O' Christmas Tree, O' Christmas TreeAuthor: dswdiane
aka Methos For Sale to Highest Bidder (and by "highest bidder" we mean Amand-r. And by "bid" we mean three skittles and a kit-kat bar.)Written for: merriman
Joe, Methos, DuncanRating:
No trees were harmed in the making of this story.Author's Notes:
This story happens a year or so after "To be or Not to Be." Keanu Reeves played Ted in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure
and HugoWeaving played Agent Smith in The Matrix
and a delightful drag queen, named Tick in The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.
Thank you to wonderful beta readers to be named after the reveal.Summary:
Methos gets Joe drunk and takes him on an adventure. O' Christmas Tree, O' Christmas Tree
Joe looked up from the glasses that he was washing as the door to the bar opened. "Well, look what the cat dragged in," he said mildly.
"I'm not quite that battered and woebegone, though I suppose it's possible I might be just that much of a bloody unwelcome mess," Methos said with a grin. "Hi, Joe."
"Hi, yourself, stranger," Joe grabbed two bottles of Sam Adams Winter Lager, opened them, and set them up on the bar in front of himself and Methos. "So, where have you been and what brings you to Seacouver?"
Methos took a swallow and shrugged. "Been here, been there," he said lightly. "Passing through. Thought I might stay a couple of weeks. If you can stand to put up with me."
"You'll have to help me put up a tree and trim it," Joe said.
"Done," Methos agreed, swallowing the last of his beer. Joe handed him another bottle as the Immortal regarded Joe thoughtfully. " Joe, it's like four days before Christmas. Why don't you have a tree already?"
Joe shrugged. "Didn't see much point in it with just me to celebrate." He looked up as Mike came in the back door to begin his shift and started prepping tables. "Almost time to open for the evening crowd."
Methos exchanged greetings with Mike and nodded to Joe. "Music tonight?"
Joe shrugged. "I'll play a couple of sets," he said. "Probably start around 8:00."
Methos swallowed the last of his beer. "I'll be back by then. Have some errands to run." He put the bottle down on the bar.
Joe noted that Mike was on the other side of the room and reached out to touch Methos on the arm. "Methos," he said quietly, "I haven't heard anything from him and don't really know where he is." It had been over a year since anyone had heard from Duncan. He had disappeared not long after the incident with O'Rourke.
Methos shrugged. "I came to see you, Joe. Not looking for MacLeod."
Joe quirked a corner of his mouth. "I see," he said dryly. "Just totally a coincidence that you've shown up on his birthday?"
"Totally," Methos said innocently. "See you in a couple of hours, old friend." He wrapped his coat around himself and headed out into the windy cold as patrons began to straggle in, and Joe moved down the bar to take their orders. ***********************************
Methos was back well before 8:00 and started drinking more beer accompanied by shots of Wild Turkey. He also kept sending beers and shots over to Joe at the stage. After the third set of drinks, Joe looked askance at Methos who grinned at him with wicked innocence.
Joe finished the set and lurched over to the Methos's table. "Are you trying to get me so drunk that I can't play my second set?" he grumbled.
Methos handed him a Coke. "No, of course not. I'm just trying to get you drunk enough to agree to accompany me on an adventure," he said.
"An adventure?" Joe drank most of the Coke in one long gulp and stared at Methos, suspiciously. "What kind of adventure?"
Methos kept a very blank face. "An excellent adventure. We can pretend to be Bill and Ted. And I get to be Ted, so in some later incarnation of my life I get to choose the red pill and fight endless replications of Hugo Weaving, or speaking of whom, we can have adventures like those in The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert,
but we'd need a bus--"
"Methos," Joe cut in. "You're babbling."
"Maaybee," Methos conceded. "You know if we go for the excellent adventure route, you might want to play the George Carlin role. I think it suits you better."
"Methos." Joe rolled his eyes in exasperation.
"Really, Joe, do you think you could get your staff to cover for you for a couple of days? I promise you'll enjoy yourself." He smiled winsomely. "For me," he pleaded.
Joe shook his head, finished the Coke, and reached for another winter lager that Methos had delivered to the table. "I just know I'm going to regret this, but, yes, for you-I'll talk to the staff." He stood to get back to the stage and looked at Methos. "Consider this your Christmas present."
Methos smiled happily and ordered another set of drinks for himself, along with several glasses of water. He really didn't want to get so drunk that he couldn't drive, Immortal drinking capacity or not. *********************************
Joe finished his last set, playing bluesy Christmas carols, and bowed to the applause from the audience. Methos had continued to send him drinks, interspersed with water and Coke to make sure Joe didn't simply pass out before the proposed adventure.
When Joe finished, Methos was soon at his elbow, guiding him into the back to collect his coat, hat, and gun. "Where the hell are we going?" Joe asked, his voice slurring slightly as Methos helped him prepare to go out into the cold.
"Shh," Methos murmured. "It's a secret." He guided Joe out the back door and over to the Toyota van he had rented. "Did you ask your staff to cover?"
