Swords at Sunset Entry 8 by Sylvan
[Reviews - 0] Printer Chapter or Story

- Text Size +

Swords at Sunset
"Harlequin, Schmarlequin, read me some slash."
Entry # eight
We Who Are About To Fall

The afternoon light was dimming. The forest around Duncan MacLeod was graying. This was the magical time of year, between summer and winter, which whispered and spoke of death and life to come. He was twenty years old, and on his own. He had sought to prove himself by finding a mighty boar for the fall feast. When he had cornered the boar, he took a mis-step. The animal had rushed at him and caught him in the left leg. Duncan had escaped up a tree, but he knew the leg was broken.

He had hurt himself before, small injuries that throbbed and stung and incapacitated him a bit. This was deeper and alarmed him. He was not sure how badly it was broken. The sharp, stabbing pain had faded a bit, and he could feel his leg swelling within his boot. Frustrated, he camped out at the bottom of a huge, old tree. He would just have to cut himself a staff and brace the injured leg. He dared not put his weight on it. An earlier test had almost made him black out. The pain that tore at him was gut deep and made him giddy for a few moments.

An older anguish almost replaced the pain of his injured leg. He needed to find a major game trail, then set some sort of trap. Otherwise he would have to return with nothing.

He already had worse than nothing. Dougal had been gone a year. Deborah was chaste. Oh, Deborah. Now, when he was ready to marry, SHE would be the one. She would bear beautiful sons! Duncan was looking forward to begetting them. Deborah was tall for a woman. Her hair was as red as a fox's fur. Her eyes shone with sunlight, her skin was fair and soft. Her breasts were full and rounded. He had spent many an hour in contemplation of those breasts. Not to mention her equally rounded bottom. It was a pity her father kept her under such a close watch.

Duncan was at that awkward age. He was too old to get a man for a lover and there were no boys in the proper age-range for him to take as a lover. Duncan had not been chaste since the day he knew enough to say yes to someone he wanted. Again, the thought came around: Dougal would not return for several months. Dougal towered over even Duncan's father. He of the huge muscles and a fair sized.... Damn it all, anyway. He had satisfied himself many nights over the last year, but it was so much better with someone else. Satisfying himself had no surprises. And his leg ached, damn it.

The forest was quiet. Ever since Duncan had made camp, he had felt as if the world was holding its breath, as of some momentous occurrence waiting its moment. He had two hares, caught much earlier before he injured himself, roasting over the fire. It was a low, hot fire. It cast little smoke into the air to attract anyone's eyes. The embers were hot but the fire itself was not so bright. As the day was over and it was getting dark, he added more wood to raise the flames. He did not particularly like the darkness. There was still that feeling. That faint prickle upon his shoulders. Something was out there, watching him. Harvest season was both good and bad. It was the time when ghosts were free, preparing the way for the winter deaths.

A noise whispered down from the tree above him. He looked up quickly. There! The branches shifted, the yellowish leaves rustled against one another. Something was coming down the tree and making no effort to hide itself. That meant it was no animal. Duncan's curiosity got the better of him. He stood up, carefully keeping his weight off of his injured leg, his sword at ready. "Who are you?"

A strange face appeared among the branches. Duncan was startled by the beardless young man he saw above him. Long, dark hair hung down, bright eyes were far apart in a too-sharply boned face. The ridge of the nose was narrower than any man's he had ever seen, the mouth was small and curled mockingly at the edges. Duncan was annoyed by the outlandish youngster's obvious amusement.

The boy spoke. "I'm no one." His voice was a complete surprise. It was no boy's voice but a man's. It curled and rolled deeply. Even in that short statement there was a musical, exotic quality to it.

It sent a shiver through Duncan. Fae! Mary, Mother of God, please protect me. He shook his head, sure that this creature was attempting to cast a spell on him. He gripped the stone ring tied at his side. It was proof against magic, blessed by the Church. What am I afraid of? I have protection. "What are you doing up that tree?"

"Hiding from my enemy. You aren't he. I didn't expect you to stay here."

Duncan detected a note of exasperation in the magical voice. He smiled up at the pale, young face. "I'll stay anywhere I like!" he called. He had no intention of letting this stranger continue to laugh silently at him. "Come to me, or I won't let you out of the tree." He felt a heady sense of power as the other man's face went watchful, the faint smile vanishing. There was something about the man. Duncan felt drawn to him. Again he felt a sense of alarm. Like any good Scot, Duncan carried with him a chain of iron. He could use it to bind a witch or other magical being. Then, whatever he bound would have no power over him. As soon as he thought that, he felt better.

