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[personal profile] bearshorty
Title: Holiday in the Sun
Author: bearshorty
Fandom: Highlander: The Series.
Pairing: Duncan/Methos
Summary: Six years after Endgame, in the middle of a busy and tiring Christmas season, Mac receives an invitation to a holiday.
Word Count: 7,777
Warning: Slash, nothing explicit. Don’t read if it is not your thing.
Disclaimer: Highlander belongs to Davis-Panzer Productions. I’m just playing with the characters for fun and not for any profit.


When Mac made his way upstairs to his New York loft, he was bone tired. December was always a busy time at the store as many people wandered in to see if antiques might be a good gift for the holidays. For the last week, the number of customers seemed to increase three-fold and he expected the next three days before the actual holiday to stay busy. It was already past ten o’clock in the evening and he needed to get up early, cut his workout short and head down to the store again. On the days like this, he didn’t even know why he decided to rebuild and reopen Connor’s business. It had been six years since Connor died and he still could not let go of the memory of a man who was his teacher, his friend, and his brother.

As he opened the door, carefully balancing his bulky mail, and stepped inside ready to collapse into bed, he decided that perhaps he should sleep in a little tomorrow and let Jenny and Kurt deal with the early customers. After all, he was paying them extra this December. And it is not like he really needed the money.

His hands were full from a few packages and some letters. He dropped them all on a nearby table, not having the energy to really go through them. Just as he was about to leave it all for tomorrow, he noticed a familiar scroll on one of the packages. Methos. He couldn’t remember the last time Methos sent him something. They talked on the phone occasionally and emailed once in a while. But never send packages or regular mail of any kind. Methos still lived in London and Duncan last saw him three month ago for Joe’s birthday. He furrowed his brow wondering why Methos would send him something.

Curiosity was stronger than exhaustion so he finally took his heavy winter coat off, pulled the package out of the pile and started tearing the postal paper. He was about to go to the kitchen to get a knife to open the box when a vision of opening the box with his katana occurred to him. Smiling at the absurdity and thinking how much Methos would be amused at that image, he shook his head and got the knife. On the top was a card with bright multi colored balloons and confetti with a “Happy Birthday” sign. With a start, Mac realized that it was his birthday. In all the hustle, he actually didn’t realize it was today. Well, not the first time that happened, he thought. He looked at the clock and since it was still his birthday it felt right to see what present Methos sent him. He picked up the card first, realizing that he was stalling.

Mac.

Happy Birthday! And Happy Holidays!

Just a little something to celebrate the day you came into the world and the Winter Solstice.

Don’t cut yourself.

M.


Smiling, Duncan propped the card up on the table and reached inside the box. It took him a bit more unwrapping to realize that Methos sent him weapons. Two beautiful antique knives to be precise. The handle on one instantly reminded Mac of his katana and the other was an 18th century Scottish dirk with a carved wooden hilt and Celtic designs on its brass fittings. Mac’s eyebrows rose as he realized just how much Methos must have spent on it. He also decided not to think about how Methos has managed to send him weapons through regular international mail that arrived precisely on his birthday.

He carefully put the daggers on the table, admiring the craftsmanship, and tried to figure out the time difference between New York and London. It was after three in the morning there on a weeknight and it was most definitely too late to call. But he didn’t want Methos to think that his present didn’t get there in time so he decided to call Methos’s cell phone, which he knew would be off at night, and at least to leave a thank you message. Then he could call back in the morning with a proper phone call.

Mac took out his cell phone, found the contact number for Matthew Adams, took his regular phone off the hook and dialed, remembering to add the international code. Surprisingly, he was not directed straight to voice mail. The phone connected and Mac began to worry that he would wake a very cranky Methos.

Methos answered on the fourth ring and he did not sound sleepy at all, nor cranky, for which Mac was grateful.

“Adams, speaking,” said a rather cheerful and not at all tired voice.

“Hey. It’s me,” said Mac. He never used Methos’ actual name in their phone conversations since Methos was paranoid about that. Mac humored him.

“Mac! Happy Birthday!” Methos’s voice sounded relaxed and happy, Mac found, and he had an irrational surge of envy. He could not remember the last time he, himself, felt that happy.

Mac said, “Thank you. I was actually calling to thank you for my presents. They are very beautiful.”

“You’re welcome,” said Methos, “I figure you need something extra whenever you get into trouble. Which is always. I was trying to call you earlier with birthday greetings but you weren’t home.”

