Finesse

Debra Fran Baker

dfbaker@panix.com


"What the hell are those two doing?" Fitzcairn stared over his tankard of ale.

MacLeod peered through the smoky darkness of the public house. "Looks to me like they're going upstairs."

"Bit early for bed, isn't it? And I don't think this place keeps the whores upstairs." Fitz took a drink.

"One of them *is* a whore, you daft..." MacLeod grinned around a bite of meat pie. The food in this place was reasonably fresh and tasty. He'd have to go here again...maybe without his friend.

Fitz stared at him. "You can't mean...Sodomites?" He sounded like a priest from a country parish.

"What did you think...oh, come now, Fitz. You cannot be going all moral on me now. 'Twas just two nights ago we shared those two bonnie lassies." He smiled as Fitz sputtered.

"But...but...*lasses*, Mac. They were *lasses*."

"Aye, that they were, but whose mouth do you think that was?" Mac leered. Nothing of the kind had actually happened - MacLeod has been far too occupied with the wench in his arms - but Fitz was far too much fun to tease.

"You did no such..." Fitz stared at him. "No, you couldn't have...why would you...you're...are you mad, man?"

MacLeod smiled. "You're a fine man, Fitzcairn. I could ask for no better a friend or comrade in arms."

"I *don't* believe it." Fitz drained his tankard and filled it from the pitcher in front of them. "You're having me on."

"The room was full dark and there was no moon in the sky." MacLeod finished his pie and took a bite of cheese. They'd gotten into a fight with a pair of cutpurses earlier, and worked up an appetite, so the table in front of them was full of nearly empty platters courtesy of the inn's kitchen and the thieves' own gold.

Fitz blinked, and then got a suspicious expression on his face. "If that was the case, my friend, then you'd not be averse to doing it again." MacLeod nearly spit out his cheese. "Aha! You're a liar, MacLeod. You never took me in your mouth."

"It's not that." MacLeod thought fast. "It's...it's...that I'm shocked you'd want me to do it again. Or at all, for that matter."

"You're a coward and a liar, and you don't even lie *well*, so there's no use in you even trying."

"You doubting my word, Fitzcairn? You want to take this outside?" Oh, MacLeod, you're the daft one. This has gone beyond a joke. You'll be fighting your best friend now.

"Nay. I don't want to go outside with this. But I would not object to taking it upstairs, if you're so eager to prove you had your way with me." By the look on Fitz's face, he expected Mac to give up. Well, he'd do no such thing. Fitz would back down before *he* would.

He put a leer on his own face. "Upstairs, then, and gladly. Innkeeper!"

A fat man in a dirty apron came bustling up. "How may I help you two gentlemen? I trust the food was to your liking?" He eyed the pile of dishes and crumbs.

"Very much, good man. How much for a private room in this fine establishment?"

"Would that be for both you gentlemen?" The landlord frowned, obviously adding figures in his head.

"Aye, that it would be. And for none others." Mac looked at Fitz to contradict him. Fitz just smiled.

He named a price which MacLeod argued down by a quarter, and then split with Fitz, but still out of the money they'd gotten from the thieves. The man handed Mac a key and dis