The stranger came down. Duncan quickly reached into his pouch and drew out the iron chain. The pale man landed lightly, silently, in front of him and eyed him warily. Duncan held out the chain. "Fasten this 'round your neck."

The man took it in his hands. They were large hands with broad, square palms and long fingers. He moved them with easy elegance. The amusement seeped back into his features, making his eyes warm and shine. "An iron chain. How quaint." He said nothing more and did as Duncan bade him.

His eyes flashed when Duncan took his sword from him, but he remained silent, merely watching as Duncan carefully hobbled away and laid it on the opposite side of the fire.

Duncan came back and leaned very close, the better to study this strange catch he had made. The man's skin was astonishingly pale under the normal dirt of a traveler. His eyes were large and of the most peculiar golden-brown color amidst thin features. He had a pronounced and rather oddly shaped nose. He was almost of a height with Duncan, just a bit shorter. He wore furs over woven wool garments. He met Duncan's curious gaze fearlessly. Fascinated, Duncan's thoughts turned to the thinness before him and he asked, "When did you eat last?"

The question seemed to startle the man. He pursed his thin lips and frowned. "Yesterday, at nooning about."

Duncan had to forcibly rein in the pity he suddenly felt. The devil or a Sidhe could use his feelings against him. "You may sup at my fire, if you serve me tonight."

A hint of surprise appeared in the thin features. The man tilted his head and stared at Duncan. The expression in his eyes was difficult to interpret. It seemed peculiarly innocent, and yet knowing. Those eyes swept down briefly to rest on Duncan's sore leg. Finally, the man asked calmly, "If I serve you tonight, will you release me in the morning?" He fingered the chain around his neck, yet his gaze on Duncan seemed light as a feather and almost saucy.

"I swear to God I will," Duncan replied solemnly. "What are you called?"

An expression of amusement leapt across the man's face. "Call me Job."

Could a fae know the Bible, Duncan wondered in surprise. "I am Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod," he replied. The man nodded acceptance.

Duncan had Job remove the rabbits from the fire. He had roasted them, and did not want them to burn now that the flames were leaping higher. Job cut the meat off the rabbits in strips. Duncan was puzzled at first. He would have just held his rabbit and started to eat. Job came to kneel in front of him, then began to set bits of rabbit between his lips. With each tidbit, the strange man brushed Duncan's face with his fingers, head tilted slightly to gaze with that peculiar innocent curiosity. It was almost like being served by a woman.

With a woman, a man could be tender. With a man, he was not supposed to be. That was the way Duncan had been raised. Job, however, seemed ignorant of those social customs. Duncan stopped worrying about magic. Job was bound. He was also not of the clan nor any neighboring tribe. If Duncan wanted to leisurely seduce him as though he were a woman, no one would know.

When they had finished the rabbits, both faced the fire. Duncan pulled Job close in front of him. No longer hungry for food, he placed his hands firmly upon the mysterious man's body. Job sat still as those hands found their way through his clothing to touch his skin.

As he moved his hands along Job's torso, Duncan was surprised. He had expected the man to be weak-limbed. Job was very thin, but his muscles were firm and hard. The man was trimmer than Duncan, who closed his eyes to savor the feel of the firm muscles he touched. Job's skin was cool. As Duncan's wandering hands parted his clothes and allowed the night air in, the man began to shiver. Duncan had enough sensitivity to recognize the reason for the shiver. He pulled Job tightly against his chest. He knew where to touch to heat the man up. All the places he liked to be touched.

He sent his right hand up and began a slow circling of the nipples on the hairless chest. That had been something of a surprise. No hair on a man? The nubs were already taut from the chill air and his touch drew a small sound from the other man. Job suddenly shifted a hand back and began to knead Duncan's crotch. Duncan caught his breath at the pleasure that shot through him, and switched hands under Job's clothing. He slid his left up to the man's mouth, asking for entry. Job opened his lips and licked and sucked on the fingers.

The sensations were too much for Duncan. He swiftly bared Jobs' buttocks and bent him over. Job shuddered, his breath coming in quiet, husky pants. Duncan, leaning on his right arm and bracing his body against Job's, forced a wet finger in. The skin that closed around him was hot, somehow carrying strength even there, between the hard buttocks. Feeling the tremors that ran through the man, he pulled out and thoroughly wetted his fingers with his spit. He pushed two fingers inside Job. A gasp acknowledged his actions. He slid his fingers most of the way out then back inside with a hard jab.

