Duncan has never given him anything
that had a
price tag. Not once in six years. No sticky, remnant patches to gather
dirt, no convenient distraction for him to worry at with a fingernail
smiles and wonders what he's done to deserve this or how he'll ever
That's never been a part of who they are. The things Duncan gives him are sometimes
strange and wonderful, occasionally heart breaking, but they've never
Methos likes that about them.
And now it's Christmas. Again.
are a given, so to speak. And Duncan is standing by the tree grinning
like a beautiful fool. He's been doing that for a while now and for
has no idea what he's up to. It makes him nervous. It makes him wince
paucity of his own gifts, still lying under the tree.
He's not at all reassured by the
sight of Duncan reaching into his pocket and
something that looks suspiciously like it might have a price tag. His
lurches in a familiar way. He's always known that things must
change, but change still manages to catch him off-guard sometimes. Damn
Duncan is still grinning, though the
slipped a little, as Methos takes the small package from him, ordering
hands not to shake.
They shake anyway and of course
knots in the scarlet ribbon just will--not--come undone. It's too late
bravado, even if he thought it would help. He is becoming ridiculously
flustered. Every second that he fumbles, he's feeling like an even
And it's not helping that Duncan is settling his warm, capable
hands over his own and sliding
the ribbon free, knots still tied. Then he takes his hands away,
with an indulgent smile.
Methos tries to smile back, but
there's a sneaking suspicion that it's coming out grotesque rather than
grateful. He gives up and looks at the box resting in his left hand.
moment it feels as if he's never seen one before.
The box, that is. His hand might
well not exist for all that the box is filling the entirety of his
some yawning chasm that's suddenly appeared at his feet. But it's just
a box. A
small box. The knowledge doesn't stop him from staring at it as if
never existed until the moment Duncan gave him this one. Which is
bizarre; he's seen lots of boxes in his life, shoe boxes, packing
ones for a dozen red roses, tiny square ones for--
And he's babbling -- well,
internally anyway. Not that it makes any difference. Duncan can't hear his mental gibberish
and maybe, just maybe he hasn't noticed how rattled Methos is, but that
stop him feeling like the biggest prat in the history of time. Which he
well be. And he's still doing it, rattling away in his head a million
minute, panicked out of all proportion, but his hands are actually
almost against his will, but not really because there's a part of him
He's always been too damned
for his own good.
His hands are still shaking, but
pushing back the hinged lid, gingerly, as if he expects it to snap shut
fingertips. He can't look inside though, so he looks up at Duncan instead. Duncan's watching him, not smiling
with his eyes big and soft and boyish. Everything inside his body goes
and loose all at once and love rushes over him like it's the first time.
No one else can throw him
like Duncan can. From prickly old man to
idiot in all of sixty seconds flat. If he was capable of making a sound
now, he'd probably be laughing at himself. Because, really...could he be
any more of a fool?
But he's no stranger to being a
for love. And he loves this man. There are few things Methos knows with
certainty, but this is one of them. He loves Duncan MacLeod with a
and unprecedented passion that makes him do and say and contemplate
he would have never seriously considered before. Like he's doing now.
And because he can't put it off
longer, he looks down into the open box at last. It's a surprise, even
he was certain from the moment he saw the gift in Duncan's hand. Words log-jam at the
back of his
throat. Silence is everywhere except inside his head where it's a
reasons why it's impossible, why this is a bad, stupid, impractical
to get them both killed. But still he watches himself reach into the
take the gift -- the ring -- out because he can't imagine doing
He looks at it at, the panic
away in an odd kind of relief. He can breathe again, square his
fill his lungs. The shaking has stopped. It's all out in the open now.
gift is indeed a ring, unmistakably a ring; smooth-edged and heavy, the
glinting from its perfect surface. It's plain, unpretentious and really
beautiful. Methos rubs his forefinger over it and lets the thoughts
place inside his head. There's no mistaking what this ring means. Or
feels about it.
It's a question and a promise and
end to pretending that this was ever anything but forever. He's never
in forever, but he knows if anyone can make him believe in it, Duncan can. It's insanity, but he
this long without learning that sometimes the insane thing is the only
thing to do.
It might cost him -- probably
cost him dearly. But he'll put it on regardless. There's a price tag on
gift all right, but for what it's worth, it's a price Methos is willing
Written for the HLCrossroads Gift
Horse contest. Thanks to Sharon for the challenge and thanks to
Tritorella for the beta.