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Highlander Holiday ShortCuts
Happy Holidays, holde_maid! 
15th-Dec-2009 12:29 pm
my second highlander icon/serious one
Title: The Jolly Sailor
Author: Frosty aka merriman/Ryenna
Written for: holde_maid
Characters: Methos, Duncan, Robert and Gina diValicourt
Rating: PG
Wordcount: 3,430
Author's Notes: Thanks to D for the beta. The title is taken from a song I can't find any record of online, though I'd be happy to provide the lyrics. It's not quite a sea chanty, but more of a song about sailing/a sailor.
Summary: Methos doesn't like sailing, but he'll do it for the right reason. Gina and Robert's wedded bliss isn't quite enough reason on its own, but he figures it out eventually.




The Jolly Sailor



1. Paris

"I thought they were on their honeymoon?" Methos said, watching Duncan pace around the barge. He'd only been there for two hours and already Duncan was attempting to convince him to help out with some scheme Robert diValicourt had cooked up to surprise Gina with an anniversary gift. "You said they were going on a ten year honeymoon after the wedding."

"It's been ten years!" Duncan protested, prompting Methos to frown and check the date on his watch. Right. It had been ten years. Almost to the day, which would explain the anniversary gift, though if Robert gave Gina anniversary gifts like private yachts every year, it was a wonder he had anywhere to keep anything anymore. Maybe he owned a marina somewhere. Methos shook his head a little. Robert could keep his hypothetical marina and all the boats in it and Methos wanted nothing to do with any of it.

"Fine," he said, allowing for the ten years. "They're back. I don't see why I should help them out this time. Their marriage isn't in trouble now, so you can't guilt trip me into it this time, MacLeod. And offering me the barge won't work. I have a perfectly nice apartment these days, well inland."

Duncan sighed and stopped pacing long enough to go over to the galley and pour two glasses of wine. Then he poured a third glass and Methos frowned again. This was getting worse and worse with every passing moment, making him wonder just why he stayed in Paris with MacLeod and his ever-changing circle of trouble-magnet friends. It wasn't as if MacLeod's friends were Methos' friends, with the exception of Amanda and Joe.

"Who's that..." Methos began, just as the presence of another Immortal buzzed through his head. "...for," he finished. "That's Robert, isn't it."

Duncan nodded, shooting Methos a grin that hovered somewhere between sheepish and smug. Only MacLeod could pull off that sort of combination and get away with it. Methos knew he could do smug, and he'd had more than enough practice with sheepish to figure he had that one down too, but both at the same time? Definitely a MacLeod move.

"Adam!" Robert said, coming through the door. "It's so good to see you!"

Noting Duncan's grin shifting into a 'be-polite-or-be-sorry' glare, Methos got up and offered his hand to Robert. "Yes, wonderful, you too. Happy anniversary, I take it?"

Robert was only too glad of that opening and launched into a story about Gina and the honeymoon, followed by another story, and another, all fueled by the wine Duncan kept pouring. Methos let him go on, hoping that the combination of wine and reminiscing would eventually make Robert forget just what it was that he'd come to ask. Not that Methos didn't appreciate hearing about the honeymoon.

Cynicism was an easy way to go about life from day to day, especially after five thousand years, but Methos had never denied that he had a romantic streak. He just didn't usually indulge it by helping out people he didn't have anything more than a passing interest in. Robert and Gina, however, fascinated him. Hundreds of years together and still in love. It wasn't just the commitment that went beyond what Methos was willing to take on with another Immortal. It was knowing that all that history would be shared. Every little mistake or misstep, cataloged in someone else's memory. The way Methos figured it, his own memory was enough.

"Come on, Adam!" Robert cried, slapping him on the shoulder in what Methos assumed was supposed to be jovial enthusiasm. "Be a sport, won't you?"

Methos started, shaking himself out of his own thoughts and going over the last few sentences Robert had said. Something about going with Duncan to sail the boat Robert had bought for Gina to Crete while Robert himself rejoined her. Apparently he'd led her to believe his solicitor had called and needed some signatures in person and that he'd be back the next day. So she'd never suspect. Except Methos was fairly sure that as well as Robert knew Gina after so long, he could be a little blind when it came to her powers of deduction and her willingness to act on her conclusions. He could only hope that this time her conclusions didn't lead her to try and kill him. Or anyone else either, but mostly he was concerned with his own head. Robert and Duncan could fend for themselves.

