by Maxine Mayer 5/2/98
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[ "Certifiable" was inspired by Atilla the Hunee's "Moonlight & Roses" Saga, and is intended to be part of that series. Thank you, Hunee, for believing in my Boys! My original characters - the Immortals Quentin of York and Lamartin of Bordeaux - have a long and interesting history. If you like them and want to know more about their past and their present relationship with Methos, MacLeod, Amanda, Richie, Joe, etc., more stories about them are up on my website. Now - good reading! ]
Quentin of York shivered delicately in the light breeze which floated through the gauzy white curtains fluttering before the french windows in this salon of his Swiss chateau. But he continued to stand quietly, a tall, slender, elegant figure, on the stool before the huge oval mirror, patiently submitting to the ministrations of his personal tailor. He could not see his image in the glass from this height but he could visualize how well he looked from the expression of love, longing and despair on the face of his beloved, Lamartin of Bordeaux.
Summoning the authority of his six thousand years of Immortality to offset the visual impression he knew he made - that of a seventeen year old blonde and beautiful film star, a younger Leonardo DiCaprio - Quentin spoke to his lover.
"Marty, what is it?" he asked, exasperated, his voice a low growl, startlingly deep in one of such youthful appearance. "When are you going to snap out of it? You've been - desolate - ever since you came back with me from New York." After two thousand years as constant companions, Quentin and Lamartin had been separated through a misunderstanding for a miniscule fraction of that time - only two years - but the effect on both men had been devastating. Quentin, with his customary cold determination, had shrugged it off, buried the pain, and made up his mind to go on as before. For reasons rooted in his passionate nature, Lamartin had been unable to do the same. He remained disturbed, distracted from his depression only intermittently, and only by sex.
"I cannot say," Lamartin murmured moodily, his lovely Latino drawl fraught with anguish, all vigor seemingly sapped from his attractive olive-skinned, dark-haired twenty-five year old body. Like his lover, the Immortal Lamartin of Bordeaux resembled a movie star - Antonio Banderas came closest, these days. But his beauty availed him nothing. He sat, slumped in misery, on a low divan opposite the spot where Quentin stood. Lamartin shook his head, and his long black curls billowed for a moment, framing his face - this, then, was the vision Quentin could never get enough of, though they both might live another six thousand years, and he might gaze on Lamartin for that long.
Glancing down at the tailor, Quentin snapped his fingers, pointed and stated, "Giles, careful with the cuffs, not too short."
"No, monsieur, of course not."
Quentin was being fitted in another of the white linen suits he and Lamartin affected, this time for a special occasion - a visit to an old Immortal friend who was living in Paris at the moment, on the barge of one Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod, Green Boy. Both Quentin and Lamartin would don their linen suits for the trip, thus emphasizing their unique eye-riveting appeal, since there was no way to hide or disguise it. Two more beautiful men exist nowhere on the planet, Quentin asserted to himself, petulantly adding the judgment, No matter what Methos thinks about the Highlander's dark good looks! MacLeod is no match for Lamartin! And of course, the gods had long since given up their quest to create a human face and form more perfect than Quentin's own.
Quentin looked once more at his lover and saw that Lamartin's eyes were on his face. Their stares held, and an electric current ran through Quentin's heart and body as he recognized the expression in his lover's eyes. Desire. The unending desire the Latino Immortal felt for Quentin was perpetually at war with the misery that clutched Lamartin in its grip. Quentin's own passion was ever ignited by his partner's. No one else could do that for Quentin. Not since Rome, and Methos, and the unrequited love he'd borne the younger man, had Quentin desired anyone other than Lamartin.
Now, and for millenia since, there'd been no other. Not even Methos, thought Quentin. He'd persisted in his love for his rescuer and Teacher, and his loyalty toward him, but desire for Methos had disappeared when he'd met Lamartin.