“Store is really busy. I just got here.” Mac said. He felt suddenly awkward. He felt he needed to add some sort of apology for calling in the middle of the night, although he obviously did not wake the old man. “I was afraid that I woke you but I thought your phone would be off. Sorry,” he said.

“I’m not in London right now, actually. It got too cold and rainy and I needed a warm holiday.” Methos replied sounding even more cheerful, if that was possible. “I think I’m on your clock.”

Mac felt another irrational emotion rise. He pictured Methos on a tropical island, enjoying the sun and drinking something fruity. No, he corrected himself, Methos would be drinking beer. Nice cold beer on a sunny beach. Suddenly, he wished he was somewhere warm too and the cold New York winter suddenly did not feel as cozy as it did in the last couple of days. He also knew better than to ask where exactly Methos was.

“Warm sounds nice,” he replied a bit wearily, his exhaustion catching up with him.

“Are you alright?” Methos’ voice was without emotion now, what Mac recognized as his worried voice.

“I’m fine,” he said. “I just had a long day and I’m tired. A long week actually. A long month. Too many customers. I just wanted to call and say thank you and go to sleep. The daggers are really wonderful, you really didn’t have to.”

“Well, I can always take them back. One can never have too many weapons,” said Methos.

Mac smiled. “No. They are mine now. And you have enough weapons for an army.” It felt good to talk to Methos again and Mac realized just how much he missed this. “Well, I should go to sleep. It really has been a long day.”

“So you keep saying. Goodnight, then. Get some sleep. A new day and all that,” said Methos.

“Goodnight. Enjoy the sun.” Mac said and hung up. He looked at the phone in his hand for a few long seconds. Then he made himself put it back and walked toward the bed. Sleep. He looked at the table with his two presents on the way to bed. Well, it was a short birthday but a good one. He was asleep within minutes.

-----------------------------

It was past eight the next night when Mac went into the office to check his email. It had been another long and tiring day. It is not like he minded that his business was going well but there just seemed to be an influx of customers and most had very specific requirements. He came back to the store about an hour earlier after spending most of the day doing appraisals for the Munoz estate. The daughter wanted everything ready for an auction as soon as possible and the work not only took forever, the daughter’s incessant hovering did not help. And as he came back into the store, he got ambushed by a late customer, and his staff was too busy processing shipments, so he had to deal with her himself. Mac just wanted to check all his email and go home and have enough time in the morning to exercise.

He was happy to see that there weren’t too many emails that needed his attention but then he paused as he saw an email from Methos. In the subject line, it said, “Open Sesame. And before December 23.” Frowning and puzzled about what Methos would email him about, especially as he was apparently on vacation right now, Mac clicked on it. There was a short paragraph followed by what looked like a forwarded email from Expedia.

Mac,

Last night you sounded like you really needed a holiday too. Your plane leaves at 6am from Newark tomorrow and I’ll pick you up at the airport here. Think of it as another birthday/Christmas present. Pack for ten days and bring sunscreen. Your ticket is below. You should probably print it. Don’t miss the plane; I’d rather not drive to the airport for nothing. I’ll see you tomorrow afternoon.

M.


Mac stared at the email. He reread it. Then he read it again. His brain was not processing the information properly. Did Methos really send him an e-ticket to take off at the last minute and to fly to wherever he was during one the busiest times his store had? He couldn’t just take off. There was just too much work and he couldn’t pack and be ready to go on such ridiculously short notice. He picked up the office phone, looked up Methos’ number again and dialed. This time the phone call went straight to voicemail. Mac couldn’t think of anything coherent to leave as a message so he just hung up. Great, now he leaves his phone off, Mac thought. The bastard probably did that on purpose too so that Mac would feel extra guilty for making Methos drive in vain to the airport.

As he hung up the phone, Jenny poked her head into the office.

“Kurt and I finished the last of it, Boss. I think we are all set for tomorrow. We can probably start all the paperwork for Mrs. Jackson tomorrow too.” She said.

Mac blinked. “Thanks. We should probably open at 10 tomorrow, get some food and sleep.”

“Thanks, Mr. MacLeod. I’ll let Kurt know. Have a goodnight.” She turned to go when Mac’s mouth opened and took over his brain.

“Jenny, wait. Actually, I need to leave for a week or so. Can you handle the next two days by yourselves until we close for Christmas?”

Jenny paused as if trying to understand something illogical, but then she brightened up and said, “Sure, Mr. MacLeod. We can manage things here. But don’t you still have Mr. Munoz’s estate appraisal to finish? And I don’t think Mrs. Husby wants anyone but you to do it.”

