"Mrrumph," said Duncan, snuggling. 800 threadcount sheets, one duvet with real eiderdown, goose feather pillows. One immortal, salt and pine scented, impatient. Present.
There was a decidedly boney toe poking him in the shin.
"Moi chroi," Duncan said obligingly, and ran his hand over one angular ankle, up the inside edge of a crisply furred calf, and under the sweet soft curve of the fold beneath a sharp-edged knee. There he lingered, tickling, as for trout.
The knee jerked. His pillow convulsed, heaving upwards in a billow of satin covered feathers. It sighed, short and exasperated. "You're a sentimental old goat," said Methos.
"Nothing to do with me," said Duncan, muffled, turning nose, cheek, chin, into the slight softness of Methos' belly and sniffling. There, faint as salt on dried seaweed, the traces of his own seed caught in sparse dark hairs, a clan favour, a flag, an oath.
"I'm a little old for Father Christmas," grumbled his irascible pillow.
Duncan hmmed, waffled, blew hot air at a neatly inverted belly button and mouthed it, hot and wet. A hand buried itself in his hair, dragged him up.
Eyes narrowed, Methos said, "Coffee. Or I don't put out."
"Demanding," said Duncan. "Arrogant."
"This isn't a democracy," said Methos.
Abruptly, Duncan sat up. The coverlet flooded down, the pillows sideways: the end of the bed rustled and thudded. Bells rang, faintly. Methos reclined naked, unmoved.
"Whoever said it was?" said Duncan, looming. "Take what you're given and be grateful."
"Ah," said Methos. "It's like that, is it? Take those frowning brows away, MacLeod, and come back with victuals. If I have to be fondly foolish, I'll do it equipped."
"Tyrant," said Duncan, and won himself a buss of the mouth that... deepened, and... "Beloved," he said severely.
That won him his freedom. One day, Methos would hear the word and believe it, victory indeed. For now, Duncan would take every skirmish he could. Rolling out of bed, he armoured himself in towelling and went to ravage the kitchen. Sugar snap cookies, brandy in the coffee, tinsel on the tree, candles in the window, logs on the fire, belled, antlered hat...
Maybe not the hat. He left it on Cicero's shining bald pate, outside the library.
Martial as a Roman, arms folded, nose pointedly athrust, Methos waited. The pillows, Duncan noticed, had been unfavourably redistributed, but the battle had been won in his absence: lying across the coverlet, unashamedly bulging lay a Christmas stocking.
"There'd better not be crackers," Methos huffed at him. "And I don't like stuffing."
Duncan cocked an eyebrow, saying nothing, and handed over coffee. Clambered, with care, back under the covers. His bed was warm.
"You great daft lug," said Methos. "I'm not five."
"So I can't give you something you've never had before?"
Unexpected, the words caught Methos on the quick. The nose dipped, the eyelashes went down, he swallowed. "Mac."
"Pink sugar mice," said Duncan, propping a shoulder against the firm strength of Methos' own. "Candy canes. An orange. A lump of coal - I'm not forgetting you're an unshriven pagan, my heart. A three penny bit, much good may it do you, a horseshoe, brass-"
"Enough!" said Methos, pushed, and upended the stocking. Bells jangled: parcels scattered the bed, not the elegant ribboned boxes of the stash under the tree, but scrappily wrapped in multi-coloured paper. "Oh, you're kidding," Methos sighed, shaking the last present from its red and green knitted home. Three feet long and pointed at one end, it tumbled down between them. "Just what I've always wanted."
"Open it first," said Duncan.
It was a light saber. With batteries: it hummed, buzzed and illuminated. There was a mug, a set of travelling chess pieces, a book: another. A bottle of beer brewed by monks in a Belgian monastery, a clove-studded orange, a tin of metal polish and a chamois rag, a toy batarang with a ratcheted cable, a pair of socks, a set of shoe laces, a pocket-sized screwdriver, a key case, a polished rock, a rubber that looked like an egg and a set of them, fluorescent and flavoured. Two notebooks, leather bound. One pink sugar mouse, string tailed. Nutmegs and cinnamon sticks and candied peel, for wine, and a singular ginger-spiced cookie, shaped like a heart. An i-Phone cover with a pair of horns.
"You're a mad man, MacLeod," said Methos. He was kneeling on the bed, naked, surrounded by drifts of torn open wrapping paper: he had the light saber in one hand and was tossing an orange in the other, and the glint in his eye was vengeful.
"Ah, but I'm yours," said Duncan, keeping a wary eye on the orange.
The sword dropped. The orange stilled.
"Aye," Methos said.