"And I suppose you're captaining?" Methos said, pointing at Duncan, who nodded. Methos held back a few choice comments about mutiny at sea. "I did tell you I hate the sea, didn't I?" Methos asked Robert instead. "I'm sure I said something about that ten years back. You remember, don't you? Right before I ran you through?"

Robert's hand had dropped from Methos's shoulder rather quickly at that point, thankfully, but he recovered fast. "Yes, well, no hard feelings on my part there, I assure you! Really, it won't be that difficult! No swabbing the deck necessary, even! I'll hire a cleaning crew when you reach Crete. All you have to do is help with the rigging. I'll find a way to repay you, I promise!"


2. The Ocean

When Methos had told Duncan he had a thousand regrets, he'd been estimating. Really, that was rather a conservative number, given how long he'd been alive. If you figured that he was roughly five thousand years old, give or take a century or two and adjusting for various calendars and means of measuring the passage of time, then factored in the years he'd managed to ignore any hint of a conscience, that still worked out to somewhere around one regret every five years. It had to be more than that.

Granted, some regrets were on the "Damn, I wish I'd thought to grab extra bullets for the gun this morning," level, and some were even further down on the scale, somewhere around "If only I'd remembered to return that library book last week." But everyone had regrets like those. Well. Maybe not the one about the bullets, but something like that. Regular people probably regretted not thinking to grab their phones, or a bottle of water. Methos sometimes regretted those too, but the weaponry-related regrets were far more pressing when they came up.

At the moment, Methos was very strongly regretting several things: Staying in Paris where Duncan MacLeod could easily find him and offer him a decent meal and free booze, taking MacLeod up on said offer of free food and booze, and allowing MacLeod and Robert to talk him into the whole sailing scheme.

It wasn't just that he was currently on board a boat in the middle of a fairly choppy ocean, trying to convince himself that any seasickness he felt was psychosomatic and not real and he was not going to disgrace himself in the pristine head attached to the captain's cabin on the yacht. Okay, so that was a good part of it right there, but it was letting it get to this point in the first place. It was letting MacLeod sucker him into it. It was knowing that MacLeod offering him free food and booze without Methos just dropping in and taking it to bug him usually meant MacLeod wanted something, and accepting the invitation anyhow.

That was a weakness, and it was galling. It was a worse weakness than the vaguely queasy feeling Methos had whenever the boat hit a particularly large swell. After all, how often did Methos really need to get on a boat aside from the barge? And the barge was fairly tame as boats went. Taking it on the ocean was a laughable idea. So the barge didn't count, and disregarding it, boats really had little to no bearing on Methos' life. Sure, airport security was a pain in the ass, but really, it was completely worth the convenience of not having to get on a boat to cross the Atlantic. Or Pacific. Either way.

"Methos!" Duncan called down from the deck. "Stop being such a wuss and come up on deck. You'll feel better with the fresh air!"

"Are you absolutely sure about that?" Methos called back as he made his way up onto the deck. Not that he had anything against the fresh air, but it did smell distinctly of salt water.

On deck, Duncan stood at the stern, hands on the wheel, looking for all the world like he'd been born to sail. Methos pulled up the hood of his coat against the wind and watched Duncan. He'd clearly come prepared for all kinds of weather and had outfitted himself in a wind and water-proof coat and good boots for a boat deck. There was a thermos of something stashed in a handily available cup holder within reach of the wheel. Methos eyed it, hoping it was something alcoholic. Or caffeinated. Or both.

"Go ahead," Duncan said, nodding towards the thermos. "It's coffee. Brewed it earlier. Take the wheel for a bit?"

Methos checked the thermos and found that the coffee was still fairly hot. He took a sip, then relieved Duncan at the wheel. "The fresh air isn't helping, you know," he informed Duncan after a moment. "I can't believe I let you and Robert convince me this wouldn't be a waterlogged hell on earth."