Job's voice, used for the first time since he had acquiesced to Duncan's demand, whispered hoarsely, "Get it over with."

Duncan shifted, resting his weight on his right leg and ran his other hand down between Job's legs. The man was hard and pushed forward into Duncan's hand. His manhood was impressively long and thick. Deciding the reason for his words was desire rather than protest, Duncan did what he could to stoke the desire higher. He moved his fingers slowly in and out. Job's body twisted. He tried to impale himself on Duncan's fingers, and to spear the hand on his crotch. Unable to hold himself any more on that lone leg, Duncan shifted his hand up to Job's chest, using the man to counterbalance him. Job turned his head back, his mouth open and Duncan kissed him, enjoying the feel of open reception and begging need, and the tongue that reached for him and sent heat through his body.

Duncan continued to slide his other fingers slowly back, and then violently forward. Job met each jab, small cries torn from him. Soon, Duncan knew that it was time, and he replaced the fingers with his manhood. The first thrust forced a hoarse shout from Job's throat. As Job pushed back against him, Duncan let go and continued to pump in and out. The heat surrounding him and squeezing on him drew him faster. He was able to rest his weight on his left knee without jarring the injured ankle too badly. He gripped Job's shoulders, digging in tightly. He could hear his own breathing, as ragged as Job's, and feel the heat generated between their bodies. He was turning inside out with the sheer pleasure of it and his cry joined Job's as their bodies found release.

There was a sudden lurch and Duncan opened his eyes to see the branches near him waving wildly. It took him a moment to register that Job was gone. Dawn's dim light brightened the camp and he sat up, blinking. Then behind him he heard the sound of a horse galloping toward the camp. Duncan collected his sword and levered himself quickly to his feet, shaking the sleep out of his eyes. The horse burst into the clearing, its rider towering over Duncan. Slowed down as he was, he could not raise his sword to defend himself. The rider kicked it out of his hands and landed on top of him. Duncan was on the ground with a blade at his throat before he even knew what had happened. It was only sheer luck that he did not land on his injured leg.

"WHERE IS HE?" the man demanded.

"Who?!" Duncan managed to gasp out. "Get off me!" He punched at the face over his. The man punched back, fist cracking against Duncan's jaw with startling force. Duncan was dazed.

The man's blade bit into his throat. Fierce, piercing blue eyes bore into his. "I know he was here. I felt him. Now, WHERE is he?"

"I don't know! He was gone when I woke!" Duncan struggled with the panic he felt. This man had "felt" Job? What sort of creatures were they? The man wore sheets of metal like the knights in the old stories. His eyes looked crazed.

They bore into Duncan's, and suddenly the malice took on a more directed shine. An ugly smile spread across the reddish face. "Well, Herodotus! What a gift you've left me!" the man shouted to the woods. "Quite a lot of potential here! I'll just take this one in your stead!"

Duncan would have loved to struggle, but the blade at his throat was unyielding and sharp. The madness in the eyes of the man who had him pinned was daunting. The man's hand flew at him again and slammed into his chin repeatedly. Light flared around him with the pain and when his vision cleared he found his wrists manacled together. He shook his head and his vision blurred. Then he was jerked forward and up, pivoting madly as he tried to keep off his left leg.

The man had knotted a rope through Duncan's manacles. Mounted, he held the other end and directed his huge, blood bay horse to a fast walk. The unyielding rope pulled Duncan after them. Inevitably, he went off-balance and his full weight settled on the injured leg.

The pain he had felt earlier, when he had carefully tested his ankle, was nothing in comparison with this. It went straight through every bone in his body. An agonizing, searing, blinding pain that drove him senseless. He was on the forest floor, blinking up at the overcast sky visible between the trees. Laughter rang harshly in the air.

"You aren't as strong as you look!"

The man used the rope to pull Duncan to his feet and drag him to the horse's side. Duncan could not put any weight on his left ankle without collapsing, and he leaned trembling against the bay, his arms pulled across the animal's withers. The crazy man dismounted, keeping the rope taut, and jerked Duncan's boot off. The young Highlander bit his lip to keep from crying out as the man manipulated his leg. The pains struck at him like little whips whose edges somehow embedded themselves into his bones.