Mac groaned. “Well, tell her that I had to be somewhere else and either she waits until I get back after the New Year or she should let you or Kurt handle it.”

That would not go over well, Mac thought, but he really did not feel guilty about Jenny having to make that particular phone call. He did not want to deal with Mrs. Husby anymore after the week and a half he had spent with her hovering and asking incessant questions. And now he had a perfect excuse. Maybe his mind was ready to jump on Methos’ offer just to avoid that situation. No, Mac decided, he was just tired and he did need a holiday and he really did want to see Methos. The idea of spending ten days in Methos’ company was very appealing even if it did involve having to pack in a hurry, getting all his traveling papers together at the last moment and getting to the airport in the middle of the night.

Jenny nodded, “I’ll see what I can do. Have a good trip then. And don’t worry about the store.” She smiled. Then she paused again and added, “Will there be somewhere we can reach you, just in case?”

Mac realized that he really did not want to think about anything relating to antique business anymore. And he did not even care about losing any customers. He was more tired than he thought. “I don’t think I’d be available. If anything comes up, let the customers know to come back in two weeks.”

“Sure thing,” She still sounded a little uncertain but she left the office. He could vaguely hear her conveying the information to Kurt.

He looked back at the computer screen. Well, he was going then. He scrolled down to see where he was actually traveling. He still needed to print his e-ticket and he would probably need to find his passport. As he read the destination he realized that he hadn’t been there in maybe a century or more and then it was for a short shore leave in his brief time as a sailor. The rum was quite nice and so was the sand, he remembered. He was flying to Aruba.

--------------------------------------

By the time the plane landed in Aruba, Mac was rethinking the whole impulse. He didn’t get much sleep the night before and he couldn’t sleep a lot on the plane. The flight did not arrive until 3pm; there was a stop in Atlanta and it all was just adding to already stressful few months. As he disembarked and felt the heat of a warm day, though, his mood picked up a bit. The pilot said it was 30C or 85F this afternoon in Oranjestad and after a week of low temperatures it was a welcome relief. He suddenly had an image of Methos on his barge in Paris bitching about the cold weather. He smiled.

He went down the escalator to the passport control. After a long line that went a bit slower than he liked, he made his way to the baggage section. Then he had to wait some more to pick up this katana. At least it didn’t get lost. His crankiness started to come back just a bit. He took a deep calming breath. He really did need a vacation.

As he was clearing customs, Mac felt Methos’ Presence. He unconsciously walked a little faster. And there he was, leaning against one wall, smiling, all casual nonchalance in khaki short, sandals and a green t-shirt. No coat of any kind. Mac briefly wondered where Methos’ sword was and what weapons Methos could be packing in such an outfit. Probably a gun. And then he was close enough to clasp an arm Methos extended to him. They rarely touched much anymore. Never hugged.

“Duncan McLeod of the Clan McLeod, welcome to Aruba. I’m glad you made it.” Methos extended his customary greeting with his usual stretchy pronunciation of his full name. Mac actually looked forward to that; no one else said his name quite like that, mocking yet sincere.

“Methos. It is good to see you. And you are insane,” Mac said in return. He let go of Methos’ arm before it could become awkward.

“How was your flight?” Methos began moving toward the airport exit.

“Good. I’m just tired. Long couple of days. Whatever possessed you to get me a ticket for six in the morning? Not that I don’t appreciate you inviting me here.” Mac decided he needed to stop talking; he was starting to ramble.

“Last notice and all that. It was the only flight available. No evil plan or anything.” Methos replied and shrugged. They were in the parking lot and Methos made his way to a car. “Get in. We have about a fifty minute drive. Then I’ll get you something to eat and you can start relaxing. The beach is lovely.”

Mac put his bag and the sword case in the back seat and got into the passenger seat. He saw a sword hilt peeking out from under the driver seat. One mystery solved. He did wonder where he would keep his sword in the hot weather once they got to whenever they were going. Safety of the airport was one thing, a beach was another. Although there would probably be many people around.

“Where are you staying?” he decided to ask. “Do you have a place here or a resort of some kind?”

“I’m renting a bungalow. Technically, it is part of one of resorts here but it is off to the side and I get complete privacy and a little piece of the beach all to myself. Well, I am willing to share.” Methos pulled onto what looked like the main road and put on some music. To Mac’s complete lack of surprise it was a modern sounding rock group that he hadn’t recognized.

