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forever is a long time to be alone

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“Easy, MacLeod.”

The soft drawl was as familiar and comforting as the thunderous pressure of awareness was alarming, and Duncan dragged in a second gasping breath, life rushing through him along with the uncertain shiver of confusion. He opened his eyes, but he was surrounded by a heavy darkness, shadows within shadows, strange and shifting. A flicker of slightly-less-dark followed a swirl of movement, and a hand touched his forehead, cool skin and long fingers rough with calluses so well-worn that no amount of healing magic could erase them.

“Methos?” He knew it was, it couldn’t be anyone else, but he didn’t understand- he hadn’t seen the elder Immortal in more than a decade. He certainly hadn’t noticed his unmistakable presence when facing Tiberius.

“You’re lucky Amanda is a forgiving sort,” Methos replied, and that only helped a little; he remembered chasing Amanda off, all snarls and rage and grief not yet ready to be released. “And that I wasn’t off in the mountains of Tibet again.”

“Where-”

“We’re safe,” Methos said, before Duncan could properly formulate the question. “Your cabin. You have time to recover. That was quite a fight you were busy losing, you’re going to need a little time.”

“The cabin? How long-”

“Three days. Though to be fair, I thought it prudent I didn’t let you wake until we were well away.”

“Bastard,” Duncan complained, because he could feel the dragging ache of being dead too long, being kept dead.

“Ungrateful,” Methos countered, without any malice. His fingers brushed over Duncan’s forehead again, and now he could feel the slight tremble in them.

“You fought him?”

“I beat him.”

“...I’m sorry,” Duncan said, voice rasping.

“I’m not. Better me than you. I’ve a much deeper well to drop him down. And you didn’t need to carry those memories.”

Methos didn’t need any more monsters in his psyche, either, but Duncan knew he wouldn’t take kindly to hearing it. Instead, Duncan sighed, and reached up to catch Methos’s wrist. He felt Methos start to pull back, and tightened his grip, keeping him in place.

“I thought we were fighting,” he said, a note of apology in his raw voice.

“I know,” Methos replied, his voice dry and wry. “You made it very clear.”

“You came for me, anyway?”

“Of course I did,” Methos said, and even in the darkness, Duncan had no trouble seeing his expression- the offended cant of his eyebrows, the slight pout- and it struck him how much he’d missed Methos. “Didn’t wake you until we were on sacred ground, though.”

“Will- will you stay?” Duncan asked, knowing he had no right.

There was a pause, long and considering, full of questions and accusations both left unspoken.

“As long as you’ll have me,” Methos said, and Duncan felt something deep within him relax.

“Good,” he said, and he meant it.