"Giles, that will be all. Do what you can with the measurements you've already taken. After all, this is not the first suit you've made for me, and I don't believe I've grown much since last time," he added with a small smile, pleased to note that his tailor caught the joke and was amused. The man was an old retainer who knew - without knowing - the truth about the two Immortals. It never occurred to him to speak of it to a living soul. "Bring the suit tomorrow evening without fail, please. We leave for the airport Wednesday morning."
"Oui, monsieur," Giles replied, gathering up his scissors and tape and pins, while Quentin stepped off the stool, stripped out of the white linen jacket and trousers and handed them to the tailor who left the two Immortals immediately. But before he closed the salon door Giles ventured a final glance at his employers. The two men - silent, subdued and beautiful, as always - were the unsuspecting subjects of their tailor's intense and shameful adoration.
"Well, Lamartin," Quentin remarked with a sigh when the tailor had left. He walked across the salon to the french windows. He hadn't troubled to clothe himself, not even to don undergarments. He rarely wore them - they marred the line of his suits and shirts. "Well."
"Well, what, Quentin?" Lamartin inquired, not moving from the divan, his eyes fixed on his lover's nude body.
"Well, why've we been invited to that awful Highlander's dreadful barge, do you think? Methos never asked us there before. Never liked to put us in contact with his 'Green Boy.'" Quentin's voice was full of his disgust with Methos' chosen lover as he enunciated the final epithet.
"MacLeod is a good man, Quentin. You must accept Methos' choice."
Quentin swung around and faced his lover. "Accept it! You must be mad! Methos has no right to 'mate' with a such a - person! A barbarian! A child!"
Lamartin contradicted quietly, "MacLeod is not a child. He is four hundred years old, Quen. And he has seen more, done more, in his four hundred years than we have in the last two thousand. He has struggled and suffered. And he loves our Methos. Please, do not interfere, my beloved." The last plea came on a rising note of anxiety and desperation.
"I won't." Quentin took a deep breath and walked over to Lamartin. Smiling down into his lover's eyes he promised solemnly - as Lamartin's arms came up around his buttocks and the dark head rested on his belly - "I swear it. For you, my Dark Prince, I'll rejoice with Methos and MacLeod. For you." Absently, Quentin ruffled Lamartin's hair, then framed the darker man's head with both hands, drawing the luscious red mouth to his own, for a small, light kiss.
Immediately, Lamartin closed his eyes and brought his head back against Quentin's belly. The Latino's shoulders hunched a little as he gripped his lover's torso tightly, but still hid his face from Quentin's sight.
"Will you? Do you - wish - to -?" For some reason beyond his comprehension, Quentin could not find the words to ask his lover to make love with him. Nor did he understand why he suddenly experienced the need to ask rather than take. Perhaps their two year separation was making itself felt.
Without speaking, Lamartin stood, slipping his muscled length along Quentin's thinner, frailer body, bringing his arms higher, clasping the blonde Immortal to him with a gentle pull, glimpsing the strange indecision and question in Quentin's eyes in the moment before he kissed him.
Lamartin released his lover and stripped off his own clothes, smiling at Quentin's pained expression. "Is it too much, beloved? Shall I make love to you fully clothed?"
Quentin returned the smile. "Sometimes, I think you ought, Lamartin. Dark Prince, indeed! You do have a way with you! One look, and all thought, memory, and confusion disappear!"
"But is that not the point, beloved?" Lamartin asked as he took Quentin's hand and sat him near on the divan. Dragging his hand along the blonde Immortal's flesh, collarbone to groin, he tipped Quentin back, knelt above him, and gripped Quentin's already hard cock. Quentin's eyelids closed, then opened again. Lamartin's mouth had already surrounded Quentin's organ, but the Latino's eyes never left his beloved's golden head.
"So they tell me," Quentin replied, placing his hands on Lamartin's dark hair, lightly, exerting no pressure, for the contact merely.
Lamartin went about his ministrations in earnest, sucking hard on his lover's manhood, knowing well that Quentin enjoyed the token roughness - more than he did himself, perhaps. In their many centuries together Lamartin had never pushed the envelope, sought the final border. He was content that Quentin was content. He did not wish to know if it were true - what he suspected. If Quentin would have welcomed rougher - a great deal rougher - handling, had Lamartin been able to bring himself to offer it.