"Oh come on," Duncan said before taking a sip of his coffee. "It's not that bad. You're not even really sick, so don't go claiming you can't do your rotation at the wheel tonight. If you hated it that much, you would have weaseled your way out of it. It wouldn't have been the first time you up and left when things started going in a direction you didn't like."

Of course he was right. Uncomfortably so. Methos frowned and kept his eyes forward, watching the horizon.

"Not that I don't appreciate it. Robert and Gina are good friends of mine, and they like you well enough."

"I should hope so," Methos cut in. "After all, I did help out, at great personal expense, that last time."

"And you're helping them more now. Just think how grateful they'll be." Duncan took another sip of coffee and resealed the thermos. "Is that why you did it? Hopes of a reward? You know they're both quite wealthy."

Methos was well aware of that. Robert and Gina made no attempt to hide their wealth. Instead, they put it on display in such a way that set them up for always being the fortunate beneficiaries of carefully crafted wills and bequests. Methos preferred to hide what he had, squirreling it away for emergencies and the occasional grand gesture.

"You know," Methos muttered, looking out at the water as the sun set behind a bank of ominous clouds, "I'm not sure I know why. Sure as hell wasn't for a romantic trip with you."

"Ha-ha," Duncan mocked before heading below.


3. Crete

Somehow, Robert had gotten Gina to come out of the house in a blindfold. Methos was fairly certain that she had to know what was up, but she was being a good sport and letting Robert gloat over his 'surprise' a little. Really, it was sweet to watch, especially knowing that Gina could probably gut Robert in a matter of seconds if he took the gloating too far. Maybe not romance for anyone else, but it seemed to work for the two of them.

Robert was waving to them and gesturing in some odd cross between semaphore without the flags and badly done charades. Methos didn't even bother trying to figure out what Robert wanted. In all likelihood he wanted Methos and Duncan to be quiet as they docked so Gina wouldn't know it was them, or that there was a boat. Though why Robert would think Gina couldn't deduce that coming down to the dock blindfolded probably meant there was a new boat, Methos wasn't sure.

Fortunately for Robert, the actual dock was far enough away from the decking he'd brought Gina to that she couldn't know that Methos and Duncan were there. Getting the boat docked and tied up couldn't happen fast enough as far as Methos was concerned. He gladly got out of the boat and onto the dock, tying the appropriate knots and then sinking down onto a bench nearby as his legs protested the suddenly solid and unmoving surface beneath his feet.

"Robert," Gina said, her voice a warning to her husband that her patience was wearing thin. "It is very early and you still have not told me why we are out here. I am going in for coffee now if you do not tell me what is going on."

Robert grinned and untied the blindfold. "Of course, my love. Of course. Happy anniversary."

Gina looked down at the water, clearly taking in the new boat, all sleek and perfect still, despite its trip. Then she shifted her gaze to Duncan and Methos. "Oh! Robert! You've brought me friends to celebrate with! How thoughtful of you! Adam, Duncan, you must have breakfast with us."

While Robert looked from his wife to the boat then to Methos and Duncan in helpless consternation, Gina slowly turned to smirk at him. "Now, Robert, it is a very nice boat as well, but we can't very well have breakfast on it."

Robert gazed at the boat until Methos heaved himself up and clapped him on the shoulder. "Come on, Robert! Be a sport!"

Fortunately, Robert did have a sense of humor, and followed Methos, Duncan and Gina back up from the dock to the house that sat nestled in the rocks overlooking the sea. Methos turned back before heading inside and took in a little of the view. Even if he didn't like the ocean much, he had to admit that the view was lovely. Especially at sunrise. There was just something about sunrise and water together, a quality to the light and air that you didn't get anywhere else.

Methos didn't realize he'd lingered until Gina returned, resting a gentle hand on his arm. "Adam? Still unwell from your journey? I know a perfect remedy for such things."

"Thank you, no," he said, smiling at her. "It won't be necessary." She smiled back and led him into the house, which was almost as ornate as the one in Paris, though on a smaller scale.

