aimeelicious: (Morrison vs MacLeod)
[personal profile] aimeelicious
Title: Kilts & Killing Time (1/5)
Pairing: Oz/Xander
Rating: Adult
Summary: Past lives, warring clans in Scotland, forbidden kilt love, etc etc.
Warnings: Well, there might be char death of a sort. But not the kind you need to avoid the story for. Trust me here.
Disclaimer: I don't own these characters. Any of them.

Prologue here


Duncan lay replete amongst the furs, watching Alex put the trappings of the MacLeod clan back on after their coupling. God save him, how he hated that tartan. It symbolized all that kept them apart, and more frequently now than ever.

"We cannae do this again soon, 'tis too much of a risk," said Alex, tying up his boots. "I'll miss ye like mad, no doubt, but should either of our fathers catch wind, we'd be doomed."

"Aye, true enough," Duncan agreed sadly to the familiar words. "Likely we'll see each other on the field next we meet." They stared at each other with sober faces. It was not easy to clash in battle when they'd been friends and lovers for nigh on ten years now, and Duncan felt he lost a piece of his soul every time. So far they had managed to both elude detection and maintain a fa├žade of animosity during raids, but it was just a matter of time before their fortune ran out.

Alex leaned over the rough hewn bed and placed a palm on Duncan's cheek, his eyes as intense as they'd been at sixteen years. "Ye know I love ye, always."

Duncan lifted his arm to place it on Alex's shoulder. "Always."

Alex left without another word, as was their custom.

He sighed and arose, walking nude to the fireplace to add some new tinder. It was not time for him to depart yet, not when he'd told Emma he was traveling to the far west of their lands to check on wandering sheep. She'd be expecting him back after nightfall, and he didn't aim to rouse her suspicious by returning earlier. His wife, bless her. He sometimes thought that perhaps she knew of his love for another, and a man at that, but if she did she never let on. Appearances were most important to her, and in their castle, little could be kept secret, with servants and family everywhere. 'Twas even more the case now, with so many kinfolk seeking protection from the raiding MacLeods.

Duncan leaned against the mantel. This isolated hut had served as a safe haven for many moons, but perhaps it was time to choose a new one. Dangerous times these were, to not take every precaution. The sharp knock on the door was a cold reminder of that fact, and he prayed it was his brother, the only living person who knew of this affair.

"Come," he said, wrapping a wool blanket around his waist. A sigh of relief emerged from his lips as Thomas entered.

"I am sorry to disturb you like this," Thomas said, his eyes searching the single room.

"'Tis fine, Alex is gone," replied Duncan. "But I was right in thinkin' we need to find a new location, if you enter it so soon and so lightly."

"Not lightly brother Oz, but with important news. The feud has just today heightened and tempers are foul. Father received word at the noon hour that Tilly was kidnapped, right from within Morrison Castle grounds."

Their sister Matilda, taken without notice past the guards? What kind of lapse could have allowed such a thing, Duncan thought as he hurriedly began to dress. And why did that name resound in his head so oddly, when he'd heard it all his life? He shook his head vigorously in an attempt to rid himself of the strange thoughts.

"Did you bring a fresh horse for me, Dev?" he asked, returning the use of their childhood nicknames in the hope that it would dispel his unease.

"You know I would not travel with such tidings without a quick steed for both of us."

"Go then, I will be right there." Thomas nodded and went to ready their rides, giving him a moment of privacy.

Duncan threw water on the fire and coughed as smoke quickly filled the small space. He took a final glance around. There wouldna be any more love made here, and with tensions rising he knew not when Alex would again be in his arms. The skins on the bed where they had lain looked cold already, and he tried to harden his heart against the softness thoughts of Alex always brought. Clan Morrison came first, above all things. Family and honor. He strode out and slammed the heavy wooden door behind him, trying not to listen to the finality of that sound.

Mounting his horse he turned east and motioned Thomas to follow. They rode fast and hard, and with the utmost urgency. The stakes had been raised, and Duncan could do naught but prepare once more for violence.

***********************************************************

They arrived home before dusk, turning sweaty horses over to the grooms and walking quickly through the Great Hall, then into the smaller clan meeting room where their father sat, speaking to a group of elders.

"Duncan Osborne and Thomas Devon, my wayward sons. I didna think you cared enough to come help us retrieve your beloved sister," he said, with a laugh in which there was no humor.

Duncan inclined his head in a brief show of deference, as did Thomas, although it hardly mattered.

"We have already heard from those damned MacLeods," Ian Morrison announced. "They are asking all the kinsmen we hold in our dungeon be released, for the return of Matilda, unharmed."

The last was said with a sneer. "As though they have ne' already sullied her. Heathens." He slammed his fist on the huge oak table and swore. "Never shall they take another woman from us!" Shouts rang out, echoing off the stone walls as the men called for vengeance. Duncan joined in, but could not bring himself to call for the death of all MacLeods down to a one. Not when he knew that would include Alex and Margery, and their two young ones.

The charm he wore on a leather chain around his neck seemed to burn at the thought, and his cheers died down long before the others. It did not go unnoticed by his father, who rounded on him next. "And ye, going out alone to tend sheep during a mighty feud, leaving your sister without the protection of her closest family. What an odd choice for my oldest boy to make, eh?" Duncan remained impassive under the scrutiny, although his heart pounded until Ian finally sat back down and gestured at the crude drawing in front of him.

"We are needin' a strategy. Focus on the map and let us see how the MacLeods fare against the power of the Morrisons. I fear they are not long for the sun."

"Here here," said Thomas with anger in his voice, clearly trying to draw attention away from Duncan. He winked almost imperceptibly at his brother, then strode to the table to join the planning session.

Duncan delayed a moment. He could not dispel the feeling that he was not alone, that someone was watching his every movement. It was most discomfiting, and he wished fervently that the sensation would cease. Madness was close enough at hand, living as he did.

"I would speak first with Emma," he stated abruptly, and turned on his heel, leaving the stale air behind with no little sense of respite. Taking the spiral stairs two at a time, he headed to where he knew he would find momentary comfort, but partway there a wave of dizziness came over him and he knelt, cold seeping into his knees. This oddness must be caused by all that has happened today, Duncan thought as he clenched his eyes closed and gripped the center pillar. He just needed to rest a bit and all would be well.

Getting back up slowly, he carefully stepped his way to the third tier and stumbled into his rooms. He only managed a quick word to his wife before literally falling into their bed.

"A few turns of the hour, Emma, then wake me," he mumbled, her greeting and response lost in the fog. Yes, just a few turns and he would attend to the meeting downstairs.

Duncan was already asleep when his head hit the linens.

on to part 2...



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