"Broken leg. Perhaps I should put you out of your misery." Hands tested the resilience of his muscles and pinched at his sides. "You barbarians are filthy. Do you never bathe? Too much flesh on your bones, boy. Too soft. I should just kill you."

"You might kill me, but you'll never get my soul!" Duncan snapped angrily.

The hands touching him went still. Frightened by the sudden silence, he turned his head and found that the man was staring at him. The crazed expression had been replaced by one of intense deliberation.

"You are so right, boy." The gaze suddenly snapped brightly on him, and he almost cringed. "I'll just see if I think your potential is worth keeping you for a time before taking your head."

What..? The man's hard left hand closed about Duncan's injured ankle and twisted it, the pain almost blinding as his leg was lifted. The right hand slid under his kilt and up between his thighs. Duncan would have struggled when he felt fingers shove into his anus. However, at that moment the man dug his other fingers hard into Duncan's ankle, grinding on the injured bone and the young man's muscles turned to jelly. All that kept him up was the horse he leaned against and the grip of his enemy. For a moment, all he was aware of was the pain in his ankle. Then the fingers inside him shifted and a terrifying, yet familiar pleasure joined the pain.

Duncan could not breathe. He struggled against the two growing sensations. They began to overlap. He whimpered at the feeling of leather against his trembling chest, and the feeling of his manhood pressed against the horse's flank. Impossibly, the pain in his ankle flared suddenly and Duncan cried out. Blackness seared his vision and when it passed, he found the fingers had been replaced with the other man's member. With this less directed touch the pleasure no longer swept so high; but it had already drawn him painfully erect.

When the man finished and withdrew, Duncan no longer had anything to keep him up and he slumped, sliding down the horse's flank. He choked with each breath. Then a hand closed around his hard manhood, another one dug into his right shoulder and drew him painfully back up.

"Much too soft. Still, that won't take long to change."

He was released, and the other man mounted the bay. Then a hand fisted into his hair and another hooked under his buttocks. He was hauled upwards to lie in front of the man and across the horse's withers. Duncan tried desperately to lift his head and memorize the course they took as the man urged his horse into a swift canter.

The horse was trotting, each step jerking him. They rode into a small camp. Duncan saw two men on guard. There were three horses very similar to the one he was on. A large wagon was at one end of the camp, and two other horses, grays, were tethered near it. Just as he took that all in, hands dug in to his shoulders and threw him off the horse. He landed on his back, his breath knocked out. Shaking his head to clear it, he rolled over onto his right side and tried to get up. That was a mistake. His left ankle buckled under him and he collapsed, unable to hold himself up with his wrists manacled together. He was not even aware of the cry that broke from him.

"Not much endurance, either," the man commented.

He shuddered and turned his head to see the crazy man above him. He told himself there was nothing drawing him to this creature, nothing fascinating about him. There was only a terrible nausea in the pit of his stomach. Yet the man's eyes gleamed with a compelling light, however frightening it was. Job, or Herodotus, had been fleeing this man. Duncan had very nearly caused his capture, only to be taken as replacement. Well, the joke was on the man. Duncan doubted he would be much of a replacement for the sensual Job. Nothing strange had happened on the ride. No faerie gates opened in the hills. Somehow he would escape and make his way home to Glenfinnan.

There were a few tents; cloth and oiled skins covering stout wooden posts to make shelters. The man pulled Duncan to his feet and helped him walk inside one. At the center of the tent was a separate stout post. After careful consideration, the man tied Duncan's wrists so high that he had to stand on the toes of the one foot that could support him. Duncan swallowed and leaned on the post. "What are you going to do with me?" he asked, dismayed to hear how small his voice was.

The other man ignored him this time. He began removing Duncan's clothes. What could not be taken off because of the shackles and rope, he cut off. Finished, he ran his hands down Duncan's sides, again pinching at the skin. He brushed his fingers between the helpless young man's legs. Duncan felt his fear curl higher and closed his legs tightly, trying to put the pole between himself and the other man. Again, the man's hand closed on his injured ankle. If possible, it hurt more than it had before and Duncan lost control of his legs, moaning as his weight went full on his manacled wrists. Again, the man moved his fingers into Duncan's anus and stroked the point that gave such frightening pleasure no matter what the rest of the body felt. Duncan hid his face against the pole, horrified at his body's response.

The man leaned in, his weight forcing Duncan to rub against the pole, his fingers giving both pleasure and bone-jellying pain. "I'm going to improve your endurance and trim you down." Duncan's manhood swelled as the madman breathed words into his ear. "He had you last night, didn't he?"

