Yes Methos, There Is A Santa Claus
by: Highlander II
Category: Angst, Drama
Archive: Clan MacSlow; all others: not w/o my permission
Spoilers: Highlander: the Series through the Horseman arc.
Rating: PG-17: for language and violence
Summary: Amanda asks Methos if he believes in Santa Claus.
Disclaimer: Characters belong to Davis/Panzer and Rysher Entertainment
Feedback: Highlander II
"All of these primitive mortals..." he crossed his arms over his chest and leaned against the wall.
"Methos, what is wrong with you? Christmas is wonderful. It's a time of caring and joy and love." Amanda danced around the eight-foot evergreen, tossing strands of silver tinsel among its branches.
Methos rolled his eyes. "Shit, Amanda, you're starting to sound like these simplistic mortals. You've been around long enough. You're going to tell me you buy into all of this capitalistic nonsense?"
"Oh, Methos," she kissed him on the end of his nose, "it's not the capitalistic part. A few years ago, I was seeing this guy and his take on Christmas intrigued me."
"What?" He brushed a hand over the end of his nose.
"He told me about all the wonderful, happy things that accompany the holiday season." She stepped back and admired her tree. Tilting her head to one side, she pondered a moment; something was missing.
"I'll bet you believe in Santa Claus too," Methos smirked, interrupting her thoughts.
"You don't?" she asked, quizzically, pulling a beautiful, silver, star from a box.
"Come on, Amanda. A fat old man with a beard, in a red suit, who brings gifts to children on December 24th? Please. It's a scam to make children behave during the year. Hell, it's bribery."
Amanda smiled, shaking her head. "I would have expected you to be more open-minded." She set the star on a table and crossed the room to him. Gently, she placed her hands on his face. "Methos, Christmas is about more than presents and Santa Claus..."
"Was that Amanda?" Joe Dawson asked, confused by the statement he heard as he entered. He removed his coat and scarf, hanging them on a rack.
"Merry Christmas, Joe!" Amanda bounced over and kissed Dawson full on the mouth. Responding to his shocked expression, she said, "You're standing under the mistletoe." She pointed to the space over the door, a saucy grin gracing her features, indicating the green sprig with white berries.
"She got me too, Joe," Methos grumbled from his corner.
"Merry Christmas to you too, Amanda," Dawson returned, his face a deep crimson he tried to hide by remaining near the door.
"Come in, have a snack and a drink." She whirled around with a tray, offering its contents to Dawson.
He pondered over the odd assortment of items on the tray: green leaves holding chocolate covered unidentifiables, caramel glazed globs of what might have been cookie dough, and various crackers. The Watcher settled on a cracker that at least resembled something he had seen before and not a crazy concoction from Amanda's imagination. "Thank you." Dawson munched on the cracker and turned to Methos. "Is this the same Amanda who was ripping off jewels and taking heads just last week?"
Methos closed his eyes and nodded. "I have no idea what is going on with her. I've known her for years and this year, she's scaring the hell out of me."
Dawson only smiled.
"Methos," Amanda cooed, glancing over her shoulder to be sure he was listening, "can you come over here and help me with this?"
Sighing heavily, Methos left his corner. "What?"
"Lift me so I can put this on top of the tree." She indicated the silver star in her hand.
"You have got to be kidding." The stunned expression on his face was only inches from fear.
"No, Methos. Come on."
"All right," he sighed.
"Just sit me on your shoulders and I should be able to reach."
"Come here." Methos stood facing away from the tree, placed his hands on Amanda's hips, and lifted her to rest her knees on his shoulders. *Oh man, why did I do that?* He remembered Amanda was wearing a very, short, red velvet suit; the skirt of which had now ridden far up her thighs and he had a clear view of her red velvet panties.
A snort met his ears from across the room.
"Shut up, Joe." He knew his voice was muffled and did not care.
"Okay, Methos, put me down."
Returned to the floor, Amanda wrapped her arms around his neck, kissing him softly. "Thank you." She danced around, putting out more decorations and snacks. "I still can't believe that you don't believe in Santa Claus."
"Amanda, you're kidding, right? You expect Methos to believe in the jolly old elf?" Dawson sipped his beer.
"Of course. Do you believe in Santa, Joe?" She saw the look that crossed his face. "I don't mean the fat guy with the reindeer. That's the modern version. I mean the good-natured soul who gives gifts to those less-fortunate."
"Yeah, sure, I believe that. And I think Santa is a wonderful fairy tale for children...."
She smirked at Dawson. "Can't anyone ever take me seriously?"
