|Mistletoe For Joe: Highlander Christmas|
|Topic Started: Dec 16 2009, 12:52 AM (141 Views)|
|Ertia||Dec 16 2009, 12:52 AM Post #1|
Authors Note: The 2009 Holiday Challenge story from HLBB- Write a short story, approximately 1500 words. Must contain at least one canon character, must have the word 'snow'.
Highlander is owned by Panzer/Davis Productions. However, as they say, possession is nine tenths of the law and since I have Methos locked in my cellar (He likes it! REALLY!) I'm fairly sure I have good case.
Mistletoe for Joe
"She wasn't even a virgin." Methos asserted, his beer bottle striking the scarred wooden table top with an affirming knock.
Joe rolled his eyes at the oldest known Immortal, "Isn't anything sacred to you?"
"Oh, plenty." Methos let his gaze travel across the sparsely populated bar, "Just not a baby who wasn't born in a manger. Do you know how many babies I've delivered?" He paused just long enough for the reminder of his skills as a physician to sink in, "Mary might have stuck him in the hay once she got him out, but there's no way he was born there!"
"Oh, come on." Joe's grizzled chin quivered with the effort not to laugh at Methos. He refused to give the really old guy the satisfaction. "Can't you think of one good thing about Christmas?"
"Christmas, no. Solstice, yeah. Feasting. And beer!" Lean shoulders shrugged and hazel eyes danced closed to savor the memory, "Not this mass produced stuff!"
"So now you're knocking my beer?" Joe waved a hand towards the bar, "I'm cutting you off."
Methos' eyes popped open and he snagged his bottle back just in case Joe was serious. "What about you? What's your best Christmas memory?"
"Oh, man." Now it was the graying barkeeper's turn to close his eyes, "When I was a kid, the whole family would show up on Christmas Eve. Aunts, uncles, cousins. The whole big shebang. Mom’d bake for days and roast a turkey so big it barely fit in the oven. We'd all sing' and decorate the tree together. What I wouldn't give for one of those pumpkin pies... Do they even grow pumpkins that taste like that anymore."
Lips pursed thoughtfully around the mouth of the beer bottle as Methos took in the story, then, drolly unimpressed, he rolled his eyes towards Joe and asked, "Who washed all those dishes?"
"You really are a bastard." Joe grabbed his cane and pushed upright, heading for the stage and his other best friend... the blues. Just noodling the strings soon evolved into a bluesy rendition of ‘Silent Night‘.
Methos listened for a few minutes, then gestured Mike for a new beer before slipping out into the cold. He finally had to yank off his gloves to work the touch-pad on his iPhone, but the miracles of modern technology sure beat trying to send a message on horseback in this weather. By the time he returned to the table, his right hand was nearly frozen, his smile was smug, and Joe had moved on to 'Oh, Christmas Tree'.
Amanda adjusted her scarf as she waved for a taxi, "I gave Duncan this last year..."
"Then why do you still have it?" Hugh Fitzcairn, staggering under piles of bags and boxes, blinked, "No, don't tell me!
"I like it! And he wasn't going to wear it. Besides, what's the fun of spending his money if I just gift it right back to him?"
"Amanda.” Fitz sighed, “How often have you done that to me?”
“Why! Fitz! I would never!” The comely thief protested, “Now, the next thing on The List…”
Richie yanked the bungee cords on the trunk of the car tight and a twiggy snapping sound came from somewhere inside the 7 foot tall tree.
"It's a tree, not a rug!" Duncan protested.
"You want a woodsman, find Connor." The younger Immortal retorted, jerking his leather jacket tighter against the snow just starting to fall. "At least I cut it down."
"Yeah,“ Duncan grinned, his rich brogue turning teasing, "Maybe next time you could use a Swiss army knife... Probably take just as long."
Richie brandished the sap-covered hatchet, "Say that a little closer."
"And look like a toothpick when you‘re done?" Duncan started the car, asked by way of changing the subject, "What‘s next?"
"Nothing left but an address." Richie‘s eyes narrowed at The List, "Mac, how do we know this isn't some kind of elaborate trap?"
The elder Immortal frowned, shaking his head as he wheeled out onto the icy road, "When was the last time you saw a trap that involved a tree?"
Richie raised an eyebrow, hands flashing in a double-handed chop-chop, "Me and the whole nature thing. You know we don't get along, right?"
Fitz’s fingers clenched on the steering wheel, "It's incomprehensible! Landing in Chicago and driving the rest of the way? I think he's gone 'round-bend."