"No," Duncan managed to reply. It was only the truth. He suddenly wished it were not. Then this overwhelming feeling would not be so new to him. Job's sensuality left no doubt that he could have shown Duncan pleasure beyond anything the young MacLeod had experienced before. This... this crazy man, though he forced pleasure upon Duncan, was brutal, taking full advantage of Duncan's injury. Job was like... like an angel by comparison. He had not hurt Duncan at all.

The man laughed in his ear. "Oh, I know he did." Then he crushed Duncan's ankle and as the young Highlander began to pass out from the pain, did something inside him that somehow exploded pleasure until everything went black.

Duncan regained consciousness. He was no longer in agony, but his leg ached dully, and the skin from his chest to his groin felt raw. He was on his knees, the ropes holding him against the pole loosened enough to let him kneel. He could not swallow, his mouth was dry and he worked to bring up some spittle. He became conscious of movement nearby and turned his head.

A naked woman moved towards him with a pan in her hands. She was gaunt, starving. Her cheeks were hollows, her eyes sunken in her face. Her pale hair hung limp. There was symmetry in the angles of her face, in the balance of her dark-nippled breasts. If she only had enough to eat, she would plump out and be very beautiful, he thought. She crouched and placed the pan behind him.

He worked his throat. "Water, please?"

She did not seem to hear him. She simply got up and exited the tent, her shoulders hunched and head down.

It was later that it became obvious what the pan was for. Duncan, afraid of the unknown consequences if he did not use it, finally did. The woman appeared again. She obviously had been waiting. She removed the pan and returned with it empty. She cleaned him off and vanished again.

Darkness settled. In the black tent, shivering in the chill air and trying not to think about how dry his throat was and the emptiness of his stomach, Duncan's thoughts swung back to Job. The thinness made sense, now. This crazy man liked his slaves starved to the edge of death. Duncan shivered. Though he had not known it at the time, he must have taken advantage of Job. The escaped slave, clearly accustomed to being used for this man's pleasure, probably thought he had to allow Duncan to take him. If I escape, I'll find you. Tell you how sorry I am. Give myself to you. Granted, by his people's custom Duncan was too old to be taken. So was Job, though ignorant of the fact. Duncan's flesh crawled and his shivering increased to violent shudders before the chill passed. If he escaped.

He woke as he was entered. The force of the entry shoved his body against the post and he had to brace himself away from it as he was invaded to keep from being rubbed raw again. This time it simply hurt, and his throat was too dry to utter more than hoarse gasps. Finishing, the man withdrew. Duncan cringed as he felt a hand grip deep in his hair. The man pulled Duncan's head back and squirted water into his throat. Relief knifed through his body. He swallowed the water but it was gone too quickly.

"You want more?" the man asked him, breath warm on his ear.

His flesh crawling, he mustered defiance. "Not from the likes of you!"

The man laughed low in his throat and took the water away.

Duncan was left alone for the rest of the day. By late afternoon, he was nearly unconscious from lack of water and his stomach's emptiness overrode the dull ache in his leg. He leaned against the pole and wondered dully if the madman would come and give him water again. He needed liquid desperately. His mind was fogging with the need. He shuddered slightly, as it occurred to him that if he cooperated, he would surely be treated more gently. His thoughts circled around, as they often did, to the mysterious pale man. Job had not been cowed by this man. Job had escaped this and there were not many guards. Sneaky, he must have pretended to be broken, then waited for a moment of carelessness and slipped away. Not that recently, Duncan guessed, or he would have looked as starved as the woman.

Duncan's heart skipped a beat. Blackness swept across his vision in blobs. Am I dying? he wondered. Hard fingers laced into his hair and pulled his head back. The crazy man again, pouring liquid slowly down his throat. Duncan's thoughts went blank as he desperately swallowed. The liquid was some sort of fermented drink, perhaps mead. It sent his head spinning horribly but at the same time filled his stomach with its thickness. Why does Job matter so much to you?

"A good question. I will answer."

It took Duncan a moment to realize he had asked his question aloud. His whirling head was leaking thoughts.