As if on some signal heard or seen only by himself, Quentin pulled free of Lamartin's mouth. He pushed the Latino away and walked to a larger sofa along the opposite wall. He turned and waited as Lamartin joined him there. After a moment, Lamartin reclined on the sofa, his back against the brushed silk cloth, his body relaxed, his cock erect. Silently, he waited for his partner's decision. Quentin's mouth on his cock meant Lamartin might relax into the orgasmic pleasure of the best blow job Rome ever perfected. But the blonde Immortal's hand on his cock presaged another sort of pleasure, perfected by the Greeks. Lamartin would spread and raise his legs over the blonde Immortal's shoulders, preparing himself for violent, ungreased penetration - a totality of possession by his beloved that he welcomed with tremulous emotion and irrational gratitude. Yet even after two thousand years Lamartin didn't understand why it affected him so - to be taken so unceremoniously, so violently, as one might take a whore or a slave. It was an affront to some part of his spirit that ought by right to be inviolate. Yet he never failed to respond with joy rather than anger or horror. He believed he never would understand why he was so deeply moved.
Quentin's hand went to Lamartin's cock and the Latino knew what would follow. Unbidden, a fleeting thought about Methos came to him. Over two thousand years ago he'd been Methos' lover for nearly two hundred years - a long time, even for an Immortal. A more thoughtful, calculating and satisfying sexual partner couldn't be imagined. Never once, though, had Methos "taken" him - to possess, to own - not as Quentin did. Oh, yes, Methos had fucked him. But he'd never let loose, not the way Quentin did, when he fucked.
The instant of memory passed as Quentin dug his fingernails into Lamartin's left thigh, positioning his lover's body for penetration. With his other hand Quentin pumped the Latino's cock erratically. Head thrown back, eyes closed, totally concentrated, Quentin plunged his erect organ into Lamartin's anus and out again, repeatedly, his balls violently beating against his lover's flesh. He accompanied his fucking with grunts and groans, and a final piercing cry - "Antoni," his lover's name from Roman times - as he came inside Lamartin's body with jerking, chaotic momentum.
Quentin was dripping with sweat by the time he'd finished. He eased Lamartin's thighs apart and his legs off his shoulders, and slowly dropped down onto his partner's body with his full weight, nestling his head in the join of Lamartin's neck and shoulder, laving his dry tongue across Lamartin's adam's-apple just once.
Startling Lamartin, almost terrifying him, Quentin asked quietly as he traced the muscles of his lover's bicep with one long finger, "Do you think that's how Methos feels, what Methos does, to his MacLeod?"
After a moment while he did not breathe, Lamartin issued a silent imperative to his entire being - Do not react! In no way! Not to the incredible question nor its timing! Do not react!
He replied, "No, I do not believe so. Methos is - a gentle lover."
"Yes, well, perhaps," Quentin drawled. "If not gentle, certainly cautious."
"Gentle," Lamartin insisted, brushing his lips against Quentin's golden hair, patiently waiting for the meaning of these questions to be revealed to him.
"And - Duncan? Is he as gentle with Methos as you are with me, do you imagine?"
"I do not know. You call the Highlander a 'barbarian.' Perhaps he is - barbaric - with Methos."
Quentin pushed away from Lamartin, then stood and grabbed a robe from a nearby chair. It was Lamartin's and too large for Quentin. He was enveloped in it, lost inside it, like a child in his father's shirt.
"Intolerable!" Quentin muttered, staring at Lamartin.
"What is intolerable, beloved?"
"That - nevermind." Quentin clamped his mouth shut, turned and walked to the french doors. He lifted the edge of the curtain and pulled it aside, gazing through the window without seeing the expanse of green before him. The lawn sloped down towards their private lake half a mile in the distance, the loveliest view from their chateau, in Quentin's opinion.