Joe nodded happily, lurched into the passenger seat of the van, and looked back at the interior. It was filled with a gloriously pine scented, freshly cut Fraser fir Christmas tree and a collection of boxes.
Methos stopped at MacDonald's drive-through, and they ate as he drove with Methos spilling the "special sauce" from the Big Mac down the front of his sweater and swiping at the spills ineffectually with the napkins. "Do you know why they call it special sauce, Joe?" he said in a faintly complaining tone. "Even though everyone and their cousin knows it's thousand island dressing-they call it a special sauce because once you spill on your clothes, it never comes out. Not unless you use maybe sulfuric acid, and well, then you don't have the cloth any more."
"Yeah," Joe said shortly, sounding somewhat revived from the food and drink. "It's called a grease stain, buddy. If you're really concerned, we should like stop at a gas station and use hot water and soap."
"Nah. Just chatting."
"And chatting and chatting and chatting," Joe said. "Does getting buzzed always turn you into a Chatty Cathy?"
Methos grinned. "Showing your age, Joe. Do they still make those things?" He then said in a squeaky doll's voice. 'My name is Tiny Tina and I'm going to kill you.'"
Joe stared at him. "Say what
"Episode of The Twilight Zone
called 'Living Doll,'" Methos said, "based on Chatty Cathy dolls." Methos pulled a bottle of Wild Turkey from under the driver's seat and started to pull out the cork.
"If you're planing to put perfectly good Wild Turkey into that Dr. Pepper, I'm rescinding my friendship," Joe warned.
Methos turned his head and stared at the other man. "Jesus, Joe. I'm not
a barbarian." he grinned. "Not anymore anyway."
He got the cork out and passed the bottle to Joe, who took a swallow and asked again, "Where are
we going, Methos?"
"To MacLeod's island," he said, "the one that's on holy ground."
Joe stared again. "You think that's where he is?" he asked.
Methos shrugged and kept driving. "He might be there," he said nonchalantly. "He might be somewhere else. But what's the harm in going to the island, putting up a tree, and putting gifts underneath it? He'll come back sometime. At least he'll know we were thinking of him." Methos paused and said, somewhat bitterly, "even if he doesn't know who or what I am." Methos reached for the bottle of Wild Turkey, looked at it briefly, shook his head, and passed it back to Joe. "Not that I care," he said blithely.
"Uh huh," Joe said quietly, taking another gulp of the bourbon. What the hell. In for a penny, in for a pound. "Methos," he said. "I think you and he were on different wave-lengths. I think what he meant to say and what you heard where two different things."
"Whatever," Methos said shortly. Joe decided that now was perhaps not a good time to continue to pursue that path of conversation.
There was silence for a while as Joe occasionally took another swig from the bottle. Methos pulled up to a dock to which were tied several boats. Both men climbed out the van. Methos looked at the boats. "That one," he pointed. "And hand over the bottle so I can catch up with you." Joe grinned, handed over the booze, nodded his agreement, and turned to help Methos get the tree and boxes out of the van and loaded on the boat. Methos hit the bottle steadily as they were unloading and loading to the point where he was not very steady, himself. He staggered as he was positioning the fifth load in the boat and fell into the freezing water.
"Oh, SHIT," he called out just before he went under. Joe steadied the rocking boat and sat down hastily, ready to pull Methos out of the water as quickly as possible. Methos came up and tossed an object into the boat, before going back under again quickly. A nine-millimeter HK landed at Joe's feet. He stared at it. Methos came up again, slightly closer to the boat, holding his sword up in the air. Joe grabbed the hilt of the sword and tried to grab Methos's arm but couldn't manage to hang on to both. The other man went under again.
Joe put the sword down next to the gun and wondered how much of an arsenal Methos would have to unload before managing to get himself out of the water. Methos came up again even closer to the boat with a short sword in his hand. This time Joe grabbed the arm above the hand holding the sword, braced himself and managed to pull Methos out of the water to sprawl face down in the boat. Methos rolled over, shivering.
"Well," he said philosophically. "That was invigorating. Not to mention graceful and dignified."
Joe looked down at the sword he had taken from the lake. "Um, does this incident make me the new once and future king?"
Methos sat up, grinning, and looked down at himself. "Wrong gender, wrong lake, wrong country," he said cheerfully, his teeth starting to chatter. "And we have to get to the island, now, or I'm going to die from hypothermia."
Joe nodded, started the outboard engine, and launched the boat. He looked through the storage compartments and found a blanket that he tossed to Methos who wrapped up in it. Methos took a big slug from the Wild Turkey bottle and offered it to Joe who took it and took a swallow, himself. Several slugs later, they were at the dock at Duncan's island. Methos looked at Joe plaintively.
"Go inside," Joe ordered. "Start a fire and get dried out, you idiot."
Methos nodded, then paused for a second. "I should probably take the tree," he said practically, looking down at Joe's legs.
Joe nodded. "I can manage the boxes."
