Title: Under the Christmas Tree
Author: Jade Hunter
Disclaimer: None of the characters and/or properties of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Highlander belong to me.
A.N.: This is also one of my favorite pairings of all time. I was so relieved that someone had the sense to add this to the list! Number 51 at the Holiday Fic For All at Twisting the Hellmouth, Buffy/Methos.
The first thought that had come to mind when he'd seen the tree was, 'It's a gaudy monstrosity.'
However, because the troupe of pre-teen and teenage Slayers had decorated it, as well as a dozen others placed strategically around the Institute, Methos could not say such a thing aloud. Not if he valued his head, which all of the girls were perfectly capable of taking.
Of course, Buffy had spotted his insincerity a mile away. Five thousand plus years of lying, and a petite blonde Slayer was able to plow through his practiced bullshit face with a single, piercing glance. Her punishment was this.
And, well, as punishment went, this wasn't terrible.
The tree's decorations didn't really look all that bad when he was seeing them from under all the boughs. The lights and the glare reflected off of the various ornaments and beads all merged together into a soft glow, a kaleidoscope of colors fringed by pine green.
No, it really wasn't all that bad.
Which Methos duly admitted, in a properly chagrined tone, to the blonde laying at his side.
"I told you so," Buffy said smugly, with a sharp, no-nonsense nod.
Some men would have been annoyed. Methos, the oldest men of them all, laughed and picked up her delicate hand in his, playing with her slender fingers as he agreed, "You most certainly did."
They lay there for a long moment, the gazing up from under the tree, with Methos still playing with her fingers, and she did not mind it in the least.
He toyed with one of her silver rings, twirling it around her finger in endless circles, "Hmm?"
"Christmas is in eight days," Buffy offered.
"So it is."
He liked her hands. Bloody ridiculous, perhaps, but he liked them, weapons callouses and all, especially how they were so small that she sometimes had trouble finding rings that fit. She went insane trying to find ones that fit her pinky, and the ones she liked best were the ones that fit her thumb. Methos himself didn't understand rings all that much, except for the important ones, but on Buffy, he liked them all.
She hemmed and hawed, "Well...you know...Dawn...and Willow...and Faith hasnt'..."
He chuckled, and she pouted, slapping him lightly with her free hand. The lights in the tree danced and blurred as his eyes crinkled into a silent smile.
"Faith doesn't know what to get Robin for Christmas, so Dawn, Willow, and I are going shopping with her tomorrow," Buffy said suddenly in a rush. "And she doesn't want Robin to get suspicious, so we told Xander and Andrew to distract him, but, you know, on second thought, we realized that they couldn't keep a secret worth anything, and we don't want them to ruin it - "
Buffy made a little noise, "Please?"
Methos shook his head, "You want me to spend the entire day with Andrew? Out of the question."
Ever since the boy had found out about the existence of Immortals and the Game... There were only so many Star Wars references, spiels about duels to the death, and other such Dungeons & Dragons rubbish before he went insane. Xander was all right, during the right occasions, and so was Robin, but, all in all, Methos generally preferred to spend time away from Buffy with the much more sensible Rupert.
He knew what was coming.
Fixing his lips in a determined line, Methos squinted up at the lights, fixing his gaze.
No way was that puppy-dog eyes going to work.
He let go of her fingers and crossed his arms to give himself a confidence boost. 'That's right, old man, you can do it. Keep it up. Don't look at her. Just don't.'
She placed her chin on his shoulder, and looped her arm over his stomach.
'Don't look!' But it was futile. His traitorous eyes had glanced down at her, and he was stuck in the all mighty power of the feminine wiles.
Not only had she pulled out the puppy-dog eyes, she had on a full blown pout.
Methos closed his eyes and shook his head in one last, desperate protest.
Leaning in, Buffy lightly kissed right underneath his jaw, where he was especially sensitive.
And the battle was over.
Five thousand years of experience, felled by a woman. But wasn't that how it always went? And what a sweet way to go. Unfolding his arms in a wordless surrender, Methos heaved a great sigh, even as Buffy squealed in triumph. She hugged him, and planted another kiss on his cheek.
"Thank you!" she laughed, knowing that she had, really, bullied him into accepting.
Eyes narrowing, Methos decided that her smugness should not go unpunished. Long fingers sought out her tiny waist, and Buffy shrieked in surprise before dissolving into helpless giggles. She squirmed and fought to get away, but only as a token resistence, and Methos grinned before kissing her cheek.
"All right, I give," he said. "I'll keep Xander and Andrew from spilling the beans."
Robin probably would be more distracted with Methos and a good debate, than with the younger two.
"But," Methos cautioned. "You owe me."
Buffy smiled. "I owe you?"
He nodded seriously.
"All right, I owe you," Buffy hummed, walking two fingers up his arm and to his shoulder before she rolled and sprawled half on top of him. "What kind of payment did you have in mind?"
"I have a few ideas." He grinned, moving his hands to ease the lower boughs and decorations away from her head, although the beads were a nice background to her features.
She laughed, planted a kiss on his lips and pulled away before he could react, "Well, you should probably wait until tomorrow is over to decide exactly how much I owe you."
"Smart," Methos complimented, hands resting at her waist.
She nodded, resting her head on his chest and listening to his heartbeat, "That's me. Smart Buffy."
"Among other things," he agreed, tracing patters at the small of her back. "You know, the tree really isn't so bad from down here."
Buffy smiled lazily and said again, "I told you so."
"So you did," he answered, picking up one of her slack hands and playing with the fingers again.
He really did like her hands.
Tomorrow, he would have to suffer through hours of Andrew. But tonight, it was just him and Buffy, under the Christmas tree, which sure was gaudy, but not from under here.
Five thousand plus years, with death by Andrew looming in the near future, and Methos found that life wasn't so bad.