A sound, as of a stool scraping across the ground, and the madman was seated beside him. The man laughed, then began to speak. "My father was a senator in Rome. Herodotus was a slave from Athens. Father bought him to have him educate me in all matters Greek. He was a fine teacher, I learned a great deal. He was also a fine slave. My father kept him the nights. I had him the days. And then one day my father's enemies tried to kill us. Father died, and I learned that I was not as other men." He stopped speaking to take a long drink of the mead. Setting his mug down, he continued. "Nor was Herodotus. He undertook to teach me what I was. In teaching me, he forgot his place. He kept telling me I could not do things. That there were certain things I HAD to do. He told me our kind could not keep each other as slaves." The madman leaned forward, his gaze intense. "I had him flogged within an inch of his life, to remind him of his place. When he recovered, he became a good slave again, but he stopped teaching me.

Eventually, my associates realized that I was different. Instead of honoring me, as they should have, they attacked my household and I was forced to flee. I didn't see Herodotus again for decades. He had forgotten his place again. I tried to remind him of the obedience he owed me, and he fled." Suddenly, the madman smiled coldly. "Actually, he tried to take my head. My guards protected me. It's become a tradition of ours. I come after him, and he cuts a swath through my guards trying to get me. I have only a few guards left from this generation's crop. The last time I almost caught him, I had to settle for his wife and her two children."

Duncan shuddered. He had known from the moment he laid his eyes on Job that the man was no mere mortal. If this crazy man was like Job, Duncan could not see it. Still, he believed what he was hearing. Something in him bent to the breaking point. There seemed no avenue of escape for an ordinary man like himself, especially with his broken leg. In his mind's eye, he imagined himself as starved and empty eyed as the slave-woman.

Fingers bit into his chin and turned his head to meet the madman's eyes. "Actually, I believe you had him." The man's right hand closed on Duncan's ankle and clenched. Duncan was too tired to even flinch at the pain; it simply joined the other agonies of his body. "He gave himself to you. Certainly you couldn't have forced him, with this leg. For that, you will suffer." He shoved Duncan's legs apart and positioned himself to enter the young man. "You really should keep your hands to yourself."

Duncan MacLeod did not think about the things that were done to him. All he could think was that he could do nothing to stop it. He had no command over his bodily responses. Pain, pleasure, both existed at the wish of another. He could not return to Glenfinnan. He could not hide what had happened to him. Everyone would know.

In the dark of the night, the sound of metal on metal jerked him from his dehydrated daze, and he thought he heard someone shouting. He could not make out the words. He closed his eyes, but each sound of metal clashing sent a cold shiver through him. Then there was a terrible crash of metal, and silence fell.

Pressure suddenly built all around him. His ears popped and the sensation was gone, but outside the tent he could hear what sounded like a storm. Lightning flashed. The tent lurched as though it had been struck solidly. Duncan thought he could hear a man utter a low, wordless cry of anguished despair that spoke to him. I know how you feel, he thought. Then the tent brightened. It was on fire. Duncan watched the flames numbly as they climbed the hides.

The tent entrance flew open as a man rushed through it. He slashed at the ropes holding Duncan to the post. It was Job, or Herodotus. He caught the stunned young man, levered him to his feet and dragged him out of the tent, past a number of dead bodies to fetch up against a large tree. Job ignored the flaring tents and began removing Duncan's manacles. In shock, Duncan finally closed his eyes and retreated into senselessness.

He woke to find himself wrapped in warm furs. Hesitantly, he breathed in the smells around him. The scent of cooked meat made his mouth water. When he turned his head, he saw the slave woman sitting beside him. She was clothed in a simple dress. He thought dazedly that she looked puzzled. She held a skin in her hands, which she dipped toward him. He opened his mouth and tasted a thick liquid. It was warm and surprisingly good. He did not recognize it.

Job appeared over the woman's shoulder. "Not too much," he admonished gently. She obediently took the skin away. At Job's gesture, she moved back from them and out of Duncan's sight. Job gently uncovered Duncan's injured leg and looked at it critically. To the young man's surprise, his leg had been set and dressed. He felt no pain at all. Job was nodding calmly. "It will be as good as new. I knew what to do." Now his eyes swept Duncan's face, brow furrowing with concern. "How are you?"

Duncan sat up, the furs slipping off his shoulders. The cold fall breezes made him tremble and he drew a sharp breath. He stared at Job, marveling at the clean beauty of the man's features, at the steady rationality in his eyes. Duncan thought hopelessly, He could never want me.

Job reached out and cupped Duncan's chin in his palm. His hand was warm. "We bathed you-" he stopped speaking with a gasp.