The car ride was actually over sooner than Mac imagined. They caught up on Joe and Amanda and their respective lives. Mac realized again, as he usually did, just how easily they fell back into conversation. He found comfort in Methos’ sarcastic remarks about some of Mac’s clients. And he even joked back a few times. He was suddenly glad that they managed to retain some sort of friendship after Bordeaux even if they never were as comfortable and easygoing as before. Maybe he should work on that more, he decided. For the next ten days he could really try, now that they had all this time together.

The bungalow was not large but very inviting. It was right on the beach with an incredible view from the living room window. It had a small kitchen off the living room, a bathroom and two bedrooms. The second bedroom was probably meant for children since it was smaller and had two beds. It had a nice view out of its window as well and Mac kept glancing at the palm trees while he unpacked. Methos told him to change into something more appropriate and come eat in ten minutes. He was puttering in the kitchen probably getting the food ready. Mac decided that after lunch he would go swimming since the water was so blue and looked very inviting. He didn’t remember the sand being so white either. He loved the smell of salty water. He wondered if Methos had enough sunscreen – if he got burned, his skin would heal fairly quickly but, nonetheless, it would not be too pleasant. He didn’t have time to get any, despite Methos’ email instructions.

His stomach growled. Time to eat. Methos put out an array of sandwiches and, of course, beer. As Mac came into the kitchen, Methos opened another beer and handed it to him.

“Thanks, Methos.” Mac took a sip of beer and dug in into a very delicious roast beef sandwich. “This is really good.”

“You don’t have to sound that surprised.”

“Sorry. I just don’t remember you ever cooking. You kept promising me all these unusual dishes but, in fact, I was usually feeding you. This is delicious.” Mac said.

“Yes. Well. I can’t take all the credit here. I have a food delivery service. I usually don’t spend my holidays cooking. I did make sure the beer was at its ideal temperature.”

Mac snorted. “You would.” He ate the rest of the sandwich and reached for another one. He was really starving. “What do you do with your holiday then, if not cooking?”

“I sit on the beach and I read or go on my computer. I swim a bit. Relaxing, generally. There is great snorkeling here too. I don’t know, what people normally do on vacation. Well, you would probably end up saving a damsel in distress on top of the normal relaxation.” Methos added the last part with a smirk. He seemed very relaxed and tanned. Mac couldn’t remember Methos being tan. Last time Mac saw him in September, when they met in Paris for Joe’s birthday, Methos was his usual pale self and slightly tired and a bit on edge. Now he seemed much more at ease.

“So how long have you been here? And why Aruba?” Mac asked, wondering just how long it takes for Methos to get tanned.

“Just a week. And why not Aruba? I found a great deal online. What’s not to like, nice beaches, warm weather, no known Immortals.” Methos’s tone was daring Mac to ask just how Methos came to this particular information. Mac took another sandwich and stared chewing it with more enthusiasm than that sandwich required.

He didn’t want to get into Methos’ hacking the Watcher database – it was either that or Joe told him and Joe usually did not give out that kind of information. And besides, technically the Watcher database was Methos’ idea in the first place. For all the Watcher statements about decentralization being the best for the future of the Watchers, as Joe described to him after Kalas’ death, the Watchers had their new database up and running within a year, although they did put a lot of security and encryptions on it. Methos probably checked that database every day. Mac mentally shook himself. He did not need to get into an argument with Methos over this or even think about any Immortal/Watcher politics. After three large sandwiches, he was no longer hungry and he really wanted to just relax and enjoy Methos’ company.

“I’m going for a swim,” he announced instead.

“You should, the water is nice and warm. Just don’t drown. That is never pleasant.” Methos shuddered as if remembering a painful memory. Then he pointed in general direction on the left. “There is also a pool at the resort.”

“Why would I want a pool if there is an ocean right here?” Mac asked.

Methos replied in a tone of voice as if he was explaining things to a child, “It has a bar.”

Mac laughed. Of course, it does.

--------------------------------------------

When Mac woke up on Christmas morning, he was feeling incredibly relaxed. He left his window open the night before and the warm breeze was soothing. He stretched but decided not to get up but just savor the moment. The clock said it was 10:43am, the house was quiet and it felt nice not to have to get up at all. He had only been on this island for a day and a half but already he felt like his hectic life was far behind him. He ignored the stray thought that he will have to go back to it in a week or so.

