The Gift of Christmas
It was Christmas Eve and snow was falling, as it had been for most of the day. There were many people out and about, visiting with friends and family. Decorations and holiday displays could be seen in every store window in sight. People seemed to be in great high spirits as they came and went, talking, laughing, and some even singing Christmas carols.
Methos, however, was anything but happy. He was on the couch in his apartment, staring at the framed photograph on the table in front of him. He didnít know how long he'd been setting there and he wasnít sure he cared. He was deeply in love with the beautiful young woman in the picture and now she was gone. Methos picked up the frame and hugged it to his chest as he began to sob. "Oh Alexa, I miss you so much." He couldn't stop thinking about her and had never felt so alone. Methos had loved many women in his long lifetime, but none so much as Alexa.
He was still sitting there when the phone began to ring. He made no move to answer it, not wanting to speak to whoever was on the other end of the line. Methos tried to ignore it for as long as he could, but finally picked up the receiver when it was obvious that it would keep ringing.
"Hello," he said, hoping that he sounded as angry and annoyed as he felt.
"MacLeod." Methos replied, still trying to discourage him from continuing the phone call. "I don't really feel like talking right now. What do you want?"
Duncan, though, would not be so easily put off. He knew Methos had been depressed lately, so he was concerned when he hadn't seen him for a couple of weeks. He had wanted to call to find out how he was doing. "I just wanted to call to invite you to Christmas Eve dinner at the loft."
Knowing now that the phone call was not going to end as soon as he would like, Methos tried to calm down. "No, I think I'll just stay home. I don't think I'd be very good company right now."
"Are you sure? I could make us dinner. I have some wine, but I could get some beer for you. I know you never turn down free beer," Duncan said, trying to lighten the mood of the conversation. "We could even talk, if you want."
Methos said nothing as he looked at the photograph and began to cry again.
"Methos? What's wrong?"
Methos managed to explain through the tears. "It's just that ChristmasÖit was Alexa's favorite holiday. When she was in the hospital in Geneva, we talked about everything, from the places weíd been to our favorite books to what the weather was like outside. Once when she was talking about her family, Alexa said that she always enjoyed Christmas with them. Then she told me that I had become her family and that she wished she could spend at least one Christmas with me, so I gave her Christmas. I bought her gifts, sang her Christmas carols. The hospital staff even let me bring in a small tree for her room. I think that everyone thought we were crazy, it was only November, but she liked it."
"Oh Methos. I'm so sorry." Duncan hadn't realized just how upset Methos really was or what the cause of it was. Now that he did, he wanted even more for him to spend the evening at the loft to share dinner with him. "Are you sure you wouldn't like to come over for dinner?"
"Yeah, I'd just like to be alone tonight."
With a sigh, Duncan relented. "Okay, if you change your mind, you know where the loft is."
Methos said nothing, just hung up the phone. He placed the photograph back on the table, but he continued to stare at it, thinking of Alexa and all of the things that they had seen and done together. Still crying, he laid there until he eventually fell asleep.
Methos woke up to the sound of knocking. At first he wasnít sure where the sound was coming from, but as he became more alert, he figured out that the sound was that of someone knocking at the door. In the same instant, he felt the signal that told him that another Immortal was nearby. Remembering the phone call, he thought that he knew who was there.
"If thatís you MacLeod, Iíll take your head with my bare hands. Leave me alone. Donít you get it, I donít want dinner, I donít want wine, and I donít want company," he shouted at whoever was there. He went to the door, picking up his sword from the kitchen table, in case it wasnít whom he was expecting. Methos opened the door. "I told you to leave..."
Instead of continuing his tirade, Methos stopped short, surprised at who was standing at the door. As he had expected, Duncan was there. What surprised him was that Amanda, Joe, and Richie were also there.
"Hi, Methos." Duncan said with a smile. He gently pushed Methos aside and made his way into the apartment, motioning the others to follow him. As they entered, Methos noticed that they were all carrying something. Richie had a Christmas tree, Amanda was barely managing to hold on the boxes and bags that she had in her hands, and Joe had his guitar with him.