"Amanda, I just don't believe in Santa Claus." Methos opened a beer and firmly planted himself on the couch.
"Fine. See how many presents you get on Christmas."
"I don't care." Methos leaned forward, elbows on knees. "I thought Christmas wasn't about presents. You know the Grinch and Whoville, all of that?"
Sheepishly, Amanda responded, "Well...um... it's not about presents. It's about giving. And not believing in Santa might cause some to not give to you."
"Honestly, Amanda, I don't care. Give me presents or don't. Christmas doesn't really carry that much meaning for me. Remember, Amanda, I'm older than Christmas. Most holidays for that matter."
"I know that, Methos, but...."
"Amanda, look, all of this stuff means nothing to me. I don't believe in God, or Santa, or the Easter Bunny, or the Tooth Fairy. None of it. And there is nothing that will change my mind."
"We'll see," Amanda said, twirling and dancing into the kitchen.
"I will never understand that woman," Methos sighed and leaned into the couch with his beer.
Dawson could only shake his head.
Methos looked over the back of the couch. "Will you get over here and sit down?"
"What's with you?" Dawson crossed the room and sat in a chair beside the Christmas tree.
"Nothing. It's just polite to come all the way into the room." He made a motion with the beer in his hand.
"Happy now? I'm all the way in."
Methos nodded once.
"Dammit!" Amanda's voice floated from the kitchen. "I'm out of cocoa. How can I have a Christmas party without hot cocoa?"
"I'll go to the store for you, Amanda," Dawson, being polite, offered with a sigh, rising from his chair.
"Well, I'm gonna go, but you can come with me if you want. Methos, you want to come?"
"Nah. You two go ahead. I'll stay here and keep the tree company."
"Okay." She grabbed her coat and waited for Dawson, then left Methos alone with the tree.
Methos' bottle was empty. He rose from the couch and walked to the kitchen. I will never understand these mortal holidays.
Amanda's beer supply was perfect; there was enough to last at least the evening. He grabbed one and tossed the cap behind the refrigerator; some habits you just cannot break. He took a long pull as he turned back to the living room. Raising his eyes, he stopped in the doorway.
A slender, light-haired woman, dressed in a wool sweater and jeans, sat on the floor before the Christmas tree. Beside her was an attractive man with short, dark hair, also in a wool sweater and jeans, and a small girl in footed pajamas, opening a brightly wrapped box. The girl squeaked with delight as the playful ball of fur yipped and overturned the box. She sat on the floor and hugged the puppy to her chest.
The woman turned her head to speak to the man and Methos gasped, covering his mouth, afraid they had heard him, but they had no reaction.
Methos rubbed his eyes and looked again. The scene was still there. The family sitting by the tree, opening gifts on Christmas morning, the snow quietly falling outside the window. A lovely holiday scene. There had been none of those in his history. He rubbed his eyes again, shaking his head.
"This is not possible. Alexa's dead."
"Is she, my friend?"
Methos turned to the familiar voice beside him, mouth agape.
"Are you all right? You look surprised to see me."
The old man blinked and swallowed hard before answering, "What are you doing here?"
"Oh, of course, I'm dead too. Those renegade Watchers need a hobby."
"That's right, Darius, you're dead too." Methos glanced back to the happy family on the floor. The woman touched the man's arm, smiling and laughing. The sound was musical. Laughter.
"Beautiful family, aren't they?" the calm priest asked of the ancient immortal.
"Yes." Methos was studying the woman he had once loved; at least she looked like the same woman. He shook his head. "Wait a minute. Let me guess, I'm supposed to see all of the things that could have been if I believed in Christmas, right?"
"No, my friend. You're seeing what you want to see. Take a closer look at the father."
Methos did as suggested. His eyebrows rose at the realization. *He* was the man on the floor with Alexa and the little girl, enjoying the puppy and the Christmas tree.
"Darius, what the hell is going on here?"
"I've already told you."
"Fine. So what's next?"
"I'm not the leader on this journey. Just a guide."
"Thank you very much."
Darius only smiled.
Methos sipped his beer again, making a sour face because it was a few degrees too warm, but swallowed it anyway. He looked again at the family on the floor. The little girl. Was she his? "The girl...."
"No, my friend." Darius glanced to the immortal beside him. "Does that matter?"
"No. Not to me. They're so happy. Where or when is this?"
"It's all in your mind, my friend."
"Is it real?" Methos had never felt so unsure of himself.
"Everything you see is as real as you make it."
Methos looked at the priest, set his beer on the table, and approached the happy family. They did not seem to notice his presence. He sat on the couch, watching the little girl tear into other gifts, hugging her "parents" for each.