The breakfast spread inside was just shy of overwhelming, and Robert and Duncan were already digging in while discussing the trip and Duncan's opinion of the boat and how it handled. Methos tuned them out, uninterested in conversation about jibs and masts and lines and all the technical details of a boat he'd rather pretend he'd never seen before. He'd far rather consider the island that was their destination, and wonder if it was worth sticking around for a day or two or if he should just insist on Robert getting him a ticket straight back to Paris.

The windows in the dining room had the same view of the sea that the front steps did and, against the odds, Methos found himself mesmerized by it until Robert said his name. "Adam? You did sleep on the trip, didn't you?"

"What? Oh, of course," Methos said. "Not well, but I did warn you about me and boats."

Robert sighed. "It can't have been all that bad. And I did say I'd find a way to repay you."

Methos looked back out the windows and nodded. "That you did. And I think I know how you're going to do that. MacLeod, have a wonderful trip back to Paris."

"Why? Where are you going?" Duncan asked, looking up from his breakfast.

Methos smiled at him, then turned to Robert and Gina. "I think I'd like a ticket to Santorini. By air, if you would be so kind. I have a goodbye to say."


4. Santorini

It wasn't quite the way he remembered it, but that was the way the world worked. In five thousand years, Methos had come to take that as a universal truth. It didn't matter how much someone worked to preserve a place, or restore it, something would always have changed. Sometimes it was due to weather or some other force of nature. Sometimes it was due to people and the myriad reasons they could come up with for altering something. Either way, things changed. But it was still beautiful.

Methos sat down in the sand near the edge of the water, toes just barely getting wet with each new wave. The tide was coming in, judging by the lack of wet sand where he was sitting. Within a few hours the beach would be nothing more than a few feet of sand before the rocks. It had been like this the first time he'd brought Alexa here. They'd made it with just enough time for a walk down the beach before the tide was too high to walk without wading half the time, but then Alexa had wanted to wade anyhow and they'd ended up soaked by the time they left.

There were more than a handful of reasons for Methos to hate the sea, but he couldn't bring himself to hate the shore. Not after watching Alexa take such joy from it. She'd joked about sleeping on the beach and waking up with sand in her hair and he'd pointed out that it would be more like seaweed with the rate the tide was rising. Then they'd woken up with sand on their pillows anyhow. It just seemed that was how it went on the beach. Sand got everywhere.

It was a testament to how focused Methos had been on Alexa that the sand had only made him think of her and not of the endless deserts he'd traveled in earlier years, or time spent camping in rough tents on the sand in arid wastelands. Sometimes he wondered if his whole life was a matter of replacing bad associations with good ones. Maybe if he and Alexa had gone sailing, he wouldn't have such antipathy towards boats. But that was in the past now.

A couple was strolling down the beach in the distance, coming around a curve at a snail's pace. Methos turned to watch them, unable to tell from that far away if they were young lovers on a honeymoon or an older couple, perhaps celebrating an anniversary much like Robert and Gina in Crete. He'd never gotten a year with Alexa, so they'd measured their time in weeks, celebrating even on the second day in the hospital in Geneva.

Methos looked away from the couple. Jealousy was a petty emotion, and Alexa's memory was worth far more. He was about to get up when the sound of a wave broke through his thoughts, crashing around his ankles and washing up far enough to soak him.

"Damn," he muttered, scrambling back out of the water. The tide was coming faster than he'd realized. It was definitely time to leave the beach. At least he had dry clothes at the hotel.

The couple from down the beach was almost to him as he got up and brushed himself off. They were young after all. So very young and utterly enthralled with each other. Methos glanced at them once before he left the beach, then climbed the rocks and didn't look back.

When he reached his hotel, he changed and had his dinner on the balcony of his room. It wasn't the same hotel that he'd stayed in with Alexa. That had been tempting, and he'd stood in front of it for several minutes before turning around and walking back down the road to another hotel he'd passed. This one was close enough, really, without being so painfully the same that he'd find himself expecting to hear her humming in the bathroom or see her with a cup of tea on the balcony in the morning.