Duncan had tilted his head and rubbed his face against Job's palm. He caught the man's longest fingers and sucked them into his mouth, stroking them with his tongue. He closed his eyes and imagined Job's manhood, his palms tingling with the memory of its length and thickness. He wanted to have Job inside him. He also felt that he was far too small and insignificant to deserve a man with the strength to survive and escape from that madman.

He did not know that he was weeping until Job leaned forward and licked the teardrops off of his cheek. "Steady, Duncan MacLeod."

At that he sobbed. You care. You care about me. He crawled forward into Job's arms and rubbed himself against the other man. "Please," he managed to whisper. Take me. Job's breath was coming faster and his arms tightened around Duncan's shoulders. Suddenly he pulled the young man's head up and kissed him. Duncan felt as though his entire body burned. The tongue stroking into his mouth was incredible, but it was being too gentle for the likes of him. He opened his mouth wider and spread his legs, stroking Job's magnificent manhood through the cloth covering it.

Suddenly, Job pushed him away and forced him down on his back. The face looking down at him was troubled, eyes deep wells searching his. He could not identify the thoughts flickering across that face. Suddenly, Job smiled down at him. It was a small, mysterious smile which held a hint of sadness. Job bent down slowly. Hypnotized, Duncan stared as the other man hovered just above his left nipple. When Job's lips finally closed over the small, taut flesh, Duncan's whole body jerked. As it continued, teeth were brought into play to scrape his skin.

Duncan groaned. His hand twitched. He wanted to pull Job's face harder against him. In his mind's eye, he suddenly saw the mad blue eyes of the Roman. Sheer terror iced through him. He knew himself to be a coward. He was no longer fit to be the son of a clan chieftain. He could not become a chieftain. He could not command men and lead them into battle. "Please," he whispered to Job, "I want to be your slave."

Job brushed his fingers across Duncan's lips. "Take off my clothes."

Duncan obeyed, trembling afterwards as he stared at the other man's body. Long and lithe, trim and muscular. So much more than I could ever be, he thought.

Job cupped his chin. "You will take me, Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod."

Duncan quaked, shrinking. "I can't... not me, I'm nothing-"

Job's hand closed over his mouth firmly. "You can. Lucius has destroyed many people. I won't let him win this time." He moved his hand to stroke Duncan's hair. "You are so much more than I am."

Those words, echoing his own previous thoughts, stunned Duncan. Yet he could not move forward. His manhood shrank. Job pushed Duncan down again on the furs. He stroked the young man's body firmly for a short time, then bent and took Duncan's manhood in his mouth. Hot, warm and wet. A tongue that curled and flicked. Sucking tantalizing as fingers played across his chest. As his member hardened, Duncan began to feel that wonderful, overwhelming sensation, forcing him to move. His body seemed astonished that there was no pain. He thrust his hips upward as his mind went blank with need, little mewling cries escaping his throat.

Job released his manhood and straddled him. Duncan stared blankly up at Job. Again, Job caught Duncan's chin in one hand, making their eyes meet. The young man felt light as a feather, blown on the wind and Job was one of the lochs, upon whose surface he was slowly touching down. Slowly... his thoughts scattered in a thousand directions as silken heat closed around his manhood. He felt the shudder that ran through Job's entire frame. Job's mouth dropped open and he groaned as he sank upon Duncan. The young Highlander thrust upward into the blazing heat even as he wondered how Job had known such an act was possible.

Job dropped his hands onto Duncan's chest and braced himself. He shifted his fingers to stroke the young man's nipples. Duncan's heart slammed in his chest and he writhed, locking his hands onto the graceful hips and pulling Job more tightly on him. His wrist brushed Job's manhood and he loosed one hand to wrap it around the proud flesh. He stroked a few times, his own body blazing and silently screaming pleasure at him. The silk surrounding him tightened, loosened and then began doing so erratically as liquid seeped from the head of Job's manhood. Job fought the orgasm, moaning fitfully and tossing his head. He reached his right hand down to push Duncan's away and Duncan quickly threw Job's other hand off his chest, bringing Job crashing down. Duncan almost lost it then, but he caught the man's lips with his own, curling up and thrusting as hard as he could into Job's body.

It was Job, now, who writhed frantically, his manhood trapped between them. His body began spasming. Hot liquid spouted between their stomachs to quickly cool and the wrest of Job's orgasm sent Duncan over the edge, gasping and nearly blacking out. His head spinning, he sobbed with relief that he was capable of pleasuring Job.

"Will you keep me?" he whispered later into Job's right ear.

