It’s done! Hurray! After, well, let’s say “a few,” months of being worked on, the Blind Date anniversary story is finally done. This is what happens when you tell Athos the boyz are going to the zoo on their blind date, lol. She immediately assumed they would be necking in the reptile house, and of course my muses jumped right on the bandwagon. Since it didn’t really fit with the original Blind Date story, they came up with this little snippet just so they could neck in the reptile house. I guess that’s as good an excuse for a story as any, lol. (btw, happy very belated birthday, Athos.) You probably don’t have to read the original Blind Date stories to understand what’s going on with this one. But if you feel so inclined, they’re called In the Dark and Behind Closed Doors. I’ll be honest. I don’t really know anything about snakes, and rather than do research that might make what I wanted to do with the story impossible, I took the liberty of making some assumptions for the sake of the plot, such as it is. If I said anything so glaringly wrong that it offends anyone, I apologize. Not mine, no harm, no profit. This deals with a m/m relationship. If you don’t like that sort of thing, then you’ll hate this story. There’s some heavy petting in this, but nothing too graphic. A big thank you to Emma for the beta. You’re the best. Any remaining mistakes are all mine. Please send feedback to email@example.com It makes for very happy muses.
PUBLIC DISPLAY, PRIVATE A FFECTION
“ The zoo?” Richie looked curiously at Methos. “I thought we were going on a date.”
Methos stared at Richie in amazement. “Don’t you know what day it is?”
“Um, the ninth?”
“Yes, the ninth. Of September....” When Richie continued to look blank, Methos sighed. “It’s the anniversary of our Blind Date.”
Blue eyes widened, then crinkled at the corners as a smile broke across Richie’s face. “Oh, yeah....” His rested his head against the headrest and looked over at Methos. “I can’t believe it’s been a year already. Seems like yesterday.”
“Time flies when you’re having fun?.” the elder immortal teased.
“Big time,” Richie agreed. His hand reached out to brush a lock of hair back from Methos’ forehead, then slipped around to draw him in for a long, lingering kiss. Methos tensed instinctively, but when Richie whispered, “Don’t worry. No cameras,” he responded with all of his usual passion.
When the pressure in their jeans and the fairly public nature of their surroundings finally forced them to retreat to opposite corners of the car, Richie said, “It must be an immortal thing.”
Well used to the way Richie’s mind would make a leap and forget to share it with him, Methos arched an amused eyebrow and asked, “What’s an immortal thing?”
Gesturing towards the erection still pressing hard against the fly of his jeans, Richie replied, “This. — God, still — I mean, it’s been over a year, but all you have to do is look at me and I get hard. Touch me, and I start looking for a convenient bed… couch… kitchen table.…” The words caught in Richie’s throat along with his breath as Methos did reach out to touch him, taking his hand, kissing his palm, and nibbling on the fleshy pad at the base of each digit. “Laundry room….” Richie finally gasped when the need for oxygen took over, “airplane restroom… Christ, Methos….” His heart pumping wildly now, Richie finished his list with a hopeful, “Backseat?”
He watched the temptation register in Methos’ eyes, fascinated by the way he could see his lover struggle for control and finally grab onto it. Damn, he groaned to himself.
“Some other time,” Methos promised huskily, resolutely pulling on the door latch and exiting the vehicle.
“I’m gonna hold you to that, you know,” Richie grinned, opening his own door and walking around the front and falling into place beside Methos.
Only millennia of control over the slightest variation in his facial expression kept Methos’ surprise from showing when Richie slithered an arm around his waist and squeezed, then drew back just far enough so their hands clasped and held. Sometimes it was like that, though. Once in a while, when Richie simply had an impulse and acted on it, his affectionate nature manifested itself in small ways like hand holding or kisses ghosting across his temple when Richie got up from the table at a restaurant. More often, though, the hand that reached out for his drew back at the last minute, and instead of Richie’s lips, he felt Richie’s breath ruffle the ends of his hair.
Methos blinked, an automatic rejection of his mind’s impulse to analyze Richie’s actions, but it didn’t matter. In that spilt-second fluttering of his eyelids a certainty that defied analysis washed over him, telling him that Something was going to happen.
Anticipating an argument at the ticket window, Methos refused to let go of Richie’s hand until his own wallet was out of his pocket. An arched eyebrow halted his lover’s automatic protest, but a warm smile softened the sting of it. He loved Richie’s independent streak, but today he was determined to have his own way.
Heading off the debate he knew was going to start as soon as they entered the zoo, Methos turned to Richie and said, “It’s my turn.”
“Richie, just let me do this. It’s the bloody zoo, not the honeymoon suite in a five star hotel.”