Methos hefted the tree and dragged it up the hill to the house, dumping it on the floor. He turned on the lights and noted that MacLeod had the generator running to power the electricity. He lit the kindling and logs already placed in the hearth and shivered in front of the fire, starting to dry.
Joe came in with a box with the tree stand balanced on top. He looked at Methos, "You okay, now?" His voice was slurring from the alcohol intake.
Methos nodded. "Wild Turkey?" he asked plaintively. Joe nodded.
"Next trip," Joe promised, heading back out the door.
Methos kept shivering and carefully screwed the tree into the tree stand then turned it over and stood it up. The tree promptly fell over. Methos looked at it, totally dumbfounded.
Joe came back in the door and looked at the tree on the floor. He handed the bottle of Wild Turkey to Methos, who took a swig. "Bad tree," Methos said solemnly, handing the bottle back to Joe.
"Bad tree," Joe agreed drunkenly, taking another swallow. He put down more boxes and abruptly sat down on the floor.
Methos tried again to stand the tree up. It fell over on him, and both the tree and Methos went to the floor.
Joe stared at him owlishly, "You know, buddy, I don't know if I'm even sober enough to stand up again, let alone help you out over there. I'm going to have to take another swallow and think about it."
Methos considered taking a short nap before making any further attempt to cope with the recalcitrant tree. He closed his eyes to further contemplate the pros and cons. Then he felt the buzz of another Immortal, and thought about reaching for his sword. After all, he could always decapitate the tree to get free of it if he had to engage in sword fighting. Though he really wasn't sure he was in much of a condition for any kind of fighting. Even with a tree. And this was
The front door opened suddenly and Duncan came in, sword in hand. He stared at the sight before him, Joe sitting on the floor and a very wet Methos, half-covered with Christmas tree, lying on the floor. He blinked, put the sword away, looked at the two obviously blitzed men, and blinked again.
"Happy birthday, Mac," Joe said solemnly holding up the bottle of Turkey as if proposing a toast.
Methos stared at Duncan just as solemnly. "We came bearing gifts. I don't think we brought any frankincense or myrrh, but we did bring a tree." He pushed futilely at the fresh pine boughs covering him. "It's a very disobedient and misbehaving tree, but it is a tree."
"So I see," Duncan said, his lips quivering and wild amusement lighting his eyes. He lifted the tree off Methos, leaned against it against the wall, and put out a hand to help Methos to his feet. "I also see that you're soaking wet."
Methos nodded. "Very wet," he agreed.
Duncan's lips continued to quiver. "Have you considered getting out of those wet clothes, taking a hot shower, and changing into some dry clothing?" he asked.
Methos blinked. "Didn't bring any dry clothing," he said logically.
Duncan choked. "Has any eventuality in the world ever previously prevented you from borrowing mine?" he asked, his voice shaking from suppressed mirth.
"Oh," Methos said blankly. "You would have clothes here, wouldn't you?"
Duncan started laughing. "Yes," he agreed. "I would." ****************************
An hour later, Methos was dry, warmly clothed in comfortable sweats, drinking the coffee Duncan had made, sitting on the floor, and happily rummaging through the boxes dragging out strings of lights, ornaments, and gaily wrapped gifts. He handed the strings of lights to Joe who was plugging them in to see if they worked.
Duncan had managed to get the tree to stand upright and was stringing the lights that Joe handed to him. "I wasn't expecting company," Duncan commented.
Methos looked up at him, a wary light in his eyes. Duncan continued easily, "but I'm thoroughly pleased to have some . . .very happily surprised."
Most the wariness drained from Methos's eyes. "Even if you don't know who or what
I am?" he asked lightly. He looked down hastily and went back to busily pulling out ornaments and gifts.
Duncan looked at Methos carefully as Joe very industriously worked on the strings of lights, giving them his full attention. Duncan stepped over to Methos, put a gentle couple of fingers under his chin, and lifted the other man's face so that their eyes met. He looked at Methos unflinchingly.
"Sometimes in moments of great stress, I really don't manage to say what would be or would have been the most tactful or even truthful thing to say," he said gently. "But I will tell you, Methos, that whatever else you may or may not be, I know that you're my friend, and your friendship means the world to me."
Methos looked back at him, eyes clear and shining suddenly with what might have been a mist of tears. He blinked and nodded firmly, his questions answered not only by Mac's words, but also by the look exchanged.
"Well," Joe said briskly, "now that we have all that settled, did you think to bring some food?"
Methos's eyes widened. "Omigods, the food," he exclaimed. "Those two boxes. Over there. Need to get them in the fridge."
"Or in the oven or the microwave. I'm starving." Duncan turned toward the food boxes, picked them up and carried them to the kitchen. In a moment, he called out, "Fabulous. A Honey-Baked Ham. What else? Mmmm . . . casseroles, gravy, rolls mmm . . ." His voice trailed off as he busied himself with food preparation.
Joe looked over at Methos. "Well," he demanded, "did you get what you wanted?"
"More than I had hoped for, Joe," Methos said softly. "Much more."