Instead he focused on the last day and a half. He swam, he napped on the beach, he and Methos had a nice dinner with wine and watched a really stupid but fun movie on TV and mocked the fighting moves the characters used. Then, yesterday, Mac got up early enough to go running on the beach and when he got back, he had fun splashing water on Methos, who mostly spent the day in a lounge chair reading and then writing something on his laptop. They decided to go snorkeling and sightseeing after Christmas, since Methos was perfectly content to do nothing and Mac just did not want to have any specific plans whatsoever. He did some katas on the beach a little after lunch and felt even more peace descend on him. Katas were always the best meditations. It was more than three weeks since he last had time for them. When he was done, he realized that Methos was watching him from the deck chair, comfortably sprawling with a beer in his hand and an abandoned book on his lap. Mac smiled to himself as we walked back into the house for the shower.

After dinner (the food delivery service was wonderful and the food was delicious, although eating on the deck watching the water could have contributed to food appreciation), they walked to the resort bar for the Christmas Eve party. Since it was so warm, it didn’t exactly feel like Christmas, but the bar was decorated with lights and fake snowflakes and there was even a little Christmas tree. Loud and festive Christmas music was playing and there was a general joyous holiday atmosphere that made all want to join in and celebrate. Some girls flirted with them and Mac even danced a little but when one of the girls suggested that Mac join her for a walk on the beach he politely refused. He just wanted to sit in the crowd with Methos, drink beer and talk about memorable past Christmases.

Well, he talked about his own fun Christmases like the first Christmas he and Tessa spent with Richie. Their only Christmas all together, really. But finally, Mac discovered, it was actually just a happy memory without the sadness that usually accompanied his thoughts of them. And, of course, the Christmas when he and Fitz and Amanda stole the Stone of Scone. Methos really enjoyed listening to that one. Mac had fun exaggerating the whole adventure. And that Christmas that he and Connor spent in a tavern somewhere in Scotland trying to get a very belligerent Immortal very drunk and trying to convince him that the whole day qualified as Holy and therefore off limits to a challenge. They were just too drunk to accept the challenge, at the time, and they thought it was funnier this way.

Methos, on the other hand, tried to spin a tale of how he was there on the original “Christmas”. Mac enjoyed listening to his bullshit. As Methos’ tale got more and more wild, Mac started interjecting with sarcastic comments and he was really enjoying himself. They came back from the party very late and Mac was in a very good mood by the time he got into bed.

Mac’s stomach rumbled. He looked at the clock again; it was just after 11. He decided to go make some late breakfast, maybe pancakes. He got dressed and rummaged through his bag to get a small wrapped book – a Christmas present for Methos. He bought this book maybe two month ago when he was browsing a used books store. It caught his eye and he bought it despite the expense. He didn’t buy it specifically for Methos but as he was hastily packing for this trip he passed the bookshelf, saw the book and realized that when he originally found it he actually thought about how much Methos would like it. So he quickly wrapped it and put it in this traveling bag.

Mac was almost done with the last batch of pancakes with scrambled eggs and sausages already warming in the oven when Methos finally came out of his bedroom.

“Merry Christmas, Methos,” said Mac very cheerfully and poured Methos some coffee.

“Happy Christmas, Mac,” Methos replied, took the coffee and came to look at the pancakes. “Those look good. Can you make one in a shape of a tree or Santa?”

Mac shooed him away. “Go sit, I’ll bring you a plate in a minute.”

“My own personal service. A guy can get used to this. Is this just a holiday thing?” Methos took the sip of his coffee and smiling sat dutifully down.

“Just felt like a pancake type of morning.” Mac transferred the last of the pancakes from the pan to the big plate and then took out the eggs and the sausages and put them on the table next to the syrup. He then took two plates and loaded lots of pancakes onto them. Methos dug in very enthusiastically and made appreciative sounds.

“Oh, I got you something,” Mac said and passed Methos his present just before he sat down to eat himself. Why was he nervous about this, he didn’t know. It was just a small gift.

Methos looked a bit surprised, “For me, really?” Then he put his fork down, made sure his hands were clean by wiping them on his t-shirt. He took the present and smiled delightfully like a child and shook it. “Ooh, I wonder what this is.”

“Just open it. It’s only a Christmas present. You don’t have to be an ass about it.”

“I’m not. I’m savoring the moment.”

“Right.”

“Sure,” Methos said and finally tore the wrapping off. When he actually saw the book, he had a real smile on, though, and Mac was glad to see it. Methos opened the book and examined it. “It is a first edition too. Where did you find it?”

“A bookstore,” Mac went deliberately for the obvious.

Methos looked up, paused, probably considering several different replies but finally said, “Well, thank you. It’s great. I would have got you something too but I think this trip counts.”

“Yes, it definitely does. Eat your pancakes before they get cold.”