“I know. But it’s a date. And I asked you.”
Richie hesitated, but finally he sighed. “All right.” The corners of his lips twitched as he tried to continue soberly, “I want cotton candy, though, and one of those hats with the elephant ears on them.”
Methos rolled his eyes. “You got it, babe.”
Babe? Richie mouthed silently. When Methos just shrugged, Richie decided some retribution was in order. After making an elaborate production out of taking Methos’ hand, he answered in an overloud voice, “Aww, honey, you’re so good to me....” He finished the show with a big, smacking kiss on Methos’ mouth.
“Are you happy now?” the elder immortal questioned, nodding slightly in the direction of the people who had stopped to watch the drama unfolding. “You’ve attracted quite an audience.”
“Damn it, Methos,” Richie hissed, dropping his lover’s hand as though it were a hot coal, “Look what you made me do.”
“I didn’t say I minded having an audience. I’m sorry that you do,” Methos replied seriously, adding an extra inch to the distance between himself and Richie.
Stung by Methos’ withdrawal, Richie moved quickly to shorten the gap. Their shoulders brushed occasionally as they walked, but he did not take Methos’ hand again. “I’m glad you remembered this was our anniversary,” he said after a while.
“Me, too,” Methos smiled, leaning just enough to give Richie an obvious nudge. Falling back into step with the younger man, Methos thought to ask, “You really want cotton candy? Do you have any idea what that stuff does to your stomach lining?”
When Richie’s shoulders straightened, Methos concealed a smirk. Richie would make a defensive remark, he’d throw in a little sarcasm for good measure, and after they’d bickered for a while the almost-argument would be forgotten.
The younger man surprised him, however, by just grinning widely and saying, “It’s worth it.”
Starting with a tiny quirk at the corners of his mouth, a smile spread across Methos’ face as he stared at Richie for a minute, then nodded once. “The best things usually are.”
Direct hit, Richie groaned to himself as the tender look on his lover’s face sent a tiny jolt from his heart straight down to his cock and back again. A distant part of his mind knew that there was a crowd of people around them, that he and Methos were in fact blocking the flow of traffic, but they were just a blur that barely registered on his consciousness. The only thing he saw with any clarity was Methos, and Methos was looking back at him like he was.… Oh, God, Richie thought as his heartbeat faltered, then resumed with one deep breath.
That was it. One little hitch in his chest, and it was all over. Somehow he’d expected falling in love with the world’s oldest man to generate a little more fanfare, but even without the pomp and circumstance, there was no denying that he had fallen at last. The best part was, he didn’t want to deny it. So, because he wanted to and because he could, he cupped Methos’ face in his hands and kissed him.
It wasn’t a long kiss, just a moment of firm pressure, really, but Methos felt the impact down to the soles of his feet. He opened his eyes after Richie pulled away, surprised to find that everything still looked the same. The sun still shone, the crowd still milled around animal cages and hotdog stands — didn’t they understand that it was all different now? Precisely what alterations had occurred, Methos wasn’t sure. All he knew was that Richie had never kissed him that way before, and it changed everything.
Richie tugged on Methos’ hand then, and the world morphed back into the previous version of itself. “Come on Old Man,” the younger man grinned, wiggling his eyebrows in the direction of the primate cage, “I think they’ve got a couple of your great great great great uncles over here.”
It was so perfectly normal, such a typically Richie thing to say, that Methos thought for a moment he’d only imagined the world being turned upside down by a kiss. Richie was still holding his hand, though, and he didn’t let go even after Methos lifted their joined hands and kissed Richie’s knuckles.
The impulse to keep testing the limits of Richie’s sudden willingness to be more openly affectionate was strong, but Methos squelched it. Too much pressure at the wrong moment, and Richie would end up taking a step backwards instead of continuing to move forward. They had gotten this far by taking it one step at a time, and Methos knew that was the way they had to continue. He could be patient when the end result was worth the trouble, and as he watched Richie laugh at the antics of some chimpanzees, Methos knew that the rewards in this case were worth every ounce of patience he had to spare, and then some.
By the time they’d thrown peanuts to the elephants, gawked at the giraffes, and petted every animal in the petting zoo, Methos’ nerves were stretched to the breaking point. Hand holding had proved to be only the most blatant of a hundred subtle changes that were going to make his life vastly more complicated. Richie no longer bothered to glance at Methos from the corner of his eye, but watched his lover openly. Then there was the downright proprietary way he always seemed to be just inside Methos’ personal space. The casual observer might not notice it, Methos acknowledged privately, but by the time they moved on to a different exhibit most of the people in their immediate vicinity had picked up on enough clues to make an accurate guess about their relationship.