Amanda held up The List, "Think of it as a treasure hunt. And what's better than a road trip with me?"
"Let's see." Fitz removed one hand from the wheel to tick off the points, "You‘re vain, you steal, you snore, and… well…." His wink was pure mischief, "I can‘t think of much worse!"
"Ouch." Amanda retorted, shifting in her seat to glance at the wares piling the back seat, "So, what do you think he wants all this for?"
"I told you," Fitz shrugged, "He's off his rocker! We're humoring him until we can determine if it‘s fatal madness."
"Fatal? As in off with his head?” she gasped.
Fitz’s shoulders shook slightly with un-suppressed chuckles, "If his nut’s come loose, we'll be doing him a kindness to remove it."
Amanda seemed to digest this for a moment, “Wait… I snore?”
Joe relaxed into his hot shower, glad for the end of a long day and an even longer week. Christmas season meant business at the bar was slow, but he insisted on staying open for the regulars. Methos hadn't even dropped by before he‘d closed up at five for Christmas Eve.
Screw him, Joe thought. Damn him for getting me thinking about the holidays. I can get by just fine without more reminders of things I don't have. Christmas is just a good day off to watch old movies and eat popcorn.
"Merry Christmas," Joe grumbled to himself, shifting on his shower seat and groping through steamy air for a towel.
To his surprise, it was handed to him
"What the hell!?" The Watcher jerked, almost falling before a familiar chuckle reached his ears.
"Get dressed! We're going out." Methos was standing against the sink, his trench coat clad back turned in a semblance of propriety.
"Get the hell outta my bathroom!" Joe snapped, trying to hide the undercurrent of joy that replaced the sudden shock, "You tryin' to give me a heart attack?"
Methos fired a dry smile over his shoulder as he stepped out, "At your age, that's a risk, isn't it?"
The Watcher growled as he dragged on his prosthetics and dug around for clean clothes, but deep inside, there was an old feeling rising. One he hadn't had since he was a kid. "This had better be worth it!"
"Come on, I'm driving."
"And we'll get there in one piece?" Joe grumped as he followed Methos to his grey SUV.
Hazel eyes ripped heavenward, staring up into the white falling flakes as though praying for patience, "Just get in."
The house was in the hills overlooking the city, a simple wood-frame home. Colored lights ran up the walk and across the snow-dripped eves. From inside, there was the sound of laughter. The oldest Immortal grinned, blowing on chilled hands to warm them as he dodged around Joe and flung open the front door.
A blast of warmth hit Joe as he stepped inside.
Duncan and Richie were adjusting the tree, arguing about whether it was straight and Amanda was stacking brightly wrapped packages under its needled boughs. When she saw Joe, she leaped up, steering him under the mistletoe to drop a kiss on his cheek.
An oak fire burned in the hearth, roasting chestnuts nestled in it's glowing coals. Outside the dining room’s glass doors, snow blanketed the deck, and the glowing lights of Seacouver provided a breath-taking display. From the kitchen, heavenly smells emanated: pies baking, spiced cider simmering, and turkey roasting. Fitzcairn popped out of the kitchen, waving with a spatula before disappearing back through the portal.
"UNCLE JOE!" Little Mary sprang from behind the sofa, her holiday dress shining in the firelight. Her hug nearly bowled him over. "Mommy said we had to wait for you! Can I put the angel on top?”
“Sure, sugar-plum!“ He managed to reply. Over Amanda’s head, Joe met Methos' eye, "You did all this?"
"Nothing better to do." Methos shrugged.
He really hadn’t done any of it. He had called on the expertise of Amanda and Fitz as master shoppers and possessors of extraordinary taste. Together, rogue and the thief stormed through the finest shops and farms of the Western US, gathering gifts, late-season pumpkins, tart apples, golden potatoes and a farm fresh turkey. Fitzcairn and Anne had done all of the actual cooking.
Duncan and Richie scoured the woods for the perfect tree, fresh mistletoe and wreath greens. Duncan’s antiques connections turned up a quantity of vintage ornaments and they had found and strung the lights and trims at Anne’s direction.
The childlike joy on Joe’s face made it all worthwhile.
And as the evening wore on, Methos reflected that a warm fire, excellent food, and friends who didn’t want to kill him- today, anyway-, couldn’t be bad things, whatever the season. With as much satisfaction as he dared, he uttered, "Maybe I could get into this whole holiday thing after all."
Joe shoved back his empty plate, a wicked grin cracking his face, "Yeah, maybe. But, man, who's gonna wash all these dishes?"
Edited by Ertia, Dec 16 2009, 12:53 AM.
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