From the way Quentin had left him, moved away, Lamartin knew that, to all intents and purposes, they were done making love for the present. Quentin seemed oblivious to the fact that Lamartin's passion had not been addressed.
Lamartin frowned. It was unlike Quentin to forget himself thus. A violent, possessive man he might be, but not one to leave his partner unsatisfied. Nor to spend time in idle speculation about another person's lifestyle. This was disturbing.
"Tell me, Quentin."
Quentin didn't move, but he felt the insistence in Lamartin's voice, the cello's deepening tones. At this moment the darkness that lived inside his lover was embodied in the Immortal's voice.
His Dark Prince. Six thousand years or more of living had shaped Lamartin of Bordeaux into a great Presence, a bright, loving, warm soul. But the darkness never left him. Buried deep in the Latino's soul was the Great Wound of Time. Each of their Kind bore the Wound of Time, of course. Unlike their beauty, or the manner of their bodies' healing, the Wound could be hidden, disguised. Buried. But it was there, all the same. Sometimes - like now - it was revealed in a gesture, a glance, or a word. It carried great Power. When his Dark Prince spoke from that Wound, Quentin could no more resist than he wished to resist.
He replied in a whisper. "I believe Duncan MacLeod is a gentle man. Not a barbarian."
"Gentle. Like me? Is that what you mean?"
"Tell me, Quentin."
"I believe Methos has taught him - otherwise."
"I do not understand."
"I believe Methos has shown him -" Quentin took a deep breath and expelled it - "the Rough Path." Turning quickly to catch Lamartin's expression before the Latino hid it, he saw fear and revulsion in his partner's eyes. Quentin's heart stopped for a moment, then resumed its placid beating, as he'd schooled himself to do millennia ago.
"The Rough Path?" Lamartin repeated slowly, isolating the words as if they were an alien phrase, as if he were speaking a foreign language.
"Yes. MacLeod is biddable. And he has a - dangerous, not to say, brutal - streak. As his Chronicles clearly describe." Quentin shrugged. "I think Methos 'bid,' and MacLeod 'followed.' I believe our old friend's created a replacement for his former lover, Kronos."
Lamartin frowned. "Kronos was a vicious man, a killer. Without conscience. A man who took pleasure in killing, in the suffering of others -"
"As did Methos, in his day."
"Yes. Methos told me so, himself." Quentin was implacable. "Part of him misses that - violence. You must know that, Lamartin."
"Methos was never your lover, Quentin. You do not know him as I do."
"I know him better than you do, Marty. Precisely because he was not my lover, and because I - I was a whore when we met. I'd spent my life studying men. Their tastes. Their whims. Their fears. Their weaknesses."
"A lifetime of distorted sex was not a felicitous foundation for interpreting a man like Methos! A lover!" Lamartin exclaimed, his heart breaking in defense of his old friend.
"But Lamartin - I am not criticizing Methos! I am -"
"What are you?" Lamartin cried out.
"I am - like him. Very much - like him," Quentin said simply, his voice low.
"No! That is not true! You are certifiable! You are nothing like Methos! Methos has a heart! He would never lead his lover down what you call 'the Rough Path' - never! Methos is - good! He would never destroy a noble man like MacLeod with such perversions!"
"Methos has a heart - unlike me, you mean? Who doesn't have a heart! Who, nevertheless, never led you down the Rough Path, not in two thousand years! We've been together two thousand years - not three years, not five - but two thousand! I, who have no heart, dragged you nowhere, Lamartin! And you persist in blindness, though you've known the truth from the first! Who, then, is the 'good man,' and who, the 'evil' one?"
Lamartin stood without moving or speaking, as if paralyzed and struck dumb at the same time.
"Well, tell me, Marty! You call me 'beloved,' but shrink from loving me as you know I would be loved! As you've always known! Is that love? You allow yourself to be possessed but will not possess me! You lean on me, take refuge in my strength but will not permit me to lean on you! You've stolen the very possibility of weakness from my life, appropriated it to yourself, and dare to say you love me! Who loves, here? You, with your soulful gaze, your misery, your neediness, or I, who daren't open my heart for a moment, for fear my needs might slip out!"