The real problem was not that people might assume he and Richie were a couple. National television had made their relationship public a year ago, and he and Richie had gotten through that with only a few minor bumps and bruises along the way. What worried Methos the most was how he himself was reacting to the changes in Richie’s behavior. Without Richie’s reserve acting as a buffer between them, the ancient immortal found himself bombarded with the warmth of Richie’s feelings for him.
He’d known, of course, that Richie was falling in love with him, but seeing it now shining openly in his eyes when they looked at him, sensing it seeping into his pores when Richie touched him, was playing havoc with Methos’ equilibrium. Without the structure of the rules Richie’s inhibitions had given them, he found himself being confronted by Richie’s feelings at unexpected times. Off balance, he was helpless to prevent the surge of his own emotions in response. It wouldn’t have been so bad, except that every time he started to let himself go, allowed himself to simply feel for a moment, his finely honed self-protective instincts reemerged and slammed the door on his emotions once more. One of them had to maintain a little perspective, they would tell him. If Richie wasn’t going to do it, that left him.
Richie’s hand settled on Methos’ back, then, steering him out of the path of an oncoming stroller, and the ancient immortal nearly groaned aloud as his body reacted to his lover’s touch. Until now, physical contact had been limited to the privacy of one or the other’s apartment, and Methos had never bothered to censor his physical response to Richie. Richie touched him, he went up in flames — that had been the story from the beginning of their relationship, and Methos had seen no need to change it. He was clearly going to have to make some adjustments, however, if a casual touch or a simple direct glance from Richie, no matter how public, was enough to arouse him. Being unable to act on the desire flooding through him was a kind of delicious frustration, but not one Methos wanted to experience every time he went out with Richie. He was going to have to find some kind of middle ground….
As if in answer to Methos’ musings, the Reptile House appeared in front of them. The door creaked open, and three or four families emerged from the darkened interior. Grabbing Richie’s hand, Methos pulled him towards the now-deserted exhibit. “Let’s go in here.”
“Snakes?” Richie asked dubiously, “You really want to see the snakes?”
“Sure,” Methos shrugged, holding the door open for Richie. “There’s nothing wrong with snakes. I bet there are a few lizards in here, too.”
“Lizards? Why didn’t you say so in the first place?” Richie replied, rolling his eyes. “I just can’t wait to get a good look at some lizards.”
Methos concealed a smile. “Trust me, Brat. It’s more interesting than it looks, I promise.”
“It’s not that I don’t believe you, Methos,” Richie explained, “but… snakes?”
“Snakes are very sensible creatures,” the ancient immortal pointed out, standing close to Richie as they observed a brightly colored rope of red and black stare out of a cage with glowing yellow eyes. “They find a quiet, out of the way spot to sleep during the day when it’s hot,” Methos murmured in Richie’s ear, bringing their bodies into contact from shoulder to shoe, “and at night, when it’s cool and there’s no one else awake to bother them, they slither around like they own the place.”
Richie made a thoughtful noise that escalated into a quiet moan of pleasure as Methos’ arms came fully around him. “The zookeepers here must really know their stuff,” he breathed, angling his neck so that Methos could nuzzle in the curve of his shoulder. “It’s quiet, shady… private….” He brought his hand up to cradle Methos’ head, then turned and offered his lips for a kiss, but Methos shook his head quickly. Richie chuckled as he was unceremoniously hauled off to a dark corner of the exhibit away from the display cases and backed into the wall while Methos plundered his mouth in the kiss they’d both been craving.
At first their kisses were short bursts of passion punctuated by furtive glances around the exhibit to make sure they wouldn’t be interrupted. Desire soon overrode caution, however, and their kisses became long, thorough caresses broken only by the shallow gasps that had replaced normal respiration.
Richie could feel himself going under, the last shreds of sanity and common sense tearing away as Methos’ mouth demanded his full attention. It didn’t matter where they were, only that Methos was there with him, as lost in the moment as he.
In a last-ditch attempt at restraint, Methos tore his mouth from Richie’s and stepped back. “Let’s take this somewhere a little more private,” he suggested.
Not again, Richie thought. He started this, and for once we are gonna finish it. Grabbing a fistful of Methos’ shirt, Richie tugged the older man’s body into contact with his. “We’re not going anywhere,” he informed the elder man before taking Methos’ mouth once more.
Methos’ hands had settled automatically on Richie’s waist when their bodies were jolted into contact, and they tightened in reaction to the deep, tongue-thrusting kiss. “Someone could come….” Methos breathed when Richie abandoned his mouth in favor of exploring his collar bone.