ďWhat are you all doing here?Ē Although Methos was no longer shouting, his voice still had a decidedly unfriendly tone to it. ďWhy canít you all understand that I just want to be alone?Ē
ďNonsense, darling, no one wants to be alone on Christmas Eve,Ē Amanda said, giving him her most winning smile as she approached to hug him. Methos didnít reply, just gave her an icy glare. Seeing his expression she backed away. He went to the door, opened it, and asked them to leave. As Joe, Amanda, and Richie turned to go, Duncan made one last attempt to get Methos to accept their company. He took Methos by the arm and pulled him into the bedroom so that theyíd have a place to talk in private.
"Methos, why are you doing this? I know that really miss Alexa and that you're hurting, but weíre your friends. We just want to help you. Donít you understand that I know how you feel? I may not be as old as you, but Iím Immortal too. Iíve loved and lost many people over the centuries too. I know how much you cared for Alexa, but I care for care for you. Please donít shut me out like this."
Methos had thought to argue with him, to tell him to leave again, but when he saw the pleading look on Duncanís face he realized that what he said was true. He had known this all along, but had been so caught up in his loneliness and self-pity, that he hadnít seen it. He had been avoiding contact with his friends, instead staying home Methos had lost Alexa, but he didnít have to lose his friends too. Looking at him, Methos felt the tears that began to fill his eyes again and tried unsuccessfully to hold them back. "Iím sorry, Duncan, itís just thatÖI miss her so much. Itís hard to get over her. I donít know if I can. I just donít ever want to forget her." Methos was standing next to the bed and now he sank heavily onto it and sat with his head in his hands. Duncan, who had been standing on the other side of the room, crossed to the bed and sat next to him, embracing him in a hug. Methos leaned into him, grateful for the support.
They stayed that way until Methos pushed away from him and stood up. "I think we'd better get out there and see what everyone else is doing. We have been in here a long time."
"That's okay, I'm sure they'll understand. After all, they are your friends." Duncan smiled at him and was pleased to see that Methos actually smiled back at him. "Amanda was planning to cook us all a nice dinner. Are you hungry?"
Methos hadn't thought about it, but now remembered that he hadn't eaten all. "Yeah, that sounds good."
Now Duncan got up too and together they went back out into the living room. He saw that the others were still there, busy with various tasks. Richie had set up the Christmas tree. He had the boxes that Amanda had been carrying open in front of him and was taking out the lights and decorations to put on the tree. Amanda was in the kitchen, preparing the food and Joe was on the couch in the living room, tuning his guitar. They all looked up as the two men entered the room.
"Hey, it's about time you two came out here. We were about to start the party without you." As he teased Methos, Joe strummed his guitar strings, still trying to tune the guitar.
As Methos looked at them, he began to feel guilty about the way he had acted before. "Hey guys, I just wanted to say I'm sorry. I know I was acting like a jerk before."
He was about to say more, but Amanda walked up to him. She hugged him. This time he didn't resist it. "Methos, it's okay. We understand."
"Yeah," Richie said. "It's only natural for you older mean to get grouchy. You've heard of that movie "Grumpy Old Men" haven't you?" Normally, this kind of thing from Richie would have annoyed Methos, but when he saw the big grin that Richie flashed at him, he couldn't help but laugh.
"Do you need some help with dinner?" Duncan asked Amanda.
"Sure, that would be great. You can cut up the lettuce for the salad."
As Duncan moved to the kitchen, Mehthos figured that they didn't need another cook in the kitchen, so he went to help Richie decorate the tree. Joe had finished tuning his guitar and started to play "Joy to the World". He began to sing and as Duncan, Amanda, and Richie joined in, Methos took a moment to look at them all again and as he did, he realized that he didn't need anything for Christmas because he already had the best gift of all, friends.
Then feeling happy and contented for the first time in weeks, Methos joined them in song.