The sun had long since disappeared below the horizon when Methos finally went inside to go to bed. On Crete, Robert and Gina were likely still celebrating their centuries-long marriage. MacLeod was either back in Paris or on his way there, possibly to meet up with Amanda, or maybe to sit and reminisce on his own. And Alexa was gone. Like all of them. Ten years in the past and growing further away with each moment.

Perhaps for Robert and Gina's next anniversary, he'd give them a trip to Santorini.

END

Comments 
15th-Dec-2009 07:23 pm (UTC)
Lovely and bittersweet. :) Thank you.
26th-Dec-2009 01:53 am (UTC)
You're welcome! Thank you for reading.
15th-Dec-2009 08:11 pm (UTC)
Lovely... And very well written! Thank you!
26th-Dec-2009 01:53 am (UTC)
You're welcome, and thank you!
16th-Dec-2009 12:21 am (UTC)
Nice. Wry and bittersweet.
26th-Dec-2009 01:53 am (UTC)
That's what I was hoping for. Thank you for reading!
16th-Dec-2009 02:21 am (UTC)
You couldn't really go wrong with this combination of characters, but what was especially wonderful was seeing Methos think of Alexa without the wallowing. Perfect. :)
26th-Dec-2009 01:55 am (UTC)
Thank you! I really wanted to touch on a serious side of Methos, but not have him dwelling overmuch.
16th-Dec-2009 04:01 am (UTC)
Adding to memories.
26th-Dec-2009 01:56 am (UTC)
Thank you!
16th-Dec-2009 08:40 am (UTC)
I liked the way this came back to Methos' memories of Alexa. Nice and bittersweet.
26th-Dec-2009 01:56 am (UTC)
I'm glad you liked it. Thank you!
16th-Dec-2009 09:36 am (UTC)
So very lovely. Methos's memories of Alexa were so sweet, still with just the right touch of sadness and loss without being self-pitying. I simply adore Gina and Robert and Duncan's characterization was just right.
26th-Dec-2009 01:58 am (UTC)
Thank you! I'm so glad I got Duncan right. I always worry about how I write him.
16th-Dec-2009 04:54 pm (UTC)
Good to see Robert and Gina are still keeping things fresh. I wonder what Gina's remedy really entailed? It's interesting to see the compressed passage of time for Immortals--so fleeting, ten years. So little time.
26th-Dec-2009 02:02 am (UTC)
Thank you for reading! I had such fun writing Robert and Gina. I'm glad you enjoyed it!
17th-Dec-2009 01:07 am (UTC)
Lovely story, bittersweet and poignant.
26th-Dec-2009 02:05 am (UTC)
Thank you for reading!
18th-Dec-2009 05:30 am (UTC)
Beautiful setting and lovely story. Poor melancholy Methos seems alone even when journeying with others.
26th-Dec-2009 02:09 am (UTC)
Thank you so much. Some day I'll have to write him a rollicking road trip.
18th-Dec-2009 10:18 am (UTC)
I haven't commented on this one yet? Why haven't I commented?

Echoing everyone else it was lovely and bittersweet, a great humorous start with a touching end. A perfect mix for a highlander story.
26th-Dec-2009 02:10 am (UTC)
I'm so glad you commented! Thank you very much. I'm happy I hit the right notes.
18th-Dec-2009 11:58 pm (UTC)
Very nicely written and very well plotted. I wasn't expecting the ending with the memories of Alexa and your characterization of Methos was very nicely done.
26th-Dec-2009 02:15 am (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad you liked it.
24th-Dec-2009 06:14 pm (UTC)
I liked this very much!
26th-Dec-2009 02:15 am (UTC)
I'm glad! Thank you!
27th-Dec-2009 07:31 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the lovely story. Great sense of immortal time and the inevitability of change.
2nd-Jan-2010 02:29 pm (UTC)
You're welcome and thank you!
28th-Dec-2009 05:56 pm (UTC)
Finally I've managed to finish reading. Thank you so much for your generous gift! I loved it, it had me laughing and going melancholy. Great, geat job!
2nd-Jan-2010 02:30 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad you enjoyed it. I had fun writing it and seeing where it would go. Thank you!
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