Author's Note:The following story was written and offered as a special treat during a recent story contest on The Official Highlander Bulletin board, of which I was judge. My story was not included in the judging, but I had wanted to write one anyway. Participants were to write a 1500 word story about the holidays, which included at least one Highlander canon character. This was my contribution.
No Room at the Bar
"Great party, Joe!"
Merry Christmas Joe!"
Joe Dawson waved as the last of the patrons headed out the door. It was Christmas Eve... and most had to get home to families. They had stockings to stuff and Leggo firehouses to put together. Every year... Joe threw a party on Christmas Eve... a party for his employees, his band, his patrons, and his friends. This year had been no different.
Joe leaned on the bar and laughed at who was still left. "To friendship!" Joe raised his glass in a toast and grinned warmly at the two men left in the bar.
Duncan MacLeod and Methos joined him in the toast. "To friendship!"
"Guess we have no where to go... nothing to do tonight." Methos said taking a long slow sip of the scotch. He wrinkled his nose a bit.
"Something wrong with the scotch?" Duncan asked... he'd brought it all the way from Scotland for this party.
"Hmmph?" Methos looked at him as if he wasn't certain what he was saying. "Oh... the scotch... No MacLeod... the scotch is fine. I was just thinking."
"Isn't that a rare activity for you?" the Highlander mused. "You usually just wait for me to do the thinking and then you make fun of me.
"Could you two for one night just cool it!" Joe slammed a hand on the bar. "It's Christmas for Christsakes."
"Exactly what I was thinking!" replied Methos thoughtfully.
MacLeod snorted... scotch flew out of his mouth. He coughed. "Here it comes," he finally uttered.
"What?" Joe looked at him and then at Methos. "Am I missing something here."
"This is where he tells us about that first Christmas."
"Hadn't planned on it MacLeod," Methos set his scotch down and motioned for Joe to pour him another.
"Okay... I'll bite... Why the hell not?" the bartender asked.
"What do you mean you weren't there?" Duncan looked down his nose at the world's oldest man. "Every time some event is mentioned... or some historical personage... you murmur how you were there and it wasn't the way it's remembered or how Helen of Troy wasn't that lovely or Cleopatra wasn't that smart.
"She wasn't... Helen wasn't that lovely."
Duncan slammed his drink on the bar. "That's exactly what I mean... You were always there!"
"Yeah!" added Joe. "For the Chronicles... what was it like... that first Christmas?"
"How should I know... I told you... I wasn't there." Methos polished off his drink and carefully set the empty glass on the bar.
"Then why the buildup?" Duncan smirked.
"You know... the nose wrinkling over the scotch and the thinking about Christmas."
"MacLeod... you are making entirely too much out of this. I didn't say I was thinking about Christmas... you did."
"You don't get off that easy buddy," exclaimed Joe. "You did say something about thinking about Christmas... So give... tell us the story."
Methos sighed. He stared for a long time at the bar's surface and then let out a long breath. "You really want to hear this."
"Yeah... we really want to hear this one." Duncan smirked, arching his eyebrows as if he were Groucho Marx.
"Fine," Methos turned and leaned back against the bar. He stared across the room and finally said, "It wasn't a stable you know."
Duncan and Joe looked at one another and winked.
"No... what was it?" Joe had to ask... He knew there was a joke in here somewhere if he played along.
"It was a bar... or a tavern if you will."
"Right," chuckled Duncan. "Called Yusef's likely."
"If you don't want to hear the story then say so, MacLeod!"
Duncan carefully placed his glass on the bar and turned it around in his hands. "We want to hear the story... we said so."
"Then stop making facetious remarks."
"Right!" Joe nodded and managed to hide his laugh behind his hand.
"A tavern?" asked Duncan.
"A tavern," continued Methos. "There were three of us... We were on our way west to a carpet convention."
"Carpet?" Joe's ability to keep a straight face was beginning to fail.
"We were carpet merchants."
A small snort sounded from Duncan. "You were in Bethlehem on business."
"And you just happened to look up and see angels in the sky!" Joe roared suddenly.
"And... and... and..." Duncan could hardly get the words out. "They told you where to go!" He held his stomach as he nearly doubled over from the laughter pouring out of him.
"Fine... I'm out of here. I didn't want to tell you anyway." Methos stood, peeled several twenties off the wad of bills from his pants pocket and stuffed them in the jar on the bar. "For the widows and orphans." Grabbing his coat, he stormed out into the cold night to the accompaniment of his friends' raging laughter.
Once outside Methos stared up at the stars twinkling in the night sky and thought about what he'd seen that night so long ago. They wouldn't have believed him if he had told them the truth.
They'd gotten lost on their way through Palestine... stopped to ask directions at the tavern and then noticed the crowd of people growing around the small outbuilding. Curious... the immortal and his two mortal companions had decided to check things out. For some reason... likely because they were so much better dressed than the locals... they'd noticed people bowing as they passed.
"Melchior!" Caspar had whispered. "They must think us kings or something."
Balthasaar had belched... he was still having trouble with the local cuisine. "Either that or men wise enough to know when they are lost and to stop and ask directions." It had been an ongoing argument ever since they'd left Babylon.
The crowd parted before them and they found the small family in the shed attached to the tavern.
The young woman lay on the hay... a newborn in her arms. The man grinned and looked about. "Sorry we made so much noise... but it's her first."
Methos had stared down at the baby... He felt something... not the sense that this child was one of his kind... but there was something. Curious, he knelt down to get a better look. A gasp went up from those assembled.
"He kneels... the child must be a king as well!"
Methos ignored their comments and peered closely into the child's face. Carefully he reached out to touch the babe who reached up one hand and grasped the immortal's finger. Methos gasped at the tingle of power that shot through him. This child was immortal... but not like him. This child was born immortal... but his power was something other than the paltry power granted Methos and the others of his kind. This power could change the world! Methos slowly disentangled his finger from the babe's hand. He reached into his pouch and pulled out several gold pieces, handing them to the mother.
"For your son, should he ever need them." Methos rose and backed away still bowing. His friends... not knowing what else to do rummaged in their robes and also pulled out small gifts as they too bowed and backed away.
Later, as all three had stood in the darkened street and watched the comet trail across the sky amongst the stars, Caspar had finally asked, "What was that all about?"
"It's about a miracle," Methos had said. "I have a feeling that baby will grow up to be a very interesting man one day."
Balthasaar burped once more. "My friends, do you suppose we can get those directions now. I'd really like to find this King Herod's place before the night is over."
Two thousand years later... Methos still walked the earth... but as he had known that night... it was the babe who was truly immortal.
Thoughtfully he turned up the collar of his coat and stuffed his hands into his pockets as he made his way through the snow-covered streets. A hint of a smile played over Methos' face as he walked. A small smile... a secretive smile... "It's good to be a myth," he thought, "but it's better to be the truth."