Author: Athea (
Series: Highlander, Day and Night series, part four
Gray Days


"Hm-m-m-m." He rinsed a few more potatoes and tried to remember if there was something he was forgetting. Ginger. Where had he put the ginger? Cutting up the four potatoes, he threw them in the pot with the roast, skins and all. The freezer. The root kept better frozen so he didn't have to keep buying fresh ginger.

Opening the freezer, he rummaged through the foil wrapped shapes until he felt the odd edges of the ginger root. Humming under his breath, he pulled the grater from the cabinet and proceeded to grate two teaspoons of ginger onto a plate. The carrots were steaming and the butter could be melted in a minute.

"Methos ..." Duncan looked up and caught a glimpse of a very unhappy immortal on the window seat. Casting his mind back over the last few moments, he heard the subdued note in his lover's voice and the way he had let Duncan's inattention go. Turning down the carrots and putting the lid on the roast, he wiped his hands and prepared for some damage control.

Sliding in behind the oldest immortal, he gathered him into an all embracing hug. He felt him start and then melt back into his arms, the head leaning back onto his shoulder. The soft fuzz on his neck tickled a bit and Duncan nuzzled a kiss under one perfect ear.

"What's wrong, love? Gray day getting you down?" Duncan looked out over the alley; the feeble afternoon sun had died a couple of hours ago among the bricks and mortar. Overcast and partially foggy, the day had gone from bad to worse. This wasn't a pretty fog or a warm gloom but a sharp edged mist that cut unexpectedly into uncovered flesh.

And his Methos was like a cat that couldn't go outside but fretted in the dull warmth of the loft. A tiny sigh was all the answer he got. Duncan smiled and began a gentle rocking that soon had Methos turning in his arms and burying his angular cheekbones into the little dip between his lover's shoulder and throat that had been created just for him.

A wet lick of a raspy tongue against his skin made the comparison even more apt. Muffled against his throat, Methos tried to answer. "Just feeling my age, Duncan. Some days, I think I may have lived too long. Seen too much. Endured one too many gray days. I'm not very good company right now."

Oh dear, this sounded like a brood. Or a prelude to him suggesting that maybe he should head south for a little while. Say, a century or two. Duncan dropped one hand onto the long lean leg stretched out on the cushioned seat while the other began to stroke the firm stomach beneath his fingers.

"I know the feeling, Methos. Why don't we have dinner and then I can tell you about the present I got you today?" He made his voice drop another octave and put his own version of a purr into it.

"A present? For me?" Methos sounded just a bit curious.

"For both of us. But you have to eat dinner first since you forgot lunch while you were translating that old book." Duncan smiled down at the head cradled on his shoulder before dropping a kiss onto the spiky soft hair.

Methos raised his head and sent a searching look that Duncan met with a blandness that he knew would tease his lover into thought. His own thoughts were racing rapidly through what he needed to do.

"Okay. Dinner sounds good. I guess I am hungry." He cocked his head to one side. "Do I get a hint about this present?"

"It's warm." Duncan grinned and added a refinement to the basic plan he'd just created.

Methos shivered a little and looked again to the outside. "Warm would be wonderful. Why is Seacouver so cold right now?"

"Because it's winter and El Nino won't be back this century. Would you mind closing up downstairs for me while I finish dinner? I need to make the glaze for the carrots." He smiled beguilingly and Methos leaned in for a quick kiss that sent a tingle right down to his toes.

"El Nino is vastly over-rated. Perhaps we could generate a little heat of our own?" Methos was back in full out cat-mode, stretching and flexing his muscles in a way that made Duncan want to forget about dinner and just pounce.

"After dinner. Please?" Duncan pulled out his infamous puppy dog look that he rarely had to use anymore. Methos smiled and shook his head before heading down to the dojo.

Duncan headed for the phone, listening to be sure the elevator had stopped on the floor below. Hitting number nine on the speed dial, he tucked the cell phone under his ear and went back to the stove to turn the heat up under the carrots.

"Hi, could I speak to Betty? This is Duncan MacLeod." He waited on hold for almost thirty seconds and then the familiar accents of his favorite travel agent filled his ear.

"Betty, here. What are you up to, MacLeod?"

"Hi, Betty. I need two tickets to Jamaica for tomorrow or the next day."