Methos carefully put the book down away from the syrup and went back to his food. After a minute or so he said, “Oh, I forgot to tell you, we have a Christmas dinner to go to tonight. This American couple who retired here sort of invited me last week and they told me I was welcome to bring a guest. They are having a small gathering and they didn’t think it was right for me to be alone on Christmas.”

“When did… Why would...” Mac could not finish his sentences anymore apparently. He gave up. The idea of a couple adopting Methos like a stray dog actually made sense if he thought about it. “That sounds nice actually. What time?”

“Around seven or so. You want to spend the afternoon lounging around again?”

“Yep. Swimming and I want to finish my mystery book.”

“You mean my mystery book which I was reading and which you stole?” Methos did not sound at all peeved about that.

“You read it already. And I didn’t steal it. You’ll get it back when I’m done.” Mac replied and got himself more pancakes. This was shaping to be a very good Christmas.

---------------------------------------

In the middle of the Christmas dinner in a strange house with strange people, listening to Methos regale his hosts with a story about medieval Christmas traditions, Mac had an epiphany. It came on suddenly and very unexpectedly, which, he internally rolled his eyes, was the very definition of epiphany. He just took a bite of mashed potatoes and was laughing at something Methos said, looking at him, and he realized that he was happy. Really happy. The kind of happy that he hadn’t felt in years. Decades even. The last time he remembered being this happy was probably right after he proposed to Tessa. That night and the next day when they and Richie were sitting on the walkway with their feet hanging down, making the plans for the wedding. He had felt happy after that but not like this. Not this happy. And with a shock, Mac realized why.

He forced himself to keep eating. He took another bite of mashed potatoes. He couldn’t really taste the food but he could not react now, not in front of all these people. He needed some space and he needed to figure out what it all meant. Mac put everything out of his mind just to focus on the conversation around him. He even joined it occasionally to show that everything did not completely change. He saw Methos give him a slightly puzzled look at one point but for the most part he managed to carry on as if his world did not just shift under him.

When they left to go home, Methos waited about five minutes before asking him what was wrong. Mac waved him off. He saw Methos shrug and pretend to believe him. But he couldn’t talk to Methos yet, not until he had a chance to think about everything. When they got back to the house, Mac told Methos that he needed to clear his head and go for a walk. Methos nodded, still looking concerned, before walking inside the bungalow. Mac just walked along the beach.

The night was warm and beautiful with a bright quarter moon. The surf relaxed him a bit. After walking for almost an hour along the sand and back, Mac saw their bungalow ahead of him. He didn’t come to any concrete decision. Maybe he should simply allow himself to be happy and just take things as they come. He should be allowed to just be happy for a while, even if it was just for the rest of this vacation. Up ahead he saw a shape lying on the sand and almost at the same time he felt the Presence. As he came closer, he saw Methos more clearly, still in his nice Christmas clothes, lying on a beach blanket on the sand with his arms behind his head, staring up at the sky. Methos briefly turned his head to look at him and then relaxed back on the blanket. Mac came closer and sat down next to him.

They stayed like that for a while quietly, Mac sitting and staring at the ocean and Methos lying there looking up at the sky. Finally Methos broke the silence,

“Mike and Susan weren’t that bad company. But I shouldn’t have dragged you along if you weren’t up to it.”

Mac turned to look at him. Methos was still staring at the sky.

“No, it was fine. That’s not… I’m fine.”

Methos made a disbelieving sound but didn’t push the point. Mac looked back at the ocean.

He didn’t turn again but just said, “Thank you for asking me here. This is good. I really needed it.”

Methos didn’t reply but he was breathing deliberately slowly like he didn’t want to break the mood.

Mac decided that he should explain a little. He didn’t really want Methos to think that this invitation to his vacation was anything but a good idea or that anything was wrong.

“I’m happy here. I was sitting at that table and I just realized that I’m happy. It’s been awhile.” He didn’t know how to put this better.

“That’s good.” Methos replied after a few moments. “It is important to be in touch with your feelings.” When Methos went for snarky, it was comforting. Mac was still looking at the ocean and not directly at Methos. He risked a glance. Methos’s face was relaxed and he had a slight smile on his face like Mac was amusing him. Which he probably was.

“I missed you.” Mac didn’t intend to say it but as soon as he did, he was glad. So he said it again, with a bit more emphasis. “I missed you. I really did.”

At that, Methos looked at him again. He looked a little uncertain but pleased. “Well.” Methos didn’t say anything more.

“Methos. I want to be a better friend to you. I do. You deserve a better friend. I’m sorry for…” Mac couldn’t finish. He didn’t think he could explain properly. Why was this so hard!