Job stroked his face. "I can't keep you. Someday you'll need a proper teacher. Not me. Look how I failed with Lucius."

Duncan shook his head. "You didn't fail. He was a devil."

Job laughed. He ran his knuckles along Duncan's chest. "You'd make a terrible slave, always contradicting your masters. They don't like that, you know."

The words were friendly, but Duncan felt them like blows. He curled up. He must be utterly worthless. Job did not want him. Where would he go? His father would despise him. He thought, He is handsome, brave and smart. No wonder he doesn't want me.

"Duncan!" Job called him sharply.

Frantic, he uncurled and met the blazing, angry eyes. He wanted to cringe away from Job's obvious fury. Job's lips were tight and the man gestured for Duncan to lie down on his back on the furs. Obeying quickly, terror growing in his body, Duncan stared into the darkness of those eyes.

Job placed his hands on either side of Duncan's shoulders and gazed down at him. The silence stretched. Duncan's body began to tingle. He felt almost as though his skin was being gently lifted off of him. Job spoke slowly, firmly. "Close your eyes."

Duncan obeyed, then was not sure he had. Though his vision turned gray, Job remained at the center of his sight. The man bent down and kissed his lips tenderly. Framing Duncan's face in his hands, he said softly, "I am going to make you forget Lucius and everything he did to you. You might remember someday, when you are older and have more experience. When you are too strong for it to break you."

His field of vision went black. Job glowed at its center. Awed, Duncan whispered, "Will I remember you?"


Duncan trembled. "I don't want to forget you."

Job bent down again, bringing his face close. His breath was warm. If Duncan had not already closed his eyes, he would have. "My name is Methos."

Shock riveted through Duncan. His true name. It fit him so well that it drove the other names, Job and Herodotus, from Duncan's mind. He saw in Methos' eyes that the man would still take away his memory. "Will I ever see you again?"

Methos smiled. "Perhaps. If you live long enough. But you probably will not remember me." He laid his fingers across Duncan's lips to halt the protest forming there. "It's time."

Methos vanished. The blackness was complete. Duncan was floating, like that feather carried on the wind over a loch. Slowly, then faster and faster, he began to spin. He felt something fall away from him and had no idea what it was. The sensation increased, he was lightening every moment. He clung hard to one thing that mattered while nothing else seemed to. Methos. The word meant nothing, but he was convinced of its importance. He managed to hold it, though it became shrouded in veils. He finally stopped spinning and the darkness closed about him, warm and loving. Safe, he slept.

Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod opened his eyes with the sunrise. He stretched slowly, enjoying the clean feeling of his youthful body. Even the twinge of his injured leg did not sour his mood. He felt so good! It was only when he sat up that he began to wonder why. It was just yesterday that he had been moping about Deborah and Dougal. He laughed at the thought and rubbed the sleep out of his eyes. When his vision was clear, he gaped at the sight that greeted him.

A fair-sized cart, with two big gray horses in the traces. Duncan climbed carefully to his feet, then stopped and looked down at his leg. It had been set, braced and wrapped. The dressing was clean and stout. He looked around frantically. This was the camp he had made and bedded down in last night. At his feet lay a staff. When he lifted it, he found it was exactly the right length for him. With a strangled laugh, he went to look at the cart.

A huge, dead boar lay in the back of the cart. Duncan shook his head violently, laughing harder. God the Father! Surely he had been blessed! Had God sent this in his time of need? Or perhaps a Sidhe prince?

He frowned and closed his eyes. Something flickered in his memory. Something about luminous golden-bronze eyes. He remembered legends of people who met the Sidhe and afterwards came home to find that years, sometimes centuries, had passed while they spent a mere night in the shadow lands. Oh dear God!

He broke camp and climbed into the driver's seat of the cart. Clucking to the horses, he set off for Glenfinnan. As he drove, he noticed with hope that the trails seemed to be the same as he remembered.

Duncan MacLeod arrived home to a commotion of greatly relieved people. He had been gone for five days. The village elders hemmed and hawed over his report. Everyone came to study the wagon and the horses with great curiosity. There was considerable consternation over whether of not the boar was safe to use in the feast, which had been delayed because Duncan was missing. At last it was decided that there was nothing wrong with the boar or the horses and cart.

No matter how hard Duncan tried, he never recalled what had happened between the day he camped under that tree and the day he woke. It was the strangest thing that ever happened to him until another day, fifteen years later, when he died and stood back up again.