"Are you nuts? It's December and peak season for the sunny south. We've been booked for months. I suppose you want rooms as well?"

"Now, Betty, you're a miracle worker, I know. I was thinking of one of the bungalows in the Neptune resort." He cajoled her.

Snort. "Damn right I'm a miracle worker. You'd better be taking that sweetheart of a grad student, MacLeod. He looks like a breath of wind would knock him over. Don't you ever feed him?"

"Yes, Betty. Adam has the blues and needs a little sunshine. And, yes, I am feeding him but when he gets involved with his studies, he keeps forgetting to eat." Duncan grinned and upended the carrots into a serving bowl, pouring the butter and ginger glaze over them.

"Okay, MacLeod. You're out of here at midnight tonight on American. Should get you into Jamaica at ten o'clock tomorrow morning. I had a couple of first class cancellations so it's going to cost you but Adam's worth it. O-o-o-oo, got you the Poseidon cottage at that resort. Yum, it looks scrumptious. Want me to messenger the tickets over?"

"Yes, please. Want a bottle of rum this time?" He set the table and went back to the stove.

"Damn straight. The 151 proof. I'll have to enjoy the sunshine by the glass. You're booked for three weeks. Have fun!"

"Three ..." The dial tone stopped his exclamation and he hung up with a smile. The motherly woman had obviously decided that Adam needed a lot of sunshine. She could be almost as pushy as Amanda could. Dishing up the pot roast and pouring the wine, he waited impatiently for Methos to return.

He entered quietly and watched Duncan light the candles on the table. Their eyes met above the flickering flames and MacLeod savored the surprise he'd just arranged. "Sit down, love. You haven't eaten anything since this morning. You're going to need your strength."

"Just how warm is my present?" Methos closed on his lover and pulled him in tight, groin to groin. "Could it be sizzling hot?" He whispered in Duncan's ear before nuzzling under his ear on that sensitive little patch of skin that always sent shivers up and down his spine.

"It could be but you have to eat all your vegetables first." Duncan stepped back and kissed both the hands he'd captured before leading his lover to his place at the table and seating him. Removing the napkin with a flourish, he laid it in Methos' lap with a gentle pat.

"You're such a tease, Duncan."

"I never promise what I can't deliver, Methos." Duncan served him an extra large helping of pot roast and potatoes before circling the table to his own place, sneaking a quick look at the clock above the desk. An hour for dinner, another hour for clean up and packing and an hour to the airport. Plenty of time to make a midnight flight.

Methos entertained him with wild guesses about his 'present' all through dinner. While he washed dishes, Duncan could still hear him over the clinking of silverware and china. He packed quickly with long years of experience as his guide. When he was finished with his bag, he started on Methos'. While he was in the bathroom, packing their shaving kits, he felt the familiar tingle that told him he was being watched.

"Running away from home, MacLeod?" The sarcastic edge told Duncan he better explain. And quickly.

Meeting the hazel gaze in the mirror over the sink, he smiled. "Yes. Want to come with me?"

"You're serious." He leaned against the doorjamb and crossed his arms.

Duncan turned and in two steps took him in his arms. "Sometimes, I'm afraid. Afraid you'll leave without me. Afraid you won't come back. This time, I want us to go together."

Methos softened his rather stiff stance and laid his head on the proffered shoulder. "Someplace warm?"

"Very. We've got the Poseidon cottage at the Neptune resort starting tomorrow. We leave at midnight." Duncan feathered loving strokes up and down the lean back.

"Hm-m-m. Jamaica in December." Methos stretched like the big cat he was and drew back to look Duncan straight in the eye. "Thank you. You take very good care of me."

MacLeod felt an unaccustomed sting of tears at the wondering remark. "I love you. And you take just as good a care of me. No more gray days, love. Just sunshine and the beach and all the rum you can drink."

Methos laughed and kissed him fleetingly before turning away to the bed and the open suitcase. "And don't forget the starry nights and all the love we can make. I'll need to pack my journal and those books I haven't finished."

Duncan turned back to the sink and the kits he'd almost finished filling. With a grin, he looked at himself in the mirror and silently promised himself that Methos would be too busy to open a single book. The word of Duncan MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod on it.

Sorry, this is the result of a gloomy day and a strike of my Muses on the three long stories that just won't gel for me.