Methos put his hand on Mac’s back. It was very warm through his shirt. Mac unconsciously leaned into it.

“Mac. Stop it. You are one of the best friends I ever had. We argue. Yes. We don’t agree on a lot of things, yes. But that is the fun of it. And you come through. When it matters. No need for sentimentality here.” Methos looked so sincere and so beautiful in that moment and Mac no longer wanted to stop his impulse and he didn’t want to remind himself why this might be a bad idea.

He just leaned in and kissed him. Methos felt warm and so familiar. He always felt warm.

Mac was reminded of the first time he ever kissed him. It was at Robert and Gina’s wedding when he tracked Methos to a spot in the garden where Methos was temporarily hiding. Methos felt warm then too. And Mac was giddy from the new possibilities. It was still very undefined then, just some fun, nothing too serious yet. Just chemistry and, finally, timing. It was getting serious right when Kronos showed up. And that was the end of that. Mac was grateful to Amanda for interfering during the whole Keane affair or it might have been much longer before they even tried to be just friends again.

As Mac continued to kiss him, Methos attempted to move back a little and say something, his name most likely, but Mac moved his hand to the back of Methos’ head to hold on to him better because he didn’t want to stop kissing. Methos stopped pulling back but he was kissing back very tentatively like he wasn’t sure of what Mac wanted.

Last time Mac kissed him, six years ago, after Connor died and he spent a week in London with Methos after the funeral, Methos responded very tentatively too in the beginning since Mac made it very clear then that it was a week out of time.

Suddenly, Mac realized that perhaps Methos was thinking that this was a week out of time too. He couldn’t have him think that at all. Mac ended the kiss but did not let go of Methos. He needed to set things straight, he couldn’t let him think it was just a holiday or comfort of any kind. He moved back just a little to see Methos’s face shine in low moonlight.

He spoke quickly. He had to take any doubts away right at that moment. “I love you.” Mac nodded his head a few times to stress his point and repeated again very emphatically. “I love you.”

Methos, for once, looked speechless. Mac leaned in and kissed him again. He felt Methos’s mouth stretch into a grin. And then Methos started chuckling while kissing him back. The chuckle grew larger and as Mac looked at him in confusion and slight bewilderment, it became a full laugh.

“What’s so funny? How is this funny?” Mac said. But Methos’ laugh was catching and he started smiling himself. “I tell you I love you and you laugh. Fine.” He said the last in mock offence.

Methos kept laughing even harder. He wouldn’t let Mac pull away, though. His grin was wide and he was looking at Mac as if he was the funniest person in the world. Mac didn’t know what to make of it and could only look in puzzlement while smiling back.

“Only you, Mac,” Methos said still chuckling, when he could bring himself to some semblance of control, “only you would tell me this on a moonlit beach on a tropical island on Christmas. Did you wait for the timing to be overly romantic, here, or does this just come naturally?”

“That’s ridiculous. There is no plan.” Mac tried to reply seriously but then he looked up at the moon with the frown and back at Methos and he started grinning too. “Well, there is nothing wrong with romantic.”

“No, of course not.” Methos, still grinning, started kissing Mac again. Mac willingly responded. His hand began to make his way under Methos’s shirt. Oh, how he missed this. Methos suddenly pulled away to rise up off the blanket. Mac was about to protest but Methos took his hand and pulled him up too. He didn’t let go of Mac’s hand and instead tugged him along.

“Let’s go inside. I don’t fancy the sand in any interesting places and there might be a Watcher or two skulking around. They don’t need a show.”

“Inside is good.” He leaned down to pick up a blanket, breathing deeply. He let the happiness and anticipation wrap around him.

“Duncan.”

Mac looked up at that. Methos rarely called him by his first name and that coupled with a serious tone of voice made Mac’s heart skip a beat.

“I love you too. Always.” Methos said and squeezed his hand.

Mac nodded, holding back tears that threatened to spill out. He smiled and let Methos lead him back into the house.

--------------------------------------

Mac looked around the bedroom to see what else he missed. They were leaving for the airport soon and he just finished packing. He postponed as much as he could because he just did not want to leave. But Methos’ plane was leaving soon enough, with his own plane about an hour later. Last week passed incredibly fast. On the occasions when they actually made it out of bed, they went snorkeling a few times and even hiking at the National Park, which was very beautiful. They even explored Oranjestad a little too and drove around the island. Mac was very tanned and very relaxed. This was a very good start to a new year. Mac smiled as he remembered the New Year party at the resort bar and their private celebration later. They certainly put up a show at the party. Mac was smiling a lot lately.