Methos shook his head, trying to pull himself back to his reality. "Okay, this is not real, this is all just my imag...." He turned and found Darius had gone; he turned back to the Christmas tree and the family had gone too.
He rubbed his temples. This is not happening to me....
Seeing Alexa again was difficult, especially seeing her with him. And the little girl.... Admittedly, he had never thought of having a child, he knew that was not a possibility in the normal sense of the word, but he would accept it if one was brought into his life. However, the vision made no sense to him; it had not been a piece of history. Where had it come from? He needed to know. He needed answers.
"What the hell is going on here?" he asked the empty room, or so he thought.
"Is that any way to speak to a lady?"
"Now what?" He turned again and Mary Shelley was seated at the desk against the far wall. He closed his eyes and shook his head again. The chair still held the talented author.
"Is it that much of a surprise to see me, Dr. Adams?" she asked, her voice strong, but delicate.
Eyebrows raised, he responded, "Well, a little."
She smiled at him.
"You do know you're dead, right?"
She smiled again, "No, Dr. Adams. I am alive and well..."
"Yeah, yeah, yeah, in my mind. Right. Darius told me the same thing."
"I see. So, you still have not learned. Very well, I shall try." She smiled and responded to the look of confusion in his face, "Come." She motioned for him to draw near.
Still confused, Methos stepped around the couch and walked toward the desk. He stopped in front of her, waiting.
"Okay." He did as she requested. Another scene appeared. This time the Christmas tree was gone and a tall, dark-haired man stood, staring out the window, solemn and alone.
"What's with him?"
"There is something important missing from his life."
"Like what?" He faced his friend.
"You already know the answer to that."
Her insight was incredible; she could always read him so well. She was right, he knew the answer -- well, not specifically what this man was missing, but he could understand the tragedy.
Looking more closely, he saw that the man by the window was himself. He prepared to cross the room, but a sound at the door stopped him.
Great! Amanda's back.
The door opened and a woman entered, but it was not Amanda, not an immortal. She was a Watcher. Shallyn Donovan, a researcher. Why was she here? Watchers and immortals, as a general rule, did not associate with one another.
Shallyn crossed the room and stopped six feet from the man at the window, clasping her hands comfortably at her back and observing her friend's lack of motion for several moments.
"Adam, are you all right?" she asked softly.
"No." He lowered his head, his words barely audible as he spoke. "Every year it's the same thing. She's gone. She was my world. Living without her grows harder instead of easier. I loved her, Shallyn. Very much. But still, it never changes."
"I know, Adam. Alexa was always good to you. She also loved you. She told me many times. She was always happy when she spoke of you."
Adam nodded. "Yet, nothing ever changes. My existence remains the same. Days stretched out forever behind you and loneliness, before you. I can't do this anymore."
"You plan to leave the Watchers?"
Adam closed his eyes. "No. This world. She's gone and there is no way to change that. And, I cannot live without her."
"Adam, it's not your fault. Nothing you can do will change that. There was nothing you could do then either."
Shallyn's words were strong. She was very afraid for her friend, concerned he might be seriously considering the action he had mentioned.
Adam only shook his head.
"I wish you would tell me what really happened that night."
"I can't. All I know is that it ruined this time of year."
"You can't even say the word 'Christmas' can you?" Shallyn took the last several steps she needed to stand next to him.
He shook his head again. The holiday season had not been the same since that night, and he had not spoken of it since. Nor would he speak of it again, ever. It was now over, no more. He was ready to go, end the pain and loneliness.
"Adam," she placed a hand on his arm, "there is a reason for you to stay."
"And that would be?" His solemn words reverberated from the window.
"Someone needs to remember. You are the best one to do that."
"It's not enough." He looked at her over his shoulder, the sadness in her eyes, the concern in her face. "There is no reason to remain."
"There must be something."
"Nothing." His tone was lifeless.
"I want to help you."
"I don't need your help."
"Tell me what happened that night, Adam." Shallyn's voice was stronger this time.
"She died. What more can I tell you?"
"I can't. I can never talk about that night. Ever." He lowered his head again.
Shallyn turned the man to face her. "Alexa's death is important to remember, but there is something else you should remember."
"What's that?" he snarled.
"Her life, especially as it was a part of yours, was very special too." She looked directly into his eyes.
"I know." His sad gaze met hers.
"That should allow you to enjoy the holidays, Adam. She loved this time of year, loved spending it with you." Shallyn paused a moment. "Adam, there are still people here who need you. The Watchers need you, your friends need you, I need you."