"I worship you, Quentin -"
"Perhaps I don't wish to be worshipped! Perhaps I wish to do the worshipping!"
"You are crazy, Quen, crazy! The Rough Path is not love!"
"How would you know?"
"This is how!" Two strides brought Lamartin to Quentin's side by the french windows. Lamartin dealt his lover a blow that knocked Quentin to the floor. Then he kneeled on the carpet, looming over the slimmer man. "This is how!" he repeated, lifting Quentin's legs and plunging his engorged cock into his lover's anus, without preparation and with great force. He locked eyes with the fragile Immortal as he fucked him, finally pulling his organ out and away from Quentin's body as he came, spurting his essence over his lover's belly, chest and face.
"Antoni -" Quentin whispered, his eyes glazed with pain, unable to say more. He lifted one hand off the carpet, noticed he'd balled it into a fist, stretched out his fingers and touched the Latino's chest.
Shuddering, Lamartin pulled away from the proffered hand, got up and walked into the bathroom. When Quentin followed him there, Lamartin closed his eyes so he wouldn't see Quentin's face behind his own in the mirror above the sink.
"Antoni, listen to me."
"Vicious." Lamartin took several deep breaths, closed his eyes, then turned on the faucet and bathed his face with cold water.
"Marty," Quentin said tentatively, his hand on his lover's shoulder, "it doesn't have to be that way."
"Doesn't it?" Lamartin replied sarcastically, brushing Quentin's hand away.
"No, it doesn't. You don't need to split yourself - it's not black and white."
"It is black and white."
"The Rough Path is just that - a path. To get where you wish to be on a path, you walk along it - you don't parachute out of a plane! If you do that, you're certifiable!"
Lamartin stepped into the shower stall and turned on the water, regulating its temperature and then letting the full force of the stream run over his head and body. He didn't move to cleanse himself, he simply stood there and felt the water, and listened to Quentin's words without replying.
"If you permit it, I will teach you, Lamartin."
Lamartin said nothing.
"I can teach you, Marty. The way from the Smooth Path to the Rough, and back again. I'm a competent guide, you know."
Lamartin didn't speak.
Quentin dropped his robe on the floor and stepped into the shower, impatiently shoving his lover aside so some of the water reached his own body. He lifted his face and opened his mouth, swallowing a few drops, then crinkled his nose in distaste. "I'll ring for wine - I don't like the taste of hot water!"
"Japanese plum wine," Lamartin murmured indistinctly, his eyes closed.
Quentin smiled. "Just makes you thirstier - it's so sweet."
"Too sweet? Like me?" Lamartin asked, opening his eyes and fixing Quentin with a lazy languorous look which quickly turned into a smouldering one when his lover touched his cock, then knelt and kissed it.
"On the contrary," Quentin replied. "It's my favorite."
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They'd spoken very little since Lamartin had brutalized Quentin to make a point, and then been forgiven by his lover - with Quentin's customary flourish and no recriminations - for his 'foolishness.' Now, while they flew high above land in their private plane, the old Immortals didn't speak a word. They'd arrived at a plateau in their relationship and neither knew where to head from there. For them, such an impasse was unique. Always, there had been unspoken agreement on how to behave toward each other, how to be with each other. Never before had either of them questioned their love, or sought its meaning. Not aloud. Now, the few words they'd exchanged reverberated in their minds. Neither wished to add another syllable to their mental burden.
They were nearly at Orly when Lamartin finally spoke. He needed to break the silence he was unable to bear, though his partner could easily do so. "Do you think we will be on time for their party, Quen?"
"How do you know they're planning a party?" Quentin replied curtly.
Lamartin just looked at him, once again a study in incarnate desolation. Relenting, Quentin admitted, "We'll be quite early. Any party worth its salt won't start before ten in the evening and we'll be in Paris by noon."