“Oh, someone will,” Richie promised, lifting his hips away from the wall to find Methos’. His head fell back when Methos’ hips answered the contact by pushing him back against the wall, and he moaned when Methos’ teeth scraped along the tendons in his neck. His hands roamed under Methos’ sweater and found the bare skin just above Methos’ jeans, encouraging closer contact between their already straining erections.
Methos shuddered with the effort to keep his body still against Richie’s. “We have to stop. If we don’t, I’ll….”
“I want you to.”
“Damn it, Richie.” the ancient immortal hissed when agile hands found their way inside his jeans. “Someone’s going to walk through that door any second....” While he was talking Richie had freed his cock, leaving Methos floundering for reasons to stop the hands even now stroking him closer and closer to orgasm. “The mess,” he protested weakly, thrusting eagerly now to meet Richie’s strokes.”
“Don’t think,” Richie ordered, gentling the command with a smile and a kiss pressed against Methos’ forehead. “Don’t think, Methos. Just come.”
That was all it took. Muffling his shout of pleasure against Richie’s shoulder, Methos surrendered to the release he’d been fighting. He’d only just gotten his breath back when a flash of light and the creak of the door told him they were no longer alone in the exhibit. His jeans had not escaped unscathed from the passionate encounter, and he grimaced as he hurried to tuck himself back into the damp, stained material and get his sweater pulled down to cover the evidence.
Methos looked at Richie, a sour remark about the nick of time of his lips, but a glimpse of Richie’s soaked shirtfront and jeans as well as the idiotic grin on Richie’s face held him silent. Reaching for the buttons of Richie’s jacket and beginning to fasten them, Methos fought a smile of his own. The kid looked very pleased with himself. It wouldn’t do to have him thinking he could get away with this kind of thing on a regular basis, but there was no reason not to let him enjoy the moment for now.
“Are you going to be all right until we get home?” he asked Richie quietly after they’d successfully avoided their fellow zoo-goers in the reptile house.
“Do we have any lube in the car?” Richie asked with a pained smile
Alarmed, Methos thought quickly. “No. We used it after….”
“Oh yeah,” Richie replied, smiling at the memory then groaning at its predictable effect on his body.
Methos searched the path in front of them for a private spot. “We can….“
Richie halted Methos’ attempts to drag him off the path to the parking lot. “I’m all right,” he reassured his partner. “I was thinking the hallway was a lot closer than the bedroom, that’s all.”
“We didn’t need lube in Reptile house,” Methos pointed out. “We don’t need lube in the hallway.”
“No,” Richie agreed. “But I wanted to…. Never mind. It doesn’t matter.”
They’d reached the car, but Methos made no move to open the door. “What do you mean it doesn’t matter? Of course it matters” When Richie remained silent, he pressed, “What did you want to do, Richie?”
“I just… I wanted to come inside you, that’s all,” Richie shrugged.
“In the hall?.” Methos asked as he opened the door, his mild tone belying the arousal starting to throb anew inside him.
“Well, yeah,” Richie admitted, buckling his seatbelt.
Methos put the keys in the ignition, but did not start the car. Turning to Richie he asked, “On the floor?”
“No, against the…” Richie swallowed hard. “Against the wall. Like in the reptile house.”
“I wasn’t inside you in the reptile house.”
“I know,” Richie sighed, dismissing the idea with a wave. “It’s stupid, I know.”
“No,” Methos denied, his voice thick with desire. “Not stupid.”
Methos’ tone broke through Richie’s embarrassment, and Richie turned to look at him. “You’d want that? I mean, you’d want me to… you know, in the *hall? Like that?”
“Would I want you, inside me, against the wall in the hall?” Methos questioned. “Gods, yes, Richie. Against the wall, on the floor, on any piece of furniture, in any room you like.”
“Don’t tempt me, Old Man,” Richie laughed in nervous relief.
“Oh, but I want to,” Methos replied silkily. “How I want to tempt you, Richie. I want you to have unbelievable fantasies about me, and then I want to make them real.”
“Don’t you get it, Methos? You are the fantasy. You know me, really know me. You want me the way no one else has ever wanted me — in bed, out of bed, all the time. It blows me away.”
The ancient immortal was speechless. The need to respond to Richie’s declaration was overwhelming, but nothing that came to mind sounded right. He just stared at Richie for a long moment, memorizing the tender, open look on the younger man’s face. “Let’s go home,” he said at last, his lips just barely turned up at the corners. Methos turned to face the traffic, but not before he caught the mischievous glint in Richie’s eye. That particular expression generally meant trouble, but in this case Methos was sure it was trouble they’d both enjoy getting into.
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