Author: Athea (
Disclaimers: Song - Being Alive from the musical 'Company'. Music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.
Series: Highlander, Song Cycle #2
Being Alive

Methos threaded his way through the crowded tables, never once taking his eyes from MacLeod. Even from here, he could see the lines of tension in the familiar face. All right, the beloved face. He admonished his surprisingly mushy thoughts. It looked like their three-day separation had been as hard on Duncan as it had been on him. When had he gotten so wrapped up in another person that he couldn't last more than three lousy days?

"Is this seat taken?" He grinned down at the solemn face looking up at him. Hearing the low reply, he bent over and slid a brief but hard kiss across the parted lips before sitting down. Ah, scotch. By the looks of the bottle, some serious drinking had been going on without him.

"I missed you." Duncan licked his lips as if to capture all of the Methos-taste left on his full lips. "I didn't think it would be this hard to ..."

"Be apart?" Methos smiled tenderly at his faltering lover. "Neither did I. Next time I go searching for lost treasure, you're coming with me. I couldn't wait to get back to you."

Duncan blushed a rosy red, visible even in their dark corner, his eyes open and vulnerable. "I never thought I'd hear you say something like that. Amanda compared you once to Kipling's cat-who-walked-by-himself."

Methos snorted once and took a long drink of beer before answering. "Perhaps once, I did. But no longer, Highlander. You've ruined me for walking alone."

His companion shook his head and Methos felt a broad hand reach for his own under the table. Gripping it firmly, he wondered how to explain to this man just how profoundly he'd changed because of the love Duncan gave him so freely. Taking notice of the stage for the first time, he heard the sultry voiced singer announce her next song.

"One of my favorite musicals was 'Company' by Stephen Sondheim. The first time I heard Being Alive ..." she waited smiling while the crowd clapped enthusiastically, "I was in the very best relationship of my life. So whenever I can, I sing it for all of you who are, hopefully, in love with a wonderful person who loves you back."

The sax player began the introduction and she leisurely began.

"Someone to hold you too close
Someone to hurt you too deep
Someone to sit in your chair
And ruin your sleep
And make you aware of being alive."

Methos sighed and rubbed his thumb over the back of Duncan's hand. How true the lyrics were. MacLeod had hurt him with his condemnation and judgmental attitudes before and after Kronos, but he'd made him feel for the first time in centuries. All right, so some of the feelings were harsh scouring emotions that left him feeling like he'd been sandpapered raw. They beat the emptiness of not feeling at all.

"Someone to need you too much
Someone to know you too well
Someone to pull you up short
And put you through hell
And give you support for being
Alive -- being alive
Make me alive, make me confused
Mock me with praise, let me be used
Vary my days, but alone is alone, not alive."

Duncan was nothing if not steadfast in his loyalty. Once given, his love was all the support that Methos could have asked for. He knew him, the worst of him and the best of him. The Boyscout confused the hell out of him sometimes. How could he keep that chivalric nonsense after four hundred years? But he had and somehow he'd incorporated a spot for his lover that accepted Methos and all that he was while keeping the demons away with his caring and his love.

"Somebody hold me too close
Somebody force me to care
Somebody make me come through
I'll always be there
As frightened as you of being alive
Being alive, being alive."

Smothered was more like it. Methos slid the extra inch so their legs were touching all up and down their length. The heat warmed him and he turned slightly to watch this incredible man who with sheer force of will had turned his life inside out and made him re-enter the Game. Because he cared so deeply that Methos had been seduced by the very emotions he'd locked away for so long.

The brown eyes were windows to a soul of such warmth and compassion. He was an enigma and at the same time, as open and innocent as a child. The oldest immortal shook his head and felt his mouth curl into a grin. How had he gotten so lucky this late in a misspent life to find such a treasure?

"Someone you have to let in
Someone whose feelings you spare
Someone who, like it or not
Will want you to share a little,
A lot of being alive.
Make me alive, make me confused
Mock me with praise, let me be used
Vary my days, but alone is alone,
Not alive."

He'd thought to get away from the intense togetherness that Duncan took for granted would be their constant state but being away from his lover had been a lesson in loneliness. His self-sufficiency had faltered and sunk beneath an ocean of longing. He'd missed the Highlander's touch, his morning coffee, the horrible sound of his singing in the shower and the presence in his soul that the man had carved so deeply. He'd missed being held tightly at night and waking to the sound of a reassuring heart beat under his ear.

"Somebody crowd me with love
Somebody force me to care
Somebody make me come through
I'll always be there
As frightened as you to help
Us survive.
Being alive, being alive, being alive
Being alive."

MacLeod had, of course, forced him to care about the world again. To let others into the once impregnable heart that had fearfully ignored the teeming masses because it hurt too damn much. He felt it all now. The fear, anger, frustration ... the passion, wonder and always, the love. Such a gift this man had given him.

They clapped along with the rest of the audience and Methos raised the last of his beer to Joe who had spotted him with MacLeod and sent a grin his way. He shivered slightly and his lover slipped an arm around him, his warm hand snaking up under his jacket to rub his back. He shivered again but it wasn't cold now. He'd been too long without Duncan's healing touch.

"Do you know how much I love you, Highlander?"

"I think I may have forgotten, Old Man. Why don't we go home and you can show me?" The smoky accents so close to his ear made Methos stir restlessly.

"Why don't we? I've got this ... ache that maybe you could help me with?" Methos kept his voice soft and even while he watched Duncan's eyes go meltingly dark.

"After this next song, they'll take a break and we can sneak out the back."

"Sneak!" Methos snorted and stole his lover's glass of scotch. Draining it in a single gulp, he leaned back and rested his hand on Duncan's thigh to begin a playful rubbing. "I never sneak. I just leave very quietly."

MacLeod laughed gently and leaned back as well so they sat shoulder to shoulder and waited with growing anticipation for what ever might come. Methos sighed and snuggled a little bit closer. Hiding a grin, he slid his massaging hand three inches to the left and began stroking a different muscle. As long as it was together, he was content to let the future take care of itself. He'd take care of the Boyscout.

The end for now