"Will they notice?'' Lamartin inquired anxiously, a frown creasing his beautiful brow.
"Will they notice what?"
"That - we are - have been - quarreling?"
"Certainly not! They're very much in love, Marty. They've only got eyes for each other." He shrugged delicately, his narrow shoulders shifting in his white linen jacket with studied grace. "Besides, if Methos notices anything amiss, it'll be a great deal more amusing to watch him try to puzzle out what's going on, than to watch him make cow's eyes at that fool of a Highlander - or at you!"
"Me!" Lamartin exclaimed, startled.
"Of course, you! He could never keep his eyes off you, Lamartin, not to speak of his hands! If I thought for a moment there was a chance in hell that MacLeod would permit Methos to be alone with you - well!"
"Well, what? You would be jealous, perhaps, Quentin?"
"I think jealousy's a bit strong to describe it. And it's an emotion that's a tad beyond me. Vexed. I'd be vexed," Quentin concluded with an air of satisfaction, as if he was pleased to have hit upon the appropriate word to express his hypothetical feelings.
"You do not believe I would lie down with Methos, Quen, do you?"
"I've no idea. But if you wish to spend time with another person, that would be your affair - pardon the pun - would it not? I don't own you, Marty."
Turning a little in his plush seat, the better to see his lover, Lamartin smiled and said, "Ah, but you do own me, Quentin! Heart and soul!"
"But not body and mind, dear boy! Don't imagine that I believe I do, nor wish to!"
"Is there nothing you wish for?"
"Of course there is. Don't be foolish, Lamartin! Everyone wants something."
"What is it that you wish, Quentin? What is your heart's desire?"
For a moment Quentin of York was silent. He stared straight ahead, his mind far away, deep in thought.
"I want to know, Quentin - what is your heart's desire? It is a serious question that I ask. Tell me the truth."
"My heart's desire, Lamartin of Bordeaux, is not to own you, but for you to own me."
"For me to own you?" Lamartin asked, shocked.
"That's right. Don't ask me to explain it, describe it, or elaborate in any way. I don't understand why, myself. Just my upbringing, I suppose. I know it cannot suit you - even the thought of it must disgust you, Lamartin. A freedom fighter like yourself."
Lamartin chuckled sadly. "That was a long time ago, Quen."
"But it is your nature."
"As it is MacLeod's?"
"Yes. To own another - is an afront to your being. I wonder that MacLeod can stomach that 'heart's desire,' in Methos, that slavish mentality - the yearning to belong to another. He's so like you, the Highlander! Doesn't surprise me, when I consider it thus, that Methos fixed on the Boy. So like you. And so - difficult to bring around...."
"But rewarding - the effort - is it not?" Lamartin queried quietly.
"I don't know. I didn't make the effort. I judged it - unjust - to destroy who you were, for my amusement and gratification." Quentin sighed, thought a bit, then added, "Yes, I imagine the reward is enormous. Methos must be very happy to belong to MacLeod."
"Are you unworthy of happiness, then, my beloved?" Lamartin asked.
"Who's happy?" Quentin remarked offhandedly.
"You say that Methos must be."
"A conjecture, nothing more. Certainly, MacLeod cannot be. He's not a fellow who could live with himself, if he owned a slave."
"Are you sure, Quen?" Lamartin's face was averted when he asked. But Quentin felt his mood and hastened to lighten it.
"We shall see, won't we?" he told his lover with a smile, squeezing his hand, their first physical contact since he'd 'forgiven' Lamartin in the shower.
Lamartin refused to be diverted from his thoughts. "If MacLeod is happy," he asked slowly, "will you take me there, along the Smooth Path, to the Rough?"
Quentin answered without hesitation, "Yes, I will. If Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod can be happy on the Rough Path, despite his nature, I will take you there."
"Thank you, Quentin."
"Don't thank me yet. Gratitude is most premature. We shall see, Dark Prince. We shall see."
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ F i n i s ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
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