“You’re not done yet? You had one bag. Just how many things did you bring?” Methos came in and sat on the bed. He packed that morning in about five minutes. His bag was sitting by his side of the bed just waiting to be thrown in the car. The sword case was right next to it.

“I just don’t want to forget anything.” Mac replied, noticing his t-shirt lying in the corner of the room, where Methos probably threw it, and going to pick it up. Good thing too, he loved that t-shirt.

“Hmm,” Methos nodded, smirking.

“Hey, can I borrow that book on Plato? I need something to read on the plane.” Mac asked not really looking at Methos as he shoved the t-shirt into his bag.

“All right,” Methos’ reply was a bit reluctant. Some people and their books. Methos probably had that book in three languages at home.

Mac looked up, “I’ll return it, don’t get cranky. I was thinking that I can fly in to London in two to three weeks. Mr. Sandson has been trying to get me to do this appraisal for weeks. I didn’t want to fly in just for that but now it’ll be great. I’ll finish the book by then, I promise.” Mac felt a smile on his face again. Seriously, he hadn’t smiled this much in years.

Methos did not say anything. He was sitting very still, staring at Mac, and it looked like he wasn’t breathing at all.

“What?” Mac asked. “It’s just a book.”

Methos was still staring at him. Methos finally took a deep breath and opened his mouth to say something but then it looked like he changed his mind.

“Methos? What is it?”

Methos finally replied very slowly like he didn’t want to break some sort of spell, “You are coming to London in a few weeks?”

“Well, yeah. I can probably stay a week or two. Jenny can handle the store and I’d rather see you again sooner than later. Why? You are not going somewhere else, are you? Like Tibet?”

‘No, I’ll be home for a while.” Methos swallowed. “I just wasn’t sure…” He didn’t finish. He was still staring.

Mac paused. Surely, Methos didn’t think that Mac wouldn’t want to see him as soon as he could. He did tell him how he felt. Well, that was more than a week ago and they didn’t really discuss any sort of future. Mac just assumed that they had the same understanding but they probably needed to actually talk about it.

Mac walked up to where Methos was sitting and crouched down putting his hands on Methos’ legs. “Of course, I’m coming to London. And maybe you can come to New York soon after that. We can see how it goes. This is not just a holiday thing for me, Methos. Or a friends thing. I meant what I said. Unless you don’t want…” Mac stopped talking, but he really didn’t want to contemplate that point.

Methos swallowed and put his hand on Mac’s head stroking his hair. “No. No, that’s not it. It just. This could be such a bad idea on so many levels, Mac. I don’t know just how much I want to risk. Last time… And I don’t want to lose you, especially your friendship.”

Mac reached up with one hand to soothe the lines on Methos’ forehead. “I know. I know all the reasons, Methos. I don’t care. I want to try. Really try this again. You and me. For as long as we can do it.”

“And if something else from my past shows up. I have a lot of past, Mac, and I can’t, I won’t have you judge me. Not again.” Methos looked very serious like his whole life depended on Mac’s response. Which it probably did.

Mac didn’t even have to think about his answer, “We’ll deal with it. I’ll deal with it. You asked me a long time ago for acceptance and you have it. You had it long ago. I was just too stubborn not to tell you this sooner. It is not my place to judge, I know that now. You never judged me, no matter what I’ve done.” Mac sighed and then banished all his regrets, now was not the time for it. “Besides, could it really get worse than the whole ‘I was Death’ thing,” he joked and Methos’s mouth quirked up.

“Probably not. At least I don’t think so. I might have forgotten something, though.”

“I want to try,” Mac repeated looking at Methos intently. He took Methos’s hand in his and waited.

Methos looked back at him for a long moment. Then he said, “I’m not telling Amanda. And you’ll need to make sure she doesn’t show up to kill me. I rather like my head on my shoulders.”

Mac laughed, pushed Methos back onto the bed and kissed him, putting all his happiness into that kiss. He looked down at Methos, “I’ll protect you. I promise.”

“You’d better,” Methos warned and then smiled again and his whole face lit up. Mac kissed the crinkles around his eyes.

“We do have half an hour before we need to go to the airport,” Methos said, smiling mischievously.

“Aye, that we do.”

This was definitely the best start to a new year.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-12-18 06:26 pm (UTC)
adabsolutely: by ad (Default)
From: [personal profile] adabsolutely
What a lovely Christmas story! Thank you for sharing it with us.

I hope you don't mind that I'm friending you.

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