He nodded as tears began to well and put his arms around his strong friend.
Methos rubbed his eyes. "Is this story supposed to make me like Christmas or make me depressed?"
Mary glanced to the immortal before her. "Dr. Adams, you have missed the point again. We're not trying to do anything. Everything you are seeing is within you."
"I still don't understand."
The lovely author smiled. "I know. But you will." She rose, crossed to him, and kissed him lightly on the lips.
Methos closed his eyes as their lips met. When he opened them, she was gone. Methos sighed. The last image in his mind was not of the sweet Mary Shelley, but of himself contemplating suicide. He was not sure how he would have attempted such a feat, but was sure there was a way.
He shook his head violently, jarring that image from his mind, putting a hand to his throat, verifying his head was still present. Could he have ever been that distraught over the death of a mortal? Possibly, if he felt as strongly as he did about Alexa. The vision was right on one point: she was his world. Admission of that was comforting. But, the rest of the scene was frighteningly real.
How much longer is this going to go on?
"Until it's over, brother!"
No. Kronos? What did he have to do with Christmas?
"Until what's over?"
"Whatever it is rolling around in your head, brother." The loud voice matched the dark coat and black jeans. He held, in one hand, a heavy, rusted chain he rattled as he ran the index finger of his other hand over the deep scar in his face.
"All right, so what am I supposed to see this time?"
Swinging the chain with his left hand, he replied, "That's up to you," and pointed a harsh finger in Methos' direction.
"Let's get this over with." Methos turned, waiting, looking for whatever he was supposed to see. Nothing was there. No people, no decorations, not even him. Nothing.
"What the hell is this?"
An evil smile crossed Kronos' face. "You're not here anymore, brother."
"The Horsemen made a mark. The Christmas Massacre of 1999...." Kronos' eyes seemed to sparkle with this revelation, his body rigid, motionless.
Methos stared at the immortal a moment in disbelief. He put a hand to his jaw to be sure it had not inadvertently dropped open as Kronos spoke. The Horsemen around until 1999? That would mean that he would never have met Alexa, or Joe, or MacLeod even, except to take his head. Could this get any worse? He thought too soon...
"Unfortunately for you, brother, you were not as lucky as the rest of us. One of those Watchers got hold of you and ended your killing spree. Now," the smile on his face grew, "people are afraid of Christmas." His laughter faded as he disappeared, leaving Methos alone in the dark, empty room.
Was Kronos right? If he lacked a belief in Christmas, would his world be turned upside-down? He shook his head. No. This was all his imagination. He was still here. The Horsemen no longer terrorized anyone and people did not fear holidays. True, Alexa was no longer with him, but he had not fallen so far into despair that he felt the need to end his own life.
He sat on a chair, head in his hands. None of these images made any sense: a pleasant scene with he and Alexa and a young girl enjoying what most people think of as Christmas morning, then a desolate scene of suicidal contemplation, followed by one where he no longer existed. The pieces just did not want to fall into place.
I just want this night to be over.
"Not yet, honey. You've got one more thing to see." A sweet, sexy voice floated across the room.
"Oh my... Angela."
Angela. He had not seen her in years -- several hundred years. A wonderful, strong, sexy woman; immortal; a good friend who lost her life to another of their kind while she slept.
"Hey, baby. I thought you knew everything there was to know, as old as you are?" She pushed a hand through her long, red hair.
"Apparently not." He almost had to physically turn his head away from her.
"Guess you're waiting for your vision?"
"That's what usually happens now." He had nearly forgotten.
"I don't know what you'll see, but go ahead."
Methos cocked his head to one side. He thought a moment, then shook his head. "No. I'm done."
"I've made up my mind."
"That's great, babe, but what did you decide?"
Methos only smiled and crossed to the door. He opened it and waited for Amanda to come up the snowy sidewalk.
"Something wrong, Methos?" Amanda asked, confused.
A delectable smirk on his face, he responded, "Nope." He took her parcels and carried them to the kitchen, a slight bounce in his step. Everything was the way it should be. He was spending Christmas with his friends and, remembering Alexa in his own way. She was still a part of his life, though she had left this mortal world. Now he knew, she lived in his heart, and always would.
"What's with him?" Dawson asked.
Amanda shrugged. "I don't know. Wonder if he'll tell us?"
"What do you want to know?" Methos asked, returning to the couch with a beer.
"What happened to you? We were only gone an hour."
"Let's just say I did some thinking." An enigmatic timbre laced his words.
"And now you believe in Santa Claus?"
"I wouldn't go that far. But Christmas holds a different meaning now."