beat against his chest, that he would use this reprieve well; he would find MacLeod and, somehow, make a difference.


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