Disclaimer: Characters from the television series Highlander belong to Panzer-Davis productions. The plot is mine. Fugue is an experiment, an offshoot, a love letter to a very old desire.
Warnings: none. Mildly slashy.
Pairing, DM/M

Fugue 68
Jay Tryfanstone
June 2003

 

"In sickness and in health"

"By the blessings of Hymen"

"Jump the broom! Jump the broom!"

And early, only the smell of myrtle and the cool water of the sacred spring. He'd worn red, gold, white with the Senator's purple stripe: he'd gone crowned, garlanded and bareheaded. The first time, he'd gone barefoot and naked and so had she, slipping hand and hand into the darkness. So simple, like children finding each other in the tumble of a box bed. Laughing. She'd been as tall as he, grave eyed, with a tilt of humour to her brow. He remembered to this day the moment when they looked at each other and found love, like the first flower after the rains, grown between them unaware.

"Do you take this woman"

"By fire, by blood..."

In Haiti he'd married once and expediently to a woman who needed the shelter of his name. Her skin had been the colour of coffee brewed with milk. Two months after the priest had said his dry words over the pair of them, heads bent and hands clasped in silent conspiracy, she'd come to him and asked to do it properly according to her own rights. Under the light of an autumn moon.

"Papa Legba, open the gates.."

They'd killed a goat for him, despite the colour of his skin.

There had been time when he did not believe in love. He'd washed his heart in blood, written his name in pain and fire across the souls of a hundred mortal women and one immortal. Even then he lied to himself, for what did he bear Kronos but love?

A child's hand on his knee, a face lifted to his in innocent friendship, a calculating desire: the feel of a baby's skull in his fingers and the grass-blood smell of a woman heavy with milk.

"Her name is Eanna."

"Bahr-i-Khmet"

"Frances. Look, isn't she..."

Other men's children. He'd learned to walk away after the first time. He was no Marius, to chase the bloodline through the generations. What could he give them? Violence, duplicity, knowing when to run? ...and even that had deserted him, this time.

Sometimes it was easy, a matter of tumbling into the nearest hayrack or barn or the outer darkness away from the fire. Sometimes it was a gift offered in kind and sometimes a formal transaction.

"Honour my wives, stranger."

"Two camels. Take the bitch!"

"Menathos, my daughter asks me..."

Yet Safira, who he'd seen bent under the weight of a load of firewood and followed home simply for the look of gratitude in her eyes when he glanced at her in sympathy had loved him long and faithfully, whilst Murri-el-mamou - She had run away with the water carrier's son and had to be brought back, squawking incessantly, to be kept miserable with sherbets and sweetcakes until her father would take her back.

Last time he'd seen her she'd been vast and laughing, mother to four sons. They'd been friends, in the end, but not lovers.

Sometimes it was like that. Like Leah, unwanted elder sister, who'd come to him a month after the wedding and asked him, using the most formal of honorifics "My husband...teach me to read." Scholarly Leah, reading into the night by the flame of a single oil lamp, burning up with the power of knowledge. "Tell me...""What do you think...?" All mind, all bright, sharp intelligence unfettered, nothing of the body. He hadn't minded, had wanted her solely for the look in her eyes when he opened his boxes and showed her the wealth of words they contained.

"You look like a gazelle, all eyes."

"This is going to hurt. But it will pass."

"Oh, beloved..."

Buxom Sally, tumbled giggling behind the box hedge on a summer's afternoon. Alexa on a beach in Greece, thin and brown and happy. In sunlight, in darkness, between sheets and without: in love, in friendship, in the flame of pure lust. Aiden, twenty years old and already with two years of a rotten boroughs' vote behind him: John, with the monkey chattering from the bed hangings: sweet Diogenes laying aside his shield amongst the almond blossom.

"In Spring-"

"When the apples are ripe."

"Now."

He loved and had been loved gently, powerfully, jealously, with joy and balanced on the fine edges of madness. Curled like puppies, making love sweet as summer, knowing the hunger that can only be quietened by the soul of another. After a while, the face didn't matter. It was the words, the person, the mind in the flesh...

"Have you really seen the pyramids?"

"Leave that alone!"

"You are too important to lose."

Except when it was the flesh, the curve of Mirri's breasts plump as pouter pigeons in their cradling of silk, or the way Nazir's back flexed carrying wood. It was all love, all of it love, sweet and deep and abiding and mortal, yet he loved them yet and always would.

"Will you remember?'

"Do you love me?"

"Promise me you will marry again."

I will. I do.

And here at last that greatest of promises, the one that crept up on him unaware and then showed its claws like a lion.

"Methos?"

"What?"

"Come here."

That easy.

And not easy at all, bowled over, in lust, in love, laughing like children, fighting like heroes, running away terrified of the power of it, here, found and pinned like a butterfly under the lamp.

"Will it be like this always?"

"Light a candle for me at Samhain, when I leave you."

And now this. He looks up.

The man before him wants all his tomorrows.

How can he not lie? How can he not run harder and faster and deeper and longer, for ever?

The man in front of him wants forever.

He opens his mouth to say the searing words that will rend them apart in safety and nothing comes, for this is love and it burns like the sacred flame of the sanctuary.

"...Methos?"

Yes, he says, for how can he not, helpless and stripped of all his artifice. Yes, yes. Duncan. Yes. It's yours, it's all yours, always.

 

Fin

 

Fugue 68 has been translated into Chinese by AT - you'll find it here.
Please consider feedback to the translator.